i hate the sound of guitars

an expat dc punk in massachusetts

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12 jan 2015

12 Jan 2015 · No Comments

  1. Hussalonia -You’re tired of me writing about Hussalonia, probably.
  2. Anti-Flag – The first time I wrote about Anti-Flag they were releasing music on a major label and compromising nothing. 2015 finds them on a Finnish heavy metal label (!) … and compromising nothing
  3. Strike Anywhere – Back when I used to want to be a music critic, I prided myself on saying negative things about records I liked, because I thought that helped establish a critical perspective, as opposed to a fanboyish one. I think it’s past time for me to apologize for dissing records I later came to love
  4. Bud Powell – Can’t live on avant/eclectic pop and agit-core alone. Need some bebop, too.
  5. Shinobu – chopsy indie rock sometimes veering punkward
  6. Watershed – wanted to familiarize myself with the band before reading Hitless Wonder: A Life in Minor League Rock and Roll. Which I still need to read.
  7. Charlie XCX
  8. Young Statues – I like their own stuff fine, but the New Order cover is killer
  9. Honus Huffines – Gonna save writing about this for next week
  10. Hallelujah the Hills – The fundamental fallacy of the whole critical distance thing is that my motivation for writing about my music in the first place was to share my love of it. I love Hallelujah the Hills. I’ve written plenty about them, and almost all of it embarrasses me, because it’s spiked with left-handed compliments and outright insults.

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5 jan 2015

05 Jan 2015 · No Comments

  1. Professor Longhair – as one does when returning from New Orleans
  2. The Fur Coats
  3. Prince – no explanation needed, right?
  4. The New Lows
  5. Total Control – evokes a lot of stuff I like — early Orchestral Manoeuvres, X-ray Spex, Neu!, Go4, Chameleons, and, yes, Joy Div – pleasantly enough, but only intermittently commands my attention and doesn’t really establish a distinct identity of its own.
  6. Pyrrhon – weird discordant metal with lots of queasy little bends, crazy tempo shifts, vocals in both shouty and gurgly modes, and, crucially, sometimes enough breathing room in the mix to put the pummeling into sharp relief. I liked the shorter songs enough to listen to all the long ones.
  7. David Bazan – no explanation needed, right?
  8. Andy Stott
  9. My Favorite – I’m often a bit suspicious when an artist abandons a recent band name (The Secret History, in this case) to go back to an earlier one. Sometimes feels like throwing the new stuff under the bus a bit, or an attempt to recapture prior glory. But it’s not like My Favorite were a household name in the first place, The Secret History were hardly a world apart stylistically, and had substantial roster overalp anyways, and it is like you could put the new My Favorite single up against the old ones and not find it lacking. So, yeah, it’s fine.
  10. Jasmine Minks – How is it that I never heard these folks before? Were on Creation, prolly just missed being on the original C86.

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29 dec 2014

29 Dec 2014 · No Comments

  1. The New Lows – catchy indie rock, sometimes with a bit of punkish bite
  2. The Gateway District – Something about singer Maren Macosko’s phrasing reminds me of The Beatings’ Eldridge Rodriguez, and that makes me hear more similarity to The Beatings’ than exists, possibly. But I think they wind up in a similar place: punk by virtue of heart and pedigree more than stylistically, crafting tough, no-frills rock that some times takes a spin or two for the melodies to dig in.
  3. Piss Vortex – Experimental grindcore seems like something I ought to like, and the sonic commitment to lower mids on all the stringed instruments is unusual and noteworthy. I’d like it better if it were instrumental, and I’d like it even better — and think it was much edgier — if it ditched the de rigueur song titles (and presumably lyrics, not that they’re comprehensible) of violence, nihilism and scatological fetish. Which is to say, I’d like them better if they were a completely different band.
  4. Earworms – apparently somebody in Earworms used to be in I Farm, which makes total sense. Somewhere between hardcore and tech death, with a dash of Reis/Froberg-esque chaos.
  5. Andy Stott – minimalist techno with suitably chilly vocals. Some of the sonic palette reminds me a bit of Shriekback, never a bad thing
  6. The Both – put off listening to this for a while, both because I was worried an Aimee Mann/Ted Leo wouldn’t be able to live up to my expectations, and because I was worried that listening to the Scott Miller-inspired track might be more than I could handle. But I like it a lot. Unsurprisingly more verve-ful than recent Mann, a bit mellower than most TL/RX, and a fine, fine batch of songs. (If you listen to it waiting for the Miller-ish one to pop up and devastate you, you might notice that a lot of tracks seem like they could be the one inspired by Miller. Although there’s still no mistaking the one that is.)

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22 Dec 2014 · No Comments

  1. Permanent Ruin – “blistering” is a lazy word for describing hardcore, but it is the one that is wedged in my head after listening to this. They often do this little bridge of feedback between songs that I’m totally a sucker for, and they include just enough melody and slow(er) bits to make the songs hang together. Can’t remember who hipped me to this, but I owe somebody.
  2. Tony Molina – minute-long, fuzz-on-max, power-pop nuggets. RIYL Weezer, Lemonheads, Muffs (and even more if you think those bands’ songs are too long)
  3. Ovlov – saw these dudes on a knock-out bill with Speedy Ortiz, Krill, Two-Inch Astronaut and Lemuria. They were the one band I wasn’t a fan of before the show, but their high-volume command of discordant-but-catchy sludge and Mascis-esque guitar histrionics was pretty impressive.
  4. Krill – holy shit, Krill. Krill remind me a lot of Dismemberment Plan without sounding much like D-plan. But like D-plan at their best, Krill often seem to follow a different form of musical logic from normal bands, not weird for weirdness’ sake, just thinking with different rules.
  5. Rachel’s – not sure what impelled revisiting the Rachel’s catalog, but it’s always a fine way to spend some listening time.
  6. Night Rally – another rec from Ryan of HtH. Intricately structured indie rock with thoughtful lyrics and often surprisingly aggressive vocal delivery — The Paper Chase might not be a bad reference point, although thematically they’re quite different. Rewards active listening for sure.
  7. The Fur Coats – Fun, punky, power-pop — sometimes reminds me of the earliest, most raucous Big Dipper songs. One thing that’s very unusual for me, the two longest tunes on The League of Extraordinary Octopuses are my favorite — although they’re not far from the 3-minute mark.
  8. Final Club – Spacious indie rock with lots of tonal variation, some lovely noisy bits, I’m especially fond of “Stay Lost.” They’d probably hate to be called goth, but the dark sonic mood of some of these songs calls that word to my mind. But I like a lot of goth. (They’d probably hate to be called jammy too, but there’s at least one solo that goes on too long for me.)
  9. Parquet Courts
  10. Honeyblood – Indie rock with hazy vibe, nice harmony work. Sometimes sounds a bit Catpured Tracks-y, while reminding me, perhaps a bit obliquely, of Mazzy Star

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15 dec 2014

15 Dec 2014 · No Comments

  1. Singing Adams – Lost track of Steven James Adams after the end of the late, much lamented Broken Family Band. But look here he is!
  2. DTCV – née Détective. Fits somewhere in the extended GBV fambly tree, via Jim Greer. Their album art leads me to expect something sly and slinky, like Black Box Recorder, and there are some nods in that direction, but it’s not their mainstay. I like this, but it’s eclectic enough that it’s hard to get a handle on the band’s sound.
  3. Steven James Adams
  4. Azealia Banks – Creepy but kinda compelling.
  5. Charlie XCX – I like this just fine as mainstream pop goes, but I do wish I could hear the loud guitar-y record that was apparently scrapped in favor of this one.
  6. Machine Go Boom – Recommended by Ryan Walsh of Hallelujah the Hills, aka one of my very favorite bands. It’s probably a bit lazy to describe to this as E6-ish, but I’m going to claim the mostly acoustic guitars, lo-fi drums, and odd arrangement details in my defense
  7. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists – (needs no explanation)
  8. Leagues Apart – If you name your album after a David Foster Wallace book and you have song titles like “I Was Born a Snake Handler and I’ll Die a Snake Handler” I’ll listen to your record at least once. But if you’re a good-but-not-extraordinary band in the Latterman/Lawrence Arms mode I may be more disappointed than if you hadn’t unreasonably raised my expectations.
  9. Parquet Courts – Remember how the first Spoon album sounded like an unlikely meeting of The Fall and Jonathan Richman? Parquet Courts lean more to the groove of the Fall’s rockabilly covers than the jackhammer pulse of early Spoon, but mining not dissimilar territory.
  10. Bad Canoes – Screaming Female’s Marissa Paternoster in a no-wave keys/bass/drums/vox outfit. Atonal and catchy. Mmm good.

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8 dec 2014

08 Dec 2014 · No Comments

  1. Hussalonia – belated realization that I didn’t spend as much time with last year’s Home Taping Is Killing Me as it deserved. In a world where Hussalonia was famous enough for people to write papers about the Nefarico conceit, this record would be minutely analyzed; in it the Hussalonia Founder begins to emerge from the shadow of Nefarico. It contrasts short, catchy, but uneasy, tunes in a more-or-less conventional rock format with totalitarian spoken word interludes. Straight up genius.
  2. Yo La Tengo – needs no explanation, but Extra Painful marks the occasion of this particular binge.
  3. Berri Txarrak – wide-ranging album — actually 3 themed mini-albums with 3 different producers — from the this terrific band. Tough, melodic punk, sometimes skirting hardcore, sometimes with an almost metallic swagger, atmospheric but potent post-punk indie — a veritable, variable feast. Yay. Year’s best shortlist in a quick minute.
  4. UFO – been reading Martin Popoff’s album-by-album (and collapsed tour-by-collapsed tour) history UFO: Shoot Out the Lights. And I think “Diesel in the Dust” is one of the most sadly overlooked noir tunes of all time.
  5. The Goodbye Party – Hermetic, intricate, meticulous one-man-in-pain show. RIYL Elliott Smith, or erstwhile labelmate Katie Crutchfield/Waxahatchee
  6. Chumped
  7. Candy Hearts – All the Ways You Let Me Down hasn’t quite grabbed me like their earlier stuff, but I keep trying. It’s probably me.
  8. Two Inch Astronaut – when I hear a record that sounds like Foulbrood I always half expect to see J. Robbins name on the credits. He has nothing to with this one, but if these guys didn’t love Burning Airlines, well, that’s a tall coincidence. Which I’m fine with.
  9. Martha – Somebody’s been reading from the book of “How to Make Summervillain Love Your Band” again. Jangle with a smidge of punk ‘tude, dual gender vocals that overlap as much as they harmonize, smart lyrics, catchy tunes, oh my yes. Plus a quote from a Rush song I might still admit to liking.
  10. Pellet Gun

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1 dec 2014

01 Dec 2014 · No Comments

  1. Hussalonia – slefless [sic] is a new album of instrumental compositions (with a couple spoken word elements). Continues alarming trend of Hussalonia founder doing nothing badly.
  2. Chumped
  3. Laureate – a week later and I can’t remember what made me want to hear it, or what it sounded like. (Runs off to relisten.) Emo flavored indie rock, unmemorably pleasant. From Vancouver, but don’t seem to be part of any of the pacific Northwest family trees I follow.
  4. Jill Olson – even less well known than Marlee Macleod, whose obscurity I was lamenting last week
  5. LVL UP
  6. The Dismemberment Plan
  7. Ratcat – I really wanted to listen to “That Ain’t Bad” from the Tingles EP, but I settled for what I could find on All Access.
  8. Loane – Really dug the tune from the Mood Indigo soundtrack, so I went after more. Not what you expect me to be listening to, probably: vocals with jazzy phrasing subtleties that dare me to find a better word than “sultry” (en français naturellement), key/piano-based beds, often over a light disco pulse. Nothing anchors these tracks to the current decade; you could play them alongside Nouvelle Vague or Holden, sure, but you could also play them alongside France Gall.
  9. Sam Cushion (Hunger Games soundtrack dude.)
  10. Fugazi – so, yeah, I did want to hear the First Demos. Not like I want to hear the follow-up to The Argument, but I won’t snub it or anything. Apparently it’s chic to say this is better than the released versions of these tunes; I say I’m glad Ian ditched the flanger, and the way “Joe #1″ just stops seems like a bug, not a feature.

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24 nov 2014

24 Nov 2014 · No Comments

  1. Go Betty Go – back after a too-long draught of new material with a tough, rockin’, catchy ep
  2. Marlee MacLeod – catalog revisit for an artist I think was sadly overlooked. Dry delivery of sardonic lyrics, veering between roots-rock and folk, some catchy tunes … at least as good as many superficially similar but better-known artists
  3. Kenickie
  4. Fellow Project – Sometime last year I stumbled on Rok Lok records, who’ve put out a metric buttload of the kind of indie/punk I like (and some stuff that’s too hazy/jammy for my taste). Somebody in this band used to be in Bridge and Tunnel
  5. Botanist
  6. Pellet Gun – I didn’t go to a great show recently — Survival Knife, Pink Avalanche, Hungry Ghost, coz I’m sad and old and it was on the wrong side of the river. But Pellet Gun woulda fit that bill perfectly. Came to my attention via the most amazing cover of Zep’s “Rock and Roll” you will ever hear (on the generally weird and wonderful “From the Land of Ice and Snow” tribute).
  7. The Skirts – I think the jokey/corny/racy album titles (”Look Up”, “Take Off”) underserve this pop-punk outfit.
  8. Pink Avalanche
  9. LVL UP – seem to get lumped in with the Captured Tracks-ish lo-fi/garage-y crew, but like Cloud Nothings, strike me as both a little sharper and somewhat more informed by the noisy post-punk than many under that umbrella
  10. Chumped – mix pop hooks and shoegazey guitar textures like Velocity Girl

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18 nov 2014

17 Nov 2014 · Comments Off

  1. Winterpills – lovely new album of eclectic covers led me to previous release I somehow missed. #oops.
  2. Blue Öyster Cult – almost exclusively Imaginos. Thumbs up to the 2012 re-master.
  3. Albert Bouchard – new album (more mellow than I expected, but not bad at all) and Imaginos demos.
  4. Allison Weiss – was in an icy crash that killed her tour van, and the blog post is titled “We are lucky. We are so lucky.” So, yeah, she’s my kind of people.
  5. Terry Malts – Buzzyfuzzypoppy, like the Primitives with a boy singer, or JAMC on sugarspeed
  6. Murder by Death – signing up for the new kickstarter; good time to listen to the fruits of the last one.
  7. SPC ECO
  8. Outside World – veers between jangly indie-pop (RIYL very early REM) and a more shoegazey sound. I like the former better.
  9. Azealia Banks
  10. Anaal Nathrakh – Name comes from a spell Merlin casts in Excalibur, quit snickering. Historically sounds like silt kicked up from the bottom of a foetid pond; new one Desideratum incorporates dubstep and (a few) improbably catchy vocal hooks into the black/death/grindustrial maelstrom. Sheer WTF factor keeps me listening.

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10 Nov 2014

10 Nov 2014 · No Comments

  1. Blue Öyster Cult
  2. Deerhoof
  3. Henry’s Dress
  4. Janice Whaley – project with the kind of formalism that really appeals to me: completely a cappella renditions of all the songs on all the Smiths albums (although some of the percussion, in particular, is tweaked to the point that it really might as well be drums).
  5. Stripmall Architecture
  6. Schoolyard Heroes – kinda an odd name for a horrorpunk band.
  7. Sundials
  8. Boyracer
  9. Babymetal
  10. Two Knights

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