The musical tornado that was NXNE 2015 blew into Toronto on Wednesday, June 17, boasting hundreds of bands performing over a five-day span, not to mention various film screenings, installations, and even a record sale. It’s not for the faint of heart or the weak of feet, but it is an exhilarating, if exhausting, event.
By Brendan Ross
June 17, 2015
It was about a year ago that Jacco Gardner’s debut album Cabinet of Curiosities was introduced to me. I was immediately seduced by its sunny psychedelic melodies, which invoked the 1960s chamber pop style of Syd Barrett, The Zombies, and Love, to name a few. Not the most groundbreakingly original album, no, but it resonated with me instantly and I fell in love. “Clear The Air” very quickly became my 2014 song of the summer.
By Tyler Hodg
The great thing about debut albums is that they can leave preconceived expectations wide open, especially when the style of music is ambient. So what is Ancient Ocean’s Blood Moon? Simply put, it is a collection of fully realized songs, begging for a listener to experience its gravity. It’s quite easy for this type of music to fly under the radar, considering it’s not exactly the most mainstream concoction, but allowing Blood Moon to take over your time and consciousness will be an undoubtedly satisfactory expedition.
Chicago-based Numero Group wants to fill your summer with eclectic songs you’ve never heard: songs to watch submarine races by, songs to fill your tear ducts, songs to catch that first kiss on the dance floor, songs that make you need to get up and shake that thing. Their latest carefully curated reissue is a 28-track collection by San Antonio’s the Royal Jesters. Active in the 1960s and ‘70s, the Royal Jesters never had that big breakthrough hit, but their marriage of doo wop harmonies and mariachi horn sensibilities, as well as some fine, sometimes wildly experimental organ playing makes this compilation, Royal Jesters: English Oldies, well worth a listen.
On the new album from Athens, Georgia’s T. Hardy Morris—Hardy & The Hardknocks: Drownin’ On A Mountaintop—Morris makes a music that is the logical marriage of country and grunge. Imagine Nirvana had a pedal steel guitar; imagine Mike McCready played with the Buckaroos. It works, and it works incredibly well.
By Tim Murr
I find it hard to believe that there once existed a band that featured guest appearances from James Williamson (The Stooges) and a young Randy Rhoads (Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne) that I’ve never heard of and you probably haven’t, either. But it’s true! The band is called Smokey.
Here’s the short version: Failure’s The Heart is a Monster is a strong contender for Album of the Year. The space-rock pioneers have come back with an incredibly strong, seamlessly cohesive record that shoots almost everything else released so far this year right out of the airlock.
If we Americans have learned anything over the last 20 years, it’s that Australia is hell on earth. Spiders bigger than your face, jellyfish that can kill you from ten miles away, sharks, Yahoo Serious. . . it’s the kind of place we should really nuke from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.
At its dark little heart, the 1978 Australian film Long Weekend is about hell, and the different ways that concept can manifest itself into reality.
The record collection of The Cramps’ Lux Interior and Poison Ivy was massive and eclectic, as well documented on the Internet, the truest of all informational sources. In 2013, Cherry Red Records released Loose Lips Might Sink Ships (review), a 26-track album of instrumentals from their collection, and now, a follow-up has arrived: 60 Songs From The Cramps’ Crazy Collection: The Incredibly Strange Music Box. It’s the kind of riff-filled, oddly charming, mish mash of things that one would expect and hope for. There’s exotica, rockabilly, novelty singles, and a curious preoccupation with voodoo and fancy words (“Ginchy” “Groovy” and “Limbo”!). It’s enormously fun.