The debut album by S T F U, the collaborative project by Dean Garcia (SPC ECO, Curve) and Preston Maddox (Bloody Knives) is out today and is an electronic music gem that meshes trip-hop and classic ‘90’s electronica, resulting in a truly hypnotic delight. Read our recent interview with Dean here:
Buy the album on Bandcamp here:



If you’re trying to get into Japanese music but can’t stand the typical J-Pop sound then I would suggest checking out the album Next One by Glim Spanky, a magnificent duo. They are Matsuo Remi (female, vocals , guitar ) and Kamehon Hiroki (male, guitar) and they rock. Matsuo’s voice is gritty and raw and reminds me of the late Janis Joplin’s pipes. Kamehon’s guitars are just as abrasive, reminding me of Jack White’s sound circa The White Stripes. I’ve been busy editing my novel Book of Shadows and writing its sequel and when I’m too busy to think about what to put on, I keep listening to this one. Of course, I’d listen to it even if I had time to think about what to play, my point simply being that listening to this one has practically become instinctual.


If raw guitar rock isn’t your thing, I have a much gentler Japanese album in store for you. It’s called diverse journey – they don’t capitalize it – and it’s by Yen Town Band. Some of its songs do rock, but the sound is much more crisp and melodious. There’s an interesting backstory to this one, too. See, the group’s singer is Japanese art pop star Chara and the band hails from a movie – one of the best I’ve ever seen – called Swallowtail Butterfly from way back in 1996. To the best of my knowledge – and that of IMDB – Chara has only acted in a couple of other films since. Like Madonna, who she’s often compared to, Chara is more of a musician than an actress. Unlike Madonna, Chara is actually a fabulous actress. (I need to get a new VCR so I can watch my Swallowtail Butterfly VHS. Or, better still, find a torrent and download it.) In any case, the band was a fictional band, a band formed for the sole purpose of appearing in the movie, or so I read a long time ago in some zine, but the band has re-formed and put out a couple of albums in 2008 and 2015 and now they’ve just released their latest, diverse journey, and it’s amazing. I suppose it walks the fine line between pop and rock. I just wouldn’t feel comfortable calling it one or the other. Check it out and call it what you want. Beautiful album though, that much I’m confident in saying.

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In the rap zone, I highly recommend Ace Hood’s Starvation 5. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this one, having heard very little from him in the past, but I was mighty impressed by this one. He’s quite the primo rapper. Is he the fiercest? No. Is he the fastest? No. But he’s very talented nevertheless, lots of clever lyrics and excellent rhyming here. You also have to give him props for only having a few guests on his inspired mixtape. That’s when you can tell if someone is really good or not. If a guy needs a guest on every track, something is rotten in Denmark? Either they want to show off or they’re not inspired enough to complete songs themselves. That’s my theory anyway. But Ace is guilty of neither of these things. He has no problem coming up with all sorts of lyrics on a variety of topics. And since it’s a mixtape, you can download it for free right here:

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