Vulture Kult
Don't Let Rock N' Roll Ruin Your Life
Street: 09.01.12
Vulture Kult = The Darkness + Black Sabbath + Motörhead
Vulture Kult sounds like something Bill and Ted would blast from their phone booth stereo while flying through the circuits of time. With every strum of his nonstop riffs, Hans Bielefeld’s pick against the guitar strings produces a squeak, like a saliva lubed cheese curd between slick teeth. Seriously nonstop riffs, the brief breaks in strumming come only when a string must be bent. With one exception, “Vultures From Above,” where Bielefeld sings narrative, melodically similar to “Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream,” the vocals vary little from track to track. This wont bother anyone interested in a high-power hybrid of melody and a flapping uvula. The two tracks winding down Don't Let Rock N' Roll Ruin Your Life, “Movie Of Me,” a psychedelic organ-slow-jam, and the instrumental “Checking Out,” could have been picked up during a stop in the ’60s. –Steve Richardson

Waves Of Fury
Alive Natural Sound Records
Street: 10.29.12
Waves Of Fury = The Oblivions + The Orwells + The Strange Boys
The music gods should have saved the title of the Jaco Pastorius album Punk Jazz for Thirst, although Punk Doo-wop might be more fitting. The harder I try, the more unclassifiable Thirst becomes. You’ll find dirt and distortion on every level of Thirst, from the horns and quick slopes of trombone notes, to the piano intros, to the froggy vocals and screams. “These Things I Leave You” makes beautiful use of abrasive, squealing noises that your mother wouldn’t understand, after which, everything drops to total calm as the track changes to the soft horns and piano intro of “Pretender Soul.” Transitions like this show the extent of the dynamics of Thirst that keep me interested. –Steve Richardson

Wayne Hancock
Street: 02.26
Wayne Hancock = Hank Williams + Hank Thompson + Carl Perkins + Nat King Cole
The king of underground country swing is back at it with a new record. Now, the Wayne “the Train” sound hasn’t changed much over his nearly 20-year career, but it is remarkable how he’s always been able to use his trademark sound to travel through country, jazz and rockabilly territory. With a few songs sans the usual steel guitar accompaniment, Ride struck me as more of a rockabilly record, but is certainly within the bounds of what you’d expect from Hancock. As far as lyrical content, stories of cheating women, the joys of outlaw freedom, and tales of heartbreak, loneliness and woe are staples on each release from “the Train” because they are the ingredients of not just great country music, but music in general. The country music scene could do with a lot more characters like Wayne, who push the music’s limits while staying truer to its roots than any well-known names associated with the genre today. –James Orme

White Blush
Street: 11.30.12
White Blush = (Early Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark + Depeche Mode – Dave Gahan) x Blouse
White Blush is L.A.-based artist Carol Rhyu, and this self-titled, six-track EP is her first proper release. Rhyu skillfully balances lush vocals and dream-pop arrangements over an array of synths and drum machines. David Lynch’s siren Julee Cruise is Rhyu’s self-proclaimed muse, but Austra’s Katie Stelmanis or Blouse’s Charlie Hilton are more apt comparisons. Her music is classically ’80s-synth-inspired, with breathy Kate Bush-esque dreams buried under crystalline minimal synth structures. A standout track is “Mirror,” which features a synth progression that recalls Kraftwerk via New Order’s “Your Silent Face.” Keep an eye out—White Blush is the stuff that labels like Captured Tracks uncover and turn into your favorite overnight post-punk hype.  –Christian Schultz

The Bat, The Wheel, and the Long Road to Nowhere
Candlelight Records
Street: 08.13.12
Zatokrev = Neurosis + Isis + Mastodon
Oh boy, more shoegazy Neurosis worship – just what I always wanted. In case my sarcasm hasn’t translated well, let me clarify: I really wanted to like this release. I found out about Switzerland’s Zatokrev by complete accident, due to their magnificent split with fellow countrymen Vancouver from 2008, and I’d inadvertently forgotten about them until this was thrust my way. I instantly remembered the aforementioned split, so I re-visited it, and while it wasn’t the best thing since spiced calamari, it was still pretty good, so I looked forward to reviewing this full length … and almost fell asleep multiple times while muscling through it. What was billed as “sludge/doom” is nothing more than screechy black metal vocals intermixed with Cookie Monster death metal vocals shoveled over the last 42 Neurosis albums. For those of you who are still on the Neurosis/Isis bandwagon, have a field day—here’s your new favorite record. –Gavin Hoffman