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Friday, December 9, 2016

GIVEAWAY: Win 2 Tickets to see QUIET HOLLERS at the Hollerday Yule Tide Food Drive 12/16!


Here's your chance to win a pair of tickets to see Quiet Hollers at Headliners! The show is scheduled to happen this Friday, December 16th and joining them on the bill are Sun Seeker and Shadowpact (go here for more information on the show). Tickets to this event cost $10 each, but wouldn't it be nice to pay zero dollars for two passes? No duh, of course it would!!!

Here's how you get these tickets: Fill out the Rafflecopter form below that offers a few different ways to help increase your chance at winning, all having to do with you helping us out a bit on social media. Winners will be announced shortly after the contest closes (12/20 Tuesday morning), and will be added to the guest list. I promise this is easy. I double promise, so just fill this out and hit submit then we'll take it from there.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Canned Goods and Non-Perishables Encouraged At The Door

LISTEN: novemberGroup - novemberGroup Performs 'In C' by Terry Riley

Every year the novemberGroup, a loose confederate of players from around town, converge for an annual performance of Terry Riley's classic In C. As you may imagine, the piece rotates around one central motif and features a percussive repetition that is almost immediately comforting. Spearheaded by JC Denison of auralgamiSOUNDS, the ensemble features a who's who of talent, all of which bring their A game to In C ("C" what I did there?). Immediate comparisons go to Steve Reich and Philly G, but there is certainly a precedent in what Riley did that lead to minimalism filtering to punk and indie. You can hear it in bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor for example, but I hear it all the same in bands like Rodan or Battles, both of which offer slow evolutions that often center around percussion. 

You can peep the roster at the link above and zone out to some boss Riley jams below. Snuggle up to this and get free.

LISTEN: Free Electronic Association of Louisville - 102916 / 110916

The good folks involved with the Free Electronic Association of Louisville want to take you on a little trip, and it's not to Hoogie Boogie Land. An all synth improv troupe, the project seems intent at recontextualizing music as something more to be experienced than exclusively listened to. That may seem like a weird statement given the very nature of recording in general, which is ostensibly meant to capture some snapshot in time with sound. But a deeper listen yields a cautious hand at work here. This is true improv and as such has no direct use for conventional structures or compositions.

You won't find many anchors here. The opening track, 102916, is as alien as the track title, ostensibly the date of its inception. The music is a pastiche of various synthetic noises, part and parcel to the group's central thesis of electronic music only; acoustic instrumentation has ample representation in the world as it is. The second track, 110916, is a bit more playful in some ways. That there are moments of complete silence left as is on the recording should tell you that the ensemble are completely comfortable with their direction, and that the absence of sound is just as remarkable as any noise rendered. The track finishes with a groove, the only of it's sort in the approximately 20 minute run time, reminiscent of early Autechre or Plaid, Warp acts that do or have specialized in minimalist techno.

Listen below, but imagine being in the room for the full experience, eyes closed and ears open, low synth pulses and beeps all around you.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

REVIEW: Ben Helm & The Gel Wells - Ben Helm EP


Ben Helm & The Gel Wells
Ben Help EP

My background with Ben Helm is limited to a brief conversation we shared some months ago. My primary take away from that rather hectic time, a reflection of my experience and not our interaction, is that the Ben Helm EP is not only the debut release from the titular Helm, but his first project altogether. I cannot at the time of this writing qualify the veracity of that statement (and refuse to contribute to our post-fact culture), so this may be an apocryphal story, but supposing the accuracy of my memory this is a remarkable feat. For a debut record, this is smooth as silk.

Helm knows what he's doing. Opener On the Mend is a shining example of his pop charm, of the sort that pays homage to The Replacements, R.E.M., or Superchunk. The riffs are chunky, but not necessarily huge, with chiming guitars and crooned vocals that has an almost airy quality to it, albeit a bit more direct than that may imply. The harmonica work on Someday and Lonesome Spell is a nice touch that adds a southern quality to the music, although I'm not quite sure how or why it feels that way. Still, it's exemplary of the good ear that Helm has for realizing his vision, for a fantastic guitar sound, to a crystal clear and incredibly lush recording. This is a dutifully realized, regardless of whether this is his first or twentieth record, and it shows in the music. 

Tracks like Partner in Crime and closer We Can Work This Out somehow balance a pensive nature with upbeat melodies, the kind of thing that you could imagine folks singing along to in the shower or on a long ride. In fact, this is particularly sunny music and the kind of thing that makes you want to just coast while you're listening to it, an album that you put on while you're getting things done, because it empowers you to get motivated. From a musicians standpoint, this is the kind of thing that makes me want to play my guitar at loud volumes, not necessarily to rage, but just to enjoy a nice full toned tube amp, which is to my ears always welcome.

You can listen to it below, while you're waiting for a proper full length. Get into it. For fans of Hüsker Dü or even a little like Weezer. So heavy on the power and the pop, but never overwhelming. 

LISTEN: Parker - White Tapes Vol. 1


It's criminal that this release is as short as it is. There has to be some math equation out there that balances talent with available content, or you may think prior to checking out Kid Rock's back catalogue and then crying in the dark that that crustacioed nutsack "made it big" by any such standards. But have no fear, because Parker is here to save you from that existential crisis, even if it is too little (but not too late). A three song collection of instrumental hip-hop songs, Parker channels acts like Boards of Canada or Clams Casino for something super smooth.

You could imagine this easily on a set with local contemporaries like Sarboza or TinyForest, and it's encouraging to realize just how rich our scene is in terms of talent. The music here seems largely composed with a hip-hop audience in mind, but it could just as easily pivot to other electronic forms of music. Most of this seems to avoid overt sampling, except for the last track, which perverts a vocal sample in an entirely satisfactory way, proving again the value of non-traditional music forms (i.e. not just made with guitars and shit).

Listen below and dig it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

REVIEW: auralgamiSOUNDS presents - "dropped in CROPPED OUT"


auralgamiSOUNDS presents
dropped in CROPPED OUT

Late September saw the arrival of both the most recent installment in the Cropped Out festivals, written as such due to their intermittent nature in the past, and my son. I don't want to spoil to much, but I'll leave it up to you which one took precedence here, although please note that you'll find a clue by way of the fact that I'm only just now writing about what I consider to be a pretty significant comp a little more than two months later. You know, sleep and dirty diapers are taking a decent chunk of my time at the moment.

I'm on about all of this because of the quietly released auralgamiSOUNDS comp that corresponded with the festival, featuring three of their bands with two songs each. Cereal Glyphs open the tape up with a barnburner of a tune, and one that kind of sneaks up on you with a chilled out, almost Jimmy Page like intro that makes way for some Ty Segall like garage punk fury. They cement their already excellent reputation with Dynamite Fit, their second inclusion here, and one that comes with a punch. 

Second to hit your ears on here is a track by The Pleasure Boys, bittersweet as a representative of the last recording of Greg Bryant. First up of their offerings is the heavy groove of A Game of Chess. I can't think of an easy comparison here for the band, but it offers a glimpse into where the band were going with Bryant in tow, making it all that much more sour. The vocals have a quiet charm, almost like a choral kind of gang vocal sense, but not quiet. It's not really so much sing along material, as it is just haunting, and the song is stronger off for it. 

Their second track closes out the comp, the quiet Sister Sister. Joined here by Lacey Guthrie from the always excellent Twin Limb, the band illustrate that same cleverness as before, on a track that seems to grow and shift organically. It's an excellent track and a beautiful send off to a talent lost way before his time. 

Last of the three to appear is the noise pirates in Insect Policy, who create a gleefully heinous kind of destruction in their wake. It's really hard to get a read on where they will go or what they will do. First of the batch is the short Thule, which is in and out before you even know what happened. What begins in a cacophony of noise ends up as a post-punk table flipper. Their follow up, the presumably (I listened to this on Bandcamp) opener Swarm, takes a similar approach, if only that it has a noise improv lead into something a bit more structured, but no less destructive in its insanity; it's perfectly acceptable to wonder what the hell just happened after listening to any of their stuff, but that's part of the magic. 

I wouldn't call this comp entirely representative of the auralgamiSOUNDS roster, although it is certainly a great intersection of their louder acts with the sort of curated madness of Cropped Out. As such, this excels at making Louisville an integral part of that scene, however you may define it, which I submit is an absolutely wonderful thing. We're a bunch of weirdos blasting noise into the cosmos and we all seem to be just fine doing our own thing. 

Listen below and worship the noise gods like the rest of us heathens.

Monday, December 5, 2016

SALE: Andrew Rinehart is pretty much just giving it away!

I have to admit, I was tempted to write "Nothing/Everything must go" as my title. But Andrew Rinehart cuts a rather serious tone with his music, whether that's serious and somber, or poppy and wistful, which I'd rather not undermine with my pithiness. That's the measure of an artist, not in discouragement, but in affecting how it is that you see the world, even if it is just their art and the impact it has on the community. Rinehart put a lot of love and attention into Nothing/Everything and to see him giving tracks away for free or at an extreme premium is a discredit to the art made therein; this is good stuff reminiscent of Neil Young or Leonard Cohen, as filtered through the most baroque of indie pop trappings.

It's a nice mix that makes for a rewarding listen, and you can treat yourself or someone you like with his 2015 masterpiece. The music is lush, focusing on world building through texture balanced against a care for pop craft. It's a solid listen and one that will fill in the gaps while we await his impending 2017 releases. You can snag it on Soundcloud, on Bandcamp, and you can listen below. And I encourage everyone to think about the cost of art and what it's worth really to the listener.

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