The Rock Reviews: July – September, 2013

White Fang – Steady Truckin For Summer – Gnar Tapes

With a wild sonic guitar, comes the hurricane force of the opening track. Things slow down a bit on the second track but already, a pattern is emerging.  The vocal effects are leaning on old 60s psyche distortion and lo fi production.  In fact, this whole album seems to be an electronic infused lo fi psyche rock excursion.  Heck, even the album cover spoofs a bit on the Grateful Dead so… there ya go.  This is some pretty groovy stuff, I have to say.  It’s noisy in spots, mellow in others but all around, it’s enjoyable and easy to get lost in.  Gnar Tapes has a hidden gem in their pocket here.  Great stuff! (4.7 out of 5)

Time Hitler and the Assholes From Space – In A Dream – (self-released)

I’m sure the band’s name alone will turn a few heads.  The sound here is rather cosmic, somewhere between dream induced psyche and garage rock.  At times, it’s loud, distorted and almost ambient before it launches into a buzzing haze of guitars, vocals and feedback.  It has a very DIY feel but it has some interesting production value – some of the sounds generated here make me wonder how they did it.  The writing here is surprisingly good and thought out.  The instrumentation balances nicely with the wild hazy echoes, distortion and feedback, creating a dreamlike atmosphere.  The harmonies are not afraid to fall into bits of discord, creating moments of dazed-half-awake sensations that make me think of those melancholic moments when you’re dozing off on an unproductive summer afternoon.  In short, I actually really liked this album.  Scope it out!  Check out their bandcamp.  (4.8 out of 5).

Bel Argosy – Let’s Hear It For… — (self-released)

A follow up EP to their debut 7” entitled “The Wreck of the Bel Argosy,” this little orange cassette features  six new tracks  of indie rock bliss.  When I play through this, I hear elements of Love Battery, the Ramones, and other juicy indie and psyche-pop-punk-garage bands.  This sound is rich, raw and brilliant.  Lyrically, these are dynamic songs, ranging from spies to lies and everything in between.  This cassette is insanely catchy, which is winning massive points with me the more I play it.  Grab this cassette now! (4.8 out of 5).  I really want that 7” now…

Trance Lucid – Palace of Ether – (self-released)

Here are some sweet instrumental tracks comprising of progressive mellow guitar awesomeness.  These are some cool jams, sitting somewhere between folk rock, progressive rock, and jazz fusion.  This isn’t your typical 80s sounding fusion with corny synthetic beats, this is your futuristic guitar maestro dreamscape soundtrack.  I dig it!  This is a 15 track long masterpiece, and it’ll definitely be something that’ll get years of replay on my stereo.  Scope out these sites for more info and for more tunes: www.davehalverson.com  & www.trancelucid.com.  Great stuff – we don’t get a lot of jazz oriented music here on the blog and it  is always great to hear it when it comes in!  (4.7 out of 5).

Lefty Wankers – Bunga Bunga – Mascarpone

Mascarpone is a DIY label from Valencia, Spain, presenting some fresh and awesome tunes.  Here, we’re offered a taste of indie rock, punk, grunge and garage.  I think I’m in love with this label now…. and I think I am in love with the bands they sent me.  Damn, this music is so catchy and in your face.  The lyrics jump between English and Spanish, giving a nice range or writing styles.  Some of these songs are going to be in my head for weeks.  On this LP, you get six fresh and loud tracks, most of which are pretty short like punk tends to be.  This is superb.  Love it! (4.9 out of 5).  Check out their bandcamp for this album.

Cuello — Mi Brazo Que Te Sobre  — Mascarpone

The lyrics here are primarily in Spanish but that honestly makes them all the more catchy.  Especially track two.  This album falls somewhere between garage, alternative rock, grunge and psyche.  It is a very nice and solid blend, stronger than your typical cup of coffee.  As I listened to this LP, I felt each track dipped a bit into one of the aforementioned genres, giving each trip a different edge and feeling, all the while getting treated with expert level songwriting.  Lyrics and the LP itself is up for grabs on their bandcamp  so check this one out, I highly recommend it.  Seriously, this was a great LP.  (4.9 out of 5).

The Fractal Skulls and Adam Willetts – Telepylos / Ford Lines – Buckland

As I say many times and will say many more times to come, one cannot have too many cassette releases.  They’re quite fun!  So here’s a split release from Buckland (bandcamp) and this is one killer release.  Like kosmische music?  You’ll dig the side featuring The Fractal Skulls.  Like radiophonic bleeps?  You’ll dig the flipside via Adam Willetts.  Yeah, so maybe this doesn’t quite fit under “rock” and would most likely work better in our electronic review posts, but I feel like putting it on here.  Any way… The Fractal Skulls do a prime job combining early Kraftwerk-esque rhythms with somewhat ambient and atmospheric elements together, creating a very cosmic, spaced out post rock dream world.  This is really lovely stuff.  Plus, the vocal samples fit perfectly. On the flipside, we’re treated to some experimental electronica primarily comprised of bleeps, boops and sequenced acidic synth that has the perfect dose of mellowness.  The tempo, pacing and sequences change at random intervals, never sitting still for too long, giving this nineteen minute track quite a bit of variety.  Love it! (4.8 out of 5).

AustraliA – Robot – (self-released)

From Italy comes AustraliA!  Here is some wild, noisy yet addictive rock music described as “android punk with an ultra-orthodox attitude,” according to their bandcamp.   There are elements of punk, electronica, pop and alternative rock all fused together, tied up tightly with distorted vocals.  That said, I am having trouble drawing comparisons to what other albums this reminds me off… Hmmm.. maybe a touch of the Fratellis, a dash of We Are Wolves, a pinch of Hot Chip, and a blender made of laser sharp lyrics.  This is good.  (4.9 out of 5).

Spirits of the Red City – Jula – Collectible Records

So, as you know, folk music has once again blossomed into the mainstream, with bands like Mumford and Sons, Iron and Wine, The Decemberists  and arguably, The Lumineers.  Trust me, I am not trying to say that is a bad thing, but, while folks have been flocking to grab their albums, plenty of other folk/Americana groups have been creating music and releasing albums long before this and since this point.  Take for example Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, Bonnie Prince Billy and this band: Spirits of the Red City.  So after that longwinded explanation, what does their music sound like?  Well, obviously, let’s fill an oak barrel with Americana, folk, blues, and some light sprigs of orchestration and let it ferment into a nice, strong bodied drink that’ll leave you hankering for more.  This is THE fine, strong whiskey of folk music.  This, my friends, is it.  Fans of folk and Americana, I bring you this review in the hopes you will drop what you’re doing, and find this band.  I’ll make it easy for you – go here.  Need more?  They have a Daytrotter session here.  This album is slated for release on September 24th so you won’t be waiting long and they have one album out already.  (5 out of 5).

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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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