Outer Space

Outer Space is the solo synthesizer endeavor of John Elliott. Elliott is a member of Emeralds with Mark McGuire and Steve Hauschildt. He plays a variety of analog synthesizers and keyboards. He also has a number of collaborations floating around out there. This includes Medecine Rocks with Alex Moskos of AIDS Wolf and Drainolith, plus Inner Spaced with Telecult Powers. Like most noise jammers, the man is prolific at putting out tapes and CDRs.

I caught Outer Space last summer on a tour with Drainolith at Soundlab in Buffalo. My friend Kyle was doing the sound and running a video projector for the show. He had these nature films of undersea life/scenes that fit exactly with the deep and bubbly sounds that Elliot was cranking out. It's weird how outer space and under the ocean match up sometimes. When the show was over, I bought the self titled Outer Space LP. It was a toss up between that and the newest Emeralds' album. I figured I could get the Emeralds someplace else and had better grab the record by the band I just saw. I made the right decision because Elliott made an album full of six glorious sci-fi synth excursions. It's my record of choice for breakfast on pleasant summer mornings.

For more info:
Emeralds at Last FM



Chinook is a four piece band from Michigan. I was first introduced to them on tour when we stopped in Kalamazoo and played the Strutt. We never really said much to each other besides the usual band banter or whatever, but I think it was because I was a bit nervous to follow them. They played so tightly and every instrument sounded so pivotal and perfect, what band wouldn't be intimidated? I know I was inebriated, maybe it was the August heat too, but this band carried me like a river.

Their four song EP Me All Night Long was recorded by Matt Ten Clay of Skull Studios and has some great moments on it. The band manages to mix their 1990's angular guitar driven sound with a lot of shoegaze effects to pull you in, but never have you lost in an effect or drone. 1:28 into "Poison Peanuts" for example, where the band's guitar players demonstrate some spot on guitar work as they pick a harmonizing lead, leads to some great delay and effects to close it out (3:22). If you're a fan of Castor, Piglet, Shiner, My Bloody Valentine, Swervedriver or American Football, show this band some support. In a sea of 1990's "revival" bands, this is one that deserves more attention.
Here's a video we took of them playing the end of "Poison Peanuts" and "Jencon", both from their EP Me All Night Long. The band is also looking for a singer, so contact them if you're interested:



photo cred: John McCarthy / http://baddhabits.blogspot.com/

The guys in the band Coping turned me on to this Boston band called Sneeze. The band features members of L'antietam, Genders and Ape Up.
The 7" entitled "Grandma in the Trenches", which by the way has 8 tracks on it, was recorded at Dead Air Studios in MA and the album artwork was done by John McCarthy who also happens to have some fucking great shirts he did for them posted at his blog: http://baddhabits.blogspot.com/
I really have no good solid info on this band, but the 7" rips so hard. Grungy, dirty, fuzzed out garage punk that also manages to pull off a pop ish sound. I feel like I did in middle school when I found my dad's live Nirvana album. I can't put this one down, pick it up here:


And stream it here: http://sneezeus.bandcamp.com/

Aaaand be sure to check them out in late July and a good chunk of August when they go on tour with The Clippers.

28- Boston, MA -wacky castle w/ EARTHQUAKE PARTY & ARVID NOE
29- Syracuse NY- TBA
30- Akron, OH- its a kling thing w/tba
31- IN- TBA w/ Pen Pals
1- Chicago- TBA w/Coping
2- Lincoln ,NE - TBA
3- Denver/Boulder, CO Denver :TBA
5- Las Vegas, NV Yayo taco w/ CARAVELS
6- San Francisco, CA-TBA
7- Oakland, CA- hive house w/tba
8- Fresno, CA- house w/TBA
9- Los Angeles, CA -TBA
10- San Diego, CA- che cafe w/tba
11- Grand Canyon
12- Albuquerqe, NM-TBA
13- Oklahoma City, OK- Bad Granny’s w/ TBA
14- Fort Worth, TX 1919 w/ TBA
15- Austin, TX- Skinny ballroom w/TBA
16- Houston, TX - TBA w/ Football Etc.
17- Birmingham, AL - God’s Butt w/ ollie the bum
18- Louisville, KY- house w/ lay down and die
20- Washington DC -michael vick ballroom w/Good Offices / Bandname / Shat Shorts
21- Baltimore, MD Charm City Art Space w/MONUMENT & Bandname
22- Philadelphia, PA - BookSpace w/Band Name
23- New Brunswick, New Jersey -TBA w/Bandname
24- Brooklyn, NY- Silent Barn w/ Tba
25- Amherst, ma - Dad City w/ The Living City
26-CT- TBA w/when the world disses you


Windy & Carl

It's been super hot outside this week because it is summer time. I've been using Windy & Carl as music to fall asleep to on these hot nights. Their blissed out ambient guitar drones are magical and send you off to slumberland perfectly. I've woken up feeling very well rested each morning. I'm not dismissing this band as only music to put you to sleep, but illustrating how good of a job they do. They even endorse the use of their music as a soundtrack for afternoon naps, so I think sleep is one intended purpose of their songs.

Windy & Carl is the husband and wife duo of Carl Hultgren and Windy Weber. Their sound is created from guitars run through massive amounts of delay and reverb. The songs are ambient soundscapes that don't sound much like normal guitars and use the instruments to create the sonic idea of a space over more traditional songwritting approaches. They use both guitars and basses, along with occasional keyboards. The songs tend to be longer in length, sometimes approaching the twenty minute mark. They explore a wide range of atmospheres in their songs from warmer tones to the ocean depths to cold tundras. The music fits in with concept of a soundtrack for an imaginary movie.

The band is primarily instrumental, although Windy does sing on some of the songs. Her voice is often buried in layers of reverb and delay as well. This gives a very dreamy quality to the vocals since you can hear a singer, but not necessarily make out what is being sung. I'm a big fan of keeping the vocals down in the mix or treating them like another instrument with good effects added, not bad effects such as Auto-Tune. It's interesting how people who aren't used to this approach are confused by it or want amazing vocal talent, like on American Idol. In all fairness, I'm confused with how mainstream pop music puts everything together. That stuff doesn't sound right at all to me. I'm a firm believer in Dave Berman's sentiment that "all my favorite singers couldn't sing."

They formed in 1991 and released their first recordings on their own Blueflea label. A few labels have helped them over the years, including Ba Da Bing and Icon Records. Chicago's Kranky Records released Depths in 1997 and they have stuck with them ever since. This is where they should be considering that Kranky was started with the purpose of putting out the first Labradford album of experimental ambient guitar songs and Windy & Carl fit in exactly with that aesthetic.

Windy and Carl also run Stormy Records in Dearborn, Michigan.

For more info:
Kranky Records band page
Brainwashed band site
Stormy Records


Rockets and Bluelights

"Go to Spiral Scratch, they've had this 10'' there forever by this band Rockets and Bluelights, you'd like it, it sounds like faster Promise Ring".

This is what my friend had said to me (or close to it...) after a band I was in a few years ago had finished a set in Buffalo. Needless to say, the recommendation was enough for me, and the next time my roommate and his girlfriend went to Buffalo, I tagged along. I remember this only because he made fun of me for going to Buffalo to seek out an obscure 10" that i wasn't even sure was there.

Well it was there. In a stack of 10" records at the old Spiral Scratch was this dusty and faded record called "A Smashed City With Flames and Music in the Air", and it was pretty cheap. Even the dude working was surprised I was buying it as he told me it had been there forever and he always wondered what it sounded like. I almost felt bad taking it. Apparently, the band was from Albany (?) and the record came out in 2003 on Redder Records (http://www.redderrecords.com/) aaand was recorded at Dead Air Studios (http://www.deadairstudios.com/). It does sound a bit like "faster Promise Ring", but there's a lot more happening in the guitars. "Andee" is my favorite track on the record. The song opens with some great sounding overdriven guitar and a massive drum fill before it explodes into distortion and a great twinkly lead just to come to a halt by a great off time bass line and buried vocals. I guess the only flaw with this band is that they were ahead of the game. I'm sure if they were still around now they'd be scooped up by Topshelf or something. I think they just lost to timing, but I honestly don't know anything about them other than what I posted. Enjoy.

Cheval De Frise

I'm not exactly sure how I found this band. I've been listening to their self titled album from 2004 a lot lately. It was released by Sickroom Records in Chicago. I possibly heard them on Brave New Waves as they did have one song played on the show. I know I ordered their album from Insound so it might have been a random pick based on a preview description. I have no idea. Sometimes you just stumble upon things.

Much like I don't recall how I found out about Cheval De Frise, I don't know all that much about the band either. I think I'm fine with that. Sometimes it's better to not know things. Keeping a sense of mystery is important. What I do know about the band is that they are from France and have broken up in the years since I bought their album. They were the duo of Vincent Beysselance on drums and Thomas Bonvalet on guitar. They were strictly instrumental and played a frenetic style of math rock or post-rock, whichever you want to call it. They remind me of a more straight forward version of Hella, not that what their playing is all that simple or anything. Remember that post-rock didn't always mean that a band sounds like Explosions In The Sky or Mogwai. I know artists hate being labeled or pigeonholed at times, but sometimes a singular description is so perfect that to deny it seems wrong. It's probably easier to pick something and stick with it instead of trying to blend a little bit of everything together. And from my personal point of view, if I label a band as one particular genre that I like, take it as a complement because I meant it as one.

For more info:
Cheval De Frise at Last FM