Profile: Radon Chong (2020)

Radon Chong swears up and down that it’s not a – patent pending – Thinking Man’s Band, despite lots of mounting evidence to the contrary. “I think people take Radon Chong seriously,” said Sasha Weisfeld, the band’s frontman, a healthcare worker “on Sabbatical” who came to Pittsburgh and fell into the band’s ranks by way…

Review: David Grubbs – “October 19, 2017”

6 April 2020, “The Quarantine Concerts”: This is the first time I remember hearing David Grubbs like this, and I was unmoored by the presentation and the humble kind of luminosity to it all. Grubbs doesn’t break his poker face or fully tip his hand and foreshadow the content of the proceedings that night. But the video…

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: Bibio – Sleep on the Wing

The closing and 10th track off Bibio’s Sleep on the Wing, “Watching Thus, The Heron Is All Pool”, is arguably the new record’s finest moment. Like some of the tracks on Ribbons, from 2019, the song wraps itself in the adornments of mid-20th century British folk – the acoustic guitar and accompanying strings do magical little flights…

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: 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…

Justin Vellucci’s Year-Ending Top Ten: 2017 Edition

Yeah, yeah, putting the final nail in the coffin of 2017 is a little premature, seeing as there’s still more than 30 days left in the year. But, I’m the music writer compiling this list, so, here you go. It was an interesting year in underground music and, rather than present a conventional Top Ten,…

REVIEW: Matt Mehlan – “The Mehlans”

There’s electronic buzzing, post-something refrains, borderline-tribal heat, and occasional Rhodes-and-bass grooves. There’s also, however, more mutant pop bridges than you could swing a dead cat at, if that’s your idea of a good time. The Mehlans – Matt Mehlan’s first record under his birth name, though not the first record he’s recorded solo – is,…

PROFILE: David Grubbs (2017)

Five days ago, David Grubbs released one of the best records of his storied career and a real contender, especially in avant-indie circles, for Record of the Year. The LP in question? Creep Mission, a collection of eerily emotive, eerily intuitive guitar pieces punctuated with careful interjections from drums, trumpet and electronics. The whole record hangs together and…

REVIEW: David Grubbs – “Creep Mission”

It starts with the guitar and the guitar alone, amplified slightly but not distorted, its complicated figures as crystalline as frosted glass. It advances, carefully, with the occasional pitter-patter of percussion and well-placed interjections of bass, both low in the mix, letting the real star shine. Two minutes in, it climbs a scale, there’s the…