Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Floating Action - Fake Blood (Harvest, 2012)

Floating Action
Fake Blood

Rating: 7 coffee filters out of 10

It's only fitting that Jim James of My Morning Jacket is pushing to get Floating Action heard more in the world, because before I even heard of James' fandom, Floating Action brought to mind a strong whiff of MMJ (the older stuff, before they started sucking), a smidge of Sparklehorse (his more straight-forward pop songs), and the obvious tie-ins to various canyon rock bands from the late sixties and early seventies (aka shit that Gram Parsons was either a part of or friends of).  Floating Action, at least in it's recorded form, is just one man - Seth Kauffman - and it honestly sounds like a bedroom project with one man obsessing over it, but that's not a bad thing in my book.  Years ago I might have said something like "this album might be hard to get your hands on, but it's worth the search" - but fuck that shit these days, the internet makes everything available to everyone.  The sentiment holds true though - this is worth searching out if you like subtle pop music with just enough earthy vibe to keep it grounded. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Hot Lunch - Hot Lunch (Who Can You Trust?, 2012)

Hot Lunch
Hot Lunch
Who Can You Trust?

Rating: 7 bad neighborhoods out of 10

The type of hard rock that Hot Lunch plays never seems to go out of style.  It may not be at the top of my personal list, but it's a timeless, heavy sound that has been going strong since the likes of Blue Cheer and MC5 came on the scene in the early seventies.  You could probably also make parallels to a band like Fu Manchu, but perhaps that is the skateboard cover art talking more than anything else.  The record slows down and gets weird in a couple of places, and by "weird" I mean elves and wizards Led Zeppelin type shit, and ain't nothing wrong with that from time to time.  But mostly, it just rocks.  And rockin' is always right.

Neil Halstead - Palindrome Hunches (Brushfire, 2012)

Neil Halstead
Palindrome Hunches

Rating: 7.5 chick tracts out of 10

From the mid-nineties to the mid-oughts, Neil Halstead released a number of classic records under the band name Mojave 3.  I mean no slight to the rest of the Mojave 3 band members, but it's Halstead's voice and song-writing that really sold that material.  So it's no surprise that his solo records are equally great, especially this newest offering "Palindrome Hunches."  For the most part it's just the man, his vocals and a bit of guitar - most every review I've seen have made a Nick Drake cover, but I've been listening to Halstead for so long he is now a touchstone for other comparisons.  Certainly the "soft rockingness" of both artists are quite similar, so I see where the comparisons come from, but for my money I'll honestly take Halstead over Drake.  Pound for pound Halstead's output is just as engaging, and there's more of it. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Tyvek - On Triple Beams (In The Red, 2012)

On Triple Beams
In The Red

Rating: 7.5 new pairs of shoes out of 10

Detroit's Tyvek is the closest thing we have these days to A-Frames cold, calculated repetitive punk.  They've been releasing records at nearly a Ty Segall-like rate, and I've been eating it up.  Their music is dark and moody and has a sneer to it that you don't hear much these days.  You can of course make the usual touchstones of Gang of Four and Wire that you can with all of Tyvek's music, but this time around the band...sounds pretty much exactly as they did on their previous records.  Which makes me happy, because it's a bitchin' sound. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Redd Kross - Researching the Blues (Merge, 2012)

Redd Kross
Researching the Blues

Rating: 7.5 model homes out of 10

They might have gotten older and might not have released any music since 1997, but  Redd Kross has reappeared with a record as catchy as anything they've ever put out. I'm a little slow on the intake with this record released last August, but so many records so little time, yadda yadda.  While this might not have made my list of very best records of 2012, it would have been close; and the track "Stay Away from Downtown" would have definitely made my list of best songs of the year - it's been stuck in my head from the first listen.  Like always it's song after song of peppy power pop punch, Redd Kross being the masters of this brand of songsmithery.  All young bands should immediately take notice.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Lace Curtains - The Garden of Joy and the Well of Loneliness (Female Fantasy, 2012)

Lace Curtains
The Garden of Joy and the Well of Loneliness
Female Fantasy

Rating: 7.5 committed fouls out of 10

I really loved that band Harlem that released a couple of records a year or two ago, but then they sorta fell off the map.  I have no idea if they broke up or it's a hiatus situation, but in the interim there are at least a couple of quality off shoots - Grape St. and this here band, Lace Curtains.  This album sounds just as catchy as Harlem, minus the garage punk ferocity.  I'd say it feels like the drunken cousin of of the prep pop fad that hit a couple years back with Real Estate and those groups.  This would have been a strong contender for my year-end list if I'd gotten to it in time.  I've only listened a couple of times but it is very good, and will hopefully help scratch the itch left behind by Harlem's disappearance. 

Low - Plays Nice Places (Sup Pop, 2012)

Plays Nice Places
Sup Pop

Rating: 7 frozen doves out of 10

Low has a new record coming out soon, but in the meantime they released a free live EP that you can grab from this link here.  Just enter your email address or whatnot.  Ben Gibbard helps on one of the songs and luckily doesn't screw it up (I have no beef against Gibbard like some do, but he's no Low).  It's worth the effort to download for the live versions of "sunflowers" and "Witches" alone.  "Pissing" is great too.  Goddamn, what a good band... nearly 20 years later and I still get chills listening to them sometimes. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Jason Lytle & Sea of Bees - Split 7'' (Crossbill, 2012)

Jason Lytle & Sea of Bees
Split 7''

Rating: 6.5 wrong shoes out of 10

Jason Lytle covers a Sea of Bees song on the A-side, and Sea of Bees covers a Jason Lytle song on the flip.  We've seen this recipe before.  I don't know one single goddamn thing about Sea of Bees, but the cover Lytle does of their (or is it just her?) track is very reminiscent of Sparklehorse - this got my attention. I wasn't quite as excited hearing Sea of Bees perform the Lytle song, but it's not bad.  The vocals remind me of someone - maybe a little Mazzy Star, but something else I can't wrap my head around.  Wouldn't mind hearing more from this Bees outfit, cause there ain't enough here to really make your mind up.  I already know I love Lytle so recommending at least his half of the vinyl is a no brainer.