WNnG – Musings from the desk of chaz.

Changing of the Guards
October 10, 2008, 7:44 pm
Filed under: New Music

Time to swap out the stuff that’s on the Recommended Wall. So, in celebration of that, I’ll post here the short quips that I wrote on the albums that went up there this past month. These are records, mostly newer, that have caught my ear. Some are (or were recently) new releases and some are things I’ve had in stock and I just forget to listen to the first time around. There might be a few older release curve balls too. Who knows. On to it….

No Age – Nouns CD (Sub Pop)

Lo-fi & grimy. Catchy & melodic. Sounds like they shouldn’t go together, but they do. And oh-so-well on this record. Easily one of my favorites of the year. No Age is as well versed in the Butthole Surfers as they are the Buzzcocks and that is a very beautiful thing. With hooks to make ya grin and noise to make ya nervous, these two kids will no doubt woo ya. They can exist in medium-sized venues just as well as they can in any stale, mildewy basement across the States. Ambitiously DIY. Like current indie darlings, Times New Viking and Jay Reatard, No Age disguises amazing pop songs under layers of flailing distortion and exhausted sweat. There’s a beauty in balance.

Notwist – The Devil, You + Me CD (Domino)

A beautiful pairing of melodic indie rock with organic electronic undertones. Anyone remember the Books or Mice Parade? Notwist definitely rattles around in those areas of sounds and styles. Somewhat collagey and loose, yet meticulously structured. I’d probably also put them in the same arena as Animal Collective / Panda Bear. Their sense of melody and layering is amazing and they know how to draw the listener along with them the entire album without losing anyone along the way. Certain tracks are definitely standout and memorable, but as a whole it’s brilliant.

Manikins – Crocodiles LP (Full Breach Kicks)

New garage/powerpop outta Sweden!! Well, technically they have been around for a while and they’ve released a handful of 7″s and LPs already, but most have not been too readily available over here in the States. Which is an outrage. But, Full Breach Kicks has impeccable timing as this album was unleashed just as the public’s fling with powerpop and garage started kicking in full swing. The Manikins hash out a perfect blend of the Marked Men, Reigning Sound and Exploding Hearts with a common, reckless backbone running through each song. Make no doubt about it though, they might sound like all your favorite bands, but they are as unique as they come. Well, as far as good garage and powerpop goes…it’s all rehashing anyway, just how well you do it. And this comes highly recommended.

The Oh Sees – The Master’s Bedroom is Worth Spending a Night in CD (Tomlab)

Side project turned full-on project by Pink & Brown co-conspirator/axeman and Coachwhips’ mastermind, John Dwyer. Guitarist and song constructor extraordinaire. This started as a bedroom four track experiment, but has turned into this amazing full-bodied, psychedelic indie pop garage folk experience. One amazing spacefest. I think this might be somewhere around the fourth or fifth album under this moniker and he’s working with a full, contributing band on this outing. It’s a more full, multi-dimensional sound than his first handful of releases. Which were amazing, but this hits it to the next level. It looks as if Mr. Dwyer has found the sound he’s been looking for. Again, highly recommended.

Oneida – Preteen Weaponry CD (Jagjaguwar)

Jagjaguwar needs to be your favorite indie label. They’ve brought us Black Mountain, Bon Iver, Women, Okkervil River and a ridiculous amount of other amazing bands and albums. Those titles are just from this year alone! Oneida has always been a constant on this label and they’ve been a new release staple for me for a while now. Their releases are always highly anticipated here, ever since my old, scraggly roommate and fellow music store employee turned me onto them years ago. Oneida are Brooklynites swinging around heavy, neo-prog epics with an air of unpretentious Krautrock flair. Just three tracks on this record. That’s it. Oh yeah, and it’s also just the first installment of a multi-album concept! Geeky? Yes, maybe. Awesome? Completely. They are students of lofty stoner rock, as much as they are professors of arty post-punk. This album comes heavily influenced by the likes of Can/Neu and MC5/Blue Cheer. Get into it.

Clockcleaner – Babylon Rules CD (Load)

This has been out for a while now, but I’m gonna sneak it in anyway. I just got back around to listening to it again and I heard it in a way that I had missed the first time around. I shelved it before I even really gave it a chance. Just lumped it in with the “things that sound a little too derivative” pile. But that’s a bad mindset to have anyway. Little did I know, it’s actually an album that I’d end up loving! This here is sweet, sweet AmRep style rawk. It’s ominous, dark and menacing in a Scratch Acid and Melvins kind of way. They’ve left all their high ends behind on the studio floor and replaced ’em all with gut-turning lows. The production on it is brilliant and perfectly catches that lo-fi, late 80s/early 90s warm and scuzzy sound. The sound you hear when David Yow stares creepily into your eyes. It sends shivers up your spine. It’s a little out of the box for Load Records, so thanks so much to that label for bringing it out to us!


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