STILL SINGLE
Comet Gain – Paperback Ghosts LP (Fortuna Pop)

My review of the excellent (if you’re a fan) new Comet Gain LP. This band brings out the sap in me. Look at me drip.

dustedmagazine:

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You start to wonder after a while what it is that you see that the others don’t, why that is, and why nothing can be done about it. Cursed to the same fate as them, the understanding that you can’t bring across to everyone around you, the love and kinship you feel towards this imperfect band of souls.

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The God In Hackney – Cave Moderne LP (Junior Aspirin)

Ultra-ambitious (is there any other kind?), multi-instrumentalist art-rock cheek from some Britons with a theory for everything. Making a conceptual album with a Canterbury lean about some sort of utopian online community seems like a waste of time, but this one is pretty OK, if very affected/touched by the sense of selves among its membership. Henry Cow this ain’t, but I guess it’ll do to think about something harmlessly humorous as the Earth and all of its living things rapidly die off. The computers will outlast us all. Whatever memories we store will be the only remaining evidence of shared experience for our scant ancestors … those, and a floating pool of plastic in the ocean that will comprise the floating bedrock of the 8th continent (or 7th, if you think Antarctica will melt away). 300 copies, orange vinyl. (http://www.junioraspirin.com)
(Doug Mosurock)

Lace Curtain – The 3rd EP 12” EP (Mexican Summer)

Another go-round for this electronic project of Australians David West, Mikey Young and James Vinciguerra (plenty of other groups between them; go look elsewhere if you need a list) finds them settling into the subdued realm of their first DFA record, but trying to broaden their reach in others. These might be the group’s most accessible tracks to date, but they melt quickly, and accomplish little in the 5-6 minutes apiece of runtime on each. You get the sense throughout that Lace Curtain is more of a “teaching college” for these folks, who are quick to set a mood but kind of limited by a general distance from ambition, which may be tied to their burgeoning abilities in programming and sourcing sounds. If you just want some chilled out electro-pop and aren’t too particular, this will do, but West and the others have done so much better elsewhere that it might make more sense to go there first, as there are countless examples of this sort of thing done better throughout the past 30 years of recorded music. 1000 numbered copies, silkscreened sleeves. (http://www.mexicansummer.com)
(Doug Mosurock)

Remainderless – s/t LP (Oxen)

Noise rumpus of still, hot pauses of feedback and filet-knife screech, static and grumble and pregnant pauses that explode into a violent uproar. Same parts, just arranged differently than you might expect. Features the man Steve Touchton from XBXRX. Satisfying compositions here, if not entirely groundbreaking; the secret to noise is in the variances, apparently. Best track here is “Redaction,” a sidelong chunk of fairly consistent, oppressive totality. Clear vinyl. (http://oxen-label.com)
(Doug Mosurock)

Yi – Crying 12” EP (self-released)

RECOMMENDED

Strong follow-up to Yi’s crowning moment (the Punk Memories 7”). Seven new songs from an inventive and fun Bay Area punk band that is sadly playing its last notes soon, though you can catch guitarist Jackson as a post-recording member of Cold Beat. There were either hundreds of anonymous bands just like Yi out there in 2014, or maybe just the one, the one that seemed to channel everything good about Lookout-style pop-punk before the “punk” part of it fell away, merged it with aggressive positivity in the style of the Minutemen, lit the fuse and stepped back. Certainly there are very few in Yi’s own age demographic, and it’s a shame that so many dad-punks in their late 30s/early 40s – the target audience for this sort of feel-good, thoughtful strain of popcore – weren’t looking for new bands to love. “Going Dumb” is their sensitive moment, and it’s a beautiful slow-down for a normally breakneck group. Lyrics seem to be just about life this time around, and are put to some great, chance-taking material: “Freeze” seems to be about once you’re happy with your hair and face, to be able to just set it and forget it; “The Bus” tackles Silicon Valley’s continued assimilation of everything San Francisco had to offer, symbolized by those big buses that take employees to and from work; “Your Lucky Day” is about helping a friend (coolest thing you can do) and the title track gives a moment to talk about what’s at stake here: physical expression of emotions. And there’s three more. 300 copies, paste-on, handwritten sleeves seal the deal. You’re either getting rad with Yi one last time, or you’re out there struggling. (http://yipunx.bigcartel.com)
(Doug Mosurock)

B-Lines – Opening Band 12” EP (Hockey Dad/Nominal)

RECOMMENDED

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUGHSKLJWKLDJLSKJDLJHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH the B-Lines are back. Nine more songs of fast, wacky, tuneful hardcore with snotrocket vocals from this Vancouver band, who handle this style of music the way it should be: with loud, obnoxious abandon, sharp musicianship and an inescapable presence. It’s fun and frantic, just like their last two records were, but with heavier production. And that leads me to another thing: more bands making a short record should follow the lead presented here: 12” vinyl, 45 RPM, pressed as loud as it can be mastered without knocking the needle out of the grooves. The presence of this thing cranking out 5-8 minutes per side cannot be overstated. If it sounded tinny and small, none of us would care, but the actual manufacture and engineering of this particular record is a strong indicator of its success and appropriateness as an item that you can take home. It makes the B-Lines everything they can be on record, and if they toured out this way, I would probably go, because the way they present themselves here is so barking shitnuts. Fast times. No Dice. (http://www.hockeydadrecords.com
(Doug Mosurock)

Mutamassik – Rekkez LP (ini.itu)

RECOMMENDED

I’m digging back to the hazy memories of my collegiate years, and trying to recall if I ever put on or sponsored a gig for Giulia Loli, performing then and now as Mutamassik. I certainly remember her visiting Pittsburgh a good deal, as she was friends with the unstoppable Edgar Bucholtz, and to hear where she’s taken her music, and where her music’s taken her (from Egypt to the Rust Belt, through the downtown NYC scene of old, back to Egypt, and currently to Tuscany), is a sobering shock. Here we have a complete concept – Egyptian percussion techniques applied to hip-hop/ambient production, pounding polyrhythmic beats as hard as anything you’ll find, bass tones shaking you at a molecular level, a cornucopia of traditional and classical stringed instruments lost in the trance. Removed from the identity of an urban lifestyle in America, Loli applies the culture shock directly to you via jumper cables. Crushing, stunning work, still in print after a couple years and absolutely worth checking out if you have any interest in the far left side of hip-hop, dance music, industrial, and avant-garde tape cut techniques. The only thing that comes close is that Omid Walizadeh Modern Persian Speech Sounds LP, though here the concept is way more integrated into the music. Different life experiences shaped both of these works, and they are completely valid, but Mutamassik is operating at a whole new level here, and it would behoove you to get on it. 250 numbered copies, probably didn’t move as quickly since it’s on a boutique label, but I think you can rectify that. (http://www.iniitu.com)
(Doug Mosurock)

Nearly Dead – s/t LP (Geriatric)

Worthless Brainbombs copy from somewhere up north, that reminds us to “Listen To Brainbombs” on their insert. Thanks guys, I have. Most of us have, and we got the joke, and we also got the technicality of it – guys from Norway having fun with the English language and their audience’s predilection towards or away from it. They were also heavy, which your band is as well, but they pretty much own their sound, whereas you have to direct others to them as an explanation for yours. And what you bring to this full-length, mainly an obsession with medical issues and eldercare, isn’t funny or transgressive, because you know that everyone you initially come in contact with will understand what you’ve tried to do here, and if they don’t, you’ve already told them: “listen to Brainbombs.” No original thoughts put forth, embarrassing vocals and lyrics … this almost makes me want to put on a Brainbombs record just so I can start forgetting that this one exists. No stars. (http://nearlydead.bandcamp.com)
(Doug Mosurock)

Taiga Remains – Cassette Works LP (The Helen Scarsdale Agency)

Collecting two tapes’ worth of material by Alex Cobb’s Taiga Remains project, both dating back to late second-term Bush era/economic collapse, Cassette Works isn’t the harsh noise I remember out of this project, but rather some pleasantly deep earth drone, chords floating and receding in and out of focus, not entirely unlike Helen Scarsdale Agency chief Jim Haynes’ own work, but suspended in air and in slow motion rather than trapped undersea with the bends and eldritch horror lapping your skin off. Pretty close to Emeralds’ best stuff too (Allegory of Allergies, originally a cassette as well). (http://www.helenscarsdale.com)
(Doug Mosurock)

Viet Cong – Cassette 12” EP (Mexican Summer)

RECOMMENDED

First off, I hate the name. Hate it almost as much as I like the music, which sprouted from the abrupt end and tragic denouement of Calgary guitar band Women, who made two pretty excellent LPs for Jagjaguwar. Starting over from a couple of vantage points (New Wave/Talking Heads hiccupping sophistication, crystalline psychedelic pop, blunt Goth, and the rusted jangle they brought to Women), these four guys – who, without even one ethnically Vietnamese person in their band, REALLY NEED A NEW NAME NOW – seem to be going for the brass ring as much as possible here, pushing agendas of rebirth both tuneful and elegant, dark and imposing, covering a few points of view as well as many bands can only handle one. That’s what will likely frustrate some listeners, but all the sides of Viet Cong here seem so fully formed that they manage to ruffle their own feathers first. It’s likely some of this material is a product of mourning (“Static Wall” seems to address the loss of Women guitarist Chris Reimer), but the sense of accomplishment here does their subjects proud. Other bands would probably make a more grating product out of these turns, but it doesn’t sound like we have to wait for this one to figure out its directions. Only the cover of Bauhaus’ “Dark Entries” seems like a remainder, but also characterizes why this strange, lovely record works. Please get a new name, guys. I can’t go on liking you this much otherwise. 1500 numbered copies, silkscreened chipboard sleeves. (http://www.mexicansummer.com)
(Doug Mosurock)

Bad People – Mean Talkin’ 7” EP (Feeble Minds/Feral Kid/Ut)

Weird, kinda muddy punk/HC blend from this Buffalo band. Singer yells through his or her nose, bass player bought some crazy pedal and they’re using it … tonight! Guitar playing is kind of interesting and very aggressive, drumming is hard … this kinda reminds me of Failures, that really disconnected-sounding Mark McCoy/same-guy-core group, if you plugged everything in that made them fall apart, fed with the grounded reality of living in Buffalo and having these heinous things to yell about: the horror of sexual abuse at the hands of priests (that one’s up front), death, drinking/homelessness, some transgressive song about incest, and two very glammy for the style tracks about sex regrets and murder. Really all over the place and a little of it stuck with me over the course of some spins. (http://feral-kid-records.bandcamp.com)
(Doug Mosurock)

Bad Vision – “112” b/w “Vision” 7” (self-released)

Hindsight allows us to flatten as we curate. Australian rock band Bad Visions takes the opportunity to pluck 25-singles-or-bust-era Rocket From the Crypt, Hot Snakes, Sultans and Obits off the Speedo/Froberg family tree and compress it into a mid-rangey stream of rattletrap guitar strum, sensible hooks and a good bit of energy. This one turned up a while ago, so many pardons for the late reply. It’s a decent record, and a good use of some folks’ time. Green vinyl, #’d edition of 250. (http://www.badvision.bandcamp.com)
(Doug Mosurock)

John Bellows – “Traveller’s Shoes” b/w “Second Nature (feat. Lee Relvas)” 7” (self-released)

Earles just went nuts over Bellows’ last album Fast Hits and then this one surfaced. Kinda far off from the action described on that one, here are two bedraggled and earnest salutes from the short side of last call, countrified ramblers with striking, somewhat poignantly lonesome lyrics. “Second Nature” is a duet with Lee Relvas, and her voice brings some brief comfort to whatever turmoil is a-brewin’ inside Bellows’ soul. Yellow vinyl. (http://johnbellows.bandcamp.com)
(Doug Mosurock)

Maurizio Bianchi – AmenTest 7” (Dais)

RECOMMENDED

I’m not a noise guy but if you put some M.B. in front of me, I pay attention. I appreciate the abstract on his methods and the meaning of these pieces provided on the sleeve, and even with their presence I’m still intrigued about how he got from there to here. Both pieces (“Amentest” and “Testamen”) rely on percussive reverberation, dopplering and detonating over a soundboard of sharp, echoing waveforms, some of which almost bark at their rough and clinical treatment as they’re zapped down the tube. None of the sounds feel out of place, even though (and maybe because) all of them might be; “Amentest” does seem like more of a test, where “Testamen” uses the main technique of the A-side to cycle through a steady pulse. Something like a melody shows up, sourced from elsewhere and obliterated by process within seconds, but with what’s going on here your ears tend to look for the familiar. “Testamen” in particular provides this sensation, towards its end, when it sounds as if an old black-and-white TV showing a film noir is having an electrical nightmare, its screen glowing brighter than it ever has before, in the death throes of its existence, a whiff of ozone and despair puffing out of the creases. 300 copies. (http://www.daisrecords.com)
(Doug Mosurock

The Bilders – Utopians 7” EP (SmartGuy)

RECOMMENDED

Bill Direen is one of those musicians for whom descriptions often fail. One of the first people to really grasp post-punk from his homebase of New Zealand (see those Vacuum 7”s on Siltbreeze for evidence), he began The Bilders around 1980, and it’s been part of his life ever since. German label Unwucht has persevered to reissue a good chunk of his music in the past couple of years, dating from both ends of the ‘80s, and his deep and rewarding body of work continues on today. Youngsters will likely scoff at the literacy and formalism of the first two songs, but you’ll note that even on a tirade against the constant scourge of war and victimhood of today (“The Utopians R Just Out Boozin’”) his lyrics never take the easy way out; hell, on “Mardy” he begins with a few couplets about the linden tree, but never once mentions the most obvious thing about that growth – that it smells like cum. The three tracks here were recorded in various locations (Melbourne, Auckland, Austria) with three entirely different backing groups, yet Direen’s character shines through the variances of play, and on “C.B.A.Z.Y. Extract,” part of what seems to be a raucous live recording from a house show, at odds with the simmering sophistication of the other two but also totally part of Direen’s body of work. “National treasure” doesn’t really do him justice, nor does a three-song 7”, but I’ll take it. 500 copies. (http://www.smartguyrecords.com)
(Doug Mosurock)