TVLab – Music for Rural Bedrooms

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[ Peace Tunic, 2017 ]

Music for Rural Bedrooms is the debut tape by the very fresh Connecticut based label Peace Tunic. Both the music and the artwork were created by David John DiBella who goes by the truly Fangs&Arrows friendly alias TVLab. The tape has a lovely, lo-fi glaze over its progressive electronic atmosphere and the air or amateurish, unpolished joy of creation. In fact, the somewhat hypnagogic tunes here remind one of the golden era of microscopic tape labels and hazy drone/ambient cassettes coming out by the hundreds of the 2000s/2010s. The psychedelic, lazily tropical atmosphere is strongly reminiscent of classic Brother Raven works, with similarly over-enthusiastic approach to knob fuckery and skeletal structures. Lovely.


Nico Niquo – In a Silent Way

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[ Orange Milk Records, 2017 ]

Hey there! You know what? The second full-length by Nico Callaghan a.k.a. Nico Niquo is out and it’s just as lovely as the debut one, except better. How? Probably because it fuses together the two schools of ambient music: one is the more rigid, sequencer-driven one, relying upon clear time signatures and mathematical precision, the other being ethereal, rhythmless tracks that rely purely upon atmosphere. In a Silent Way sounds like R Plus Seven that got its ADHD medication and manages to become slower and more coherent while retaining the relaxed, calming atmosphere. Recommended!


Julia Bloop – “I Gotta Get Outta This Place”

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The spring batch of tapes from Crash Symbols comes spearheaded by Brooklyn ambientalist Julia Bloop, who promotes the upcoming cassette Roland Throop with “I Gotta Get Outta This Place”. Bloop creates a dreamlike atmosphere by cleverly juggling relaxed percussive loops, spoken word samples and delicate melodies, resulting in a calm, melodic microcosm that sounds like a clever quote of late 90’s Ninja Tune and their downtempo classics.

Roland Throop is out March 24th via Crash Symbols.


Matta Gawa – Tambora

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[ New Atlantis Records, 2011 ]

The free rock tradition is being kept alive and well with the Washington, DC based duo Matta Gawa consisting of the six string demon Ed Ricart and the drum demon Sam Lohman who manage to create dynamic, explosive composition with the use of just these two instruments. Tambora has a much cleaner production than Ba, which allows the duo to fully show their relentless action when it comes to their free flowing tracks which masterfully shift from the moments of silence to the fully articulated blasts of anger. Imagine psych rock, but much more basic and with less stylistic boundaries and less effects and you get Matta Gawa. Recommended!


Rangers – Texas Rock Bottom

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[ Self-released, 2016 ]

A praise of very ordinary living: the newest album by Joe Knight a.k.a. Rangers makes you check all the info on the Bandcamp page twice while thinking: “Wait, is this the same guy who made Suburban Tours and Panama Stories, which shaped hypnagogic pop with its hazy, druggy aesthetics!?”. Yes, it is. At first, it might seem almost dull by comparison – the songs here sound a bit like something a small town rock band might record to be played on a local radio, but with each repeated listening the intriguing stylistic shifts and occasional breaks in almost pop rock song structures become more and more prominent. Turns out, there’s quite a lot of Meat Puppets love under the soft melodies and easy rhythms. It’s a kind of sly, secretive psychedelia that only emerges after a few listens or when one completely blends into the music. A bit underwhelming at first, but very rewarding after a while. Recommended!


Black Bananas – Spydr Brain

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[ OSR, 2016 ]

The Brooklyn based label OSR might be one of my favorite new finds with its colorful gallery of musical avant-weirdos with their crazy approach to music making and the creative process. One of the newest releases by this label is Spydr Brain EP by the neo-psych unit Black Bananas featuring Jennifer Herrema or the Royal Trux fame. Now if you think this sounds anything like, say, Twin Infinitives or Accelerator, you should chuck such thinking out of the window. Spydr Brain is a hyperkinetic, incredibly busy trippy electric jazz funk fusion, but with a sleazy, punky twist – like a drug addicted medium channeling Miles Davis. It’s wonderfully warped and meaty and the same time, the kind of freak funk Sunburned Hand of the Man would be proud of if they did amphetamines instead of shrooms and acid. Highly recommended!


Oneida & Rhys Chatham – What’s Your Sign?

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[ Northern Spy, 2016 ]

The spirit of no wave is very well alive on this collaborative LP by one of the no wave era’s legendary guitarists Rhys Chatham and one of the most important developments in the NYC experimental rock scene, Oneida. Their collaboration was pretty much bound to go for the weirder, more distorted and atmospheric corners of the rock genre – and boy, it did. Nervous, chopped-up improvisations  collide with freewheeling psychedelic jams involving strange tunings and avant-garde compositional techniques, all to create a way of bridging the past and the future. Definitely an album to give you your fix of the forward-thinking guitar weirdness and to make you shut up about trippy guitar work for a while. At least while you’re working this one out. Recommended!