Posts Tagged ‘ostensibly formerly stunted’

Antlered Aunt Lord at Music That I Like

Reinforcement, and it feels so good.

Reinforcement, and I can pretend to myself that I connect with certain people, certain ways of seeing. This next bit is from the PR (whom I know by default): “Antlered Aunt Lord is entirely Jesse Stinnard, a guy who’s spent the past ten years in Athens, Georgia as a cherished eccentric in a town…”

I am suspicious of the word eccentric, like I am suspicious of people who turn the volume on their computers too high, like I would never entirely trust an academic who does not entirely distrust Adorno. This music however has been lurking around the back of my computer for months now. (I look inside, and there is no back. It is like the TARDIS in there. OrTron.) It helps reassure, reaffirm, reinforce. No challenge, but that is OK. Kinda music it is damnably easy to attribute personal attributes to (cuddly, friendly, awkward, clumsy). WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU? Music does not have human traits. It is music. It is sound and noise and context jumbled up, sometimes deliberately. Or rather, with intent. It will shout down doors, unlock openings.

Who knows what would happen if someone was to stumble across a whole new way of listening? No one would pay attention, I am sure. It is not in the vested interest.

Stuff like this is the Pixies playing like they still have fun at playing being the Pixies (which they patently do not). Pixies given the freedom to enjoy music. Pixies allowed to give vent.

I do not want to labour this point, but I am also suspicious of gungemusic. The next song may well remind you of the same band it reminds me of. Ain’t that sweet? Group hug. Panda eyes. I would almost rather hear a reinvention of this. I said almost rather. I am playing this album for reinforcement, remember? The sounds lurking round the back of my TARDIS of a computer are not there so that I can avoid the journey but to help me facilitate the journey. Most music is a matter of Photoshopping one sound onto the next. I read somewhere that authors often take 95% of their inspiration from other authors but I DO NOT DO THAT. That is the problem with us eccentrics. No sense of How To Get On In This World.

I like yr Antlered Auntlord for the same reason I like this, or this. Pop Music.

Reinforcement or retirement? I like my rock music scuzzed-up. I like my pop music clean. Or is it the other way round? Music is so confusing these days.

Track five is a sea shanty.

Like I say, this has been lurking round the back of my computer for a couple of months now.


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”


Antlered Aunt Lord at Neufutur



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!


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!


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.


Antlered Aunt Lord at Beautiful Freaks

It is Friday and we’re in Rob’s room, so we’re drinking. “Is this my wine?” “It’s the bottle with the bird on it (if it’s not the whisky).” And we’re playing all the classics (our own classics), to the disapprovement of some of those present who then leave for a cigarette. Other times we play Jenga and read manic poems by Ginsberg out loud to disturb the players. Inevitably we’ll start loudly discussing why this band is better than that similar sounding band, or why this artist is part of this or that genre. As if it matters. In my mind, these nights are chaotic moments of friendship. Accidental stories. But I’m sure anyone sober walking in would just hear a pointless discussion about music and the same songs every time.

Antlered Aunt Lord – the moniker of Jesse Stinnard – reminds me of all that. I played it that Friday but we didn’t really listen, although Rob did tell me they don’t sound like Neutral Milk Hotel at all. But they do (c’mon, that guitar in the opening track! the last bit of ‘Monopilot’!). It’s the way the beauty seems to be purely accidental, as if these people never set out to write beautiful songs, they were just strumming guitars and trying to sing and by a cosmic coincidence, something that exceeds the sum of the parts came into existence.

And sometimes these people truly sound like they’re drunk. It’s not just the messy playing, the messy singing. There is also the violence and unpredictability. ‘An Impersonal Appeal’ suddenly turns dark and heavy. ‘Monopilot’ goes from pretty harmonies to desperate mumbling. You’ve got the jolly “boom chicka boom” in ‘Epa’, but also the threatening whistling in ‘Don’t Ever Have to Wait’. There is no way to predict from the previous song what the next one’s gonna sound like. But everything’s said and sung as if it’s something Stinnard just blurts out because it had to be said. The accidental kick in the heat of the moment.

And if it reminds me of one thing it reminds me of so many things. ‘Questions From Our Publicist’ sounds like Guided by Voices. Actually, there is a lot of Guided by Voices on Ostensibly Formerly Stunted (and on fire). And not just because, just like GbV, Stinnard’s songs are mostly closer to one than two minutes long and often sound completely unfinished. It’s because they are clearly the losers of this story. Otherwise they wouldn’t scream, they wouldn’t sound so raw. But the world’s at fault, the world is unjust, and if that’s so then what else can be done except futile nothings and writing songs?

Ostensibly Formerly Stunted invites a kind of existentialism. Is there any sense in all this? Is there a point. There has to be, right? But why a song like ‘Classic Nu New Uncomfortable Dumblebee Dub’ or ‘Pray for Glam’? Aren’t these just the ramblings of an insane or insanely drunk mind? It is madness to be angry at the world for being unjust. But sometimes we are mad. And then we will need Antlered Aunt Lord.



Antlered Aunt Lord at Fanzine

Sometimes I wish The F-Z had a comments section. I miss the anger and the threats I used to get back at the old place. When someone says they’re going to kick your ass because you don’t like Julia Holter, that’s when you know you’ve made a difference. Anyway, this month is, aside from the Grimes debacle, mostly posi-vibes as far as the eye can see. Maybe this month’s inbox will be filled with love threats instead of death threats.

I went to see Ed Schraeder’s Music Beat this month. Of course this is Athens, where shows never start on time, and so even though it was a weeknight ES’sMB didn’t go on until 12:30am and neither I nor the person I was with have a life right now that allows us to stay up til 2 in the morning on a weeknight w/o facing Serious Consequences. But even though we had to split, we still got our money’s worth b/c one of the opening bands was this thing called The Gurgle Twins that sounded like a cross between those ‘Phish Shreds’ videos you see on YouTube, and Capt. Beefheart, which is to say that they sounded very excellent indeed. It was freaky and fun and totally unexpected and it made my week. It might be the best new thing I’ll hear all month and should serve as a reminder to all of us that the world is full of strangeness like a rich painting and sometimes the only way to find it is to leave your house. Because while the grid delivers a lot to us these days, it rarely delivers surprises.

That said, so much astonishingly great music came out last month that we should all be grateful to still be alive to hear it. If only we would listen.

All albums scored on the binary scale because zeros and ones are how your mom tells you she loves you. And just so we’re clear, these are albums that came out in November.


Antlered Aunt Lord at Songs Smiths

Click through for the playlist!


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.