on Thursday, 30 August 2007

Cue – Wedding Song (Thirty Ghosts)
I only recently discovered quite how much decent post rock there was out there, everyone is familiar with the Godspeed’s the Explosions in the Sky, The 65 Days of Static, the Dirty Three’s and although I had long been ignorant perhaps Mono were not so deep in the underground as I imagined. Thanks to Jordan Voldz Silent Ballet and particularly their top 50 Instrumental albums of each year since 2005 I’ve unearthed a number of great bands not least the Ascent of Everest, Laura, The Pirate Ship Quintet and Souvenirs Young America, still what I’ve found is that all too many whilst undoubtedly being excellent have often followed the straight forward formula that Explosions in the Sky do so well. As I say, it’s not that its bad, it just lacks depth, much like with a “pop” band I get bored of seeing guitar, bass and drums, at the very least bring in a keyboard, so it is with post rock that the piano and violin can add that extra depth that allows the band to take on a new level, to dig deeper and express a dictionary full of new and unknown feelings. It’s refreshing to hear a band like Texas, Austin’s Cue, that are described rather nicely on last.fm as a four-piece progressive instrumental/chamber noise rock band. Although one of the things that draws me to post rock is the slightly doomy outlook most bands have, the darkness and apocalyptic direction most take, its again refreshing to hear such an upbeat instrumental band.
It comes as no surprise to discover that guitarist Colin Swietek is an occasional member of Graveface Records outfit the Octopus Project (perhaps best known for their collaboration with the also fantastic Black Moth Super Rainbow. Wedding Song for Living Things and Dead Things, YROKROLSUKKDN2002, Can You See My Skeleton? And Fleur de Lis stand out, though as whole this is a great upbeat album that could quite welcomely be my wedding song.
Thirty Ghosts Records

Suburban Kids With Biblical Names - #3 (Labrador)

I was first drawn to the Surbaban Kids by their excellent name, I don’t know how many times I have been disappointed with this theory yet this time I was far from disappointed, their first EP bragging the instantly classic Rent a Wreck and Trumpets & Violins. This was followed with #2 boasting the instantly loveable Funeral Face as lead song and now #3 a classic collection of songs sung in the style of Jonathan Richman and generally accompanied with handclaps, drum machines, whistles, and ba-ba-ba’s, unsurprisingly as they to quote ”want turn all the dance floors into a burnings inferno of Ba-ba-ba”
The majority of the album is excellent but really peaks at track 9 with the trio, S_____y Weekend (take those silly shoes off and go back to summer camp/ and don’t ever come back/ you look like you live in a tent…), Rent a Wreck and Seems to be on my Mind (love seems to be on my mind/ seems to be all the time/ oh what a lovely way to spend your life/ not needing anything…I’m a young boy with a lot of things on my mind) which’ll all have you singing along before you finished hearing them for the first time. Suburban Kids With Biblical Names, not just kids with great names after all.
on Wednesday, 29 August 2007
Vic Chesnutt & Amandine Reviewed
Posted on 2007.08.29 at 17:50
Current Music: Eliza Lumley - She Talks in Maths: Interpretations Of Radiohead
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Vic Chesnutt – North Star Deserter (Constellation)
A quite exquisite release from the ever reliable Constellation label, featuring a host of guests namely all seven members of Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band, along with Guy Picciotto (Fugazi), Chad Jones & Nadia Moss (Frankie Sparo), Eric Craven & Genevieve Heistek (Hangedup), Bruce Cawdron (Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Esmerine) and T. Griffin (The Quavers) and quite frankly you can hear their influence, particularly A Silver Mt Zion on tracks such as the epic Everything I Say and You Are Never Alone, both building up storms of sound, dark and yet hopeful, epic and yet easy on the ears along with the near full on post rock assault of Debriefing.
Vic is perhaps sadly better known for the fact that he is a paraplegic rather than for his great song writing talents, hopefully this album will make a difference. In addition to the earlier comparison fans of Lambchop, Will Oldham and Smog will not be let down by what’s on offer hear, the lovely slow and comparatively short Wallace Stevens for example, Splendid too, very much alt. country and undeniably familiar in sound yet not afraid to venture of into more experimental waters, kicking in again after seven minutes with a lovely Silver Mt Zion-esque vocal refrain. An album that will no doubt feature highly come the end of year polls.

Amandine – Solace in Sore Hands (FatCat)
Quite lovely album from Swedes Amandine, a lovelorn collection of songs falling mainly into the alt. country bracket but with enough pop sensibilities to appeal to a much wider audience. Silver Bells is a delicate pop song song of desperation and strong feelings that relationships can bring to the fore “honey, distance brings us closer/ and honey hardship makes us strong” and carries a hint of Concretes style horns that melt themselves into your brain.
No doubt this will appeal to those who have in recent years fallen for the likes of Sufjan Stevens and The Broken Family Band. Go let yourself be woo-ed by the gorgeous Americana on offer here from the opening Faintest of Sparks to the gorgeous closer, all six minutes sixteen seconds of New Morning.
Amandine – Secrets MP3
Amandine Website
Amandine Myspace
FatCat Records
FatCat Myspace

on Tuesday, 28 August 2007
Corwin Trails & Ascalaphe Reviewed
Posted on 2007.08.28 at 20:56
Current Music: Verbose - Observe
Tags: archaic horizon, ascalaphe, boards of canada, earstroke, french teen idol, skam, the books

Corwin Trails - Corwin Trails (Archaic Horizon)

Stunning little EP from the kind people at Archaic Horizon, as with most of their releases this is ever so slightly indebted to the Boards of Canada, though as I have previously said that isn't often a bad thing. If like me you love tracks such as Dandelion, the simple psychadelic kaleidoscopes of electronica graced with clever samples, children’s stories and philosophy lectures then this will more than satisfy your appetite for more. Those familiar with the work of French Teen Idol will be likewise delighted. Each track is a childlike wonder, so much so that its hard to decide between Oasis is Myth and Icicle as to which is the better, childlike innocence matched with curious electronical experimentation.

Corwin Trails LP (zip file)

Corwin Trails - Oasis is Myth MP3


Ascalaphe – The Hollander Café EP (Earstroke)

Another discovery of electronic mischief, treading similar paths to The Books, though on a rainier and therefore muddier day are Acalaphe, the brainchild of Fred Debief whose work has previously appeared on the critically acclaimed Skam label. Abstract and strange its bound to have its doubters but what we have here are glorious collages of samples, field noises, cat’s miaows and electronic mayhem, though slow and organised mayhem if such a thing exists. Well worth a try.

Ascalphe – The Hollander Café EP ZIP

Ascalaphe – Alter Ego MP3

Ascalaphe – Cat Time



on Saturday, 25 August 2007
Current Music: Meanwhile, Back in Communist Russia... - My Elixir; My Poison

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The Twilight Sad - Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters (FatCat)
Perhaps out of all of FatCat’s recent releases this is the one that should have hit me instantly, what with the Ladybird style cover, the post rock leaning and the long song titles, yet I struggled for a while but with continued listens I’ve learnt to fall for these Scottish boys, an accent to add to the Proclaimers and Ballboy, Scottish and proud of it. Each song dripping in resonance and walls of sound, the kind that Oasis thought they had achieved yet they are made to look little more than pebbles in comparison never more so than on the excellent Talking With Fireworks / Here, It Never Snowed, an explosion of guitars reminiscent of Rose Kemps Violence and Mogwai back when they weren’t afraid to do the predictable quiet loud quiet loud, lovely triumphant marching drums that most street bands would be proud of. And She Would Darken the Memory conveys the tiresome part of relationships “I’ve putten up with your constant whine” at the top of his voice and from the bottom of his heart in such a manner that will easily win over Arcade Fire fans. Noise, melody and songs sung from the heart, I don’t know why it took me so long, I really don’t.


Whitenoisesound vs. .redshifts – Single Series Six (Burning Emptiness)
Another challenging listen from the picturesque Burning Emptiness label, Whitesnoissound are a seven piece that at least on this recording (their myspace would reveal a more guitar driven sound) are ambient and for the most part of Blood Reprise slight unnerving and disturbing, although it does eventually morph into an Asa Chang stylesleep inducing psychedelic dream piece. You wouldn’t guess from the type of music made that there are seven of them! I thought ambientronica was for onemanbands, geeky laptop users with a knack for finding a tune from a decay pile of electrical overload. .redshifts it would appear is a onemanband and indeed Adam W. Flynn has a knack for finding a tune amongst electrical overload, Distant is ten minutes of resonant joy, a little bit Loscil biut not afraid to bring in inappropriate drums just when you least expect them, as perfectly wrong as the scenes from Donnie Darko where he is being a teen arsonist and his sister is taking part in the dance competition all set to slow moving music, capturing the moment and extending it till your ears ring a wonderful tone.


Airborne Toxic Event - Does This Mean You're Moving On (Square)
As free time and employment get in my way I have less and less time to spend sifting through 7" singles in record stores the way I used to on the empty Monday afternoons of my youth and as such my musical tastes have moved away from those lovely homemade indie pop treats that i used to so delight at receiving and purchasing, here I’m reminded of what I’m missing out on. A three track seven inch single full of Gedge like delights, not least the title track, three and a half minutes of prime pop ala Cinerama, lyrically packed and catchy as can be. One for the indie disco that much is sure.


I can’t stop listening to…Stephen H, by All Angels Gone, the slowly wondering pianos that announce recent sorrow, a death, a murder, unexpected and spontaneous, the body still lying on the floor, a vase smashed into a thousand pieces and the rain relentlessly crashing down against the window, a solitary tear running down her face…by 2 min 38 there is hope on the horizon, new beginnings and fond memories, this is beautiful music that you will want to listen to again and again despite in melancholy feel. Like Esmerine had they been a bit more hospitable, Eluvium in a less dreamy mood, Dirty Three if only Warren Ellis would stop trying to be such a frontman. http://www.last.fm/music/All+Angels+Gone

Stephen H. mp3

I can't stop listening to...Sunshowers by M.I.A., I must say I was slightly surprised/ disappointed to see M.I.A. on the front of this month’s Plan B magazine, I had them down as more underground than that, I could be wrong but I’m of the assumption that M.I.A. has a certain amount of mainstream critical acclaim under her belt. I'm self proclaimed awkward when it comes to music, for the reason though that the "big" bands, the bands that grace the cover of the NME, Q etc have enough listeners already when no doubt as I prove to myself everyday there’s a million and one great bands to discover who get nowhere near the coverage they should. I'm pleasantly proved wrong in the case of M.I.A. she is a legend, and Sunshowers is the most instantly lovable song you can imagine, this is a song for the good times, a song that comes at a time when I’m deeply wrapped up in post rock that gets me in the mood to go out, go surprise yourself, you won't be disappointed..."He had colgate on his teeth/ And Reebok classics on his feet" how can you not love that?


on Saturday, 18 August 2007
A Sunny Day In Glasgow, Welcome, David Karsten Daniels Reviewed
Posted on 2007.08.06 at 20:53
Current Mood: Optimistic Current
Music: Various - Girls Go Zonk (Cherry Red)
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A Sunny Day in Glasgow – Scribble Mural Journal (Notenuf)
I once wrote a song when I was younger called A Sunny Day In Scotland, but that’s irrelevant, all you need to know is that A Sunny Day in Glasgow are a rather wonderful recent discovery of mine. Songs that merge into one pool of sticky mess, as tasty as Rocky Road is ugly and as beautiful as the rainbows stained petrol puddles that reveal themselves as the sun rises following the rain.
Each song is a mosaic of sounds, a mixing desk nightmare to some, to me a dreamy skyline. The vocals merge into the sound to the point that the human voice becomes an instrument itself somehow expressing more than is possible when we actually speak fully formed words. This one’s for the dreamers, for those who can’t express how they feel in words, for those who wonder when they speak if to the majority of people it appears only as a jumble of sounds, us mumblers and those incapable of shouting, us who insecurely think we’re being ignored when really we really should speak that little bit louder.
The sound takes in a number of influences whisked together and dished out in one delicious offering, from A Mundane Phonecall to Jack Parsons Clinic like sound to The Fields tripped electronica, embracing any number of girl pop indie bands, the much missed Empress, Tompaulin and a healthy garnish of all things ethereal…I like A Sunny Day in Glasgow a lot!


Welcome - Sirs (FatCat)
Much like label mates Blood on the Wall Welcome put together a lovely racket of surprisingly melodic noise, mixing the spiky, wiry and intuitive guitar riffs with the gravel throated Kurt-esque vocals of Pete Brand or Jo Claxton’s honey like vocals on what has become my favourite song (according to last.fm) Bunky, a rival if there ever was one to Blood on the Walls I’d Like To Take You Out. Elsewhere Deerhoof comparisons are fairly justified but Welcome are a more universal taste, where many people struggle with Satomi Matsuzaki’s vocals, there is nothing to dislike about the often twinned vocals on offer here, mixing anger with pop melodies in way that McClusky do so well. Another great release from the ever reliable FatCat label.


David Karsten Daniels – Sharp Teeth (FatCat)
Don’t let the cover put you off, instead just sit back and fall in love with a sounds, simple and pure, envy at the way Mr Karsten Daniels can make such a beautiful song like American Pastime sound so effortlessly beautiful, modest even, no doubt he plays all the instruments too yet his sound is so sincere and naturally beautiful. The kind of sound you’d associate with such geniuses as Elliot Smith, Sufjan Stevens and on Minnows, The Besnard Lakes. Not that he mimics them, rather that his sound is pure and inspiring, clean and unadulterated, made in the mountains where the city hasn’t had chance to pollute and corrupt the naivety that exists within the simple communities that reside there, a sound that rises and falls with the sun, like the black and whiteness of Pleasantville before it was drowned and ruined in colour. Beautiful and not a million miles away from the sound that Jon Brion so frequently achieves on his exceptional film scores…don’t let the cover put you off.

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Joanna Newsom, A Silver Mt Zion, Quasi Reviewed
Posted on 2007.08.08 at 17:54
Current Music: Valley of Giants - Valley of Giants

Joanna Newsom – Joanna Newsom and the Ys Street Band Ep (Drag City)

I don’t suppose you need me to tell you that Miss Joanna Newsom is some kind of genius. What you might need me to tell you is that Y’s is, it would seem just a taster of what she has to offer. Here on the ridiculously expensive but almost justifiable (if only due to the quality of music on offer here) 3 track Y’s Street Band EP we see a taster of the first new material since the aforementioned Y’s if only in the form of one new song and two reworkings.
New track Colleen as showcased at ATP is as beautiful and as remarkable as remembered. I remember on the night I had mixed expectations of something new, so often have a band I loved been picked up by the media and then delivered something ridiculously bad or at least lacking the ingenuity of their early work. Joanna it would seem has no such problem for now, Colleen is outstanding, a true work of genius, an instant classic, timeless and charming, a song that puts what was possibly the most outstanding opening track to an album in sometime, Emily from Y’s, into the background, or at least out of the limelight. If anyone had a problem with her voice as on the Milk Eyed Mender then here is a more palatable, less shrill tone to sweep up those curious outsiders, those who take that little extra convincing, those who think more than two colours in an outfit is risky, how can you fail to love Colleen?
Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie from the Milk Eyed Mender & Cosmia from Y’s are reworked in a more intimate setting, the latter given a lush new feel, this is a portable Cosmia, Cosmia as played by Joanna and her friends in a room full of friends. Intimate and inventive and more charming for it.
If expectations weren’t high enough already for any possible follow up to the landmark Y’s then they have just been raised considerably with this release.

I can’t stop listening to…God Bless Our Dead Marines by A Silver Mt. Zion…eleven minutes of near perfection, the slow and steady double bass that booms like a death march, a sign of defiance to the impending destruction, the clouds that get blacker and blacker, the wind picking up forming remarkable scenes in the skies, clouds twisting, menacing and full of anger, still we continue with our heads held high as others around quake with fear and terror, holding on for their very lives. We though are not afraid, tired of the threats, the lies, the injustices and the false promises, we will continue to walk straight toward the danger area, people getting sucked up as the rain thrashes down until finally we are inevitably inseparable and as helpless as all those surrounding us…is this the end?
When the piano comes in at 8.05 it hits you that no matter what anyone does, the destruction around you, the wreckage and the disarray, the world is still beautiful and if we pull together, hold hands and sing at the top of our voices from the bottom of our hearts we may perhaps be able to do something, to at least distract ourselves from the terrors that we cannot avoid…just maybe…few songs portray fear, desperation and resolute, unbendable and unyielding faith in something greater, something better, truly a thing of beauty.

download the track here God Bless Our Dead Marines Mp3

I can’t stop listening to…It’s Raining by Quasi…whilst each day since I purchased a car up until last week has been marred with rainfall, often torrential, each day has likewise been graced by the uplifting and enriching sound of Quasi’s It’s Raining from the Domino album Sword of God, a classic example of their optimistic take on pop music, sadly the ones they have influenced are probably better known, the likes of the Research in particular, the distorted fuzzy keyboards and soaring duel vocals of the divorced Sam Coombes and Sleater Kinny’s Janet Weiss are more than enough to drag you out of any rain sodden depression you may have been on a slippery slope toward.