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NOT NOT FUN

Crystal Dorval from Vancouver, Canada, has been making healing, distorted rug-gaze music from a coastal mindset all her own since 2011. Natural Phenomena is her second album, and it echoes 2013’s self-titled effort in its isolationist origins, as the record emerged slowly across a nine-month retreat alone on a farm on Vancouver Island: “Some days I would only add one tiny guitar line or keyboard texture and that would be it for the day… it was a long process.”

However grueling and gradual the method, what accrued is gold—ten of Dorval’s deepest dreamdives, starry ambient pools and dissolved guitar designs, ghosted through a lens of grey-skied pop. Songs wax and wane across faded rainbows of guitar, sunrise keyboards, looped percussion and vocal ocean-spray. Behind Dorval’s gauze of warm noise glows something pure and newer than new age: “My hope is that these positive feelings will be communicated sonically, or in essence, and will be enriching for listeners.” A high height for a climbing talent; White Poppy blooms on cliffs of light.

TRACK LISTING

1. Confusion
2. Wild Mind
3. Sublimity
4. Exotic Realms
5. Midnight Sun
6. Aurora
7. Telepathic Love
8. Ebb And Flow
9. Mermaids
10. Arctic Rose
11. Clam Happy (Non-LP Bonus Track)

Rangers

Reconsider Lounge

    Trans-american Joe Knight recently caravanned his custom duffel bags of woozy jukebox esoterica from the Bay to the plains of central Texas but, before and during so, crafted and released the double-volume Scrap collection for multifaceted Midwestern organization, Bezoar Formations. Reconsider Lounge distills a portion of this material into different arrangements, intercut with an assortment of unreleased curiosities and classics, comprising an essentially new album in the instrumental fantasy radio canon Rangers reigns so uniquely at.

    Song modalities station-switch from piece to piece, spanning lonesome new wave garage (“Lauderdale Saints”), dreadlocked psych (“Clown Prince”), monorail zoo tour DVD themes (“ETV”), tight-wired Television-lensed guitar heroics (“Safety Goggles”), out across the endless airwaves. The logic of Knight’s pack-rat electric collages culture-jam as much as flow, chasing sparks, exposing irrelevancies and connective tissues. Fissured fragments of rock mythology, obscurely realized, again and again. Reconsider. Lounge. Black vinyl in buffalo relic jackets designed by Suzanne Pfutzenreuter. Mastered by Brian Pyle. Edition of 265.

    On her first proper full-length album, Tokyo netscape nightingale Sapphire Slows impressively expands on the spider web tone-bank nocturnes of 2011’s True Breath EP, with headier, haunted highs and eerier, elegant depths. Patiently pieced together across all of 2012 (plus change), and inspired by everything from St. Etienne’s plasticine Euro-house, obscured J-pop memories, Blue Bell Knoll and the saddest Section 25 remixes, Allegoria swirls and spirals through ten textural electronic melancholias composed in solitude. The record grows more reflective and insular as it goes on, ebbing from the Casio ghost-dub of “Dry Fruits” and “Third Party” into the fragile sleepwalker techno of “Corekill” and “Fade Out” before dissolving into even more weightless 4 AM pop-ambient Kompakt abstractions like “Break Control” and “Meteor.”

    An effortless fusion of emotive and exploratory impulses, arranged in a blue-lit rock garden in an invisible apartment in the heart of urban infinity, Allegoria was mastered by Andrew Veres and features “piercing jewelry textile” cover artwork by celebrated Angeleno artisan Natasha Ghosn. As the artist herself puts it, “Darkness no one can enter; only listening to this album lets you into my real world.”

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Dry Fruits
    2. Third Party
    3. Rules
    4. Corekill
    5. Fade Out
    6. Break Control
    7. As You Know
    8. Can I Get Out Of This Silence
    9. Meteor
    10. Allegoria

    Mara Barenbaum’s solo vessel Group Rhoda emerged last year from an introspective incubational phase with one of 2012’s deftest debuts, Out of Time—Out of Touch, an alluring, sensory sound-garden of jittery drumbox beats, moody exotica, DIY dub-pop and elegantly aloof, shadowtheater vocal melodies. A series of sustained, long-form tours—both foreign and domestic—soon followed, during which time she began blueprinting the bones of 12th House, her sophomore statement.

    Recorded and produced in collaboration with Ben Versluis in San Francisco, the album’s eight songs snake through a similarly entrancing terrain as her past work, but this time the production is starker and spikier, with an almost post-punk clarity in places. From witchy island pop (“Day Ruiner,” “Dust”) and dizzy, micro-cosmic disco (“Coral Castle”) through paisley-flavored circus-psych (“Disappearing Ground”) to wobbly, haunted house dubdamage (“Space Race,” “Blk Mtl”), the record is rich with rarefied Rhoda rhinestones and reflections. Her vocals pirouette and perplex, detached yet discerning, casting strange dimensions into the music: “Finally you look away / You look a way / Do you see ghosts walking around? / It’s your town / It’s their town too.”

    A free-spirited and fascinating follow-up by one of California’s most intriguing young pioneers, 12th House features vivid feline-fantasy collage artwork by Mary Elizabeth Yarbrough.

    "NNF present the hallucinatory first LP from Rangers associate Peter Berends aka KWJAZ after a blink-and-miss-it debut cassette for the Brunch Groupe in 2010. We enter a potently warped world of decomposing ambient electro-jazz with 'Once In Babylon', ferrying us along a ferric-murky exhalation of blurry mixtape-styled moments flopping from loungey, twinkling keys to blunted synths and proggy rhythm switches to the deserted-harbour-cruising drones and soggy bossa-lite inflections of 'Righteous Wane'. His sound has been aptly compared with the more esoteric jazz of Madlib's YNQ outings and the culture mulching 4th world experiments of John Hassell, and there's certainly an affinity with the work of James Ferraro. Mind-bendingly surreal and utterly zonked."


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Matt says: This is causing me to wet my pants a little at the moment - a sure-fire MUST HAVE for fans of - Sun Araw, James Ferraro, Rangers, Olde English Spelling Bee, Matrix Metals and anyone with a penchant for smeared, hazy, lysergic psychedelia.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Once In Babylon
    2. Frighteous Wane

    CD Only Bonus Tracks:
    3. A Certain Sprout
    4. Elevation Elation / Jah Wad

    Wet Hair

    Radiant Lines

    Amazing new pair of single sides by this ever-evolving Iowa City kraut-pop duo-turned-trio comes in a stunning full-colour 22-page pro-printed art book of brand new works by WET HAIR main-men Shawn Reed and Ryan Garbes.

    Limited to 500 copies.

    Topaz Rags

    Crown Center

    West Coast ghost squad Topaz Rags stalk back into the deadlights with a fresh vinyl single, their first new material since the "Capricorn Born Again" LP. Recorded in the heart of winter in a room with one blue light bulb, "The Crown Center" is pure nightprowler music: quaking bass, grime-jazz keys, dusty drums, witch choirs floating through the smog and into sleeping homes with the power lines cut. The sound of crime to come. The flip ("You Go On") slips deeper into the psych-psycho psyche, a bleached-brain riff-rhythm grinding away endlessly while voices and electric piano stabs arc across the stereo field, raining ash. A grimmer twist on the Topaz formula, the dreamer's dream turned dark.

    33 RPM 7-inch pressed on various colored vinyl in hand-silkscreened cardstock sleeves. Edition of 345.

    Josh Taylor's Friends Forever / Barrabarracuda

    Bleached Speeches

      Amy, Kenna, and Germaine aka Josh Taylor's Friends Forever's track here is a non-stop 18 minute junk-van thrashsterpiece of rainbow drums, headbang bass, and kool-aid keyboard plasma. Messy LA beach cruisers Barrabarracuda exercise their own fair share of western liberties across three outsider agitations, decrying (or glorifying?) Urgent social issues like Patty Hearst, Watergate mystique, and Bush-backed torture policies via bleedingly liberal guitar shred, pissed trumpet protests, and healthy freedom-of-speech abuse.


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