Check Out Tracks from Brandy, Too Free, JOHN, and Keel Her

Brandy, “Clown Pain” (Total Punk)


NYC trio Brandy features members of Pampers and Running (the latter one of our fave bands of the last few years in the ‘whacked-out’ punk space). Their recent “Clown Pain” 7” is an excellent mash up of the members’ other band’s respective sounds – the a-side, title track welding a wizened psych(out) on to sky-high, fist pumping riffs, while b-side “Rent Quest” underpins a buzzing drone riff with a ‘shake appeal’ rhythm. It’s kind of like a basement jam featuring The Stooges and AC/DC (Bon-era, duh) and it’ll make you want to do that Angus Young accordion dance thing. Great stuff.

The single is available now, courtesy of Total Punk. Brandy do have a Bandcamp page for your perusing delight, where you can also fine their fine debut long-player, on Monofonous Press. While you’re doing that, work your senses overtime by checking out this video of Brandy playing live video at Union Pool, Bkln.

Web: bcamp label

Too Free, “ATM” (Sister Polygon)


Too Free is a new band comprised of Awad Bilal, Carson Cox and Don Godwin. 

The lead single from their forthcoming debut, “ATM”, is an intoxicating, pose-worthy slice of early house and electric disco – the toms even reminiscent of the famed go-go of their DC hometown. The multi-step rhythm/elastic bass/synth combo is mesmeric, but it’s Bilal’s vocals that truly put on a show here. One part early house diva, another Anohni, Bilal glides through notes on diamond-encrusted wings, the inherent vamp and strut infused with raw emotion. “Engulf me”, indeed.

“ATM” is available now as a stand-alone download on Too Free’s bandcamp page (link below). The group’s debut long-player is due to be released later this year, on Sister Polygon.

Web: bcamp insta label

JOHN, “Future Thinker” (Pets Care Records)


John Healy and John Henry Newton are the two John’s behind a London (Crystal Palace, to be exact – go Eagles!)-based group named, erm, JOHN (aka “JOHN (TIMESTWO)”, in certain spaces). In a bit of online serendipity, we discovered the group via fbook shoutout from one of our current faves, We Wild Blood. 

Self-described as ‘four arms, four legs, two heads, wood, metal and plastic’, “Future Thinker” pushes a once familiar guitar/drum combo deeply into the red. Growling vocals and buzzy guitar roil and churn over a steady, almost glam rhythm. It’s a continuous sonic slap in the face over the duration of its 3:02 run time, with the addition of cacophonous sax squalls from Chloë Herrington towards the end a welcome one. Reminds a bit of Metz, Snakehole, or Sex Swing. Do as they say and “burn the proverbial bridge”.

“Future Thinker” is set to be the lead track off JOHN’s forthcoming debut long-player, Out Here on the Fringes, due in October courtesy of Pets Care Records. It is available for pre-order here.

Web: fbook bcamp scloud twitt label

Keel Her, “Complain Train” (O Genesis)


We here at tgh love a good pun, especially one that’s ultimately self-effacing/deprecating. In that spirit, we present Keel Her, the musical alter-ego of Rose Keeler-Schäffeler. Get it? We’ll give you a sec…ok, then. 

“Complain Train”, taken from forthcoming long-player, With Kindness, is a lovingly crafted dose of psych-tinged indie pop, in the vein of Broadcast, Jane Weaver, and Rose Dougal. A woozy, almost playground-like synth melody provides the backdrop for Keeler’s reflective lyrics, before ultimately falling off to a rougher-edged solo/outro.  It sits nicely with other previews from the record, the dead-eyed girl group charmer “Empathy”, and slow-burning “No Control” – each one putting Keeler-Schaffeler’s incredible knack for vocal melody construction on pedastalic display.

With Kindness is due today (June 7), courtesy O Genesis, a label run by Tim Burgess, Nik Colk Void and Jim Spencer (fan boy alert!). Do yourself the favor of perusing her Bandcamp page (link below), whereat all manner of demos, EPs, covers, &etc., are there to be enjoyed (her cover of Robert Wyatt’s “Heap of Sheeps” is a particular fave).

Web: bcamp scloud twitt site fbook label

Check Out Music from Homeless Cadaver, Ben Woods, DMBQ and Khotin

Homeless Cadaver, ‘Fat Skeleton’ (Iron Lung) 


7” single from Homeless Cadaver – a band I can find basically less than bupkuss about online. Whoever they may be, they’ve released a great single in the form of ‘Fat Skeleton’. The a-side/title track features quirky, choppy punk full of gross-out humor and flashes of discordant synth lines a la Devo and newer acolytes like Austmuteants. B-side, “Art. Eat It.”, is a sludgier affair, cartoonishly violent lyrics shuffling into a zombiefied chorus. Whizzing by in the space of about four and a half minutes, it leaves a mark, together with a pleasant numbness. Eat it.

Out now (the vinyl is part the second of a five part ‘Systemic Surgery’ series of singles), courtesy of the fine folks at Iron Lung.

Web: label

Ben Woods, “Romancy”

Ben Woods is a musician hailing from Christchurch, NZ – currently playing drums in tgh fave Salad Boys. He’s also a solo artist, and was kind enough to send over the video (directed by friend, Martin Sagadin) for his latest track, “Romancy”. Floating along a sinuous drift, the track calls to mind a bit of Radiohead or Mogwai in spaces. Woods’ hushed delivery of lines such as ‘holding on to you/i don’t know what’s true’ feel like drifting off on the couch after someone important’s just left, the cigarette burning down between fingers. It’s gorgeous, emotive psych, portending a fine full-length which, the press release tells us, is due later this year. Bonus points for leading me to scuzzy girl group crash of last summer’s “Lozenge”. 

Web: bcamp fbook 

DMBQ, “No Things” (God?/Drag City)


Taken from last fall’s Keeenly, “No Things” is a load-bearing slab of psych-rock from Japan’s DMBQ (shorthand for ‘Dynamite Masters Blues Quartet’) that’s tight enough to walk on, loose enough to swing. The vocals, rather than being straight forward, are as jagged as the feedback-addled guitars; buried so deep in the mix they sound like as if they originated from inside the kick drum. The end actually kinda sounds like a sonic boom – perfect. 

Endorsed/released by Ty Segall, courtesy of his God? imprint for Drag City.

Web: label bcamp twitt site 

Khotin, “Water Soaked in Forever” (Ghostly)


Khotin is the nom de musique of Vancouver, BC-based Dylan Khotin-Foote. His track, ‘Water Soaked In Forever” feels like it’s titular subject: a warm bath, the proverbial babbling brook heard through the pines, ending with what sounds like a recording of falling rain. The track is pastoral with a slow, intentionally deliberate pace, but while certainly soothing, the vaguely discordant melody on top (played on the highest piano keys? the parts of the strings over the guitar head?) keep things more invigorating than narcoleptic. There’s shades of new age, the tropical dance of groups like 808 State, ambient – all to great effect.

Taken from full-length, Beautiful You, self-released in 2018 and now being given a wider release courtesy of Ghostly International.

Web: label soundcloud bcamp twitt insta

New Music from Working Men’s Club, Dehd, Crumb and The Pretzels

Working Men’s Club, “Bad Blood” (Melodic)


“Todmorden-by-way-of-Europe” trio, Workingmens’ Club, released their debut 7” in February. ‘Bad Blood’ arrives with an almost “Maniac[al]” opening, adding scratchy guitars until developing into a full-blown early new wave/post-punk stomper. The talk-sung vocals, punctuated by energetic backing interjections reminds of Brix-period The Fall (and, somewhere, I kept hearing a bit of Thompson Twins?). There’s a bit more gloss on show here than your average post-punk but, fear not, there’s grit ‘neath the polished nails. “Be happy when the sun shines”, indeed.

‘Bad Blood’ is being repressed April 26, courtesy of Melodic Records The band is also touring soon, including as opener for the mighty Fat White Family – dates here. (Psst – the band’s guitarist, Julia Bardo, also has solo music out that is worth checking out, over at The Line of Best Fit).

Web: bcamp fbook twitt label

Dehd, “On My Side” (Fire Talk)

Chicago’s Dehd offer the latest taster from their forthcoming album, Water, with ‘On My Side’. A halcyon jangle underpins lyrics that feel like an open, possibly unsent, letter to someone missed – lines like “let me know/if you’re coming/back again” delivered with a mixture of wistfulness and detachment. The sedated feel is broken, here, with a wall-crumbling chorus from Emily Kempf, there with playful bass runs and elsewhere with a jittery, bent guitar solo. It’s lovely, reminding in spots of bands like Posse (RIP).

Based on this and previously shared, equally fab track, ‘Lucky’, Water – due May 10 from Fire Talk – is going to be one to covet. Dehd have a bunch of upcoming tour dates, which can be found here.

Web: site label bcamp insta

Crumb, “Nina” (self-released?)


Crumb are a four piece, formed in Boston (well, Medford) and now based in Brooklyn. “Nina” is the band’s latest, and presents us with a dreamy slice of psych-tinged indie pop that shows off the band’s gift for hazy, infectious melody. There’s a bit of a gallic tint (think Melodys Echo Chamber or Stereolab), paired with an r&b vibe that gives a throwback feel to the days when hip hop, trip hop and mellow jazz swam in the same waters. Lead singer/guitarist/writer Lila Ramani’s diaphanous vocals stitch it all together beautifully, at once above and dead center in the mix.

“Nina” is taken from Crumb’s debut album, Jinx, which is due June 14 and is now up for pre-order. Catch the band live on one of their upcoming dates.

Web: site bcamp fbook twitt insta

The Pretzels, “Kick it with K”


Hailing from Montréal, The Pretzels bring a twisted (Ed.: insert eye-roll emoji) take on proto/punk/garage in the form of ‘Kick it with K’. Flinging together bits of sassy, discomfiting punk, experimental noisiness and slightly-hinged rock (think Flipper, Dead Kennedys, early Butthole Surfers, Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster), the track is an apt aural accompaniment to the (presumably) titular anesthesis. Oh, and it suddenly left turns at the 1:40 mark into a long, doom metal-style outro for the remaining 2:30 or so… you’re welcome.

Brilliantly deranged. Must be amazing live – see for yourself if you’re near Quebec and let us know.

Web: fbook bcamp insta

List-palooza!

We’ve created a new list for these soggy days (and, really, any other kinds as well). Also, since we neglected to share our previous couple of lists here at the hq, taking care of that now. You can always find these, and more songs we like, on our facebook page and/or twitter feed!

Check Out ‘Poison Future’, from Montréal’s Protruders

Taken from Protruders’ discogs.com page.

Protruders, Poison Future (Feel It)


Protruders are a four-piece band of miscreants from Montréal, who have graced us with a slab of proto-punk goodness in the form of Poison Future, billed as the band’s ‘vinyl debut’ following several, self-released tapes.

Though hailing from the great white north™, you’d be excused if the album’s seven tracks had your mind wandering firmly towards the midwestern US and its many punk forefathers who embraced the weird. Poison Future is, throughout, shot through with late-Stooges/early Iggy glam-sludge stompers and more experimental sounding Electric Eels garage skronk. The vocals remind a bit of Richard Hell, at times, as maniacal saxomophone punctuates jittery rhythm changes. ‘No Stone’ marries Dead Boys sleaze with Kid Congo cheek, while other numbers deconstruct into long-form jam wig-out sessions. It’s a glorious greasy mess of a record – and highly recommended.

Poison Future is out now, courtesy of Feel It. The band have a few shows upcoming in Canada, with the label promising US midwest and east coast dates soon – find those dates here (scroll down a bit).

Highlights include: “No Stone”; “Tax 101”; “Fruit Hang”.

Web: bcamp label 

Barcelona’s Fatamorgana Beguile on “Terra Alta”

Artwork by Monika Proniewska (Hekla Studio).

Fatamorgana, Terra Alta (La Vida Es Un Mus)


Fatamorgana is a Barcelona-based project featuring Patrycja Proniewska and Louis Harding, whose previous endeavors ranged from the sandblasted hardcore of bands like Good Throb and the gothic, post-punk textures of outfits like Belgrado. Following on last year’s excellent, self-released demo, debut long-player Terra Alta finds the duo striking a midpoint between the sparse, new wave mood pieces of bands like Visage, Yaz(oo), or early Human League (think Travelogue, or Dare tracks like ‘Sound of the Crowd’ – not ‘Human’) and the later, lushness of later 80s bands like Propaganda or Book of Love.  

A fata morgana is a type of complex mirage, its layers of distorted images at times resulting in certain shapes on the horizon appearing to float (and named, apparently, for Morgan le Fay). This seems a fitting name for the band, as the surface-level simplicity of these 11 tracks often beguile and distract from the complexities beneath. Nowhere is this clearer than on album highlight, ‘10 Minutos de la Tierra’, whose leveled beat and floating vocals must surely make Vince Clarke wish he’d written it 35-odd years ago. Elsewhere, ‘Universo’ shifts an elongated, processed vocal left and right for so long it becomes disorienting. Closer ‘El Desvanecer del Futuro’ is a strobe-lit dance floor epic built upon the sturdiest of synthesized bass and rhythm that gradually fades off over the horizon.

The lyrics are mostly in spanish, and mine is not good; however, a quick review of the titles suggests a lyrical focus on the magical/mystical places and times (Atlantis, labyrinths, the dawn, the universe/deep space) that fit well with the album’s feel. Terra Alta is out now, courtesy of the always fab La Vida Es Un Mus discos.

Highlights include: “10 Minutos de la Tierra”; “La Atlántida”; “El Desvanecer del Futuro”.

Web: fbook bcamp label insta

Sydney’s Low Life Return with a “Downer Edn”

From the band’s fbook page

Low Life, Downer Edn (Goner; Cool Death; Alter)


Sydney, Australia’s Low Life last week released Downer Edn (pronounced like “edition”), their first set of new material since 2014’s Dogging. Having expanded to a quintet with the addition of Dizzy Daldal and Yuta Matsumura to the ranks the result, as you might expect, is a fuller-sounding record that retains all of the roughness that made Dogging such a thrill. 

Opener “The Pitts” starts us along, wrapped in a gothic fog, music and vocals heavily cloaked in grit, before galloping off into a four squared mosh pit groove. Highlights are many, the group’s knack for a burying moments of melodic bliss amongst the gloom in tracks like ‘Lust Forevermore’, which feel like a rope thrown over the bow. The album’s mixing of death rock, psych, Magazine-style post-punk and flanged new wave is a heady concoction that’s as much fun to drink deep as it is to parse through. Personal fave, ‘Rave Slave’, sounds a bit like A Bell is a Cup or Ideal Copy Wire pushed into the red of the more dramatic Killing Joke on Brighter Than a Thousand Suns.

As with Dogging, these tracks can barely suppress a sneer at the general state of, well, most things – a kind of equal opportunity disregard that tends to underpin most worthwhile critical pieces, musical or otherwise. Mitch Tolman’s vocals generally idle in a fixed simmer, as though he can’t be arsed to indulge the anger underneath and, when so moved, can only summon a withering “fuck it” (‘Glamour’). According to the notes accompanying the record, it was heavily influenced by their hometown, and I think many can relate to a heavy ambivalence towards the place they grew up (either from inside or from a distance) – particularly one as iconic as Sydney. The changes (the good, bad, and eye-roll worthy) that take place over time can inspire both pride and dismissal in equal measures. Downer Edn feels as much an embrace – without sparing the rod – as a mirrored shield held up against the cities ills. 

Downer Edn is out now, courtesy of Cool Death (AUS), Goner (US), and Alter (EU/UK).

Web: fbook insta bcamp Alter Goner Cool Death 

Highlights include: “Lust Forevermore”; “Rave Slave”; “Lad Life”.

New Music from The Murder Capital, Hash Redactor, NOTS and Olivia Neutron-John

The Murder Capital, “Feeling Fades” (Human Season)

Dublin, Ireland, quintet The Murder Capital are a rising force, and not in a cheesily histrionic, Yngvie Malmsteen kind of way. Having stormed out of the gates with debut track, “More Is Less” (which, I believe, is only listentoable via live video (and worth it)), they come for the castle on follow-up, “Feeling Fades”. James McGovern’s intensely sung/shouted vocals are equal measures antagonizing and resigned (not a million miles from Birthday Party-era Cave) like a heated discussion with a stranger at the bar at closing time, climaxing in a wordless paean. The music tip toes the proverbial razor wire, building tension if not release, putting them of a piece with other modern post-punk purveyors like Protomartyr. The band have a host of upcoming tour dates, which can be found on their site.

Web: insta site fbook twitt 

Hash Redactor, “Good Sense” (Goner; Upset the Rhythm)


Can a band featuring members of two great bands be, unto itself, great? If that band be Hash Redactor then, gentle reader, early evidence suggests a resounding hell (to the) yes. The contributing bands in question are NOTS (bassist Meredith Lones and drummer Charlotte Watson) and Ex-Cult (singer/guitarist Alec McIntyre) – whose musical stylings have often rattled the bookshelves at tgh hq – joined by guitarist George Williford. Debut track “Good Sense” welds a brilliant, lurching bassline onto phased-out guitar swoons and deadpan vocals. A bit reminiscent of the Butthole Surfers in spaces, the track just continues to build across its 2:50 run time, before abruptly downing tools. Hash Redactor’s long-form debut, Drecksound, is due April 26 from Goner (US) and Upset the Rhythm (UK/EU) and is now available for pre-order here and/or here.

Web: Upset the Rhythm Goner fbook twitt

NOTS, “Half Painted House” (Goner; Upset the Rhythm)


Speaking of NOTS, the Memphis psych-punks have a new album – 3 – coming out May 10 (also) from Goner (US) and Upset the Rhythm (UK/EU); it will be the band’s first new music since 2017’s “Cruel Friend” 7” and its first as a trio, following the last year’s departure of keys player Alexandra Eastburn. Album teaser track, “Half Painted House”, is one of the best things they’ve done. Further tightening the loosely-spooled, straight out of the garage ravers of their earliest output, the track glides along a solid groove (those basslines again!), providing a north star through the hazy, fogged synth sounds and stage-left siren howls. Each new release from this band makes us antsy to hear the rest, and “Half Painted House” is no exception. Pre-order 3 here and/or here.

Web: Upset the Rhythm Goner fbook twitt 

On-J, “March” (Sister Polygon)

Olivia Neutron-John (bka, On-J) – self-proclaimed leader of the ‘post-bro movement’ we all need – is the project of Washington, D.C.’s Anna Nasty, who has also done time as a member of the Ian Svenonius-fronted Chain and the Gang (see what we did there?). “March” is her first On-J release since 2014’s “Injury Train and I’m Never Getting Off It” single, and serves as a teaser for a forthcoming, eponymous debut long-player. The simplest of rhythms and basic melody – the titular, casiotoned beat and one note key – is soon wrapped in a truly beguiling, serpentine bassline, Nasty’s words sounding as though processed through a megaphone as she vocalizes a relationship’s push/pull (“is this what you want?/..but it feels good at night/doesn’t make it right”). Olivia Neutron-John is due May 10, on Sister Polygon, and is available for pre-order now. On-J is also currently on tour (including some dates with Priests), with dates to be found on her site.

Web: Sister Polygon site bcamp fbook insta twitt

Reviews: Starchild and the New Romantic; Borzoi; Gen Pop, Rose Mercie; Datenight (US)

Our latest in a series of recaps of albums we loved from the last calendar year…

Starchild and the New Romantic, Language (Ghostly International)

Starchild and the New Romantic is the brainchild of New York-based Maryland transplant, Bryndon Cook. A multi-instrumentalist and vocalist who has also worked with fellow travelers like Devonté Hynes and Solange Knowles, Language is an exemplary slice of lush, 80s-inflected r&b. Drums don’t so much hit as disperse, synths probe longingly, guitars flicker and wane. While the purple one’s haze hangs thick over this set, you also hear the ambitious, heart-on-sleeve arrangements of bands like Force MD’s or the Blue Nile – Cook’s revelatory voice reminiscent of the underlauded Jesse Johnson or Melvin Riley in its plaintive tenor notes. As an added bonus, ‘Only If U Knew’ and ‘Hangin’ On’ might be the best ‘quiet storm’ summoning slow jams I’ve heard in an age. It’s a record that takes things back and pushes them forward simultaneously. Highlights include: “Hangin’ On”; “Language”; “Good Stuff”.

Web: label bcamp fbook soundcloud

Borzoi, A Prayer for War (12XU)


Austin-based trio Borzoi released their latest, A Prayer for War, last September. I’ve listened to it many times since and, though I find it absolutely stunning, I’ve no real idea what to make of it – and that, friends, is what makes it great. Sure, there’s elements of punk, acid-drenched post-punk, funk, a free kinda jazz, noise, dweebs, wasteoids, dickheads, righteous dudes, a fuckin’ partridge in a mother fuckin’ pear tree. All there. In the end, though, the record breaks down to a feeling – and that feeling is “tenuously hinged”. The skittery, jittery atmosphere is shot through, here, with bursts of melody (“Schlock”) and, in many other places, with a heavy boot to the face (“Lizard Men of the Third Reich”). Buckle up. Highlights include: “Schlock”; “Big Pink”; “The Tonsure Twist”.

Web: label fbook bcamp  

Rose Mercie, S-T (SDZ; Monofonus Press)


Rose Mercie is a quartet based in Montreuil, France. Their debut, self-titled album came out last March, and it’s intoxicating. Stripping elements of hypnotic psych, folk and dream pop to their bare essentials – there’s nothing adulterated in the arrangements or production here – then building them up again, with a layer of girl group in the rhythms and vocal interplay. Tracks like highlight, ‘Moyen-Age’, recall a less ornamental Broadcast; elsewhere, ‘The End of Love’ projects The Raincoats jamming in a hazy flat with the Velvet Underground. While largely bucolic in feel, there is a bit of welcome menace “In the Valley” – it’s an album to sit with, the eight tracks unspooling at a deliberate pace. Settle in and listen. Highlights include: “Moyen-Age”; “Floating”; “How Can I Talk”.

Web: label label bcamp fbook soundcloud

Datenight (US),  Comin’ Atcha’ 100mph (Drop Medium)


Nashville, TN trio Datenight (US) serve up garage-punk with a side of power pop hooks and classic, driving midwestern rock on last February’s Comin’ Atcha’ 100mph. It’s an apt title, with no more than half of the dozen tracks in the set clocking in on the high side of two minutes. Each cut, though, leaves a mark; the melodies linger long after the band has roared on to the next. Be it the straight up Sonics’ garage rumble of ‘While it Lasts’, the blissful lo-fi jangle of ‘Poor Exchange’ or the perfected combo of highlight, ‘Tennessee Rider’, the set drips with brio – it’ll have you singing along, even when you don’t know any of the words. Fab. Highlights include: “Tennessee Rider”; “Poor Exchange”; “In and Out”.

Web: label bcamp fbook  

Gen Pop, II (Feel It)


Olympia, WA-based Gen Pop released a six-track EP last May, entitled II. Lifting off from their devastatingly potent debut, On the Screen (released less than a year prior), II offers a virulent slice of old school hardcore for the modern world. Featuring MaryJane Dunphy and Ian Corrigan from the fantastic Vexx, the band manages to push a swirl of sounds into a tight timeframe. [Update: MaryJane Dunphy has left the band. Elle Svete both sings and plays guitar on “No Change”] features tepid vocals transposed over Flex Your Head-summoning musical righteousness, while tracks like ‘Waxing State’ and ‘Din’ inject a bit of post-punk jitter and Buzzcocks’ guitar melodiousness. Highlights include: “No Change”; “Waxing State”.

Web: label bcamp [check out On the Screen here and/or here]

Reviews: Salad Boys, C.A.R., Ravyn Lenae, Zed Penguin, Ten High, Smokescreens

Part the second of our ‘apology tour’, in which we continue to dig through the list of records that touched us last year and make sure that we spread the good word. 

Salad Boys, This is Glue (Trouble in Mind)


Christchurch, New Zealand’s Salad Boys returned last February with their latest album, This is Glue, and it’s a thrilling listen. Opener, “Blown Off” lifts off with a thrum like a motorik “Kids in America”, before dissolving into a blissful Buzzcocks charged guitar run, and the remaining tracks employ shades of indie disco, the purest power-pop, pearlescent strum-pop (“Exaltation”), orphic psych and early REM jangle (“Psych Slasher”). It’s lush, without being cloying; polished, but still retaining scuff and patina. Highlights include: “Psych Slasher”; “Right Time”; “Going Down Slow”.

Web: label bcamp site

C.A.R., Pinned(Ransom Note)


Also released last February, Pinned, the latest from C.A.R. (the recording project of London-based Franco-Canadian Chloé Raunet) features elements of icy, Yaz(oo)-like new wave sensuality, post-punk empty spaces, and dubby trip-hop – all blended into transportive art-pop. There’s a Nina Hagen art-bounce meets Grace Jones cool on tracks like “Heat”, “Growing Pains” gradually adding gorgeous layers of glacial synths and ethereal background vocals to a stark bass/drum combo. C.A.R. has since released several remixes (I particularly enjoyed Peaking Lights’ remix of ‘Daughters’), one of which included a new song, “All But…”, as a b-side. Highlights include: “Growing Pains”; “Heat”; “Cholera”.

Web: label bcamp fbook insta site

Ravyn Lenae, Crush EP (Atlantic/Three Twenty Three Music)


Ravyn Lenae hails from Chicago, and released a smoke bomb of an EP last February called Crush. Lifting off even higher than her dizzying 2016 debut, Moon Shoes, the EP provides an intoxicating cache of silky smooth, new-old school r&b tracks. Lenae’s effortless voice balances featherweight highs and funky gnarl, moving stealthily through hazy grooves that evoke everything from Funkadelic, the Isleys, Erykah Badu, and Prince. Steve Lacey’s head-swimming production provides highlights as well (see the introduction of the bass in “Computer Luv”, on which he also provides vocal accompaniment). More of this, soon, please and thank you. Highlights include: “Closer (Ode 2U)”; “Computer Luv”.

Web: site twitt insta youtube fbook 

Zed Penguin, A Ghost, A Beast (Song, by Toad)


Sometimes, an album comes along whose constituent parts may seem familiar, but taking a step back to view the entire picture reveals something new and difficult to describe. A Ghost, A Beast, the debut full-length from Zed Penguin – the musical project of Edinburgh-based Australian, Matthew Winter – is such an album. The shapeshifting arrangements meld psych, chamber-pop, the wry, arty-rock of Zevon, and tensile post-punk, Winter’s tremulous tone recalling a mix of Joe Jackson and Ian McCullough. Some moments transcend – to wit, the glorious ‘End of Time’, with it’s shimmery jangle. Highlights include: “End of Time”; “Wandering”; “Violent Night”.

Web: label bcamp fbook twitt

Ten High, Autobondage EP (Hexbeat) 


Our Arkansas pals in Ten High released the Autobondage EP this past October, and it slays. Five fuzzed-out, gonzo tracks held together by a steady, powerful bass/drum battery. The roiling opener, ‘Dr. Choice’ (featuring vocals by drummer Devan Theos) couldn’t possibly be a more apt, ‘in the red’ introduction to the splendor on show here. Trading in the same gloriously trashy garage/blues/punk sleaze as debut, Self-Entitled, these tracks manage to tighten things up a notch, without losing any of their edge. Highlights include: “Dr. Choice”; “You Want It”.

Web: fbook bcamp

Smokescreens, Used to Yesterday (Slumberland)


L.A.-based quartet Smokescreens released their latest, Used to Yesterday, last summer. Appropriate to that season, the album is jam-packed with absolutely gorgeous power-(psych)pop and Paisley Underground-style hooks. The band’s online bio mentions a mutual admiration for Dunedin sound between founders Chris Rosi and Corey Cunningham, and you can hear it loud and clear on tracks like ‘Buddy’. But there’s also a US spin on things, with ‘Steel Blue Skies’ adding a slacker-y take, and the band channeling the Velvets on ‘Fool Me’. Highlights include: “Steel Blue Skies”; “Jolly Jane”; “Used to Yesterday”.

Web: label bcamp fbook twitt