Friday, January 30, 2009

M. Ward…just him this time

Whoa, that was quick. I just finished this review of Hold Time, M. Ward’s new album, yesterday and there it is, up at Dusted already. (And a couple of weeks before release date, oops). I found it kind of flat, compared to Post-War, which I liked a lot…

Hold Time, Ward’s latest batch of songs, seems slighter, happier and louder than those on 2006’s Post-War, but also distinctly complacent. There’s nothing to draw you in like that first melancholy sigh on 'Poison Cup,' nothing to puzzle over like the tangled tale of 'Right in the Head,' nothing as goofily revelatory as 'Chinese Translation.' Instead, you get a few lucky-bastard songs about how groovy Ward feels, a couple of sad-bastard songs about what a drag it would be to die just now when things are going so well, and a whole bunch of new Testament verses ('Fisher of Men,' 'Epistemology') He’s not just in love, he’s gone all Sunday school on us… how disappointing.


"Hold Time"

Oh, and in other news, I went to see Loney Dear last night…and damn, he has got some rock show going, way more drum and bass than I remember and super fun. Last night was his first show on the American tour, so you’ve got lots of chances left, namely...

01/30 Boston, MA The Orpheum*
01/31 Brooklyn, NY Sound Fix In-Store 4pm
01/31 Brooklyn, NY Union Hall
02/02 Richmond, VA The National*
02/03 Washington, DC The 930 Club*
02/04 Atlanta, GA Variety Playhouse*
02/06 Orlando, FL The Plaza*
02/07 New Orleans, LA House of Blues*
02/09 Baton Rouge, LA Spanish Moon
02/10 Houston, TX Rudyard's British Pub
02/11 Denton, TX Hailey's
02/12 Austin, TX The Paramount Theater*
02/13 Albuquerque, NM The El Rey*
02/14 Tucson, AZ The Rialto*
02/15 San Diego, CA Soma San Diego*
02/17 Visalia, CA Howie and Son's Pizza
02/18 Los Angeles, CA The Orpheum*
02/19 San Francisco, CA The Fillmore*
02/20 San Francisco, CA The Fillmore*
02/21 Portland, OR Roseland*
02/23 Seattle, WA The Moore*
02/24 Boise, ID The Knitting Factory*
02/25 Murray, UT The Murray*
02/26 Denver, CO The Ogden*
02/27 Omaha, NE Slowdown*
03/01 Chicago, IL Schubas
03/18 - 03/21 Austin, TX SXSW

“Airport Surroundings”

And one more thing, I’m interviewing Julie Doiron this afternoon, so I’d better think of some questions…here’s “Consolation Prize” from the upcoming (in March) I Can Wonder What You Did with Your Day.

Oh, and check out Doug Mosurock's excellent podcast, which accompanies the latest installment of "Still Single."

Okay, I'm going to stop now.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Crazy Dreams Band

Another good one from Holy Mountain, this EP from Crazy Dreams Band, reviewed in today’s Dusted.

I said:
“Last year’s Sacred Mountain demonstrated that Lexie Mountain can do damned near anything with her voice. Clicks, growls, croons, giggles, woofs, twangs and in-jokes are nothing to this woman. She and her all-girl “Boys” formed an entire a capella orchestra, with percussion, strings, horns and woodwinds emerging from the epiglottal area (and sometimes from feet, hands and fingers). What she didn’t do, mostly, was conventional singing, but that was never because she was incapable of it. Here, on an apparently one-off collaboration with Religious Knives and Mouthus drummer Nate Nelson, noise artist Chiara Giovando, bassist Jake Freeman and moog/guitarist Nick Becker, she’s back to prove that she could also be a 1960s diva, singing not quite conventionally, but certainly in the rock idiom. She sounds, here, like a younger, looser, funkier Grace Slick or a slightly more humorous Sandra Barrett (of Major Stars).”


The Crazy MySpace page

Or you can listen to most of it on

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Local band on the brink

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I had gone to see Wild Light, a four piece out of Manchester, New Hampshire that seems to be making a break for the mainstream. Okay, I went because it was in Keene and only 10 miles away, but it was a pretty good night anyway. Arcade Fire fans should note that Tim Kyle who plays keyboard, bass and guitar in Wild Light was a founding member of AF.

Here’s the best part of the show review:
This evening, and perhaps always, Wild Light conveys a sense of embarking on a journey, of leaving home and heading for parts unknown. Early on, they juxtapose two of their best songs, one a frustrated love song about a girl who leaves town (“California on My Mind”), the other a tribute to the frozen familiarity of home (“New Hampshire”). “California”, with its big four-on-the-floor beat and triumphant guitar chords sounds like a romp, even though the lyrics are sad. Guitarist Alexander is suppressing a grin as he sings the buoyant tagline, “Fuck today, fuck San Francisco, fuck California.” “New Hampshire” balances a melancholy, nostalgic verse with uplifting chorus. The body of the song enumerates local landmarks—a fork in the road where a car crashed, a childhood house with three generations of history—but the refrain loops and soars wordlessly, braced by strident, pushing drums.

And here’s the rest.

An early performance at Randall's Island

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Matt Valentine and Erika Elder do their freaky folky bluesy thing

The first time I saw Matt Valentine and Erika Elder, I was kind of put of by their (his) stage persona, which leans a little too heavily, for my taste, on the shaman thing. (They were opening for Akron/Family who, by contrast, could not be more down to earth and approachable.) But the new record is pretty good, if you like stretched-out, super-slow, altered folk blues. Here's some of my review, which is up at PureMusic now.

Drone Trailer

Drone Trailer weaves a long strung-out trek through the backwoods of folk, blues, raga and country. The sound here is clean, as if a path had been cleared through the spiritual murk that Matt Valentine and Erika Elder lately inhabited. You can hear all the details as these songs unfurl gradually, atonal washes of distortion and drone cutting through traditional finger picked motifs. It is a strange but rather lovely landscape, dark, musty, a little squelchy underfoot, but allowing for dust-mottled sunshine to slip between the leaves.

The rest of the review

Here they are at Terrastock 6

More music at the MySpace

Monday, January 26, 2009

SXSW list is up...

It's not everybody, and some people will drop out before March, but SXSW has put up a long list of participating bands.

I haven't really even started figuring out what I want to see (which is pointless anyway, because inevitably they will all be playing at 11 p.m. on thursday night). But I just happened to notice one of my very favorite 90s bands on the here's a little Primal Scream to celebrate.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Dreamend’s psychedelic pop

Ryan Graveface sent me a DL link to this record last summer, along with one for Hospital Ships, which I was reviewing for Blurt. I ended up really liking it and reviewing it for PopMatters, finally. It seems to share a certain aesthetic with the rest of the Graveface roster, or as I put it in the review “ weaving in the trippy guitar psychedelia of Black Moth Super Rainbow, the shimmering textures of Experimental Aircraft, the subliminal, lucid-dream-like lyricism of Hospital Ships. And more than that, it reaches backwards into the skewed pop traditions of Elephant 6 mainstays like Olivia Tremor Control and Circulatory System, the reverbed guitar atmospherics of David Kilgour and the most mystical, transcendent elements of Neil Young. “

The rest of the review is here:

“Are You Waking”

Also, I had a really interesting interview yesterday with Nels Cline...talking to his twin brother Alex next week...should be a good one.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Volcano Suns and the poll to end polls

My review of the first two Volcano Suns albums is up today at Dusted. Volcano Suns was Peter Prescott’s first project after Burma went on hiatus…similar in a lot of ways to Burma, but rougher, funnier, more willing to pick a fight.

I put “Jak” on my mix a couple of weeks ago, but you can DL it from Merge if you missed it.

Here’s the paragraph where I struggle with exactly what is so great about this song.

“Very few bands get to kick off their careers with a song like ‘Jak.’ The first track on the first album by the Volcano Suns begins with a menacing bass line and a howl, then moves on through a defiant chorus, threading the needle between hardcore punk and jangling melodies. The final chorus – ‘Jack of all trades and master of none/how can a person get anything done/If you can live with yourself/you can fool anyone’ - is ferocious, it’s catchy and it’ll make you laugh if you let it – the holy trinity for this aggressive band of jesters.

The rest of the review is here.

Merge is also giving away “White Elephant”

Oh, and in exciting music writer news, the Village Voice’s Pazz & Jop poll went up yesterday and, shocker, TVOTR won. (Much worse, Vampire Weekend was second.) It’s a pretty solid way to waste a morning though, if you are so inclined…here’s a link to the main page.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Slipped discs

PopMatters is running the first half of its annual “here’s what we really liked” feature, where every writer gets to pick one or two discs that didn’t make the big year-end list. I got two this year and people who know me are quite possibly sick of hearing about both. This is the last time, I promise, that I write anything about Alejandro Escovedo’s Real Animal or the Dirtbombs’ We Have You Surrounded.

Both are in section two here, but the whole thing is interesting.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New Nightingales...maybe their best ever

The Nightingales, in more or less continuous, cantankerous existence since the early 1980s, have a new album out and it’s damned good, maybe their best ever. Here’s a bit from my review at Blurt, up yesterday.

“Age has not mellowed the wrath of Robert Lloyd. The Nightingales frontman, who got his start opening for the Clash and the Slits in early 1980s Prefects, has lost not an ounce of his bile and mordant humor in this, his band's third album since a 2004 reunion. Silkily malevolent, over the clash and clatter of a kicking band, he murmurs withering asides and surreal observations.” More

The Nightingales did a live show on WFMU a couple of months ago. Listen here.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A.C. Newman

What a great week I had last week, reviewing both the new Boston Spaceships and A.C. Newman’s latest. Boston Spaceships won’t be up for a while, but Dusted’s got my review of Get Guilty up right now. I say, “Newman practices a spinning plate sort of complexity, juggling big rock sounds on fragile sticks of melody, heaping difficulty upon difficulty, without a single crash (or even a grimace). It looks easy. It sounds easy. It is not.” There’s more here.

“Submarines of Stockholm”

Also, while you’re over there, check out how the usually cranky Dusted calls Merriweather Post Pavillion “the finest moment in the Animal Collective’s decade-plus history.” It’s a really good review of a really good album by Michael Crumsho.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


I’ve got an iPod again, just a nano, nothing fancy. I got it for Christmas, mostly so I could listen in the car without carrying an ungodly number of CDs around. But I’ve been enjoying it quite a lot, mostly because of the album shuffle feature…I like listening to albums end to end. I like the surprise of not knowing what’s next. I like the fact that I can go back to albums I’m done reviewing or will never review. It’s been fun. I still use a shuffle for running, because you can bounce it around and drop it without disaster, and anyway, even I can’t run for more than about 50 songs at a time. But the nano has been a kick, I have to say.

So anyway, I was on the couch reading The Watchmen last night, and Felt’s Stains on a Decade came up and it was so good that I thought I’d share a little. I can’t share a lot, because I’m on dial-up and it’s snowing and I’m not likely to get out of the house for a while. But one song, I think I can manage. (This one is three minutes long. It took 18 minutes to upload. I’ve got to move so I can get broadband.)

It’s “Penelope Tree.” Fantastic.

I was also listening, last night, to a couple of CDRs by a band called La Otracina. I’m a little hazy about how I got them. I think Adam Kriney from Owl Xounds might have sent them a year or two ago. (He’s in both bands, it looks like.) Anyway, I’m a moron for not listening earlier, because it’s exactly what I like … mind-blowing psych/prog/improv sort of stuff. The two I’ve got are called Love, Love, Love. The band, I find, is now on Holy Mountain. That’s always a good sign. They have a MySpace.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Punk Friday…the Wax Museums and the Red Eyed Legends

Totally enjoyed the self-titled first record from these Texas garage punks…here’s a little bit from my Dusted review.

“The Wax Museums, out of Denton, Texas, back up their goofball lyrics with the bashed-out, sped-up, hard-strummed punk that you’d expect from a band that claims (on MySpace) to sound like ‘a zoo full of Ramones.’ If you stopped to think about, say ‘DOGS in the USA,’ you’d notice that guitar player TV Daniel is sawing his fingers to stumps on just two chords, that the bass line and drums are similarly basic. But the song is such a rush, such a stomach-pounding onslaught of dumb-ass bravado that you don’t care how limited it is. Same goes for 'The Smell,' with its hair-pulling, head-grabbing, sliding-down-the-fretboard riff. It’s like a jet engine taking off, that riff, or like the fuse on a bomb that’s about to go off, all energy, no complications. That’s pretty much the story, all through the album – ADD-afflicted shouts, drums slapped silly and guitar and bass pummeled within an inch of destruction. And then onto the next. Not a single song tops two minutes, and only one of them (‘Grocery Store’) comes even close.”


Live is always the best way with these bands

And also the Red Eyed Legends from Chicago, up at PopMatters earlier this week.

Red Eyed Legends
Wake Up, Legend
(File 13)
US release date: 28 October 2008
UK release date: Available as import

by Jennifer Kelly

I haven't left this dungeon since I don't know when

Never mind their four years off. Forget about those two lousy EPs. The Red Eyed Legends crank to life with a mouth-foaming aggression, jag-edged guitar riffs rebounding off the crazy confines of their songs, squawks and honks of Farfisa flying, and frontman Chris Thomson snarling out hazily rhymed, rapid-motion lines. “Monsters”, the first and best song off the band’s long-delayed full-length begins with the kick and recoil of guitar and Thomson’s spatter-painted lyrics. When in Circus Lupus, Thomson acknowledged the influence of Mark E. Smith, and there’s certainly a touch of the Fall’s jackhammer poetry here. “Black clouds are settling in / I see through a blindfold that can stare them in / Cos I haven’t left this dungeon since I don’t know when / Thank god for daytime television”, Thomson chants, and perhaps he did spend his off time curled in the fetal position watching Oprah. You’d never know from the music, though, which is as sharp, fresh, and aggressive as if the Red Eyed Legends had been playing and recording the whole time.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Skeletons, Slaraffenland and Chris Brokaw (again) at Blurt

I’ve got three reviews up this week at Blurt, all pretty good records.

First Slaraffenland “five guys, from Denmark and Sweden, coax a warm, communal jazz-tinged vibe. They play a near orchestra’s worth of winds, percussion, brass and guitars, all with laid-back skill.”

“Love Potion”

Then Skeletons with their “dense, syncopated percussion, a body-moving groove, abstract, not-very-linear lyrics, and a deep, compelling strangeness.”


And finally Chris Brokaw, whose review also turned up in the digital almost-like-print edition, but it’s online now. I called it “a brief but wonderful exploration of the acoustic and electric, blues-traditional and experimental byways he and his guitar have travelled.”

His MySpace

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Michael Zapruder’s understated pop

Another really good album from Michael Zapruder, a SF-based singer songwriter who is somehow related (his father? His uncle?) to the photographer who filmed the Kennedy assassination. (Speaking of Kennedy-assassination-related bands, does anybody remember Single Gun Theory? Damn…)

Anyway, no one will read it and if they do no one will care, but I reviewed his new solo album for PopMatters earlier this week.

Le voila!

Michael Zapruder
Dragon Chinese Cocktail Horoscope
US release date: 18 November 2008
UK release date: Available as import

by Jennifer Kelly

It’s not exactly a solo album when you bring along 15 guests for the ride (among them Ralph Carney from Tin Huey and Scott Solter). Still, Bay Area songwriter Michael Zapruder has paired things down slightly from his Rain of Frogs aesthetic, letting the melodies and words take precedence over subtle arrangements of strings, winds, percussion, keyboards and electronics. The songs themselves are elegantly structured, symmetric but not quite predictable, with eccentric shifts and forays that slip into place after three or four listens. Lyrics, too, are slyly out of the ordinary. A throwaway line, out of “Ads for Feelings” observes “When the wholesome has marries the loathsome/can you tell me what gift I should bring” and these kinds of sharp, koan-like provocations are littered throughout the CD.

Working with electronics artist (and Tiny Telephone engineer) Scott Solter, Zapruder finds a clean, clear sonic space touched at its edges by jazz, folk, gospel and blues, yet fundamentally un-genre-fiable. Conventional verse-chorus songs are enveloped in electronic atmospheres and ruptured, sometimes, by flights of improvised dissonance — check the flute bursts in accessible “Ads for Singles”, the conga-line percussion of “Bang on a Drum”. References slip in and out of focus. There’s a haunting, Vic Chestnutt-ish quietude to “White Raven Sails over the Parking Lot”, a rambunctious swagger to “Bang on a Drum”, a lo-fi Elliott Smith-like intensity to “Ads for Singles”, yet all these songs are definitively Zapruder’s own. “Black Wine” splits the album in half, a craftily constructed epic, eight minutes long and embellished with choral singing. You never notice how big the song is, however, since it slips along on its own low-key trajectory, a “House of the Rising Sun” tangle of chords under Zapruder’s husky voice. It sounds both fresh and like it’s always been there, thought-provoking and utterly comfortable. This is a remarkable effort from a very talented songwriter.

“Ads for Feelings”

I finished my last PopMatters review yesterday, another quite forgettable CD that I was glad to see the back of…onward!

I’m interviewing Heavy Hands tonight for Copper Press and trying to work something out with Nels Cline for PopMatters.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Cool drones from Psychic Ills

Here’s a good one for all you fans of space rock, experimental improv and freaky-ass guitar effects…recommended for people who like Bardo Pond, Spaceman 3, NNCK, the Vocokesh and, in general, that crazy Terrastock vibe.

Psychic Ills
Mirror Eye
The Social Registry

Psychic Ills slips a bit further from songcraft, a bit deeper into shadowy ethno-drones in this, their second proper full-length, splicing the tribal sounds of caravan percussion to space-age guitar effects and synthesizer sounds. Though usually compared to interstellar overdrivers like Spaceman 3, here the band sounds more like NNCK, improvisatory, foreboding and tethered loosely to Middle Eastern and African rhythms.


“Fingernail Tea”

Also the Social Registry label is also giving away a mixtape with cuts from their 2008 stable of artists…interesting stuff, give it a spin. (MP3s don’t actually spin, do they? Well give it a try. You know what I mean.)

Monday, January 12, 2009

I went to see Wild Light

...which is a NH-based band that has toured with Arcade Fire and is just about to go out with Tapes N Tapes.

Dusted's Destined series kicks off with Bachelorette

You’ve undoubtedly heard me whining about how nobody will let me cover breaking bands anymore (if you haven’t and want to, drop me an email, it’s one of my favorite things to complain about)…

In any case, Dusted does a feature early every year called “Destined” where we focus on 10 emerging artists. Last year we had Hercules and Love Affair and Fuck Buttons and I forget who else, but it’s worth watching. Anyway, this the first time I’ve ever been asked to participate. I got Bachelorette, a New Zealand-based singer who sits somewhere between Animal Collective and Joanna Newsom. She’ll have a new album out on Drag City this year.

Here’s a bit of my piece:

You get the sense that Annabel Alpers, the New Zealand electro-pop artist known as Bachelorette, doesn’t much care for talking about her delicate, multilayered songs. She’d rather not theorize about the nexus between synthetic tools and raw human feeling. She has no clear idea of where she’s heading musically, after My Electric Family, the album she’s mixing right now in New Zealand for release on Drag City this spring. She’s perfectly happy to let that question resolve itself later, when she gets back to her computer to write new songs.

“I don’t have a particular direction that I want to go in at all,” she says, by phone, early on New Year’s Eve 2008. “Every time I work on a song or an album, I’m always surprised with how it comes out, because it’s not how I started out with it.”

Yet you can’t mistake this flexibility, this open-ness to the vagaries of inspiration, this refusal to articulate an artistic philosophy, for lack of purpose. “Sometimes I think the reason why I play music is that it’s the way that I’m able to communicate to people,” she says. “It’s better than the way that I’m capable of communicating just through talking or the conventional kinds of communication that other people are satisfied with. That doesn’t satisfy me. So, it’s a way of trying to be satisfied with communicating with other people.”



I Want to Be Your Girlfriend

Friday, January 9, 2009

The best music scribes not writing about music

Jason Gross has his annual round-up of “great” music writing up at PopMatters today.

Caveat: If you want the gold, better write for a daily or be a famous musician. Another caveat: Write about the business, not the music, that’s all anyone cares about (despite the fact that the music is in much better shape than the business).

My review of Wall-E is also up at PM today.

Wall-E, with Ratatouille, The Incredibles and Toy Story, is that rare thing – a children’s film that transcends its category. Its opening third, mostly without dialogue, is a stunning achievement, a lyrical, magical evocation of an imaginary space that feels absolutely true to itself. In fact, the only time that Wall-E falters is when it tries too hard to be a children’s film, with cuddly humanoid characters, fast-moving plot and too-pat resolution. The final two-thirds of Wall-E are not bad at all…just a step down into popcorn fodder from an opening that felt like art.

Also a shortie on Push-Pull a goofball punk rock band from my home state of Indiana. Their first album has recently been reissued on Sick Room Records.

“Tans Taafl”

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Groove Rider…with pictures

My favorite afro-funk-robot-dance band, Mahjongg, has got a new video out called “Groove Rider”.

The song’s on a 7” from K Records. As the video makes fairly obvious, they are based in Chicago (though originally from Missouri, or at least some of them).

Why doesn’t everyone love this band the way I do?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

REM reduxe

Not to go all old fart on you, but I have been really enjoying the two-disc reissue of REM’s Murmur, which Bill got me for Christmas this year. It’s been remixed to give more equal weighting to all the instruments (you can hear the bass), and there’s a second live disc from right around the time of release. I still probably like Reckoning a little better, but this is good stuff.

The original IRS promo for the album

“Radio Free Europe”, live in March 1983

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Enchantress of Florence

It's been so long since I had anything up and published that I've sort of forgotten how to do this. Anyway, my lone effort at book reviewing for 2008...a paragraph on Salman Rushdie's the Enchantress of Florence. It looks like there's lots of other interesting stuff on the list which i will have to check out later (hopefully literally, from the local library).

Here's a link

I don't normally review books because it seems like there ought to be at least one part of my life that's strictly for entertainment.

First day of the year...album of the year

You all know how much I hate agreeing with Pitchforkmedia (leave off the media and you'll find yourself at a feedstore)...but yesterday I was lying motionless, listening in awe and excitement to Meriweather Post Pavilion, the new Animal Collective, and today they have awarded the CD a 9.6.

What are we going to do for the rest of the year?

Oh, yeah, we'll think of something.

Friday, January 2, 2009

A new mix for the new year

I don't know about you guys, but I am sick to death of year-end blather. Here's a mix of stuff that I've been working on over the last couple months. None of it made my year-end mix (though Fennesz showed up on a bunch of other people's lists)...some is late-year 2008, some early 2009 and some early to mid 1980s (though reissued recently). Anyway, I like it...maybe you will, too.

Download here for seven days only.

Track listing:
"Jak" Volcano Suns. My favorite cut (the first one, off the first album, all downhill from there) off Merge's two-disc reissue of this post-Burma, post-punk, Boston band.
"The World's Can't Have Her" Cobra Verde. Nice 70s guitar riff, eh?
"Where's Captain Kirk?" Spizzenergi. Vintage early 1980s new wave...Peel's favorite "Star Trek-themed" song idea what kind of competition there was.
"Prefix Free" Parts & Labor. My "damn, that should have been top 20" late discovery for this year.
"Credit River" The COnstantines. Another mostly overlooked gem from 2008 -- thanks Ian, I kind of lost track of these guys after they left Sub Pop.
"Down with the Blue Lobsters" The Nightingales. I'm thinking that this new one, recorded with people from Faust, is better, silkier, more evil and more reptilianly menacing than anything from the heyday.
"Flash Bulbz" The Red Eyed Legends. Think they've spent much time with Shellac?
"Time Stands Still" Like a Fox. Yes, the power pop weakness wins out again. All you hard core types should skip this one.
"everything with you" The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Terrible band name, iffy label but kind of genius blend of lo-fi buzz and pop sweetness...I'd give them the "trying to be J&MC and not sucking" award for 2009 hands down.
"Happy New Year" Michael Zapruder. Terrific low-key, literate but unpretentious songwriter from the Bay Area...his dad shot that Kennedy footage, I think. Happy new year to you, too.
"Sanguinary" Chris Brokaw. I see Chris Brokaw as the slender thread that holds the whole indie/noise/rock/no wave/alterna country world together...if he's not in at least three bands a year, the entire mess comes unstrung. Here he is, just the man and his guitar, sounding pretty damned great.
"Do Not Love a WOman" Christina Carter. Spookily glorious.
"Saffron REvolution" Fennesz. I'm struck mute by stuff like this, but isn't it beautiful?
"I'm a Machine" Slaraffenland. Saw these guys at SXSW and it was one of the nicest, sunniest, most welcoming and inclusive show of my life...everybody banging on percussion, beer smells wafting...very nice. New EP has covers of Radiohead ("Paranoid Android") and A-Ha ("Take on Me") but I'm going with this original.
"Stepper a.k.a. Work" Skeletons. Matt Mehlan has changed his band name AGAIN, but it's still the same freakily warm, disco-into-afrobeat-into-free-jazz celebration that he's always behind.
"The Tulip Staircase" Dreamend. I've gotten to be kind of a fan of the Graveface label (Black Moth Super Rainbow, Experimental Aircraft, Hospital Ships), and this is the label owner's band...very nice pop into psychedelia kind of effort that reminds me a little bit of David Kilgour, especially in the guitars, and also Circulatory System.