Artist: Tantrum of the Muse
Album: The Heart Is A Two-Headed Sperm
Year: 1998 (remaster re-release in 2010)
Label: Takehold Records (remaster self-released)
Genre: Metal Weirdness

Sorry for the long absence. Ever since my move I’ve had very spotty internet and uploading and downloading takes forever. That hasn’t changed, so I can’t guarantee any uptick in updates for right now, but at least I can provide one of the most stellar bandcamp links ever.

Tantrum of the Muse was a short-lived avant-metal act from Lancaster, PA who released two albums on the nationally distributed label Takehold Records. While I can’t think of any band that they particularly sound LIKE, I could see them appealing to fans who like quirky metal/rock along the lines of System of a Down or Mr. Bungle. Tantrum is often fiercer–while mixing in numerous sound clips from old movies and records to kick off tracks.

I’ve been a fan for quite some time, and this album is one of my favorite go-to albums. Nary a mix-tape gets made by me without including a song off of this. This would have been one of the first albums I posted on this blog except they were charging for the Bandcamp download. Well, just the other day they made it a free download. So my blog has had one major hole filled. Thank you Stephen!

(Click above icon for bandcamp download page.)
(And while you’re there, check out their second cd, too, which I’ll probably feature here later.)

Artist: Moon/Ruin
Album: Ocean
Year: 2011
Label: White Moon Recordings
Genre: Summer Psych Pop Rock
RIYL: Straightforward, yet spry, bouncy-guitar-tunes
Essential Tracks: Sway, Days of Harmful Rays, Moon/Ruin

I spent most of the day sleeping–waking up with a headache is not a great way to be productive. However, when I wasn’t sleeping I was scouring the interwebs for any music that strikes my fancy. While every album that I downloaded sticks out in its own way, this one will be the first to get the nod here simply because these are fun Summer songs and, hell’s bells, anything that can get me smiling during this damned heat deserves to be highlighted. Hell, look at that album cover that looks ripped straight from an Exotica record from the 1970s. The music, while not really “exotica” avoids doing the cover a disservice by being completely awesome. Songs are good not because of any gimmicky trick (though I am a sucker for those), but because the actual song composition is surprising and fun.

The songs are short, so the 8 tracks take a mere 16 minutes to fly by. But oh how sweet those 16 minutes are!

(Click icon for the free Bandcamp download page!)

Artist: The Very Sexuals
Album: Post-Apocalyptic Love
Year: 2008
Label: Subroutine
Genre: Indie/Pop/Rock
RIYL: Intertwining male and female vocals

Here’s the perfectly pleasant indie-pop summer album for you. Very reminiscent of Viva Voce–it’s breezy, it’s catchy, and those dual vocals mix perfectly. It does lack that occasional darker edge of Viva Voce in favor of a sunnier disposition ala The Magic Numbers. If that sounds at all interesting, it is hard to go wrong with this download, which is offered free on their website.

Plus, it is a band called The Very Sexuals. Trust me, that’ll look magnificent on your iPod.

(Click icon for The Very Sexuals, where they have an obvious download link)

Artist: S.S. Bountyhunter
Album: S.S. Bountyhunter
Year: 1997?
Label: self-released
Genre: Surf/Spaghetti Rock w/Electronics
RIYL: shock horror
Essential Tracks: I Hunt It Down, Thick Thick Ribcage, S.S. Bountyhunter

Ever since I read a review for this album in a crusty labor-of-love music rag (which published perhaps 2 issues before disappearing), this album became a holy grail for me. I wish I still had the review–it was beautiful in the way it described the theme of this album (bountyhunting). S.S. Bountyhunter live shows were the topic of legend among the lucky few who have seen them. Then, after two albums they dropped off the face of the planet. This, their self-released debut, is ridiculously rare. Luckily, it is also obscure enough that when a copy finally popped on ebay several years back I got it for a reasonable price.

S.S. Bountyhunter (which has to be one of the greatest band names ever) mix surf-rock with a spaghetti feel, while edging the music with enough electronic keyboarding and noise that it could, at first blush, be mistaken for an industrial album. And check out that deliciously bad-ass album cover! Yeah buddy.

(Click icon for download)

Artist: Liza
Album: Take A Look Again
Year: 1976
Label: Philips
Genre: Prog Rock/Pop
RIYL: Really pleasant, well-composed songs of the genre and era

I’ll admit, I was totally attracted to downloading this album (courtesy, I believe, of the awesome dudes over at Mystery Poster & Friends) because of that totally badass album cover. Seriously, that thing is a stroke of beauty. I was expecting something a bit weirder than it actually ends up being–however, in hindsight that is just as well. The songs are super catchy, very nicely executed, quite technically proficient–in a word, it just feels right.

This is a rather essential album if you’re interested in prog rarities.

(As always, click icon to download)

Artist: Guigou Chenevier & Sophie Jausserand
Album: A L’Abri Des Micro-Climats
Year: 1984
Label: RecRec Music
Genre: Avant-Garde, Jazz, Rock
RIYL: A darker, jazzier, frenchier The Residents or a crazier Tom Waits
Essential Tracks: Ecartelage, Femmes D’Interieur-Femmes D’Exterieur, Le Chauve Sourit

This is one of my greatest downloads, thanks to the almighty Mutant Sounds blog. This album is really difficult to try and describe–vocals waver between the delicate alto of Sophie Jausserand and the rough gasp of Guigou Chenevier. Chenevier’s voice is individual in the way Tom Waits’ voice is, only without sounding much like Waits. His voice is one that sounds natural within the music, but is very individual. The Guigou-composed instruments behind the vocal efforts chug along like a horn-heavy jazz band (although I’m not convinced that a lot of the cacophony isn’t keyboard created). Songs labor along not because they’re hard, but because there is beauty in the laboring. There is a distinct heaviness present throughout this album, but it doesn’t come across as dark.

A must-listen for anyone interested in left-of-the-dial music.

(Click icon for download)

Artist: Dear Ephesus
Album: The Absent Sounds of Me
Year: 1998
Label: Bulletproof Records
Genre: Alternative Rock, Emo, Christian
RIYL: Foo Fighters, Sunny Day Real Estate
Essential Tracks: On West B’, Blue Day, And Nobody Thanks

This was one of my favorite albums as a teenager. I’m not entirely sure it has aged as well as some of the stuff I have (and will) post here, but it’s my blog so deal. I always hate the term “emo” to describe Dear Ephesus as emo in the ’90s was decided more akin to indie rock than shit like Dashboard Confessional or whoever the hip skinny-jeans wearing, hair-in-face-that-took-2-hours-to-style band is these days screaming while clenching their heart and reciting lyrics about how Jennie Lee broke their heart. Fuck that. (Of course, if I was THAT concerned about genre labeling I would avoid the use of “Christian”, too–nostalgia is a bitch, but we don’t lie about it).

There are two things that always draw me to Dear Ephesus. 1) Those guitar tones on the rocking tracks are just so gosh dang satisfying. Reminiscent of the (few) Foo Fighters songs I like. 2) The instruments all seem to be playing something different to make a glorious whole. Dear Ephesus isn’t the only band to do this, of course, but something about Dear Ephesus compositions make it so I always feel surprised when I listen to one individual instrument at just what it is doing. Take a listen to On West B’ for a fairly good example of this.

Dear Ephesus definitely won’t be most of my reader’s cuppa joe, but feel free to try it and let me know if I’m totally full of crap in the comments.

(Click icon for download)