Chill Out Drown Out: My Invisible Friend

Chill Out Drown Out: music for when you need to, well, chill out, and also drown out extraneous noise. Tunes for calming down and concentrating on important tasks or just having a peaceful time in the middle of a hurricane of a day/week/month/year/existence. My Invisible Friend are based in Parma, Italy. Their self-titled EP is not their first EP, but it is the most recent; if you’re even vaguely interested in shoegaze, you should listen to it. It’s a magnificent mixture of droning fuzz, feedback, and bright clear tonal highlights. It’s a little more uptempo than some of the other bands I’ve filed to Chill Out Drown Out but, well, when the going gets tough, the tough step on the fuzz pedal and crank up the volume.

Chill Out Drown Out: TOUJOURS, In Vivid

Chill Out Drown Out: music for when you need to, well, chill out, and also drown out extraneous noise. Tunes for calming down and concentrating on important tasks or just having a peaceful time in the middle of a hurricane of a day/week/month/year/existence. Ok kids. Here is your moment of zen for today. TOUJOURS is the second record from In Vivid (Ben Snook), and it is a gentle soothing bath for your brain. The songs are chill but rich in texture, just enough grit to be perfect for background music, and not so slippery as to be instantly forgettable. TOUJOURS by In Vivid

Mumblr, The Never Ending Get Down

Mumblr are from Philadelphia, and whatever else I could say about them, here’s the most important thing: they’re never boring. Their latest record The Never Ending Get Down has a few less jagged edges than their first (Full of Snakes, 2014) and feels more . . . contemplative, I guess. Like it’s the kind of thing you could put on while staring at the ceiling waiting for the spins to wear off, or setting up for your Very Adult and Also Punk Rock Dinner Party. Here’s what I like about it: it’s still familiar Mumblr-style punk noise, but it’s layered and nuanced punk noise, periodically punctuated (illustrated?) by contrasting rock riffs. It’s streaming on their bandcamp and also Soundcloud, and you can listen to it below. Meanwhile, the band themselves are on an extended tour, and if you’re in the upper MidWest, check their dates and see if you can go and experience them live. It will be a face-melting good time, I promise. The Never Ending Get Down by Mumblr

Has a Shadow, The Flesh

Has A Shadow are from Guadalajara, Mexico, and they have just been signed to Fuzz Club records. As the name of their new label suggests, there’s an element of fuzz to their sound, but also some droning guitars, and insistent drums. If you like the roar of the big machine, you will like them. You will definitely want to investigate their back catalog. On the subject of the back catalog, their genre notes are “lo-fi psychedelica” which, okay, fine, maybe, I guess, but y’all – they’re goths. This is straight up Sisters-of-Mercy-in-the-1990s-style gothic rock and it’s excellent. Sky is Hell Black is particularly good. Meanwhile, hot off the presses, there’s The Flesh:

A Good Read A Good Listen and A Good Drink: Carter McNeil, Ghost King

It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss. In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire. Ghost King is one of the bands I was sorry to miss at SXSW, not least because I arrived at the venue not two minutes after they got finished. SO CLOSE. AND YET SO FAR. However, in much happier news, their new record – Bones – has been turned loose upon the world, and we … Continue reading

Three Songs From: Wintersleep

One of the ways I find new music is to go to the Soundcloud pages of labels of bands I like and see who else they have on their roster. And thus I have stumbled over Wintersleep, who, like The Dirty Nil (scrappy little band of my heart, Frozen North division), are Canadian and signed to Dine Alone Records. I am extremely late to the party – Wintersleep have been a band since 2001 and have won a Juno award! – but, you know, better late than not at all. Their next record, The Great Detachment, will be out March 4, and they’re stopping through SXSW later in the month. Here’s a three song sampler, featuring Amerika, Santa Fe and Territory. All three songs are solid; I’m particularly partial to Amerika because . . . because I feel like it’s been a really long time since I’ve heard song like this, a little bit anthemic, a little bit of sledgehammer running through the bottom. All I can tell you is I think I’ve listened to it five times in a row and I’m still a little bit confused by the lyrics, but I also mostly don’t care. I’m vibrating on … Continue reading

The Longest Day in History, David C Clements

After a several years of fits and starts and bits and pieces, David C. Clements has at long last released his first official full length record. It’s called The Longest Day In History and it’s mostly new material – I say mostly because some of the previous fits and stars (Oh Child and Hurricane) are included. The short version: it’s lovely, and if you’re into folk and singer-songwriters you need to jump over to his bandcamp and snag it right now. The long(er) version is: these songs make me homesick for the pit, for people jammed in to a small space but still clapping and singing and stomp-swaying, caught up in the rush of music and lights, to happy to do anything but dance. And for the same crowd, quiet and hushed during the slower songs, letting familiar chords expand and swell and break their hearts all over again, the way they like best. Here are the two songs he has up as teasers: I’m Still Alive, and it’s for the come-down, when you’ve survived the hell and the high water and have got your happy ending: you’re starting over. The Longest Day In History by David C Clements This … Continue reading

A Good Read A Good Listen and a Good Drink: Twilight Fauna and Jennifer Christensen

It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss. In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire. Good morning, NTSIB. We’re doing something a little different with A Good Read today. The two people joining us today – Twilight Fauna, aka Paul Ravenswood, and Jennifer Christensen (solo, Disemballerina) – are not in the same band. Instead they are equal halves of a two-song split. Both are established black metal artists: Twilight Fauna … Continue reading

A Good Read A Good Listen and a Good Drink: David Majury, Slomatics

It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss. In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire. The Slomatics first formed in Belfast in late 2004, and since then have released several records. Recently they re-issued their first two albums, Kalceanna (2007) and Flooding the Weir (2005). I’ve listened to both of them; my reaction was this is like being run over by a cement mixer and I mean that in the … Continue reading