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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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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