Los Angeles’ own Tim Presley serves up some warm fuzzy feelings in his most recent venture through psychedelia, “Cyclops Reap,” preparing us for another nostalgic, truth-ridden summer. Each song features a classically simple voice and guitar, but is laden with colorful and trippy tics. Think Syd Barrett having a good day. The heavy 60s influence on the album signals that Tim is doing the same sort of revisionist work as Ariel Pink and Tame Impala. The whole album alternates between soft and sharp tones with “Beat” showcasing the tremolo-ridden underwater talking effect. It can get a BIT flat, a TAD one-note, but Presley’s moniker delivers a nasaly, California surf reminiscence along with blatant punk influence, where simplicity and amp feedback are appreciated. I would check out Chairs In The Dark since it’s a suitable hook for the album, but if you want something to BLOW YOUR MIND go straight for Pink Gorilla. It’s difficult to distinguish what the dude is actually saying, but it leaves your brain spinning in a buzz of paisley swirls. Ya dig? -ARIELLA Recommended Tracks: “Pink Gorilla”, “Chairs in the Dark”, “Live on Genevieve”
If you haven’t yet familiarized yourself with Nathan Williams and his brainchild Wavves, well… you’re missing out, but you should also consider yourself lucky to make his acquaintance on his most mature work of ambient garage punk to date. Williams is sort of a mellowed out Jay Reatard (think booze instead of coke), and lo and behold! Reatard’s backing band has served intermittently on the Wavves roster. On Afraid of Heights we hear an evolution of William’s musicianship from jangly riffs and nasally vocals to a more serious, grunge-like tone. Critics compare it to Nirvana’s Nevermind, but what do they know. I hear old Weezer and Pixies. With persistent themes of death and dying throughout the record, one might find cause for concern except that the tunes are so darn jolly. Even when Williams sings about holding a gun to his head, it sounds like nothing but good times. “Everything is My Fault” and “I Can’t Dream” are definite departures in style (spacy, swirling backing vocals), and somewhere in there I hear sleighbells, could just be me… -SHILL Recommended Tracks: “Afraid of Heights” (having watched this video I rescind my statement about there being no cause for concern), “Demon to Lean On”, “Gimme a Knife”
For about the last 10 years, John Dwyer has made his voice play the sharp edge to Thee Oh Sees. Dwyer’s fast, high pitch growls sharpen out the group’s tracks, his vocals almost dictate the energy felt from a high-speed car chase or a giant group of people uncontrollably dancing. Floating Coffin still stands up to the past Oh Sees albums, as it is as joyously energetic as it is abrasive. The tracks remain completely true to Thee Oh Sees sound: a mix of psych-pop, loud rock, and surf (-esque) music on speed. “I Come From The Mountain” instantly becomes a fast-paced whirlwind of guitars and howls from Dwyer. The “fuzz” completely breaks through in “Toe Cutter – Thumb Buster,” so thick, so heavy so crunchy, ughhhhh – YES. “Toe Cutter – Thumb Buster” counteracts with fuzz with Dwyer’s high vocals, howls, and reverb-y vocals. Floating Coffin translates the group’s unquantifiable sonic energy into the album. -JH
Recommended Tracks: “Toe Cutter - Thumb Buster”, “I Come from the Mountain”, “Night Crawler”
Mala, Banhart’s latest contribution, is a work that finds the artist treading new territory yet continuing to display his mastery in the art of storytelling. It is an album filled with simple melodies that slowly unravel to reveal a subtle inner complexity. In many ways, it is a beautifully written anti-love album, offering songs depicting hopeless relationships and indifferent romantic partners. One song entitled “Your Fine Petting Duck” finds Banhart singing to an ex-love interest, “If he treats you bad, please remember how much worse I treated you.” Yet these songs exhibit a certain charm only Banhart is capable of communicating. It’s an album that compels you to lose yourself in the grips of a pleasant nostalgia; an urge you likely won’t resist. It’s hard to say whether this is a return to form or a new start for Banhart, but either way it’s an album that certainly brings him back into the conversation. Some of my personal favorite songs include Track 4, Track 5, Track 6, and track 14, but it’s definitely an album I would listen to from beginning to end. -ALBERT
Recommended Tracks: “Mi Negrita”, “Never Seen Such Good Things”, “Your Fine Petting Duck”
FUN FACT: In a recent interview, Banhart was asked what inspired him to write. He replied that when he was young, he came across his cousin who could not come out and play with him because he was busy writing. When he went over to see what his cousin was writing he read, “Today they cut my nails. We shall see when they grow back.” It was the first time he had ever read something so poetic and it changed the way he thought about writing forever.
Featuring THE LOVELY BAD THINGS & DIRT DRESS
La Mirada’s The Lovely Bad Things sound exactly as their name might suggest. These tunes are drenched in mud and reek of cigarette smoke, but these infectious melodies sound so immaculate that even your local Catholic priest secretly bought a copy of their latest EP, Fried Eyes, off their Bandcamp. Do you really want to be behind your priest on the latest garage rock?
If The Lovely Bad Things mastered the 60s garage-rock harmony, then Dirt Dress perfected the genre’s bluesy chords. After hearing this band, every Western film you have ever watched seems incomplete without this band’s raw riffs soundtracking when the Bad Guy strolls into town. We can smell the beer-soaked wood covering the local saloon from here!
Besides, Valentine’s Day is just a holiday invented by the greeting card industry, or something.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15TH || 9PM || TOMMY’S PLACE || FREE
The Lovely Bad Things
If you’re NOT a USC student and plan on getting to campus after 9PM, get a friend at USC to register you as a guest at https://visitor.usc.edu/to make sure you can get past security! If you’ll be on campus before 9PM, registration is not necessary.
Kevin of White Noise likes music. This is the music he liked this semester.
1. Robert Hood- Motor Nighttime World 3
2. Andy Stott- Luxury Problems
3. Flying Lotus- Until the Quiet Comes
4. Delicate Steve- Positive Force
5. Willis Earl Beal-Acousmatic Sorcery