Archive for March, 2012

Album Review

Andrew Weathers Ensemble – Guilford County Songs (Full Spectrum, 2012)


Andrew Weathers EnsembleSkin Holding Atoms In (Full Spectrum)

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A new Andrew Weathers Ensemble album! For those that don’t recall, the record they put out last year, We’re Not Cautious, was number 2 on my Top 10 Drone Records, so a new one is obviously quite exciting. Here they’re stripped down to a quartet with just a banjo, and some harmonicas, strings, guitars, the occasional saxophone, and, of course, their wonderful voices. One of the best things about Cautious was how lush everything was, which is a little lost here, but not by necessity, rather by choice. There are some very thick and warm sounds, especially when all four players are going strong, but a lot of the times it’s just one or two of them, maybe just the two cellos, or a solo banjo (the best), or even just the harmonicas (also the best), and then it can get quite sparse, and I imagine the others setting their instruments down just to watch their pals do their thing, getting really into it, and watching with reverence & camaraderie, until they feel moved enough to pick up their musicmakers again and join in. There’s such a feeling of warmth and friendship on here, even when it gets dark and sounds like Constellation-style neo-chamber music, the intimacy still reigns, and you’re right there with them, part of the sound, and you want to sing out and join the chorus supporting Weathers’ richly dominant lead. Guilford County Songs doesn’t quite match the untouchable greatness of We’re Not Cautious, but what this Ensemble does is so captivating and life enriching, that anything they put out is a winner.

Album Review

Nicholas Szczepanik – The Truth Of Transience (Isounderscore, 2012)


Nicholas SzczepanikI (excerpt) (Isounderscore)

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The other side of Szczepanik, the perfect foil to We Make Life Sad, both marking his first foray into vinyl territory. Where that one was a bunch of short looped pieces full of half-forgotten memories and lo-fi crackle, this has two side-long pieces that let Szczepanik work his magic on subtlety and the slow burn. The first side has a wonderful long form rhythm, it starts out menacing, all horror movie suspense style, with percussive gong-like warnings and imitation bowed cymbals, turning into a loud and blissfully unnerving swirl that eventually fades to nothing, changing into something quiet, delicate, effortlessly building into a heavenly choir of tones, stunning and overwhelming, but restrained. The B side is all or nothing, beginning with a barely there minimalism, completely ethereal, that imperceptibly grows, a seamless pairing of the bliss & unsettling sounds from before, a glorious wall of beauty & fear, but calm, serene, something you welcome and celebrate, this is the sound of enlightenment that Kubrick should have used in 2001. Transience has all the makings of a perfect record and there’s nothing standing in its way to take the crown in 2012.

Album Review

Nicholas Szczepanik – We Make Life Sad (WEME, 2012)


Nicholas SzczepanikHer Last Breath (WEME)

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We’ve never had any vinyl from Szczepanik and now we’re treated to two at the same time. Too good to be true. We Make Life Sad is the international vinyl release and is the polar opposite of the other, The Truth Of Transience on Isounderscore. This is 10 short tracks, variations on Szczepanik’s view of life’s memories, moments, emotions, etc. There’s an overall sound to this, lots of turntable crackle, lo-fi, white background noise, but each track is its own isolated experience, taking small melodies, or even fragments of melodies, and looping them into an endless dream, similar to Zomes’ records, or like Szczepanik’s highly personalized Buddha Machine. You could look at this as his Ante Algo Azul series boiled down to LP format, although those pieces were fully formed, whereas these are almost like excerpts, rarely having a defining beginning or and end and almost never developing into anything more than it was when it started, these are memories frozen in our mind, not encapsulating the whole original, but only what our less-than-reliable mind can recall, and replayed without control, no matter how sad the memory may be, until it blurs into something only mildly recognizable, a faded and washed out version of the past, tragic in its own right, but unbelievably fucking beautiful when Szczepanik turns it into sound. This is truly outstanding work from literally the best dude on the scene. Everything he makes is 100% unstoppably awesome and We Make Life Sad is no different.

Album Review

Jakob Battick & Friends – The Painful Places Will All Fly From Me (self released, 2011)


Jakob Battick & FriendsThan Even The Night (self released)

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So it has come to this, the final nail in the Jakob Battick & Friends coffin. Originally a limited physical release in 2010, Battick decided to re-release Painful Places for free on Bandcamp as a farewell. Well, this couldn’t be a more fitting finale as this is as fucking sad as it gets. Melancholic and bittersweet, stripped down to its bones, just a couple slow guitars with Battick and and his friends filling in the spaces with their voices, Battick’s rich & resonating, super intimate, like you’re right there with him in a cold, empty church attic. This is the bleakest, most minimal folk you’ve ever heard, Battick can take a few chords and turn them upside down, into something previously unknown, and his voice makes everything incredibly tragic but still uplifting, like he’s fucking Atlas with the weight of the world on his shoulders for infinity, singing to the world that there’s nothing to worry about ’cause he’s fucking got it, death, death, more death, and it’s all ok because nothing matters. So yeah, this is really fucking good, and there’s no reason you shouldn’t grab a gratis copy. Here’s hoping that Battick isn’t done making music and he’s just retiring the “Friends.” The world would certainly be worse off if he was done for good, so lets make this a public plea for more Battick creations. We (I) need it.

Album Review

Ava Luna – Ice Level (Infinite Best, 2012)


Ava LunaWrenning Day (Infinite Best)

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Alright you guys, this is it, the last time I try to persuade you of the ways of Ava Luna. I’ve given you their first two self released CD-R EPs, 3rd Avenue Island & Services (now available together on one slab of vinyl!), and now they’ve dropped their debut full length, also on vinyl (obviously). It’s a fuckin stunner. These guys have really honed in on something spectacularly original, a hopefully trademarked brand of sexy soul punk. Mostly drums n synth, with some guitars & strings thrown in to liven shit up and keep it classy, but Ava Luna’s secret weapon are everyone’s fucking voices. Carlos’ is incredible, powerful, gritty & smooth, hitting falsettos like nobody’s business, and the girls, oh my god those honied female harmonies are elating, they bring this shit to the next level. If you’ve been following Ava Luna since 3rd Ave, then Ice Level may seem a bit less abrasive. They’ve toned it down a bit, but it still gets rowdy as hell and loud enough to annoy the neighbors. The beats still sway between simple & danceable to jerky & even more danceable. They do the quiet-loud thing so well, mostly due to the quiet parts being so fucking captivating, just a lonely slow beating drum, maybe a little synthy melody, and the most beautiful vocals you’ve ever heard. So unbelievably fucking good. Shake it, be serenaded, work it, swoon, sexiness abound. This is the real deal you guys. No more fucking around. Time to join Ava Luna’s soul punk party.

Album Review

Triode – One Way Voice Link (False, 2012)


TriodeKonets 000 (excerpt) (False)

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Crazy crazy crazy. This is some true awesomeness right here. I have no idea who/what Triode is, except this tape came from, appropriately enough as you’ll soon discover, a live WRIU set in 1998. Freshly dubbed by the caretakers at False, One Way Voice Link is a standalone piece of noisy radio brilliance. Deep rumblings laying waste to the landscape with hideous mechanical crunching, haunted caustic drones, faded ethereal voices, heaving electromagnetic swamp acid, clips of radio transmissions steamrolling through the airwaves. The best part of this hour long mess is the 20 minute mid section of the B side. I couldn’t tell you if this was recorded straight from a numbers station or if Triode coated it in a thick brown fuzz afterwards, but it’s a recording of male & female vocalists singing something beautiful and dramatic but blown into oblivion so the lyrics and language are obscured, and they’ve been chopped up into about 10 second long segments, maybe 4 or 5 different “verses” that cut short and start up again without keeping the tempo they’re singing in, subtly but undeniably jarring, and looped without variation for about 20 minutes, so long that you hyper analyze everything, wondering what’s been altered, what’s intentional, what’s unavoidable, and WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON, but it’s so beautiful and hypnotic, a disintegrated loop halted in its deterioration, locked in lo-fi forever. 100% worth the tape for that part alone, but the rest is amazing and the packaging is downright ridiculous. Each False tape comes in a brown jewelry box with cotton padding, a printed velum insert, and obi strip. Way classy and over the top, just the way I like my tape packaging.

Album Review

Sujo – Diaspora (Inam, 2012)


SujoSix Days (Inam)

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It seems like I just wrote about Sujo’s last (free!) record, Terran. I kinda did (less than 2 months ago) but that was a late writeup and this one is mostly on time. Plus, I just got this and it fucking rips. Absolutely fucking massive, this dude pushes all the right buttons for me. Diaspora is apocalyptic drone metal of the highest order, taking all genres and mashing them into ultimate destruction. Like Nadja’s metalgaze mixed with Locrian’s blackened noise, some Before The Dawn Heals Us style majesty, and Pyramids’ furious blastbeats. Songs of doom that sound like a leviathan is wreaking havoc, conquering the world, and you’re the only one who can stop it, that slow motion scene where you finally stand up to it, alone, knowing there’s no hope of survival. Deep bone rattling rumble, monolithic static feedback, the hardest hitting drums and the grandest euphoric drones ever, black & blissful as fuck, the most jaw dropping loudness I’ve heard all year. Turn this fucker up and watch the world crumble.

Album Review

Sun Hammer – A Dream In Blood (Futuresequence, 2012)


Sun HammerThere Is No-One Around But Flies (Futuresequence)

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The incredible Jay Bodley, everybody. Recording here as Sun Hammer for Futuresequence’s second proper release, Bodley has made a jaw dropper of darkened drones. This thing straight up should have been the score to Event Horizon. Bleak creepiness infused with the vast nothing of space and some drops of sci-fi nightmares. The opening piece is a 19 minute droning juggernaut, patiently evolving from one movement to the next with static waves and long form regret. 4 shorter pieces follow, each one summoning the dark parts of your soul, stretched out haunted minimalism woven with pulsing, grinding, clicking, whining, and crying, all walking the delicate balance of dissonance & bliss. This is the darkest of grays, as dark as you get without going full Black Ambient or Black Metal or Black anything. Unbelievably fucking awesome. Digital only for now but FS is currently considering making the plunge to physical releases, so who knows what’s in the bag. And if you’re digging Bodley’s stuff as much as me, know that he also releases stuff as A Setting Sun, most recently December on Moongadget back in… December, and he’s been contributing to Disquiet’s Junto project every week. So, plenty more goodness where this came from.

Album Review

C. Yantis – Box Elder, Cold Scholar (Holyoak! Resounding, 2012)


C. YantisRand (Holyoak! Resounding)

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A new tape on a new label from a not so new dude. Holyoak! Resounding is run by Seth Chrisman with the aim of making every release a unique artifact with elaborate packaging. C. Yantis’ Box Elder, Cold Scholar is h!r-001 and if it’s any indication of what the future holds, shoooooot you’re gonna want each and every H!R release out there. Beautiful stuff. The tape comes in a hand stamped, wax sealed envelope (I love wax sealed music), inside of which is a photograph and a card with the liner notes on one side and an original Yantis painting on the other. And the tape is green. Nice. And the music is fucking outstanding, as should be expected. Many awesome sounds on here, dampened drums, depressed pianos, gritty guitars, that’s about all that’s recognizable. Maybe some creepy bowed metal, reversed & reverbed brass & strings. It’s all incredible, casting out a dark gray vibe that’s not to be fucked with. Each side has one short and one long piece, the long ones are definitely my pick of the litter. The A side is a stretched out 15+ minute slab of warm lush Mountainsy drone, macroscopically static, revealing an ocean of tidal currents when you stare really hard. The closer is a real ear fucker, guitars chopped & rewound to make some unsettling glitchy industrial soup, making its way into a burnt out feedback loop, throwing that eeriness out the window and going full bliss, cranking it to 11 in the clouds. Fucking awesome as fuck. So much is right with this tape, it would be dangerous to your health is you skipped over it.

Amour & Discipline


 
Here’s something to get excited about. A new site that’s both webzine collective and donation platform! Seriously. This newly launched site, Amour & Discipline, is the real deal. The contributors to the webzine are like a fuckin who’s who of the coolest dudes alive. Check out this ridiculous lineup:

Aguirre Records, Amen Dunes, Astral Social Club, Ben Greenberg (Zs, Hubble), Ben McOsker (Load Records), Brad Rose (Digitalis), Bruno Dorella (Bar la Muerte records, OvO…), Carla Bozulich, Chris Corsano, Clint Simonson (De Stijl records), Dan Deacon, Dean Spunt (No Age, Post Present Medium), Deerhoof, Dustin Wong, Efrim Manuel Menuck (Godspeedyoublackemperor/A Silver Mt Zion/Constellation), Eli Keszler, EMA, Ensemble Economique, Giuseppe Ielasi, Jakub Adamek (Weed Temple), Japanther, Jeffrey Lewis, Jon Hency (Bathetic Records), Julian Lynch, Justice Yeldham, Kemialliset Ystävät, Lightning Bolt, Liars, Mount Eerie, Orange Milk Records, Prince Rama, Scout Niblett, Sculpture, Senufo Editions, Shawn Reed (Wet hair/Night People), Sore Eros, Sun Araw, Sunburned Hand, Tape Drift Records, The Ex, Volcano The Bear, Xiu Xiu

And I only mentioned the best. The best of the best. That’s what this is. The full list of contributors is posted on the site, with more to come.

Ok, so another music blog thing is good and all, especially with such a unique collection of voices as A&D is offering, but we already got lots of those. Not a lot of innovation there. But then there’s the donation platform, and that’s where this gets really awesome.

Imagine this. You’re off torrenting some obscure band’s discography because everything’s long sold out (you’re late to the party) and you think to yourself, I just acquired 3 straight days worth of music that someone poured their heart and soul into, and I got it for nothing. You think maybe I could be only half-asshole and donate some dollars directly to an artist. Because you consider yourself a semi-decent human being or something. I dunno. Or maybe you just downloaded some free ‘n’ legal album that a band posted and decide later you want to give them money. Amour & Discipline is allowing you to do exactly that.

They have a massive database of bands & labels that you can give money to via A&D, and if the artist you want to support isn’t in their database, A&D will track them down for you. The only money that isn’t going directly to the artist is to cover bank fees. That’s it.

I probably did a shitty job explaining things, but that’s the general gist of it. Amour & Discipline have short & full manifestos for your perusal that do a way better job getting the point across.

The donation platform should be rolling out very soon, but until then go explore the rest of the site. There’s already a bunch of blog posts from the likes of Dustin Wong and Eric Hardiman. This has the potential to be something truly great. I hope it goes even beyond that. Godspeed, Amour & Discipline!

Haiku Review

Hexagon Sun – +/- (self released, 2012)


Hexagon SunPlasma Sea: 256 Colors (self released)

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Download +/-

/mainframe malfunction/
/lost distress beacon signals/
/anti-matter wind/

Album Review

Double Awake – Foundlings (Slow Blood, 2012)


Double AwakeLost Word (Slow Blood)

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Double Awake (Will Mayo) has a new tape and a new label. As Slow Blood, he’s been booking amazing noise/psych/drone shows at Great Scott & O’Brien’s. Now Slow Blood is officially a label with Foundlings being its number one. And this thing is a fucking synth massacre. All live and done entirely on a Realistic MG-1, these tracks are insane. The first is a side long piece sounding like guitar feedback loops, repeated & echoed in a slightly tense/disturbing way, taking a long time to build but once it does, its a dense swirling cloud of black dreams. The B side has a couple of tracks that are fucking bonkers. One starts out all innocent and New Agey, old school warped & jumbly synth melodies and then flies into the heart of the storm where it drops out and goes pure red, grit & static bursts of the most pleasurable variety. The tape finishes off with a piece that’s weird even for DA. He blurs vocals and synth on here, making sounds that seem like you’re in a factory with gurgling air pipes screaming hot steam, almost like industrial beat boxing or something, super awesome, bizarreness abound, ends with him turning into a howler monkey and yelling like a madman while the world crumbles around him. It’s called “War Poem (For Tristan Tzara)” so it kinda makes sense. Kind of. Best of all, pay what you want for this sucker. Or drop a mere $6 for the physical embodiment of Slow Blood’s hard work.

AGB Mission Statement


 
I’ve been struggling a bit with the semi-regular blog crisis. Happens about once every year or so. It’s been especially rough this time around. I’ve dealt with so many deaths lately I’ve lost count, funeral after funeral, it starts to wear on you. And I’ve started a new full time job with a 3-4 hour round trip commute. You start questioning things. Why am I doing this? Who am I doing it for? etc, etc.

Anti-Gravity Bunny has not been fun for me as of late. It started out as a great leisurely way for me to share my favorite music but it’s grown into something else, something that takes a lot of work. I created a slew of self-imposed rules & guidelines that I was never able to keep up with. A post a day. Write about every submission I get. Ok, write about every physical submission I get. Write about a lot of Boston stuff. Way too much guilt. I imagined everyone hating me for not writing about the record they sent me and everyone else somehow knowing I had the record and that I wasn’t writing about it and hating me for that. It wasn’t fun.

These were the main questions I asked myself. Why did I start AGB? Why don’t I like it anymore? Can I like it again? The answers started to sound a little like a mission statement. Wait, I don’t have one of those. Hey, I should have one of those. So I made one. And now I feel like I’ve set up a framework for me to do exactly what I want to do and enjoy it instead of feeling bad about it.

So here it is. I’m curious to know what you think. From here on out it will be available on my About page.
 
Mission Statement

I love sharing music that’s crazy awesome and/or under-represented. That’s why I started Anti-Gravity Bunny and that’s why I keep it going.

I’ve always tried to maintain both quantity & quality in AGB but it’s a solo operation. I’m just one dude who, sadly, has more on his plate than a stack of records. I’ve chosen to focus on quality content without pressuring myself to keep up with a large quantity. I’m pretty sure this is a refinement everyone can get psyched about.

I’ve created content criteria to give myself some guidelines and so you know what to expect. Posts will fit one or more of the following:
1. It’s so great that I passed out from it’s sheer fucking greatness. Good music is good and all, but there’s too damn much of it. 100% great 100% of the time.
2. It’s from an artist I haven’t already written about. One and done (unless they’re that fucking good. see #1). Once I’ve introduced you, I’ve done my duty as a sharer and now it’s up to you to follow through.
3. It’s a hidden gem. I go crate digging and find some old bizarre LPs. It would be criminal to not pass such rare & unique treasures on to all of you.

I just crave music that’s weird & rad and I know some of you do, too. I do this for free. I do it for love. Sharing is caring.

P.S. Since AGB is all me, I can change the rules whenever I want.

Mixes

3


 
A couple of my friends and I started a mix trading project. The idea (not mine, sadly) is to take a track number and make a mix using only songs that are that track number on their respective albums. Hence the title 3. My inspiration was A Faulty Chromosome’s “Groaning Like A Grown-Up” (third track off of Craving To Be Coddle So We Feel Fake-Safe) which is one of my favorite songs ever. I even wrote about that song specifically after I had already reviewed the album. It’s just so fucking good. Anyway, this mix starts out kinda poppy, ends up pretty noisy. I had fun making it, so I thought I’d share. Enjoy.

Download 3
1. A Faulty Chromosome – Groaning Like A Grown-Up
2. The Hospitals – Rules For Being Alive
3. The Goslings – Vitium
4. Neptune – Paris Green
5. Nadja – The
6. Pete Swanson – A&Ox0
7. Dan Friel – One Legged Cowboy
8. Power Pill Fist – Fisticus 2:36
9. Lightning Bolt – Dracula Mountain
10. Millipede – Daphnes Nohansen
11. Jefre Cantu-Ledesma – Loving Love
12. Prurient – Memory Repeating

Album Review

Textile Trio – AAA (Songs From Under The Floorboards, 2011)


Textile TrioUntitled 1 (Songs From Under The Floorboards)

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Two French turntable brutalists (Alexandre Bellenger and Arnaud Rivière) and drummer/trumpet destroyer Aaron Moore (of Volcano The Bear) joined up for some truly devastating stuff on AAA. This is fucking killer. Free jazz noise taken to the furthest level, a neverending cacophony of hardcore. Turntables getting torn to bits to make sweet skree crumble, I can only imagine what they look like when these guys are done with ‘em. The equivalent of smashing your guitar into your amp and lighting them on fire, that’s what these guys are doing with their turntables. Fucking insane. And Moore is a beast on the drums, absolute reign over the kit, furious & cathartic. I’ve only recognized the trumpet for a brief moment on here, which either means a) Moore is mostly taking care of the drums or b) he’s warped his trumpet sounds beyond recognition and it just melts together with the rest of the chaos. I’m rooting for the latter. And for the whole goddamn thing. This album is punk as fuck and needs to be heard. Intransitive sub-label Songs From Under The Floorboards has graced us with 100 copies of AAA, make sure you give one a home.