Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Rogue Wave - Descended Like Vultures

Label: SubPop
Year: 2005

Y'all are well aware by now that I have a soft spot for well executed fractured indie pop, right?
Cause, what's not to like? Not everything has to be an assault, or "crushing", or challenging, or whatever. Sometimes a comfortable melody with an off-kilter perspective is the perfect accompaniment to warm Spring day (or...barring a comfortable melody with an off-kilter perspective, may I suggest the Sandra Bullock vehicle 'Hope Floats' and a pint of butter pecan ice cream as the perfect accompaniment to a warm Spring day [or, a crippling break-up]?).
So, fine, it might not be tough, but personally my sensitive side needs some attention sometimes. I'm not afraid to admit it. I like baths. I enjoy the gentle murmur of a purring kitten. I eat tofu many times a week, guys. Estrogen does not threaten me!

If you've ever been too embarrassed to look into your girlfriend's (boyfriend' judgement here) Shins, Death Cab For Cutie, Elliot Smith, Band Of Horses, Matt Pond PA, or Sunny Day Real Estate're in a safe space here. It's ok.


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Oxbow - An Evil Heat

Label: Neurot
Year: 2002

File under: "Upsetting".
Oxbow congealed a lot of different influences and sonic approaches on this, their fifth (and sorta "comeback") album, and unleashed a crawling dread that hearkens back to some of the most intense and disconcerting music ever committed to tape. It's the combination of some of the most genuinely unhinged and feral howls of a song mixed with some of the most deftly crafted art rock attack. Songs that creep and stalk, and pry open a window to unleash the killing winds of a pitch black midnight storm. Never celebratory, never elated, always plotting. The soundtrack to discovering your girlfriend was cheating on you the whole time.
I think this record represents the band's creative apogee, in a oeuvre that is honestly beyond reproach, with it's restless creativity and menacing cloud. All of Oxbow's albums are essential, and they show no real signs of mellowing, but for a starting point, 'An Evil Heat' is not to be missed.


Monday, February 6, 2017

Gone Bald - The Expiration Date

Label: self released
Year: 2016

Part and parcel to the last post, here is Gone Bald, who are 1/3 of the band Blisters, and who we were pointed in the direction of at the same time as Blisters. So why not return the favor?

Gone Bald are more straight forward than the previous post, but they still manage to take their time swinging back and forth from Shellac styled tightly wound teeth gritting music to noisy mid 90s emo (Native Nod, Greyhouse, Car vs Driver), to some altogether weirder strain of post punk. It holds together really well though, and the way they stretch the songs out gives the band room to twist and turn in an organic procession of riffs, tempos, and feels.

I recommend this one highly. Supposedly they have been releasing records since 1994, but this is my first experience (naive as I am).


Blisters - The Sleepless Nights

Label - self released
Year: 2017

Hot (well...warm anyway) off the Shiny Grey Monotone tip line, comes this self described "noise-post-wave-swamp rock trio from the Netherlands (and Britain, and Croatia) who recorded this record back in 2010 hoping somebody would step up to shepard it out into the world, Which, it turns out, was a seven year process. Tough business. And unfortunately, in that time, guitarist Danny O'Reilly passed away, ending the band, which is a real shame.
The music is still here though, so, if you're an adventurous listener, enjoy.
Adventurous in this case being a band who has taken pieces of the Skin Graft Records catalog circa 1996, pieces of Pussy Galore circa 1988, pieces of some undiscovered Australian dirt rock band circa 1990 (Bloodloss maybe?), pieces of proto grunge Rein Sanction circa 1991, and pieces of the creepy crawl of Crime and The City Solution circa 1986.
It takes a couple minutes to get used to the "sound", but once you settle in, prepare to be unsettled.

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