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.
Guilherme Coutinho e o Grupo Stalo is the Brazilian album that you both never knew existed and never knew you needed. A true treasure of a find, the album incorporates elements of funk, fast-paced samba, tropicália, MPB (música popular brasileira, or Brazilian popular music), American-style jazz, and bossa nova. It’s lo-fi but highly technical, surprising, and interesting throughout.
Little is known about Guilherme Coutinho, who both plays keyboard and sings on the album. The record was pressed in 1978 at an obscure pressing plant in Belém, a city in northern Brazil seated at the mouth of the Amazon river. (The two major pressing plants, Polysom and Vinil Brasil, are located thousands of miles away in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, respectively.)
Guilherme Coutinho e o Grupo Stalo opens with perhaps the album’s most beautiful track, Atalaia, which greets us with a bossa nova chord structure, Coutinho’s soft vocals, and a backing melody played on what seems to be a theremin. A soft wah-wah effect, which stands as a characterizing element throughout the album, pulses within each instrumental layer. The same effect intensifies in “As Feras”, a funky, space-age-sounding track that shows off Coutinho’s technical prowess. Other standout moments include the breakdown of “Macaréu”, where an upbeat samba guitar (resembling a cavaquinho) picks up tempo and leads into “Fuga” which similarly plays with alternating rhythms in an interesting way.
The album closes on a high note with “Tema Pro Alvarito”, a 7-minute improvisational jazz track that more closely resembles the sound of an American jazz trio rather than a Brazilian bossa. Coutinho’s electric piano (not unlike a Rhodes–though it’s difficult to find information about the instruments used) stands alongside a pleasant, plucky upright bass melody and carries the track with impressive licks, fills, and runs.
Ultimately, you won’t regret spending a quick 32 minutes delving into one of the most interesting albums that Brazil’s underground has to offer.
L.A.’s Mo Dotti is back with a brand new single, “For Anyone And You”, as a teaser for their upcoming LP release in 2024. The track is an in-your-face shoegaze-pop song slightly reminiscent of the heavier, more upbeat MBV stuff. It’s a rad track and I’m excited for the new album to come.
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.
Glasgow’s Dancer are back, nine months removed from releasing their self-titled EP back in February. Their new EP, As Well, is five more tracks of sharp-edged, jangly, post-punk-ish goodness. Get a load of “Chill Pill” and “Pulp Thriller” below; you’re going to dig them if you don’t already.
As Well is out now on cassette and digitally via Gold Mold Records. I’m super stoked on it. I know you’ll be stoked on it. Go and get it, and enjoy.
New Jersey band LIGHTHEADED is releasing their latest cassette EP, Good Good Great!, on Friday, (10/13/2023). It’s a fantastic 20 or so minutes of five shimmery, jangle pop tracks that are sure to keep you warm—in your heart—on these cooler autumn days. Check out “Mercury Girl” and “Love Is Overrated” (below) for a taste.
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.
Melenas are back with a magnificent new album titled Ahora. This quartet out of Pamplona, Spain have it all dialed in – I’m talking jangly guitars, pulsing synths, fuzz, gaze, gauze, noise, you name it, it’s probably in there.
Ahora is (as I said in a previous post) 10 tracks of kraut-meets-Stereolab, electro-pop goodness. Check out “Bang” below; it’s so rad, I find myself humming or whistling it all day.
Advertisement, a six-piece band from Seattle, just put out their newest album through Feel It Records – a favorite label of ours. On this release, Escorts, the band brings together a mix of garage rock, Americana, and groovy pop sensibilities. It’s an eclectic record that gives you a good range of style but also feels very cohesive.
My favorite tracks include “Eat Your Heart Out,” a country/western influenced track that makes you want to drive down a desert highway, “Eyes Of The Night,” which is a nice slow burning track that ends with a bang, and “Nobody’s Cop,” another groovy western-influenced track with some killer slide guitar.
There are some really badass moments on this record and the band gives the listener a lot to appreciate with all the layers and instrumentation going on throughout the track list. This record feels like it should be listened to at night, but I’ve been playing it all day every day, so you need to go do yourself a favor and check it out!
Escorts is available at our store or on Bandcamp or wherever else you stream your music.