Reviews

Reighnbeau, ‘Friends’

May 31, 2013

Reighnbeau, ‘Friends’ Bridgetown Records, 4/8/2013 I’m driving through the mountains of Colorado for the fourth time this year, thinking about Friends, the new tape by Reighnbeau released in April as part of Bridgetown Records’ spring 2013 batch. I’m a big fan of Kevin Greenspon’s Bridgetown. Kevin... 

Rodan, ‘Fifteen Quiet Years’

May 30, 2013

Rodan, ‘Fifteen Quiet Years’ Quarterstick Records, 6/11/2013 For starters, we can celebrate Rodan for being the mothership that spawned some of the most daring and emotionally honest music of the last twenty years. Its members went on to further glory in bands such as Retsin, Rachel’s, Shipping News and June of 44, but but Rodan... 

Baron, ‘Columns’

May 30, 2013

Baron, ‘Columns’ Parlion, 1/13/2013 This album tricked me right off the bat. I was talking to my girlfriend about how weird it is writing about music when so much of what we get access to is in the ambient/experimental realm and how I lack the vocabulary or imagination to find fifty synonyms for “swirling synths.”... 

Stephen Steinbrink, ‘I Drew a Picture’

May 29, 2013

Stephen Steinbrink, ‘I Drew a Picture’ Holy Page, 4/19/2013 There’s something perfectly geeky about this album; an earnest, reserved quirkiness that evokes a space no larger than the artist’s bedroom and sounds like an invitation to a hidden clubhouse in which secrets are divulged with a keen cynicism for the outside world. In the private-public... 

Rollin Hunt, ‘The Phoney’

May 29, 2013

Rollin Hunt, ‘The Phoney’ Moniker Records, 4/30/2013 Previously known for combining his love of R&B with a distinctly lo-fi recording technique and no small amount of experimentation, Chicago-based Rollin Hunt picked up a cult following in the UK and even became the subject of the a Canadian tribute LP back in 2008. Still... 

German Army, ‘Holland Village’ / ‘Burushaski’

May 29, 2013

German Army, ‘Holland Village’ / ‘Burushaski’ Dub Ditch Picnic, 3/16/2013 Beläten, 5/17/2013 Editor’s Note: Decoder reviews will not typically tackle multiple releases without a compelling reason to conceptualize them together. German Army is an unusual project that many writers may recognize from moments where they’ve resolved in... 

Xiu Xiu + Eugene S. Robinson, ‘Sal Mineo’

May 28, 2013

Xiu Xiu + Eugene S. Robinson, ‘Sal Mineo’ Important Records, 4/23/2013 With both bands already sharing an abrasive eclecticism and an obsession with Gothic melodrama, taking the stark prose of Oxbow‘s confrontational vocalist and positioning it within the dissonant art-rock of experimentalist Xiu Xiu seems only natural. Yet the question... 

Mike McGonigal, ‘Temperature’s Rising: Galaxie 500 An Oral and Visual History’

May 28, 2013

Mike McGonigal, ‘Temperature’s Rising: Galaxie 500 An Oral and Visual History’ Yeti Publishing/Verse Chorus Press, 5/7/2013 Galaxie 500 were a short-lived American band with a sound that was anomalous to the musical landscape of the time. Their gentle and precise minimalism stood at odds with noisier contemporaries like Dinosaur Jr. and Mudhoney, but their sound has arguably cast... 

Goat Lightning, ‘Sister’s Crystals’

May 24, 2013

Goat Lightning, ‘Sister’s Crystals’ Hoko Sounds, 2/28/2013 Goat Lightning is the solo project of Will McCall, one of the heads of the Hoko Sounds label. Sister’s Crystals is his first full-length outing under the Goat Lightning name and it finds him making some killer instrumental music that ranges everywhere from spacey meditation... 

Ora Cogan, ‘Ribbon Vine’

May 23, 2013

Ora Cogan, ‘Ribbon Vine’ Hairy Spider Legs, 3/19/2013 The fragile, pastoral rituals on Ora Cogan‘s fifth full-length betray the locale of the recordings. While Cogan recorded Ribbon Vine, her new album for Hairy Spider Legs, in Spain, the production and songcraft on the album is perfectly suited for anonymous drifting... 

Jupiter Jax, ‘City Life ’88’

May 23, 2013

Jupiter Jax, ‘City Life ’88’ 100% Silk, 2/25/2013 One of the L.A.-based label 100% Silk’s best kept secrets has been their steady run of cassette releases. Over the past two years much attention has been paid to the initial string of 12-inches (from Ital, Sir Stephen, and Octo Octa), and now the label is beginning to turn out... 

Call of the Void, ‘Dragged Down a Dead End Path’

May 22, 2013

Call of the Void, ‘Dragged Down a Dead End Path’ Relapse Records, 3/19/2013 Call of the Void would seem at first blush to be a typical thrash/doom hybrid, but as the tracks on Dragged Down a Dead End Path develop there are hints of groove and subtle melody that reveal a band with more going on than just an ambition to parrot established themes. The... 

Majical Cloudz, ‘Impersonator’

May 22, 2013

Majical Cloudz, ‘Impersonator’ Matador Records, 5/21/2013 My wife and I have seen Devon Welsh and Matt Otto perform together as Majical Cloudz twice, but previously only Devon, before the project had gained momentum. Last night, his new album Impersonator for Matador Records was streamed live from a performance in New York. To mark... 

Daniel Klag, ‘Inner Earth’

May 22, 2013

Daniel Klag, ‘Inner Earth’ Constellation Tatsu, 4/16/2013 On the digital files for this release, the genre tag reads “adventurous,” and I’m not sure if I respectfully disagree, or if I consider it mere tautology. After all, is there any situation we could conceive of in which Daniel Klag‘s Inner Earth isn’t... 

Loud & Sad, ‘Unknown Species’

May 21, 2013

Loud & Sad, ‘Unknown Species’   Greenup Industries, 12/18/2012 While Nathan McLaughlin and Joe Houpert have been peppering the tape scene with noteworthy solo releases for the past few years, their long-running project Loud & Sad has felt like a sort of creative testing lab for the two musicians. This is the place that they... 

FWY!, ‘Any Exit’

May 21, 2013

FWY!, ‘Any Exit’ Moon Glyph, 3/11/2013 When a band opens their new release with a song that wouldn’t sound out of place as an alternate theme tune to Twin Peaks, you know they’re doing something right. Moon Glyph returns to the work of San Franciscan musician Edmund Xavier, aka FWY!, for their 54th release,... 

Altered Gee, ‘Rise From Yr Grave’

May 20, 2013

Altered Gee, ‘Rise From Yr Grave’ L’Animaux Tryst, 2/12/2013 Back in the closing days of 2011, a weird little tape (called European Gees) found its way into my review pile. After seeing its Altered Beast-inspired cover and laundry list of funny song titles, I thought, “What the hell could this be?” Of course, I had to put... 

Forming, ‘Variations of the One Essence’

May 17, 2013

Forming, ‘Variations of the One Essence’ Worn Habit, 2/10/2013 Repetition has the power to reveal new meaning in simple and elegant ways, be it in visual art, in poetry, on the stage, or in music. Obviously, this is no secret to anyone who appreciates those things, but it’s always refreshing to see repetition used elegantly and to good effect.... 

Thollem, ‘Dear Future’

May 17, 2013

Thollem, ‘Dear Future’ Wild Silence, 3/18/13 Much of what we register as beautiful music from the past is very different, in its conception, to what our own ideas of music involve; there is more to classical music than its referent within our society as “high art,” which in itself is a dubious method of categorizing... 

Daniel Menche, ‘Vilke’

May 17, 2013

Daniel Menche, ‘Vilke’ Sige Records, 4/29/13 He had been riding for eight days now. Trekking south through the mountainous deep-woods of British Columbia into the stark, barren border-plains of the American West, he rides a horse with no color, that reflects no light. It exists only as the spirit of intense inertia, moving... 
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