"Yearn" - Carnivals
The difference between an effectively artsy and cool album cover and falling flat is thin, but the quality of the music behind that little box and the way it relates to the cover can do quite a bit to push one way or the other. The fact that an album’s music actually impregnated me with triplets makes the closeup of a woman’s neck perfect; my inability to remember anything but the single makes a mosquito assaulting a baby… actually, not even a Julia Holter album could get me to side with that cover.
What I’m getting at is that the arm up there is finger-stepping on an especially fine razor edge. I could easily find it cheap, or hopefully lost. Fortunately, the music (which is all that really matters, I guess) pushes many of the same buttons many a Tri Angle Records release does. I say that only partially because I both reviewed the fantastic new Forest Swords record and noticed the prominence of hands and arms in the label’s discography.
"Yearn" has a similar (if not as effective as TAR’s best) bent toward mystical and immersive electronics, seeking to create an ethereal atmosphere of dewy, shrouded sounds and unintelligible vocal snippets. It’s a construction that siren songs the listener into diving in, and I’m hoping man-behind-the-moniker Stew Green has material that is, if anything, even better on his September 30-slated EP of the same name.
- Tyler Hanan
"Prototype" - Black Sites
Like the somewhat law-abiding square I am I’ve never done elicit drugs. So I have a question for people who’ve actually lived a life: is this track what an upper feels like? Is it a similarly addictive stew of sweaty and taut nervous energy distending and spiraling out endlessly, an inability to stand still, a driving drumbeat in your skull mesmerizing you, filling you with the compulsion for more, God, oh please, more? Is that a thing? Is Walter White shilling that out? Can I afford some on a campus newspaper salary? Can Black Sites - the collaboration of Hamburg’s Helena Hauff and F#X, whose debut EP Prototype will be released later this month by PAN - hook me up with more of this sweet, unrelenting sonic drug? Can they tell me what an “untethered Drexciyan melody” is?I
I accidentally started playing this in a second tab with a split-second difference in beat. It took time to find amidst the tens of tabs I have open. Blood and clear fluid is seeping slowly out of my ears, coagulating in a half-decent beard, staining my snug emo band shirt and fashionable plaid shorts.
- Tyler Hanan
"Snakedog" - together PANGEA
A list of former tourmates is as easy - yet effective! - a way as any to approximate together PANGEA’s general vibe, as you toss out your Segalls, Cronins, and Black Lips…es in an effort to grab some extra ears. It isn’t needed, though; a few seconds of together PANGEA’s raw, reckless, and dirty buzzsawing about a soon to be rundown room is hook enough.
Getting some nice exposure with the title track off tomorrow’s Harvest Records-released 7”, a band that found its way with house shows much like the one portrayed in the video (in theory) looks to get a little buzz boost as they riff their way across the country this fall.
- Tyler Hanan
"Charyou" - Camp Counselors
I first found Camp Counselors (thereby also discovering Kyle J. Reigle’s other project, Cemeteries) via Cactus-Mouth over a month ago. I loved everything about that post: the steady, ominous pace of the music (I love anything that makes me feel like I’m in a rickety cart trolling through a haunted house), the track’s creepy, shifting veils one can never quite peer through (this is reminding me, in a weird way, of the first time I listened to Tragedy), and the talk of horror movies and genre film scores. If that were an infomercial, I would’ve heeded the advice to “Call now!” and bought whatever they were selling - probably fishing gear, because Camp Counselors had me hook, line, and sinker.*
*the smack of a sad self-five is heard in the background
I’m posting about Camp Counselors at this time for two reasons. First, if I don’t space out my posts jacking music I’ve found on Cactus-Mouth, Ian’s going to catch onto me. Second, I actually checked every email I received today, mostly, and found Lefse announcing their upcoming September 24th release of Huntress. As I had feared after reading that text, this means the album is no longer available on Bandcamp. It is, however, still available on Reigle’s Snowbeast Records - a label that recently lowered tape prices from $8 to $6 and is now planning a Halloween compilation.
Then there’s this tweet:
However many years young Kyle has, he has wisdom beyond them. He will also be supporting Teen Daze - who also has an album due out on Lefse this fall - on a national tour this fall.
- Tyler Hanan
"Ha Ha Ha" - The Julie Ruin
Julia Ruin, originally a 1997 solo album from Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill, Le Tigre), is now a fierce, Hanna-fronted punk band with a definite article appended to the band name. Their debut album, Run Fast, will be released on September 3rd by TJR Records, with distribution being handled Dischord.
In addition to the dance punk synths of “Ha Ha Ha,” we’ve also gotten ragged album opener “Oh Come On" and the wonky, similarly synthy "Girls Like Us.” Each song features some form of group vocals - sometimes in unison, others in snarling counterpiont - that gives it flavor, but it’s the fangs-bared, bite-off-their-heads bark of “Ha Ha Ha” that is most thrilling of the three. It’s fantastically older, lo-fi punk that rips and roars like it never left the garage, only though it’d be fun to bring in one of those keyboardy things to see if it fit.
- Tyler Hanan
"She Cut Me" - Active Child
Right from its near-primal opening, this new song from Active Child is an enchanting track to re-introduce himself into the musical atmosphere. It’s a short one, but it finds itself muddled into a lot of different spaces at once: an expansion of instrumentation, nearly orchestral and cinematic in nature; the driving exotic beat; and the harping and wails that solidified the base for Active Child’s sound in You Are All I See. “She Cut Me” is the first taste from an upcoming EP titled Rapor, yet another release that warrants a listen. That is, if you can still keep up with this year’s blistering pace.
- Kevin Tappin
"Coast" - Emily Reo
I didn’t have the pleasure of discovering Emily Reo until more knowledgeable music minds than I directed me to a certain four-way split tape earlier this year. I unabashedly loved it, quickly falling for each intoxicating flavor of lush underground pop pouring out of my truly atrocious car speakers and serviceable-at-best headphones.
Earlier today - a Monday morning that was already overflowing with wonderful new music - Stereogum premiered a song from the proposer of that tape: Emily Reo. The first single from an album that has been years in the making, “Coast” is a surreptitiously lengthy song that washes over in a pleasantly chilly tide of pleasant synths and a masterfully layered tapestry of interwoven vocals. It stretches out languorously on both ends as it extends past the seven minutes mark, belied exquisitely by a comfortable busyness and a thumping beat that’s both casual and brisk. Like a shimmering river on a sunny, lazzy summer day, the song drifts far off into the distance until it goes around a bend and out of sight.
That album, Olive Juice, comes out September 3 via Elestial Sound. I’m not familiar with the taste of olive juice, but the label’s name seems much more descriptive of “Coast” than the album’s. I’m imagining something a bit too zesty.
- Tyler Hanan
Kool FM - Four Tet
Just try and wrap your heads around this one, kids. Four Tet has always taken different angles, striving to forge new directions, but this headspace is just insane. Take Burial’s recent techno experiments, turn up the menacing pace, strip out any sense of melody, and halfway through, shift to a jungle/rave beat and and mix. Hebden has never sounded so angry, so exactly pissed in his work. He usually picks out a melody from disparate elements and crafts something of meticulous beauty. Kool FM goes straight for the coked out jugular.
Oneohtrix Point Never better watch his back.
With the internet still riding high on Colbchella, the morning’s other music news items have understandably been a bit overshadowed. However, I am never one to miss a chance to write (and write, and write) about Julia Holter, especially when the pop auteur has released “the heart of [her] upcoming record Loud City Song.”
With only 11 days until the album’s August 20 release on Domino, two stellar and markedly different singles still fresh in our ears, and a string of live shows having entranced attendees the world over, Holter’s quickly rising renown and wide breadth of creative expression look to continue for quite some time
Click through to watch Pitchfork’s video of her performing “In the Green Wild” at their music festival and a music video of sorts for “Maxim’s I,” featuring Rick Bahto’s footage from the recording of Loud City Song.
- Tyler Hanan
"Servilia" - War On Women
A few months ago, Propagandhi singer/guitaris (and dependable two-way forward who enjoys roller coasters) Chris Hannah tweeted out love for Baltimore’s War On Women. Given the source - an intelligent, opinionated, aggressively open-minded member of a long-standing, respected punk band that can be described with those same adjectives - hopes and expectations were raised. War On Women took my expectations and sent them into the net with a head-spinning slapshot, tearing the net to shreds and setting it aflame.
War on Women are a co-ed feminist hardcore five-piece. What they do is rage with single-minded fury, snarling sarcasm, and dirty, raw, toxic vitriol against sexism and the patriarchy. The band released a six song album on Bandcamp last year, Improvised Weapons, worth checking out for anyone even tangentially interested in hardcore punk, feminism, or fury that burns white hot.
Recently, the Baltimore paper published a big music issues featuring oodles of Baltimore bands. Included in the 24-song playlist was this rough gem, a War On Women track that rivals any the band has released. It plays with dynamics and speeds, even having a fairly quiet moment. It is, of course, still pissed off, self-assured, and a foundation for a final furious explosion, but it makes for a really fantastic track in more ways than just “fast, smart, and ferocious.” Those three things are all War On Women really need, but more is good.
- Tyler Hanan