“Maroon Bells” may be recognized as the title track from Kevin Greenspon’s recent cassette contribution to Bridgetown Records’ impressive and ever-growing catalog. But it appears we must also recognize “Maroon Bells” for the lovely video presentation it also is, the first of a 10-track DVD called Folding Focus that Greenspon will have for his late-summer tour. The split-screen, pastel visuals were created by labelmate Paul Skomsvold (a.k.a. Former Selves), and they give new meaning to a term like “watercolor,” truly painting the frame with soft strokes of vivid shades while keeping the overall image in a decidedly aqua state. Greenspon’s guitar, meanwhile, is at its most fluttery and falsetto with this number, the melody softly gliding to the forefront before unabashedly chiming out its saccharine message, swimming through a gentle pond of tone before the entire thing crumbles as the beauty is rudely devoured in crinkling static — a tragic end to what was so angelic and pure.
Grab Greenspon’s latest tape over at Bridgetown, and check the site for upcoming dates in a city near you throughout August, September, and October.
Four years is too long to go by without some new Testament tunes, but on July 31, the band is slated to make its triumphant return with Dark Roots of Earth. Judging from the sound of “Native Blood,” we’re in for a treat: almost 30 years later, the California band continues to dole out pulverizing thrash with just enough melody to keep you humming (or growling, or yowling, or whatever) for days. After several years of waiting, that blistering solo at 2:47 is the lacerating, loving homecoming fans have been yearning for. Nuclear Blast has uploaded 90 second clips of most of the album’s tracks, so get pumped!
“Trippin’ Off Some Shit”
In the unbearable heat of Regina, Saskatchewan thrives the most sun-warped beats your distorted ears have ever popped off. Maybe. But fellow North American’err ᏉᎥᏒᏆuᎪᏞ fᏞᎪᏁᏁᎬᏞ (Chris Bridge) is just sweating to continue bringing your brain that hazy highway road mirage via cassette tapes. Actually, fucking — he done did DEUCE tapes this year, and DEUCE digital releases. Errp, ALL FOUR digital, two are cassettes. And check it, straight indie cred goes to the fella for pimping it entirely by himself (label-wise). But he’s on the hunt, and peeps better be on the look out for tapes being sent @CultureDealer, @WigFlip, @Words+Dreams, @WTRCLR, @Leaving.
“Trippin’ Off Some Shit” is from his latest installment We Flyin’, so pretty much all his track names are release-title related. Bringing it back for that NEW CRITICISM-style approach of existing art within itself. ᏉᎥᏒᏆuᎪᏞ fᏞᎪᏁᏁᎬᏞ is just soaring in We Flyin’ on the reel reel. Or get file nasty/wet with it, and scrill up $1 for a digital DL. Click play on dem speakers and fade out, kiddddddddddddd.
• ᏉᎥᏒᏆuᎪᏞ fᏞᎪᏁᏁᎬᏞ: http://virtualflannel.bandcamp.com
III [album stream]
Listening to Sun Splitter is an experience akin to blasting your mind open with napalm and then bellyflopping into the fiery abyss below. This Chicago outfit has been together since 2008, and it’s a damn shame they haven’t gotten the recognition they deserve: their sound is an irresistible mix of industrial, sludge, and black metal, with some psychedelic elements here and there. With III, their latest LP, Sun Splitter continues to push the boundaries of these often static genres with some truly cinematic dynamics. The pummeling downpour of “Eye of Jupiter” dissolves into the creepy ambience of “Parasitic Machine,” before doubling back for another assault on your eardrums. There are plenty of catchy hooks buried in this record as well, making III a great starting point for anyone who wants to explore heavier metal. If you’re a fan of Liturgy or Pallbearer, you’ll dig this.
Launch Pad #1 (Dirty Projectors) [album stream]
It was only a matter of time before artists started appropriating from the recent recent recent past. Talibam!, certainly no strangers to weird left turns, have taken the entirety of Dirty Projectors’ Swing Lo Magellan and recorded some sweet, beautiful noise RIGHT ON TOP. That’s right: the Talibam! boys (Matt Mottel, Kevin Shea) appropriate an otherwise pristine, safely-recorded pop album and add much-needed @#6!@!@$*#@@#$#$#!!!!, creating spaces in which melodies are bent and twisted to scales both nearby and far off, in which the rhythms themselves are continually threatening to fall apart, in which the danger that was so wonderfully palpable in earlier releases by Dirty Projectors are pushed front and center once again.
This release is just the first in a proposed series called the “Launch Pad.” According to the group: “The ‘Launch Pad’ series was created by Talibam! to explore new sound relationships in the digital world. Using recent album releases by contemporary artists as the launching pad, Talibam! feels inspired to paint and mold the music into a new species, blurring the lines between inconspicuous and conspicuous consumption/appropriation.” LOVE IT.
01. Oofspring B Bank
02. Abbot 2 Dye
03. Fun Hasbro Figure
04. Bling Bro Flagellant
05. Juice Prom Redrum
06. France Floor Goo
07. Baby Fat Fuzz Kit
08. Imp Reagan Fable Questlove
09. Spleen Hut No-see-ums
10. Le Porche Bites
11. Bento Seether
12. Hairy Ponce Abe Lincoln
“Bending The Love You Keep”
More kaleidoscopic visualizations, generally dark in both color and tone to go along with the spooky, meandering synths… and this is typical Moduli TV/Hobo Cubes fare? Not quite. Binary, monocular visions phased into singular sonic swirls as “Bending the Love You Keep” sweeps past. I’m hearing more here than what I’m exactly used to when it comes to the music of Frank Ouellette. There’s a neon jazziness to Hobo Cubes on this track that I hadn’t noticed before, and a sweet tenderness, too. I also really like how those synths pop like kernels from the rolling furnace of melody in the middle. Anyway, I have (like many, I imagine) heard probably 10% or less of his output, so what would I know about “typical” Hobo Cubes? Ridiculous! Whenever I do hear some HC, though, I generally know exactly what it is when it comes on. Like Stereolab or The Beatles, you know? A unified, solidified, bona fide weirdo, yep. And a good one — one who’s sculpting a sonic figure that remains identifiable yet endlessly malleable and unfinished.
These sounds and more can be found within the spools of Ouellette’s new tape with Bridgetown, Serpensulla Gardens, which is currently available.