you're jovian - stereo chronic

you're jovian is an indie rock band from norfolk, virginia. their album 'stereochronic' is about to be re-released on cassette by funny/not funny records, after having sold out in it's initial run. 'stereochronic' goes down a path of dark, pulsing, dance influenced rock'n'roll first cut by the likes of joy division and the cure.

upbeat drums, hooky bass riffs, jangly guitars and gloomy lyrics are a recipe that pretty much never fails. you're jovian throw in a few prog-rock breakdowns, representing a more modern indie rock influence, to top it off.

pre-order it here.

sleeptalker and tucker riggleman - funny/not funny split

sleeptalker and tucker riggleman are two folk-influenced singer/songwriters who are prominent in the underground music scene of western virginia. for them to release a split cassette on harrisonburg, virginia label funny/not funny records is very appropriate.

the sleeptalker side features highly developed songwriting, edging more into dark country territory than previous releases, while maintaining an introspective indie folk edge. the tucker riggleman side is full of complex and moody late-night story songs that you could imagine sounding as good with a boozy rock'n'roll band as they do stripped down and solo on this tape.

pre-order it here.

hey exit - slow names 4: the bitter scent of light

hey exit is the recording name for new york guitarist brendan landis. his latest release, 'slow names 4: the bitter scent of light' is a lengthy collection of sparse solo guitar compositions.

the vibes are desolate and lonely, whether the song takes the form of a slowly unfolding melody, a shimmering drone, or grinding, clattering noise. it's music of decay, but here decay is only part of a cycle that leads to growth. coldly beautiful jams.

get it here.

petridisch - wired

petridisch is a boston based ambient/drone artist. his latest cassette, 'wired', features an a-side of live tracks and a b-side of lofi studio compositions. the live material consists of evocative, layered synth experiments, while the b-side studio tracks are more visceral, organic guitar-based compositions.

using pedals and synths to create mystical, vocal-like electronic tones seems to be one of petridisch's specialties. the effect is like listening to aliens sing in a language you've never heard. great concise electronic mood jams.

get it here.

randy adams - invoking the muse

'invoking the muse' is a series of guitar soli improvisations by virginia based guitarist randy adams. made as a reaction to the recent rebirth of interest in 'american primitive' music, 'invoking the muse' is a guitar diary, a year of monthly observations through sound.

it is interesting to listen and see how randy traveled through time, technique, tunings and approach to his guitar over 2016, or to take a jam out of order and consider it relative to the season it was recorded in.

get it here.

ryan mccormack - songs from the roof

'songs from the roof' is the latest release by new york singer/songwriter ryan mccormack. it's a quiet (despite moments of intensity), atmospheric collection, with darkly romantic songs laden with surrealistic imagery.

the production is light, mostly just acoustic guitar and voice, with occasional overdubs airy electric guitar, organ and percussion. the story here is in the complex narratives of the songs and the vulnerable, open voice in which they are sung.

get it here.

crusasis - home again

crusasis is a new york based blues-influenced lofi project i have featured a number of times. their latest release, 'home again', is somewhat subdued compared to past efforts, featuring a more mellow vibe and more acoustic guitar action.

the spanish-language jam 'soy el hombre triste' has an amazing j.j. cale shuffle. in fact, cale's influence can be felt throughout the four songs in the subtle use of a drum machine, loping guitar riffs, and dry vocal delivery. recommended.

get it here.

ric gordon - just can't get enough

'just can't get enough' by kansas city, missouri rocker ric gordon, was originally released in 1979. ric was a part of kansas city's original punk scene and his debut record has a classic sound, right on that fine line between punk and pop (jagged riffs + sweet 'ooh-oohs') walked by the best of the late 70's skinny tie power-pop bands from the midwest.

snotty, catchy, and slightly lofi, this is a gem worth rediscovering. it's important to remember that while new york, LA or london scenes always catch the spotlight in long-winded documentaries that inevitably feature interviews with thurston moore, every city all over the world had it's own seminal punk rock stars.

get it here, on a sealed LP left over from 70's (very limited quantities) or remastered on CD or digital.

a thousand hours - the desolate hour

'the desolate hour' is the first single by alaskan dream-pop band a thousand hours. it's a slow, drifting song with a distant snare for a backbeat, shimmering guitars and whispery, longing vocals. like many songs in this general genre, it's gauzy folds are easy to get lost in.

the b-side, 'rainy days (are here again)' is an instrumental jam that features a bit more psychedelic pulse and experimentation.

get it here.

remedy tree - tale of three

remedy tree is a folk trio from st. augustine, florida. they feature three-part harmonies and old-time string band instrumentation with an underlying foundation of classical influence in their bowed instruments.

their new album 'tale of three' is a collection of ten warm, romantic songs emphasizing themes of love by drawing on the imagery of the natural world.

get it here.

bob katz - caught in a butt sandwich

bob katz AKA 'the mangfather', is a new york based rapper and spoken word artist whose music walks the line between comedy and realism. the production is old school, harkening back to the more innocent, high BPM days of the late 80's in new york, reminding me a bit of the fat boys. the way bob handles his subject matter is reminiscent of that era of rap too, in that he blends campy humor with bleak reality.

the title track, 'caught in a butt sandwich', is a light-hearted jam about getting stuck between two big people in the subway. this bubble of fun is burst hard by the next track 'good old days'. bob is a lifetime new yorker and a gay man, and 'good old days' lays out in stark terms the struggle he's faced personally as well as the devastation wrought on his community by aids in the 80's. the song also details all the other ways new york has been transformed from a dark and intimidating breeding ground for the experimental, a comfortable place for outsiders, into a bespoke disneyland for trustfunders and wall street types. this tension between humor and bitterness characterizes the mangfather's MCing throughout the album. having come of age in new york alongside the various artforms of hip-hop, bob knows that hip-hop in all it's manifestations is 'folk music'. he also seems to really love mangos. he's rocking to the beat of his own drum machine, and i recommend you rock along.

listen to more of bob's music here.

eden hana - beggar woman

eden hana is a new york based singer/songwriter whose main instrument is the banjo. this live video of her song 'beggar woman' was made in honor and support of women's movement that is gaining in strength and urgency across the world.

the song features soaring harmonies that float above the stark accompaniment of banjo and tapping feet. a beautiful protest in the classic form of a folk song.

get more of eden's music here.

buck curran - standing rock plain

singer/songwriter and guitarist buck curran has released a song to benefit the water protectors of standing rock, north dakota, who, though the story has dimmed in the collective consciousness since a victory in december, are still fighting against the installation of an oil pipeline through sacred lands.

needless to say, all the proceeds from the purchase of this song (you get a few versions of it along with a beautiful instrumental piece called 'zitkala-sa' for a $4 donation) will be passed on to that effort. if you want to donate directly to the water protectors, go here and/or here (those are the official water protector links).

get it here. keep this cause in your mind, at the very least. this is a fight that has been going on for centuries and is nowhere near being over, and the continued existence of human beings on earth is at stake.

skin arrangement - favorite enzymes

skin arrangement is the solo recording project of minneapolis singer/songwriter steven lamfeer. the songs collected on the debut release, 'favorite enzymes' sound somehow like 'skin arrangements' (which is apparently an english translation of the latin in 'taxidermy')...dryly recorded, ethereal fingerstyle guitar and high, fragile singing, with lyrics full of stark imagery and dire warnings.

these are intriguing songs in the classic dark tradition of loner, downer folk. occasional overdubs of vocals or other guitars add brief moments of enhanced psychedelia and strangeness. recommended.

name your price for it here.

where the flowers grow (contron is dead)

contron is a bedroom recording project from georgia with a deep bandcamp discography from the past few years. the latest contron release is called 'where the flowers grow (contron is dead)'.

the album begins with the interesting move of using bandcamp to make the last song, which is the title track, the 'featured track', so if you just hit 'play', you hear that and it stops. i always find it interesting how artists make use of bandcamp's parameters to influence the experience of the album. in this case the artist has used it to force you to experience the end at the beginning, whatever that might mean to you. the album has an overarching theme of sleep and death, and the simple, lofi guitar/vocals bedroom pop arrangements sound as if performed from a trance. despite that affectation, the sense of melody and experimentation is apparent. recommended.

name your price for it here.

greg mahan - mountain boy

greg mahan is a cincinnati, ohio singer/songwriter and fingerstyle guitarist. his most recent album is called 'mountain boy'. it's a song cycle of 'pessimistic children's songs', themes which were apparently brought to greg's mind by the process of raising children in an uncertain world.

the songs are rich and evocative in their lyrical imagery, and they twist and turn in their arrangements and melodic sensibility. the guitar playing is excellent and exciting, showcasing a fluid fingerpicking style in a variety of exotic tunings. greg could definitely pull off a guitar soli style album, but in this case he has something to say.

get it here.

swain - s/t

swain is a dreamy rock recording project from sacramento, california. they have recently released a full length, self-titled debut. the music is lilting, slow, and reverb heavy. gauzy spaced out guitar pop with maximal guitar layering, light touches of shimmering electronica and whispery, intimate vocals.

the album includes a good cover of the b-side to big star member chris bell's lone officially released solo single, 'you and your sister' (i love that song). the slowed-down-power-pop jam 'suburban kicks' is a favorite. to me, 'swain' contains the laid-back sounds of a late summer album, it brought a little heat to my frozen january.

name your price for it here.

michael wohl - windblown blues

michael wohl is a seattle based guitarist whose previous releases have been in a takoma school guitar soli style. his latest album, 'windblown blues', out now on self released cassette and CD, showcases his proficiency in that mode while moving beyond it into country/rock singer/songwriter territory.

the album opens with an american primitive guitar rag accompanied by a grinding cello called 'animals'. the next jam however, a traditional interpretation of the leadbelly song 'in the pines', reveals laid-back vocals and old-time string band production. the featured track, an original called 'if i could', is full on harvest-era neil young country rock, with a loping rhythm section, harmonies and weepy pedal steel. the rest of the album visits spots up and down this range of styles with a consistent commitment to musicianship and folk traditions. one exception the the aesthetic is stand out number 'ribosome', which is an unexpectedly heavy psychedelic latin infused instrumental rock jam with a juicy solo. recommended.

get it here, in your format of choice.

ak'chamel, the giver of illness - transmissions from boshqa

'transmissions from boshqa' is the latest album from shamanic world/punk/folk band ak'chamel, the giver of illness. the idea behind this release is that it contains shortwave radio transmissions from exotic locations that don't exist. the music blends eastern scales, stone age vibrations, and ennio morricone flourishes with western psychedelia, improvisation and lofi sound collage techniques.

i believe this band caught an endorsement from alan bishop, which makes all the sense in the world. recommended. the cassette is out now on italian label artetetra.

get it here.

timed egg - atmosphere document

billy brett, the vocal/percussion half of well-known noise/punk/industrial/blues band buck gooter, cannot contain his musical experimentation to just a few different acts. his latest solo project, under the name timed egg, is an effort to push the boundaries of creativity by imposing strict limitations on the physical processes involved in making music. the album, 'atmosphere document', was recorded using only drum machines and effects pedals triggered with vocals and vocal loops. the performances were improvised and recorded on tape. i'm not exactly sure how that triggering process would work, but it reduces the distance between performer and result to create an intimate immediacy that billy seems to strive for in all his work.

this music is atmospheric, as the title suggests, but it brings to mind relativity, as in the atmosphere contained in a single breath, coexistent with the atmosphere of an entire world. spaces big beyond imagining and extremely tiny. this coexistence is invoked as waves of ambience flood on top of minimal, plopping hits and negative space. the lengthy improvisation of 'AD 3', at nearly 8 minutes, manages to work the drum machines into synth-like territory towards its climax, for a sound like a chorus of dancing space creatures.

name your price for it here.

hartley c. white - something better

hartley c. white is a new york/jamaican musician who invented his own style of music called 'who-pa-zoo-tic' (explanation: "a non-classical music utilizing a broken rhythm; 'who': indicating a lack of restrictions and ability to change while still remaining unknown, 'zoo': indicating life in its various forms and conditions"). his latest album 'something better' sounds like a lofi blend of poetry, free jazz, punk and industrial music, with the looming influence of dub reggae and funkadelic. if you think of most rock/pop type bands as being oriented around the rhythm of the drum kit, think of hartley's music as being oriented around the fragmented beat of his poetry, which manages to be both forceful and laid back in its delivery.

the themes are life-affirming, in the sense of being protective of all life against the forces that might favor other priorities, and revolutionary. the backing band/production team consists of the folks behind the can't-say-enough-good-things OSR label, including founder zach phillips and singer/songwriter christina schneider, who have been tending the fire of hartley's music over a series of albums. the release of 'something better' unfortunately marks the end of OSR. everything in their catalog is on deep sale, and the whole digital catalog is less than $30 at the bandcamp. goes for good in june. act now. this hartley c. white record is highly recommended, and everything on OSR is great.

get it here, while you can.

joplin rice - nine songs

dedicated readers of MFOA might know kentucky singer/songwriter joplin rice as a repeat contributor and from his cassette release on practice records. late in 2016 he returned with a new album called 'nine songs', a collection of stately, melancholy compositions that are perfect for the reflective vibes of a bitter cold january morning.

the production on 'nine songs' is lush in it's restraint, featuring tightly doubled vocals and the interplay of two acoustic guitars, with the occasional piano. this intimate combo makes it hard not to think of elliott smith when it's done this well. joplin's guitar playing is as deft and acute as the emotional tenor of his songwriting across these nine heartbroken stories. i can't get enough of the silvery solo for classical guitar that opens the final track, 'over again'. highly recommended. while you're at it, go to practice records and buy a cassette of his older album 'low hum', there are a couple left.

name your price for 'nine songs' here.

johnny chastain - plot points to nowhere

'plot points to nowhere' is the most recent album by chicago singer/songwriter johnny chastain, who also produced and handled most of the instrumentation on it.

the music occupies that niche between punk and the american songwriter rock tradition carved out most memorably by the's hard driving and has an edge, but it has audible roots in classic forms of americana and early rock'n'roll and a personal, confessional vibe. it's well done and the songs range from straight up rockers to heartfelt ballads.

get it for free here.

dusken lights - in the service of the spring

dusken lights is an australian folk/pop/rock band. their debut album is called 'in the service of the spring'.

the band has a rich sound to match their complex songwriting, fleshed out with layers of percussion, lush strings, and voices in a smooth chamber folk style. the lyrics tend towards the mysterious and romantic.

get it here.

flower politics - new beginnings

flower politics is the new name for a houston, texas singer/songwriter who has contributed here a few times under the name kill the intellectuals. her new album is called 'new beginnings', an appropriate title for her new nom de plume and a new approach to recording.

the songs remain intimate and sparse in a folk/punk style, her lyrics stripped to the bone of her emotional reality, but the production is a bit less lofi than in the past, which enhances the deeply personal and unflinchingly introspective qualities of her songwriting.

get it here.


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