Vol. 10 Issue 119 August 2015

Granted, the back of my neck feels dirty and gritty most of the time. Either way, it’s summer and we are in the city. I kind of feel like the last two months were the longest spring of all time and now we are paying for our humidity-free sins. So if you already have a spritz going, you might as well enjoy it. So work up a lather checking out new tunes from Chelsea Wolfe, Holy Sons, Mike Krol and more.

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Sargent House
Temporary Residence Ltd
Numero Group
Thrill Jockey

Sargent House


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Chelsea Wolfe


I think you pretty much know Chelsea Wolfe by now. After three acclaimed albums and a collection of acoustic tracks, Wolfe’s cemented herself among a rabid fanbase with her unique brand of sludgy goth-cum-ritual folk tunes. There’s probably a religion somewhere in which someone’s deified her, and they wouldn’t be crazy for doing so. She’s like the dark-haired goth version of R’hollor priestess Melisandre on HBO’s Game of Thrones, and hey, guess what? She actually DID have a song featured on that show’s season four trailer! (Hmmm, wonder how THAT happened).  What are the odds. Actually, probably pretty good, I guess. She totally fits that mood, the whole mysterious fantastical medieval thing. There’s mystical power in her music (FLY DRAGON FLY). Her new album Abyss (Sargeant House) imagines an alternate reality where Wovenhand’s David Eugene Edwards is female and has access to Trent Reznor’s distortion rig. Check out the stellar “Carrion Flowers” to get the picture.



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Small Feet

"From Far Enough Away Everything Sounds Like The Ocean"

Small Feet, or Små Fötter in the band’s native Swedish – at least i think it is! If it’s something offensive instead, please blame Google Translate – recorderd their new album From Far Enough Away Everything Sounds Like the Ocean (Barsuk) in a cabin on an island. (And journalists writing about this record with word counts to fill rejoiced.) The recording venue makes total sense – this record sounds lived-in and a bit ramshackle, but, paradoxically, sounds equally full. Perhaps it’s the emotional heft lent the tracks, or the fact that there’s a definite clarity to the indie-folk vibe the Feet are stompin’. Either way, this might be your new favorite winter record (it’s winter all the time in Stockholm, right?). Just watch out for that syndrome thingy they have there. I hear it’s nasty if you catch it. Check out ”All and Everyone,” where Bon Iver meets the whistly-ness of Peter, Bjorn and John on a path in the woods.

Temporary Residence Ltd


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Prefuse 73

"Every Color Of Darkness EP"

Are you kidding me? Prefuse 73 – or Guillermo Scott Herren, as his mom and the specifically designed AI personality installed in his Macbook Pro call him – is dropping not one, but three releases this year. That’s like wishing for a delightful ice cream sundae on a hot August afternoon and receiving three ice cream sundaes instead! (You could just drown in all that caramel sauce…) The Every Color of Darkness EP (Temporary Residence) rounds out the triptych, preceded by the Forsythe Gardens EP and the full album Rivington Não Rio. And don’t even trip – Herren’s dropping beats on these bad boys, in true head-nod classic fashion, and they will seriously make you break your neck (to paraphrase Busta Rhymes). Because you really, really will never be able to stop nodding your head to these beats. I can’t. Actually, I might need a ride to the hospital – I seriously can’t stop. Damn you Guillermo Scott Herren! I mean, uh, thank you! Check out Prefuse’s return to form, “Search the Sky,” and get schooled.

Numero Group


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Royal Jesters

"English Oldies"

If you went to a dance during the ‘60s in San Antonio (and I am not implying you did, or should have, it’s super specific) and you got there and saw the Royal Jesters were playing the gig, chances are you went out of your mind with excitement. Unfortunately, their way ahead of it’s time mix of R&B, Latin rock, soul music, and Doo Wop didn’t make it much past the Alamo. Thankfully, this story has a familiar ending (around these parts at least) as knights in shining armor Numero have gathered together their music into English Oldies, one easy to disseminate package. And boy howdy, is it an easy listen. Crisp horns, smooth melodies, sex-repressed ‘60s horn-ball teens. This stuff has it all. Give “I Won’t Love You Again” a listen and try not to get pregnant.

Thrill Jockey


Holy Sons picture

Holy Sons

"Fall Of Man"

In the Hebrew Bible, the fall of man is told in the book of Genesis, where Adam, the first man, and Eve, the first woman, encounter Satan in the form of a serpent at the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Eve approaches the tree, tempted by the forbidden fruit that grows there, and notices the snake. Satan, sensing an opportunity to one-up God, that BORING old dude with the beard, hisses in Eve’s ear, and holds out a copy of Pink Floyd’s Animals in one hand while making devil horns with the other. Because … enlightenment. (Snakes had hands before God lopped em off, did you know that?) All that to say, Emil Amos, in his Holy Sons guise, surely knows his way around human error, disappointment, and, perhaps newly, Pink Floyd. His new record, Fall of Man (Thrill Jockey) is meditative but leavened with dreamily psychedelic guitar throughout. Gorgeous stuff. Check out “I Told You,” where Pink Floyd meets Red Red Meat in heaven – before getting into a fistfight about how best to mic an organ.



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Jack & Eliza

"Gentle Warnings"

Ahhh… Today’s youth. Take for instance Jack + Eliza. These young-uns (barely 20, and one of ‘em is at my alma mater NYU Gallatin - go purple guys? Is that the mascot? Never saw any NYU sports when I was attending).  So yeah, like any good students of music these kids are firmly rooted in the 60’s, imagine the Mommas and the Poppas or Simon and Garfunkel - just sans any production notes.  Strumming electric guitars, simple bass lines, harmonies on top of harmonies and the only “drumming" consists of some tamborine.  Sound dreamy to me, perhaps CALIFORNIA DREAMY? OK, i’ll stop now, but check out a track from Gentle Warnings (Yebo) called “Hold The Line” (which, sorry, isn’t a Toto cover).

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Jeremy Loops

"Trading Change"

“Hello, I am Jeremy Loops, I write songs, play songs … and make great jokes!” Thus proclaims Jeremy’s website, and you gotta admire his honesty. Who doesn’t love a singer/songwriter whose between-song banter rivals his chops? (As long as he’s not up there doing knock knock jokes – Isaac Brock used to do that in the early days of Modest Mouse, and it was embarrassing to say the least. Or was that Arto Lindsay? I get them confused.) It’s a trait that makes him one of us – one of the people. It connects him to his audience. Not that he really needs connecting – his new album Trading Change (Yebo) positively begs to be heard over a montage of cycling through Manhattan, happy as can be (Citi-Bike of course). Lots of hugs and handshakes and smiles. And he’s from Cape Town, South Africa, so it’s not a surprise that there’s a bit of afrobeat mixed in to that whirling revivalist folk all the kids are talking about! He seems to be an optimistic dude – and has a bun on his head - but not too optimistic for an edge. Case in point: Listen as he calls you out for perpetuating man’s downfall in the positively Mumford and Sons–esque “Sinner.”

Click to see:
Mexican Summer
Jade Tree
Ernest Jenning
Drag City



Destroyer picture


"Poison Season"

Dan Bejar is nothing if not adventurous, and with Poison Season (Merge), his new album as Destroyer, he goes full “sophisti-pop,” to quote whoever wrote the one-sheet. But you don’t need that – you know Destroyer. When you hear Bejar’s unique pipes, you know you’re in for a treat, no matter what style he’s dabbling in at the moment. This isn’t disco, he doesn’t sing in Spanish – no, far from that, he ENVELOPES you here, laying on a thick Bowie vibe with pop horns and strings, a little bit Hunky Dory, a little bit Ziggy Stardust. It’s a super fit for our pal Dan, and he wrings every bittersweet ounce of emotion from his songs, like he’s milking poison from a cobra’s fangs or something. Hey, maybe that’s where he got the idea for the album title, from milking cobra poison! Actually, I don’t think that’s it at all. Do yourself a favor and let the Bowie-filtered-through-Scotland pop of “Dream Lover” take you completely over, it’s that good.

Mike Krol picture

Mike Krol


All hail our new dork pop overlord! Did you even know we needed one? Well, we did. And Mike Krol is the best candidate we’ve got. The longtime sideman in various bands is finally stepping out on his own, and on Turkey (Merge) it feels like Krol’s releasing a lot of pent-up energy. Imagine having to play on a million songs by a thousand bands, and then finally getting a chance to shine – I’d be bouncing off the studio walls trying to get all of my songs out of my system. That’s what this record sounds like. Sniff, I feel so happy for Mike – it’s like watching your firstborn finally go off to college. Not that I’ve ever felt that, I’m not that old. Oh, and the cover of the record is just genius. Blue-era Weezer beds down with Ty Segall on the excellent “La La La.”

Mexican Summer


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Describing the sound of Tamaryn’s new album Cranekiss (Mexican Summer) gets harder and harder with each passing moment of listening time. The LP starts out and you say to yourself “Self, this sounds like an Enya/Cure supergroup” which is a weird thing to say on two fronts. Firstly, you are talking to yourself. Secondly, those are sounds that make sense together when you think about it, but it’s not what you expect from an album as modern sounding as Cranekiss is. But before you know it tracks change and your blurb-comparison bands change faster than a New England autumn. She’s New Order here, she’s Eurythmics there. Oh hey, now she sounds like Madonna. And then she… you know what. Let’s settle on the fact that she is wearing her influences on her sleeve this time around, and we are all the better for it. A sophisticated, downtown chill-out of an album, full of synths, beats, and her angelic voice. For the Enya/Cure thing I was mentioning earlier, check out the title track “Cranekiss.”

Jade Tree


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Dogs On Acid

"Dogs On Acid"

Entrenched for years in Philly’s pop-punk indie scene comes members of bands revered there to form a sort of Philly-indie supergroup. So it’s like Hall & Oates & Hooters? Well, no. It’s buzzy, super-sweaty unassuming punk sounds coming from four dudes who have a great Superchunk-y ear for melodies, interesting ideas about what the pop-punk form can do, and an idea to form a band called Dogs On Acid. Their self-titled debut on Mexican Summer comes equipped with 4 built-in fan bases, and 4 fountains of song. Consider this debut promising as is evident from the album closer “5th of July”

Ernest Jenning


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Philadelphia pop ensemble Grandchildren have been making music together since Aleks Martray founded the group all the way back in 2008. Embracing all different kinds of aesthetics – from electronic, to Afrobeat, to mainstream pop, to, I dunno, whatever they want, dude! – the band decamped into a “surreal twilight zone” state and just went with it. Strange things started occurring, blurring the lines of what was real and what only appeared in band members’ dreams: Pat’s mobilized and took over Geno’s by force; the Rocky Balboa statue at the Philadelphia Museum of Art came alive and was seen training to fight Wladimir Klitschko; the Philadelphia Phillies won the 2008 World Series. Madness! Thus Zuni (Ernest Jenning Recording Co.), Grandchildren’s third album, was born into chaos. Did I say chaos? I meant a big ol’ heap of fun! Behold, Vampire Weekend meets Miniboone on the uptempo dream funk of “Nothing.”

Drag City


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Dope Body


In the beginning, the earth was formless, and Dope Body said “Let there be KUNK!” And behold, there was KUNK. And it was good. The album, KUNK (Drag City), that is. Dope Body’s follow-up to LIFER is a gritty, gunky, thrash-hole of a skeeze pit, proudly billowing attitude like a smokestack straight into your lungs. It’s the kind of rock and roll that you know is probably bad for you if you ingest too much of it – like tacos – but is too wonderful to simply stop experiencing once the first inklings of indigestion begin – like tacos. So binge it, already! Dope Body doesn’t care – they want you to flail around in pain, I think. Or at least get into a bunch of bar fights and LOSE all those bar fights, and then laugh it off the next day when you’re covered in bruises and can’t remember what happened. That totally sounds like something I WOULDN’T do, but Dope Body sort of gives me that urge to cause trouble… So strap in, listen to “Old Grey,” and imagine Cop Shoot Cop and Pissed Jeans in a puking match, with absolutely no winner.

Wand picture


"1000 Days"

Wand released their debut LP in the summer of 2014 on Ty Segall’s God! imprint of Drag City. Well here it is about a year later, and Wand is releasing their 3rd album. Yup. 12 months=3 LPs. Ty better watch out. Soon enough the student will become the master. And what a master 1000 Days (GOD/Drag City) is. Sure the Wand dudes have been wearing the psychedelic garage label since their debut, but this time around they seem to have added a bit of the UMO pop-motown sound as well as mid King Crimson prog-majesty (big drums, speaker-breaking overdrive, mellotron, that sort of thing). And I mean they are really hitting that last reference hard for me. It’s like Ty Segall covering Three Of A Perfect Pair. Which honestly sounds like to heaven to me. Needless to say, I am digging these sounds. My guess is you will too. Give the drug haze fantasy of “Broken Sun.”