Saturday, November 26, 2011

Grrrl Friend - Happening Now

DIY lo-fi shoegaze rockers with great vibes of youthful exuberance--the kind of stuff that makes you want to keep "one more try"-ing long after the sun has gone down and everybody else has gone home. Originally formed in New York, this trio recently moved to Portland where they have become a perfect fit for the DGAF pioneers of modern cassette tape “gnart:” Gnar Tapes n Shit. Equal parts spunky and punky, Grrrl Friend lists their main interests as “NY style pizza ∆∆∆” and “adding z's to the end of words.” You will probably dig this if you are a fan of lax open container laws, the big bowl at Burnside, turnstile hopping, white-out tags, or scribbling all over your sneakers and wearing them until they fall apart.

Available now at Gnar Tapes and also online on their bandcamp--now grip it and rip it.

NOTE: Gnar Tapes has been on a tear recently, and they've released several notible tapes by the likes of Young Prisms, Cool Angels and Jovontaes, as well as a stupefying 34-track compilation titled Gnarcotics Unanimous which you can get as a tape or from their bandcamp on a pay-what-you-want basis.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Plankton Wat / Super Minerals Split

Two months ago, the legendary Stunned Records called it quits. Two weeks ago they rose from the ashes to release one final tape—a split between labelhead Phil French’s project Super Minerals and the notorious Plankton Wat (Portland, OR). Also featured throughout the album is a star-studded guest list of M. Geddes Gengras & Caitlin C. Mitchell. I passed along the following advice to our station DJs: "It would be a crime to not play this."

There’s a reason Stunned rose from the grave to release this tape—it is perhaps the finest album they have ever released.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pine Smoke Lodge - Season Above Lakes

New free-drone tape from the Portland (Maine) partners in crime Matt McKeever and Hillary Dickerson. Together these two run the label Existential Cloth, so if you dig Chapels, the North Sea, Archers by the Sea, Calypso Borealis, you’ll probably dig this as well. Great spooky stuff from the new Cae-Sur-A label in Rochester, NY.

Both sides are really solid. Opening with quiet intros, they quickly immerse listeners in a thick envelopment of jangly chimes, whispers in the wind, and deep resonating horns. Banking on the warm quality of analog tape, the cassette's hiss is just seasoning to the swirl of buzzy static and distorted slow-mo layers of bliss-out.

My apologies for not getting this added in time for Halloween.

Derek Rogers - Populist Context

Austin, Texas based ambient musician Derek Rogers has a fine new(ish) tape out--as if he didn't have an impressive enough resume, he now has this Goldtimers release to his name.

This tape is a bit more diverse than his usual stuff—lots of drifting abstract jams with killer effects. Although the album does tend to gravitate around the four-part suite "Temporal Patterns" there are also two tribute tracks--to one for John Coltrane and one dedicated to steel-string acoustic guitarist John Fahey.

And for longtime fans, no need to fret--there are still plenty of signature passages of tranquil drone smooth enough to ice skate on. This guy is going somewhere--keep an eye out, if you haven't been already.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Archers - Archers

Eggy Records has the magic touch with up-and-coming PNW talent, and this DIY rock gem from Portland is no different. Finding something like this in the rough is awesome. This release is the first from Archers, but they have a bright future ahead of them. Most of the album's blistering tracks fall into the post-punk category, but there are scattered elements of new wave and power pop that will keep all parties pleased.

Highly recommended to fans of Walt Mink, Lab Coast, Wolf Parade, The Woolen Men and Phenomenauts

Buchikamashi – Dontoyare

With each new package that shows up in our mailbox, the artwork for these things just keeps getting better and better. Picking up where we left off (in the ornate 2xcassette boxed sets category) we have a new four-track two-cassette concept album produced by Mizuhiro, the Japanese ambient musician who runs the label Ginjoha. (He also produces music as Taiyoutou, Hi-Speed, and Animo Computer, so don't let the new name trip you up.)

The unifying theme that links these 2 hours of beautiful bliss-outs is dontoyare, or “living life without regrets.” According to the included documentation, this album supposedly channels the spirit of the dead Japanese actor Shintaro Katsu.

It’s worth playing for that alone.

In addition to the two tapes and the totally baller case, this set also comes with a fold-out brochure of a Japanese "Bewitching Girl" circa 1970. I put mine on my door for the Trick-or-Treaters.