Tag Archives: Texas

Stream: Fleeting Youth Records + r/cassetteculture – “Blooming”

I mean, how could you even go wrong? Fleeting Youth Records, one of our favorites and based out of Austin, Texas, has put together a compilation of 33 bands that clocks in at over 90+ minutes. Every single song is a noisy, feedback and fuzz soaked garage-rock stomper ready and waiting to be loaded up onto your tape deck and blared until the speakers add yet another layer of distortion.

It’s hard to tell even where to begin. Covering such a substantial paean to garage rock is not something that can be taken down track for track. A (relatively) random sampling is going to have to suffice.

First off, true to it’s name this compilation truly is “fuzz-fucked.” Every track seems to be following the same production standard of no production standards. Appropriately, the opening track, “Vent” by the band Weak Nerves, comes screaming out of the gate with a few squeals of feedback before introducing some super crunchy and fuzzed out riff-rock. There is a mix of garage-rock noise with groundswells of shoegaze awe. Somehow Weak Nerves are able to float between these two worlds, creating a really interesting and expansive sound that adds significant depth beyond just fuzzed out noise.

I’m also happy to see Chat Logs getting some space here. They had a pretty exciting release on Already Dead tapes a while ago that I still enjoy. Their jittery, aggressive approach with Earth-shaking low end violently contrasted by screeching guitars fits perfectly amongst the garage-rockers and punks that fill out the rest of the album.

There really isn’t a bad track across this collection. It’s all just perfectly amped up rock. Post-Child’s “Stop What You’re Doing to Me” cuts the noise with pop hooks and bouncy synth sounds, while Goners intone their teenage depression before cutting into an extended guitar solo; and toward the end of the album The Void bring us back to the mid-90’s with the fuzzed out, Smashing Pumpkins-esque bliss of “Summer.”

I could probably just go on all day, moving through each track one at a time, but instead I’ll leave you to it. Start with these tracks and just keep listening from there. While you’re at it, grab a copy. Limited run blue cassette with full-color 3-panel j-card featuring amazing hand drawn art from Valentino Tettamanti.  Head over to the Fleeting Youth bandcamp to pick one up, and to listen to the compilation in its entirety.

Stream: Balue – “Quiet Dreamer”

It’s June already, and that means more summertime tunes. Here’s another one coming at us from Fleeting Youth records. This time they’re giving up some tunes that fit somewhere in the chillwave genre, but more it’s really more guitar driven than synth driven. Imagine Washed Out mixed with a bit of Mac Demarco. The harmonies are lush and benefitting from the tape recording, while the vocals are clear, and sung by a highly unique voice.

“Still don’t wanna grow up. That’s never gonna change. Still don’t wanna grow up. That’s never gonna change.”

Those lyrics ring out as the focal point of “Grow Up.” It seems appropriate that those words are delivered in a laid back (way back) manner, over soft hand percussion and a guitar line that’s gently plucked out and pushed ever so subtly back. The song paints a picture of someone staring up at the clouds, daydreaming. And it seems that this one-man band from New Mexico –Balue, aka Eli Thomas– is trying to get across more than anything a very specific mood. The inside cover of the limited edition (only 50 copies) cassette reads “Grab some headphones, dim the lights & relax. Close your eyes; walk down the stairs to the basement of your mind. Take a deep breath, press play & enter my dreams. Music is the best drug of all.”

Meanwhile “Charming Flow” drives a little bit harder, with punchy guitars and comparatively aggressive vocal delivery. Less daydreamy, but not any less moving. The change-up in sound is pretty refreshing to hear. Thomas’ pop sensibilities are strong as is his ability to pen a catchy hook. The song is really good, even if it does hint at a contradiction in that he’s “got more charm than a hundred bill, hundred dollar bill rolled up in your nose.”

You can pre-order the tape from Fleeting Youth right now. And you can also download these two tracks for the price of name-your-own-price right now from their bandcamp page. Eleven tracks of dreamy pop await you.

Premiering: Roladex – “Cathode Rays”

Roladex - "Anthems for the Micro-Age"
Roladex – “Anthems for the Micro-Age”

I’ve definitely posted my fair share of post-modern rock like White Fence, and Foxygen among others. Well, it’s time to switch gears a bit and introduce you to some post-modern electro-pop. Roladex is about to release a new LP in February on Medical Records entitled “Anthems for the Micro-Age.” And though I never typically take lines straight out of the one-sheet, I thought that this one said it all: “imagine Kraftwerk singing Steven Merritt songs.”

Squared off analog synths with hypnotic synthetic drum sounds meets colorful imagery with an understated delivery. Something that Roladex definitely has over Kraftwerk are the pop hooks. Songs here sound as though they were written through the lens of a dystopian, Blade Runner type world where Roladex’s sound is made to match the smokey darkness that describes a technologically advanced cityscape where despite all the coldness the human element still shines through.

The video above is a premiere for “Cathode Rays,” and it’s the kind of trippy, hazy, nostalgic visual that matches the track perfectly. Speaking of that, “nostalgia,” I think that that is something that has been coming up inadvertently around here the past few posts. Just a few words about that, allow me think at you for a second: I find it fascinating the number of different ways that the feeling of nostalgia can be created through music whether it’s Real Estate or Boards of Canada, two bands that have nothing in common, yet both manage to conjure up similar feelings of reminiscence. And not that I want to beat the Kraftwerk parallel to death here, but their use of similar analog synths and stilted drum sounds did not net nearly the same human result as Roladex. I’ll be contemplating that one for a long time.


The album moves between contemplative, entrancing synth-kraut-rock, like “Empty Streets,” to the more danceable (appropriately enough) “Blacklit Disco.” Going back to the question in the last paragraph, I think that a lot of the emotional and nostalgic qualities that are able to shine through has to do with melody. There are some really well shaped, smooth melodic lines that float out over the top of the buzzing synths throughout “Anthems…” The doubled vocals of Tyler Jacobsen and Elyssa Dianne allow the songs to be simultaneously sparse and lush, with Dianne’s vocal delivery at times closely matching that of Lætitia Sadier, while other times being closer to Nico, the original distant singer. Hints of Stereolab are apparent in some other aspects as well, despite Roladex’s markedly thinner sound. I think that both bands are taking a very similar approach.

But the strange dichotomy of sparse lushness is matched by rhythms that are rigid yet bouncy. And I have to make sure that I don’t forget to mention the all important blues based harmonies underlying many of the songs on “Anthems for the Micro-Age.” I’m going to chalk that up to having something to do with adding nostalgia and emotion to the tracks.

“Anthems for the Micro-Age” won’t be out for a few more weeks, February 13th to be exact. The limited release 180-g vinyl will be a transparent electric blue, so you’ll want to get your hands on one of those. Until then you can head on over to the sites at the bottom of the post for some more info, and check out the video at the top of the post. If you preorder now from the Medical Records bandcamp you’ll get an instant download. also you can still get copies of their tape from Night-People Records/Wet Hair.

Roladex: Soundcloud//Facebook//Medical Records//Night People