Feature: Rediscover “The For Carnation”

“Now when I fall to earth, I hear applause/ I love to hear applause,” Brian McMahan sings, suggesting various readings, on “Emp. Man’s Blues,” the slack-jawed bass and brushed snare lulled and sleepy-eyed behind him. “I am the new gods/ You’ve seen my face around the block/ But now I’m here/ My time has come.”…

Review: Matmos – “The Consuming Flame: Open Exercises In Group Form”

Back in October 1939, storied British Prime Minister Winston Churchill offered comments on a BBC radio broadcast, in which he attempted to unwrap the Russian political motivations in the face of Germany’s bluster and war machinery. “It is riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma,” Churchill said. “But perhaps there is a key.” In Churchill’s case,…

Review: Jim O’Rourke – “Shutting Down Here”

Jim O’Rourke fired off “Cede” 20- or 25-odd years ago as a salvo in the battles within his alien landscape of a musical mind. Shutting Down Here, then, is a punctuation. The new composition, out 14 August, was put to tape in sessions spanning decades at the Groupe de Recherches Musicales, or GRM, in Paris –…

Review: WiiRMZ – “Faster Cheaper”

The joyfully bombastic quartet WiiRMZ hail from the same city that defined (and arguably invented) post-rock in the 1990s with bands such as Slint and Rodan. And they also come from the state that gave America two well-known right-wing windbags: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Tea Party-backed Governor Matt Bevin. But on their sometimes-too-good-to-be-true debut LP, Faster…

Top 50 Records of 2020, So Far (Spectrum Culture)

David Grubbs & Taku Unami – Comet Meta [Blue Chopsticks] The record begins in unassuming territory, two undistorted electric guitars unfurling jumbled yet glassy, complementary yet dissonant post-rock measures that resemble rivers floating suspended in the air, sentiments that are both fully formed and feathery-light. Two minutes into the title track of Comet Meta, though, you…

Review: David Grubbs/Taku Unami – “Comet Meta”

In “Heart of the Thrumming House”, the fourth track off the new David Grubbs and Taku Unami collaboration, Comet Meta, listeners can be forgiven for feeling the surroundings are a little familiar, that peculiar déjà vu of sensing that they’ve been here before. There are Grubbs’ fragile and sparse, borderline-nonexistent guitar figures, and Unami unleashes undulating waves…

Review: Monotrope – “Immutable Future”

Monotrope’s new record is a wondrously dense thatch of black thorns and I love it for that. In case you’re just joining the show, the quartet, which should be storied by now, features a Touch and Go Records alumnus (who also happens to play in Bellini), a Pittsburgher and two members of Unraze. And, if…

Review: Expires – “No New Futures”

Last year’s Fake Sigils was an engaging slice of glassy post-rock but Pittsburgher Mike Layton’s latest outing as Expires — titled No New Futures, and out Tuesday — has a new target altogether: the acoustic guitar. The unamplified approach does wonders for the six-stringer, lending his melancholy figures and descents shades both of David Grubbs…

Review: Noemienours – “As A Beare Doth Her Whelps”

The German guitar-composer Noemie Dal on Sept. 10 will release her third outing, a Bob Weston-mastered LP and digital release via Bandcamp, under the sobriquet Noemienours, titled As A Beare Doth Her Whelps. It’s a continuation, in some form, of the ursus-themed records she’s been releasing for the past two or three years, and the…

Review: Hontatedori – “Konata Kanata”

If the vitriol and raw energy of punk rock is like a fever dream, then the Tokyo trio Hontatedori — which premiered its U.S. debut, Konata Kanata, two days ago via David Grubb’s Blue Chopsticks imprint – is a wonderful antithesis: absinthe-soaked, doe-eyed, dreamy, and lined with enough crystalline guitars to fill the lonely sea….