Tag Archives: shoegaze

Two Inch Astronaut – Bad Brother



Dissociative Identity Productions, if ya can’t tell, kind of has a crush on Two Inch Astronaut. With it’s homage to a past yet hardly forgotten 90’s D.C. post-hardcore scene in conjunction with a flourishing contemporary lofi-emo commonly promoted by Midwestern acts, it is not necessarily a surprise to see why we feel this way. Thus, while “Red Pancake and the Dark Energy” and “Split Dicks 7” provided a thrilling introduction, I can personally say that I know far greater things are coming from Two Inch Astronaut‘s upcoming release, Bad Brother. To quote from our previous review, Two Inch Astronaut wholeheartedly tackles the bridge between such legendary sounds as “Jawbox mixed with early Cursive“. This album, however, stands quite differently than a simple conquest of cohesion: rather, it represents a significant progression in the maturity of their sound, one which does not mind perverting traditional taboos for the sake of exploration.

The current tracks available from Big Brother, to be officially released on June 18th, 2013, are ‘Swol‘ and ‘Blood from a loyal hound‘, an appropriate selection of the nine track release as a whole. ‘Swol‘ plays out as an ingenious balancing act of thunderous post-hardcore riffs complimented by the delicate Plastic Constellations ‘esque noodle rock. Thus, never stepping back from a stoner rock like head thrash momentum, ‘Swol‘ still has the uncanny ability to keep the listener feeling oddly sentimental with sudden collapses in tempo and blunt pedal work. ‘Blood from a loyal hound‘, the fourth track and essential midpoint of the album, jumps out of the gate in a blitz of prog rock yet quickly followed by verses nearly murmured in a swinging like bass rhythm reminiscent of even later releases of Don Caballero. It’s a pleasurable balance yet perhaps what is most memorable of the track is the raw post-hardcore breakdown by the end of the track.

This final note, essentially, is perhaps what attracts me to Two Inch Astronaut and Bad Brother in particular. The fragile compromises made throughout each track to include varied genre influences is well appreciated and welcomed, yet what truly makes these tracks more than just technically glorified pieces of work are those moments of ecstasy and emotional extremism. And it is for that reason that you should pay note next Tuesday for the release of Bad Brothers. And better yet, in case you think I just happen to be lying through my teeth, catch them live, tonight, playing with Ted Nguyent and Ugh God over at the Khyber. Anyways, grab a listen and a download when the time is right. When we last wrote on the group, we had hoped they’d make their way to Philly. Guess wishes do come true. See ya tonight.

Two Inch Astronaut – Bad Brother

Cliff.DI

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November New Angle Night ’12

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to another edition of New Angle Night. That’s right folks, November New Angle Night ’12 is this Thursday, November 15th, over at the New Angle Lounge. This month’s theme will be 80’s pop so dress to impress and join Dissociative Identity Productions and New Angle Lounge before the Thanksgiving season.

As usual, Miller High Life’s are $1 all night with mixed drinks/shots half off from 9-11 pm (so come early to get the most for your money!) Furthermore, I will be sure to bring
out a deck of cards so if anyone’s trying to play a round or two of Texas Hold ’em or Blackjack, I’m more than down.

Anyways, be sure to stop by and say hey to Tim and the New Angle Lounge before the Turkey season. Speaking of which, there will be a delightful key sesh this upcoming weekend so more details will be available soon. See you all soon and I look forward to more weird/grand times at the New Angle Lounge.

November New Angle Night ’12

– Cliff

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Daphne Lee Martin – Moxie

Sometimes, I feel just so damn classy. Something about exiting the world around me and entering my bedroom, blasting an album and living in the world of my own existence makes me feel like the most dignified person in the room (probably because I am the only one too). You indulge in a self reflection that is both selfish and scathing, apologetic and spiteful. Moxie, the new album by Daphne Lee Martin of Telegraph Recording Company, could perhaps be the soundtrack to this exact scenario. A 40 min stroll through devilishly delightful bluesy tunes, Moxie is the first of twin records: Frost & Moxie, or ‘treat a queen like a whore and a whore like a queen’ as explained by Daphne. In this case, Moxie is the unapologetic whore, expressing itself from the plaintive cries in tattered Whiskey & Sin to the madness of Molotov.

Produced by Bill Readey at Fuzzy Rainbow Production, Moxie takes Daphne’s beloved traditional southern roots sounds and runs them through megaphones, mellotron, a very old tube amp, as well as “a swamp and a dark alley or two”. Beginning with “Sweet and Low Down“, Daphne initiates the album with a skip through a sin city, if you will. Between cigarettes and Old Crow, the lyrics as well as the general feel is all too familiar: something I can only assume most readers can sympathize with. Those evenings idly staring off in a dive bar off the beaten path, fumbling through packs and thoughts of what lays ahead. And with a bass line that walks you through the ups and downs, it appears to never leave you throughout the rest of the album.

It is, of course, worth noting that not only does this album include Daphne’s full band “Raise the Rent“, Moxie also showcases some work by John Panos of Mates of State, an addition which oddly makes perfect sense. Regardless, Moxie stands out as an album which pays a well suited ode to the often abused bluesy melodies without falling into clichéd motifs. Grab a listen and, while you’re at it, a download. For those moments of classiness and isolation, Daphne‘s Moxie places the perfect companion. Which makes me all the more excited to meet Frost.

Daphne Lee Martin – Moxie

– Cliff

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Winterlong – Five Songs

A barrage of percussion followed by a thrashing sensation of elegantly distorted guitars. It’s quite the introduction yet seems entirely fitting for the Hudson Valley, NY math rock group insistent in its commitment towards melody as well as just damn catchy hooks. Winterlong is off of Glacial Records and recently released their “Five Songs” EP. A 20 min dash through what appears a perfect resurrection of the 90’s and early 00’s, Winterlong is able to make an impression upon the listener that few groups could hope to achieve in an entire full length.

As described before, “Five Songs” begins with an impressive start with the single, “Stasis“. A contemporary group which immediately jumps to mind is the Midwest noodle rock glory that is the Plastic Constellations. Yet it cannot be so easily summarized with such a vague reference. Rather, wrapped in the shell of 3 mins, “Stasis” provides the glimpse of Winterlong as not only an extremely talented math rock group, but also one which makes genuine odes to post-hardcore and emo rock epochs of decades past. The vocals are sincere and passionate where all too often, groups feel as though wild screaming will suffice. It is a refreshing attitude which serves as a glorious beginning to the album.

Jump to the track “Arena“. Serving as the anthem of the album, if you will, the single opens with wailing guitars followed by a stead fast percussion reminiscent of Cinemachanica. While a dreary track, to be sure, it does not fail to hold onto the listeners attention with the complacent haunting vocals floating inbetween the purposefully imperfect harmonies unfolding. This in combination with it’s uncompromising bass line, and “Arena” shows a very promising side to Winterlong: one which knows when to exhilarate a crowd and when to lead one towards a trance.

The digital collation, with 5 tracks, is only $4 which makes it a worthwhile investment yet, if you want to be a real pro, the vinyl is certainly a welcomed option which only serves to further enhance “Five Songs” as a whole. Anyways, overall, this EP appears extremely exciting. As always, though, I still look forward to the live show. If this serves as the trailer, then I warmly look forward to the opportunity.

Winterlong – Five Songs

– Cliff

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Sleep Maps – Medals

New York City heavy-psych band Sleep Maps return this fall with a spanking new EP, spanning 28 minutes, after just releasing their debut full length in May 2012. The mastermind behind the group, Ben Kaplan, provides a deeply moving work, both musically and thematically as it addresses the shallow pageantry presented to war veterans, many of whose lives have been forever shattered by their experiences.

According to Kaplan, Medals is based upon the Winter Soldier Investigation from 1971. “A group of Vietnam vets held a press conference in Detroit to discuss the atrocities they had seen and sometimes participated in,” Kaplan explains. “This was meant to bring attention to the mainstream public about what was really happening in Vietnam. Of course after it was over the government did everything in their power to discredit them and claim they were liars.”

“The image of throwing the medals back is the refusal to be placated by a trinket when your entire life has been ruined,” says Kaplan. “The parallels between an era supposedly long gone and the wars of today are too blatant to be ignored. Soldiers coming back from Afghanistan and Iraq have also participated in medal throwing ceremonies, although mainstream media will not cover it.”

Medals proceeds to build a chronology throughout the first three songs, implementing audio snippets from various speeches laid over Sleep Maps’  spindling guitars, ominous keyboards and crashing drums, weaving Medal‘s sound and theme into a vivid sense of intense emotions. Furthermore, Kaplan again performed all of the instruments on this EP, as he did on the band’s debut Fiction Makes The Future. While the group has now expanded to a full 4-piece lineup to play live — all with the use of poignant visual projections — Kaplan remains the sole creative force behind Sleep Maps.

So grab a listen through Horror in the Telescope, one of the 4 tracks off of Medals, give Sleep Maps the good olde college try, and get prepared for the full album release on November 13th. It’s good to see such a quick turn around from recording. Sleep Maps has beautifully accomplished this without regressively altering their work. It’s a feat worth at least a listen.

 

Sleep Maps – Horror In The Telescope/Medals

 

– Cliff

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Two Inch Astronaut – Split Dicks 7″

Thundering percussion followed by pounding power chords. That is what greets ya when ya catch the first couple of seconds from Two Inch Astronaut’s most recent release, Split Dicks 7″. Opening with the track, “Greatest City in the World“, the Baltimore local lofi/post-hardcore phenomena elegantly alludes to the 90’s D.C. hardcore scene with a splash of emo-rock.

While this release gives us only two songs to chew on, it is still incredible to see their sound develop from one release to the next. To be honest, I was originally going to write about “Red Pancake and the Dark Energy” but was so slow in the writing process that this release is apparently now the most recent material, making my original plans a little redundant. Still, the larger point is that from one release to the next, Two Inch Astronaut is refining a sound which takes a healthy dose of Jawbox mixed with early Cursive. And if you’re like me, that is definitely an amazing sign.

Anyways, grab a listen and a download. Hell, if you’re in the Baltimore area, get off your ass and go out to a show. Regardless, I’m extremely pleased to hear the D.C./Baltimore post-hardcore scene is still alive and well. This success is in no smart part because of Two Inch Astronaut. Thanks, and won’t you consider a stop by Philadelphia?

Two Inch Astronaut – Split Dicks 7″

– Cliff

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October New Angle Night ’12

Let me go ahead and start by thanking everyone who came out to September New Angle Night ’12: it got a lot wilder than I was anticipating. With that said, I figure you know what’s coming next. Thus, marking over a year and a half of the series, Dissociative Identity Productions and New Angle Lounge are proud to present October New Angle Night ’12.

As usual, mixed drinks and shots are half off during happy hour, from 9:00 pm – 11:00 pm. Furthermore, Miller High Life’s are $1 all night (or until New Angle Lounge runs out). Marking one week before Halloween, I’m down for trying out my costume so yeah, suggest all of ya’ll do the same. The theme for this month will be 90’s alternative so you can certainly expect some Modest Mouse, Pixies, Built to Spill, Green Day, Blink 182, and maybe some Nirvana/Pearl Jam in case you are inclined.

Anyways, thank you so much again for all of your support and continued interest. I wasn’t sure if the New Angle Night series would survive the summer but so far, it appears to be running better than ever. So enjoy your classes, get ready for Halloween, and see ya real soon.

October New Angle Night ’12

– Cliff

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Maybeshewill – I Was Here For A Moment, Then I Was Gone


Today, Leicestershire, UK’s own Maybeshewill released their forth coming album, “I Was Here For A Moment, Then I Was Gone” off of Function Records. To start things off right, then, the quartet is currently on a headlining tour in Europe, which will be followed by shows with …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead in October.

In case you are unfamiliar, Maybeshewill is James Collins (drums), Matt Daly (keyboards) John Helps (guitar), Robin Southby (guitar) and Jamie Ward (bass). Over the past five years, between endless touring and three full-length albums, Maybeshewill has had the fortune to build up a loyal and enthusiastic following across the world. Furthermore, with a steadfast DIY ethic, the band have self-recorded all their material to date, making them one of the prime inspirations to any up and comer within the indie field.

The band released their debut four-track EP entitled “Japanese Spy Transcript” on their own label, Robot Needs Home Records in early 2006, an EP which was later picked up by Japan’s XTAL Recordings (Caspian, Yndi Halda) and released in an extended form in August of the same year. Eventually Nottingham’s Field Records would release the band’s self-recorded debut album Not For Want Of Trying in May 2008, receiving high praise from the likes of Huw Stephen (BBC Radio 1),  RockSound (8/10), Kerrang (4/5) and Drowned In Sound (8/10), amongst many others.

A year later, in June 2009, Sing The Word Hope In Four-Part Harmony (a personal favorite) was released, once again through Field Records. After touring worldwide, the band finally joined up with Function Records in 2011, releasing I Was Here For A Moment, Then I Was Gone in the UK, Europe and Japan in June. The album was once again self-recorded with Jamie at the board, though this time the band worked in more traditional recording studios. If this resume doesn’t get ya excited, I’m not really sure what will. What ever your inclination may be, take it form me: this is an album you do not want to miss. So far, every album by Maybeshewill has gotten progressively better. “I Was Here For A Moment, Then I Was Gone” is no different. Enjoy.

Maybeshewill
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– Cliff

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Mud Pie Sun – Wooden Circle

Summer is winding down and the bleakness of the 9 to 5 has becoming abundantly clear. With this epoch of coldness and long nights approaching, all that seems to remain of those blissful days in the sun appears to be memories. Yet there may be other ways to proactively engage in those grand nothings of weeks ago. Beginning with a 45 second hymn to the hybrid that is the natural world and lofi distortions, Mud Pie Sun’s “Wooden Circle” is an album which speaks to this role with unfaltering commitment.

Released two months ago, in early August, 2012, “Wooden Circle” spans 45 mins with everything you could ever want from a psychedelic lofi, garage rock band. Yet more importantly, they are able to give the flow of the album, as a whole, a more inclusive feel with such tinges of genres as folk and classic rock. For a music reviewer, then, it can prove to be challenging. All too often, writers such as myself want to clump whatever act we are covering into more well-known acts. Yet, for Mud Pie Sun, this task proves to be far more difficult. Sure, as you are listening to “Wooden Circle“, a couple of bands come to mind such as White Fence or Jesus and Mary Chain. There is still, however, a classical feel to the album which makes them come across as a group all to their own.

This compliment, in my opinion, stems on the story of the album, as well as the group, itself. Dating back to 1989, Mud Pie Sun is made up of Steven and Tom, who released a multitude of smaller releases and EP’s until settling on writing a full length. Thus, recording of “Wooden Circle” began in 2004, with segments of guitar dating as far back as even 1993. However, a hiatus due to distance and careers forced the duo to stall on their progress. Leaving a half finished product yearning to be discovered once more, it would take a long 5 years before the album would transcend into its final form. So what does this all mean for the listener? Well, for one, it is incredible for me to listen to as it seems to be an album which reflects nearly two decades of work and influence. As a college student, this essentially means my whole life, which gives particular emphasis to the maturity of this album as it expresses emotions and experiences which I am only beginning to understand or have yet to even encounter. In addition, however, the album itself appears to clearly grow, from the beginning to the end. With each track, a new sort of dynamism emerges, giving the sensation that I can only describe from listening to an entire Guided by Voices album straight.

If it hasn’t become clear yet, let me just go ahead and explain it: I loved this album however I struggle to convey the kind of journey Mud Pie Circle’s “Wooden Circle” takes you on. The best way I could dream to suggest listening to this album would probably be on the beginning of a long road trip because the rhythm guitar alone will make you feel as though you are trucking down I-95. Regardless of if it’s on the road or in your bedroom, I would highly suggest grabbing a copy of “Wooden Circle” for yourself and even get ready to see the duo play live in the near future. After all, with a live set in the making, who knows: maybe Dissociative Identity Productions will get lucky and get the Mud Pie Sun to perform a live instudio at WKDU Philadelphia, 91.7 fm. I won’t press my luck despite to say, with the end of summer, at least I have Mud Pie Sun’s “Wooden Circle” to cope me over.

Mud Pie Sun

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– Cliff

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The Downtown Club Live @ WKDU Philadelphia, 91.7 fm – Video


If your memory is even remotely functioning, than you probably recall The Downtown Club coming into WKDU Philadelphia, 91.7 fm for an exclusive live instudio on Dissociative Identity. If ya didn’t get a chance to tune in, well, frankly, you are sh*! out of luck. However, if you are looking for the next best alternative, than Dissociative Identity Productions would highly recommend checking out the Youtube video of the whole session.

Presented through Scrapple.tv and Woodshop Films, the video covers two of the songs, “Dance” & “Bridge and Ratt”, as well as spliced up bits and pieces of the interview that yours truly conducted (so, if you’re wondering wtf I look like, this is your chance). Furthermore, since the instudio/interview was conducted over a month ago, many of the items which were discussed are actually underway currently, although sadly, yes, the show at Kung Fu Necktie has already occurred.

Despite to say, I am extremely pleased with how this video came out. The folks over at Scrapple.tv had expressed interest in potentially doing a mini documentary on WKDU Philadelphia, 91.7 fm itself so, if development begins, we will be sure to let you all know. Then, who knows, maybe one on Dissociative Identity Productions? Hopes are high though expectations are low. Still, take a second from your seemingly busy day to check out the 10 min video of all the grandeur that is The Downtown Club. With a sound that ranges influences from Siouxsie Sue and the Banshees to the Misfits, who knows: maybe you’ll find a new favorite. I know I did.

– Cliff

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