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Michael Toland: July 29, 2012

Ketchup Pt. 6

Another 10 records I can’t dig into in detail, but are definitely worth your time. Alpha by artist.

  1. AbrahmaThrough the Dusty Paths of Our Lives (Small Stone)

    This French stoner rock outfit keeps the faith on its second (but first under this name) platter: grungy riffs, oozing tempos, powerful vocals, an overall sense of heaviness. A multi-part epic aside, there ain’t much new here, but the writing and performances have the solidity to appeal to fans of the genre. Picks to click: “Vodun Part 1: Samedi’s Awakening,” “Headless Horse”

  2. Assemble Head in Sunburst SoundManzanita (Tee Pee)

    On its fourth record, this oddly-titled San Fran quartet continues to travel a gravel road lined with trees, as it finds the midpoint between 60s blues rock and folk rock. If you’ve ever imagined a mashup of the *Rolling Stones*’ Beggars Banquet and the *Byrds*’ The Notorious Byrd Brothers, this record will make you grin. Picks to click: “Blue Wire,” “Green Meadow Slowdown”

  3. IhsahnEremita (Candlelight)

    Ihsahn made his name with progressive black metal pioneer Emperor, and the mix of extreme metal and prog rock is still what he has in his bowl. Less thrashy and intense than Emperor, his fourth solo LP still has loads of demonic roars and blazing guitars, but plenty of melody and atmosphere as well. Picks to click: “Introspection,” “Something Out There”

  4. Stevie Jackson(I Can’t Get No) Stevie Jackson (Banchory)

    The cheekily-titled debut solo album from Belle & Sebastian guitarist Jackson is pretty much what you’d expect: lyric-heavy, light pop music with a 70s soul thread running through it. Jackson is less breathy than his boss Stuart Murdoch, but otherwise the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree, and that’s no bad thing, given the consistent excellence herein. Picks to click: “Man of God,” “Telephone Song”

  5. Kadavars/t (Tee Pee)

    Though this self-titled Berlin trio’s debut sounds like a lost treasure from 1970, it’s brand new. Beamed in from a time when heavy rock meant heavy riffs instead of a million genre-specific mutations, Kadavar hits no new notes, but it rocks from beginning to end. Picks to click: “Black Sun,” “Goddess of Dawn”

  6. Eleni MandellI Can See the Future (Yep Roc)

    This remarkable underground vet’s jazzy folk pop has obvious antecedents – Tom Waits, Joni Mitchell, Madeleine Peyroux. But her influences inspire her, rather than define her, and her smart songs, infectious melodies and deadpan singing are all her own. Picks to click: “Now We’re Strangers,” “Bun in the Oven”

  7. The ShrinePrimitive Blast (Tee Pee)

    L.A.’s Shrine cops the same ‘tude as mid-period Black Flag: hard rock and punk come from the same riff-hungry impulse, and the 70s ruled. The trio comes at it from the rawk angle, using punk more as a power source, with a compelling drive like a Harley blasting through a poppy field. Picks to click: “Run the Night,” “Primitive Blast”

  8. The SightsLeft Over Right (self-released)

    Given how long the Sights have been bashing away, it’s amazing that the band hasn’t surfed the same wave of semi-popularity as their fellow Detroit contemporaries. Here, dashes of Beatlesque piano pop join the band’s usual melodic garage rock and R&B-flavored power pop for another ripsnorting good time. Picks to click: “Not As Pretty,” “Mercy”

  9. Sons of OtisSeismic (Small Stone)

    Toronto power trio Sons of Otis has long been the master of cosmic sludge, dragging its claws through the mud while swallowing the stars. The band’s sixth record is also its heaviest –as the title indicates, Otis remains earthbound but kicks cracks in the firmament. Picks to click: “Alone,” “PK”

  10. Alexander TuckerThird Mouth (Thrill Jockey)

    Former electronica purveyor Tucker keeps going in the vein of his breakthrough LP Dorwytch with another fine collection of atmospheric acid folk tunes. Lusher and less prone to bits of synthesized dissonance, Third Mouth sounds like the lush, hypnotic child of Roy Harper. Picks to click: “The Glass Axe,” “Andromeon”