Parquet Courts

From Brooklyn in the USA we find Andrew Savage (Vocals / Guitar), Austin Brown (Guitar), Sean Yeaton (Bass) and Max Savage (Drums) also know as the new wave band Parquet Courts.

Parquet Courts - new wave from the USA

Parquet Courts

Harking back to the ’60s Parquet Courts seek to explore how the blocks fit together and more than that emerge with different patterns. I am sort of reminded of a Rubik’s Cube having been spliced and replaced – no matter how hard you try – there is no perfect settlement. A delight of discordance challenges the ears as guitars and vocals out of tune proffer a sound which for no reason makes perfect sense.

Wrapped up inside shiny wrappers you will find Parquet Courts as they throw out barbs to the world around them. This is music, challenging social mores in brief snippets, which hook or miss as they dart out. For me the wild guitars snarling across the landscape make for a paragraph which makes perfect sense. Around it all sits a vocal diatribe of invective, incised with percussion and bass, that drive the sounds to move the body of the audience in to a pogo – well I am knocking everything over as I attempt to write the review.

Music which tries to do nothing more than challenge the listener to take a look at their positioning always wins my vote. When it does in the concise format of a band who wrap much of it inside three minutes. Well, is it any surprise I recommend you take a moment or two to listen.

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Borrowed Time – Single – Parquet Courts is available on iTunes*

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Lots Of Love

Lots Of Love is the vehicle for Los Angeles USA based indie pop singer songwriter Jessica Fleischer to deliver her ideas.

Lots of Love - indie pop from the USA

Lots of Love

There are very rare occasions when pop bubbles and great song-writing are not an oxymoron and Lots Of Love is one of those cases. Somehow Jessica is able to make lyrics of sentimental slush sound harder edged and it is this ability to give credibility to the incredulous that I just enjoy. Musically nothing like, but over all the effect similar to Isabella Rossellini singing Blue Velvet in the David Lynch film – intoxicating.

Jessica Fleischer is not only deftly able to handle the compositions of the songs, but to add a slightly ironic twist to it with a vocal that transfixes the attention of the listener. A fine debut ten track  LP From The Start was released on the 27th August which should find Lots Of Love gain wider interest. There is more to the sounds than a fine vocal as the instruments also keep a lid on the pink froth within a well behaved rock derivative that harkens to the ’60s and ’50s.

There is much to enjoy here, even a cynic such as myself finds themselves defrosting slightly as the material contains none of the crass marketing autocue that lives inside much of this genre as Jessica writes about her own emotional twists and turns, throwing them up for investigation. I hope Jessica continues with this honesty going forward as this is what is the real value that differentiates Lots Of Love from mainstream pop pap.

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From the Start – Lots of Love is available on iTunes*.

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Sun Angle

Sun Angle is an avant-garde rock outfit from Portland, Oregon in the USA, comprised of Charlie Salas-Humara (vocals/guitar), Marius Libman (bass) and DavidPapi” Fimbres (drums).  

Sun Angle - Dream rock from the USA

Sun Angle – photo © Todd Walberg

Charlie Salas-Humara you are thinking – yes he was reviewed as a solo artist, also by Robbie earlier today.

Released on May 7th, the trio’s debut album Diamond Junk is a fusion of styles and experimentalism while still managing to remain cohesive and enjoyable.

The opening track Raspberry is a marvellous mixture of fast-paced drumming, psychedelic guitar work and convoluted vocal melodies. A wonderful start to an album, Raspberry also features a glorious video which contains memorable and hideous scenes from movies played out in a line-art style, which works well with the music to deliver a creepy experience not to be missed.

Thankfully the album doesn’t let up on the quality and craftsmanship afforded by the first track, and each one really is strong and unique in its own right. The slinky bass-lines and frenetic percussion of title track Diamond Junk are soon joined by jagged, dissonant and playful guitar runs, daring the listener to delve deeper into the sonic vistas of Sun Angle. At the end of the album lurks Vague Light, a track which comes across as the dreamy love-child of Tame Impala and a vintage tape delay machine, before ending on a frantic crescendo of guitar and synth.

I recommend Diamond Junk to anyone with a taste for experimental rock which gets to the point and doesn’t stray too far up its own arse. Each track is a tight composition with its own character, and the production is very crisp.

This band is something of a “supergroup” of artists local to the Portland area, as all three are well known within the locale: Salas-Humara is recognised for various projects including Panther, Grapefruit and The Planet The; While Libman is the man behind electro-pop outfit Copy and Fimbres is better known for the experimental electronica he produces under the name Paper/Upper/Cuts. I hope to hear more from Sun Angle soon and perhaps see them perform if they cross the pond to the UK… Or I find myself with a ticket to the US!

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Diamond Junk – Sun Angle is available on iTunes*

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Grapefruit

Grapefruit is a solo project from highly motivated musician Charlie Salas-Humara. Hailing from Portland, Oregon, in the USA, Salas-Humara is also known for his dance/math hybrid The Planet The, chaotic pop creation Panthers, the experimental Regular Music and hyperactive trio Sun Angle. There is an EP and three albums on the artist’s Bandcamp page, all under the Grapefruit moniker for the exception of one – Pinks Quieter, a name which functions both as an artist and album title. Salas-Humara explains this distinction is due to the Pinks Quieter material being so different from Grapefruit, which it most definitely is. Anyway, enough of the boring stuff – let’s get down to business.

Grapefruit - dream rock from the USA

Grapefruit

Thanks again to Robbie for the review –

Experimental, infectious, dark and dreamy; these are the first four words that come to mind when describing 2012’s Pinks Quieter, the first album from Salas-Humara available on Bandcamp.


From its exciting sampled drumming and meandering melodies, there’s definitely something special about this release, which manages to be both beautiful and twisted in equal measure. Each song is distinct in its own right, requiring just a few seconds before they work their way into your soul. The percussion in the album is reportedly ripped from YouTube videos, and relate to a genre of music known as “go-go”, which is essentially a highly syncopated form which originated in Washington DC during the mid-1960s.

This material comes across to me as somewhat dub-influenced, and reminds me of De Facto’s hypnotic blend of dub and psychedelia. Equal parts psychedelic, ambient and wistful, Pinks Quieter manages to sound fresh yet somehow familiar. Of note is the opening track Zero Zero, which features psyche guitar licks (at least I think it’s a guitar) and a lovely off-kilter drum beat before layers of droned vocals brings things to a close.

Next up is Twin Reflections, released a mere two months later than the last. Continuing with the electronic vibe but dropping the sampled go-go percussion, the album is not as immediately striking as the last but stands on its own as a quest into the joys of electronica. Synth is the order of the day here; from fluttering melodies and repeating arpeggios there are enough layers here to happily float away to on a warm Summer’s day. At times the music is reminiscent of a soundtrack, with Being and Nothingness giving off that feeling of epic discovery which would go perfectly with a videogame or sci-fi TV series.

There is a lot of emotional depth present in these pieces, with On Her Majesty suggesting an air of loneliness and melancholy with a touch of the futuristic about it, a strangely satisfying combination for me at least.

Finally there’s Escaper, which was released June 2013 and once more eschews the samples of Pinks Quieter in favour of purely electronic escapades. In certain tracks there are more percussive elements as can be witnessed in the  eponymous opening track and Colour of Water, the latter of which features a tribal beat which works well with the overlaid dreamy synths.

Both Twin Reflections and Escaper feel like two halves of the same whole, enjoyable though for me not as distinctive and gritty as Pinks Quieter.

I would recommend Grapefruit to anyone with an interest in dreamy electronic music, this is definitely the kind of material you want to melt away in the background while you write essays or do the washing up. And there’s no excuse for not checking it out as all of the material listed is available for free online. Have fun!

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The Brown Bottle Flu

The Brown Bottle Flu from Bloomington in the USA is the New Wave trio of Alex Molica (Guitar / Vocals), Jared (Bass) and Sharlene (Percussion / Vocals).

The Brown Bottle Flu - new wave from the USA

The Brown Bottle Flu

A delight….. is how I will start of this review of The Brown Bottle Flu and well, this is going to take me some time to write as I have to take a minute or two away from the keyboard each sentence to wrap my head in the music. A perfect setting for early Friday evening as I type, sumptuous percussion and bass slither across the room, testing the very foundations of the building. A slightly distorted guitar splays across the material like a back spatter bloodstain, accompanied by underlying vocals which are delivered as a head-snapping double punch.


I could waffle about CBGBs for a while and even throw in Anti-Pasti, but to make comparisons is to declinate from the absolute joy and currency of it all. Smartly composed songs breathe of vitality and the listener is lifted on to their feet to join in with the music. I can even forgive them the odd cover here or there which they do manage to rework with some degree of originality.

The Brown Bottle Flu is absolute joy to discover and with a release Felt Up beginning to gain some traction I would anticipate will become far better known and a band I suggest is worth spending plenty of time with…. It has taken an hour for these 250 words and I will be heading back to replay the LP once again as soon as I finish.

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