The Massive Review Post for March, 2013

I’m still alive despite vanishing for almost two months.  I think the last post on this blog was back at the start of January.  That was so long ago now that I’m almost ashamed to say that was our “most recent” post.  So, seeing as the submission pile grew to a pretty large size since then (and since before then, really), we’re compiling the majority of the recent submissions and news bits all in one post.   Why?  Because you’ve waited two months for a post and those who submitted stuff have waited even longer.  So let’s get this massive mega music fest up and running!

—Part One—The Rock Submissions

Tunabunny – “Genius Fatigue” (Happy Happy Birthday To Me – Jan 15th, 2013)

Up for grabs on LP/CD is another slamming record brought to you once again by HHBTM.  This little gem is a hearty mix of punk and indie, sure to please even the pickiest of listeners.  With slick and raw vocals, intense guitar riffs and strong tracks like “Serpetns and Lights,” and “Government of Throats,” you really can’t go wrong.  It’s hard to exactly put my finger on who exactly they remind me of…  Perhaps it’s a mix of The Breeders, Sleater-Kinney, and Veruca Salt with a hint of Bikini Kill.  All around an AWESOME LP.  Check out their track “Hollywood Unincorporated.”  (4.7 out of 5)

Kleenex Girl Wonder – “Let It Buffer” (This Will Be Our Summer Records – March 26th, 2013)

Coming out very soon from TWBOSR, it’s Kleenex Girl Wonder!  With lyrics flowing effortlessly like something out of a fountain of endless bubbling, this LP reminds me a bit of the poetry, irony, puns and all around superb songwriting that you don’t hear too often.  I can’t exactly explain who this band reminds me; more or less they are pretty unique.  Maybe, just maybe, the writing reminds me a bit of Modest Mouse’s use of conversational poetry, but really, I’d feel better just saying Kleenex Girl Wonder is a force well on their own and comparisons don’t do them justice.  Their stand out is “Thelma and Louise” but I honestly like “Migration Scripts” and “All You Need is Feeling,” as well.  Preorder the deluxe edition now!  (4.8 out of 5)

Vandal X – “God Knows” (Fons Records, Rough Trade Distribution – 2012)

Belgian noise-punk gods, Vandal X return with their bone shattering new LP, “God Knows.”  This is one heavy hitting record and if you’re a fan of punk, noise, grunge or hardcore, this is something you need to hit up.  For me, this release comes after I was able to listen to Kabul Golf Club’s LP, so as you can imagine, it really made my day.  One cannot have enough punk from Belgium (or anywhere, really).  You might hear influences from Unsane, Helmet, Sonic Youth and some of the more underground rockers who might have jammed with those bands.  I guess it helps that Vandal X has played with these groups in the past!  Check out their Soundcloud!  (4.7 out of 5)

Razor Blazers – “I’m Sick” (self released – 7” blue vinyl!)

To talk about this, one must first mention the cover art.  Each 7” comes with unique cover art, made by one of fifty different artists.  Secondly, the proceeds raised from this record go to Kusi Kawsay, an elementary school in the Peruvian Andes which offers kids from economically challenged backgrounds an education.  So I would urge you to buy it just fot that.  The music, you ask?  It’s an awesome mix of electro rock, indie and alt rock.  There’s elements of Primal Scream, and Radiohead in here.  The mix of electronic pads, chaotic guitar, rich vocal harmonies and very thought-out songwriting gives this record a very likable groove.  This is great.  (4.9 out of 5)

Beat Mark – Move On (Soft Power Records – Cassette)

The amazing Soft Power return with a new release by Beat Mark.  They’re a group from Paris and this release comes a bit before their LP, “Howls of Joy,” gets a re-release on Ample Play.  It was suggested that this release sounds a bit like the Vaselines, Lemonheads and Lush and I am very inclined to agree.  What’s not to like here?  This is a heavenly slice of indie with a dash of pop on top.  Delicious! (4.9 out of 5)

Autumns – Keep On Sinking B/W Who Would Have Thought (Soft Power Records – Cassette)

Some sweet, noisy indie rock-punk hybrid is 100% DIY.  Blisteringly melodic and loud, just the way I like it.  It’s rich in lyrical goodness, feedback and enough garage-y noise to delight fans of the September Girls, Crystal Stilts, Sea Pinks and other groups.  I am eager to hear more, but for now, there are 100 copies of this cassette single up for grabs starting on April 15th.  Get them while you can!  I know these will be hard to get before you know it! (4.7 out of 5).

The Electroscopes – Made a Mistake (Firehouse Records – 7”)

Electro-rock-pop splendor!  What’s not to like?  Limited to 200 copies, this little gem features a slick A-side and a unique B-side.  If you’re a fan of indie rock, synth pop and elctro-indie, then this will sure to thrill you.  I kind of wish I had a physical copy – Can’t wait to hear some more tracks from this promising band!  (4.6 out of 5)

Love Cop – “Love/Cop” (Gnar Tapes — Cassette)

Gnar Tapes has always been a label of interest, showcasing some very loud and fun groups that one would be a fool to not get into.  Love Cop is certainly an interesting project, to say the least.  Gnar Tapes releases this new cassette in all of is electro-rock-pop-psyche-synth glory.  As usual, this release does not disappoint.  In its own way, it’s very haunting at times and yet, never ceases to be engaging.  Check out the video for “Margot With an X” if you don’t believe me (NSFW).  Also scope out Love Cop’s “Eat YR Heart Out,” which is also coming your way as well!

Street Gnar – “Kennwicked” (Gnar Tapes – Cassette)

Riding on the heels of his previous two releases on night People records and Eggy Records, Lexington’s Street Gnar releases this new cassette.  Here, we have a nice blend of pop, rock and psyche.  The songs here are strong choices for this release, fitting in with the already stellar line up on Gnar Tapes’ roster.  If you’re a fan of weirdo-pop, psyche, lo-fi, pop and rock, this is going to make you happy.  Track six so far is my fav.  (4.7 out of 5)

–Part Two—The Folk Submissions

General Sherman – “Noddy’s House” (self-released EP)

I meant to get this reviewed like, forever ago.  Back in December, these guys had their release party alongside Dressed Like Wolves, who were releasing their new album at the time.  The music here in “Noddy’s House” is a nice blend of folk, folk pop and sweet acoustic music.  Instruments include guitars, keys, violin, glockenspiel, flute, ukulele and drums – all of these lend themselves to an amazing blend of sounds, leaning on the most authentic bits of folk music.  The EP itself is great, rich with perfect songwriting and instrumentation.  If you’re a fan of the folk rock / folk pop ‘movement’ coming out of England right now, this is going to make your day.  It certainly made me happy! (4.8 out of 5)

Blood Relatives – Compilation via Correspondence Tapes

A sweet compilation of artists by the awesome label that’s been bringing us some killer folk pop over the last year and a half.  This ruby features Dressed Like Wolves, Assault Squad Safety Scissors, Bill Baird, Ever Ending Kicks, Outside the Museum, Model Villages, Little Wings, Daniel Francis Doyle, Penny Dreadfuls, Daniel Michael Clark, Hunting for Porcupines, and Spencer Owen.  I’ve been happy with previous compilations that have come out from this label this has just made me so happy, I can’t even tell you.  Simply awesome. (4.8 out of 5)

–Part Three—The Electronic Submissions

Cinchel – “Isolated Experiments” (self-released –CDr EP/live) –digital as well

Recorded live at Northwestern University’s WNUR, this EP showcases drones made by guitar, pedal, laptop and amp.  The loops created are haunting, ambient, deep, and will take your soul on a dreamscape journey.  It’s melodic, loud and yet gentle, and beautiful.  Copies of this seven track opus CDr are sold out but the digital edition is still up for grabs via Cinchel’s bandcamp.  (4.7 out of 5)

Hanetraton – “Nae Troth EP” (self-released)

One single track, slocking in at over twenty-two minutes brings us into some rather interesting territory.  Hanetraton had previously brought us warmer, more instantly melodic pieces on previous releases and here, we get a more haunting drone.  Don’t be fooled, despite this being a drone, there are rich melodies here.  They’re in the forefront and yet, blend it, like a red fox against a tawny colored field of corn stalks in the fall.  This piece works both as something to meditate to and something to play with the lights out while watching a creepy silent movie.  Awesome.  (4.8 out of 5)

Off Land – “Circadian” (Test Tube – digital)

From the ever-amazing FSOL-Forum collective, Off Land entrances us with a splendid four-track album of pure ambient bliss.  The world created here is both quite organic and synth based, using everything from birds and bells to synth and other digital tweaks  The album as a whole is like a dream, gently flowing from drones to textured and layered soundscapes.  For fans who have been following his work, you’ll be quite thrilled with this release.  It certainly makes me eager to track down some of Off Land’s other releases.  (4.8 out of 5) —(be sure to keep an eye out for Off Land’s new album which you, the fans, helped fund!)

Dura – “WAL Installations 1 and 2” (self-released)

These pieces were created for an Installation at the Smith Center for the Arts in Washington DC, which featured works of art by Francie Hester and Lisa Hill (the installation was called “Words as
Legacy – A Leaf of Knowledge”).  This automatically gets lot of points in my book.  The two tracks recorded by Dura for this show are technically drone pieces but seem to be more than that.  These are primarily constructed from guitars and quickly become layered, complex, and more of a post-rock nature, perhaps leaning on elements of Windy and Carl.  It’s really more than what I’m describing, trust me on that.  In other words, this should never be treated as mere background music but more like it’s its own atmosphere.  Quick! Someone give this a physical release!  It must be heard! (4.9 out of 5)

About Nick H.

I'm a geek for music whether it be on vinyl, CD, 78 or whatever. My goal is to sniff out the greated music on Earth, specializing in the obscure. I make music myself as well, mostly ambient and sound collage (1 album out and a few remixes so far). I work full time as a professional mascot (it pays the pills) but will soon retire, i hope.
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