Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Witch - Paralyzed

(03.2008, Tee Pee)
Verdict = "indie" metal?

All I can think right now is that somehow I got hoodwinked into listening to this album. I have no doubt that scores of indie rock followers will as well seeing as how the legendary Joseph Donald Mascis is manning the stick. What is the catch? Witch is as straight forward a metal band as you’re likely to find. And when I am talking metal, I am talking the Guitar Hero III metal right next to Dragonforce in bonus songs. Everything is here, screaming guitars, pummeling bass and pounding drums (which J plays pretty terrifically). However, I guess it is important to say that while the standards of some blessed out metal mania are present, the group is void of some of the standard Dungeons and Dragons doominess that seems to be parading throughout the genre. To be honest, I am probably way off base here. In all honesty, there really isn’t a good reason that I am reviewing a metal album. I listened to (and enjoyed) the last two Mastodon records. Does that count? I guess what I am trying to say is that I’ll take my token metal bands and run with them. Witch seems like that type of worthy crossover. With a dose of Iggy Pop and a bit of Comets on Fire haze, Witch is the kind of Metal that I can indulge in regardless of my generally wussiness. There are no apologies here: Witch is out for souls in the most rock n’ roll way possible and I for one am selling.

-Mr. Thistle

Listen to Witch on the Tee Pee site

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Throw Me The Statue - Moonbeams

Throw Me The Statue
(02.2008, Secretly Canadian)
Verdict: Pleasant, it's the new charming

It took me a while to obtain this album. I ignored acclaim and recommendations from friends until one day I heard it playing in the ol' Slowtrain and it seemed to be soundtracking this lovely weather quite perfectly. The album art is sooooo bad however that I couldn't bring myself to buy it, and eventually just downloaded it. Shame too, since I love having physical copies of my music, and it's even out on vinyl. I took it upon myself to censor the cover art for this post, but it still didn't make it any more appealing or friendly on the eyes. I am sorry for disappointing all our millions of readers. Next time I alter an album cover I will not disappoint. Anyways, on to the review. Seems like 2008 is overflowing with pleasant music. 2006 saw a giant wave of quirky charm. 2007 saw everything through quirky poptastic glasses and now 2008 is chillin' out, maxin', relaxin' all cool and shootin' some b-ball upside the school to put a smile on your face with it's quirky pleasantries and niceties. Such is Moonbeams, a quaint multi layered jangly indie pop album of diversity. Although the songs range from chord strummers to melodica and glockenspiel laden frolics to electronica, all are pleasant above all else and definitely comparable with sunshine and yellow flowers to lift your spirits. Personally I like this trend of happiness and hope it continues well on into the year. Happiness to all and to all a good night.


Monday, April 28, 2008

Shows This Week

Tuesday (4.28), experimental noise rockers, Indian Jewelry, are playing The Urban Lounge with always consistent experimental raga dronester, Stag Hare. Should be a sick tight experimental night and Forest Gospel pick of the week.

Friday (5.2), Dark Meat is back with all their jam band tendencies playing with confident local upstarts Kid Theodore at Kilby Court.

Dark Meat live

Friday (5.2), Black Kids and Cut Copy will be co-headlining one of those late shows over at The Urban Lounge. Pitchfork approved so you can・t really go wrong whether you want to admit it or not.

Black Kids - I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend

Cut Copy - Saturdays

Indian Jewelry - We Are The Wild Beast

Indian Jewelry
We Are the Wild Beast
(02.2008, Tigerbeat6)
Verdict = That Wonderful Bleating Noise Rock

Following FG’s penchant for critiquing everything auxiliary to the actual recorded music of albums we listen to, the cover art for Indian Jewelry’s We Are the Wild Beast is absolutely charming. As can be seen above, the image is pretty much exactly the kind of thing that I want on a big oversized poster in my living room. As for the music, it is similarly charming with its consistent, lo-fi bass buzz and guitar crackle running throughout. The music actually falls somewhere between Times New Viking and Liars: buzzy no-fi recordings of bombastic noise rock that hot enough to get your booty shakin’ and your head nodding. It’s consistent too. We Are the Wild Beast is simply filled with blissfully imaginative, constantly evolving songs that rarely tire. I would be willing to mark this as one of the better releases of 2008, but alas the album was actually released in 2003 under the banner of NTX + Electric. Yeah, ridiculous huh? Turns out Indian Jewelry is also Turquoise Diamonds, Japanix, The Corpes of Waco, Swarm of Angels and The Perpetual War Party Band as well. I’m not bitter of the trickery though. We Are the Wild Beast is worthy of this timely re-release and should be a fitting precursor to the bands forthcoming Free Gold in May. If you in anyway consider yourself a fan of loud, noisy, fun, no wavy rock then We Are the Wild Beast is unmissable.

-Mr. Thistle

Listen to clips at Boomkat

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Dose One - Skeleton Repellent

Dose One
Skeleton Repellent
(11.2007, Purple Guerrilla)
Verdict = A Creative Explosion

I don’t think I could be more excited for the new Subtle album due out in just a couple weeks now. The entire band is worthy of accolades, but it is lyricist Dose One that is the engine of the whole thing. Subtle would undoubtedly still be amazing without him, but with him the band is otherworldly. It is Dose One’s insane, fire eyed delivery and totally out there personality that makes Subtle one of the most electrifying and exciting live bands I’ve ever seen (check them at Urban on 5/12). And it isn’t just Subtle, pretty much everything the guy touches turns to gold, check it: Clouddead, 13 & God, Themselves, Deep Puddle Dynamics, his collaboration with Boom Bip and guest spots in all sorts of other unlikely places (Hood, Fog, Peeping Tom, Aesop Rock…). He has basically three or four lifetimes worth of amazing output. Yet, even with his lengthy, spotless resume, I have never caught one of his solo albums until now. Late last year Skeleton Repellent dropped with little fanfare which led me to believe that perhaps Dose just thrives on a collaborative atmosphere and can’t really pull off something so great by himself. Well, it’s a pretty ridiculous thought in retrospect, but let me just assure anyone else with similar doubts that Adam “Dose One” Drucker is a certified genius. Skeleton Repellent is an immaculate, creative masterpiece that verifies that Dose One isn’t simply a rapper, I think that has been clear for sometime actually, but Skeleton Repellent should further attest to the fact that Dose is simply a pop mastermind. The album flows beautifully through Dose One’s painstakingly multilayered vocals with an eccentric electronic backdrop. Initial it is a bit overwhelming to penetrate, but for anyone familiar with Subtle and Dose’s various other experimental excursions, Skeleton Repellent will be a severely rewarding journey. In fact, Subtle’s ExitingARM is going to have a tough time competing with this thing in my book. As good as anything he as ever done.

-Mr. Thistle

Dose One - "Overchoiced"

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Julie Mittens - Self Titled

The Julie Mittens
The Julie Mittens
(03.2008, Holy Mountain)
Verdict = Ulcer Inducing

First off, The Julie Mittens is an awesome band name. We seem to be a little preoccupied with band names here at FG which is good, because bands names are almost as important as the music… Selling point number two: the release comes to us from the illustrious Holy Mountain imprint. If you aren’t familiar with their catalog already, you should be. Anyway, The Julie Mittens evoke some obvious imagery: femininity or whichever lanky girl that you know named Julie (we’re familiar with a few here at the office), the hand warming products of childhood when fingers are too small to be relegated to their own individual cloth encasing and somehow mittens also remind me of kittens. So over all it is a pretty cute and cuddly scene. The actual musical content of the disc is another story. I just recently completed my final for my literary history class which culminated in a series of essays on all of the literature we had covered in the class. Problem is, I didn’t really read any of the literature we were assigned in class and I definitely didn’t study. The result was about a gallon of acid churning and destroying my stomach as a result of the stress. Essentially, this is the effect that The Julie Mittens music creates. Separated into for extended jams each with corresponding dates as titles (assumedly the date in which they were recorded), The Julie Mittens churn out an assault of improvised aural squalor that screams and screeches so terribly that the already lengthy tracks seem even longer than they actually are. There really isn’t any form here either, no certain movements or composition, just straight for the jugular instrumental abuse. I can see, maybe just an inkling of what the band is trying to accomplish, but overall this is just terrorizing music in a more negative than not way that you will probably never play twice (that is, unless you like stressful final exam situations).

-Mr. Thistle

The Julie Mittens - "April 3 2007"

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Flying - Faces of the Night

Faces of the Night
(02.2008 Menlo Park)
Verdict: So Cool

Flying is cool. I guess I could really end the review there and you would have as good of an idea about their new album Faces of the Night as if you read my attempt to describe them. And by cool I mean just that, no more no less. And I'm not talking about The Fonz cool, I'm talking about staying up till 3 am playing pogs and Super Nintendo while downing a box of otter pops cool. Riding your bike to the fruit stand in the rain cool. Giving a girl you have a crush on a mix tape with homemade art cool. I'd even dare say A Faulty Chromosome cool. I hope that makes sense. But ya, Flying is a band that blends lazy folk, eclectic beats, jammy rock, and a bit of spacey pop while sounding totally natural about it. Nothing on this album feels like an attempt to win anyone's approval, just a bunch of cool people making cool music. None of the jams or beats are overly tight and the guy/girl harmonies are at times a bit sloppy. It's this cool kid slacker approach that has won my heart and placed Faces of the Night quite high on my fav albums of the year so far list. Now all I need is a cute girl to jam out to this album with as we play Super Mario Kart all night.

- Wooly Mammal

Monday, April 21, 2008

Shows This Week

Tonight (4.21), Man Man and Yeasayer are playing In The Venue. There is absolutely no reason to miss this show. Man Man was virtually created to blow minds live and Yeasayer produced one of the best albums released in 2007. An absolute must see.

Man Man covering "Bulls on Parade"!!!

Yeasayer - "2080"

Tuesday (4.22), Islands will be joined by Band of Annuals and Kid Theodore for their show at In the Venue. I definitely am hoping for the best when it comes to Islands' new album, Arms Way, because after the initial charm of Return to the Sea, that album died hard. I guess you can't fault the band for not being The Unicorns. Anywho, album politics aside, Islands are always fun live. Show up and be ready to smile.

Islands - "Rough Gem"

Wednesday (4.23), the illustrious Saul Williams will be terrorizing Kilby Court and surprisingly they haven't moved the venue! There is absolutely no good reason for Williams to be playing a tiny venue like Kilby Court, but I'm not complaining. This show will most likely sell out. You know it's a good week for shows when Man Man and Yeasayer can't grab the coveted(?) FG live pick of the week, but there is probably very few that could steal that honor away from a Saul Williams show. And as an added bonus, local FG favourite Stag Hare will be providing the support. Another must see.

Saul Williams - "List of Demands"

Friday (4.25), indie metal crossover band The Sword will be shattering eardrums with Slough Feg and Children at Club Vegas. I don't know if it is still permissible to wear tight leather pants to this kind of show, but if you do FG will consider paying your way.

The Sword - "Winter's Wolves"

Friday (4.25), Norfolk & Western (with the now obligatorily mentionable ex-Decemberists band members) will be bringing their country tinged indie to Urban Lounge with the likes of Weinland and Deadhorse Point. Hot stuff!

Norfolk & Western @ PDX POP Now!

Saturday (4.26), Blood On The Wall will be playing at Why Sound. Why Sound? What is with bands playing in Logan nowadays? Well, Loganites are in for a treat because BOTW's indie rock assault is among the best in the business and their trailing along Bring Your Guns for the ride. Should be a blessed time.

Blood on The Wall - Baby Likes to Hollar"

Cadence Weapon - Afterparty Babies

Cadence Weapon
Afterparty Babies
(03.2008, Anti)
Verdict: I don't' love dance party music

First off, I don't understand why Cadence Weapon doesn't just go by his real name. I mean, Rollie Pemberton, could it get any better sounding than that? I guess "Cadence Weapon" is all right, I just like Rollie better. Anyways, Afterparty Babies is out and moving the bodies of dance loving quasi hip hoppers all over the continent. It seems like a lot of critics are in the same boat as I am, it's good, but after Breaking Kayfabe it just falls a little flat. Cadence tried to get all club on us in this album and its not half as interesting as the broken crunk nintendo beats of his former album. The tracks are still keyboard heavy with biting rhymes flowing freely, but Rollie's IDM influences creep in a little more and the electro goes to new extremes. If you like dance party anthems you will love this, I just don't fancy dance music very often and I would have been much happier if Rollie would have continued in his Kayfabe footsteps. You have to give it to him for changing up a little. No one likes a stagnant artist, lets just hope the next direction is a little less dance.


Friday, April 18, 2008

Bulbs - Light Ships

Light Ships
(04.2008, Freedom To Spend)
Verdict = Alien Robot Noise Transmissions

Bulbs’ press release has identified them as a San Francisco duo made up of ex-Axolotl noise monger, William Sabiston, along with Jon Almaraz, but I would be more likely to believe that the real duo behind the cacophony is pair robotic extraterrestrials given the unearthly clamor they produce. Light Ships is the first release on the newly formed Freedom To Spend label run by Pete Swanson of the Yellow Swans and it appears that anything with strings attached to Yellow Swans these days is gold. Light Ships is no different. The album starts off awkwardly rambling through a series of high end squalor bedded in a string of muffled electronic beats on “Gold Ropes”. It is clear right from the get go that there is something otherworldly going on here and while I can’t say that the album gets any less awkward or bizarre the evolution of that first track slowly starts piecing itself together before climaxing with a searing electronic squeal and then dissipating into a sort of audio rubble. The track is followed unassumingly by another off kilter beat textured by strange electronic feedback. Track after track Bulbs continue to throw curve balls into the machinery like space invaders and before you know it Light Ships has brainwashed you harder than any Scientologist ever could. You may not be jumping on Oprah’s couch anytime soon, but I assure you that the end result here is just as euphoric. There is really no understanding how great this album is without fully indulging in its many parts from beginning to end. A sample audit just won’t suffice. Bulbs want your whole soul and their willing to abduct you to get. So here I sit afterwards undoubtedly confused and yet somehow utterly satisfied.

-Mr. Thistle

Bulbs - "Light Ships"

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Be Your Own Pet - Get Awkward

Be Your Own Pet
Get Awkward
(03.2008, Ecstatic Peace)
Verdict = Bratty High School Angst

I feel really awkward (and not because the album title tells me to) about liking this record. It is pretty embarrassing to listen to and not just because everyone else in the Forest Gospel troupe seems to despise it. I’m listening to this thing on headphones right now and my cheeks are getting just as rosy embarrassed as they would if I played it in front of, well, anybody. I mean read some of these lyrics: “eating pizza is really great / so is destroying everything you hate” and “you signed my yearbook and that was pretty rad / but now I’m getting sick of you and it’s just too bad” and “lunch time is just not fair / hot dog mustard in your hair“. I mean could the lyrics be anymore inane? There is really no shortage of cringingly juvenile lyrical moments but for some reason it feels like that is just the way it should be. It’s almost as if the band wanted to make sure that everyone knew that they were immature high schoolers and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was all just a big joke. To be honest I don’t even know if they are still in high school or not. Self conscious ridiculousness or not, Get Awkward is just the righty bratty, fast paced, sucky indie punk rock to blast while cruising main on a Saturday night and in true high school form. Be Your Own Pet has created a record that requires you to play it repeatedly until it is absolutely the last thing you want to hear but somehow you still have to. So in conclusion, this is really an admission to my being really immature and wanting to break stuff occasionally and just act like a general loser (something Sassigrass can attest to). It is just unfortunate that I’m in the age bracket where I have to be careful about engaging in “criminal mischief”. I guess I’ll just settle with toilet papering my parents. Hooray for Get Awkward bringing out the worst in me in all of its childish cussy glory!

-Mr. Thistle

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Scott Tuma - Not For Nobody

Scott Tuma
Not For Nobody
(03.2008, Digitalis)
Verdict = Blissful Guitar and Experiments

Usually albums focused on a single instrument are bent on either the virtuosity of the player and the extremes of the instruments capabilities. On Scott Tuma’s third album, Not For Nobody, Tuma leaves himself and his acoustic guitar out of the spotlight and has chosen to highlight an albums worth of simple, beautiful melodies with entrancing results. The whole of the album whispers of Tuma’s humble genius with his subtle, alluring musical motifs. I suppose calling this simply an acoustic guitar album is a bit of a disservice to Not For Nobody seeing as how Tuma has painstakingly added a series of sparse experimentations and simplistic instrumental accompaniments (the pinnacle of which is Jason Ajemain’s string addition on “Loversrock1”) throughout his magnificently blissful opus, however, it is his acoustic guitar which strings the tracks together like a lazy piece of windy old yarn. And Tuma’s yarn carves a beautiful path indeed, folky ballads reminiscent of the heartfelt innocence of childhood, Not For Nobody is the perfect antidote to stress and the best companion to sentimental memories. The album opens and closes with ghostly reverb laden vocals that seem to mark your entrance and departure from an album that inhabits a place that is truly otherworldly, magical and unique. Not For Nobody is absolutely timeless and definitely one of the best releases of the year thus far.

-Mr. Thistle

Clips from Not For Nobody on Boomkat

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Weird Weeds - I Miss This

The Weird Weeds
I Miss This
(03.2008, Autobus)
Verdict = Sunny, Rewarding Experimental Indie Rock/Pop

Forest Gospel has a new Puppy! Yeah, that’s right, now in addition to listening to music, writing grammatically problematic reviews and then trying to correct said grammatical problems after the fact, we also have to make sure that our new canine mascot isn’t gnawing on our laptop chords or “eliminating” on our floors. Fortunately for the puppy we are a complete sucker for those guilty “who me?” eyes. Fortunately for us The Weird Weeds is a perfect clumsy, sunny, terrific compliment to our new friend. Straddling the line between indie rock and pop and adding a healthy amount of creative structuring to their songs, The Weird Weeds are both accessibly lovable and confoundedly unpredictable as our little pup. It is with a fair amount of excitement that I apply sunny air to I Miss This. I love when a band can manage to spark a smile from me when in the midst of their experimental contortions. The music hearkens reminders of seasoned musical compatriots that spark similar smiles like Deerhoof and Curtains and probably some others that I am not thinking of. I Miss This strolls pleasantly through progressive and familiar territory, alternating between a swelling ruckus and whispery childhood secrets. I think the other most striking imagery that comes to mind when listening is tree forts and paper hats. All and all it is just a fun, adventurous record that hits all the right spots.

-Mr. Thistle

The Weird Weeds - "A Goose"

Monday, April 14, 2008

Shows This Week

Monday (tonight), RJD2 is supposed to be playing his set with a full band as opposed to his former days running turntables through a mixer. In all honesty I never caught his most recent affair where he ventured into vocal territory and have heard a mixed response. Needless to say, it wasn’t quite the Jamie Lidell crossover that we’d hoped. However, I haven’t heard it so it is ridiculous for me to say. In his defense and promotion, his past live shows have been absolutely nuts and I wouldn’t expect anything less tonight at the perpetually late Urban Lounge. Oh yeah, you would want to miss his awesome openers Dalek and Happy Chichester either.

RJD2 - "1976"

Tuesday (04.15), Blitzen Trapper, Fleet Foxes and Calico will round out a triple threat of alternative country/indie rock madness destined for The Urban Lounge. Should be a good fit considering the fact that not too long ago the drummer from Gang Gang Dance told me that playing the venue felt like some bizarre scene out the wild wild west. Recommended.

Blitzen Trapper - "Wild Mountain Nation"

Wednesday (04.16), Tuesday night’s triple threat have been beat out by the double threat of Enon and The Joggers, again, at The Urban Lounge. Forest Gospel’s pick of the week for most anticipated sure-fire live show. Hit it up!

Enon - "Window Display"

Friday (04.18), Eve 6 will be playing at The Grail!!! I can’t say that I can really remember any song from them other than that “heart in a blender” one, but oh, wouldn’t it be great to sing-a-long to that ‘ole 90’s barnburner live. SO close to being a live pick of the week it isn’t even funny.

Eve 6 - "Inside Out"

Saturday (04.19), The Devil Whale (formerly Palomino) will coincidently be releasing a CD at their “CD release show” at Kilby Court. All bets are on it being supertastic and the show should be worthy as well with support from Chaz Prymek and David Williams. Good stuff.

Mahjongg - Kontpab

(01.2008, K Records)
Verdict = Afro-Caribbean Post Punk?

The question mark is present in the verdict because I really have no idea what I am talking about. Just saw these guys live and I am pretty sure they aren’t “afro” anything but the polyrhythms these suckas lay down are down right primitive. I am talking about chimpanzees and gorillas primitive too, so if they have those in the Caribbean I think I would feel even more comfortable with my off base “verdict” (they aren’t really verdicts very often are they). Well, self conscious criticism aside, Mahjongg are still busting out the hits with an exiting new home at K Records. It has been a bit since their wonderful debut full length Raydoncong (of whose label was apparently bought up by one of the guys in Good Charlotte, ha!), but Mahjongg are back with a vengeance. A little bit leaner, smarter, occasionally sparser, Kontpab is simply a perfect evolution for these crazies and their blissful beat driven punk funk blitz. So really all you need to know to enjoy this album is the following: 1. Get all your friends in a room filled with old, lame thrift store vases and dishes or something. 2. Pass out some electric green, orange and red sunglasses from the eighties and maybe some headbands and wristbands for potential perspiration. 3. Gather every possible speaker that you have in your house into all corners of the room. 4. Proceed to play Kontpab as loud as possible (this stuff has to be played loud for full effect, trust me), invent dance moves that no one has ever done before and break all the thrift store ceramics! I don’t know, sounds fun to me.

-Mr. Thistle

Friday, April 11, 2008

Aaron Martin - River Water

Aaron Martin
River Water
(02.2008, Preservation)
Verdict = Odd, Arresting Chamber Instrumentals

Aaron Martin is in the business of composing and performing spectral requiems for aliens and monsters. Currently it seems as though business couldn’t be better and Martin is certainly at the top of his game mining the most awkwardly beautiful minor key odes to the fallen. River Water is the follow up to Martin’s 2006 full length, Almond, as far as I can tell, but he also worked on various other projects between LP's. Recent exploits with Dutch experimentalist Machinefabriek and an even more recent EP sized release last November mark a continued trail of Martin’s golden touch. On River Water Martin finds the middle ground between competent chamber orchestrations and kitchen sink experimentation, creating mysterious, melodic pieces that seem as familiar as they do otherworldly. Martin’s is an amazing tight rope act in which he miraculously manages to keep his pieces from becoming too abstract or banally familiar leaving a constant tension that is irresistible to listen to. I mean, there may be humans at these alien/monster funerals so he can’t get to wacky right? While most comparisons to his music fall flat, there is a slight air of early Silver Mount Zion instrumentals that in my humble opinion (and yes, in contrast to Wooly Mammals recent acclaim) were the group’s strongest suit and occasionally Rachel’s reveries. All in all, a fan of avant garde, experimental, instrumental, post rock and the like should dive into River Water (no pun planned, but whatever, I’m all for horrible puns and am obviously a proponent of bad writing) because there is definitely some extremely rare alien type gold to be had here (which I shouldn't have to remind you is much more rare and expensive than earth gold).

-Mr. Thistle

Aaron Martin on Virb

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Fun Buttons - Street Horrrsing

F**k Buttons
Street Horrrsing
(03.2008, Atp Recordings)
Verdict = Fuzzy Melodic Noise with a Bite

Sorry for the censorship up top, but we pedal this stuff to elementary kids so we have to mark our boundaries. Seriously though, I think that the whole of indiedom is out to make ridiculously lame and cussy names just to spite me. That is fine though because for every fairly good band that decides to post up against me with a trendily cussy name I have a review for them that for the most part focuses on their name rather than their music (which I know is always appreciated) as well as an alternate name for iPod scrolling. It is just too risky to think that if my younger, more impressionable brother decided to scroll through the “F” section to taste the sweet, heavenly nectar that is A Faulty Chromosome that he might be bludgeoned by the unexplainably R rated F**k Buttons. With this in mind I have simplified it to F Buttons. The “F” here is subjective. You can choose any “F” word you would like (including the intended one) for placement. I have decided for the gooey eyed, unimaginative “Fun” as my imaginary name for the band. Fun Buttons, yeah…that sure hits the spot! Sad thing is that this album really is pretty fun noise, but not really anything ground breaking. Think the accessibility of Black Dice’s Beaches & Canyons (if you can find that record accessible) and add a couple more accessibility points and then add some vocal screaming ala Wolf Eyes and you are pretty much there. The album is really solid and a super duper debut that really fits the name: Fun Buttons!

-Mr. Thistle

Fun Buttons - "Sweet Love For Planet Earth"

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Mae Shi - Hlllyh

The Mae Shi
(02.2008, Phantom Sound and Vision)
Verdict: It's like an entire weekend of crazy parties and destruction got crammed into a plastic disc called Hlllyh

Mr. Thistle is currently way digging Hlllyh but said I should write the review. At first I thought it was because he is sick of me not pulling my weight when it comes to the ol' FG, but now, after multiple listens I think he was making me review it because he knew I would love it if I was forced to give it a fair full listen or two, or five, or ten. At first it was slightly too chaotic for me, but that was just because my brain was not able to process all the awesomeness that had just been pummelling its way through my ear canals into my grey matter. Like a dessert that is too rich, it may just take a few bites before you get over how much flavor you are ingesting and start thinking about what an amazing flavor you are ingesting. A little bit like last years all-star, Marnie Stern, The Mae Shi's Hlllyh has a lot of chaos that somehow organizes itself into an album of mind bending rock anthems. I think the Mae Shi said it best on their website when describing their sound as "busted electronics, spazzier than [fun]* drums, crazy-[ask]* boogie guitar, distorted caveman base and throat-destroying vocals." Sometimes it even makes me imagine the Muppets playing it. You know, Animal on drums, Ralph on keyboards and electronics, Gonzo on vocals, probably Fozie on bass and possibly that crazy scientist on guitar, all being backed by Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. Who knows? All I know is that these dudes played 18 shows during SXSW this year and are one hot ticket to a good time live. Hopefully they come through the Great Salt Lake area sometime after their European tour they are currently on.


* See tomorrow's F*** Buttons Review

No Kids - Come Into My House

No Kids
Come Into My House
(02.2008, Tomlab)
Verdict: Subtle genius is the best sort of genius

Rising like a phoenix out of the ashes of Canada's P:iano, a glorious resurrection has taken place and given us an album with a come hither look to draw you in quicker than Adrien Brody or Scarlett Johansson. No Kids is a trio that, when combining forces, is unstoppable in its quest to get my mood at least one level higher on the happy meter or my head bobbing along. Wait, the base heavy hot beats aren't just making my head start bobbing, my whole body is wibbly-wobbly and it's definitely putting my typing in jeopardy. I just can't stop! And I can't stop listening to this album either, it's the only thing other than the first half of Alopecia that has fully kept my interest over the past few weeks. Come Into My House is treading new waters by mixing together a whole lot of oceans of incredibly varied genres. It's seems like all the music that is interesting me as of late are these strange quasi cross bred genre bending freak albums that are difficult to classify. This one is no different: some obvious pop, mixed with R&B, a little electronica, a bit of barbershop, glue it all together with some lounge and package it with wonderful harmonizing vocals and you have a playfully addicting album sounding a little bit like Justin Timberlake, Bon Iver, Dirty Projector, Flight of the Concords, and Sufjan all got together for a weekend and somehow had a gorgeous love child. The sound is eclectic and lovely and won't let me live my life in peace unless it's on, loud!


No Kids - "Halloween"

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Yellow Swans - Drowner Yellow Swans

Yellow Swans
Drowner Yellow Swans
(2007, Tape Room)
Verdict = The Most Glorious Noise

Anyone who regularly reads this music blog will already be familiar with my absolute adoration of the Yellow Swans most recent releases (At All Ends, Descension EP). Well, with Drowner Yellow Swans (which was also released last year) I think it is pretty safe to say that 2007 was the year of Yellow Swans. I don’t think I have heard more assured, glorious “noise” records than the ones that these north westerners have been peddling as of late. I am going to stop applying the cop-out application noise here – what the Yellow Swans have accomplished is as organic and moving compositionally as anything else that’s hit the streets. Simple, crushing devastation married to blissfully ascending beauty and in all its permutations, whether through At All Ends, Descension or here on Drowner, the albums seem to be endlessly rewarding. They are all so incredible and, as I’m sure it is with children, almost impossible to choose a favourite. Well, not knowing the experience of having kids yet, if I had to recommend one album amongst the group Drowner Yellow Swans would be it. Released on cassette tape and CDR through Tape Room, Drowner Yellow Swans edges out the pack with more tracks, a longer running time and an even wider breadth via the Swans’ signature, grueling gorgeousness. The grit is intact, the guitars shimmering, the electronics bubbling, the specters and haunts have been meticulously engrained in the tape and the indescribable, pummeling weight of the Yellow Swans are all here. I’m already exasperated; this is the type of amazingness that is impossible to put into words. If there is one Yellow Swans record to get, this is it. I promise it won’t be your last. Mom, if you are reading this, that last statement may not apply to you, but then again who knows? It’s that good.

-Mr. Thistle

Yellow Swans' Myspace

Monday, April 7, 2008

Shows This Week

Wednesday (4/9), local hits will be had at Kilby Court with the following stellar lineup: Stag Hare, Navigator, Seth Pulver and Desby Dove. Should be a terrific and diverse and psych and lo fi and poppy and strange and everything. Go see this show.

Friday (4/11), Forest World will be releasing a CD onto the amiable public at Kilby Court this weekend in the strength of additional locals Mr. Oasis, The Precinct and Team Mom. Not too familiar with the string of supporting bands but Forest World is tubular so go check it out. What else are you going to do on Friday?

Saturday (4/12), Why? will be bringing his perverse mouth (and now band) to Urban Lounge along with gloriously named Ted Dancin’. I figured out I only have to skip track two on the album to be completely comfortable with it. Check this show for sure though because these guys are super sweet and incredible live. Should be darn lovely you know?

Why? - "Rubber Traits"

Some Beasts - Self Titled

Some Beasts
Some Beasts
(03.2008, Self Released)
Verdict = Top Notch Instrumentals

Some Beasts debut album is the kind of wonderful surprise that I always hope for when I enter a record store. Every time I go in I pull out a premade list of albums that I have been seeking out and proceed to see if any of the albums on my list are in stock, but really, even better than finding something that I am familiar with and have researched and will inevitably get is unassumingly stumbling on something new that manages to find me obsessed. Some Beasts is that rare, unassuming album filled with wonderful depth and replay value that I will have a hard time taking out of my CD player. So now the facts: Some Beasts is the solo project of Jordan Badger, former Band of Annuals drummer, who, as it appears, made an amazing album and proceeded to nonchalantly give them away to Slowtrain (local record store in SLC of which all SLC natives should be familiar!) and then up and moved to Europe. Well, fortunately for me the album was recommended and I am hereby hooked. The whole of the album is filled with jazzy, post rock instrumentals that resemble Do Make Say Think at their more relaxed moments with and added dose of occasional (and welcome) audio experiments. I think relaxed is the key word key here. The album is definitely laid back but manages this mood without becoming bored. For those wary of the Band of Annuals relations, rest assured that Some Beasts is a beast all its own and is certainly worthy of attention whether you’re an alt-country fan or not. Here is hoping Mr. Badger will continue to making this odd, wonderful music wherever his travels take him. Definitely some of the best local music released so far this year.

-Mr. Thistle

Some Beasts' Myspace

Friday, April 4, 2008



Here are a few goodies to keep you busy over the weekend.

I think it's impossible for Bjork to make a bad music video. She has constantly pushed the video envelope, and this time around is no different. Gorrilla Vs. Bear described the new video for "Wanderlust" best as "Where The Wild Things Are mixed with Captain EO." The real version of the video is in 3D and requires those fashionably duo-toned glasses to view, but luckily they have decided to make a 2D version for all of us non-milk eyed folks. So here it is. Brace yourself to be enthralled for seven minutes and thirty-nine seconds.

All: anticipate the glory that will be the wonderful culmination to Subtle’s three part series at its climax! ExitingARM, the third and assumedly final chapter is not too far off so let the multimedia anticipation begin with the unveiling of the bands glorious new interactive website

The Raveonettes - Lust, Lust, Lust

The Raveonettes
Lust, Lust, Lust
(02.2008, Vice)
Verdict = White Hot Rock

This is my first Raveonettes records and therefore my first impression of the band. That said, for those who are already familiar with the band my observations are probably going to rehash a lot of ground that has already been covered with the band. For instance, I would be lying if I didn’t immediately note the band’s sound descending directly from the late 80s/early 90s guitar blitz started by Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine and Jesus & Mary Chain. It seems like you can’t really avoid referencing bands like these when listening to guitar feedback as applied to no wave pop and truth be told, who isn’t playing detuned guitars with amps turned to eleven while crunching a maze of effects pedals? While guitar fuzz is in, (a fact I couldn’t be happier about) there are a rare few that are applying it as effectively as The Raveonettes. There is something about the bands buzzing guitar ruptures that translates to a mouthful of sugar. I think it is this type of feedback that is the best: the kind that is underwritten by melody and it is this that makes Lust, Lust, Lust so successful. The Raveonettes really aren’t doing much to differentiate themselves from the forefathers of fractured guitar punk, yet there is something entrancing about this record that requires repeat listens to continually produce results. I really wasn’t expecting to like this record as much as I do and I have to say I am liking it more and more every time through. As I have said before, I don’t know exactly what came before this, but Lust, Lust Lust should be a great entry point for anyone new to The Raveonettes and is surely a testament to what long time fans have known all along.

-Mr. Thistle

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Dodos - Visiter

The Dodos
(03.2008, French Kiss)
Verdict = Marvelous Left-Field Folk

In my perusing and plagiaristic amalgamation of reviews written on The Dodos’ Visiter (FG is moving beyond original thought) I’ve noticed quite a few freak folk references taking me back to the heyday of the term in 2005 when Sung Tongs, Milk Eyed Mender and Rejoicing in The Hands were ruling the collective conscious (and apparently still are). In application to The Dodos, the term seems not only tired but completely off base. As an acoustic guitar & drums duo The Dodos were destined to be pinpointed as folk (read: uses acoustic guitar) but Visiter is far easier to digest than some of the weirder references that it is coupled with. Now, despite my slight on freak folk as a viable genre label, I am generally fanatical about those 2005 originators of the faulty term. So let me preface this with saying that in separating The Dodos from these fine artists I in no way intend to demean the music because The Dodos freaking rule. So yes, lets go ahead and call it folk or whatever, but with that designation just know that this ain’t your mama’s folk, your gramp’s folk or your standard blasé acoustic indie affair. The Dodos are uniquely creating songs that are not only accessible but wonderfully unique in their composition. If we are going to make any type of references here I think the most apt one would be their touring mates Akron/Family. However, The Dodos manage all the excitement, instrumental prowess and ingenuity of their glorious folk rock brethren with half the members. The stripped nature of the songs on Visiter create a wonderful, refreshing air that is somehow robust in its skeletal construction. It's true and everyone has said it that has reviewed the album, these songs seem much fuller than they should with a core of just acoustic guitar and drums. I don’t mind repeating it here though because it is a wonderful testament to incredible songwriting. So, if The Dodos are folk, they are uncommonly dynamic, completely refreshing folk that can be appreciated by any set of ears.

-Mr. Thistle


Sun Kil Moon - April

Sun Kil Moon
(04.2008, Caldo Verde)
Verdict = Another Classic Kozelek

It is hard to believe that over five years has passed since Mark Kozelek's last original musical effort (and debut) as Sun Kil Moon. Even with those five years somehow April managed to sneak up on me. I suppose to start out I will have to make an admission to having Red House Painter’s last studio album, Old Ramon, on my recently mentioned top 25 favourite albums of all time. So I am obviously approaching this record at an angle that may not be shared by everyone who hears April: big time expectations/hopes and a pretty fair understanding of Mr. Kozelek’s capability. So the quick and easy of it is this: April doesn’t disappoint. Applying all his classic tricks, Kozelek fashions lengthy, circular songs that seem to perfectly capture the mood of both late night conversations and the break of light on lazy mornings when the period between waking and sleep seems wonderfully extended. This has always been Kozelek’s gift and this is where my only concession could possibly lie. There is nothing new on April. Even with guest spots by Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and Death Cab’s Ben Gibbard there is nothing about this record that is ground breaking in terms of Sun Kil Moon. Removed are the more guitar heavy electric tracks that graced Ghosts of the Great Highway, but you could tell me that songs were written and recorded in that same session as the first Sun Kil Moon record and I would believe you. Fortunately, Kozelek is the kind of guy that could make a hundred records (he’s getting there…) rehashing the same sound and they would never lose their entrancing vitality. April is a beautiful album and, as with all of Kozelek’s releases, a grower.

-Mr. Thistle

Unofficial Video for "Moorestown"

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Goslings - Occasion

The Goslings
(03.2008, Not Not Fun)
Verdict = Deafening Oblivion via Headphones

It is difficult to determine whether Heaven or Hell is responsible for The Goslings most recent release on Not Not Fun, but to whomever is responsible, thank you. Occasion, the proper and eagerly anticipated follow up to The Goslings 2006 masterpiece, Grandeur of Hair, is simply devastating. I probably have said that about The Goslings before, but the Florida husband and wife duo has done it once again. I think it is pretty fair to say that with Occasion The Goslings are prepared to sink islands and flatten mountains. The album plays out like the audible equivalent to a steamroller the size of The Empire State Building rolling through the middle of Manhattan. It’s a terribly amazing thing to put to tape, but for those of you who are familiar with The Goslings druggy, lethargic doom metal/pop this is no surprise. This has always been The Goslings modus operandi since day one. It all comes down to the old adage: if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. With Occasion this couldn’t be more true; still firing down the same lines as they have in the past yet still scoring wildly with the most excruciatingly delicious, terribly awesome onslaught likely to have ever laid claim on rock and roll. Ha, just now sitting at my desk at my day job someone whose desk is about thirty feet away came over and told me they could hear my headphones…and the volume on my iPod is only 2/3rds the way up. Mmm, it is just so so good. My already insufficient writing ability is truly at a loss for words here. Unless The Goslings make ten more albums in 2008, it will be practically impossible that this won’t land on my top ten list at the end of the year.

-Mr. Thistle

The Goslings Myspace

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Tomasz Bednarczyk - Summer Feelings

Tomasz Bednarczyk
Summer Feelings
(03.2008, Room 40)
Verdict = Beautiful Tones and TV Static

If this is the way summer feels to Tomasz Bednarczyk then Mr. Bednarczyk must make his summer home in a fuzz addled TV buzzing in some abandoned field in the middle of nowhere. Really, Bednarczyk lives in Poland where wintery summers are the norm. This fact brings some understanding to summer feelings built out of sparse, fragile pianos delicately played under a dusty layer of electronic tape hiss. Similar in feel to (though not quite as mammoth in spectrum as) Gavin BryarsThe Sinking of the Titanic or William Basinski’s Disintegration Loops, Bednarczyk’s Summer Feelings plods slowly and introspectively as if it were trudging through a snow storm of static. The crackle is subtle and everything seems slightly blurry as if viewed through coke bottle lenses. Despite the frostiness of the work there is a definite heart buried underneath the layers of sound. An under current of warm synths and the occasional use of field recordings underscore a humanity caught in the midst of the scrambled white out, steering it to constantly redeeming territory. This really is an amazing accomplishment for Bednarczyk, who maintains a confident restraint well beyond his years (he’s 22 years old if my math is right). I mean this stuff could easily be attributed to the aforementioned artists who are both decades older the Tomasz. Summer Feelings is a beautifully quaint, cordial exercise in gorgeous melancholy and a stunning debut for Room40 by an exciting new (to me), young artist.

-Mr. Thistle

Tomasz Bednarczyk