Vol. 9 Issue 112 January 2015

Well look at us everyone, it’s already 2015! That was sudden, eh? If you are anything like us (and I suspect you are) you spent a good chunk of the holiday break catching up on the new episodes of the Best Show! Thank god Sharpling got that thing back on the air. It was a weird world without it. I mean, who else is gonna give Ringo his comeuppance? Turns out that he isn’t the only thing worth listening to however, as we have new releases from The Dodos, Jan St. Werner, Pitchfork's best new track artist Jessica Pratt and more. Dig in!

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1/22/15 #TBT Re-Up

Posted by John On Jan 22, 2015

             It’s that time again! What’s that? You don’t know what... Read More

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New this week from @dragcityrecords Jessica Pratt (@jessicaprattsf) with gorgeous folk and heavenly⦠http://t.co/lPLv7nyZYM
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Drag City



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"Range Anxiety"

Melbourne’s Twerps exist in this moment of instant comparison. “Oh yeah,” you say, “they’re Australian, they sound like the Go-Betweens, or the Flying Nun bands. I haven’t even heard them, and I’m not wrong. Prove me wrong, Matt Pinfield!” Why you have an incessant visceral reaction to MTV’s own Matt Pinfield asking you harmless questions is beyond me, but you know what? You are right. And your rightness couldn’t be better placed – yes, Twerps sounds like those things, but in a way that’s both of the moment and timeless. Notice only their jangly roots and you’ll miss the inventive and, dare I say, experimental songwriting. Try to dig too deep and you’ll miss the ecstatic joy found throughout Range Anxiety (Merge). You need to occupy that middle ground: just sit back and enjoy the thing, dang it, and I’ll spare you a Crocodile Dundee joke. In fact, “Back to You” is a great starting point – think Yo La Tengo meets the Go-Betweens and you’re there. Heck, you know Yo La Tengo have all the Flying Nun bands in their record collections. Twerps sound like this fact. Now go away Matt!



Viet Cong picture

Viet Cong

"Viet Cong"

I can only assume that at some point Matt Flegel and Michael Wallace decided to only be in bands that are exceedingly difficult to Google. Their former band, Women, was not the easiest search in the engine. Now they have formed Viet Cong. Again, not easy. But it makes sense. Describing either of these bands is probably more difficult than finding them online. However Women was practically a pop band compared to the fuzzy, scuzzy, jittery scuttle of Viet Cong. With a cavernous experimental sound that kind of reminds me of Panda Bear covering the best of MTV new wave, their self-titled debut is a hot mess. It’s like you invited Ric Ocasek over to play his greatest hits, and then kept pushing him down the stairs while he was trying to finish a song. (Side note: I once saw Mr. Ocasek shopping at Other Music. I was gonna say something like “Hey, big fan” or whatever until I saw him talking to his son, who had a mullet that kinda looked like his dads wig, so I figured they had enough problems.  Check out the Brit-rock/punk-slop of “Silhouettes.”

Drag City


Jessica Pratt picture

Jessica Pratt

"On Your Own Love Again"

I know a few things about Jessica Pratt from her March 2013 Guest List profile at Pitchfork. Her favorite Spice Girl is Ginger Spice. (Mine too!) Her role model is Throbbing Gristle’s Genesis P-Orridge. (What about Martin Short?) Her favorite Simpsons episode is the one where Homer gains all that weight to get on disability. (I love that one! “The fingers you have used to dial are too fat. To obtain a special dialing wand, please mash the keypad with your palm now.”) But while these are all wonderful and insightful facts, none of them really get to the heart of Pratt’s work on On Your Own Love Again (Drag City), a collection of gorgeous acoustic folk with a focus on Pratt’s heavenly pipes. It’s like Joni Mitchell and Beach House had a sleepover, but Joni Mitchell took up 90 percent of the sleeping bags in the room. Check out the lovely and ethereal “Back, Baby.”

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Other Music
Thrill Jockey



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The Dodos


In perhaps the easiest quip I’ve ever had to write, The Dodos have returned from almost certain … extinction … with new album Individ (Polyvinyl). Thanks you guys, I really appreciate that one – it’s like you’re doing my “job" for me! Although on second thought, they haven’t really been gone that long – Carrier was released in 2013 after all. It’s not like they’ve been gone since the seventeenth century or something, like some ridiculous flightless bird native to the island of Mauritius. I mean, the duo of Meric Long and Logan Kroeber have a pulse, for goodness’ sake, they’re still making music and not cartoonishly bumbling around the afterlife like idiotic, web-footed waterfowl. No, they look totally cool, like, at all times! (I’m serious, they’re pretty cool looking.) And that record is pretty rockin’ for a duo too. The guitars are definitely the architects of these rocking tunes (get it? Because the songs build? Huh?). Check out the supreme strummage of “Competition,” and banish any Darwinian nonsense from your mind – The Dodos (band, not bird) are fit, and they are surviving.

Other Music


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Invisible Familiars

"Disturbing Wildlife"

Invisible Familiars occupy this magnificent space in a parallel universe (because multiverse, dummy!) where Eels and Small Black were compressed together so tightly that their atoms fused and the band as we know it was born! Or, uh, it at least sounds like Eels and Small Black made a record together at least. I guess that would make them Small Black Eels -ewwwww….. I should move on, it’s starting to get confusing (and gross!) In between gigs with The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger and Cibo Matto (!), slinging some righteous axe (that’s industry slang for rocking out on guitar), New Yorker Jared Samuel got together a few of his friends to make his new album Disturbing Wildlife (Other Music). Can I just say right now that he did a fabulous job? Sure I can, this is my blurb and  I’m writing it. [Squints at screen, recites out loud while typing:] “He did a fabulous job, period.” There’s no better quirk-pop tune you’ll find in the vicinity of listening devices than “Heavenly All,” a tight combo of – dare I repeat it? – Eels meets Small Black proportions, just as long as they don't roam the earth those pesky small black eels.

Thrill Jockey


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Jan St. Werner

"Miscontinuum Album"

You might know Jan St. Werner as half of the seminal electronic duo Mouse on Mars (with Andi Toma) or as a member of sonic experimentalists Microstoria (with Oval’s Markus Popp). But do you really know Jan St. Werner? Or are you just feigning understanding to sound cool while you’re talking to me right now? “Oh yeah,” you say, “I totally dig some Mouse on… which planet was that again?” You fool, I’ve caught you in your lies! Let Herr St. Werner school you a bit on the finer points of electronic composition, and he’s the type of dude who will dock you a full letter grade each day your homework is late. Miscontinuum Album (Thrill Jockey) is the third in St. Werner’s Fiepblatter Catalogue series, and it’s a beast. Conceived as a libretto by Popp and presented in five distinct scenes (some of which is narrated by Earth’s Dylan Carlson – I know!), St. Werner’s premise of “miscontinuum” – or misconceptions based around time and memory – is set against an experimental electronic backdrop, which – hey! – is right up St. Werner’s alley. And probably Christopher Nolan’s too. Jan, maybe give Christopher a call about filming this thing (I for one would check out Nolan’s take on Doctor Who. Hey look! The TARDIS is grey now. So is the Doctor’s scarf. It’s so gritty now!) For a circuit-bending and head-warping excursion through spacetime, check out “Cervo.”