Kijinoise – Kijinoise XIV

Here’s something that caught my ears while wading through Bandcamp earlier today. Kijinoise is a Chinese musician who has been uploading projects quite prolifically since late last month, using solely a guitar to deliver a fuzzy fusion of drone, noise, progressive rock, doom, and free improvisational elements. The results haven’t been totally mind-blowing thus far, but I must say the textures of this self-titled debut are actually quite nice, almost achieving a Sunn O)))-level heaviness at points. Find this guy a label! In the meantime, I’ll just wait a few more days for another release.

Update: It appears as though all the above linked projects have been consolidated into this first one, since renamed Kijinoise XIV.

José González – “Every Age”

Stream: José González – “Every Age”

Swedish singer-songwriter José González hasn’t released a solo record since 2007′s lovely In Our Nature, but he hasn’t stayed completely silent. He has released two records with his band Junip, which are certainly worth looking into. But now he’s back on the solo path with Vestiges and Claws, and with it comes the first single, “Every Age.” González’ solo stuff has been almost completely reliant on his deft classical guitar and gentle voice, with lo-fi production. He will occasionally include little flourishes, like the stick-clicking on “It’s Time to Send Someone Away,” but it’s usually pretty spare. On “Every Age,” he more or less continues that trend, though this time his guitar feels more resonant, there’s a simple drum beat, and the production value is higher. As always, González shows off his knack for a beautiful melody, and the song feels like a nice welcoming back to his most intimate material.

Vestiges and Claws is out on Feb 17, via Mute. Stream the song above via NPR.

Real Estate – Atlas

Like usual, the new Real Estate records is an incredibly breezy jangle pop affair.

Northumbria – “Black Sea of Trees”

Black Sea of Trees 720P from Marc Forand on Vimeo.

Trees, trees, and more trees in the unnerving new music video from Toronto drone duo Northumbria. Armed with only a guitar and a bass, the act compromised of former Holocene members Jim Field and Dorian Williamson is able to pull together some truly expansive and ominous aural landscapes.

The 13-minute-long piece can also be streamed and downloaded here.

Tanner Olin Smith – T.O.S.

Tanner Olin Smith is delivering some lo-fi goodness with some groovy and strung-out guitar riffs.

Embracing a low-quality style of recording, Tanner has a discernible mood that goes along with the wall of hums and guitar hard strums that fill this tape. It has an old rock ‘n’ roll vibe to it that is comparable to Jack White in some ways–even if the presentation here is dirtier and more psychedelic. Enjoy!

California X – Self-Titled

On California X’s debut album, the band brings blaring guitar riffs and thunderous drums, but sometimes it can feel like there’s some flavor missing in the songwriting department.


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NO- “What’s Your Name”

Absolutely gargantuan is the best term to describe NO’s sound on “What’s Your Name,” the A-side to their latest single. Almost every element of the song, from the drums to the guitars, feel burly and monolithic, culminating to form a song that the listener physically (as well as emotional) feels. The only element of the song that doesn’t feel like a metric ton monster are the vocals that harbor a profound sense of world weariness that really humanizes the song. Structurally, the track alternates from the aforementioned heaviness to explosive choruses where the previously ominous drums and guitar perform a sort of melodic sprint. A nice bridge where whistling replaces the fatigued vocals provides the perfect segue to the climactic conclusion where the enervated vocals are joined by the vocals of the other band members to great effect. Dramatic, melodic and with a great sense of dynamics, I’m very curious to hear what NO has to offer in the future.

The single is currently on sale via White Iris Records with the song “Eleven Elven” on the B-side.

Dustin Wong- “Japan” (Loved)

By clicking play on the widget above, you won’t be listening to a song. Instead you’ll be listening to a sonic painting. The reason I make this distinction is because the music was not written simply to be a pleasantly arranged series of notes. Instead it is a sonic interpretation of the nation of Japan. Dustin Wong, former guitarist in the art rock band Ponytail, has recently taken to using his incredible guitar virtuosity to transform ideas into music. After a series of enchanting dream interpretations, Wong’s latest offering is an enthralling portrait of the country where he grew up. Armed with a guitar and his effects pedals (most notably a loop pedal), Wong fluidly assembles the track starting with percussive plucks and short, legato melodies. As Wong adds layer after layer of sound, the track increases in its intensity and detail. As a person who has been to the Land of the Rising Sun, I envision the flowing landscapes of rural Japan, subtly punctuated with lush mountains and never ending farmland when listening to this composition. Near the end of the sonic painting, a shrill layer of guitar is added, creating a divine sense of dissonance that only enhances the track’s melodic nature. I interpret this new layer as technological Japan, starkly different to what preceded it but able to coexist with nonetheless.

Dustin Wong’s solo LP Dreams Say, View, Create, Shadow Leads is out now on Thrill Jockey.

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Hubble + Patrick Breiner- “Hubble Chase”

As part of a compilation that independent record label SOUNGS has just released, Hubble, solo guitarist Ben Greenberg of Pygmy Shrews and Zs, and Patrick Breiner, a Connecticut resident who triples as a saxophonist, clarinetist, and composer, have teamed up for a mind-bending new collaboration. Titled “Hubble Chase,” the song accompanies twelve other tracks on this release, which you can buy and/or stream in its entirety over at the SOUNGS Bandcamp.

Without warning, “Hubble Chase” begins with an onslaught of chaotic arpeggios which come courtesy of Breiner’s saxophone and Greenberg’s guitar. The former dominates the right channel, while the latter takes hold of the left, and the pair join together to create a wall of sound that somehow feels both harmonious and somewhat cacophonous. Structurally, “Hubble Chase” is deceptively simple. It makes no clear changes in direction throughout the four-and-a-half minute length it falls just short of spanning, yet it bears a certain amount of subtle change that gives it movement. The song’s minimalistic nature and idiosyncratic saxophone wizardry makes Colin Stetson comparisons unavoidable, but I could go as far as to recommend it to anyone looking for something that is as experimental as it is exhilarating.

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Fang Island- Asunder

From the forthcoming album Major, Fang Island just released the track “Asunder.” Its a cool song, sounding a bit like the Strokes, if Julian Casablancas was quite a bit happier. It’s a summery track, with solid riffs, catchy vocals, and a shiny-gloss production. Go ahead, turn this one up in your car with the windows down.

Look for this album on July 24th via Sargent House.