Review: Dylan Carlson – “Conquistador”

I know it’s utterly blasphemous to suggest in underground circles, but my first point of entry when listening to Dylan Carlson’s new “Conquistador,” the title track to a series of brain-melting epics for distorted guitar, was not Herzog’s Aguirre but Neil Young. Not the commercial Young, mind you, or he of the Crosby, Stills &…

Review: Grouper – “Grid of Points”

Grouper’s new LP – Grid of Points, out tomorrow via Kranky – is no Ruins, but its sparse pairing of multifaceted, ghostly voices with borderline-skeletal piano is nonetheless pretty engaging. Working, surprisingly, from a palette that’s more stripped down and gray than that aforementioned 2014 gem, solo performer Liz Harris taps into a well of…

Review: Rob Ford Explorer – S/T

Just wow. The new self-titled LP from Reno’s Rob Ford Explorer, out earlier this month, is a potent gem, a heady amalgamation of jazz fluidity and math-rock specificity, and a roar-from-the-rooftops collection on par with some of the best you’d hear from similar outfits like Hella or American Don-era Don Caballero. This pair is the…

Review: Saleeha – “Come Wander Through The Pale Dark”

As Saleeha, the Australian-born, Vancouver-based Max Buchanan makes meditative, slowly unfurling soundscapes that, surprisingly enough, do not echo or mime fellow Vancouver-based ambient artist Loscil. I say surprisingly because, as ambient music goes, the five tracks on Saleeha’s new Come Wander Through The Pale Dark have a similar mission to Loscil: namely, painting narratives with…

Review: Melvins – “Pinkus Abortion Technician”

Ugh. The new Melvins record, I am sad to report, dear reader, is a bit of a trainwreck. It’s not that Pinkus Abortion Technician, out Friday on Ipecac, lacks ideas. For the first time, the band appears with two bassists and, while the concept is interesting – “It could be an acid-trip metal version of Tortoise!”…

Review: Same – “Is Midnight”

Pittsburgh alt/indie quartet Same has released the digital-only single “Is Midnight” and the surprising thing about it isn’t its glassy-eyed beauty, but how different it sounds from the more driving refrains of a song like the band’s “Camp Vacation,” which opened 2016’s excellent Weird As Hell EP. The new track, available on Bandcamp, is pure…

Review: Randall Holt – “Inside The Kingdom of Splendor and Madness”

The cello weeps and sows and soars, and so it goes with Randall Holt and his Inside The Kingdom of Splendor and Madness, which gets the CD/cassette re-release treatment April 20 from Self Sabotage Records. Holt, an accomplished cellist, traffics in the kind of moody, cinematic, classical soundscapes that oft define Godspeed You! Black Emperor, which…

Review: Nonagon – “Tuck The Long Tail Under”

Nonagon sound positively, well, positive on “Tuck The Long Tail Under,” its offering from a new split seven-inch with Cincinnati’s Knife The Symphony out on Phratry and Controlled Burn Records. That’s not to say the trio’s gone all doughy or doe-eyed on its first vinyl outing since 2013’s excellent The Last Hydronaut. The closing third…

Review: Big Weather – “The Lightest Darkness”

Well, turns out climate change – for those rational people who agree with the science behind it – might not be all bad, after all. Big Weather, the latest effort from musician/composer/drummer Ryan Rumery, posits itself as an experiental response to “ever-intensifying natural phenomena.” The Colorado-based outfit’s new record, The Lightest Darkness, is an interesting point…

Video Premiere: The Bipeds – “Dressful of Dreams”

Antique-garde aficionados, take note: The Bipeds has arrived. The Bipeds is a dance-theater company/rock and roll band under the artistic direction of choreographer/dancer Stacy Wolfson and Curtis Eller, the banjo-playing madman at the head of the American Circus. Wolfson and Eller combine the best of both disciplines, blending movement and song in an intoxicating hybrid for the senses. The…