Tuning In: About Tuning Into The Obscure + Contact info and Submissions

Hi!

You’ve found the front page of Tuning Into The Obscure! I know the date on this says May of 2011, but ignore that. Scroll down for new content.

And now, the obligatory front page bio stuff and contact info….

Over the past few years, I’ve been on a mission to find the best music on the planet, whether it be old, new, well known, obscure, underground or mainstream, or completely unknown previously. I started this project on an older, more personal blog but eventually figured it’d be easier to post all the music stuff here.

So here, you’ll find reviews on a variety of genres as well as interviews with artists and labels, spotlights on musical history, band previews and other various ramblings. Occasionally, I may even slip in some bits of my own music.

Submissions and Contact Info:

If you’re an artist/in a band or are a small label with some music you think the world should hear, contact me! Seriously, send me some tunes! Submissions are always welcome in all physical formats (please note that until further notice, digital downloads cannot be accepted due to tech issues). All genres are fair game.  Please note that if you already have my mailing address, it has changed as of May 2012.

Contact: lonelyfox_music@yahoo.com

Twitter: @Hound_of_Music

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Electronic Jams March 2015 vol 2

Deffektegg – Weightless – Amek

So I am way late on getting this posted as I received the promo in September and it somehow got lost on my laptop…. Sorry about that…  This cassette features some sweet ambient and drone music from Bulgaria and is released from the same label our good friend Mytrip calls home.  This release sounds exactly how the title of the album describes it: weightless.  Picture yourself on afloat in warm waters but upon a deep, pitch black sea with just a faint light from the moon above you.  The waves start off gently, evident on track one, but grow darker and somewhat stormy as the album goes on.  The distortion rises quite a bit; its atmospheres match what I picture to be a rough time on the water (and having grown up for a bit on the water, this is a fairly accurate match).  However, this album could also serve as a soundtrack to the most nightmarish regions of deep space.  Needless to say that things get loud, darker and wilder as the album nears its end.  Fans of Mytrip, Deeper Than Space, drone music, noise and ambient music will be happy to get this in their paws. (4.7 out of 5).  Digital downloads up on the label’s page.

Klangselektor – Headspace EP – Black Rose

Described as a mix of electronic-organic-dub-wobble and a little dubstep, this cassette paves its own way into the electronic landscape.  It’s definitely rooted in the realm of dub and it has bits of dubstep in it, but it is certainly not loud, over the top or trying to cash in on the dubstep craze.  This release is bold, fearless and fresh, drifting between classic dub and sticking its claws into the darker, more free-spirited side of dubstep.  But it’s more than that.  It leans on bits of techno, industrial and even experimental music.  In other words, this is not overly-produced crap. This IS new. This IS good.  This IS not afraid to do as it pleases.  Hell, there are even elements of spoken word here and there (most of it is in German) and that’s not something you get every day out of the genre (dub poetry not withstanding).  I like this.  It’s well worth a listen.  But hurry, this is a limited release on the cassette format! (4.9 out of 5)

Hanetration – Acid Reflux – self-released

It’s no surprise that Hanetration is good at making drones.  It shouldn’t be a surprise that the drones in question are always quite varied and aren’t your typical drones.  That is to say, that as with previous releases, the drones are samples, tweaked and manipulated and reconstructed into wild, haunting and beautiful melodic and dreamy drones.  This release compiles seven of these that you have to hear before you die.  I could get lost in these so easily, over and over again.  I can’t find too much more to say about it.  Tune in and enjoy….  (5 out of 5)

Needless Art – Embryo EP #2 – Needless Art

The sophomore release under this project, Needless Art leaps into darker and more uncharted waters.  The opening track was described as “sparse” in the promo and I feel that’s a fitting term.  Think space ambient but more… spaced out.  Track two opens with a guitar sample before hopping onto bouncy rhythmic distortion and layered drones that grow in intensity and frequency before diving back under the waves.  Perhaps a bit loud and spots but that’s just me.  A light beat meets us in the final track.  Things get a bit more experimental here, yet remain fairly simple (another “complex simplicity” type track) while engaging me all the way through.  This one feels more like a standout but fits in perfectly with the previous two tracks.  Quite an interesting release! (4.7 out of 5)

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Electronic Music Dec – March 2015

Mytrip – EMPTY – Amek Records

Mytrip stuns with this shiny little 7inch vinyl! Mytrip’s sound has reached a new frontier, staying true to the drone genre but evolving into a more ambient, atmospheric and somewhat space-ambient scape.  The A-side certainly makes this quite apparent straight away.  This is something that one might hear and a more space oriented episode of Hearts of Space.  Flipping over to the B-side, things get a bit darker here and a little more experimental.  Think FSOL meets Namlook meets Biosphere’s more beat-less side.  This is fantastic.  It’s engaging, fresh and cosmic all at the same time.  This is more than a simple drone record!  Awesome!  This is a vinyl edition of 250 so grab your copy while you can! (5 out of 5)

Squanto – Basement Tropic – Lilly Tapes and Discs

After getting a chance to hear an earlier cassette release by Squanto (and getting to hold it in my paws) I was psyched to see this come out.  It took me WAY longer than I would have liked to pop this in my machine and listen to it.  Both tracks on this cassette were pulled from live recordings and sound both planned and improvised, which makes me quite happy.  In fact, at times, it feels like a longform and well organized sound collage.  And perhaps it is that, only it grows, layers, grows some more and creates a scape of sound… a structure out of voices, musical samples and other sound manipulations.  Fans of the more experimental side of People Like Us, Negativland, and perhaps those out there who liked Kurt Cobain’s collage will love this.  I actually really liked this.  it’s not very often this style of music comes my way.  Get your copy while you can; it’s limited to 50 copies and comes with a digital download and a code for bonus material.  (4.8 out of 5)

µ-ziq – XTLP – Planet µ

A combo of two vinyl only EPs meet up here on CD, coupled with a new track as well.  The sound here, for those who haven’t had a chance to scope out the EPs, is actually quite upbeat.  I shouldn’t say that I’ve expected darker or tech-heavy tracks from Paradinas, because on every album, there’s a rich spectrum of variety.  However, here things are definitely joyful in a sense.  The synth is rich, layered and hazy.  While some folks may say this doesn’t lead to much exploration, I disagree.  Much like ambient music and the newer electronica that’s been coming out, rich synth and atmospheres give way to newer frontiers, especially when textured, layered and tweaked.  And hell, even at its simplest, it’s still quite innovative. Just look at the track “Monj2” for example.  Quick beats and simplistic synth create something lively, vibrant and captivating, and in my opinion, stunning.  Fans of his previous albums will enjoy this as well as fans of new and classic forms of electronic music.  This album is stellar.  (4.9 out of 5)

Ekoplekz –  Entropik EP – Planet µ

A new 12” from an artist who has quite the catalog of material.  This EP combines a few styles jammed together, ranging from elements of chiptune, acid, house, techno and experimental to almost ambient-esque elements.  This is a very surprising 12” in terms of sound. There’s so much going on here while it seems quite simplistic in form.  It’s a case of “complex simplicity” where a lot can be said and created with just a few elements and a plethora of skills.  Captivating, entrancing, and stunning. Another incredible release from Planet µ, to say the least.  And seeing as this is the first bit of material I’ve heard from this artist, I am certainly intrigued to hear more. (4.9 out of 5)

Middlemarch – Wolf Hall – Time Released Sound

A winning combo of Ross Baker (Second Thought, Sturmazdale) and Dimitris Avramidis (Five Minutes Alone, International Debris).  On this album, we get a superb mixture of modern classical by way of piano, flawlessly mixed with light ambience.  It’s a surprisingly beautiful album, tugging at your imagination and luring you into daydreams.  Fans of the aforementioned projects will enjoy this, along with fans of FSOL, Loose Link, Off Land, Herd and Akkya.  I wish I had more to say but this is a standout album and deserves a listen! (4.9 out of 5)

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Rock and Other Wild Sounds, Dec – March 2015

Mind Brains – Mind Brains – Orange Twin Records

This disc came to me sandwiched between two pieces of bread in a Ziploc bag. While that was certainly the most original press kit I’ve seen, the music was by far the most gripping thing in the box.  Described as a band with heavy psyche roots (many of the band members have been in psyche and pop rock bands) and a group that loves to break old electronic instruments and rebuild them to create something new, Mind Brains certainly stands as a group that lovers of psyche music should be listening to.  Even after just two tracks, I feel like they’re influenced by the likes of Conny Plank, early Kraftwerk, the Flaming Lips, Eno, the more psyche side of the Beatles, and the psyche side of Athens, GA.  Synth heavy grooves, vocal harmonies and off the wall arrangements of the two with a plethora of sounds, clips, texturing styles, and far out lyrics make this one hell of a ride.  It’s one of the most experimental nodern psyche albums I’ve heard from the US.  The world needs to take notice of this.  Awesome (4.9 out of 5)

Sea Rocket Jasmine – The Window – self-released

From the mind behind the jazz/electronic project TranceLucid comes this full album of pure jazzy goodness. Piano, bass, organ, percussion and the occasional flute create an engaging and lively The tracks themselves hop between toe tapping and slower paced grooves.  The album as a whole is both relaxing and engaging. Its fun and god knows it’s been a while since I’ve had a fun jazz album in my paws as something to review.  Fans of the genre and its subgenres will dig this release and for those of you not terribly familiar with jazz as a whole, this would make a good jumping off point.  Can’t wait for a second album!  (4.8 out of 5)

Troy Meadows – Vol III: Love Songs for Astronomers – self-released

Acoustic songwriting mixes it up with Boards of Canada-esque ambient music.  Now that’s a mixture for the ages!  Originally released in 2012, this album has a deep space feel while hitting close to home. There are hints of Mountain Goats, Tom Waits in here as well, perhaps with dashes of the Flaming Lips – it’s safe to say that there are lot of influences at work here, creating a unique sound over all.  And all in all, I find this really enjoyable, engaging and emotionally provoking.  Seeing as this has been out for three years now, one would argue that this has passed under the radar for too long.  So get your copy! (4.9 out of5)

Harpoon Forever – American Flag EP 7” – Sweaters and Pearls

A four track vinyl EP, this release avoids trends and dives more into an interesting blend of indie rock, math and punk pop.  And while that genre blending sounds good, the tempo changes alone on track one are enough to keep me engaged – I’m a geek about those.  The whole release is catchy, extremely well written and makes me hungry for anything else the band’s put together.  It’s hard for me to draw comparisons to other bands/artists; while I do identify some of genres that have influenced this, I can’t quite put my finger on anything more specific.  It’s quite original and is a clear standout in my stash of seven inches.  Rock on! (4.8 out of 5) – Check out S&P’s 7” review blog!

The Fireworks – Switch Me On – Shelflife Records

Another sweet record from Shelflife! The debut album for the Fireworks showcases some sweet punk-pop-indie fueled goodness that’s by far the freshest rock-ish-stuff I’ve heard out of the UK in a few months.  The tunes remind me a bit of the Vaselines (mainly the guy-girl back and forth vocals) yet this is rather unique, proving that they are a force in the rock world that will only get better with each release.  Fans of the aforementioned, September Girls, Dott, and Blur will enjoy this without a doubt.  Fans of the band’s first two singles will be happy and eager for more.  And I have to agree with the kit on this one… this isn’t just an album with one or two singles.  This is an album with 13 A-sides! Crank it! (5 out of 5)

 

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Rock ETC For January 2015

Crayon – Brick Factory – HHBTM

The reprint of the 1994 album (and the only album) by Crayon brings this obscure twee-punk gem back to the forefront of music.  At the height of the DIY-lo fi explosion in the 90s, where vinyl and rock fans flocked to the zine-driven lo fi 7” single “scene” of sorts, Crayon’s LP rose highly, erupting from the end of the grunge era and capturing the hearts of many.  And upon spinning this reissue, I can see why.  One would think that it’d be hard to balance punk with UK-esque twee, and yet, here it happens and it’s stunning. It’s no wonder that Lou Barlow (of Dinosaur Jr and Sebadoh) loved it upon its original release.   Fuzzy guitars, lo fi mixing and stylings, and the mixing of genres really draw me in.  If you order the vinyl reissue, you’ll get a digital bonus, featuring 21 tracks that originally appeared on 7” singles and an array of unreleased demos.  So grab this while you can! Who knows if it’ll get reissues again any time soon! (4.9 out of 5)

Clara Engel – Looking-Glass Fire – s/r

A mixture of folk, rock and whatever-kind-of music-Clara-wants-to-make, this mini album really stands apart from the rest.  Lyrically, things are fairly poetic but stay true to the point and dart between light and darkness effortlessly.  Her voice is strong and brilliant and she certainly knows how to arrange accompaniment.  While you only get a hand full of tracks on this release, they all pack their unique punch and are all beautiful.  To draw some comparisons, think of mixing the darkest sides of Kate Bush, Tori Amos and slow them down, adding dashes of Loreena McKennitt, and add a couple of tons of passion.  This is an astounding album. Check it out for yourself! (5 out of 5)

Naim Amor – Hear the Walls – Fort Lowell Records

Recorded mostly through one amp without any affects, Amor’s album captures some unique magic.  It’s a mixture of folk, pop and chanson, bringing back to the table some form of musical genius that in some ways had been lost a long, long time ago.  The vocals are soft and yet are full of meaning, hopping between English and French and darting between instrumental tracks.  This is a surprisingly brilliant album, where fans of Nick Drake, Kings of Convenience and Beck’s more mellow side will enjoy this one!  Pressed on blood red vinyl, limited edition of 500! Get your copy ASAP! (4.7 out of 5)

Joe Jack Talcum – Home Recordings 1993 – 1999 – HHBTM

One shouldn’t be surprised that the frontman for the Dead Milkmen has a sensitive side.  Volume two of his expansive home recordings collection really makes this apparent and therefore, I offer a massive thank you for the long awaited release of this LP. The writing of these tracks is nonetheless witty; make no mistake, this guy knows how to write a brilliant song.  Some tracks are darker than others but all of them are stellar gems and need to be heard.  Fans of his band’s material will love this, while folks whoa ren’t familiar with his solo work or the Dead Milkmen should definitely check this out.  If you’re into lo-fi folk/pop/noise, this should be the LP for you.  (5 out of 5)

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Planet µ Turns 20! My Favorite LPs and EPs/Singles

MU

There are a lot of record labels out there that I love, both large and small.  Some have a special place in my record collection.  Mike Paradinas’s label is unique as it seemed to me that even from the beginning, it was on the cutting edge of electronic based music, pushing it and its various subgenres into uncharted and unknown frontiers. Every release brings something magical and different to the table and trust me when I say that people are listening.  The impact this label is having on musicians and listeners alike is huge.  Here’s hoping for another twenty years of stunning tunes!

Here’s a list of my personal favorites from the label.

My Fav LPs

µ-ziq – Bilious Paths

Shitmat – Full English Breakfest

Bizzy B – Science EP iii-iv

(various) – 2OO

Venetian Snares – The Chocolate Wheelchair Album

Ambulance  – The Curse of Vale Do Lobo

Jega – Spectrum

Hieroglyphic Being And The Configurative Or Modular Me Trio – The Seer of Cosmic Visions

The Doubtful Guest – Acid Sauna

Meat Beat Manifesto – Autoimmune

My Fav Singles and EPs

Nicole Elmer – Beef Bullion / My Sweetheart

Distance – Fa;;en (Vex’d Remix) 12”

FFF – The Feeling

Venetian Snares – Horsie Noises

Kuedo – Dream Sequence EP (or the Starfox single)

Solar Bears – Inner Sunshine

µ-ziq – XTEP

DJ Clent – Hyper Feet

Frost Jockey – Burgundy Trax Vol 1

Starkey – Stars

Check out their webpage for new jams!

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Punk Fox Mini Eruption!

XOF

Les Chausettes – Kate / Volcanoes – 7” – XOF004

Vancouver’s own Les Chausettes bring two brilliant tracks to life on this limited edition lipstick pink 7inch.  The kit describes this band as a blend of 60s surf with lo-fi punky pop and upon spinning this record, I’m adding garage and a pinch of twee to the mix. The A-side is a slower jam, with a playful organ and delightfully sweet, bordering on lustful.  A B-side is a lot faster, leaning more on the punk side of thinks. My God, this is a fun single.  Fans of The Vaselines, September Girls, Veruca Salt and Dum Dum Girls will love this.  Nice tracks for a physical release debut!  (4.9 out of 5)

ist – Boyfriend – 7” – XOF003

Limited to just 320 copies, this shiny little 7inch is packed with a mean punch.  The A-side, while angry as hell / jealous, is relatable.  Ever had a crush on someone so bad that you kind of grow to despise the person they’re with? This song is for you.  The lyrics are so damn catchy here that I know I’m going to find myself singing this at work.  The B-side is an alternative take/mix of the title track and honestly, I love this song enough where I don’t ever see myself growing tired of it.  (4.8 out of 5)

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Pyschonavigation Records/Tranquillo/Eire Supply/Offshoot Showcase Fall – Winter, 2014

Here’s what’s been cooking on Psychonavigation and its sublabels over the last few months!

Off Land – Quinarian – via Psychonavigation

Off Land’s second release for the Paychonavigation label follows on the heels of his previous album, “Tidewater Pulse.”  This album finds us surfing on five tracks, reaching a newer level of synth-rich space ambience, pock marked with hidden gems like voice samples and softly fluttering sound clips.  The music is akin to Pete Namlook, Deeper Than Space, and certain Tangerine Dream albums.  The synth is quite melodic but gentle, working well for this style of ambient music and the theme of the album itself: the quinarian zoological classification of animals – I personally find it quite interesting that space ambience in this case actually works quite well for an album referencing animals.  All in all, Off Land delivers a flawless piece of work and fans of his older material will be very happy.  (4.9 out of 5)

Andrea Carri – Chronos

A time themed album from the Italian pianist that branches into the realm of ambience while staying quite true to modern classical styles, Carri’s “Chronos” is something special.  I’m quite picky about piano based music and own very little of it; it has to be just right.  Don’t ask me to explain what that really means; I just know it when I hear it.  This album is one of those albums that struck me right away and drew me in.  The composition is good, the emotions it gets from me are strong and I feel that the music here fits well with the theme of the album as a whole.  So, if modern classical with hints of ambient is your thing, this will make you happy.  It’s not overly produced or too strong, but rather, this is the perfect amount of honest piano works and imagination.  Brilliant.  (5 out of 5)

Perry Frank – Soundscapes Box 1 – via Tranqillo

This was a project created to go alongside a film made by the artist, showcasing the various abandoned homes and buildings that belonged to a once thriving mining area of Sardinia.  Some of these places are haunted, others not.  The album itself, having said that, deals a lot about memories of the past, abandonment, the passage of time and regrets.  So while that sets the tone for the music, the sounds themselves aren’t quite as sad or spooky as one might think.  There’s a lot of mixing of synth elements and acoustic strings, making the album feel more organic as well as atmospheric. In other words, it’s quite down to earth but it paints a clear picture by capturing your imagination.  Gentle post rock meets ambient and creates a vivid yet haunting world.  Very well done.  (4.8 out of 5)

Daniel McDermott – The Lullaby Wars – via Eire Supply

A brilliant master pianist and guitarist, McDermott creates a very mixed album.  I say that because I was quite surprised to find that this was a mega-mixture, fusing elements of  minimal, ambient, techno, electronica, house, and modern classical.  Not what I was expecting upon reading up on his background.  However, that does not make me disappointed. In actuality, the music here is rich and flows rather well considering how many different genres are being blended together.  It’s one of those things you kind of have to hear for yourself to believe.  Very impressive! (4.9 out of 5)

Kohshi Kamata – Seven Most – via Offshoot

Experimental electronica meets… well, electronica!  I’d not go so far to say that this is your typical dance oriented electronica but it does have a vibe to it that makes you tap your toes, even when there is no percussion being used in some of the tracks.  It’s experimental without any snobby artistry and there isn’t a shred of aesthetic lost in this recording.  The only way I can describe this is by taking XXYYXX’s most minimal and mellow track, strip it down a bit more, up the avant-garde and experimentalism, add a dash of footwork and FSOL, and you have something close to the sounds here.  This is a surprisingly engaging body of work.  Scope it out for yourself! (4.8 out of 5)

Sense – Still Life – via Psychonavigation

Sense returns after last year’s “The Dream” with another ambient gem.  Sense has a knack for creating stunning scapes and on this release, it’s fused with a very human element provided by numerous voice samples, ranging from interviews with broken families to the odd quotes from other documentaries.  It creates a very realistic, relatable and somewhat frightening world (especially the track “Claymore”).  It’s space ambient but this might be the most human the genre has gotten in quite a long time.  (4.8 out of 5)

Samora – Lontano – via Tranquillo

Steve Kilbey (The Church) makes appearances on this album, providing spoken word bits to accompany some of the ambient scapes while other tracks are haunting instrumental pieces.  My first impression after spinning this is one of intrigue.  It’s dark in spots, haunting and often surreal while in a few other places, things lighten up and the sun shines in.  Think of mixing some of FSOL’s more space oriented tracks with Namlook and Off Land and then send it whirling into a sea of dark clouds with sporadic and random breaks of light, foliage and dreams.  I’d say this is another one you should hear before the year is out.  Quite an interesting piece! (4.9 out of 5)

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The Life and Times of the Future Sound Of London, p. 34

Exploring FSOL’s “Environments” parts 2 through 5

FSOL 2

FSOL 3

FSOL 4

FSOL 5

It’s been well over a year since I last posted an episode in this ongoing series.  So here are four albums to make up for that fact.  After the release of the long awaited “Environments,” the band seemed to decide on making an ongoing series of it, at first using it to release archived material in a new and fresh way.  Where the first album featured a lot of sounds from “Lifeforms” and various live ISDN bits, the second volume seemed to move beyond the idea of just pushing out archived stuff.

Volume 2 showcased a lot more new material, or at the very least, it was quite new sounding to us.  The duo kept very much in the realm of ambient but incorporated a lot of elements of abstract, modern classical, IDM and hints of industrial. We’re in new territory; the duo has once again redefined everything without losing touch.  And even when I find the occasional reused sample from their previous work mixed in here, it honestly is presented in a refreshing way so I don’t find myself rolling my eyes.  The album as a whole is one coherent piece and keeps in line with the band’s style but charts us in a newer scape.  The darker bits and the hyper-reality based soundscapes mix well with the modern classical/ambient/IDm themes.  Nice work! (4.8 out of 5)

Environments 3 goes even further than the previous two installments.  By this point, I’ve grown to crave upcoming releases in this series as they present newer material and breathe new life into their growing discography.  Some fans had been growing discontent with the constant flow of “From the Archives” CDs, annoyed with the seemingly rehashed bits of older tracks that were used for live shows and background music with very few “newer” bits in between.  And even for those fans who loved those compilations, this new series was still a wave of joy.  This volume explores a somewhat darker place that none of us are afraid to dive into.  There are a few clips appearing from “Lifeforms” “Dead Cities,” and “ISDN” era recordings but again, much like in volume 2, they are reconstructed and used in such a way that I’m actually happy to hear them again.  As a whole, this album is quite engaging and moves us further into the future without losing too much of the past.  Very enjoyable.  (4.9 out of 5)

Environments 4 pushes us into more uncharted realms.  Things are still somewhat ambient but there are clear excursions into psyche, jazz, IDM, industrial, downtempo and abstract.  At times, the sound is fairly dark, dipping into “Dead Cities” levels of spookiness, even going so far as to sample small bits of material from that album.  The tracks here are far less “song structured” and are more free form in the sense that they kind of go where they want to, feature the sounds they want and jam in their own way.  It’s like the duo had improvised a little bit and had some fun.  In that sense this feels a bit like some of the longer ISDN sessions (not the final edits that wound up on the LP but rather the extended flows that aired on the radio).  And as a whole, I found this album to be more engaging than 2 or 3, and perhaps second only to volume 1.  (4.9 out of 5)

Environments 5 came to my curtesy of my brother and is currently my first piece of FSOL vinyl that I own.   This installment in the series features nothing but new material, a first.  It also features collaborations between other artists, something the duo haven’t done expect for their psyche projects and to some extent on “Lifeforms.”  Daniel Pemberton graces us with some stellar piano on three different tracks, Raven Bush treats us to some nice violin on track five, and Riz Masten (Neotropic) sings on track 4.  The sound here is quite different from the previous installments, let alone the duo’s regular album work.  There is a dip into light psyche elements at the start before things get experimental with ambient soundsscapes, piano works, some elements of Indian raga, modern classical and other bits.  The feel here is quite different and maybe the best way to describe it is to take the most ambient bits from their psyche projects and fuse them with their fuse modern classical and experimental moments.  The end result would be this LP.   The theme of this album is supposed to be the space/time/dimension at the point following death and I’d say overall, the seamlessly mixed tracks reflect that.  Excitement, exploration, isolation and recollection are what I’m picking up on.  This is a nice piece of work! (4.9 out of 5)

Volumes 2 through 5 were released between 2009 and 2014. They are available from FSOLdigital as CDs, MP3s/FLAC and vinyl LPs (all vinyl was issued in 2014).

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The Unscene Vol. 5 The No Seattle Compilation

SJR NS

With the last edition of The Unscene being posted in February of 2012 (featuring the only release from Calabros), I decided to get my tail in gear, especially after the arrival of a holiday gift from my brother.  In a little box came the double disc compilation “No Seattle: Forgotten Sounds of the North-West Grunge Era 1986 – 97.”  Normally, I’m wary about “grunge” compilations, especially those released after 1993 as they tend to layer in bands who had little or nothing to do with the sound, or, just feature the bands that everyone by now knows.  This is especially true when the compilation comes from a record label that in recent years has mostly pushed out compilations of everything from Cajun soul music, Disco, and German electronic music to various house projects.

Much to my surprise, when I looked at the track listing, I was stunned to find that out of the twenty-eight tracks, I had only heard of four bands and only had material from one of them.  So, understandably, my ears were pricked.  I popped in the first disc and went nose deep into the 36 page booklet it came with.  And much more to my growing surprise, it went in depth with each band, detailing t heir sound, their lineup, releases, where they came from and even interviewed members of the groups (briefly).  They even had a section where they described how many groups had ties with Nirvana, ranging from members shared, stages shared to who toured with the band, etc…

The sound on these discs ranges from grunge to alternative rock, experimental, garage, psyche and punk.  None of this stuff sounds dated, which is thrilling.  The complete band roster here features: Starfish, Vampire Lezbos, Nubbin, Saucer, Machine, Medelicious, Hitting Birth, Crunchbird, The Ones, Pod, Thrillhammer, Yellow Snow, Helltrout, Bundle of Hiss, Chemistry Set, My Name, Small Stars, Shug, Treehouse, Soylent Green, Kill Sybil, Calamity Jane, and Attica.  Of course now, I wish I had cash to dig around for original releases from some of these groups to get the full joy of their material but that will have to wait…

Should you get this collection?  I’d argue that you should.  If you’re a fan of the sound as a whole, any of the bands here or grew up in the time these folks jammed, this is for you.  Finally, we have something that reaches beyond the groups who “made it big” and can see who were the movers and shakers and sound creators who stayed small, released small and yet helped influence an entire generation of rockers. My only wish here was that a little bit of remastering was done.  In spots, the tracks are a little lo-fi, more because they sound pulled off the original vinyl.  It’s not a huge flaw by any means and it’s more of my own nitpick.  (4.9 out of 5)

This compilation comes to you via Soul Jazz Records, catalog number SJR CD286.  Vinyl versions are available but are released as volume one and two separately.

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Emotional Response Records Showcase

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New 7” EPs from EMOTIONAL RESPONSE!

Grab these while you can as they come with a digital download which gives you access to LOADS of bonus tracks! In fact, one of these shiny little records will score you TEN tracks! Score!  I should also point out that each of these bands featured below all share one common member, Stewart Anderson.

Hulaboy – Exes and Enemies

Combining Americana, twee and a bit of new wave, this three-song vinyl will suck you in and have you begging for more. It’s catchy and engaging.  If you’ve been following any of Hulaboy’s material or are a fan of UK’s twee genre, this will make you oh so very happy.  Their songwriting is still as fresh and wonderful as it was twenty years ago.  So sweet! (4.8 out of 5)

Boyracer – The Kind Of Man You Really Are

With Stewart at the vocals once again along with Jen, we are privileged to aggressive melodic pop and what might be the band’s final release… and who could really blame them for putting the project away after 800+ tracks released since their debut in 1991 – that’s quite a track record.  This vinyl features four tracks, each sporting a furiously fast tempo to the point where it reminds me of punk rock.  As with Hulaboy, the writing is top notch and is just as catchy.  And much like classic punk, the tracks are short and the bliss is over before you know and replays are highly encouraged.  And seeing as this is my first introduction to this project, it makes me curious to sniff out their back catalog and see what I’ve missed over the last twenty-three years.  Grab this while you can!  (4.9 out of 5)

The Safe Distance – Hey You!

Wild, noisy and powerful indie rock meets C86 elements and garage rock riffs. This stuff is powerful!  Stewart takes to the bass and organ here while Crayola takes on vocals and David Nichols takes drums.  Things slow down a little on the flip side but the intensity is not lost, especially as the pace launches itself back to breakneck speeds as the final track kicks off.  This is a sweet record from start to finish; never a dull moment.  Wow, just wow!  I want more!  Luckily, the digital download that accompanies this vinyl comes with seven bonus tracks.  Score!  (5 out of 5)

GO GET YOU COPIES NOW!

Posted in Boyracer, C86, emotional response records, garage pop, garage rock, Hulaboy, indie pop, indie rock, stewart aderson, The Safe Distance, twee | Leave a comment