Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cherubs Announce New Album "2 Ynfynyty" for March

[press release] Austin, TX cult noise rock kings, Cherubs have released the details behind their first new recordings in over 20 years. Produced by Mike McCarthy (Spoon, ....And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead) and mastered by Howie Weinberg (Nirvana, Slayer) in the summer of 2014, the trio triumphantly returns with 2 Ynfynyty. Picking up where they left off while trekking down a few unexpected turns, 2 Ynfynyty finds the noise rock legends rejuvenated with a more dangerous sound then ever.

The album will be released digitally and on cassette on March 3rd followed by a limited edition vinyl release on March 17th via Brutal Panda Records. Physical pre-orders are available HERE.

Les Savvy Fav frontman Tim Harrington has released a video with his thoughts on the upcoming record which can be viewed below and includes the first clip of new Cherubs music.

Stay tuned for new music and more details around this monumental album release.

About Cherubs:

Formed in 1992 by Ed Hall, expatriate drummer Kevin Whitley (vocals/guitar), Owen McMahon (bass), and Brent Prager (drums), the Cherubs emerged on the Austin, TX, LSD punk scene with a jackhammer of nightmarish, rhythm-driven song structures and plenty of Butthole Surfers whimsy and terror to keep things more than interesting. Later that year, King Koffey of the Butthole Surfers released the band's first album, Icing, on his Trance Syndicate label. Icing proved a strange concoction of repetitive, hypnotic beats, frosted with Kevin Whitley's high-pitched howl. In 1993, the band issued the "Carjack Fairy" single, each of the thousand pressed sleeved in a different piece of wallpaper samples; an interesting concept, and one certainly not alien to the musical climate of Austin, TX. By the time the band's magnum opus, Heroin Man, was issued in 1994, the Cherubs had called it quits, leaving a hell of an album in its wake, one of the most distorted, red-lined, oddball noise rock records ever made. Two years later, Trance released Short of Popular, a collection of singles, odds and ends, and outtakes from previous sessions.

Fast forward 20 years later and the band has reformed with more energy and songwriting acumen then ever. 2 Ynfynyty is poised to be the band's defining statement and is sure to give old fans and new fans alike the ultimate noise rock fix.

2 Ynfynyty Tracklist:

1. Sandy On The Beach
2. Crashing The Ride
3. Monkey Chow Mein
4. Unhappyable
5. Cumulo Nimbus
6. We Buy Gold
7. So Jellified
8. Evil May Acre
9. Party Ice
10. Sunday Mondays

EIS Review: Caddywhompus "Feathering A Nest"

Feathering A Nest
Community Records; 2014
Review by Jake Saunders

Caddywhompus has always been hailed as a special band in that they can do a lot with a little. They're one of those acts that surprises people when you inform them it's only two members because they sound that large. Feathering A Nest is their third full length record, off Community Records, and follows in the vein of generally large sounding indie rock ballads; it's an album that refuses to sit still, and Caddywhompus manages to find their sweet spot in all the commotion.

Using lots of techniques and tricks to achieve this vastness--alternating dynamics, spacious reverb, varying degrees of speed-- the result is a wildly three dimensional expedition. The opening title-track is a weaving journey of shifting highs and lows at both gradual and rapid paces, introducing us to the ever changing landscape that defines the record. Throughout the album there is an openness that merits comparisons to bands like Explosions in the Sky or Grizzly Bear's Veckatimest era, who always seemed to make the space around them expand into worlds. Similar to the aforementioned bands, Caddywhompus will reach these epic climaxes from out of nowhere, epic peaks that blows the face back. 

The truly greatest achievement of Feathering A Nest is the momentum. Carrying us through mountains and valleys, slowing down and speeding up at will, Caddywhompus jerks us around relentlessly. Feathering A Nest is an album that refuses to lose momentum, and inertia is the name of the game. Listen to "Stuck", which emulates the suspenseful ride to the peak of a roller coaster; the vertical drop hits at 1:30 and the stomach sinks. Songs like "Company" will do the opposite and blast into furiously fast and ferocious riffs before settling into soft and floating grooves. Maybe it's their slightly gory album cover (a dead bird lying in the leaves) that's put nature in my head, but listening to Feathering A Nest feels like going on a long hike, and the view points are all amazing. Six songs short, by the end of it it's almost an exhausting experience, yet incredibly rewarding.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

EIS Review: Meatbodies "Meatbodies"

In The Red; 2014
Review by Max Miller

It was inevitable that garage rock and stoner rock would unite their scuzzy forces someday — the only surprise is that it took so long. After all, when most writers were snubbing the likes of Black Sabbath, pejoratively labeling their music “downer rock,” famed gonzo critic Lester Bangs, a major proponent of the Stooges, Count Five et al, wrote, “I had a ritual: About five o’clock I’d head down to the ‘party store,’ pick up a half gallon of Gallo Port, then back to the old farmhouse to consume it while listening to all of Black Sabbath’s first three albums in a row. This was my regimen for months. It worked, too.”

Fast-forward to the modern era and the same stoned kids who find solace in the warm fuzz-bath of the garage revival have developed a love not only for Sabbath, but for acolytes from St. Vitus to Sleep to Electric Wizard. This is the age when Burger Records reissues Dopesmoker on cassette, King Tuff enlists J. Mascis to play drums in a band called Witch and Ty Segall, after seasoning albums like Slaughterhouse and Twins with hints of Iommi worship, finally goes all out and forms a straight-up stoner rock side-project named, fittingly, Fuzz.

Segall is something of a Kevin Bacon, ensuring few degrees of separation stand between notable residents of the West Coast garage universe. The Meatbodies backed Fuzz on a split 7” on Famous Class with “Mountain,” a stand-out cut that appears on the group’s self-titled debut, albeit in a slightly re-recorded form. They’ve borrowed Segall’s signature producer, Eric “King Riff” Bauer, to helm this album and topped it all off with some spectacular phantasmagoric artwork from Tatiana Kartomten, whose elaborate illustrations have graced both Fuzz’s full-length debut and Ty Segall Band’s Slaughterhouse. From these connections and more, there’s no need to pretend you don’t know exactly what you’re getting from this record.

Ragers like “Disorder” and “Gold” barnstorm out of the speakers as tidily as any of Fu Manchu’s less drugged-out material. In fact, the only thing seemingly capable of stopping these tunes’ rampages are psychedelic build-ups, as on “Wahoo” or “Two,” where an airy flute breakdown sneaks in to check if you’ve been paying attention.

“Off” may be the most singular representation of the Meatbodies’ mentality. Frontman/guitarist Chad Ubovich yells, “I’ve got nothing to get me off” before venting his frustrations by transforming the song into an exercise to see how much his strings can take before they snap all at once. The album’s lone down-tempo number, “Dark Road,” seems almost flimsy trying to follow.

Meatbodies speeds and careens like a beat-up muscle car with a brick tied to the gas pedal. And honestly, it’s a little ridiculous to expect anything more.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

EIS Review: Moon Duo "Live in Ravenna"

Moon Duo
Live in Ravenna
Sacred Bones; 2014
Review by Stephen Pierce

On a bus to Marseilles in 1958, Brion Gysin - writer, surrealist, and pioneer of the cut-up method of writing made famous by William S. Burroughs - experienced a brief transcendental vision. Passing a row of trees, Gysin closed his eyes. The sunset behind the trees created a rhythmic pulse of light that, behind shut eyelids, had an effect that he described as a "multidimensional kaleidoscope whirling out through space." Abruptly, the vision came to an end once the bus emerged from the tree-lined avenue.

That brief but intense moment stayed with Gysin. After reading up on neuroscience, and in particular how brain waves interact with light and other external stimuli, he & electronic technician Ian Sommerville - best known as Burroughs' so-called systems adviser - designed a simple machine that sits atop a record player spinning at 78rpm, emitting patterns of light that are meant to be seen through closed eyes. The Dreamachine, as it's called, unlocks through repetition a wash of colors and visions, flashes of memory, bringing the viewer to a dreamlike state of near-hypnosis, or better put, of hypnogogia: the very brief moments that exist between wakefulness and sleep.

Moon Duo are the aural equivalent of a Dreamachine. Recorded mid-tour in the midst of an oppressive heatwave, Live in Ravenna drips with sweat and hypnotic energy, hums and drives with a droning pulse. A project of erstwhile Wooden Shjips members Ripley Johnson and Sanae Yamada, Moon Duo has been through their history exactly that: A duo. Previously programming drum machines to back their motorik noise, this tour saw the addition of a real-live drummer, John Jeffrey. Booming and full, but every bit as focused on repetition and Neu!-informed detachment, reinforcing their sound with an organic kit has brought Moon Duo to a very heavy place, even farther on their path of ascension upward beyond the stratosphere.

The songs on Ravenna - and, really, a good deal of Moon Duo's songs in general - begin similarly: A beat, a drone, and a one-or-two-chord guitar riff. That's largely where they stay. You're not going to find a jarring tempo change here, nor will you come across a major dip or spike in volume. Dynamics and drama aren't where Moon Duo look to create meaning. Rather, their songs evolve and bloom within their own narrow parameters. Sonic Boom of Spacemen 3 spoke of maximal minimalism, of taking one chord from whisper to scream, a philosophy and approach which Moon Duo has thoroughly nailed. Despite the noise, there's a sense of open space on the record; of a band locking into and really LIVING in those two chords. Johnson's spindly leads are a testament to that open space, taking largely textural progressions and creating, essentially, a "multidimensional kaleidoscope" of sound. Without fanfare, they ebb and merge into the rhythm, never overtaking it or becoming the key feature of that moment of the song, as is the effect of so many guitar leads. Instead, they work in complete compliment with everything else that is going on, creating a blindingly otherworldly atmosphere.

Moon Duo have surprisingly kept their songs to roughly the same length as the studio recordings, with the notable exception of "Free Action" from their most recent effort, Circles. Nearly doubling in length, the song stretches out and settles into itself, sounding a good deal less celebratory and way heavier than on Circles. Channelling Suicide, it hangs out primarily on one note, creating a dark, near-menacing pulse. If any song on Ravenna were to directly line up with Gysin's Dreamachine, it would be this: Close your eyes and you might find yourself fever dreaming, hypnotized for ten and a half minutes, transported to a space outside the confines of yourself.

That's where Moon Duo excel: You can truly get real-gone lost in their songs. From the codeine garage-stomp of "Goners" to the Fun House-era Stooges vibe of the digital-only bonus song "Set It On Fire", there is a common thread throughout. Rather than becoming background noise, it can consume and transport you to the cosmos. Time doesn't exist until you open your eyes.

As Gysin's Dreamachine was an incredibly simple means of bringing about endlessly heavy vision, so is Moon Duo. There's more in these songs than their structure would suggest, austere and grand in their loose precision, obscured by a haze of fuzz and swirling reverb. Often, live albums are the sort of things that you should approach only after getting to know the band's studio recordings. Not so in this case: This is Moon Duo at their blurrily-sharpest & best.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Ovlov x Big Ups x Death By Audio x 11.15.14

We love Death By Audio. Always have, always will. I wrote a little something about it on Impose (this entire feature is well deserved and amazing). Ovlov and Big Ups got to play one of the venue's final shows on Saturday, November 15th with Yvette, and Les Savy Fav (who personally picked this incredible bill). It's all too amazing really. DBA is forever in our hearts.

Huge thanks to Sixdust for capturing the show. Impose took some great photos of the show as well.

Melvins to Reissue "Ozma / Bullhead" and "Eggnog / Lice-All" on Vinyl in January

[exclaim.ca] While the Melvins' back catalogue got even deeper this fall via the release of Hold It In, a series of some of the band's oldest records are being put back in the spotlight for a vinyl reissue campaign.

Boner Records is set to deliver a pair of double-LP packages on January 20 that slap together a few early releases. First up is a double set for 1989's Ozma and 1991's Bullhead. As explained in a press release, Ozma was recorded shortly after the band moved from Washington State down to San Francisco, with the release also being the first to feature bassist Lori Temple Black. The album includes patented "distorted, down-tuned doom riffs."

The songs on Bullhead, on the other hand, are said to be longer than previous work, with the mood of the album described as "calmer, yet more menacing."

The records will come remastered and packaged in a gatefold sleeve featuring the original artwork and never-before-seen photos. The set also comes with a download card.

Also gathered up as a double LP is 1991's Eggnog EP and 1992's Lice-All (originally issued as Lysol). Eggnog featured quick blasts like "Hog Leg," described as sounding like "a syphillitic Jimmy Swaggert trying to mimic Dio while being backed by a drunken ZZ Top cover band."

Lice-All, meanwhile, was the band's last album before moving to major label Atlantic and is also the first release to feature bassist Joe Preston (Earth, Thrones). The sludge-styled cycle is described as "one long, slow, loud blob of drones, moans and fuzztones."

This package also arrives in a gatefold sleeve adding vintage photos to the original artwork.


1. Vile
2. Oven
3. At A Crawl
4. Let God Be Your Gardener
5. Creepy Smell
6. Kool Legged
7. Green Honey
8. Agonizer
9. Raise A Paw
10. Love Thing
11. Ever Since My Accident
12. Revulsion / We Reach
13. Dead Dressed
14. Cranky Messiah
15. Claude
16. My Small Percent Shows Most
17. Candy-O
18. Boris
19. Anaconda
20. Ligature
21. It's Shoved
22. Zodiac
23. If I Had An Exorcism
24. Your Blessened
25. Cow


1. Wispy
2. Antitoxidote
3. Hog Leg
4. Charmicarmicat
5. Hung Bunny / Roman Bird Dog / Sacrifice / Second Coming / The Ballad Of Dwight Fry / With Teeth

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Place To Bury Strangers Announce "Transfixiation" For February + Tour Dates

[press release] Brooklyn’s A Place To Bury Strangers have announced their fourth record, Transfixiation, which will see release on February 17th via Dead Oceans. A product of two years of constant touring and recording since the release of 2012's Worship, Transfixiation is a boldly experimental step forward. Rather than fixate on precious recording techniques and minute details, the members of the group – guitarist/singer Oliver Ackermann, bassist Dion Lunadon, and hard-hitting drummer Robi Gonzalez -- trusted their instincts and tried to keep things as pure as possible. If that meant a mess of cross-contaminated microphones and mud-caked mistakes, so be it. Music is much more exhilarating when it's unpredictable, and from the tortured straight-to-tape transmission of "I Will Die" and molten funk melodies of "Straight" (which the band have shared as their first single below) to the violent guitar spasms, cannon-like drums and not-so-idle threats of "Deeper," this is very much an unpredictable record. Gonzalez makes his recording debut with the band here and he’s helped push the band’s recorded sound closer to the intense level of its infamous live shows.

Speaking of infamous live shows, the band has also announced a massive tour that will doubtlessly leave behind it a trail of blown and bloody eardrums. Don’t miss this incredible band live.

Pre-Order Transfixiation HERE.


1. Supermaster
2. Straight
3. Love High
4. What We Don’t See
5. Deeper
6. Lower Zone
7. We’ve Come So Far
8. Now It’s Over
9. I’m So Clean
10. Fill The Void
11. I Will Die


02/17 - Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
02/18 - Philadelphia, PA @ Black Box
02/19 - Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery
02/20 - Washington, DC @ Rock N’ Roll Hotel
02/21 - Asheville, NC @ New Earth
02/22 - Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
02/23 - Nashville, TN @ The End
02/25 - New Orleans, LA @ Gasa Gasa
02/26 - Houston, TX @ Fitzgerald’s Downstairs
02/27 - Dallas, TX @ Club Dada
02/28 - Austin, TX @ Red 7
03/06 - Albuquerque, NM @ Sisters
03/07 - El Paso, TX @ Lowbrow Palace
03/09 - Tuscon, AZ @ Hotel Congress
03/10 - Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar
03/11 - San Diego, CA @ Casbah
03/12 - Las Vegas, NV @ Beauty Bar
03/14 - San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel
03/15 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo
03/17 - Portland, OR @ Star Theater
03/18 - Seattle, WA @ Crocodile
03/31 - Dublin, IE @ Whelan’s
04/01 - Belfast, IE @ Voodoo
04/02 - Glasgow, UK @ King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut
04/03 - Leeds, UK @ Belgrave Music Hall
04/05 - Manchester, UK @ Sound Control Basement
04/06 - Nottingham, UK @ The Bodega Social Club
04/07 - Birmingham, UK @ Hare & Hounds
04/08 - Cardiff, UK @ Clwb lfor Bach
04/09 - London, UK @ Oslo
04/11 - Lille, FR @ La Peniche
04/12 - Ris-Orangis, FR @ Le Plan
04/13 - Paris, FR @ Le Divan du Monde
04/14 - Lyon, FR @ Le Marche Gare
04/16 - Zurich, CH @ Viadukt - Bogen F
04/17 - Bologna, IT @ Locomotiv
04/18 - Düdingen, CH @ Cafe Bad Bonn
04/19 - Munich, DE @ Strom
04/21 - Berlin, DE @ Lido
04/22 - Cologne, DE @ Underground
04/23 - Courtrai, BE @ De Kreun
04/24 - Amsterdam, NL @ Melkweg
04/25 - Groningen, NL @ Vera
04/27 - Hamburg, DE @ Hafenklang
04/28 - Copenhagen DK @ BETA
04/29 - Malmo, SE @ Babel
04/30 - Gothenburg, SE @ Pustervik
05/01 - Stockholm, SE @ Debaser Strand
05/02 - Oslo, NO @ John Dee

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Chavez Set to Reissue "Gone Glimmering" and "Ride the Fader" for January Release

[matablog.matadorrecords.com] Here at Matador Records and Filmworks, we’ve long lived by the credo established by our founder, Chris Lombardi, who once declared, “give the people what they want. Especially if it’s easily accomplished and/or lucrative for us.” And with that in mind, we have listened to the pleas and threats of YOU, the music fans still devoted to paying for physical goods, and can finally announce that after 12 long years in the out-of-print wilderness, we’re reissuing both of Chavez’ Matador albums on vinyl on January 20, 2015

“It’s not like we’re out to desconstruct rock, but when we started the band, we had an agreement that we wouldn’t play anything that sounded like something we’d heard before.” – Matt Sweeney (speaking to Billboard in 1996)

“For me, Chavez was this perfect creative beast. We had all these annoyingly strong ideas about what we wanted to do, and we did them. We did them exactly.” – Clay Tarver (speaking to The New York Times Magazine in 2011)

The quartet of Tarver, Sweeney and crack rhythm section James Lo and Scott Masciarelli never quite broke up — they just take many years inbetween gigs (and many more years making us wait for a third album). But there’s an awful lot to be said for leaving a flawless recorded legacy behind, and 1995′s ‘Gone Glimmering’ and 1996′s ‘Ride The Fader’ are unbeatable slabs of thinking-person’s loud rock from an era where such sounds were not in short supply. To say both albums have grown in stature and influence years after their release would not be an exaggeration, but that’s precisely why we’re taking brutal advantage of the situation at this very moment.

Pre-order from The Matador Store:
Gone Glimmering
Ride The Fader

via Amazon:
Gone Glimmering
Ride The Fader

SXSW 2015 Announce Second Round of Bands: The Blind Shake, Swervedriver, Ex-Cult, King Tuff, Vision Fortune, Elvis Depressedly & More

[sxsw.com] South by Southwest (SXSW) Music is pleased to announce the second round of artists invited to perform at the 29th edition of the SXSW Music Conference and Festival. This is just a small sample of the wide array of artists making their mark on this year's event taking place Tuesday, March 17 - Sunday, March 22, 2015 in Austin, Texas. Be sure to listen to many of the SXSW 2015 artists by tuning in on your mobile device or desktop to SXSWfm.

Browse the full list of artists HERE. Exploding In Sound picks thus far include...

-The Blind Shake
-Dream Police*
-Elvis Depressedly
-Gang of Four
-King Tuff
-Mini Mansions*
-Moon Duo*
-Thee Oh Sees*
-Turbo Fruits
-Vision Fortune
-Warm Soda*

* previously announced

Stay tuned for much much more. Exploding In Sound will be down in Austin once again and for anyone interested in collaborating on a show or hoping on a bill, please be in touch.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

EIS Review: Shellac "Dude Incredible"

Dude Incredible
Touch & Go; 2014
Review by Cameron Stewart

In the world of non-commercial rock, Shellac stands as a bit of an anomaly. After forming 22 years ago, their sound remains largely the same, which speaks more to the collective’s steadfast commitment to their writing process and ideals than it does to any dearth of creativity. Absent are the Pitchfork single premiers and anything resembling marketing, but what remains is a lastingly unique blend of ear-splitting cyclical rhythms and an ever increasingly dark and cynical sense of humor.

Dude Incredible is by and large the next logical step for Shellac. Steve Albini’s metallic, finger-in-an-electrical-socket signature guitar tone is all over the album, accompanied by Bob Weston’s percussive bass and Todd Trainer’s stop-start drum work. Albini and Weston’s near-religious devotion to live, analog recording gives the record a sound that’s much like “At Action Park,” albeit on a louder, grander scale.

Lyrical matters are the usual Shellac sarcastic, unnerving subjects with the inclusion of technological skepticism. “All The Surveyors” laments the panopticon web of satellites and unseen observers, while “You Came In Me” is another chapter in Albini’s bizarre sexual portraits. All in all, “Dude Incredible” isn’t likely to change anyone’s opinion about Shellac, but after 7 years, serves as a refreshing check-in for existing fans.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

EIS Review: J Mascis "Tied to a Star"

J Mascis
Tied to a Star
Sub Pop; 2014
Review by Stephen Pierce

Perception can be a tricky thing. For better or for worse - intentionally or not - we tend to paint ourselves into corners, neatly carving for ourselves parameters within which we're super comfortable & sometimes confident. It makes sense: We like what we like, and I think I can generalize and say that we overwhelmingly prefer to spend our time engaged in and around the things that feel natural. Over time, our patterns and interests will be noticed by others, and they'll end up with a vision of an oversimplified, one-dimensional caricature of the galaxies that may exist in our minds.

For a creative person, this poses a few challenges, not least of which that they will submit to the passive pressure of expectation. When you have a style, a way that you are known to give voice and physical character to those galaxies, it can be comfortable and easy to not deviate from what you're already the best at.

You saw what record I'm writing about in the title. You know exactly what I'm getting at here.

Tied to a Star is at once everything and nothing like what you would expect from J Mascis. It's as startling as it is familiar, and in the Mascis tradition it feels at the same time both very casual and intimate, but intensely meticulous in sound and execution. The tools used in execution are the main points of departure, and that's where preconceived notions about an artist can come into play. In J's case, through decades of relative consistency, we've come to associate him with Jazzmasters, Big Muffs, Marshall stacks... You know, capital-V Volume. I'm not talking just about Dinosaur Jr. here: Witch, Sweet Apple, and Deep Wound represent three decades of tinnitus, though his means of administering has varied throughout between drums and guitar. The constant has been volume, intensity, and an uncanny ability to bring about some pretty heavy visceral emotion through instrumentation.

Several Shades of Why, though, from 2011, began picking away at some of those bricks around what we might expect from J. Swapping the Jazzmaster for a Martin, it was as laid-bare, completely earnest, and understated a record as you could imagine. Especially when you consider the incredible restraint that J must have had to practice as far as guitar leads are concerned. It was a watershed record, insofar as introducing the world to a different, wholly unexpected side of an icon.

So here we are, three years later, one Dinosaur record in between. Tied to a Star, you could say, is a follow-up to Several Shades, but in a way it's not as much a follow-up as a continuation of the sonic voyage that is J's recorded output. Album opener "Me Again", a lightly strummed & beautifully plaintive song, is an incredible opening statement: One of vulnerability and confidence. The song shimmers beyond its stripped-back instrumentation, feeling like an awakening, or a rebirth.

That's a vibe that doesn't fade: There is a restrained, subdued optimism throughout the record. Almost a lightness that contrasts with the heavier moments, notably the Faheyish droning guitar meditation that beautifully closes "Heal the Star". That kind of percussive, raag-informed heaviness comes up again a few songs later on the instrumental "Drifter" to revelatory effect. Like "Heal the Star", "Trailing Off" also builds to a massively atmospheric conclusion, all huge-drummed & boasting one of precious few fuzzed-out guitar leads that the record has to offer. There's something almost religious to these sort of moments. I'm sure J would write that off, but there is a transcendence to be found in those final bars of the song, as the repeated vocal lines mix and rise out of the guitar noise, taking flight.

Tied to a Star isn't a record, though, that you can really sum up in a paragraph. Without feeling scattered, it jumps around quite a bit, from the upbeat pop of "Every Morning" to the fingerpicked & slow-simmering "Wide Awake", to which Chan Marshall's backing vocals add perfectly. One of my favorite moments on the record, though, is one that might otherwise be overlooked: "And Then" is not a song that stands out on first listen, as it competes for attention with the record's more dynamic songs, but I find myself coming back to it for it's composed patience and simplicity. Based on guitar evocative of weirdo folk heroes Vashti Bunyan or Bert Jansch, "And Then" finds J at his strongest and most economical, both instrumentally and vocally.

The popular image of J Mascis isn't as super nuanced as Tied to a Star would suggest. We like to imagine him in front of a wall of amps, deafeningly loud, bending minds with otherworldly leads that no one in the world besides him could ever do justice to. And that's fair - It's fine to have that as our avatar for what J is all about. It's based on decades of evidence that would suggest that those are things that J Mascis does. What's awesome, though, is how sharply contrasting Tied to a Star is with that image. There's an amount of bravery involved there: In coming in from the storm, laying oneself bare and venturing out alone. In deviating from your comfort zone. The success of this record lies therein, but also in that it serves as a reminder that behind the guitar, there is a complex and not-easily-boxed-in musician whose creative energy is as vibrant and virile now as it was three decades ago.

Who knows exactly what the next J Mascis album will sound like, but I'm pretty sure that I know how it's going to feel, radiant in light however it may come. That's, I think, one of those ultimate testaments to an artist's genius that J has in spades: To depart from a specific sound, but to carry the same personality and feel.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

EIS Review: Guerilla Toss "Smack The Brick"

Guerilla Toss
Smack The Brick
NNA Tapes; 2014
Review by Jake Saunders

Guerrilla Toss, man. There's something about this band that's got an evil charm, begging me to indulge even as I know I shouldn't. The music has always had a push and pull, where the grooves fool me into thinking I can find a rhythm to dance to before completely fucking with my head, sending me into a confused tunnel of aggressive chaos. Rarely is there a lack of structure, but Guerrilla Toss plays by their own rules.

The band has always teetered on the line between accessibility and obscurity, dipping one foot in punk nihilism and the other in conceptual avant-garde. Smack The Brick may be their biggest jump into accessibility yet, the result of a gradual move towards experimenting with funk and dance music.

The addition of two new members may have something to do with this (or it may not, who knows?), but some things never change; playing with not-grooves, changing rhythms on a whim, bouncing back and forth between disco synth jams and hardcore breakdowns has always been the Guerrilla Toss vibe. Kassie Carlson's vocals continue to play a huge role in the noisy mad house; she uses her voice as a rhythmic instrument as much as a melodic one, often chanting more than singing, and if she is singing it's more like screaming. "Salt and pepper shakers/To make yourself go crazier/Truth is that the bankers/Are the same as the gangsters," she whines on the title track, an eerily playful song about drug addiction. It's Carlson's taunting, child-like vocals that add an extra spooky element to the mix; it's playful in a scary way, and honestly it's unnerving thinking about a little girl singing about drug addiction. Live, Carlson is the life of the party, the ring leader, making everything just a little bit weirder.

But what sets Smack the Brick apart from past Guerrilla Toss recordings? I believe it's the continued synthesis of genre fusing as well as the fusion of modernity with a caveman like primitivity. They've honed in the focus, where the musical ideas and innovations become more discernible than they've ever been. Peter Negroponte's drumming accesses this on so many levels, and ultimately becomes a center piece for every song. Combining his kit with electronic drum sounds, there are times I could see myself in a German techno club, and others in a drum circle at Golden Gate Park. I want to call it Future Tribe music, but you can call it whatever you want.

I remember two summers ago at the Gay Disco release party at The Silent Barn in Brooklyn. Ten seconds into their first song, Kassie locks eyes with me for seemingly no reason other than "I want to freak this kid out". And she did; she stood there staring at me for what seemed like ages as she screamed chaos into a microphone and proceeded to claw and grab at my face in what turned out to be one of my fondest memories of a performance ever. Guerrilla Toss may be shedding some of the lo-fi, but they haven't gotten rid of the weird, sometimes indescribable force that drives this band.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

EIS Review: Creepoid "Wet"

Graveface Records; 2014
Review by Stephen Pierce

You wake up from a dream in the middle of the night. Not really sure what sort of dream it was or exactly what was happening, somehow there is somewhat of an impression made, like the piece of paper under the one you wrote an important note on. Maybe some residuals remain: an outline of a face, the sensation of flying, but no character or plot establishment. Just the feeling of something visceral and urgent. You go back to sleep, maybe eager for or anxious about a return to whatever escapism consumed you moments before.

Creepoid exist in that in-between moment of half-conscious, half-dream, and Wet is similarly unsure as to whether it should look longingly at those predawn hours of escape or fear whatever darkness might lay in wait. As celebratory as it is sometimes elegiac, Wet is the near-immediate follow-up to Creepoid's colossal and unsettling self-titled second LP, but it serves as neither an extension of nor divergence from the atmosphere and feeling crafted throughout that long-player. While it's clearly the same band mining a similar territory, this four-song EP ends up more on the urgent & immediate end of Creepoid's output. That has a lot to do with the recording itself: While the s/t LP has a lush sound throughout - layered & full - Wet strips the songs back to their bony essence, their windows blown out and showing through cracks. The frame of the building is intact, but it's mesh against the sky.

Starting with a dirge that you might otherwise find David Yow howling over, opener "Wet Bread" loudly announces what this EP is going to be all about as it douses erstwhile hardcore chord progressions with reverb & note bends, juxtaposing that with plaintive & hushed vocals. It's as much a banger as you're going to get from them on this one, as it segues into the low-level boil of aptly-named "Blurry Slumber". Tension builds for the first minute and some before exploding into a whirlwind of hammering guitar noise, culminating in an incredibly powerful blast. The calm after the storm takes the shape of interlude-ish "Blinding Halo", an atmospheric piece just short of ambient, employing miles-away drum rumble and spare piano, inaudible whispers and half-thought.

Coming out the other side of "Blinding Halo" is the benchmark of Wet, and a high bar set for Creepoid going forward. "Truth" eases into itself, glacially and noisily moving toward a pummelling crescendo, interweaving Sean Miller's vocals with Anna Troxell's, making a strong first appearance on the record. Both hushed but urgent, they work perfectly with each other.

"Truth" is a perfect closer to Wet - it hits like the end of a horror movie, looking down on a ravaged landscape, bleak and grey, but pointing toward an optimism, some tiny victory among the carnage and destruction. Nightmare or dream, you come out the other side intact. I think that's Creepoid's masterstroke - They're able to transcend their own darkness to find an incredibly revelatory light.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Appomattox Share "YrSoul" Video + Call It Quits

New York post-punk / art pop trio Appomattox have decided to call it a day. After ten years together as a band, they have left a legacy and were one of Exploding In Sound's first local favorites in New York from before we called this city home. Always playing energetic shows and pushing their sound into new and experimental territory, Appomattox were a band that never sat still yet never disappointed either. Last year the band released 3Against2, an EP brimming with psychedelic and soulful post-punk from a band that refused to be pigeonholed.

We don't want to leave with bad news though, so lucky for us, Appomattox are sharing a video for their song "YrSoul," a tribute to psychedelic 80s skate videos and Nick Gaynier's late cousin Ryan. Check it out below and be sure to dive into the band's entire catalog HERE.

YrSoul from Charles Leisenring on Vimeo.

Guerilla Toss Stream "Smack The Brick" EP + Tour Dates

[press release] It's widely known that mosh funk in the 21st century is best done zonked, fried, and drenched in psychedelics by Boston natives Guerilla Toss. No doubt are these kids the hardest working acid causalities in all four corners of the underground with shout outs and respect given by legendaries such as Henry Rollins and John Zorn. And they aren't stopping anytime soon. With their latest release, 'Smack The Brick,' Guerilla Toss continues to navigate through the realms of brutal groove, psychotic arrangements, and complete lack of ethical harmony. Perhaps the addition of two new members, Toby Aronson (of NNA Tapes) and Pat Keuhn, have allowed the band to evolve in a newer and fresher direction - less prog, and thrash - more funk and fury. 'Smack The Brick' will be released digitally and on cassette on November 18 via NNA Tapes.

The title track "Smack The Brick" might sound like a lost jam from Talking Heads' "Remain in Light" if it had been birthed from Satan's asshole and grown up in 90's west coast hip-hop culture, while other tracks such as "Billy Blood Idol" take non western rhythms and skull fuck them through a rusty cheese grater. But beneath the mask of irony, weed smoke, and meta post teenage angst, lies 5 educated and well rounded individuals who have found a way to make the mundanity of technical virtuosity into something both fun, accessible, challenging, and deep. Let 'Smack The Brick' be the soundtrack to your next ayahuasca ceremony, and as you confront your demons, you may or may not make sense of what these psychonauts are trying to achieve.

Tour Dates:

11/06 Smog @ Bard College
11/19 NYC @ Death By Audio
11/22 Budweiss @ Naab
11/23 Strasbourg @ Stimultania
11/24 Amsterdam @ TBA
11/25 London @ Old Blue Last
11/26 Paris @ Instantschavires
11/27 Bilbao @ Txema
11/28 Valencia @ Bar Cure Antidisco
11/29 Alicante @ Sala Magazine
11/30 Benicarlo @ Lion Cafe
12/01 Porto @ Maus Habitos
12/02 Lisbon @ Musicbox
12/03 Madrid @ El Perro De La Parte De Atras
12/04 Barcelona @ TBA
12/05 Marseille @ L'embobineuse
12/06 Lyon @ Grrrnd Zero
12/07 Genf @ Cave
12/08 Berline @ Schokoladen
12/09 Munich @ Cafe Kult
12/10 Hamburg @ Astra Stube
12/11 Köln @ Gold+Beton
12/12 Brussels @ TBA
12/13 Den Hague @ State X New Forms
12/14 Rotterdam @ Poortgebouw
12/16 Pilzen @ Pohoda