Tracey Trance
101 [CS; Turned Word]

Look Tracey Trance-pants, if that is your real name, you’ve got it. And I don’t even know what it is. But you’ve got it. I don’t know what a psychiatrist might have to say of the contents of 101 (I’m guessing some prescriptions would be written with the dash of an eager pen), nor do I know how fucked-up it makes me for digging on these deeply entrenched thought bubbles; all that can be said, if anything, is that everything here is Real. Lo-fi spoken-word, uncooked synth noodles, and general on-the-road zaniness might turn to ear-puke in the hands of most, but in the case of Tracey the results are surprisingly safe and concrete. It just makes sense, that is, if you want to chase a sassy young guy down the rabbit hole at the exact point where Ariel Pink left off. Bendy.

Links: Turned Word

Ulaan Passerine

Ulaan Passerine

[2xCS; Brave Mysteries]

Two admirable forces joining under the tri-insignia. Both masters at changing direction, masking their scents to stay ahead of the hunters. Those who are always hunted adapt, so it is of no surprise that after a meeting of such prey, they would team up to produce a ward more powerful and spellbinding than their enemies could conjure. Say hello to the latest Steven R. Smith pseudo, Ulaan Passerine. Throughout the span of two calculating tapes, Smith’s newest disguise (often borrowing from past disguises) mixes with the Brave Mysteries brand; that light at the end of the tunnel–just one more barricade, just one more baddie to allude. Ulaan Passerine seems to borrow the lone wolf mentality of Old Skete, though the eerie textures and ominous winds of past Brave Mysteries fair (think upon any Troy Shafer offering–the kindred spirit to Smith’s long-played naming runaround) creep in–and the addition of piano lends Ulaan Passerine a timeless element. Notes are plucked from the icy air, then cast like thorny arrows at would-be trappers. Hexes are thrown to attract and capture the most unruly spirits to fight against the blight of blackness. Like any Smith album, no matter its slight variation in sound and identity, it finds the light amid the dark. It’s an allegory as old as time, but so is Ulaan Passerine. This is ancient knowledge now needed in the fight against the foe of time. Glad to have Smith and Brave Mysteries on our side.

Links: Ulaan Passerine - Brave Mysteries


No Love

[10-inch; Totally Wired]

No Love is a wired, grinding take on post-post-darkwave punk doesn’t make a lot of sense on paper. Intense beats melded with melted synth goo? Cold Cave-y vocals and digital finger-snaps? If you were to propose this album to me in writing, I’d scuttle the whole project and blackball the principle arrangers, but in the hands of Gran the varying elements come together rather convincingly. One of the stranger tumbleweeds to roll past my homestead in a spell, to be sure. At times it sounds like an Esplendor Geométrico nightmare, at others like Kill Me Tomorrow or any number of dance-y, spiky old GSL bands. There’s also the aforementioned darkwave connection, so bear that in mind; the 1980s, such a beast of late, hover over the proceedings like like an impatient ‘tech guy.’ My favorite’s “Easy.” Edition of 500, released on 12-12-12. So there’s that.

Links: Totally Wired

Dead C/Rangda


[12-inch; Ba Da Bing]

I remember that first step into the Sunset. I was invited to witness the emergence of Rangda; to bask in the beginning of something new. I stood in the middle of the club surrounded by Chasny and Corsano, only for Bishop to walk to the stage and the rest follow. Thus began the greatest night in the history of our sport. Of course, the same phenomenon occurred 20 years prior in a small New Zealand hamlet with The Dead C. History has a funny way of repeating itself, but this split from trans-global wunderkinds averts deja vu. Rangda’s half is a more meditative but nonetheless raucous jam, expanding the band’s False Flag transcendental melodies while stripping bare the rigidness of Formerly Extinct. The Dead C…well…each cut is different, a compass to the story of New Zealand experimentation as reinvented by the trio. And as familiar as any Dead C can be, it all feels very different from their lengthy catalog (expounded by “Eusa Kills,” a tip of the cap to the band’s 1989 LP) without losing the directional thread. There are garages and alleys to explore to find the sound needed to complete an idea. Fact of the matter is these two are linked by the bloody bond of restlessness, so sharing a piece of wax seems like the least messy manner in which to squish legends together. So much in common with each other and music’s rich history and yet, no desire to repeat any of it out of social grace. It should be noted that these 6 songs only whet the appetite for what we really want: a Rangda/Dead C super-duper group.

Links: Ba Da Bing

Mike Rep & The Quotas

Rocket to Nowhere

[7-inch; Mighty Mouth]

AWWWWWWWWWW yeah, down and dirty, party-till-4:30, Ramones T-shirt-y, somethin’-somethin’-flirty… You know what I mean: It’s 1975, and Mike Rep And The Quotas don’t give a fuck about what anyone else is doing. They’re going to play loud, in a garage, if that, and they’re going to record with a boombox, if that. Funny thing is, “Quasar” is actually, unless the piece I received is defective, a minimalist drone piece, so go figure I guess. Didn’t realize the proto-punks were dipping into this pool so long ago, but then again I didn’t realize Morton Subotnick invented solo synth either; it’s a learning process, all the time. “Rocket To Nowhere,” thank god, makes with the rock, and to a cheering crowd that seems to be manufactured. Am I going crazy? Well it’s probably because of the music. Nice, thick vinyl, as per usual from the Almost Ready fold.

Links: Mighty Mouth

Dolphin Tears

Spa World

[CS; Lillerne Tapes]

Who doesn’t want to go to a place called Spa World right now? No one doesn’t. Spa World is a place where there’s nothing but the absolute best of vibes after all, and I’ll tell you what, every vibe I come across from now until the end of my very life might just end up being compared to this vibe — this one, singular, holistically healing vibe. Man, it’s just right. There’s another I heard that does this kind of thing, and does it with that just-right vibe: Water Lily Jaguar. Might there be a genre for this yet? I’m not doing the Vapor-thing here (and yeah, there’s an earlier BOTR tape, so what?), but at the same time I want to say that the way Dolphin Tears goes about it is called… something. And why? It shouldn’t matter. It’s because I want more of it, whatever it is that these guys do. What it does smells good. It clears the sinuses, rids the pores of microscopic debris, all with the steam of a synth-salve. Harmonic consonance made for maximum soul-resonance, texture-matched melodies scrubbing the insides of your mind and a sunken groove to keep your body conscious and Dolphin Tears strangely within the realm of pop. Here’s a thought: you’re thinking too hard. Just relax.

Links: Dolphin Tears - Lillerne Tapes

Moth Cock


[CS; Hausu Mountain]

Glad I snuck this one in at the last minute, as it didn’t deserve to die with 2012. Moth Cock… nice. I thought Bremmy might be a euphemism for Bremerton, Wash., but I don’t want to be presumptuous. Still, I presume that. What a tape though, folks. All buzzin’ flies and digital capillaries oozing blood-red through the prism of 1990s noise, with an extra helping of lazer. The word ‘busy’ comes to mind, and this time it might even be too much. While it’s a lot of fun ‘getting there,’ once the reality of 15 or so instruments/effects/etc. hits you it’s disorienting and, after admittedly more than a few minutes, off-putting. I don’t know, maybe the kids have finally caught up with me. I feel dehydrated and irritated, like Kevin Bacon in Stir of Echoes. There’s no sign of let-up, either. Plenty of fight in these dudes, and I salute them for it. Give me hell, purveyors of hand-crafted trips.

Links: Moth Cock - Hausu Mountain

Mike Adams at His Honest Weight

Not No More

[7-inch Flexi; Joyful Noise]

Mike Adams is a nice guy. I mean really nice–and though I haven’t had the pleasure to face him like a man and shake his hand, there’s plenty of cut-outs and articles speaking to his philanthropic endeavors. Sadly, there’s not enough speaking praise of his musical endeavors (of which some are tied to his volunteerism, etc.). So let’s remedy that. Looks like Joyful Noise had the same thought, embracing their fellow Hoosier (much like St. Ives and Flannelgraph have). “Not So Much” is one slow roll of summery pop–this flexi series as a means of giving turntables a shot of hooch. But “Not So Much” is a good buzz, not a alcoholic downer. It’s for those days of mid-afternoon beer with friends on a patio or outside your favorite outdoor bar. It’s for casual conversations that turn to raucous laughter after two beers and a plate of wings has been had. Yes, there’s still a slice of Americana to have, whether imbibed in mason jars or shared via clear plastic wonders.

Links: Mike Adams at His Honest Weight - Joyful Noise



[CS; Land of Decay]

You think you’re in for a nice drift, then Gates pull a cloak over your eyes and toss you out into space, and it’s a lot noisier than you’d expect, particularly when, somewhere in the background, a band starts shredding, and maybe even blast-beating. And so begins Eintraum, a post-black-metal haze that has to be heard to be believed. I remember school was canceled in Post Falls, Idaho, one year due to icy winds. As a kid, hell, you’re still thinking, “Why not head outside?” but when you do, you’re confronted by a blast of paralyzing cold that felt like this tape sounds. It’s so intense the senses can barely handle it; this is the music of the future. So glad to hear Gates endeavor to strive for a sound less defined by gray, flat landscapes than skulls being crushed into powder by a twisted-metal thundertruck, though Eintraum has its moments of drone reflection, however brief. Lean into this one; it’ll kill you back.

Links: Gates - Land of Decay



[7-inch; Fedora Corpse]

Brünch? They’re in no hurry to win you over. They tread lightly through three songs on this self-titled 7-inch before letting the drapes down a little for the final act, “Atlas.” Quite a mystical trick they pull, to the point where you’ll be digging it and you don’t know why. It doesn’t shock you like so many bands/releases try to do these days, and it doesn’t reach too far in any one direction, preferring a mellow, scenic post-rock template stripped down and shortened. I guess Ulaan Khol (I miss you) are a decent comparison, if you’re into that sort of thing. The post-ist with the mostest! Coffee-colored vinyl, sheathed in recyclable materials, and supremely limited, as is eternally Fedora Corpse’s wont.

Links: Brünch - Fedora Corpse

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