Category Archives: Reviews

Check Out Tracks from Peel Dream Magazine, Pigsx7 and Goatman

Peel Dream Magazine, “Shenandoah” (Slumberland Records)

Peel Dream Magazine is the nom de musique of NYC-based musician Joe Stevens, whose debut album, Modern Meta Psychic, will be released by the venerable Slumberland Records. “Shenandoah” is one of three trippy, psych-tinted dream pop confections – the driving “Qi Velocity” and spectral “Levitating Between 2 Chords” being the others – released to promote the album, and it’s our (current) fave. “Shenandoah” is the musical equivalent of a lazy drift down the titular river on a blazing summer’s day, staring at the sun until vision blurs and thoughts change shape with the clouds – Stevens’ cloaked vocals invoking the humid haze in the air; the persistent background drone the sound of cicadas thrumming along the banks. There’s much to be felt in this languid beauty of a track. Bring on the album.  

Modern Meta Psychic is due October 5, on Slumberland – pre-order a copy here. Follow along with Peel Dream Magazine on fbook and twitter.  

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, “Cake of Light” (Rocket Recordings)

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs (mercifully shorthanded Pigsx7) is a Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK-based quintet. Stoner, psych, metal, doom – however you want to classify, the band’s chalice is full to the brim from the river Sabbath, and the resulting racket is glorious. Where previous efforts displayed a penchant for the long-form jam (2017’s Feed the Rats featured two tracks north of 15 minutes), the first offering from the recently released King of Cowards comes in at a tidy 3:45, and it’s all the better for it. It’s a masterclass in heavy – the drums fairly swing a la “Fairies Wear Boots”, the wailing vocals reminiscent as much of Ozzy or Lemmy as Jaz, feeling like an invocation (which would make sense, as the titular pastry is part of a eucharist associated with Alistair Crowley and possibly comprised of honey, red wine lees, oils and, um, bodily fluids of some sort – serve warm?). 

King of Cowards is available now, courtesy of Rocket Recordings. Follow Pigsx7 on fbook, where you can also find upcoming tour dates.

Goatman, “Jaam Ak Salaam” (Rocket Recordings)

The hooded Goatman is a member of the Swedish musical collective known as GOAT. “Jaam Ak Salam” was the first track released to promote his forthcoming long-player, Rhythms (since followed by the hippy gospel workout, “Carry the Load”). The track is an exhilarating, inspired fusion of African jazz, psych and middle eastern moods and textures. Lifting off on a furious wave of conga drums and sharply picked guitars, it quickly feels as though the players can barely contain themselves in the midst of the uplift (though, since Goatman himself plays most of the instruments, perhaps it is he whose control is suspect – and who can blame him?). Much is going on in the mix – declaratory horns, questioning keys and responsive palm wine (maybe?) guitar – all marshaled by guest vocalist Seydi Mandoza. Like the track itself, Mandoza’s heady voice flits from style to style, sounding a bit like a mix of Youssou Ndor and Charlie Chaplin (the toaster, not the actor) at points, before barreling through the last third of the tune with all of the fiery righteousness of a Richie Havens. It will leave you spent, and then have you hit ‘repeat’.

Rhythms is due October 12, also on Rocket – you may, and should, pre-order a copy here.

Check Out New Tracks from Mr. Twin Sister, Papercuts, Lithics, Molly Nilsson and Rat Columns

The past several weeks have seen the release of many great new tracks, from artists both known and loved, and new. Here are a few to get started on, with more to follow. 

Mr. Twin Sister, “Jaipur” (Self-Released)

Up first, New York’s Mr. Twin Sister, who return with, “Jaipur”, their first new music since 2016 and our favorite – if we must choose – of three (!) new tracks to emerge over this past summer (“Power of Two” and “Echo Arms” the others). “Jaipur” is a beguiling reentry, retaining the suave r&b/‘baby-making music’ sound of 2014’s self-titled effort, all swelling strings and lush vocals – but the storm here feels anything but quiet. All that smooth is jarred by a sped up Bollywood tempo and horn blasts, reflecting a more jittery, self-conscious take on love – anxiously looking for it, while simultaneously fearing that, once found, you’ll just fuck it up and run away, disappointing both the other and yourself.

It’s unclear whether any of these new tracks will be included as part of a forthcoming long-player, but take your chance to hear them live on the band’s upcoming tour, beginning October 18 in Allston, MA. 

Rat Columns, “Sometimes We’re Friends” (Slumberland)

Another welcome return, this one courtesy of Rat Columns, the recording project revolving around David West, who we’ve previously gushed over thanks to their sublime 2017 album, Candle Power. 

“Sometimes We’re Friends” is released as part of a year-long tribute in honor of Slumberland Records’ 30th anniversary. Riding in on a lovely jangle, the track captures the same effortless charm as found on the album, with the kind of road-weary romanticism of bands like The Go-Betweens, Prefab Sprout and the Blue Nile married to an early Cure style guitar chug, uncoiling into an extended and repeated chorus. It’s fantastic, and hopefully means there’s a new full-length coming soon. 

Papercuts, “Laughing Man” (Slumberland)

San Francisco’s Jason Quever returns with Papercuts, bringing the kind of vertiginous psych/dream pop that made us believers on 2009’s You Can Have What You Want. “Laughing Man” was the first of the new tracks we heard (followed closely by “Sing to Me Candy”), and it grabbed us immediately with it’s “Be My Baby”ish beat and woozy harmonies. Sweetly melancholy vocals describing someone “staring into space”, gripped by a memory they “can’t face”, before requesting we be upstanding not for the mayor of simpleton, but the laughing man.

The track will appear on Papercuts’ forthcoming new album, Parallel Universe Blues, due October 19 on Slumberland.

Molly Nilsson, “Slice of Lemon” (Dark Skies Association; Night School)

Another returning fave – this time, Molly Nilsson shares “Slice of Lemon” from her forthcoming full-length, 2020 (that’s the lyric video, above). It’s another world-beating slice (sorry) of new wave-flecked sophistipop. Riding a woozy synth and laconic beat, Nilsson’s lyrical focus feels placed on the beginning and end of a relationship, viewed through the eyes and ice of the narrator and the other – there’s a pang of wistfulness, but without regret. The track feels simultaneously new and like the song that could have soundtracked an alternate version of the denouement to “Sixteen Candles”, in which Sam eats the birthday cake alone, bummed it didn’t work out with Jake, but ultimately ok with it.

2020 is released November 2 on the ever-amazing Night School Records and Nilsson’s own Dark Skies Association imprint. Follow along on fbook, where you can find Nilsson’s upcoming tour dates in the EU and North America.

Lithics, “Photograph, You of” (Thrilling Living)


Back in May, Portland, OR’s Lithics put out one of our favorite records of the year in the form of Excuse Generator. Last month, the band released a one-off single on the Oakland-based Thrilling Living label, and it’s every bit as vitally abrasive. The a-side is a fantastic continuation of Excuse Generator’s tetchy and tuneful post-punk, sneeringly cool vocals playing off the rambling rhythm and jagged one-two guitar lines. B-side, “Lost Signal” brings a kind of Devo meets Television vibe sure to invoke full body shakealongs on the dance floor. One of the best band’s going right now, no doubt.

Grab a copy of the single here. Excuse Generator is out now, on Kill Rock Stars.

Check Out the Split Release from Germ House and Far Corners

Germ House/Far Corners, Split Cassette (Fuzzy Warbles) 

Cover art for Germ House/Far Corners split cassette.


Jeckyl/Hyde, Bowie/Ziggy, Urkel/Urquelle – history is littered with famed alter egos. To this storied list, add Rhode Island-based bands Germ House and Far Corners, musical alter egos conjoined via frontman/guitarist Justin Hubbard. 

The bands’ split cassette, released in June on the New York-based Fuzzy Warbles label, is an excellent showcase for Hubbard’s (together, in Far Corners, with co-conspirators Joe Corluka and Dave Dougan) musical stylings. Side Germ House (a project described as both a solo project and “partially fledged live rock outfit”) is an artful indie pop collage recalling, at times, Beck and Devo with its shards of jangle, twitchy post-punk/new wave, garage, and 70s rock (personal fave, “Inside the Room”). Side Far Corners feels an overall heavier and headier endeavor, upping the fuzz and folding in psych, punk/hc and noise (personal fave, “Gold Choice”). Excellent.

Grab a copy of the split cassette here, and catch Germ House live at one or more upcoming dates, which you can find on fbook. 

Here’s Some of Our Favorite Tracks of the Last Few Weeks

In the latest installment of thegrindinghalt.com‘s ongoing  series, “oh crap, we’re behind on a lot of writing”, please enjoy our musings on several of the tracks we’ve been loving these past few weeks (or so…stop judging!). F

Sink Ya Teeth, “Substitutes” (Hey Buffalo)

We love, love, love Sink Ya Teeth, the dynamic duo of Maria Uzor and Gemma Cullingford. “Substitutes”, their latest dancefloor megablast, is a cowbell- propulsed tour d’angleterre. Hypnotic vocals soar above Detroit techno ‘dugga dugga’ synths and a rough and rugged bass line that reminds a bit of Timezone. The 80s electrofunk influence paired with the insouciant cool of peak Ladytron. Taken from Sink Ya Teeth’s debut album on Hey Buffalo. Divine. De-lovely. Diva voce. 

Innocence Mission, “Green Bus” (Bella Union; Badman; P-Vine)

Taken from Sun on the Square, the most recent long-player from long-running dreamy folk-pop group the innocence mission, “Green Bus” is a beguiling new track. Karen Peris’ vocals play like dappled sunlight through an intricate canopy woven by heavily arpeggio’d guitars and lush strings; the overall effect spiritual. Absolutely lovely. Sun On the Square is out now on the veritable Bella Union, Badman Recording (US) and P-Vine Records (JP).

Free Love, “Synchronicity” (Full Ashram)

Free Love – the band formerly known as Happy Meals (we loved their 2014 debut, Apero, via 2016’s glorious Fruit Juice EP) – graced us with “Synchronicity”. Following a detour into trance-like meditiative music, the track – happily, not a The Police cover –  sees the duo of Rodden and Cook return to the wellspring of divine, club-friendly new wave/late disco/electric r&b. Rubber bass, squelched keys and breathy vox.  Out now on the band’s Full Ashram label.

Totally Mild, “Take Today” (Chapter Music)

“Take Today” features on Her, the latest release from Melbourne’s Totally Mild. Opening with the strummy charm of early Ocean Blue dreampop, vocalist Elizabeth Mitchell’s halcyon lilt incorporates a bit of a Gallic touch, bringing in hints of St. Etienne or the poppier side of Stereolab.  A warm embrace of a song, blooming into a veritable endorphin rush of a chorus. “Why wait for a slow decay/take today”. Her is out now on Chapter Music.

Oh Sees, “Overthrown” (Castle Face)

My youngest enjoys the components of a burrito, but not wrapped up together.  In a bougie/“we watch a lot of Cooking Channel so I can” reaction to this, we’ve come to refer to this dish as ‘deconstructed’. Queue hard segue to the latest track from John Dwyer’s mighty Oh Sees (f/k/a Thee Oh Sees), “Overthrown”. The track’s raucous, main portion slashes and burns like a deconstructed thrash opus – the parts are there (jigga-jigga guitar, intense vox pitched up to a scream), but freed from a traditional thrash metal tortilla, er, song structure by virtue of a swinging beat and shards of hazy psych. New album, Smote Reverser, was released last week, courtesy of Castle Face.

The Sueves, “Stare” (Goodbye Boozy)

The lastest from Chicago’s The Sueves, who never fail to disappoint. “Stare”, the a-side to new 7” on the Goodbye Boozy label, is another storming slice of razor-sharp, earworm-worthy garage/punk/rock ’n roll. Vocalist Joe Schorgl sounds a particularly incensed Bon Scott, strangled shouts over brutally downstrummed guitars and a watertight rhythm charge. It’s a fantastic follow on to the band’s spring ’18 full-length, R.I.P. Clearance Event.

Fröst, “Record Still Spinning” (Lost Room)

Fröst is the duo of vocalist Johanna Bramli (who also sang with Stereolab offshoot, Imitation Electric Piano) and Fujiya & Miyagi’s Steve Lewis. Taken from their debut long-player, Matters, “Record Still Spinning” is the first taste, and the influence of the principals’ other projects is evident. The heady mix of a steady, motorik beat augmented by urgent driving bass, minimal synths and breathy vocals call to mind the aforementioned bands, as well as Broadcast and Hooverphonic. Matters releases September 28, courtesy of Lost Room.

Exploded View, “Raven Raven” (Sacred Bones)

Exploded View is an intercontinental project comprising Annika Henderson, Hugo Quezada, and Martin Thulin. “Raven Raven”, taken from the group’s forthcoming sophomore release, Obey, is a vertiginous slab of shuddering, danceable (read: swaying) psych. The lyrical flow reminds a bit of Suicide’s “Cheree”, though here the watcher has become the watched, the titular bird sitting on Henderson’s shoulder, eyeing her ‘every move’. Obey is due for release September 28, courtesy of Sacred Bones. 

 

Melbourne’s Terry Returns, Declare “I’m Terry”

Terry, I’m Terry (Upset the Rhythm)

Terry is a name whose Nordic meaning is, apparently, ‘like Thor’. Terry is a soft material used to make luxurious towels and bathrobes. Terry is also (and most importantly) a Melbourne-based quartet comprised of musicians from a veritable smorgasbord of excellent Australian indie groups including UV Race, Total Control, Dick Diver and Primo! (and those are just the ones I already know and like – I’ve got to get busy listening to the rest). Following their early EPs and a duo of excellent albums (2016’s Terry HQ and last year’s Remember Terry), the band return with the fantastic, I’m Terry.

I’m Terry retains many hallmarks of the band’s sound – interchanged and/or tandem vocals (one of the men sounds an awful lot like Robyn Hitchcock to me, but forgive me, dear reader, for I know not whether tis Zephyr Pavey or Al Montfort); a Gun Club-esque perversion of country slide – further enhanced and dynamic than on prior releases. The languid cool veneer is also present, as is the band’s knack for wry, observational lyrics – I was reminded of early Go-Go’s tracks like “This Town” for the ability to match this type of language with a kind of gritty pop (see also bands like The Vaselines and The Fall).

This detachment works particularly well when cracks start to form and the band allows itself to indulge in the sneer underneath, as in the full scale rockouts of closer, “For the Field”, and the conclusions to “Bureau” and ‘needs a dance to go along with it’ “The Whip” (the former ultimately cascading into a blissful fade out). Highlights are many, and include the Ballboy-like stream of consciousness vocals on “Carpe Diem”, which sounds like a kind of warped lullaby, and the aforementioned pogofest that is “The Whip” (just try getting that ‘na-na’ chorus out of your head anytime soon). My personal favorite flits, usually alighting upon the hypnotic “Under Reign”, with its sly bassline amplifying the “reek of reason”; calm recitations emboldened by cinematic synthesizer, creaking under the weight of a crazed saxophone solo. Brilliant.

I’m Terry is released August 31, courtesy of the phenomenal Upset the Rhythm label (seriously, in what world does one roster include Terry, Primo!, The Green Child, Gen Pop, Vexx, Sauna Youth, Vital Idles, The World…crazy). Surveil (in a supportive way) Terry’s online movements on instagram and/or the twitt. The band’s upcoming tour dates in the UK and Ireland can be found here. 

Sweat Out the Jams with Our New Playlist!

Check out our new playlist, featuring current faves (per usual, only the ones we could find on soundcloud – others to be shared). Enjoy!

A New Playlist for Your Ears!

Here’s a sampling of some artists we’ve been enjoying of late (yes, some tracks are older – blame soundcloud). Enjoy!

Ride Along with Thigh Master and Dag on Their Split EP


Thigh Master/Dag, Euro Tour Split EP (Bruit Direct Disques)

We here at tgh stumbled upon Thigh Master, a merryish band from Brisbane, AUS, last year when they released the excellent “BBC” 7” single on 12XU. More recently (February, to be precise – we’re nothing if not punctual), the band released a new, split EP with Dag (also from Brisbane; each band sharing players) in connection with their tour of Europe. 

The EP is chock full of woozy jangle of the highest order. Side Thigh Master features personal fave “Exodus”, the track’s gritty, delightfully ramshackle veneer belying some serious chops and a shit-eating grin worthy melodic refrain. Side Dag (a band new to us) is a more languid affair, highlight “Up the Wall” recalling a bit of early REM with its warm melancholy. There’s movement in the tracks and the lyrics – escapes, time passing, perhaps through the open window of a tour van – that make this EP well worth repeated listenings on a long car trip. Or sitting on a couch. You do you. 

The EP is available now, courtesy of Paris-based Bruit Direct Disques. Follow…

Thigh Master:  

https://www.facebook.com/thighmastermaster/

https://thighmaster.bandcamp.com

Dag: 

https://www.facebook.com/abandcalledDag/

https://dagdagdag.bandcamp.com

Spiritualized Return With “I’m Your Man”

Spiritualized have announced a new album, And Nothing Hurt, by sharing opening tracks “A Perfect Miracle” and “I’m Your Man”. Herein, I focus on the latter.  

“I’m Your Man” builds like a slow-burning lullaby, Stones/Stax/Floyd/gospel excess dropped to earth by the shuffling guile of Pierce’s lyrics. Listening, one imagines a scene: Las Vegas, early summer, 1977. The air, shimmering and oven-like but not quite yet at broil. In the near distance, a jumpsuited Elvis embarks on a spirit walk amidst the desolate barrens outside the desert city. Returning to the Hilton, chastened and mind dutifully expanded, he stuns a crowd of bouffanted housewives by excising the sorry/not sorry of “Always on My Mind” from the setlist, crooning instead…

“I could be …/dependable, on down the line/devoted, all the time/but if you want wasted, loaded/ permanently folded/I’m your man”.

And Nothing Hurt is due September 7, courtesy of Bella Union and Fat Possum. Spiritualized also have a few upcoming tour dates, which can be found here.

Check Out “Brick Walls”, the Latest from Beta Boys, As Well As “Laugh/Cry” from Their Forthcoming LP

Beta Boys, “Brick Walls/Littered Streets” 7”; “Laugh/Cry” (Total Punk; Feel It!)

Beta Boys are a four-piece punk rock brigade whose current shop is set up in Olympia, WA. Since releasing a cassette demo in 2014, the band has been busy, releasing several singles and EPs on a variety of labels, each showcasing a fantastic blur of early 80s hardcore and death rock. 

Their latest 7” single, released in February on Total Punk, just may be their most explosive yet. “Brick Walls” rides in on a Suicidal wave, dashes you on the rocks and continues to churn. There’s more than a hint of the Poison Idea-levels of the musical nihilism you’ve come to expect from the band, the track winding itself ever tighter but without indulging in a full throttle release – it’s more endless circle pit than full-on slam riot. Fear not, though, as catharsis soon come in the form of b-side, “Littered Streets”, with its straight ahead hardcore chug, washed out guitar and peel the paint vocals, yips and yowls that remind me of Blaine from The Accused.  

It’s more fully-focused than anything else I’ve heard from Beta Boys, but doesn’t sacrifice their rawness. Anyway, sometimes you just need a punk record whose cover appears to feature Snoopy giving the double bird, right? You know you do. Go pick up a copy via the Beta Boys’ bandcamp.  

I’ve had notes going on this for so long (all 4:48 of it…I guess I’m easily distracted), the band in the meantime released a new track, “Laugh/Cry” – billed as the “shortest” on their forthcoming LP, Late Night Acts – and it’s another ripper. Look for that one in August, courtesy of Richmond-based Feel It! Records.