Posts Tagged ‘antlered aunt lord’

Antlered Aunt Lord at Performer

If the reports are to be believed, then AAL’s Jesse Stinnard is either a bizarre genius that Athens has been hiding for the past decade, or an equally bizarre manifestation of said genius’s cosmic brain waves. Er, where was I? Oh yes, the new vinyl release by this “band” from Athens. Well, let’s not bury the lead any further: it’s a friggin’ winner.

Melodic, oddly dark and inviting, and at times invitingly grating (yep, that makes sense), the record is an amalgam of tracks culled from (if we believe what we’re told) hundreds of songs in Stinnard’s crazy backlog. There are so many damn songs it’s hard to tell where you are at any given time in the tracklist, but that’s kinda what’s bat-shit awesomesauce about the journey. Records aren’t typically made that way (usually for good reason), but the experimentation is oddly enveloping in a fuzzed-out acid-trip sorta way.

Nominally, it’s a shoegaze-meets-noisepop-meets-punk album. Well, sorta. If inexplicable Pavement-esque stabbings at warbling rock n roll float your boat, this is gonna give you an instant pants-tent.

It’s hard to say too much more about the record. It’s weird. It’s fun. It’s catchy (seriously) and it doesn’t seem to take much for granted when it comes to standard songwriting formats. We dig eccentric shit like this. Can’t wait to hear the rest of the backlog, Jesse.

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Antlered Aunt Lord at Immersive Atlanta

Let’s set aside the video for a moment because it really is ancillary to the discussion that needs to be had, which is, namely, if you’re any sort of fan of oddball garage pop, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you’re not listening to Antlered Aunt Lord, aka Athens artist Jesse Stinnard (also of Tunabunny). His frazzled, fuzz-heavy anthems carry with them shades of Dinosaur Jr. and Guided By Voices, both masters of grainy fidelity rock with an air of quirky transcendence. I’m not quite prepared to place Stinnard in that rarefied company, but suffice it to say the two tracks presented here, taken from his latest LP, Ostensibly Formerly Stunted (and on fire), are both cut from that same gloriously off-kilter cloth.

As for the video, well, it kind of speaks for itself. Depending on your take, director Ted Kuhn’s work is either fabulously surreal or almost militantly weird. For three and a half minutes the viewer is presented with upside-down footage of a man (Stinnard?) dressed in a red Teletubbies suit (Po!), walking and emphatically waving across a verdant park. That pretty much all that happens until “Questions From Our Publicist” begins to fade out and the video cuts to a closing shot of the empty Teletubbies suit atop a garbage can. I suppose it’s possible to psychoanalyze the video as some sort of meditation on discarding your past and forgoing nostalgia, but whatever. For me, this one is all about the music, and it sounds damn fine.

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Antlered Aunt Lord at Pop! Stereo

The oddly named Antlered Aunt Lord is as shambolic and weird as their name might imply.  Led by the one and only member, Jesse Stinnard, AAL is a crazy chaotic mess of a solo project.    Stinnard is a hap hazard artist who cranks out songs as if doing so was as involuntary as breathing.  I’m not sure if he’s really all that good overall but he occasionally hits a sweet spot and comes up with something that perks your ears up.

Stinnard’s solo effort, Ostensibly Formerly Stunted, is as loosely put together as his musical ideas.  Consisting of 19 tracks much of this record comes from a backlog of songs AAL had laying around and it kind of sounds like it.  Ostensibly Formerly Stunted runs together as if it were his stream of consciousness let loose in a recording studio.  As a result the album is truly all over the place musically and covers more genres of indie than I could count.  Guitars are wrangled, drums broken, voices strained and through it all Ostensibly Formerly Stunted is as lo-fi as lo-fi can be.  I’m not sure if my tolerance level for all this messiness is high enough for repeated listens, but there are some special moments on this slab.   For example, the second Stinnard finds a keyboard magical things happen songs worth hearing ooze out of the record.

Ostensibly Formerly Stunted isn’t necessarily a bad record from a songwriting standpoint (Stinnard has some great ideas) it just pivots from production qualities faster than sub genres.  And while the production is lacking AAL has some tunes worthy of listening to and given $10 and a DAT recorder they might make for a nice sounding record.  Unfortunately, this entire record is so all over the place that it tested my sanity a bit too much.  If you like crazy lo-fi/no-fi pop off of Adderall you’ll absolutely flip a wig for this but if you enjoy hearing things in a somewhat structured manner…you’ll lose your mind.  Antlered Aunt Lord’s Ostensibly Formerly Stunted sounds like a demo committed to vinyl and I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

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Antlered Aunt Lord at Das Klienicum

es kann schon sein und es ist ok, dass man noch nie von jesse stinnard gehört hat. er ist der kopf vonantlered aunt lord. einer band, die nun erstmals veröffentlicht hat, obwohl es sie/ihn bereits geraume zeit gibt. dank happy happy birthday to me records gelangen die kruden soundabenteuer endlich ans licht der welt. zuvor machte sich stinnard einen namen in athens als wahrlich exzentrischen burschen, den man schon mal als dauergast in 24h restaurants antraf, wo er berge von büchern abarbeitete. stinnard ist autodidakt, der es aber immerhin zum tourdrummer von tunabunny gebracht hat. die luden ihn ein, als ihr hauptamtlicher fellzerstörer kurz vor der abfahrt ausstieg. die bekanntschaft beruhte damals lediglich darauf, dass stinnard die band fragte, ob er ihre konzerte aufzeichnen dürfe. nicht weniger ulkig ist seine bühnenaktivität. die definiert sich durch entblößende gleichgültigkeit, stinnard dreht dem publikum den rücken zu und schreit richtung bühnenabgang ins mikro.
antlered aunt lord entzücken durch eine musik, die nicht zu fassen ist, weil sie einem sekündlichen wandsel unterworfen ist. wir müssen uns mit popfetzen auseinandersetzen, die im kern süffig auf melodie aus sind, they might be giants lassen grüssen, aber an den rändern zerfasern. wir erleben harmoniegesänge und stringentes pauken und trompeten. wir erleben narreteien, deren grinsemasken uns ängstigen. da brennen die gitarren und des sängers geschrei fegt durch mark und bein. gekonnt angelt uns die band aber auch bei diesen heißen eisen. während man das glühende metall aus den händen wirft, wird längst die nächste runde geschmiedet und uns übergeben. die pixies sind hier nicht weit. vieles klingt, als wäre es just im moment erdacht, eine hohe flexibilität der mitstreiter wäre unabdingbare voraussetzung. antlered aunt lord sind letztlich eine mischung aus vielerlei einzelteilen, die man zu kennen glaubt. am ende ist diese band, ist dieser typ einzigartig. ich liebe diese art von überraschung(en).
der langspieler wurde “ostensibly formerly stunted (and on fire)” getauft, enthält neunzehn tracks und ist auf 200 stück limitiert. erhältlich ist er im hhbtm shop.

 

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Antlered Aunt Lord at Maximum Rock and Roll

Antlered Aunt Lord play charming indie pop. it is quirky and breezy, reminding me of early Neutral Milk Hotel. Athens, GA musician Jesse Stinnard is the force behind this LP. According to the liner notes, he apparently “tricked” his friends into being recorded for it. It has that bedroom recording quality: lo-fi and sincere. It is interesting stuff.

Antlered Aunt Lord at Fear and Loathing

Video in motion, prisoners of our own electronic devices, the dull thud of a door closing, and the nervous shudder of one opening create unusual monsters in our imagination. There’s nothing more beautiful than a twenty-four hour establishment, reliable availability is so hard to find in an age of face-time dating and inconsistent suspicion. You can give into the constant state of panic, or just not give a fuck. I prefer the latter. Is it really worth wasting valuable moments of your life wondering if you have a safety net or back up plan? The neon laced violent dance of nature carves the tempo and twists reality into unrecognizable fashion statements constantly. The latest full length by Antlered Aunt Lord creates an alternate universe of apathetic gold for the unsuspecting masses. Impetuous hooks of melody and insomnia fueled chord changes forge a new wave of songwriting that is difficult to define but soothing in its syrupy uncertainty. This motherfucker of musical mayhem requires several listens to acquire a proper addiction, it shrieks and whispers like a fallen star staging a comeback with a live suicide for the final act.

Vocal commotion and overdriven amplified harmonies instigate a joyous paranoia of indie-glam-pop that hits hard and caresses with uncleanliness. If Frank Black covered the first two Squeeze albums and used Frank Zappa as his producer, it might come close to the opulent cacophony presented on Ostensibly Formerly Stunted (And on Fire). AAL consists of only one band member, the eccentric Jesse Stinnard (recording engineer and drummer of the infamous Tunabunny). This collection is a shortened showcase pulled from hundreds of songs that Stinnard has accumulated in an impressive short amount of time. Brigette of Tunabunny shot the video premiere (featured here) for “Throwback Bikes”. A very impressive debut that leaves you wanting more, but each listen opens up a fourth dimension that allows this body of songs to reshape and reinvent itself with repeated exposure.
Choice Cuts:
“Hi-Beam Hi-Priest”-“Pray for Glam”- “Questions from Our Publicist”-“Munsonfly”-“Sigil to Noise”

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Antlered Aunt Lord at Neufutur

 

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Antlered Aunt Lord at Bloodbuzzed

Second trip of the week to most beloved Athens, Georgia, to meet Jesse Stinnard, Tunabunny’s eccentric drummer, phantom screamer, compulsive reader and unique musician (the press note says his solo shows are truly legendary). Now this mad genius has decided to put some order into his several-hundred song backlog to release his debut album, ‘Ostensibly Formerly Stunted (And On Fire)‘ out since late November through Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records. It’s a carnival of sorts, They Might Be Giants, early R.E.M.,Pixies… I know, I know. I’m reciting some of the quintessential American alternative bands. But Stinnart seems to be the missing link between them. Fun, risky yet powerfully melodic. What an exciting chaos. Many thanks, again, Mike!

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Antlered Auntlord at Raised By Gypsies

One of the things which struck me about this sound right away, listening to it from the moment I pressed play, was that Antlered Aunt Lord reminds me a lot of the band Dynamite Hack.   I’m not sure whatever happened to Dynamite Hack and, no, I’m not going to look it up though I believe they’ve probably long since broke up after they got some recognition with that one rap song they covered.   I actually really enjoyed their entire album though and remember how back in the days of NCA I was able to get one of my friends in another state into a sold out Weezer show because Dynamite Hack was opening and I somehow got their press kit from a major label at the time.   But yes, that Dynamite Hack album has stayed with me all these years and while hearing it in here might be considered a bad thing to some I’m not going to be like, “Oh, they’re ripping off Dynamite Hack” because as far as I know (and am concerned) Dynamite Hack just had that one album and aren’t really in my *current* list but *past* list so to hear a current band that channels them is nothing but a plus.   (Watch, I’ll find out these two bands are linked somehow)

There are always these little ways that bands can impress me and win me over and it sometimes can seem odd, but just these little things sometimes do help.   Aside from thinking of Antlered Aunt Lord as “that band who sounds like Dynamite Hack”, I also began to relate them with one of their lyrics which gets stuck in my head.    On the song “Questions From Our Publicist”, which happens to be in the second slot, they sing about how they are going to send something to someone (I would assume their publicist) in unmarked packages.   Those two words- “unmarked packages”- are sung over and over and in such a way that it gets stuck in my head.    It’s somewhat easy to have words that rhyme get stuck in your head or something out of the normal song-writing experience, but for me having the words “unmarked packages” stuck in your head (because it’s not that they sing it but *how* they sing it) is quite the accomplishment in the way that you can hear people sing along phrases and lyrics that you just never thought they would ever sing along with because it doesn’t seem or feel catchy.    So taking those non-traditional words or phrases and turning them into pop in some way is something that I will always appreciate and it is not easy to do.

When you dive deeper into this record (because there are 19 tracks and I’ve thus far only really focused on the first two) you’ll hear music ranging from They Might Be Giants to twee to New Order, Depeche Mode, Marilyn Manson, Knight Rider, distorted thrash, whistling and even some Modest Mouse.    So it’s really not like listening to the same song over and over as there is a bit of diversity on here, but the songs still remain the same general rock genre so as not to stray too far away and feel like a compliation.    The song “Yr RIght” is the distorted thrash type of one and the title of it also serves as the only lyrics, put on repeat, and so that’s just one example of how these songs can vary.   In a lot of ways, in terms of album structure (but not really musically) it reminds me of something Local H would do because it’s not afraid to push any sort of boundaries but yet still stays connected.

Antlered Aunt Lord has created what began for me as an easy way to remember who they are (They sound like Dynamite Hack right off and have the song about “unmarked packages”), but throughout the record they show you why you should stick around and listen to the whole thing on repeat as many times as you can.   It’s almost as if Antlered Aunt Lord was able to plant this seed inside your head or a bug of some type which had you hooked from the start, so no matter how many times it takes you to get into this record you’re going to listen to it that many times and then some.    While I do believe musicians and computer programmers both share a love of math I don’t fully believe any of them have gotten together yet and discovered the way to code a song so that it would infect a listener as a virus would a computer, but the fact that Antlered Aunt Lord has done this on their own just makes it that much more worthy of you taking the time to be affected by it.

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Antlered Auntlord, Bunnygrunt, and Try the Pie at Jersey Beat

Antlered Aunt Lord

This has me excited! Why? Back in the late 70s and into the 80s, there was some incredible music being made. There was a veritable explosion of diversity and experimentalism in musical styles in the wake of the disillusionment with arena rock and disco. Punk and hardcore won the day, in the underground, before evolving into somewhat more conventional grunge, pop punk, and indie-pop, but there was that brief, wonderful period where you could buy all sorts of records from bands playing weird, quirky sorts of stuff. And now you can again. Antlered Aunt Lord, the name used for Tunabunny drummer Jesse Stinnard’s solo work, has released an album so different from anything else coming out these days. Reportedly, the nineteen tracks here come from a vast library of recordings Stinnard has stashed away, and it seems that these represent his musical sketchbook, if you will. Some of the tracks are nearly fully realized, if a bit lo-fi in the recording department, while others seem to be ideas that are merely outlines with a promise of what might come if ever filled in. What comes through very clearly, though, is Stinnard’s exuberance; he is very obviously passionate and joyful about his music, and it shows in the recordings. The album opens with “Events of the Future,” itself opening with some noise and guitar doodling and tuning, before bursting into a keyboard driven garage-rock track, with undertones of doo-wop and hints of Spanish bullfights. The birds are singing along on this one, literally. You can hear them quite loudly in the mix. “Abandoned Car” has an awesome minimalist melodic line, super lo-fi recording, and nerdy vocals that you can barely make out. “Monopilot” is an out-and-out psych-folk-rock track that sounds like something out of the late 60s, while “The Beezwax” is a cool, simple nerd-pop track. “Epa” is humorous, with its loping rhythm and non-stop “boom-chick-a-boom” repeating over an over underneath the lead vocals. “Yr Right” is noisy, manic track that sounds like it could be an early pop punk track, heavy on the punk, but super distorted. “Sigil To Noise” may be my favorite track on the album, with angularities that belie the melodic nature, and a throbbing undercurrent that keeps propelling the track forward. The trick is the substantial silence that makes you think the track has ended, but then it bursts back for a powerful conclusion. “Hi Beam Hi Priest (Blinker Fluid) is just plain awesome in its new wave lo-fi pop-ness, with loud/quiet sections and tons of synth. The closer, “Save The Very Best,” is aptly named – because you save the very best for last, natch. It’s a drunken Cajun Irish reel of some kind from an alternate universe that lurches and staggers through to its uncertain conclusion. A few of these tracks have also been made into music videos, which are available on youtube and are just as creative as the music. Recommended!

Bunnygrunt

OK, folks, if you’re going to put out vinyl records, there’s a critical piece of information you need to include on the label: the speed at which to play the record. This is especially true if the speed is not the “standard” for the size of the record. This 12” album is to be played at 45RPM, not 33. That said, once I found the right speed, I found some pretty damn good lo-fi music that varies from indie-pop to punk to art-pop. Each side has four tracks, and the musical quality improves as the record progresses. The opener is a short, throwaway track that’s pretty much all instrumental, while “Just Like Old Times” is a pretty indie-pop track, as is “Open My Eyes,” though the latter is a little harder around the edges. “Chunt Bump” is the long epic track of the album, and it’s got a cool prog-rock feel to it, especially toward the end, when the strings come in, and it gets a retro 70s feel. The B-side opens with “The Book That I Wrote,” which also has a bit of a retro 70s psych rock feel, while “I Quit, Mr. White” is a nice Replacements-like track. “Frankie Is A Killer” is a full-on proto-punk track that could have come right out of the mid-70s, and the closer, “Still Chooglin’ (After),” is also proto-punk. I like the raw honest feel of these tracks – there’s no pretense here. I just wish the recording quality had been a little better, because these are good songs.

Try the Pie

Try The Pie is the work of Bean Tupou, a Bay Area musician who is deeply involved in the DIY music community. “Rest” is Tupou’s second full-length album as Try The Pie, and consists of a collection of early recordings made in the period of 2006-2008. Acoustic guitar and vocals, including overdubbed harmonies are featured on these lo-fi home recordings, plus occasional ukulele or percussion instruments. As a result, it certainly sounds more like song sketches and demos than a fully realized album, but I think that was the point. As a look into Tupou’s creative mind, it works. You hear all of the ideas, seemingly as they’re forming, and all of the mistakes, too. Tupou has a pretty enough voice, and the songs are sweet and melodic, but they aren’t groundbreaking or revelatory. As a person with a relatively short career (though certainly busy with a number of other projects), I question whether the world needs to have this sort of release right now. I mean, Try The Pie’s debut LP only came out this past spring. I think I would rather hear a regular studio album of fully formed songs that have been honed through live shows. Save the song sketchbook for several years from now, assuming you’ve toured extensively and developed some sort of following.

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