The Future Will Be Repeated [CS; Ba Da Bing]
From the band that brought you my favorite album of 2014 and a label that continually blows my ever-loving mind, we get another dense set of eroding drone from Eye. The Future Will Be Repeated is a far angrier belch from these veteran New Zealand – a hard squall with all the rawness of live recording but none of the blind grasp of live improvisation. Existing somewhere between melody and noise, we find that indeed we are doomed to repeat our future and call it the past. Rather than heap a bunch of way points into their caterwaul, Eye blast right through it with the speed of a juiced DeLorean with a cattle catcher attached. It rakes up all the influence from historical to allegorical; a metaphor for artists who aren’t bound by modern sounds, only to find themselves heralded as futuristic 20 years later. So is the conundrum with The Future Will Be Repeated because it’s clearly happening in these sets and yet we’ll all default to it as some past act. But we’ll flip through our communal album collections and find no such thing but yet here it exists. And it shall go ignored because of its format and its difficulty. In the future age, it will be unearthed by whatever the replacement for music blogs will be and re-purposed and re-introduced to a crowd that will shower Eye with praise for being so forward-thinking. It’s a self-fulfilling cycle so those of us with keen ears can enjoy it now while the artists go unappreciated and their work is cheap. Begin hording now!
Links: Ba Da Bing
15/6/2014 [CS; Misery Loves Company]
I’m shocked more deep-indie bands don’t sound like Mands, corrupted by AIDS Wolf and Pissed Jeans and unleashed upon the world like an incurable virus. It’s almost as if Arab On Radar never existed as it is, and the last Shearing Pinx LP I personally heard came out in 2011, so when a band like Mands knock on my door I snap to attention. 15/6/2014, however, is a cassette I’m going back and forth on a little. As grateful as I was at first to hear the trio of Kaity Zozula, Amy Macdonald, and Tim Keen dredging up such sick post-noise-rock nastiness, I realized at certain spots the vocals were driving me crazy. DON’T FREAK OUT EVERYONE; Mands will be fine, and their live prowess is likely a better environment for their wares. The singer tends to get stuck in a monotonous key at times, particularly when she repeats herself (and of course she’s not the first noise-rocker to go there, not by any stretch). It’s sort of the difference between sitting down and writing solid melodies or just flowin’ off what the rest of the band is doing spontaneously. The latter feels better at the time, but in the long run it might make sense to pick up the pen. Hey I could be wrong, and the mind-numbing brick-slap of the instruments kick up enough dust to render the vocals a moot point. Especially considering how few n-r tapes come in to Gumshoe HQ, I give 15/6/2014 passing marks, if not unequivocal support.Links: Mands
Ain’t Scared of Shaka [CS; Tranquility Tapes]
It’s the disassociation of youth culture to rebel against what it believes to be a constraint. So how wizened Brad Rose and Josh Mason (known as Old Svrfers) came to such a stark uprising against modern experimental convention is beyond me. It has something to do with not being punkish or louts, but wanting to to push themselves and each other into something unfamiliar among the all-to-familiar. Which is the real artform of rebellion: making everyone else uncomfortable about something that should fit snug like a well worn bodysuit. Ain’t Afraid of Shaka isn’t so much new in its oldness, but in terms of borrowing from both’s adolescent past to create something emboldened by their present to create both a memory and a promise. I was thinking it’s all very Point Break; the interplay and double speak of Bodhi and Johnny Utah represented in the lawlessness of Rose’s synth and moral fiber of Mason’s guitar, both switching roles as needed. Besides, who reading this has any idea what Point Break is anyway but an old person film that has NOTHING on post-hipster dissent. We’re being told to catch the last big wave by the kids nipping at our heels but fuck ‘em. I’d rather ride out on the boards of Old Svrfers. This isn’t revolutionary for the sake of upsetting the norm, but because it’s all Mason and Rose know.
Kids would get ‘em when they come back in…but they’re not coming back.Links: Tranquility Tapes
Ildsvanger [LP; Posh Isolation]
Posh Isolation co-released Ildsvanger with Final Agony Records, bridging an unnecessary gap that has kept indie-rock and metal at arm’s length for as long as I can remember. Perhaps this cooperation will result in similar collaborations in the future? What I CAN express to you in no uncertain terms is Slægt put old-school black-metal at the forefront of their sound and, over 10 tracks, show no signs of relenting. Denmark’s Oskar J. Frederiksen, who handles everything save the drums, has located a sacred spot with his angry, yet somehow soothing scream. While his mystical compositions don’t exactly stand out like a beacon from the rest of the black-metal material bombarding the faithful, Ildsvanger is a rock-solid debut. It adheres to a strict code of sound that doesn’t become tiresome no matter how many times you crank it, and hits as hard as anything you’ll hear from genre darlings like Ash Borer and WITTR. Maybe next go-round we’ll hear Slægt enter more experimental territory circa Servile Sect; until then, Ildsvanger will keep your ears filled with flames.Links: Posh Isolation
A Wolf Should Only Be Lone [CS; Ba Da Bing]
Peter Kolovos is broken. Hearing it fall apart with scratch and claw is as heartbreaking as it is entrancing. Maybe we should help him, but then the far out guitarist would not be creating the magnificent work he’s etching from steel and wood. Kolovos falling apart is also keenly aware of the sound of the Pacific Northwest; a mythical and oft-changing “sound” that has been a commodity and a commercial for the two hubs of cultural (Portland and Seattle) that have sprung forth from the post-grunge-silicon-sludge. “No Daze” is the winter drizzle of Seattle and yet its temperature rarely drops below 40. It’s the hum of the bus engine as it cuts through all those gentrified neighborhoods still teeming with rebellion and scum. “Pure Fire, I Understand Consumption,” is the artier, lighter take. It’s Portland as seen from its Rose Gardens , all its Midwestern-like sprawl unfurling before you like the ripples traveling throughout Kolovos’ strings. It’s the pluckiness of the younger sibling, now beginning to eclipse and overtake its nerdier, dour brother to the North. Part of it wants to break away completely from the shadow; the other is hungry and ready to devour its fraternal twin. Of course, this is just an album of awesome guitar sketches from a man whose built a modest legacy on shredding, so maybe I’m reading too much into it. But if you’ve experienced the world from those forgotten American cities, you tend to project. Isolation does crazy things to us wolves.Links: Ba Da Bing
Plays Popol Vuh [LP; Dreamsheep]
A long time has passed since a peep has been heard from Cosi and he returns with a Popol Vuh covers album featuring Paul de Jong and Zac Nelson. What a triumphant return it is, hearing his saxophone blaze through classic Popol Vuh. But it seems a story too easy to write: the comeback, the guests and the well regarded experimental band of 40 years ago re-imagined for the 21st century. I keep coming back to those near 7 years of relative silence from Cosi. What does Popol Vuh have to do with those years and how do these interpretations speak to that time away? There MUST be some deeper meaning that eludes my careful detection, or perhaps – like all good music – I’m projecting myself onto that absence. Perhaps I’m the one who has been holed up, barely communicating for seven years. No, there must be a fault in Cosi. So I keep searching through the ramshackle train sample, the glorious sax crescendos, the spastic electronic melodies but all I find is magnificence. A musician reintroducing himself to old fans and new converts through a muse which we can all relate. A brilliant stroke of tasteful tribute and mad scientific pursuit. Whatever Plays Popol Vuh represents, it’s not loss. It’s not regret. We can all agree that Cosi is back and that is a good thing, no matter the toll those seven years have taken on our psyche.Links: Dreamsheep
Headlands [CS; Lillerne Tapes]
I’m sure the name “Glass House” is meant to invoke some notion of “transparency” – see-through drones passing through one another, reflective of a certain light or aura, etc… and yeah, that is for sure the vibe I’m getting all over this Headlands tape. But that word also sounds a bit too delicate for me, too passive. The duo of Ian Collier and Eric Brannon make ambient music that is truly activated. They are creators of their own luminescence; they are a source of heat, a generator of comforting calm and tumultuous tempests alike. Leaders of the proverbial pack (of drones) that manifests their own epic destiny before your very ears. And yes, there’s something to be said for the opposite – music made to be dying, constantly in a state of decay. But that stuff only makes compositions that actually compose into something greater all the more aurally substantial and spiritually viable. Let’s call it a breath of fresh air. Or many of them, for that matter, waves of round major chords breathing their warm breaths on the back of your neck, soon to become cooling winds that gently curl away from glowing embers. Glass House’s extending rays of synth are constantly searching for new horizons, new openings, looking for holes in the black blanket of space to peek through and bleed into the next gloriously open vista. And I’m hearing all this and feeling those hairs perk right up on my arm as Glass House swells itself into a mighty mountain of beauty… all on a cassette tape for crying out loud. For as pristine and perfect Headlands is, you have to wonder what other myopic wonders might be hidden in the quiet moments as well… something to look forward to when some bloody genius out there decides to release some vinyl for these guys. For now, headphones and a walkman for Headlands will still get you deep enough.Links: Lillerne Tapes
Bye [CS; A Giant Fern]
The first I thought I had as Bye unfurled its colorful wings was, “I hope this isn’t goodbye.” In fact, this is a minor plea to Mr. Piper to stay. Much like the classic television episode “Farewell My Little Viking,” I can’t stand to see this minor but powerful character leave. It’s selfish and conceited but I’m not done with Piper or Bye just yet. There’s so much to learn, so much to hear. Unlike Little Pete, I have yet to sop up all the wisdom this cassette has to offer. Its tough exterior does show hints of a soft interior – a contemplative beast with the strength of a million Arties but it’ll take time and exposure to see all of its layers. At least a season and a half. So don’t say Bye. Hopefully this is a mellow, but confusing hello.Links: A Giant Fern
Have I Demon? [LP; Sophomore Lounge]
Life Partner’s Have I Demon? is so easy to underestimate, like the first time you heard Archers Of Loaf or tasted pesto. Give it time to sink in and show you its best uses before you utter, “Jesus another garage-rock band that got signed for reasons I can’t rightly identify!” The worth is there, you just need to find the song that hooks you like the bulbous-bellied bass you are (in my case). For me it’s “Jimbo Lives,” and I had to listen to a side-and-a-half of music to get to it; it happens, life is shit, etc. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the singer has had darkness to deal with, either real or imagined. He seems driven, not just by the Demon he’s asking about but by a force even he doesn’t understand. Just a guess. And take a look at the vinyl (or at least the copy I have in front of me), an understated hew somewhere in between light tan/yellow/green, with a purple-pink glow in the middle that becomes green when held up to light. Yeah, it’s tough to explain, obviously, but it’s cool, dude, because you’ll see what I’m talking about when you rip into your copy. You are ordering one, right?
Aftertouches [CS; Sacred Phrases]
In the abyss where vaporwave waterfalls into the void, there exists the bottomless pit of our post- culture. It empties into the ravine of nothingness but the piling garbage of existential meaning never gathers. It becomes feed for an invisible black hole of slogans and taglines. You see the corpse of the echoing “In a world…” endlessly swirling until it is swallowed by the chattering edifice of Rock Critic. All verbosity vanishing, an immediate ending mirrored in the final seconds of Kara-Lis Coverdale’s “IMGS /R” Aftertouches is beyond this purview, perched on an unseen boat catching those remnants worth saving. Coverdale grabs tightly onto the falling Laurie Anderson, while allowing Ian Anderson to perilously fall (only to save his flute). Her barge is filling up, but with carefully curated artifacts from which to create her post-collages. Sean McCann’s sheet music, Keith Rankin’s visual viscosity, Tara Sinn’s blend of tasteless taste. It’s careful and meticulous, and as it collects to become the sinkhole stop-gap known as Aftertouches, there is hope that this fountain of fad is closed and we’re taken to a new era of pre-. Kara-Lis is trying but her ketch can only hold so much, and its weight will soon catch the attention of the massive, blackened mouth that awaits to swallow this era in one big gulp.Links: Sacred Phrases