Radiohead – The King of Limbs [2011]

Posted in alternative rock,electronic,experimental rock by deek on February 18, 2011

Frog Eyes – Paul’s Tomb: A Triumph [2010]

Posted in experimental rock,indie rock by deek on December 11, 2010

If we were to take Carey Mercer and his cohorts — members of Frog Eyes, Swan Lake, Wolf Parade, etc. — as a sampling of what Canadian musicians are like, we’d assume everyone who ever picked up an accordion or pan flute north of the border was prolific, virtuosic, impassioned, and a little unhinged. But I guess that wouldn’t be quite statistically sound. Though Paul’s Tomb: A Triumph is Frog Eyes’ Dead Oceans debut, as far as I can tell it’s their sixth full-length overall, the previous LPs having been put out by small Canadian and Californian indies Global Symphonic, Animal World, and Absolutely Kosher. And if you liked those, you’ll love this. Much of the same Frog Eyes material is here: the frenetic guitar refrains, the slithering keys (even without Spencer Krug performing them anymore), the manic drumming, and Mercer’s voice howling and gurgling around it all. This release feels freer, though — not easier, necessarily, but delivered with a clarity of purpose not quite as muddled, consumption-wise, by sheer weirdness as was their previous LP, Tears Of The Valedictorian, for instance. Which isn’t to say Paul’s Tomb isn’t a weird album. It certainly is, when compared to, like, normal music with singers that don’t sound like they may actually be on the brink of strangling themselves to death behind their microphones. It’s just that there’s more of a familiar rock framework for listeners to latch onto than there ever has been before. The band starts delivering it immediately. The first few seconds of Paul’s Tomb are about as compelling a rock album beginning as you’ll find, a distorted, crunchy guitar lick and feedback followed by our introduction to Mercer’s characteristic gutpunching holler. The leadoff, “A Flower In A Glove,” is a nine-minute epic that opens up into an almost speak-sung, keyboard-driven rout. Mercer delivers like a frantic preacher, articulating his words in a way that suggests that they run through him from somewhere unbidden, and all he can do is be a conduit for them. And what words emerge! I was fortunate enough to procure a lyrics sheet and got to read all the verses usually half-obscured by the music. I knew Mercer weaves a mythological world, that he makes rampant use of literary references and puts more than a little syntactical feeling behind his lyrical convictions. What I didn’t know was that I would find a half-stanza in “Styled By Dr. Robert” that reads:

And the glory of economy,
Is when your dwarf shall become a man,
Woe to the night, woe to the night,
Emaciated forester dancing in the moonlight,
Dancing just to stave off the hunger — it’s a hunger where
You want to hit him in the fucking knees.
And then you hit him in the fucking knees!

Or that there would be a line in “Odetta’s War” that commands, “Cast off the fabled leotard, flee the legions of FAKES by the shore.” The fabled leotard!? I’m sold. Frankly, though, a hard sell’s not really necessary; after listening to other bands in the Mercer/Krug catalog, Paul’s Tomb sounds comfortingly familiar. Especially toward the end of “A Flower In A Glove,” when new addition Megan Boddy’s voice enters, it forcibly recalls the vocal interplay between Krug and Camilla Wynne Ingr in Sunset Rubdown (even though Mercer isn’t in that band). The very ambition of the album secures its home among its melodic brethren. So undoubtedly it’s Mercer’s vocals that characterize Paul’s Tomb, or any Frog Eyes release. But even if you could bypass his emphatic delivery, how can you ignore the use of words like “messianic” (“The Sensitive Girls”) or “dilettantes” (“Lear, In The Park”)? Under these ejaculations, though, lies a vast web of adeptly intermixed counterpoint instrumental parts, driven by soaring keys, harried guitar, or Melanie Campbell’s insistent drumming. In this way, the idiosyncrasy of Mercer’s vocal style might do the band as a whole a disservice, running the risk of driving away casual listeners that just might not be able to hang on through the breakers. Well. As Jane Austen writes in Pride and Prejudice, “Such squeamish youths as cannot bear to be connected with a little absurdity are not worth your regret.” -Tiny Mix Tapes

No Age – Everything In Between [2010]

Posted in experimental rock,noise pop,noise rock,post-punk by deek on August 29, 2010


Recorded in Los Angeles from the end of 2009 and into 2010, Everything in Between is the new album from No Age, the duo of Dean Spunt and Randy Randall. They emerged from former band Wives in 2005, to become No Age, worldwide glowing talismans for the DIY art-punk scene in LA […] And Everything in Between is a bold step in their creative evolution. It is a culmination of reflecting upon life’s ruptures and triumphs; the process of moving through these moments banged and bruised, yet better off for the wear and tear. They’ve pushed themselves in challenging and different directions, deconstructing their weird-out pop songs while still maintaining their original aesthetic and intent. Everything in Between sees No Age expand on the emotional force at the core of their catchy song-writing through tone, structure, noise, and samples. And, it’s their best record yet.

Swans – My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky [2010]

Posted in experimental rock,folk rock,noise rock by deek on August 20, 2010


Michael Gira has “re-activated” Swans for their first U.S. shows in more than a decade. […] the band’s releasing My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky, the first album of new material since 1997’s Soundtracks For The Blind. It was recorded by Jason LeFarge at Seizure’s Palace in Brooklyn and […] mixed by Gira with Bryce Goggin at Trout Recordings.  -stereogum

(you should know by now where to look for the goods)

Liars – Sisterworld [2010]

Posted in art punk,experimental rock,noise rock by deek on March 1, 2010


Liars is a three-piece band formed in 2000 consisting of Australian-born Angus Andrew (vocals/guitar), Aaron Hemphill (percussion, guitar, synth), and Julian Gross (drums). Although initially lumped into the New York dance-punk scene of the early 21st century, they have come to be categorized by their dramatic stylistic shifts between albums, while retaining a consistent interest in rhythm and sound texture. Liars are one of the many contemporary bands to draw from the late 1970’s British post-punk movement. Their first album, 2002’s They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top, bore some resemblance to the work of Delta 5 and Gang of Four, accenting their angular, acerbic punk with modern synths and drum machines. Liar’s second album, 2004’s They Were Wrong, So We Drowned, eschewed their debut’s trendy post-punk aesthetic in favor of dissonant atmospherics and electronic soundscapes more akin to the sound of This Heat. That album stratified fans and critics alike, especially chafing with those who took to They Threw Us All for the clear dance/punk leanings of a number of that album’s tracks (e.g. “We Live Northeast of Compton”). 2006 saw the release of Drum’s Not Dead., which continued the direction they had taken with They Were Wrong but was met with a much more favorable critical reaction. 2007’s self-tited LP, Liars, found the band once again shifting styles, this time towards 60’s style garage rock and 70’s proto-punk, all through the dark, effects-driven prism that Liars began channeling on They Were Wrong. While more straight-forward than their previous 2 LPs, the record contained the same focus on rhythm and experimentation with the deconstruction of traditional sounds. Similar to Drum’s Not Dead, Liars was critically praised and found its way on to Best of 2007 lists.

The Flaming Lips – Embryonic [2009]

Posted in experimental rock,neo psychedelia by deek on December 26, 2009

Masayoshi Takanaka – Rainbow Goblins Story LIVE AT BUDOKAN (1981) [Vinyl Rip]

Owls – S/T [2001]

Posted in emo,experimental rock,indie rock,math rock by deek on June 13, 2009

Radiohead – Towering Above The Rest [24cd b-side bootleg]

Posted in acoustic rock,alternative,art rock,electronic,experimental rock by deek on October 7, 2007

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