With each new OSEES album there are always two questions: 1) Will they change the spelling of their name again? 2) What musical genre pairing will John Dwyer make you fall in love with this time?
With Intercepted Message, they stick with the OSEES name as they have on their last three albums (they’ve gone through six name variations in the past 20 years). And this time, Dwyer cooks up his classic punk/garage sound and iconic vocal package and pairs it with keyboardist Tomas Dolas, aka Mr. Elevator Synth, to create sometimes subtle and other times chaotic experimental synth disco and new wave-inspired beats with weird, wacky, and sometimes uncalled-for lyrics. The resulting heavy, creative synth sounds make you want to tap your foot occasionally but also make you scratch your head when followed up with more mellow tracks that feel out of place.
“Goon” and the title track give us a taste of the potential of this sound, only to be followed up by tracks like “Die Laughing” and “Chaus Heart” that have their own moments but stray away from the already established synth disco sound, making them feel out of place. Halfway through the album, Dwyer and Dolas start to explore and experiment with this new style by adding more layers. The track “The Fish Needs a Bike” gives you some of the most unique and odd content in this album by adding strong garage psych touches that makes you think acts like Ty Seagal, KGATLW and Frankie and the Witch Fingers.
Each time I listen to this album I keep finding something new I like about it, whether it’s some of the best experimental synth tracks of the year or some unique experimental sounds that the band could easily capitalize on in future projects. On the opposite side, the experimental sounds sometimes veer into chaos with so many colliding sounds and layers of noise. My own personal experience with the fan base suggests this might be a positive for OSEES diehards. Overall, this project is a great example of an experimental album that will most likely be looked back on as a springboard for ideas and sounds that Dwyer and Dolas will evolve on in the future.
Roman Ruins (aka Graham Hill) is back with a brand new single, “Drum Machine”, as well as announcing a new album (his first since 2014’s incredible Source of Pride), entitled Isotropes.
“Drum Machine” is a head-nodding affair, full of many layers of sound and texture, coupled with Hill’s ghostly vocals. This single could be, possibly, considered a tad on the bedroom-pop side of things, except for the incredible amount of depth contained within. In fact, the album cover describes what Hill is doing on this track (I assume the rest of the album as well) perfectly.
Isotropes is coming in February via Gold Robot. You can spin “Drum Machine” in all the usual places, including below. Enjoy.
billy woods, half of Armand Hammer, dropped his 13th studio album, Maps. This is his second album with producer Kenny Segal following their critically acclaimed 2019 album, Hiding Places. The duo keep building on their early 2010s underground, experimental hip-hop sound – giving vulnerable, eerie, and tense vibes throughout.
The sounds and emotions of Maps remind the listener of the self-reflection and wisdom you get while traveling. Maps leans into the honest – and sometimes frustrating – feeling of travel as well. woods and Segal brought in more featured artists this time around – including indie hip-hop heavies like Quelle Chris and Aesop Rock. And teamwork makes the dream work: the eighth track, “Year Zero,” has some of the hardest bars we have heard all year with Danny Brown bringing his heavy hitter sound of the underground hip-hop.
Mint Field are a duo out of Mexico City, Mexico. Their new album Aprender a Ser (Learning To Be) is a shimmery ride through bits of dream pop, shoegaze and trip hop (that’s a bit of a stretch, but I’m going with it). The slightly blurry, yet shiny image used for the album cover describes their sound better that I ever could. If I were to rate this it would be 5 wooden nickles!
Aprender a Ser is out on Friday 10/27/2023. You need this album in your life. You can check out the singles “El Suspiro Cambia Todo”, “Nuevo Sol” and “Orquídea” below. They represent the album well. Enjoy.
Flooding is a three-piece band out of Kansas City, Missouri. They are releasing their new album, Silhouette Machine, today (09/29/2023).
Listening to Silhouette Machine is like watching a horror movie, even more so after the initial shock and surprise of album opener “Run”. We know the person running from evil on the big screen is headed for their ultimate demise, and we anticipate the shock of it happening even though we know it’s going to happen, and it’s still thrilling and works every time—it’s a tried and true formula. Silhouette Machine works just like that. Most of the songs have a soothing, almost ethereal beginning, and you know what’s coming. Then they strike and pummel your senses with a brutal onslaught of heavy guitars, drums, and Rose’s incredible shredded vocals. It works every time. I love it.
Check out “Run”, “Muzzle”, and “Transept Exit” below for a little example. As I was told regarding this album “don’t sleep”. Go get it. Silhouette Machine is out on vinyl via The Ghost Is Clear, on cassette via Manor, and digitally via Flooding. Enjoy.
Ramona Lisa is the side project/alter ego of Caroline Polachek. Being influenced by the film soundtracks of horror director Dario Argento, Polachek assumed the darker persona of Ramona Lisa.
Polachek recorded most of the album on a laptop using MIDI instrumentation. She released her debut — Arcadia — as Ramona Lisa in 2014 on Terrible Records. It is being reissued today through Polachek’s Perpetual Novice.
Check out “ Izzit True What They Tell Me” below and while you’re listening you can pick up a copy of it here.
Chicago’s FACS have unleashed their behemoth 5th long player Still Life In Decay upon the world. It’s another bludgeoning of noisy, shredding guitar work, over one of the tightest and heaviest rhythm sections out there. There’s an understated elegance to this album as well (which is quite lovely) as they ease you into said bludgeoning on several tracks, BUT the weight and dominance of Still Life In Decay never falls off.
If you’ve been sleeping on these guys over the years —WAKE UP!
Still Life In Decay is out tomorrow, April 7, via Trouble In Mind Records. It really is an amazing album and has rocketed to the top of my favorites of 2023. Enjoy.
Worthitpurchase are the trio of Nicole Rowe, Omar Akrouche and Eric Van Thyne. Their experimental electro-pop sound (think The Microphones, mingled with the smallest amount of Postal Service) is quite compelling throughout on their sophomore LP, Truthtelling. Give album standouts “Anne Hedonic” and “Deadbeat “ (below) a taste.
Truthtelling is a solid album that deserves your attention.
Provo UT’s UPHERE! Records are releasing their new label comp filled with previously unreleased nuggets from bands like Backhand, Nicole Canaan, The Plastic Cherries and Homephone to name a few. All the profits go to help refugees in Ukraine, 50% to Save The Children and 50% to The Ukraine Humanitarian Fund. This is a KILLER compilation and it’s for a VERY good cause.