Archive for December, 2013

Date: December 30th, 2013
Cate: graphic design, rediscovered

SIDE64 | Make a Chance

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An early Happy New Year to you! I’m heading to London in the morning for New Untouchables’ NYE party. Here’s a danceable mix for you, that I once made for someone’s birthday. Here it is with a new tracklisting, for my own birthday. 28 tracks of garage, psych and soul – one for each year. Not revealing which ones, so download it to see! The Chesmann Square might be one though…

SIDE64 Make a Chance

See you in 2014. (Link updated)

Date: December 28th, 2013
Cate: graphic design, new releases

SIDE63 | 2013:20

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Today I was going to celebrate my birthday, cause it’s the 28th and I’m turning 28 on Monday. But since my friends seem to be either sick or away I spent the time making a new podcast instead. If you’ve checked out the spotify playlist I posted yesterday you’ve only heard some of the records I mentioned in my Top 15 lists. Here are 20 more tracks, that you can’t find on spotify, most of them released during the second half of the year. As I was pondering what the best record cover of the year has been, looking through some lists of mostly mediocre choices, I concluded that there haven’t really been many iconic record covers this year, Kanye West and Bowie getting bonus points for trying though. This Energy Gown 45 I have used above, is probably my favourite though, especially since it’s not plastered all over the web, and I couldn’t even find a high-res file.

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Tandyn Almer – I Get High
The Young Sinclairs – Mona Lisa
Energy Gown – Diamond Bun
Mozes and the Firstborn – Peter Jr.
The Fighting League – Bad Surprises
The Squids – Drag
Drags – Sense
Thee Goochi Boiz – Something’s Missing
Geese – Love In All the Wrong Places
Mr. Elevator and the Brain Hotel – I Heard Her Call My Name
The Tone – Don’t Wanna Go
Slushy – Sunny Pair
Las Rosas – Black Cherry
Neo Boys – WWII
Habibi – Far From Right
Mane – Bloodstone
Gestapo Khazi – CA
Endless Bummer – Such a Drag
Adam Widener – Fake Flowers Never Die
Beach Party – Can’t Surf

Date: December 28th, 2013
Cate: Music, rediscovered
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Los Nuggetz

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Unfortunately the front cover of this release it too ugly to show, but check out this tracklisting. This new 4-disc set from Rock Beat is called Los Nuggetz – 60’s Punk, Pop and Psychedelic from Latin America and is by far the most comprehensive legitimate compilation of its kind and with better fidelity than most. Since this year, for me, has been one long exploration of first Brazilian, then Mexican, then Spanish 60s sounds, it really feels like a fitting way to end 2013. As usual there’s a lot to be said about a Nuggets-type compilation, especially the selection of tracks. And while this comp doesn’t aim at diversity (a lot of the same artists appear on all discs) it’s absolutely got a lot of uncompiled inclusions. As someone else has already written, the title is not representative because (like the original Psychodelicias 6CD set compiled by one “Sylvain”) the theme is rather “Spanish and Portuguese language” tracks, which means some bands are European. While the compilers have steered clear of tropicalia (cf. The Roots of Chicha) and jovem guarda (no Os Mutantes!) they’ve also missed out on some of the more interesting stuff that was recorded in the early 70s – which was when ’68 psych first hit South America big time. We’ve got a couple of tracks from the Kaleidoscope LP, but missing La Maquina Del Sonido, The Flying Karpets, La Revolucion De Emiliano Zapata, Spectrum, The Beat Boys, The Walkers etc. There’s also nothing by the groups that were featured on Nuggets II, probably deliberately. So while we don’t get Los Shakers from Uruguay (probably my favourite South American group), we get the Spanish Los Shakers instead. I’d rather have seen Los Shakes from Mexico on it, with their amazing take on “Pushing Too Hard”. Speaking of covers, pretty much half of the songs are cover versions of American or British groups, but that’s nothing to scoff at when a lot of them are wilder and more raw, as many DJs have discovered. The biggest suprise is probably that Los Saicos, who recieve a lot of attention these days, with dozens of reissues already out, are not included. My favourite track is probably The Pets from Venezuela (still looking for their lone s/t LP) with their heavy fuzz version of “Hello I Love You” by The Doors. I’d never heard Os Lobos before, whose 1971 folk-rock masterpiece  “Miragem” might be the best original on here. All in all, you get to hear some amazing groups like Los Shains, Los Nivram, Los No, Los Pops and Los Belmonts.

If you want to dig deeper I would recommend the following compilations. For Spain: Spañish Ñuggets, Sensacional Soul Vol. 1-3 and El sol es una droga Vol. 1-4); Bolivia: Psicofasicos de Bolivia, Argentina: Diggin’ Down Argentina – Nuggets From the Rioplatense Scene 1969-75, Mexico: La noche de los hippies – ’65-’70 Punk a la Mexicana; Peru: Back to Peru Vol. 1-2; Brazil: Brazilian Nuggets – Back From the Jungle Vol. 1-2, Brazilian Guitar Fuzz Bananas – Tropicalia Psychedelic Masterpieces 1967-1976, Soul Braza – Brazilian 60s & 70s Soul Psych Vol. 1-2 and Selvagens – Brazilian 60’s Punk Artyfacts Vol. 1-3.

Stream the whole boxset here. But this one is still my fave Latin psych dancer: Fátima Reis – Amando Você, one copy on popsike, $200.

 

Date: December 28th, 2013
Cate: graphic design, new releases

SIDE62 | 2013:50

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Here’s a spotify playlist featuring 50 tracks from some of the best releases of 2013, or at least the ones available through their service. If you can guess the background album cover used here I’ll send you a link to the playlist featuring ALL those releases in full, in case you can’t be bothered to compile it yourself.

Date: December 28th, 2013
Cate: new releases

2013 | top fifteen albums

Here’s what you’ve been waiting for, but let’s not jump straight to the dessert. First I’ve got some honourable mentions of releases that deserve a list of their own. These are either records that came out late in December of last year, or really great records recorded by equally great friends.

Bad Indians – …Are On the Other Side CQ
Sam Lunsford – s/t self-released
Gestapo Khazi – The Jewel of the Land self-released
The Resonars – The Greatest Songs of… Trouble In Mind
Beachniks – In Color Neotomic
Sapphire Mansions – Over America 12″ It’s Raining
Amor de Dias – The House At Sea Merge

Now, picking the below 15 from the original shortlist of roughly 85 albums was hard, but there’s definitely no doubt which have been the best five albums of 2013. That’s why this year I’m presenting them in a non-ordered 5+10 list. As usual Thee Oh Sees have had a good year, with a new album that I think actually might be my favourite from Dwyer’s pen so far. They also released Vol. 3 of their singles collection, and an excellent EP called Moon Sick. The powerpop album of the year turned out not to be the new Bad Spors LP (despite opening track “Get You” being absolutely killer) but the debut from Nightmare Boyzzz. It includes one of last year’s best songs, “My Body Breaks Down” from their Younger Siblings split, and also, since Plateaus didn’t release an album this year, Bad Patterns stole the limelight. Fittingly, “Crying In the Limelight” was the best track on the new Audacity record… Cool Ghouls and The Shivas are my best discoveries of the year. And Mr. Elevator & the Brain Hotel is the latest inclusion, perhaps it will grow on me, or perhaps it will be forgotten as mere psych pastiche. That’s the unfair treatment you’ll have to consider when you’re comparing an album you’ve had 11 months to digest with one you heard last week. I haven’t written anything about either Night Beats or King Gizzard, but you’ve probably caught on anyway. If you feel like you’re missing stuff I recommend following Record Turnover on soundcloud and fb where I share a lot of things I don’t have the time to write about at length. Of course, Night Beats were guaranteed a spot even before I heard Sonic Bloom, since their Malmö gig was purely captivating.

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The Higher State – s/t 13 O’Clock
The Shivas – Whiteout! K Records
Night Beats – Sonic Bloom Reverberation Appreciation Society
Jacco Gardner – Cabinet of Curiosities Trouble In Mind
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – Float Along—Fill Your Lungs Flightless
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Mr. Elevator & the Brain Hotel – Nico & Her Psychedelic Subconscious Burger
Fuzz – s/t In the Red
Dead Ghosts – Can’t Get No Burger
Cool Ghouls – s/t Empty Cellar
Elephant Stone – s/t Hidden Pony
The Frowning Clouds – Whereabouts Anti Fade
Paul Messis – Case Closed State
Nightmare Boyzzz – Bad Patterns Slovenly
Thee Oh Sees – Floating Coffin Castle Face
Mikal Cronin – MCII Merge

And that’s it for this year. It’s been a great holiday season reading other people’s list, catching up on heaps of records and remembering just the incredible amount of good music being recorded and released. Even if it’s just a cassette, like the new Goochi Boiz album for example. And I just saw that What Next? released a new tape in May. Please tip me about anything I might have missed in the comments, sometimes you don’t hear your fave record of a certain year until one or several years later. Apart from the releases here in the archives, I’ve been listening a lot to albums from Warm Soda, Running, The Go, Mozes & the Firstborn, Bad Sports, King Kahn, Useless Eaters, Bazooka, White Fence, Black Angles, Crystal Stilts, Psychic Ills, Catholic Spray, Lantern, Audacity, Mantles, Wrong Words, Pastels, Primitive Hearts, Limiñanas, Feeding People etc etc.

A couple of mixes coming soon, as a complement to the lists.

Date: December 26th, 2013
Cate: rediscovered, web

2013 in review

2013 has been a really good year. I completed two internships, got a fulltime position, started a Masters degree in design, and was awarded a bursary for that. I’ve learnt a lot about what I’m good at and worked on some inspiring projects for Dansk Industri, Lundbeck and many more. You can already read about some of them on e-Types new website, which was launched a week ago. It’s been an important year for e-Types too, not only because they’ve got a new virtual home. Two employees have left to set up a new agency together with ex-Kontrapunkt folk, called AM, we wish them the best of luck! Sister agency India have now changed name to e-Types Daily, and together with Playtype are now all under the same roof at e-types.com. Currently it’s only featuring news items, with the full cases being added in come January. Before then you won’t be able to check out the brilliant arrow key navigation. But if you head over there now you will however be able to read some copy I have written, including the headline on the main page. This is the splash screen, that will change over time.

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Musically it’s been as good as any year. I’ve tried launching a new club night called Shadows & Reflections together with my friend Lauren, and although we haven’t found a permanent home yet, I think it’s been successful. My highlight of the year was definintely going to the Double Sight weekender in Glasgow, and also doing a half-hour set there. I’ve got some of my top wants this year, here are my favourite purchases:

Früt of the Loom – One Hand In the Darkness Loom
The Other Four – Once and For All Girl P.L.A.Y.
Chapter II – East of My Place Philips
Lydia Marcelle – The Girl He Needs Manhattan
The Avengers – Crying All Alone Mr Genius
The Rogues – And You Let Her Pass By Decca
The Sparklings – Now It’s Your Turn to Cry 7 Up
George Cash  – The Phantom of My Past Philips
Tony’s Defenders – Waiting For a Call From You Columbia
Charlotte & Emily – Love Not Have I New Voice
Something Young – Oh Don’t Come Crying Back to Me Fontana
The Girls – My Baby Capitol
Cinquetti – Πάντα Κοντά Μου Pan-Vox

The best gigs I have seen in 2013 have by far been Night Beats, Bad Sports and Cosmonauts in Sweden, Jacco Gardner and Dead Ghosts in Denmark. Something that I’ve left out of my Top 15s of albums and singles are reissues. There have been a few this year that deserve a mention:

Clothilde – French Swinging Mademoiselle 1967 Born Bad LP
Los Brincos – Contrabando él CD
Neo Boys – Sooner Or Later K Records 2LP
Adrian Lloyd – Lorna Sundazed RSD 45
Denise & Co. – Boy What’ll You Do Then Big Beat 45
Beachwoods Sparks – Desert Skies Alive LP
The Human Expression – Love at Psychedelic Velocity Mississippi/Change LP
Anonymous – Inside the Shadow Machu Picchu LP
Quarteto Nova Era – Apolo EP Groovie 45
Tandyn Almer – Along Comes Tandyn Sundazed LP

Read more…

Date: December 25th, 2013
Cate: new releases
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Habibi & La Luz

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Here’s a tip about two debut albums both from all-female groups, which we’ve definitely needed more of this year. Be a luzer and join the La Luz hype. After being picked up by Hardly Art for their first ep Damp Face, that I’ve previously mentioned here, they’ve managed to release BOTH a stunning instrumental single on Suicide Squeeze called “Brainwash”, as well as their first album It’s Alive. For their Harly Art full-length they’ve taken the two best tracks off Damp Face, and added 9 more. There are a lot of instrumental passages, La Luz being rooted in the instrumental sounds of early 60s surf music. And lyrics may not be their strong point, but languid closing track “You Can Never Know” hits an almost hypnotic note. The ballad “What Good Am I?” also proves their voices deserve to carry more than “wooo”s and should be as much of a centre-point as the shimmery lead guitar. Some of the mixes would do well with a bit more punch too, but even without, this is a very enjoyable record as you can hear.

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An album that really packs a punch, but on the other hand lacks a bit of low end, is Habibi’s follow-up to last year’s promising ep delivered by Born Bad. This 11-track party crasher includes new recordings of all three ep tracks, and they do sound much better. Pulling on a lot more post-punk influences than La Luz, Habibi’s songs are deceptively simply, with the secret ingredient being the vocal interplay between singer Rahill, bass player Erin (ex Girls At Dawn) and guitarist Lenaya. Now they’ve even fleshed out to a five-piece adding a second guitarist. Best track on the album might be “Detroit Baby”, which could prove to be as much of a floorfiller as Chain & the Gang’s “Detroit Music”. The slow ballad “She Comes Along” gets bonus points for having the most gorgeous harmonies of the year and a really understated guitar solo. “Persepolis” and “Let Me In” (below) are both enthralling too. Burger are releasing this on vinyl, but so far it’s only available on tape. Even if Neverever never releases anything ever again, Habibi should keep you going.

Date: December 25th, 2013
Cate: new releases

The Frowning Clouds & The Higher State

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If you’re a garage head these would have been the two most anticipated releases of the year. Since bursting out of a Melbourne suburb in 2009 with their Lovin’ You EP, they’ve practically spawned a whole scene of garage and punk groups inspired by them and Straight Arrows. The Frowning Clouds have now found a home on Anti Fade, run by the people behind Living Eyes (one of those very bands). Still represented by Saturno in Europe, who have helped them sway a new continent with only two brief visits. And a fantastic tour tape to boot, that I wrote about earlier and which features in my recent list of 2013’s best singles and eps. I wouldn’t be too surprised if Whereabouts ended up on my list of the best 15 albums, which I will be posting soon too. Because although the Gospel Sound From the Church of Scientology cassette didn’t show much progression from their ’65 revival sound of Listen Closelier, (except some ventures into ’66 sounds, like The Mods’ “Days Mind the Time”), this album is a completely different beast. While recent single “Propellers” is included here, neither that nor the preceding “All Night Long” hinted at the direction they would be taking here. This 13-track album is an ode to the psychedlic era Kinks and the folk-rock sounds of 1968. Without churning out catchy pop songs, they achieve the same success Woods did on their latest album, via quirky song structures, groovy bass lines and far-out 12-string sounds (check out the ending of first track “All Angles” for example). “Into the Ground” and “Dreamtiming” are among the most beautiful electric folk songs of the year. And on “3 O’Clock Habit”, “Beetle Bird” and “Product of the Peanut Butter Company” they could have been channeling Peanut Butter…. Conspiracy. But they’re at their absolute best when they are just Frowning Clouds: “Mayan Calender Girl”, “Much Too Much Too Soon” and “Heaps Deep” are unique and memorable songs in their own right. And still they’re not afraid to break out a simple braindead riff like that of “Human Being, Human Doing, Human Going”. Hear it on spotify

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It’s true, The Higher State are here with their best album so far, aptly titled just The Higher State. Unassumingly packaged and presented, this masterpiece sounds like it could have been recorded in a casual 10-day session just like Younger Than Yesterday. Marty’s cut his hair, Paul Messis has come in on bass, no paisley shirts on the cover. As a band they’ve reached an age at which style and artifice is less important than just being yourselves. “Look here comes another trend, now you look just like your friends” to quote the album’s closing track “Try Slowing Down”. Even though the more psychedelic precursor Freakout At the Gallery was great, it’s this equally balanced mix of 12-string folk-rock and seething fuzz leads that they do best. With two razorsharp singles already released this year, only “Potentially (Everyone Is Your Enemy)” is included here, leaving you with 11 new songs that together make up the strongest material Marty and Mole have released since The Mystreated’s classic LP Looking Right Through (that, believe it or not, turns 20 years old next year). Perhaps it’s Messis who has re-ignited that spark, or maybe it’s the comfortable setting of their own Folkstone studio that just makes these songs come together naturally. Each of them so strong it’s impossible to pick a favourite. Hear it here, or get it from 13 O’Clock, along with their newest 45 “I Just Pretend”.

Date: December 25th, 2013
Cate: graphic design, new releases

Sapphire Mansions | Over America 12″

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If this had been three years ago my favourite album of the year would have been Dream Boys’s self-titled debut. But today I’d rather recommend Sapphire Mansions if you’re into dream-pop. Since Golden Triangle broke up and touring with Zarjaz, Jay Hough has been honing his own songwriting and finding his voice with Matt, Josh and Serge (Beachniks/German Measles) as Sappire Mansions. You may remember me writing about their first tape Whispered In Sparks from 2012, and with their new mini-album Over America they’ve delivered on all the points in which they were lacking. Still lo-fi, but lovingly recorded at Marlborough Farms, these songs breathe the same confidence and flair as Felt circa Splendour of Fear. The vocals actually contain so much melody on tracks like “Too Shiny” they could have been mixed right to the front. All six songs earn the width of their grooves on this 12″, “This Swirling Image” alone has enough hooks and ingredients to fill a whole EP. The cover looks great, and Hough was nice enough to credit me on the insert (next to my friends Gary Olson and Emily Curtin) for design input, although I’ve not actually submitted any work. Here’s what my cover concept looked like. The record is out on Hough’s own label It’s Raining Records, and you can stream or pick one up here. The tape or cd version comes with two unique bonus tracks.

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Date: December 24th, 2013
Cate: new releases
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2013 | top fifteeen singles & eps

Once again, it’s time to round up and get ready for another year of great releases. You might have already checked the great lists from Styrofoam Drone and Tiny Grooves, and I’ll definitely have a few repeasts. I’ve had some catching up to do though over the last few weeks, but I’m now ready to present my list of the best 45s and extended plays of 2013. It’s been a good year for several artists, who will appear both here and in the albums list: Jacco Gardner (who was also on last year’s list), The Frowning Clouds, Warm Soda, and of course The Young Sinclairs who have 2 singles making the cut (out of a total of 5 this year).

The Thanes make an incredibly strong comeback in 2013, and also their new Dirty Water 45 should be in the shops any day. The biggest surprises may come from powerpop knock-outs Chain Letters, new US garage group The Neumans, and the Jacco-produced debut from Miri May. Fergus & Geronimo have evolved into Parquet Courts and The Keepsies, the latter of which is my favourite, on here with their second single (which doesn’t seem to be available on vinyl yet?). Another couple of off-shoots Winter Bear (ex-Cave Weddings) and Las Rosas (ex-Harlem) round out this list which is organised in a 5+10 fashion, with no particular order within the groupings.

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The Thanes – She’s Coming Back to Me State
The Neumans – Fuzz Filled Dreams Wild
The Young Sinclairs – Hurt My Pride Requiem Pour Un Twister
Miri May – You Are My Angel Saturno
The Frowning Clouds – Gospel Sound From the Church of Scientology EP Saturno
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The Keepsies – She (Was My Baby) Chrome Waves
Chain Letters – Bad Reflection Pogo Time
The See See – The Rain & the Snow Sundazed
Warm Soda – Tell Me In a Whisper Goodbye Boozy
Jacco Gardner – The End of August Trouble In Mind
The Young Sinclairs – You Know Where To Find Me EP Planting Seeds
Winter Bear – Jump In the Fire Hozac
Las Rosas – s/t EP Burger
Energy Gown – I Watch the Sun EP self-released
Endless Bummer – Ripper Current EP In the Red

 

Others that at least deserve a mention are brilliant releases from Straight Arrows, Drags,  Beach Party, Fuzz, Temples, Cold Warps’ tour tape, Los Wallas, Vacations, Ketamines, The Raw Nerves, Unwed Teenage Mothers, The Higher State, Plateaus and Nightmare Boyzzz. Look out for the albums list coming soon, as well as a podcast of tracks from both lists and a spotify playlist. Plenty to come!