Thursday, June 27, 2019

Bandcamp Blitz - June 27th, 2019

Summer is officially here. The weather is hot and muggy. Just the way I like it. Another Blitz, right to the point.

Fat White Family - Serf's Up
(Nasty electro-pop with emphasis on the nasty. Go ahead. Shine a black light on this album.There's going to be more stains that you can count. Classy.)

Shifting Sands - Crystal Cuts 
(Psychy alt-country from Australia. At this point, I'm sure NOBODY will be surprised that I post something psychy alt-country from Australia. Seems to be the place to make that happen. A real sleepy feel to the whole thing, but keeps the pace well enough to keep you awake. Diggin' it.)

The Crawling Eye - No Short Stays
(Alt rock with a touch of Americana and psych pop. NO mind-blowing proggy riffs, no cosmos-bending sweeps... just four good tunes.)

Camionero - Confianza en ti solo
(Argentina's best-kept secret rolls forth with another selection of killer Southern/Stoner Rock-styled tunes. Every album they make is a total gem. These guys need to be known the world over. Ready? And... go!)

Children Of The Sün - Flowers 
(Wowee! Fine 60s/70s classic rock, straight from the tap. One tune here on Bandcamp, but trust me: This is album is gold. Plenty of hard licks and tasty tricks, lots of good times and unwinds, tons of heavy rocks, lovely locks, and tasty vox. Ya dig?)

The Hong Kong Sleepover - Butcher & Bolt
(I heard that some people, when they receive some kind of head trauma, come out of a coma or shock with new areas of their brains awakened... like, now they know how to play the piano or see the world in geometric patterns. Maybe if I listen to this album enough, I could actually be good at math.. but it seems like I would likely wind up knowing exact details of the history of samurai swords and nail bats. Does this band rule? You betcha. Get a snootful of this shit and you'll be clear as day, ready to throw down.)

Friday, June 21, 2019

Strippers In Love CDs & Cassettes Are Coming!

Hey all. Strippers In Love CDs and cassettes are almost here. It won't be long now, as we're getting word to prepare for arrival. I put up some pre-orders, all quiet-like. Jump on over to the Nerve Salad Records Bandcamp page and claim one before they get here, or you can wait until these are in our mitts.
When Nerve Salad decided to take this on, it was just an idea. The idea has turned into an adventure. Nerve Salad Records sprung from nothing, literally. Just a trickle... the trickle has turned into a flow.
Strippers In Love are not exactly a band anymore. The members each have their own things happening. The whole notion of releasing an album from a band that is on hiatus-until-further-notice is risky. I stand behind this band, and the members. What they created was something special.
I listen to A LOT of music. I do this so you don't have to. Nerve Salad is work.. a lot of it. I listen to hundreds of albums a year (countless), and when something comes around that really gets its claws in me, it's natural that I pursue it in any way that I can.
Strippers In Love - I Am What I'm Becoming is a special album. Production, writing, arrangement, playing, and overall feel... everything is unusual, creative, notably distinct and unique. Not stoner rock, not psych rock, not doom... But yeah.. all of that, too. The fact that the band never had a physical release just made my stomach churn. I wanted to release this on vinyl.. a fancy 2xLP. But, in the end, I'm still just Nerve Salad, and if I'm going to do this, I guess I have to start somewhere. CDs and cassettes, it is! Each one will be SUPER limited (tapes, especially). Digipak CDs will have ALL NEW artwork, liner notes, and an awesome 12-page booklet.
Cassettes will be ULTRA limited Truck Stop versions, very purple, very tape-y.
Many of you have shown interest in this whole thing, so I thank you for that. A brief moment in Nerve Salad life shared with the rest of you. This is pretty cool, friends.
Stay tuned... or hop on over to the Nerve Salad Bandcamp page and pre-order a tape or a CD. Or just hang out!

Thanks, all!
We'll hopefully do more stuff in the future!

- Andy & Tracy
(Nerve Salad Records)

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Bandcamp Blitz - June 15th, 2019

Many things happening all at once at Nerve Salad HQ. Almost too busy to think. Resting an injury, messing with CD production work. Strippers In Love CDs and cassettes ARE being manufactured and are on the way. I had no idea it would be so much work. Straight to the Blitz! Other news to follow soon!


Frank Hurricane and Hurricanes Of Love - Life Is Spiritual
(A classy release. Backwaters, back roads, back woods, back doors, and backtalk. The joke is on you, America... laugh and cry, celebrate and pule. Swampy biographies, when all's said and done, makes for moments of enlightened astonishment. Americana/blues as told from a mud puddle in a truck stop parking lot.)

Groovy Movies - Psychedelic Barbershop
(CA's Groovy Movies return with full force. '60s psych, nostalgic smacks. You just have to listen to this whole album in order to appreciate what's going on here. Literally pokes at every psych-y, California-soundy, beachcomby, oldies feels... very far out, man...)

Ian Blurton - Signals Through The Flames
(Let's not joke around here... this is really good. Public Animal's Ian Blurton fucking RULES. RULES!!! Heavy metal riffs never made me feel so awesome. Summertime metal that will meet ALL of your hard rocking, thrashing, threshing, road tripping, rock climbing, woods meandering, fish catching needs. Well, MY needs anyway. Don't even fuck around... just get this. Vinyl options soon & I'm on it.)

Flesh Of The Stars - Mercy
(I've raved about this band in the past, so it's only fair that I jump in for their newest stuff. Once they get their doomy hooks into you, you're done for. Chicago brings the fine atmospheric stoner doom in the form of Flesh Of The Stars. Behold.)

Weyes Blood - Titanic Rising
(A weird one, this. Sub Pop brings yet another band I can't describe. Folky, soundtrack-y, wistful/playful/grandiose. Chamber folk music with a layer of very colorful, sparkly mold on top.)

Shrug - Easy Is The New Hard
(Awesome Americana with a dibbly dabbly of glammy slammy. Your C-minus students mosey around the city and, smelling like cigs and Pabst, re-create their lives in song. Trucker caps and sleeveless flannels are not included. This album will likely be around me for a while. Good stuff, Maynard.)

Friday, June 7, 2019

Sugarfoot - In The Clearing

What kind of world would this be if I didn't have things to say about something Sugarfoot does?

Make NO mistake. This IS my favorite band. I mean.. it's not some freakin' secret. This is just the way it is.

I've been following the works of Øyvind Holm, Hogne Galåen, and friends since before the Sugarfoot days. I had no idea about Sugarfoot when they first emerged, but I certainly knew of their past works in other bands. For me, following the Norwegian scene since the early '90s has been a remarkably good idea.

I had Deleted Waveform Gatherings songs stuck in my head long before the days of me freaking out over this incarnation of musical minds.
I had heard a few tunes come along that really impressed me: "My Friend", and "Do It Again" from Big Sky Country.. I was interested... 

When Sugarfoot came along with a single called "Tiger Rider", I jumped up and said: "Hey!!! I KNOW this tune!" It was once a DWG song, and was reworked into a Sugarfoot tune.. made even better. Thenceforth, I kind of figured I was going to keep checking these guys out. That whole album blindsided me. Full of power poppy goodness, Paisley Underground influences, topped off with twangy alt-country and lively Americana, smothered in a light sauce of psych rock and '70s prog. 

Along came The Santa Ana in 2017... I lost it. A total masterpiece.. made my entire universe flip upside down... Made me write a manic review... 
Made #1 my Best Of The Year List.
That album is among the best albums I have ever heard. And there it stays.

I've been so impressed with this band, I literally could not handle it. I don't know if I've ever been such a superfan about anything. It's like, I could listen to nothing else and be okay with that.

So.. now we fast forward to 2019.. I've waited for a long time for these guys to make something new! But, actually, two years is not that long in the grand scheme of things. but for an unrelenting fan like myself, it's like a million years...

In The Clearing is many things. Not just to me, but to the entire shared universe that is Sugarfoot, I'm certain.

In The Clearing comes our way, and we're flattened down like a bunch of lazy dandelions. Swaying in the breeze, we come face to face with the juggernaut of psychedelic hues, chiaroscuros of darkness and light, and ignitions of emotion.

Nothing will stand in its way.

In The Clearing is nothing like its predecessors. Sure, it has bits and pieces that poke out here and there, a few sharp twangy branches. 
Previous efforts are all a little different than the last, and this one is absolutely no exception. 

We're looking at the difference between a single tumbleweed racing across the desert highway, or a huge, ancient oak tree falling in the woods:
Earlier on, the tumbleweed rolls along, dropping seeds, making new life with each consecutive bounce and tumble. All thirsty and carefree.
Lately, the fallen oak tree makes way for microcosms and micro-universes, biodiversity setting in, allowing a complete and total change within the original form... Mycelium takes hold, new animals find shelter. Insects create nurseries, earthworms feast, beetles sleep. Beautiful rot, the natural process. When it falls, it makes a huge sound, even if nobody is there to hear it. And, like the old trope about things falling in the woods goes, that's quite a feat. Listen carefully, friends. This album is a doorway into a world you had no idea existed.

I feel that this might be one of the band's most heartfelt and personal albums yet. Leaving the desert and finding a fixture with a different production, different mindsets, the entire album packs a wallop. Smooth branches intersecting with thorns and vines. Roots laid bare. What was once darkness on the  land glistens with morning dew. It's truly a Sugarfoot album, by all means.. but this is something "special"... where once were tumbleweeds is now a rainy morning, pastoral nods, sylvan visitations...

We're treated immediately to "Changing Time", and it speaks right away to my prog rock sensibilities.. it's like Yes jumped in for a couple of measures. Could almost hear Jon Anderson, angelically oo-ing in the background. Notably one of the few Sugarfoot songs to have multiple instrumental solos happening. It's really breathtaking. Scrupulously-crafted key modulations, fun vocal effects, and keyboard/organ jumping out from every which way. The whole thing keeps going until it runs out of breath, and still fires on. Existential questions of the inner spirit versus the perceived spiritual world... a matter of the heart and the abstract mind. I was listening to this casually, and a friend came in and said: "Is this Grateful Dead?", at which point I laughed a lot. But there IS that. The horns, and the riff simply spells it out. Interpreting it is up to the listener.

"Cotton Candy Clouds" rolls in with a lullaby, flowing ever so slightly, ever so softy. Calling forth the feelings of a simple love, a simple day, and a simple wish. Pedal steel shines through the darkening clouds like a shimmering beam of light.

"In The Clearing" is one of those songs that has to FELT to be believed. Trust me when I tell you that this tune is an adventure. I know I use that word often: "Adventure". But, in this case, prepare yourself to go traversing through the universes inside a spaceship designed for the smoothest ride through the cosmos ever. No need to strap in for this one. Just grab on.

"Ladybug Fly" dreams of a better life.. this tune is a slight departure from what we have already experienced on the album, and is literally an interlude that allows breathing room in between surges. In a strange sense, this sounds slightly like a "metaphorical biography". I get the sense that much of this album is in the same vein. We're talking about somebody's somebody, in light of all the good and bad that they've seen, tracking down the keys to a better way.

"Just A Dream Away" has a little fun with the graduates of hard knocks university, forces in life you simply can't deny, even calls out the spirit of ex-Clash voxman. Do I hear a Partridge chirping? That uplifting piano melody brings me back... some playful innocence in there.. the future is now, and it ain't so "wow".

"The House On The Hill".. now hold up a sec... first of all, coming in sounding like a Motorpsycho leftover, all groovy and alt-y, all slide-y and sneaky. But then these lyrics.. anybody else have kids "grown up-ish"? This is about being a parent.. At first, I thought this was about a relationship, but it turns out that it is... just a different kind. The chorus, to me, sounds like a re-wording of our classic parenting phrase: "I brought you into this world, and I can take you out of it." If you ever have any kids that actually make it past being a teenager (if we don't kill them first. HA!), then this song is perfect. I'm sure most of us can relate.

"Pretty Miss Darkness".. so nice. This one kind of puts me in the frame of mind as if this is a spiritual sequel to "Owe Them Nothin" and "Dolphins Hotel". Somebody that clings to your mind and heart, and takes hold of your life in a such way that they're a veneer over your everyday goings on. Another song I can hear Colin Moulding's voice over top of. Not that Holm doesn't belong.. quite the contrary. I just hear some serious XTC in parts of this album, and it shows up from time to time more so than others. (Which is reflected in the album artwork, as well, as the packaging was done by an artist responsible for the aforementioned band's past works)

"Original Sin" calls from all influences, and lays them out bareroot and prunes them into shape. Each branch is grafted onto another tree, existing solely to re-create the tree entirely. It's the most "Sugarfooty" tune of them all.

Included in the vinyl package is a 7" with two extra tracks, both of which are superb add-ons to the whole album.

"Another Tinfoil Morning" is a look into the weirdness of laughable conspiracy theorists, whackjobs, nutcases, crackpots, kooks, oddballs, and those whose cheese has slipped off their cracker. And other ex-GF stuff. 

When you get glitter on you, it stays forever. "Valentine" is glittery. It sparkles and glows with the best of intentions. Often the best of intentions are met with dissent. If you can't love with simply love, what's the point? Love simply, be satisfied. Cheer up. This song is like the Buckingham/Nicks, Dave Gregory, Moulding, and Partridge Megabomb. The main theme clings to you like stickerbushes.  

In The Clearing is easily a highly-cultivated work, showing each and every petal, every leaf, every twig, every nut, and every fruit. I have listened to it more than 40 times already. Day after day, hour after hour, I fill it with Sugarfoot's music.
 I know.. coming from me, this is an easy task, listening to Sugarfoot. When a band comes around that defies your own logic, it's easy to have them be the biggest part of everything you do. Now.. that being said, I have a CD changer in the car. It's FULL of Sugarfoot now. Every new album that plays is another Sugarfoot album, and I find that to be the most inspiring thing ever. All I want to do is drive places so I can listen to every album in a row, over and over again. 

I live in the USA. I suppose I don't mind. I've got some family in Norway. A bunch of 'em I don't know, never met, or have not spoken to in years. I've thought about going across the pond a time or two. It's something that I'll likely do before I die, anyway. But, when that moment comes along, there had better be a Sugarfoot show happening... I might even plan an entire trip around a single show. Let's do this.

Sugarfoot - In The Clearing. Staying firmly #1 in my Best Of The Year List, and the year's not even over.

Purchase Here

Experience Here

 - Andy Benson