Album Review

Elisa Ambrogio – The Immoralist (Drag City, 2014)

Elisa Ambrogio - The Immoralist album cover

No stream here, Drag City’s got the whole album up on Soundcloud via Impose, check it there
 

I’m admittedly a little late to the Magik Markers game (which is shameful since they’re a localish band), I’ve only been jamming them for a few years, but got hooked real quick, and am always jonesin for more (the Arbitrary Signs page helps with that), so when I heard Elisa Ambrogio, singer/guitarist for MM, was dropping her solo debut, I got pretty fuckin psyched and was hoping for more MM-tinged garagey goodness that was maybe a bit more stripped down, and that’s exactly what I got on The Immoralist, and while there’s a couple songs that sound like the could’ve come from an actual MM record, for the most part it’s like a bedroom pop daydream of MM, with Ambrogio taking charge of everything, cleaning up the fuzzed out rock a bit and showing off her soft side, layered vocals harmonizing with herself, going for the deep 60s psych pop where you can be a total fuckin weirdo and it doesn’t seem out of place in the slightest, throwing down melancholic piano ballads alongside catchy Top 40 celebrations, this is both a joyful summer slam and awkward bittersweet downer, where Ambrogio travels merrily down memory lane, and closes the record with the lyric “Nothing new would live if nothing died,” which in one short phrase encompasses the whole feeling of The Immoralist, gettin high on those shitty feelings and not letting life’s despair bog you down, and that’s basically what I strive for, so Ambrogio fucking nails it with this one and it’s just as good as, if not better than, the best MM records, just in a different way, something I’m pretty sure everyone should be and wants to be spinning basically non-stop.

Haiku Review

Haunted Disco – Enter Through The Exit (self released, 2013)

haunted disco - enter through the exit album cover
Haunted DiscoParadigm (self released)

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Download Enter Through The Exit
/murky dream rhythms/
/chill party time on cloud nine/
/sexxxed up bedroom pop/

Album Review

Nop – No Thing (self released, 2012)


NopQueenlord (self released)

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This record is insane. Some guy from Roxbury (aka Boston) making twisted bedroom jams of a hundred different genres. Every song is another sound, tropical drone, gritty technoise, dubby witch house, skittery ambience, spastic jungle DnB, chilled catchy AnCo pop, lo-fi chiptuney party starters, everything under the DIY sun. And it’s super sample heavy, almost every track has some clips from films and interviews and stuff. Definitely demo style, but not demo quality. This is fucking killer, it’s just all over the place. It makes for one chaotic mindfuck of a record and clearly that’s something to be proud of. Plus, IT’S FREE. Go download this shit before he changes his mind.

Album Review

Crystal Crypt – II (Native Parts, 2011)


Crystal CryptSide A (The Beyond / II / Worlds Apart / Damaged) (Native Parts)

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This is a side project of Johannes Brander, the dude behind Native Parts Recordings and the band Skogar. Pretty much consistently awesome in everything he does. This tape is a little bit of a sidestep from Skogar, venturing into the sounds of horror soundtracks and evil realms. Part Goblin synth snippets, part crumbling fuckery, lots of weirdness, and all manner of dark & dank. Like a cult of savages from the deep, who care not for fidelity nor beauty, but have occasional moments of tenderness, the sheets of guitar feedback seamlessly making way for light drones and vocals. Very cool shit right here, definitely hoping these 20 minutes are only a taste of more to come.

Album Review

Rambutan – The Temple Of Echo (Tape Drift, 2011)


RambutanEngaged In The Ritual (Tape Drift)

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Rambutan’s version of bedroom pop. His fuzzed out guitars mixed with electronics & drum machines make a looped out beat dream sounding like he took the same drugs Eric Copeland is on. Space caves dripping with old school avant-garde, stuttered glitch jams, hidden tribes worshipping motorik jungle sounds, crystals refracting psych solos, squiggly snake charms dancing in opium dens, slowed down NES tunes set to unsettling lurching, beautiful drones, intense nightmares, songs new & old that come together in a shockingly cohesive album. Totally fucking cool, a record with endless replay value and perfect for every occasion between sleeping and partying.

Album Review

Skogar – Magic/Khands (Native Parts, 2010)


SkogarSide A (excerpt)

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Johannes Brander, the mastermind behind both Skogar and Native Parts Records, sent me this tape a while ago and I guess it just got lost in the shuffle over the holidays. Sad story. I’ve loved his previous records so I don’t know why I didn’t put this as a top priority and get it on the AGB fast track. Especially because this tape is the fucking sweetest.

Magic/Khands is a 50 minute bedroom romp, toying with New Age bubbles, epic space synth, beat heavy psych jams, kicked out guitar drones, sad bastard shoegazing pop, and all points of general lo-fi blissage. This thing is SATURATED in tape hiss, probably because it was recorded on “2 broken 4-track´s cassettemachinery.” Seriously, there might actually be a bit too much hiss, even for a guy like me who loves his trashed tapes.

I’ve yet to encounter something so murkily blissful as this new Skogar tape. It’s dank and mysteriously swampy but glittering with magical purity, clearly recorded in those special few moments of Golden Hour where the most mundane & suspicious transforms into majestic perfection. Even the dirty as fuck blown out static guitar groove towards the end of the A side is glazed in warmth & euphoria.

I think part of the reason I adore the SHIT out of this is the heavy use of a nondescript organ/Casio/synth thing that makes the most glorious droning melodies. It shows up everywhere and is unbelievably fucking heartbreaking, like seeing the girl of your dreams making out with your arch nemesis but through a Terrence Malick filter type heartbreaking. Can’t get enough of that sound, man. So fucking beautiful.

Obviously, you need to grab this tape stat. It’s definitely the best thing I’ve heard from Skogar. But even regardless of his previous work, Magic/Khands is ridiculously awesome. Plus, there’s a Bardo Pond cover and the physical cassette is a very sharp pink. Can’t really argue with that.