Indie Weirdo Round Up – Lambchop, La Otracina, Ethan Rose, Teeth Mountain, Cazumbi comp.
Rainer On My Parade – Lambchop (self-released)
Nashville's 15-year old Lambchop are one of the country's most criminally flawless bands. Leader Kurt Wagner's songs can sometimes disappear completely into a deep bed sewn equally of strum, twang, and Wagner's own voice, which is languorous and reserved. On a new tour-only CD-R, Wagner puts together a mix of fine sounding soundboards of his band's live covers. He is both a master interpreter and an indie dork of the first degree. His versions of The Clean's "Seemingly Stranded" is a small blessing, ditto Lee Hazlewood's "I'm Glad I Never." The band, featuring the heppest, newest breed of Nashville sessions cats, is impeccable, especially guitarist William Tyler, also a member of the Silver Jews. The funk covers don't exactly work (see: Curtis Mayfield's "Give Me Your Love"), but they almost pull off "I’ve Been Lonely For So Long," and that’s pretty great, too.
Blood Moon Riders – La Otracina (Holy Mountain)
Bucking trends is almost impossibly easy. It's actually pretty easy just to be an individual. No use, really, in thinking too much about it. And La Otracina, who I think happen to be from Brooklyn, but could be from any basement anywhere, seem like masters of that. Maybe the five instrumentals here are trendy, including the two part "Ballad of the Hot Ghost Mama" suite. But they're dudes jamming out with guitars, no vocals, lots of distortion, lots of cymbal crashes, dramatic builds, deeply fuzzy bases, washes, and turns that ride the line between metal and psych and MELTING YOUR FUCKING BRAINS OUT THROUGH YOUR EYES. 'Tis such a supple line.
Oaks – Ethan Rose (Holocene)
Source material can be fun, and Ethan Rose's Oaks finds something that can sustain a whole project: a vintage 1920s theater organ once used to accompany silent films. There is no particular narrative, simply rich tones pushed from its pneumatically controlled pipes, caught by Rose, and rearranged into warm sweeps. Everything is pleasant in Rose’s world and mostly everything shimmers (like "Mighty Mighty," where stained glass seems like it is about to explode in slow motion). There is sadness in the pipes, of course. How couldn’t there be? "Bottom" floats on a bed of wistful gears. Any grief there is—and, on "Rising Waters," it sounds deep—also seems as if it might be resolved by stepping out of the theater into the warm Portland rain.
Teeth Mountain tour EP – Teeth Mountain (self-released)
Teeth Mountain are probably not aware that the Disco Biscuits, their neighbors just up I-95 to the north, claimed the term "trance/fusion" first. Either way, they're probably not likely to care, or maybe even look up from their instruments. Their newest tour EP, which goes along with a 40-minute cassette released last year, keeps their droney, tribal jams to much shorter increments, only one of the six tracks even breaking the five-minute mark. Notably, only that track—"Black Jerusalem"—is fully effective. The Yo La Tengo-like organ jam "Keinsein" comes close. Mostly, it's a good taster for deeper weirdness.
Cazumbi: African Sixties Garage, v. 1 – various (Nosmokerecords)
In the eternal Apollonian theater of psych reissues, where posterity infects grooviness with its sharpened steel claws, the first volume in Nosmokerecords' series on '60s African garage-psych bursts with twin flames of vitality. That mp3s of the vinyl-only release should have another layer of transferred needle fuzz (plus even more digi-compression) seems right, if not exactly necessary as the guitar fuzz and proto Afro-pop grooves push outwards from the 23 7-inch length tracks. Probably a bootleg mix on the part of the distributors, the songs feel trapped, but that's alright. Reissue comps rarely sound this alive as they try to escape their 21st century shackles.