Posts Tagged ‘HHBTM Records’

Try the Pie, Two White Cranes, Pinkshinyultrablast, Fireworks at Throw the Dog a Bone

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Try the Pie, Antlered Auntlord, SPC ECO at Examiner

Try the Pie

Try The Pie is Bean Tupou’s labor of love. With the highly regarded Domestication under her belt Tupou has released – Rest – a collection of songs from 2005 – 2008. The 13 self-recorded tracks allow listeners to partake in Tupou’s music at the embryonic level. The tunes are stripped down to just her voice and a guitar as she sings about things that are on her mind. The songs on Rest weave in and out of relationship issues, love and living life with Tupou using hot days, trains and bunkbeds as metaphors. The raw sound lends to the frailty of this collection of songs. They are imperfect just like life. Tupou’s voice is at the forefront of this album baring its naked soul for all to judge and it is her wispy vocals that give each track its strength. Try The Pie demonstrates that a catchy melody and strong lyrics make a great song. Big productions have their place, luckily for listeners it is not on this record.

Antlered Aunt Lord

The debut record from Antlered Aunt Lord – Ostensibly Formerly Stunted (and On Fire) – is a wild trip through the mind of Jesse Stinnard (Tunnabunny). The record suffers from multiple personality disorder as Stinnard gives us songs that range from brilliance to what the hell was that. The tracks “Monopilot” and “Questions From Our Publicist” utilize catchy pop melodies and jangly guitars allowing Stinnard’s vocals to flow freely over this incredible soundscape into listener’s ears. Stinnard refuses to be safe and many times wanders into an area that walks the thin line between noise and music. A wall of noise rushes from the speakers on “Abandoned Car”, “Classic Nu New Uncomfortable Bumblebee Dub” is a weird jazz infused tune and “Sciatica” is a chunky punk infused track the rattles the brain. It is this inconsistency in Antlered Aunt Lord’s tunes that makes this different and worth listening to. With each listen something different is discovered as Stinnard mixes a plethora of instruments, sounds and noises throughout the album. The 19 songs keep listeners wondering what comes next as they progress through each track. Ostensibly Formerly Stunted (and On Fire) draws comparisons to the eclectic albums by Robert Pollard (Guided By Voices). There is no set pattern nor plan to the music it is just there to enjoy.


Consisting of Rose Berlin, Dean Garcia and a group of collaborators that could take all day to list make up SPC ECO. In 2015 SPC ECO released Dark Matter, a collection of esoteric music built around haunting melodies, synthesized sounds and Berlin’s soothing vocals. Listeners are sucked into SPC ECO’s soundscape on a journey that seems to slow down time. Songs such as “Creep In The Shadows”, “Under My Skin” and “Breathe” are beautiful demonstrations in music showing how delicate it can be. With “The Whole World Shines” and “Let It Always Be” things get a bit more experimental. The music has an edge but Berlin’s vocals keep it from careening out of control. Dark Matter is an album that requires a bit of investment from the listeners. The traditional song structure is not there but Berlin’s & Garcia’s ability to stray from the musical norm is what makes this worth the listen.


Antlered Aunt Lord at Backseat Mafia

Sometime Tunabunny drummer Jesse Stinnard has recently released his first record under his Antlered Aunt Lord moniker. Titled Ostensibly Formerly Stunted and released on the HHBTM label, it’s a mixture of his own lo-fi and very much DIY recordings that Stinnard culled from a bank of almost 200.

His reputation (locally) as something of eccentric transports itself through the recordings of Antlered Aunt Lord, which at points seems to lean towards grunge/US alt-rock such as Sugar, but then veer towards The Beach Boys (check the harmonies on Monopilot), the next thing, this eclectic mix of electric folk and Pavement and Guided by Voices and, well, just about everything in between. The rough hue of the recording (more evident on some tracks than others) only adds to the charm as they somehow hold together as a whole.

Despite all of its frayed edge messiness, Ostensibly Formerly Stunted is more than enjoyable because of Stinnard’s quirky nature, his lyrical content, and his skillful handling of melody (damn, he can write a catchy tune) The only downside is that (as with a lot of these recordings) some of the songs are little more than ideas- Munsonfly and EPA are good examples. Enjoyable as they are, they could have been so much more.

When he gets it right though, the results are worth it. The brilliant Krautrock Motorik of Pray for Glam is brilliant, and Questions from our Publicist, apart from having a brilliant title, hints at 90s slacker rock, and is deliciously catchy. There’s some fantastic Pixies-esque loud/quiet interplay, with a liberal dose of synths in Hi Beam Hi Priest, and the weird Fall-like Sciatica is great.

With some 180 songs still in the vault, this could be the start of something big.



Try the Pie at the Vinyl District

Bean Kaloni Tupou is perhaps best known for singing and playing in the San Jose, CA four-piece Sourpatch, but as Try the Pie she additionally offers solo artistry of considerable acumen and growing prominence. Her most recent work in this mode emerged this past April, but those wishing to explore Try the Pie’s beginnings are graced with good luck for the venture’s earliest recordings have been given a fresh vinyl pressing courtesy of theHappy Happy Birthday To Me label. Featuring 13 of Tupou’s songs delivered up close and very personal through guitar and voice, Restis available now.

Together with her contribution to the San Jose-based Think and Die Thinking Collective, Bean Tupou’s credits include Crabapple, Salt Flat, and Plume, but thus far her highest profile undertaking has been Sourpatch, a sadly defunct outfit (their Bandcamp refers to them in the past tense, anyway) having specialized in a dead-solid expansion of a particular wrinkle of the early ‘90s indie aesthetic.

Specifically, think of the Slumberland and SpinArt enterprises. Diversity and focus worked in Sourpatch’s favor, the group actually offering a broader sound than some of their influences but not so wide-ranging that 2010’s Crushin’ and ‘12’s Stagger & Fade (both released by Happy Happy Birthday To Me) connect like samplers of a bygone era.

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Noon:30 at Get It On Vinyl

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Try the Pie at KQED

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Noon:30 at Big Takeover

On one of those damn days I dismissed dozens of submissions for being unremarkable, I had to laugh when I tried Noon:30 next. I’m not sure what they are, but it’s sure the opposite! Two profane Detroit girls gone to DC, Aissa and Blue try on styles like clashing flashions on these four tracks (three of them remixed on side two), and they’re pretty hardcore, whatever. First they‘re so creepy horror movie ambient I see psycho slashers in ski masks; second they’re a capella folk; third they’re industrial-strength, ultra-abrasive, in your face hip-hop (if Ministry tried it?), forging a scowling feminist “kiss my ass” update to Salt-n-Pepa’s 1988 #19 smash, “Push It” of 2014’s Geico commercials; fourth, they’re minimal art/noise turned electroclash. My word, but I asked for a challenge. They “found release,” in both senses.

[From the print issue]

Try the Pie at Collapse Board

Oh, god. Help me. I keep thinking about him lately and I don’t even know why.

OK. Calm down. No, don’t calm down. He didn’t come in tonight, Karl told me, because he was admitted to the hospital today. I tried not to ask too many times – Karl had to run glasses to the bars, anyway – but when he came into the dishroom and I inquired again, he read me one text from him. Something is bleeding and I don’t know where, he said.

I’m at home now, in bed, writing this into you…but my mind drifts off, over and over, spinning like the ceiling fan above me. Sometimes I wish I could just tell someone, anyone, about this feeling – how I shudder when he comes near, not of fright but sheer joy; how I ache when his knee gives out; how I loathe the loitering crowds that he loathes to serve. If only I could sing like Bean Tupou, maybe it’d be easier. Just sing, to only the desk lamp and the laptop, with just a guitar or a ukulele and maybe a little drum or something and share the CD-Rs only with your closest friends. She’s already stolen the line I’d say:

To be quite honest with you, I’ve had this feeling all along, and it’s been eating at my bones / and you probably think it’s strange that I’ve waited all this time to tell you so

See, that’s why I hate this furtive journal-writing. Cos right now, I don’t know if, if – the urge to find this hospital that he’s in, the pity that washed over me when he told me about the seizure that threw him down the stairs, the happiness that bounces in me whenever he’s happy and cracking jokes – if that’s all what love entails. But Tupou can share her feeling in a song, and she never has to explain who she’s referring to, and I could tell her, if ever I saw her, that I’ve felt that way about someone, too, and it’s not strange at all. Secrets eat at my bones, and I can’t let them out, either.

I guess that’s my other obsession lately. I can’t stop listening to Try the Pie. Sometimes I try to envision that apartment, especially in the quiet where you hear the cars rushing underneath. But mostly, I listen to her proclaim the little nagging thoughts that always haunt me – like when she laments how her legs move away from the one that loves her, and how “all my hours are spent thinking about how all my hours are a waste”.

And the bravest words, the admission tucked in the warm curl of “Alot of Things” – “Sometimes I find it so hard to be just your friend”. (Why can’t I say this out loud?)

The songs nestle in my head, and they nurture these thoughts, these concerns I shouldn’t have. Maybe I’m OK. Maybe he’s OK. Maybe I’ve never desired love until sweet folk like Tupou describe it in such hushed, holy terms, with such precision and care that you could rest your head on its shoulder.

All I can do, diary, is wait.

Tupou’s ad hoc solo endeavor Rest is out now on HHBTM Records. Order it here.



Antlered Aunt Lord at Songs Smiths

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Antlered Aunt Lord at Big Takeover

As Antlered Aunt Lord, Tunabunny drummer, Jesse Stinnard, serves up his solo debut of odd, incongruent lo-fi recordings that somehow make sense as an album.

Ostensibly Formerly Stunted (and on fire)exists as the audio diary of one who sees the world entirely through their own goggles. Shades of the gritty 1990s Los Angeles Poop Alley Studios sound merge with traces of slop pop pioneers Crayon. Fuzzy synths shoot laser beams over jangly guitars, while snotty indie rock vocals give way to Beach Boys harmonies. Sounds emerge and become something else, taking the songs into unexpected territories without ever losing their catchy charm. It’s Robert Pollard doing Talking Heads while on an earlyDevo trip.

Apparently Antlered Aunt Lord has a backlog of several hundred songs. Let’s hope this is only volume one.