Aux Portes S/T E.P. (auxportes.bandcamp.com)
An impressive debut from this high energy psych unit out of Austria. Opening number "Glockenspielfuzz" sets a cinematic presence and makes for an intriguing introduction of what's to come. The magnificent tone of "It's Alright" is highlighted by flourishing layers of chiming guitars and uplifting vocal harmonies that take you on an enlightening journey back to the psychedelic 60's. "She's Tornado" is a bit darker and more mysterious sounding and makes great use of a fabulous rolling bass line and a blistering wah-wah driven guitar attack while the organ based "Menon" and reverb drenched sounds of "You Don't Mind" are fine examples of mind bending, free spirited rock n roll. A truly spectacular effort from beginning to end that leaves me wanting more of these far out sounds.
Dinosaur Jr "Goin Down" Single (dinosaurjr.com)
Another top track from the new Dinosaur JR album "Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not". It's hard hitting, high energy and full of all the things I've always loved about this band from J's trademark vocals and blistering guitar leads to the spot on pounding rhythm section of Lou Barlow and Murph. Great video clip shot at House of Vans, in Brooklyn. Catch the band on tour all over the U.S. and Europe throughout the rest of the year.
Ioda Rosa "Ferris Wheel" E.P. (iodarosa.bandcamp.com)
Loving this initial offering from Australia's Ioda Rosa. The title track starts things off with the ominous sounds of a single piano that builds into a very moving piece that's melancholy and cold. "Gradient" is fueled by a heavy does of chainsaw style guitars that loom over a matter of fact style vocal delivery and laid back rhythm section. The beautiful swelling soundscapes that flow throughout this song add an element of beauty and grace that really stands out while the acoustic based "The Choreographer" follows in fine form. The delicate feeling "Figure Eights" might be my favorite track of the bunch. It's intricate guitar pattern and words of passion really hit home and although it's full of grayish tones there is a ray of hope that projects from underneath all of it's gloom and doom. Overall a promising debut that is comforting, atmospheric and kind.
Midnight Door "Half Moon" E.P. (midnightdoor.bandcamp.com)
Midnight Door is the brainchild of Los Angeles musician Luke Janela. His latest release "Half Moon" is a truly amazing body of work led by Janela's incredible cello playing and passionate vocal stance. Lead off track "mooooooon" is a lively number that features a mysterious flair and enigmatic presence that really draws you in. It instantly stimulates your ears and mind and lets you know you are in for a very welcoming listening experience that is sure to be one of a kind. The acoustic opening of "The Way To Praise" quickly gives way to a highly infectious driving beat that will certainly make you want to dance as the vibrant layers of cello and futuristic tones radiate throughout. The powerful spirit of "A Satisfied Mind" is cleverly matched with a singer songwriter type sensibility. It's undeniably catchy and the type of song that reeks of energy and makes you feel like you are right there with them as you aggressively sing along. The cagey demeanor of "Islands And Tides" is another track that tugs at the soul. There's an intensity and power to it that seems to serve as a cathartic release for Janela and it's just one of the many mind blowing moments of the record. The blissful aura of "The New Radness" and the bouncy feel of "Seriously" further cement "Half Moon" as one of the best releases of 2016. It's an innovative record that incorporates a vast range of musical styles under one beautifully crafted umbrella to formulate a sound that is truly all it's own.
Orations "Oh, the Horror" Single (orations.bandcamp.com)
Buffalo New York's Orations offer up another stunning single that perfectly captures their jangling post punk/college rock sound. Fueled by Jess Collins dynamic vocal delivery and Paul Morin's lush, full bodied guitar sounds "Oh, My Horror" takes you on a sonic journey that is dark and haunting yet subliminally catchy at the same time. B-side "Spit" is faster and more melodic and makes me think what it be like if Siouxsie Sioux had fronted an early line up of R.E.M. Matt Chavanne's driving beat and Jason Draper's catchy bass line really push the energy level over the top and give it a special kind of swing that makes me want to hear it over and over. A premium pair of songs from one of my favorite new bands.
Wild Surmise "Suaimhneas" LP (wildsurmisemusic.com)
Made up of Tom and Sean Power and hailing from Dingle, Ireland, Wild Surmise have been making music since 2010. Their new album "Suaimhneas" is a breathtaking array of blissful soundscapes and colorful experimentation "The Endless Choir" is a gorgeous piece that brings to mind the likes of Brian Eno and Tangerine Dream but has it's own sense of tone and style as well. Things start to shift a bit during "Emberno" as it has a much more frantic sound that balances a sputtering almost neurotic feel with a blanket of mind numbing sonic forces. The upbeat "Flatpak" features some beautiful piano work over top of a syncopated, pulsating rhythm which makes for a really innovative track while "Treimhse" is a rich hypnotic masterpiece. The bleak yet inviting piano based "Suaimhneas" is nothing short of stellar and meshes well with the more eclectic "Within Sight". All of the tones throughout this album feel so precisely crafted and have a maturity to them that is second to none. "In This light" closes out the album in peaceful fashion and serves as an end credits of sorts to this incredibly well executed release.