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Acme Rocket Quartet

Sound Camera (CD)

 

"Instrumental music is an afterthought for many, but for serious practitioners of the genre, instrumentals offer the sonic equivalent of cinematography. Davis' luminous Acme Rocket Quartet must know that; it goes widescreen on this new 13-track disc, covering enough bases here to make up an audio film festival. Guitarist Roger Kunkel's many voices drive the band--e.g., Memphis rhythmic cool on "Tracksuit Suite," lyrical Ennio Morricone baritone lines on "Lusitania" and Beefheartian skronk on the loping "Spoke French." Trumpeter John Killebrew occasionally gets a little too brassy, but most of his fluid lines are spot-on, and bassist Dave Thompson and drummer Rusi Gustafson provide solid grooves, with band members adding various keyboard parts for texture. All in all, it's solid cinema, sans visuals."   - Sacramento News & Review
 

UHF (CD)

UHF

 

 

"The Acme Rocket Quartet is an incredible, but underrated, lounge group from Davis, CA. Ultra High Frequency, the group's second full-length on Lather Records showcases the group's subtle style that hearkens back to the panoramic soundtrack work of Ennio Morricone ( one track even has horses whinnying in the background). Led by the tasteful trumpet of John Killebrew and the sinuous guitar work of Roger Kunkel (formerly of underground desert-rock group Thin White Rope), the band is equally comfortable taking on straight lounge, Tex-Mex, moody rock and jazz. UHF is not to be overlooked." -CMJ

Acme Rocket Quartet (CD)

Acme Rocket Quartet

 

 

"This Davis, California, quartet belongs only loosely to the lounge movement. Roger Kunkel's elegant guitar evokes the distant surf like a shell held to your ear on "Clown Theft Auto" and "High Centurians," while John Killebrew's trumpet carries echoes of the Tijuana Brass on "El Baño de Amor." But the lounge influence is more in the mood--distracted, sexy, subliminally edgy--than the material.

This is really more like '60s film music. One can almost visualize the wistful "Vengeance of the Loin," our hero (Clint? Warren?) walking down a long street into a darkening sunset as the credits roll. I wish there were movies to go along with Acme Rocket Quartet's scores. They'd be terrible and I'd watch them over and over."
-Option

 

High Centurions/Tiny Geenie
(7" -- Tiny Superhero-UK)

 

 

The A-side is a clanky number from their self-titled CD, while the B-side is a buzzing, electronic nerd theme.

Beatrice Nine

 

The Incredible Husk
(CD)

Incredible Husk

 

 

Pete Lohstroh is still mining Davis, CA for every last drip of sweaty pain it has to offer. Read his diaries of said pain to the tune of his trademark guitar hugeness. Zero Hour doesn't understand, but Lather kind of does.

 

Little Stars Hung Upside Down
(CD -- Zero Hour)

 

"On first blush, Beatrice Nine seems like a fairly standard indie rock band, with their riffs alternately clean and chunky, their vocals deadpan and their lound/soft dynamics in all the right places. Then you start to catch lyrical snippets like 'eating human leg bones,' and you realized Beatrice Nine is a more twisted band than you thought. By the moody second track, 'The Squishy And the Squeaky,' you're hearing somber references to bloody brides, and the Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen influences are meeting the Chapel Hill influences straight on. . . . . Overall, Beatrice Nine have developed a style that's almost as enticing as it is askew."
-Option

Buick

 

Sweatertongue
(CD)

buick

SOLD OUT

 

"Buick is essentially a drums/guitar duo with the occasional pal lending a hand instrumentally or vocally. The songs develop slowly and ladder their way up to higher tempos. Four minute songs pack the velocity of two minute ones and Buick can resemble a younger, more volatile Pell Mell or a less bombastic Slint. Buick eschews the pointless vocal in favor of instrumental development. It's good. Really good. Sweatertounge has real power, motivation and depth and grows with each listen. Who needs much more than drums and guitars?"
-Your Flesh

Carquinez Straits

 

Humiliation Jacket (CD)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to El Sobrante EP (CD)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three's a charm for Carquinez Straits on Humiliation Jacket. But then again, so charming were records #1 and #2 by this Sacramento, California quartet. Their humble, country-tinged indie-rock is very interesting and likable, however illusive and hard to pin down. But that's the best part; it's a quirky, unpredictable trip when you travel down Carquinez Straits. It's with good reason they've been compared to bands like Camper Van Beethoven, Meat Puppets, Pavement, The Feelies, The Shramms, Thin White Rope, Ass Ponys and Uncle Tupelo. And yes, you can hear these elements from one song to the next if you look for them. But in the end you'll like them for their own style, which offers offbeat folksy lyrics and Jed Brewer's plaintive, sun-baked (or just plain baked) vocal delivery. From the delicate choogle of the pedal-steel rich "Paco + Witch" to the desert-rock (ala Green On Red) of "The Time We Left H-Bomb In Woodland" - which ends the disc with a Brian Jonestown Massacre-style sonic behemoth - and everything in between, Humiliation Jacket is really a fine coat of many colors. --  Miles Of Music

 

Also check out the 4-song companion EP, Welcome to El Sobrante.  Two non-album songs and two covers.  It's a limited-edition CDR and is only $3.

 

Where The Freeways Arc Over The Burnt Edges (CD)

 

 

"With a range of sound that touches on lazy twang, crunchy jangle-pop, indie rock and psychedelic-tinged space exploration, this Jed Brewer (Harvester) led band runs heavy on vibe. Their now characteristic loose vocals - a ramshackle mix of narcotized detachment - invite a sing-a-long with every chorus. The songs unfold into off-balance character sketches, groggy commentaries and poetic musings of the new, unshaven face of Americana."

-Miles of Music

 

The Flat Earth Just Got Flatter (CD)

 

Carquinez Straits has avoided being too oblique or defiantly weird in framing up its own unique sonic alt.americana ethic.      

-Rockpile                       

Curbfeelers

 

Drinks/Sketchfoot Re-Entry
(7")

 

 

"With a sinuous horn that wails in smooth, brassy squeals, and a pace that could anesthetize an elephant, the Curbfeelers crawl through a self-pityingly '30s film noir of a hangover in 'Drink's On Me', the a-side of this yellow-vinyl 45. The instrumental b-side, "Sketchfoot Re-entry", is a happier composition, reminiscent of bands like Love Tractor because of its tickling pitch changes in the middle of a note, twangy poppiness, and cymbal heavy percussion."
--Alternative Press

 

Grapes/Slurpy
(7")

 

 

"'Slurpy' sounds like Herb Albert doin' a '60s game-show theme, and 'Grapes' sounds like the guy from Pavement singing for East River Pipe, with a pretty trumpet added, to boot. Basically, the best single I've heard all year. Schizophrenia is an endearing quality."
-- You Could Do Worse

 

Viking Prairie Scooner/Bald Electrician
(7")

curbfeelers

 

 

"'Viking Prarie Schooner' showcases what I like best about this band; a breezy instrumental, kind of sound-tracky with a couple guitar squeals and plenty of trumpet fare. More and more I am convinced that the trumpet was made to ROCK! as evidenced by the totally righteous cover of Tripod Jimmie's 'Bald Electrician' on the flip side. It reminds me of the Hell Cows or Flipper the way it struts and spazzes about like a drunken deacon."
-Snipe Hunt 

Dearest, Crown

 

The Path to Going Down

 

 

... Dearest, Crown are a pleasant alternative answer to the quirkiness that is Neutral Milk Hotel and the Verlaines, except with more of a Rex campfire folk twist. Although at first listen their approach might sound traditional, it is their lyrical/storytelling approach that is like a vaguely twisted yet comically truthful psychological breakdown of human relationships that is the pull in, somewhat like an extremely charming but watered down version of Ween's 12 Country Golden Greats, except conceived by a bluegrass-loving psychologist bent on futility and teasing.

An additional feature of this album is the perfectly balanced organic analog recording by Larry Crane, who makes the sound so clean that you almost have to be careful when listening to it because it's like the cleanest sheet of plate glass that you don't see and walk into by mistake.  

-Exclaim

 

A Single Star, Bigger than the Universe (CD)

 

 

A stunning first album from Portland, Oregon's Dearest, Crown, on which they combine their ragged down-to-earth but ethereal music with some of the finest, most evocative lyrics I've encountered for some time now. Musically reminiscent of Matt Pond PA, Califone and Green-/Out Of Time-era R.E.M., Dearest, Crown's drum-less campfire sound may be too much for some listeners, but proves to be a subversive approach to songs that would have fallen apart had they been treated otherwise.

- Ink 19

The Envelope Peasant

Make a Home

 

The Envelope Peasant (Harvester frontman Sean Harrasser’s solo persona) has finished up recording and mixing his 2nd album, Make a Home.  This album was recorded with his splendid Scientific Orchestra.

Graves Bros. Deluxe

 

7"

 

Former Thin White Rope badboys Sto Odom and Roger Kunkel (also of Acme Rocket Quartet) team up with like-minded SF types to create new guitar twang and grind with Odom's Mississippi-drawl on the vox.

Harvester

Kentucky Fried Roberta Bus (CDR) EP

Annoying the Waitress (CD)

 

 

This is a limited edition  CDR of 9 unreleased songs and covers taken from sessions during the '95-'97 period.  Only $3 ppd.  Only two of the tracks are complete nonesense.  

 

 

 

 

Harvester churns out another batch of hybrid music, fusing alt.country and noisy indie rock; off beat humor and moments of thoughtfulness.  Their eclectic style finds them jumping from the punk-grass of "Perfect Vacation" to the angular Pavement-like rocker of "Salad and Bread".  -- Miles of Music

 

Mud is My Ally (CD)

 

 

Mud Is My Ally is the third album by Portland's Harvester, and though the band has parted ways with DGC, its glistening country/folk/pop-rock hybrid hasn't been tarnished. The quartet does trade a sizable portion of youthful enthusiasm for a more controlled pace, but this even-handed sobriety lends a remarkable beauty to Harvester's songs of strength and tenderness.... Harvester is cool and unrepentant in its love of guitars and rural sensibilities, and its best melodies linger with tear-streaked lyrics that sit heavy on the heart. -- CMJ

 

Camper Van Landingham
(CD-- Trocadero-Germany)

Camper van Landingham

 

 

"Todd Steinberg's bass is the glue that holds the songs on Camper Van Landingham together. It provides a steady anchor that keeps limbs from popping off as the band accelerates from taut, spare guitar passages to supple pop choruses (such as on 'Batholithic Intrusion'), and his more intricate designs give texture and interest to more straightforward rockers (like 'Give It Up Smooth'). And true to the band's name, there is a certain corn-fed quality to some of the songs, especially the rockabillyish "Whiskeydick" and the messily anthemic 'Tumble On.'"
--Scratch

 

Congratulations on Your Nudity
(CD EP)

 

 

"... raw, rootsy, rustic, dusty rock with a sense of humor and more than just a hint of flat-out absurdity....Don't take Harvester too seriously, but don't laugh too hard either. In the words of a great British philosopher, 'There's a fine line between clever and stupid.' It is on this fine line that Harvester ever so tenuously teeter."
--The Rocket

 

Me Climb Mountain
(DGC)

 

 

"Harvester has a knack for both guitar and vocal hooks, and their performance style delivers enough energy to overcome any doubts sown by the bucolic agricultural images on the front and back covers of Me Climb Mountain."
--Option

 

Northstate
(CD EP)

 

"This Portland-by-the-way-of-Northern California quartet has some impressive songs on its debut CD. Vocalist/guitarist Sean Harrasser proves himself quite a songwriter and lyricist, with poetic imagery strewn throughout the seven songs the Northstate EP. Musically, Harvester plays competent, melodic rock with enough of an edge to energize several of the tracks. The punchy "Hairtrigger" sounds like a cross between the Clash and Pavement,while the Versus-like "I Know That I Know This Won't Get Caught In Your Eye" offers a glimpse of Harrasser's inspired lyrics: 'The sky is hung like watercolors, the frail descent of autumn's pall resplendent once thesecolors wane beneath the crusting shadows.' Sprinkled with a few hooks,many of Harvester's songs are instantly likeable and engaging."
-Tonic

Killed By Bears
Killed by Bears (CD)

 

 

Portland’s Killed by Bears have just released their excellent self-titled CD.  Ryan Martin and his Fort Lexington troops have assembled an album that is as accessible as it is intriguing.  Pop, folk, and trumpet are all equal parts in this unstoppable killing machine.

 

 

 

Looky Loos

You're Looking Very Beautiful Man (CD)

 

Perhaps the Most Satisfying Joy Left...
(CD)

 

 

"...and if you have a particular affection for the kind of jangly reinvention of the Brian Wilson California aesthetic as practiced by such Dunedin, New Zealand, bands as the Chills a decade or so ago, this certainly will fly your kite."

 --Sacramento News & Review 

Popealopes

An Adder's Tale (CD) re-issue

The PopeAlopes' debut album originally released on vinyl by Skyclad Records in 1988.  Very much capturing the sound of late 80s Davis, CA, this psychedelic cowpunk album is a must for scene archivists.  Includes covers of the Stones' "2000 Light Years" and John Lee Hooker's "Crawling Kingsnake".  Reissued by the band, we're extending the tusk to make it available here.

San Kazakgascar

Drought Times EP CD ($5)


 

 

Idle Ships (CD)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greetings From Beautiful San Kazakgascar (CD)

 

 

"This Sacramento, CA band is lather Records entry into the Eastern psychedelia sweepstakes. Their songs will take you different flea markets where snake charmers will try and steal your wallet and the incense is burning like a California wildfire. Mike Woo’s clarinet steals the show…just don’t eat the curry!"

-Daggerzine

 

Planet Dog  (split 7") 

 

"There was a flyer for a recent Savage Republic gig tucked away in this single, which was a pretty good indicator of where these outfits are coming from. We’re looking at tribal drumming, shamanistic vocals, a heavy burnout blues vibe scented with myrrh and sticky with warm peyote buttons. The groups aren’t necessarily interchangeable – San Kazakgascar clearly has the better of the two tracks here, but The Master Musicians of Hop-Frog show them up in percussive intensity – but they fulfill a small yet dutiful role in the spiritual enhancement of man via rituals of the ",

-Dusted


A co-release with URCK Records. $5ppd.

Sidearm

 

A Sense of History (7"EP)

Sense of History

 

 

"Sidearm could mean a concealed weapon or an unconventional baseball pitch, and on their debut single "A Sense of History" it means both: "concealed" in the sense that it's one of those records you'll only read about in Incite and kindred fanzines, "weapons" in the sense that it leaves an unforgettable impact, and "baseball" in the sense of the words "a sidearm delivery" imprinted on the vinyl. This record features three flawless songs that give both songwriting and "lo-fi" the good names they deserve, which might suggest Pavement if they weren't so insistently original. If you have a spare $3, or better yet if you run a worldwide distribution service, write down that Lather address down in four or five places and order freely."
--Incite

Swimming in Bengal

 

Vol. 1 (CD)

Swimming in Bengal

 

 

Eastern-inspired drone improvisations with turns and burns.

Thornucopia

 

Dry July
(CD)

 

 

"This Davis, CA quintet makes its full-length debut with a dozen originals and a cover of Robyn Hitchcock's obtuse 'Superman' thrown in for good measure. Grafting Johanna Galos sometimes soothing vocals onto lethal doses of brittle distorted guitar makes a nice a la mode. 'The Peacock Killer' is a hoedown spiked with clanging guitars conjuring visions of a roomful of reeling recalcitrants.  The slower, hypnotic 'Quiero Fuego' and the near Gregorian chant feel of 'Thorn Cafe Orchestra' display the band's strong suit: sliding from fast to slow seamlessly."

 

Wake Up/Lullaby
(7")

 

 

"A fuzz-crusted guitar (that lilts on 'Lullaby') and strong women's vocals are the basic elements that Thornucopia combine to create their ballads, which have all the clean sweetness of a steelwool pad. For those who like ballads that rock, not put you to sleep."
--Alternative Press

Various

 

Pell Mell/Acme Rocket Quartet

Cloverleaf/Hey, Hey, Hey
(7")

Pell Mell/Acme

 

"Instrumental heroes Pell Mell return to peak form after the overly glossy Star City. Sounding more like Cul De Sac than either band might prefer, 'Cloverleaf' is caked with trail dust and true to the open-road, slide show feel of the band's wonderful SST records. Imagine the Lounge Lizards trading the neon of the naked city for the day-lit glitz of Vegas. ARQ's 'Hey, Hey, Hey!' is a light n' tangy instrumental mishmash, clever but a little goofy. Think Steely Dan plays War."
-Magnet

Harvester/Chance the Gardener

Give it Up Smooth/Another Sat-Nite w/The Stoners
(7")

 

No review here. All you need to know is that it's party rock recorded live at The Grange. At least that's what it sounds like.

Out-of-print-so-don't-ask :

FOUR LIPS FROM ONE MOUTH Compilation (7")

HARVESTER Lo-Fi Soccer Camp (7")


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