Narnack is working overtime for your indie ass. First the label releases Hella's Total Bugs Bunny on Wild Bass on green vinyl. Then it unleashes the new Coachwhips record, Bangers vs. Fuckers, to show hipsters nationwide how we do it here in the Bay Area. This gritty punk trio is coming into its own with its best record yet -- everything from John Dwyer's voice to the cracked Hammond B-3 sounds as if it were being shot through a shredder. And the record came out just in time for Noise Pop.
Table of Elements Records has released a series of seven very limited-edition color-vinyl 12-inches that include live recordings from John Fahey and Laurie Spiegel. Spiegel's work "Harmonices Mundi" was commissioned by Carl Sagan for the golden disc included on the 1977 Voyager II spacecraft, presumably to endear us to any aliens who stumbled across it. These records are extremely rare, with etched artwork on a few -- not for everyone, but for the avant-initiated, definite collectors' items.
If you require kinder, gentler, more accessible ambience, Explosions in the Sky's Earth Is Not a Dead Cold Place (Temporary Residence) is easier on the palate. Granted, it doesn't add anything new to post-rock -- chiming guitars build the tension, until the crescendo hits with crashing cymbals and splintering chords and blah blah blah. ... It's all so contrived, especially when Godspeed You! Black Emperor has already cornered the market. Still, it's well-contrived; I've been listening to Earth over and over again. It's compelling and damn good.
Califone's Heron King Blues (Thrill Jockey), meanwhile, mashes up lo-fi psychedelia with all sorts of clinking bottles, intermittent hand drums, and stark American steel guitar. This is the soulful No Depression sound a modern blues band creates with gadgets -- Jim White makes blues like this, as do Tom Waits and Los Lobos. But the strength of Heron King lies in its scary textural discoveries, dropping listeners into the band's lush, nightmarish whispering dreams.
Other good news: Tussle, San Francisco's underground disco collective, has released another bass-heavy, dancefloor shaker for Troubleman Unlimited. The dubby 12-inch Don't Stop references New Wave disco as much as it does Sly and Robbie, with an enticing groove that feels so good, I can only hope it don't stop. And finally, for the DVD-enabled, Guitar Wolf, Sun Ra, and Minor Threat all have some hot live action for your eyeballs.
Seven Days - January 23, 2:28 PM
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Seven Days - January 19, 10:45 AM