Human Eye – They Came From the Sky

Detroit’s Human Eye recently released their third full-length on Sacred Bones Records entitled They Came From the Sky. Fronted by Timmy Vulgar (Timmy’s Organism, Clone Defects), Human Eye plays a monstrous combination of psych and proto-punk with science fiction inspired lyrics, which makes listening to Human Eye kind of like watching an old sci-fi B-film on acid, or so I assume. They Came From the Sky features a wide range of sounds throughout the album – heavy bursts of effects-laden guitars, simple punk chugging, slow psych meltdowns, and the occasional electronic embellishment – all of which combine to create Human Eye’s dystopic future-punk soundscape. The lyrical content may be a little tough to chew for those who can’t embrace its campy absurdity, but for the rest of us, Human Eye’s They Came From the Sky makes for an extremely entertaining listen. Check out “Junkyard Heart” below, which happens to be one of the most aggressive and trippy songs on the album.

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Purling Hiss – Lounge Lizards 12″

Philadelphia’s Purling Hiss has released another 6 songs through the fine folks at Mexican Summer. The 12″ is titled Lounge Lizards and offers up more of the blown-out rock and roll we’ve come to expect from these guys.  If you’re not familiar with Purling Hiss, you should know that their recordings have been steeped for hours in low-fidelity fuzz, so these songs demand some work from the listener, but if you forge through it, Purling Hiss certainly rewards your efforts. Often they come across as a lo-fi Dinosaur Jr., with Polizze and company’s giant distorted guitars breaking through the tape hiss, a sound especially present on “The Hoodoo”, which strikes a compromise between some of the band’s poppier sensibilities and their affinity to psychedelic noise. Have a listen to “The Hoodoo” from Purling Hiss’s Lounge Lizards 12″ below.

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Night Beats – S/T

Everything’s bigger in … Seattle? Night Beats may hail from the Pacific Northwest, but their self-titled full-length is 100% Texas psych rock worship. As Trouble In Mind states in the press-release “Any number of bands cite 60’s Texas psych as an influence, but rarely does a group actually capture what made those bands special.” I concur. The band proudly wears their influences on their sleeves, with echoes of the 13th Floor Elevators and Golden Dawn ringing loudly on this release, and they’ve really got the sound nailed. Yet still, despite their glaringly obvious influences, Night Beats plays with such intensity that it’d be foolish to simply write them off as retro pastiche. The guitar work on this album is explosive, with blistering solos throughout, and though some tracks stay a bit purer to their roots, other times they come across as fellow revivalists The Black Angels jamming out with Thee Oh Sees and Jack White. If you’re a fan of Texas pysch and blazing guitars, Night Beats should give you the trip you’re searching for. Check out some videos for “Ain’t Dumbo” and “Useless Game” below.

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Bleached – Carter 7″

California’s all-girl punk group Mika Miko may no longer be active, but a couple of their members (Jesse and Jennifer Clavin) have gone on to form Bleached, who have recently put out a 7″ entitled Carter through Art Fag Recordings. These two songs take the previous punk energy of Mika Miko and inject it with both a smidge of surf and a healthy dose of the Ramones to create some pretty catchy tunes. Simple progressions of power chords drive these tracks along, but the standout moments occur when they open up the songs to breathe and offer up an infectious interplay between guitar and bass, as exemplified on”Think of You.” This is simple, solid, girl-fronted punk rock that’ll be the perfect backdrop for the upcoming sun-filled days of summer. You can check out the aforementioned “Think of You” below.

 

If you happen to be in California, you can check out Bleached at one of their two upcoming shows in July. Details are listed below.

7/2/11 – Half Off Books – Whittier, CA – 6:00 PM
7/31/11 – The Smell – Los Angeles, CA – 9:00 PM

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Bon Iver – S/T

Bon Iver’s latest project makes me want to say its name correctly. I’ve been mispronouncing Bon Iver (Bone-ee-Vare) since being introduced to the band, which music critics are saying sounds more like a full-fledged group now than when singer Justin Vernon got depressed and locked himself in a cabin in 2007, recording the beautiful “For Emma, Forever Ago” within a few months. While I don’t normally pay attention to industry hobnobs (because their fancy-pants words really irk me), Bon Iver’s self-titled sophomore effort is indeed richer, incorporating more musical experiment than Vernon’s standard falsetto and folk.

Standout tracks are “Perth,” which kicks off the new album with a strong melody, slow drumming and eventually, a blast of horns that drone on through the song’s end. Light claps and the line “I was not magnificent” add to the dreaminess of “Holocene,” while a bicycle bell ring sneaks in between the steady bobbing and weaving of “Michicant.” Slightly panicky piano chords bombard us at “Wash.” and mesh with Vernon’s whispers, building in intensity. It feels like we’re looking for something, and we haven’t quite found it yet.

That’s what could be said about “Bon Iver,” which should be listened to front to back and not as individual tracks. It’s following Vernon and Co. on an adventure, one that flows on from one place to the next. We won’t be seeing any memorable “Skinny Love”-esque hits with this new release out Tuesday, but as long as we kindly forget the “Beth/Rest” finale, Bon Iver’s got us hooked for one smooth, innovative trip.

Bon Iver’s self-titled sophomore album comes out on Jagjaguwar June 21, 2011. Listen to “Wash.” from the new album below.

Guest-girlfriend-blogged by Amber of Drinking for Two.

Posted in Folk, Indie Rock | 3 Comments

Happy Thoughts – S/T

Happy Thoughts is Eric LaGrange’s (Cave Weddings, Romance Novels) newest project, released by Hozac Records on June 7th, 2011. This slab of wax features 12 songs of poppy garage punk tunes that are full of earworms you’ll be humming along with in no time. If catchy, no-frills rock is your thing, be sure to pick up Happy Thoughts’ self-titled debut on Hozac Records. You can listen to “Sweet Dirty Love” and “Never Gonna Do It” below.

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Mickey – Rock’n Roll Dreamer

Mickey’s been making some noise around Chicago for several years, having released a couple of singles since their inception and playing the local circuit fairly regularly. Their sleazy brand of glam-meets-punk reeks of cheap beer and leather jackets, leaving a sweaty trail of chest hair in its wake. Yet, while their sound references flashy bands of yesteryear, Mickey mostly comes off as a working man’s band, hellbent on playing some good ole’ fashioned rock and roll. On their first full-length LP Rock’n Roll Dreamer, Mickey sounds as good as ever, utilizing a slick production that accentuates their pop sensibilities without sacrificing their bite. Hozac Records released Mickey’s debut Rock’n Roll Dreamer on June 14, 2011. Check out “For You” and “Baby, We’re Gold” below.

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Zak Sally / Sammy the Mouse Vol. 1, La Mano Press

 

Zak Sally is a comic artist who used to play bass in the band Low. Since quitting that band, he’s taken time to focus on cartooning, while also creating a solo record, and managing his small press La Mano. Above is an interesting video that highlights what he’s been up to and some of his thoughts on comics in general. He’s also just used kickstarter.com to raise some money for a new project where he’ll combine the first 3 issues of his awesome comic Sammy the Mouse (available through Fantagraphics) to be put out on his own La Mano Press. For some information on this new project and some of the other things he’ll be offering, follow the link below.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2079740324/zak-sallys-sammy-the-mouse-vol-1-from-la-mano-book/widget/video.html

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Tara McPherson – New Limited Edition Print with 1xRUN

Bunny Girl, Tara McPherson, 2011

Tara McPherson is an artist working out of New York City. She will be offering a new print by the name of Bunny Girl, which will be offered exclusively through 1xRUN. 1xRUN is an online gallery that offers limited edition prints from established and emerging artists. Tara’s giclee print will measure 22 x 15.5 and will be available to order from June 6, 2011 – June 12, 2011. The maximum run for this print will be 75. For more information on the artist and this print, go here.

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Shannon and the Clams – Sleep Talk

Shannon and the Clams are a female-fronted garage punk band based out of Oakland, California. While some may know frontwoman Shannon Shaw a bit better as one of the punkettes in the fellow Oakland-based band Hunx and His Punx, Shannon and the Clams have actually been around for awhile and have already put out a full-length LP back in 2009 entitled I Wanna Go Home. Shannon and the Clams offers up a similar sound to Hunx and His Punx in that they’re playing with a combination of vintage girl group Doo Wop and garage punk, although Shannon and the Clams also pulls pretty heavily from rockabilly, with galloping guitars holding it down as the backbone for most of these songs. Shannon also proves to be a dynamic frontwoman with a vocal delivery that is brash, expressive, and raw without being unrefined. Often, she comes across as a female version of Buddy Holly, complete with hiccups and glottal stops. Shannon and the Clams’ Sleep Talk came out on April 5, 2011 and was released by 1-2-3-4 Go! Records. Have a listen to “You Will Always Bring Me Flowers” and “The Cult Song” from the album below.

Posted in Garage Punk, Garage Rock, Indie Rock, Rockabilly | 1 Comment