Saturday, June 21, 2008
Inca Ore -
Birthday of Bless You
This one has been a dream since the start. Literally, as Eva Saelens wrote us one day out of the clearest blue saying she had a dream one night that she sent us her brand new album and that we fell in love with it and released it. Well the dream’s become reality, as her latest spirit quest in pursuit of the inmost voice dazzled us instantly and lingered like déjà vu. An 11-song slideshow of psychedelic secrecy, rippling whispers, and private ghost ballads, Birthday of Bless You finds Inca Ore at her most lithe and longing, shifting focus from microscopic mood meditations to wide-lens surrealist romance fantasies in a heartbeat, then back again. A black-lit bedroom soon forgotten, a midnight garden of lucid sound, an LP to have and to hold. Mastered for wax by Pete Swanson. Black vinyl in jackets with collage-art by IO, plus a full-color 11x11 collage insert. Edition of 500.
Barn Owl -
From Our Mouths A Perpetual Light
Since first bearing witness to Barn Owl’s mythically desolate amplifier alchemy last year, we’ve been rabid fans/fanatics. But like lots of badass bands, BO are a rolling stone, heavy on the transformation tip, and the BO of today is an altered beast from the one that folkily fingerpicked Bridge To The Clouds and their self-titled disc way back when. And in case we’re not being clear: this is a beautiful thing. From Our Mouths A Perpetual Light burns with the sun-dead majesty of a Death Valley burial ground, all wasted waterless expanse and cracked earth smoke blowing in the dry wind. Heavy western drone revelations bleed into forlorn guitar drift, downcast percussion plods across the plain, a skull on its side lies in the sands. Evan Caminiti and Jon Porras have somehow flawlessly evolved Barn Owl into a blazing new universe, and From Our Mouths… is the first mission statement from their new spectral/aesthetic outpost, a stunning and timeless eight-song suite of grim cinematic electricity. Tune in, drop dead, rot on. In swank matte jackets with ‘four-armed demon warrior-yogi’ artwork by the band.
This fair pairing has been in the wings for a few years now by our count, but tripped things come to those who wait, so better late-as-shit than never. Cloudland Canyon have been spanning geographies (Brooklyn, Germany, Memphis) and genres (krautrock, drone, psych-pop) since at least 2002, but only recently has their technological studio-sorcery began to gather steam and affect the more far-flung populations (powered in no small part by their partnership with Kranky Records). Anyone who's gotten lost in CC's latest, Lie In Light, knows this duo is currently at the pinnacle of their potency, and their offering here ("Harvest Hunt") is a fantastic mechanical motorik ascent into symphonic hypnosis. Comparisons to classic Teutonic psych outfits of yesteryear are warranted but inadequate: this is music of today, for tomorrow. On the flip, beloved Not Not Fun in-laws Mythical Beast return to the vinyl spotlight with two luminous soul meditations conjured during the past winter's grey maze of days. Both ballads burn with Corinne's voice-for-the-voiceless defiance, wind-draped and incensed by Jeremiah and Aaron's subtle electric string energies. Naked music for open spaces, empty skies, endless nights. High-audio 45 RPM LPs (NNF's first!) in matte-jackets with cloud-skull artwork by Blackblack beauty Diva Dompe.
A lot of beloved-by-us artists and artisans icepick out shapely creations from the marble slab of life on a steady schedule, but even within this rarefied realm it’s a real cause for jubilee when an individual/band fucks precedent and totally redefines themselves through a real masterwork. And, in our book (check it out, it’s a good read), Loco Hills is one such touchstone. Distilling down every fried fuzz-groove, tape-loop ghost cloud, and mass-mind motorik psychosis Shepherds have ever let loose into four perfectly sculpted jam-journeys, the language of Loco is a rolling, roiling ride through twisted wordless tongues and hieroglyphic electricity, at once more focused and far-out than anything else in their canon. Mentioning that members moonlight in projects like Meneguar, Non-Horse, and Vanishing Voice is meaningless, this is the Rear House posse’s shining achievement to date and it stands alone. Black vinyl LPs in matte jackets with the same ‘gnashing viper’ artwork of the Release the Bats CD edition. First 115-ish direct mailorder copies come with a bonus CDR of unreleased live recordings.
Two storied USA duo institutions share war stories across twelve miles of raw wax, and the rest of us are lucky enough to eavesdrop. Missoula, Montana’s Ex-Cocaine continue roping that weird rambling wind that seems to stir the soul and keep America mellow, and the pair of anthems they jam out here encapsulates the whole breadth of their sea-to-shining-sea cosmosis. Plainsong guitar lassoes around loose-limbed percussion flame-fanning, building and burning till a boss bonfire glows on the horizon, then they close out the side with a ragged and earnest Meat Puppets cover that’s become a live staple of late. Real and roamin’. On the B, Yellow Swans channel a supreme slice of psychedelic eulogy that cuts twice as deep with the knowledge that after many a summer (they birthed in 2002-ish) dies the Swan. Pete and Gabe’s DYS saga has spanned the decade and their impending non-existence will be lamented all over the world, so the more 11th hour record books they want to stencil with their electric synergies, the better for all of us. R.I.P.eace out. In a stunning “sexy legs” kaleidoscopic masterpiece art jacket by Religious Knife Maya Miller. Half on bleached olive vinyl, half on black.
Eternal Tapestry -
In today’s NEW new age one of the roughest audio landscapes to rehydrate and re-vivify seems to be ye olde ‘rock/roll.’ Too much schooled skill turns it to wanky puke, too much braindead string-mangling ends shit up in a puddle of noise drool. That hallowed middle ground is tough to hammer a stake into. But Portland posse Eternal Tapestry chase worms in that kinda moist soil all day and foggy night, and the two sides of glowing garden shroom-harvest they present on Mystic Induction makes a strong case for their status as psych-rock resurrectionists of the first degree. The LP opener, “Emerald Forest of Peace,” weaves a languid path through ET’s bright life as a short-lived five-piece (they’re down to a trio again now), with mossy bass and blissed drums kissing the slow-motion wah fireworks exploding above in the rain-drenched air. It’s a slow glide that continually threatens to ignite before eventually slipping into electric silence. And on the B jam (“Transcendence”), they make good on the threat of the A, riding a vertical riff into a howling storm of light and Jed Bindeman drum frenzy that leaves the rest of their recorded discography in the dust. Also marks the best use of wordless vocals ever captured on an ET track during the band’s brief window with diva Janina Angel Bath on the mic. Planet rock is no longer a cold dead place. Black vinyl LPs in fabric-collage jackets with artwork by guitarist Dewey Mahood.
Christina Carter/ Pocahaunted
Been beautifully blissed on this pairing for months now and we’re amped it’s finally public unveiling time. Christina Carter has trekked around this country (and planet) countless times in the past decade plus, both by herself and with Tom Carter in Charalambides, and the constant gypsy-drifting has weathered her song-stories down into spare, spiral reflections on life, death, and afterlife. Here she lays down four perfect vignettes of acoustic guitar pattern, softly sung desperation, and dangerous intimacy. A beatific bring-down. Sisters-with-voices Pocahaunted handle the B side wax, and their two tracks span the psych-ward spectrum from doomy warpath exile (“Sweat Lodge”) to octave-climbing estrogen ecstasy cloud-tripping (“Silk Fog Traveler”). Both were recorded by Bobb Bruno at Eagle Rock HQ across summer ’07 and cling like cotton to the memory banks. Marbled-peach vinyl LPs in matte jackets with hooded/devoted artwork by Carrie Dietz.
Evolving comes easier to some than others. A lot of the 21st century's chief underground ringbearers are happy mining the same psych-ditch for the same warped ore, tape after tape and day after day. But Eagle Rock, CA's Pocahaunted are too restless (and easily annoyed?) to sit still like that, and so spent all of '07 throwing ever weirder new figures and moods into their amplifier family, and "Peyote Road" shows the motion of their transformation agenda. The A side ritual, "Divine Flesh," stirs hand drums and chimes into a bellydancing blur of voice smoke and rhythm before breaking down into its base elements and slowly reforming. The flip side ("Heroic Doses") documents Pocahaunted's set opening for Thurston Moore on Halloween night in the wasted and highly un-mystical California desert town of Visalia. Bobb Bruno and Britt Brown backed up the ladies' blown-out but melancholy wailing wall with electronic drums and drones, and the recording treads a dim, no-fi path into a bleak and holy void. With tribal-psychedelia collage jacket artwork by Owl Eyes." Edition of 500.
The Goslings -
Occasion CDR ($16aud)
Hollywood, Florida family/band Max and Leslie Soren have been unleashing their private bouts of punishing ceremonial sludge-gaze for the past half a decade now, and there’s been some total titanic highlights (Between the Dead, Grandeur of Hair, etc). But the grunge swamp graveyard they seem to unearth their moss metal from must be profoundly fertile ground, because each new song-cycle they lay to tape is somehow even more miraculously brutal and shimmering and visionary than the one before it. This phenom holds true for Occasion, The Goslings’ newest and maybe deepest doom/beauty inquest. Eight thundering masterpieces of molten slime riff majesty, nightstalker drums, and soaring-into-the-sun female vox that crush the earth, bleed, and breathe in humid darkness. Ranging from the Slowdive-meets-Skullflower transcendent descent of “Motorcade” through to the quaking basement funeral of “Little Horn,” Occasion is a glorious passage into The Goslings’ hidden holy land. Mastered for optimal audio gravity by James Plotkin, and housed in a swank six-panel wallet-style metallic-ink digipak with artwork by the band.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
SWEET ROT RECORDS (Vancouver, BC):
Blank Its -Windows are Dirty
The Blank Its are back. After their killer first single, a cool split with the Feelers and their underrated debut LP on Empty, they have returned with a self-released single of their own, plus this, a two song, no nonsense slab of wax that in this humble listener's opinion is their best record yet. "Windows Are Dirty" is everything an a-side should be - short, to the point, and ridiculously catchy (and you can hear it on the band or label's myspace page) - while the flip "Divorce" is about as epic as a three minute (weird) pop song can be, all played with that distinctive Blank Its sound (ie. loud guitars, insectoid vocals, off-kilter drums) and perfectly recorded. - gonerrecords
Sweet Rot's got another new one on the streets, this time from a trio called Blank Its. Two tracks that's pretty straight up Killed By Death punk w/treated vocals to give it, I dunno, an edge? Catchy tunes though & if your smitten by yore boys such as Plastic Idols & Deprogammer, then start collecting for the future... -siltblog
Catholic Boys - Fixed 7"
Catholic Boys rock it w/a decidedly Dangerhouse approach, the results of which should make every Jay Reatard fan squeal w/fright. Or delight. I guess it depends on how your cuttin up the eightball.- siltblog
Intrigued as I was from last month's Catholic Boys offering on Trickknee, I was saddened to learnt hat the band is no more. Here's the remaining recordings, said to have come out of aborted sessions for a second album. Four songs here, and all possess that wiry, transistor-fed tin-can slice and stuttery chordal slam of all the Halo of Flies records. It's a great time, especially “Feeding Tube.” Nice sleeve design and packaging, too. Hopefully these guys land on their feet and knock another one out in future endeavors, whatever they may be. - dustedmagazine.com
FASHIONABLE IDIOTS RECORDS:
Pink Reason - Borrowed Time
...At just over a minute, it has Kevin DeBroux's warbly echoed vocals over a fuzzy, speed-freak guitar riff. It's punkier and more upbeat than most of the stuff on Cleaning the Mirror, and I like it. Definitely worth a listen if you're even mildly interested in Pink Reason and/or the whole shitgaze thing - juststandingthere.blogspot.com
...will melt your brain. -sevententwelve blog
Recommended and sold out everywhere else!
Naked on The Vague - Poltergeist Palm 7" (Skulltones label) $8
Naked On The Vague is also battin 1000% & on this 7" for Skulltones, their patented brand of Apocalyptic melancholia is runnin at a fever pitch. The A side cracks & peels behind a 'Discipline' styled drum beat while Matthew & Lucy's vocal trade off's resemble the malaise akin to once upon a time Lee & Nancy ( aka, the original Chris & Cosey) recounting a night at Spahn Ranch, where they was sick from the tofu roasted over a kerosene bonfire & exasperated by the results of a Family hootenanny. The flip finds our hero's not a little wrecked from the copious amounts of Fromme procured dirt-cheeb they'd inhaled & who knows, maybe it'd even been 'dusted' w/LOVE by Charlie himself. It's a wild world babe, that's alls I can say. - siltblog.blogspot.com
Friday, June 13, 2008
Hello all - we here at Clth Ear had a splendid break in the USA and thank all those who accommodated, fuelled, wined and dined us - a very fine hospitality was show and many lovely folks met xx
And now back with the goods! Expect several posts through the beginnings of this week and check older releases in posts past for restocks!!
Alasehir - Philosophy of Living Fire LP (vinyl only)
Alasehir is the trio of Michael Gibbons, John Gibbons, and Jason Kourkounis, otherwise known as three-fifths of Bardo Pond. Philosophy of Living Fire continues their sonic exploration of dense, languorous, free expansion. Their third release, following a CD apiece for the Important and aRCHIVE labels, Billowing and exploding like a cluster of hashish stars, the three instrumental tracks produce a cosmic energy akin to a quasar in the heavens far left of Coltrane's OM and just right of the galaxy known as Dead C's Harsh '70s Reality. Released in a one-time edition of 1000 LPs, this is the rocket ride into the outer stratum at which their previous CDs only hinted. So climb aboard and let Alasehir's Philosophy Of Living Fire be your 2007: A Space Odyssey. - siltbreeze.com
Eat Skull - Sick to death (vinyl only)
Biscuit crumbs and tea stains be damned, Eat Skull are a quartet hailing from Portland, Oregon, co-masterminded by Rob Enbom (former bushwacker in the ranks of Hospitals and Hole Class) and another original Hospital, Rod Meyer (the greatest living genius of punk). Previous Eat Skull efforts include a cassette-only EP and a pair of 7-inches, all of which might be out of print. Like their brethren and forebears, Eat Skull runs a post pattern deep beyond pop and punk. They bring to the game an extrasensory appreciation of New Zealand's South Island Sound (Great Unwashed, Axemen), Cleveland art-damage skronk (Modern Art Studio, X-X), and the wretched excess of forgotten Midwest hardcore (Stiff Legged Sheep, Chemotherapy). In other words, just what you need! - insound
Sick to Death has got a handful of its own anthems, too. Good ones. Poppy ones. Its 14 tracks hustle by in spurts of creative freedom, fueled by alcohol and a lack of money, and of course, drenched in gouts of lo-fi spuzz...dustedmagazine.com
Naked on the Vague - Blood Pressure Sessions (Vinyl only)
Comprised of keyboardist Lucy Cliché, bassist Matthew P. Hopkins, and a drum machine, Naked on the Vague churn out stripped-down and monotonous post-punk. The rhythms are primitive; the most animated songs rely on little more than the incessant thud of a bass drum... Naked on the Vague also have a penchant for dubby textures that have more in common with the current Fuck It Tapes school of psychedelic music than to no wave. ...The Blood Pressure Sessions is an enhancement of an idea started a long time ago. During the 80s, bands responded to poverty, vacuous culture, and bad government with music that was appropriately nihilistic. It's not surprising that Naked on the Vague have been able to tap into that mindset 20 years later; the more things change, the more they stay the same -pitchforkmedia.com
Fabulous Diamonds - 7 Songs (vinyl only)
Minimal psychniks Fabulous Diamonds release their debut longplayer, 7 Songs, this week, and - as befits one of Melbourne's most idiomatic acts - it's a stoned cold stunner. With maximal overdubbing, longer length tracks and lush, atmospheric tape production, the duo sound more weighty and affective here than ever; their delay-on-everything style, swirling tiers of dub percussion, skronking sax and chanted vocals intensified by close analogue studio attention. Thankfully for fans, the results - though less minimal than we're used to with FDs - retain all the otherworldly spirit of their popular, free-core live performance. -Mark Gomes
Oper Arizone Nafta - Cavuru (vinyl only)
Located within the Trapani Province of Sicily, OPER'AZIONE NAFTA considers their self-described "un-rock" as "a blowjob from Luigi Russolo." There's little doubt the great Futurist author of the The Art Of Noises manifesto would be anything but chuffed by such salacious bravado. Indeed, the trio pours on the racket and sounds like they were hatched in a custom-built Russolo intonarumori. Successfully putting the on back in bonkers, Oper'azione Nafta doles out only The Berserk, which might be why, at any given time, their unstoppable onslaught taps into rock / improv fizz a la Sun City Girls, Etron Fou Leloublan or the Butthole Surfers, various FMP blat, and MEV-like electronic scramble. When they claim "We are Oper'azione Nafta and we kill Bambi!" who among us would question it? Besides, a nice bowl of Sicilian-styled venison ragout would really hit the spot. Released in a vinyl-only, one-time edition of 500, Cavuru is the band's debut release."