on Sunday, 4 October 2009

Wixel - Norway

Following on from Sufjan Stevens crazy idea to write an album for every state comes a slightly more achievable yet still rather crazy idea, Wim Maesschalck, better known as Wixel announced at the start of the year swore to the following:

In 2009, I, Wim Maesschalck, solemnly do declare, that I will release 12 records. Each one created from start to finish within the same month. It's a way of pushing creativity and forcing inspiration. It will be very much like a journal of 2009 by yours truly, but translated to music. All of those records will be released physically, limited to the amount of days there are in the same month. That should be one cd for each day of the year, like a real journal. All records should be at least 20 minutes in length. Since limiting music is silly, only the artwork will be limited. It's possible to get the music itself free (or pay-what-you-want) at http://2009.bandcamp.mu. I can't promise the music will always be good, so, you'll have to check out yourself if it's worth the trouble. If you have a question, send an e-mail to wimmaesschalck@gmail.com and i'll try to find an answer. To be notified as soon as a release is ready; subscribe to my blog. Since recently all previous months are made available again in a physical format. You can see them here.

Credit to him, he admitted that not all of them will be great, however a few have shone out, Clouds being one and i think given more attention i could come to love the two Slaapliedjes records, however, my favourite by some way is the August release, "Norway".

Four lovely tracks of ambience mixing to fine effect, especially on the opener Briksdal, tidal washes, gentle plucking, footprints in the snow and finally Interference of the most delightful, detuned radio type. Each track comes with its own picture, Track 4, Ramberg, a gorgeous sunrise, which in reality could not have been more aft, the early morning bird call mixed into the
slow swelling loveliness that ensues after 3 minutes or so.

Jotunheimen seemlessly abridges Briksdal and continues along all muffled and windy.

One not to be missed.

This month release is the sound of acoustic and electronic noise colliding. Based on field recordings of norwegian streams, waterfalls and sunsets. The recordings are hardly modified, but rest upon a swirling undercurrent of acoustic guitar, soft keyboards and other treated acoustic instruments. Remember, the louder the better.

Sufjan Stevens - Enjoy Your Rabbit

I'd kind of lumped Sufjan Stevens in with the Devendra Banhart crowd and in some ways maybe that is fair, on others it’s purely coincidental and probably quite a n a l of me to do so. I fell out with Devendra, so to speak, when i saw him at ATP, around the time of Cripple Crow, when he was prancing around thinking that he was Jesus and singing about little boys. I place him alongside Herman Dune in that it's clear that he has talent but he is far too self obsessed for me to have any time for the said talent.

Sufjan had kind of made his way there in my mind, maybe it was his idea to make an album about every state, and the fact that the first had over 20 songs on and the second had a whole album of surplus tracks, either way i think i was wrong to dismiss him and welcome him back with open arms, although he is pushing all the wrong buttons with me again, releasing two albums prior to his new one, i'm yet to hear the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway one but i will openly admit to being completely won over by the reworking of his debut(?) album Enjoy Your Rabbit, entitled Run Rabbit Run and amazingly packaged:

Quote: Run Rabbit Run is not a new Sufjan Stevens album exactly, and neither is it about John Updike. Instead, it is a version of Stevens' 2001 album Enjoy Your Rabbit, reimagined for the New York string quartet Osso (who provided the strings for Illinoise). Originally commissioned by Bryce Dessner for his Music Now Festival, Stevens, Dessner, and the Osso quarted decided that they needed to document this music on a physical format. The songs, rewritten for strings by such composers as Michael Atkinson and Nico Muhly, among others, comprise a song cycle about the Chinese Zodiac.
Having not heard the original i can't comment on how true it is to that but i can confirm that this is plain beautiful stuff, like Dirty Three and Esmerine at their most accesible and quite possibly a contender for album of the year in my humble opinion. Beautiful string based "post-rock" or maybe "instumental" would be more apt. A delight for the ears.

Sufjan Stevens - Year of the Ox mp3

Source: I Guess I'm Floating

on Saturday, 3 October 2009

Ekca Liena - Drones Between Homes (Under the Spire) / Orb Night (Phantom Channel)

I've for some time been enthralled by the thought of Ekca Liena, a regular poster and self promoter on the After the Post Rock Forum. You can however only trust so many reviews especially when every new drone artist i discover is described as being similar to Stars of the Lid, Tim Hecker and Fennesz, just as the lazy reviewer describes all post rock as being a little but Mogwai, a little bit of Godspeed with a hint of EITS and so on. Whether it be the trick of the small distros to drum up interest and in turn sales or whether they're just that braindead i don't know. What I do know is that Ekca Liena is as great as i had expected. For some unknown reason i had assumed Ekca to be a girl, maybe an heir to Danielle Baquet Longs throne, as it is, Ekca Liena is simply a moniker for the work of Dan McKenzie.

Instead of sounding like everything else, Ekca Liena has a genuinely original and personal sound, it reminds me of Textile Ranch slowed down and intricately taken to pieces, like the cogs that turn inside a pocket watch or the gentle and elegant movements of a clockwork ballerina ,so the notes fall, delicate and graceful, mixing music box melodies with drones so lovely they would cause the sun to rise all by themselves should they be given half a chance.

In places you can hear echoes of Colleen and on the excellent Strange Dusk an ode to Ben Frost's ability to restrain sound from crossing over into brutality but getting as close as possible without touching, can be heard in the deep throbs that bring the track to a finale.

And so it is with a plethora of releases that Ekca Liena has jumped into the limelight, having wowed those in the know last year with the now sold out but soon to be rereleased Slow Music For Rapid Eye Movement, Ekca returns with a release on two of the hottest experimental labels around currently (three it would appear, as he also has a new album on the Dead Pilot label), first up Drones Between Homes on the excellent Under The Spire label, two tracks that stay just shy of 15 minutes, dreamy and reflective in manner, however the real treat is the four track Orb Night and the even more excellent Phantom Channel label, four songs that twinkle like stars in the night sky, drifting like an owl swooping on unsuspecting prey, majestically beautiful yet slightly eerie and spine tinglingly awe inspiring. The title track, Orb Night, itself is simply epic, drifting between twinkles and dark ambient yet never sounding tired or outstaying its welcome over its 20 minute duration. One to watch for sure, hopefully he won't go too Machinefabriek on us.

on Friday, 18 September 2009

Allo, Darlin' - Henry Rollins Don't Dance

It was a sad time earlier in the year to hear the news that the wonderful, poptastic The Lucksmiths had decided to call it a day, however this did mean one last tour and an excuse for a trip to London to see their very last show on British soil.

Arriving late as usual I found myself glued to the stage, rarely have i been so won over by a band on very first impression, live that is, it happens all the time on record. It was so refreshing to see a band actually enjoying themselves instead of worrying about their hair, getting their cordless straightners out between verses to re-straighten yet again. Allo, Darlin' are no such band, instead a bundle of joy, pop as it should be, stealing choruses from popular songs, we counted Johnny Cash, Weezer and Grease amongst the victims.

On record they do not fail to impress either, Henry Rollins Don't Dance is again one of the tracks of the year popwise, trumpets leading the way into her oh how delightful vocals. There's a hint of Helen Love in there, without the "tack" that is, instead silver service pop that is bound to fill indie disco floors for years to come. Dear Stephen Hawking is as good as the title would suggest, intelligent, yet catchy pop. And finally Heartbeat Chilli, a downbeat Johnny Cash borrowing ballad, so sweet it reminds me of Slow Club.

Listen to Allo, Darlin' here

Look out for the full length album currently being recorded for our faves Fortuna Pop!

A pop discovery of the most exquisite type, gloriously essential, horribly catchy and delightfully lo-fi. I read reviews of Hot Lava, all over the top and claiming perfect pop, i could only expect it to be exceptionally poor and on first listen i was far from convinced. However Swine Flu was kind to me and kept me off work for two week, enabling me to discover the Playstation again and thus hours on end of music, most of which ended up being this gem of a record by Hot Lava.

Brilliant, no exceptional, fun, short pop songs that'll have you tapping along and singing sub consciously before you even get past the third track. I honestly feel as passionately about Hot Lava as I did when I first discovered Lacrosse. A band not to be missed.

Each song seemingly a bit better than the last, you'll be fighting over which is your favourite, Apple Option Fire? Blue Dragon? Jpeg in the Sun? o retorno da lovefoxxx? I could go on.

Track it down and let yourself be won over.

Hot Lava - Task Master mp3

Source: Walrus Music

Hot Lava - JPG in the Sun mp3

Source: Kata Rokker

Fergus & Gerinimo - Blind Muslim Girl

Snappily titled and catchy as can be, lovely shiny 60's Beach Boy pop, slightly scuzzier but equally as catchy. A bit of Belle and Sebastian can be heard beneath it all, particularly on Harder than It's Ever Been, Belle and Sebastian had they been brought up in the gutters and not a private school. The title track is one of the pop songs of the year. Highly recommended.

Fergus & Geronimo - Powerful Lovin' mp3
Source: Weekly Tape Deck
Fergus & Geronimo - Harder than it's Ever Been mp3

Sources: CatseatBird
on Sunday, 13 September 2009

I have long had a soft spot for Japan, the country in general to be fair but particularly its music, the awesome Noble label has in more recent times been a favourite of mine with its lush, near perfect releases.

However, my heart was originally won over courtesy of the excellent Geographic Label, an offshoot of the also excellent (at least it used to be) label, Domino, run by Stephen Pastel of all people. Here i was introduced to array of great artists, not least Nagisa Ni Te and the wonderfully ramshackle and always delightful Maher Shalal Hash Baz who have intriguingly just released a 177, yes one hundred and seventy seven track double album entitled C'est La Dernière Chanson. To be honest i'd recommend you try one of their other releases and leave this for the completists, many songs are barely more than a lick and each track seems to have about ten seconds of silence in between, which is normally longer than the actual music on offer. When they do extend past the 30 second mark though, they are normally memorable. If nothing else it serves as a reminder of what a great and intrigueing little band Maher Shalal Hash Baz are.

It seems forever since Geographic released anything, as previously mentioned they were a fantastic label and it turns out that they still are as they return to the scene courtesy of a magical collaboration between The Pastels and Japanese band Tenniscoats. It carries a kind of liquid magic and is fast becoming a contendor for album of the year for me. Just lovely lovely music, exactly the kind of thing i'd expect from the label. Tenniscoats gentle music is the perfect compliment for Stephen Pastels somewhat individual vocals. The contrast of voices on Song For a Friend is just sublime. Lovely stuff.

Pastels / Tenniscoats - About You mp3
Source: The Tape is not Sticky

In no way connected to the label or even the bands mentioned, but equally Japanese and equally magical are ASA-CHANG & 巡礼, probably best known for their near perfect track Hana. On latest release 影の無いヒト, of which i can find no real information, they excel again, more chopped up vocals that form the beats, alongside a two or three songs that recall the loveliness of Nagisa Ni Te and Tenniscoats.

Asa Chang & Junray - Hana mp3
Source: Diary of a Space Traveller
on Monday, 24 August 2009

The Okmoniks - Party Fever!!!

A delightful helping of 60's style garage pop, like the second Miss Mary album was meant to sound like, everything you wished from the A-Lines, Comet Gain at their roughest and shiniest simultaneously, The Agenda or The Four Corners if they had singers as good as their music and maybe, just maybe what you may have wanted the third Aislers Set album to sound like, with a splash of Yeah Yeah Yeahs thrown in for good measure. None stop, garage pop, instantly loveable and catchy as can be. I can't recommend this highly enough.

Tom White - Sight See (Smallfish)
- A Well-Known Phrase (Under the Spire)

It'll be at the end of the year when people are moaning that it’s been another awful year for music when i pipe up as always with a hundred and one recommendations, pretty close to the top of my list though will be Tom White.

The Ambient/Drone/Experimental genre seems to have an endless supply of new artists with endless supplies of material, many of the forerunners of the genre having numerous releases each year, Lawrence English, Taylor Deupree, Machinefabriek. On first impression it’s an incredibly limited field, most songs are barely there, notes decomposed and shredded, recycled and made new, drifting along seemlessly and yet it's the genre that has really grabbed me by the ears this year. It has an ability to pull you in, the wrap itself around your very lobes, the quietly seduce you into soft and dreamy sleep. There are many experts in this field, a number of whom I’ve already mentioned and a handful more that will be strong contenders for album of the year, Molly Berg + Stephen Vitiello if you need names. Right now though, Tom White rules my world. 8 months through the year and two delightful releases so far on a pair of the most reliable labels out there.

First up the wonderfully short Sight See release from Smallfish. All too often i find myself put off by massively long ambient tracks, albeit psychological and maybe due to more than a little Last.fm OCD. How refreshing it is to see tracks of less than five minutes and on a couple of tracks less than two, beautiful pieces mixing both drone and elements of noise while never outstaying their welcome.

I was more than surprised to see the level of quality surpassed on the follow up on up and coming underground label Under the Spire. A Well-Known Phrase is nothing less than a treat, more gritty and more experimental and featuring a healthy nod towards perhaps one of my favourite artists of the genre Ben Frost, balancing the excursions into noise with delicately growing soundscapes.

An album is expected before the end of the year, one can only look forward with eager anticipation.

Sleeping Me - Cradlesongs /Lamenter(Phantom Channel)

I've come to find myself hating straight forward guitar based post-rock ala EITS, especially EITS, it's been done so many times, please leave it alone. And so it was with slight disappointment that the opening tracks on Sleeping Me's Cradlesongs seemed to be following a slowed down version of that formula. Fortunately only the opening four tracks are noticeably guitar driven and even at that i feel they have enough swelling embellishment that they will grow over time.

Track 5 is where things really start to get interesting, picking up from where Redeemer on the Phantom Channel net release left off or vice versa probably, this is dream inducing stuff, drifting like Stars of the Lid at their very best, going deep and gently massaging the ear, lulling you in with every well placed note. Pride and Fall is likewise excellent.

Let the Phantom Channel one drag you in and then go buy Cradlesongs.

Download Sleeping Me - Lamenter

"Thick, melancholic and evocatively haunting soundscapes created entirely by guitar, the music of Sleeping Me employs a balance of delicacy, power and gentle reverb to present an affecting sound that's resplendent in its warmth and fiery beauty. 'Lamenter', closely following stunning debut full-length 'Cradlesongs' on celebrated Australian imprint Hidden Shoal, proves that Sleeping Me's sound finds peace in even the most heartbreaking of circumstances, rarely has the devil's instrument of choice sounded so heavenly. "

Chubby Wolf - Meandering Pupa

You will by now have no doubt heard the tragic news of Danielle Baquet-Longs premature death. One half of husband and wife duo Celer. It was only the day before i read of her death that i was enviously thinking how lucky Mr Celer (William Thomas Long) was to have found such a wonderful woman, i mean in the least sexist way possible, how many female ambient musicians are there? Here he had found someone to share both his physical and musical passions with, living what must've been a dreamy life. I'll admit to having tried only a few Celer releases, and generally being put off by their post 20 minute track lengths. I'm sure I’ll go back to them when time is less of the essence. Fortunatley for those who can't always cope with long tracks Danielle had a wonderful side project, fully capable of extending a track but generally keeping them much shorter. And so i find myself falling in love with this release, not least the wonderful opener, Annell This Chord of Bliss and the almost quietly ethereal yet bizarrely titled, Before We Get to Grinding.

Danielle you will be sadly missed.

on Friday, 3 July 2009

The Loves - Three
Liechtenstein - Survival Strategies In A Modern World

Whereas you could almost bet your mortgage that Lacrosse's Bandages for the Heart is going to be my favourite pop album of the year two other bands coincidentaly starting with the letter L may well give it a good run for its money.

First up Slumberland Records Liechtenstein with their album/ mini LP Survival Strategies In A Modern World.

A delightfully short nine tracks that suceed in taking the Shop Assistants template and warping it only just enough to make it their ow. Jangly, melodic and catchy as can be, occasionally taking the unexpected route away from the obvious verse chorus verse, but not enough to spoil the fun.

Sounding not too distant from Heavenly and the more reverberated, less distorted parts of the Aislers Set, ie. if they had rerecorded My Boyfriend Could Be a Spanish Man during the Mission Bells sessions, you might begin to get an idea where Liechtenstein are coming from.

Postcard is a glorious stand out with its repeating "Don't leave the cat on its own".

Perhaps better and a most likely contestant to Lacrosse is the new offering from the long loved The Loves, inventively entitled Three, this is the Loves third album to date and perhaps their strongest, if not their strongest, it certainly contains some of their best songs to date.

Ode to Coca Cola and Sweet Sister Delia are fine lessons in the art of writing a pop song, and yes I of all people am always interested in hearing something new and love the idea of stretching music to it's limits but you can rarely beat good old pop, and if that means stealing parts from elsewhere then please do go help yourself. If it ain't broke...

A little bit TRex, a little bit Beach Boys, a little bit fantastic. Both previous downloadle singles, One Two Three and the Ex-Gurlfriend feature and are lovely to hear once again along with the aforementioned favourites and the quite wonderful two and half minutes of pop perfection of You Don't Have To.

One for the appreciative few to wind down the windows, open the sunroof and drive steadily, bopping your head much to the chagrin of confused fellow drivers.

Put simply, i love The Loves and really you should too.

Liechtenstein - Postcard mp3
Liechtenstein - Roses in the Park mp3
Source = Pop Tarts Sucked Toast

The Loves - Ex Gurlfriend EP Download

on Friday, 19 June 2009
From http://indiemp3couk.wordpress.com/

Fanfarlo are currently selling a digital version of their album Reservoir, along with 4 bonus tracks, for $1 via their website. It’s on sale at this price until July 4th 2009. They say after that, the madness will end and you will be able to get the CD, the vinyl and a beautiful new special edition at normal prices.

My Space | Homepage

Fanfarlo – I’m A Pilot

on Monday, 15 June 2009

Based on a recommendation from the man behind the excellent Phantom Channel net label, Clorinde are a rather lovely new discovery. Its no surprise that upon searching i find that the even more amazing Folktronica blog has been raving about them for some time.

Beautiful, fragile and twinkling like the very stars above you on a clear, dark night.

The four tracks here are from the Sound on Poetry project and should give you an idea of where they're coming from whilst we await their debut proper.

Clorinde - Wolfram's Dirge mp3
Clorinde - A Dream Within a Dream mp3
Clorinde - Requiescat mp3
Clorinde - This Living Hand mp3 (this is slightly creepy in a male miranda july kind of way)

on Sunday, 7 June 2009

Candy Claws - Two Airships/ Exploder Falls

Whilst you may already be getting washed away in their dreamy drifting In the Dream of the Sea Life album you would be strongly advised to take advantage of this wonderful free EP.

The two extended instrumentals that clock in at a combined thirty minutes are some of the freshest pieces I’ve heard in some time, like Tortoise and Ducktails throwing an impromptu beach party on the autobahn, I don't actually think that’s possible but Candy Claws have successfully managed to nail the sound should it ever be.

Candy Claws - Two Airships/ Exploder Falls Zip Download

Molly Berg + Stephen Vitiello - The Gorilla Variations

Its sometimes the case that the leftovers surpass the main meal, like the cold beef you have with chips and mint sauce the day after the roast, or the cold pizza from the night before. Or like one of your mothers meals when she cooks like she's still cooking for five growing children, often the leftovers are just too good to throw away.

In the case of Molly Berg + Stephen Vitiello came together for a soundtrack project commissioned by Brazilian video artist Eder Santos, whose video portrait of a lonely, zoo-dwelling gorilla (named Idi Amin) was the starting point. Although only a three-minute piece was required of the duo, they improvised their way through forty minutes of guitar, clarinet, vocals, field recording and electronics, the results of which then became the basis for this charming and beguiling album.

Organic and whimsical this album enchants from beginning to end, combining the beauty of the dusky forest sounds with slow burning drones. Highly recommended.

Stream 2 tracks here
More Stephen Vitiello to stream here
Lots of Free Stephen Vitiello mp3 here
on Saturday, 6 June 2009
Taylor Deupree - Weather/ Worn
Stephen Mathieu - The Key to the Kingdom
Jana Winderen - Surface Runoff

I'll admit that drone is not the easiest genre to get into, it takes years of straightforward post rock followed by a departure to more string and piano based instrumental music before it finally clicks, a gentle departure from music being about playing instruments and rather using the everyday sounds and electrical surges to form a hum of pleasing decay.

Its often the case with drone that songs extend past the six, seven minute mark, maybe past fifteen and nearer half an hour, and although I love some of the longer tracks I’m sure that I’m not alone in having been put off by such lengths of time.

The open minded listener who wants to understand why drone is so raved about will no doubt be grateful for these three short releases. Short in length but certainly not in quality.

The impecably named Taylor Deupree, who runs the erm impecable 12k label delivers his first vinyl offering on the label, and the cute story that goes along with it will surely only make you love this release all the more.

These two pieces came about from pottering around on a rainy day with some loop pedals and a collection of instruments including acoustic guitar, kalimba, and bells. Deupree explains: "Pixel, one of my cats, was sleeping next to me as I began to create a warm bed of drones and small noises in an attempt to warm the room and my spirits." As it so happens, the cat in question does actually contribute to these pieces, lending a wheezy snore to the music, immediately bringing to mind the reposeful feel of a Bagpuss episode coming to a close.

Watery and expansive, these are a delight to listen too, interestingly enough the digital release includes an extended version of Worn, cloking in at over 23 minutes and somewhat surprisingly making itself the best track of the bunch given the extra space to breather and expand.

Stephen Mathieu presents the wonderfully entitled The Key To The Kingdom, a two part 10" release, as etheral sounding as it is glaciel, dreamy drones melting away effortlessly and magically.

And finally a most interesting release from Jana Winderen, for those who fell in love with Annea Lockwoods idea of mapping the Danube for her album A Sound Map of the Danube, but just couldn't hack its sparseness, then Jana Winderens Surface Runoff may well satisfy your curiosity, 'Drift' is a collage based on underwater documents from several rivers across different continents, and its as wonderful as it sounds.

Lacrosse - Bandages For The Heart

The last Lacrosse album seemed to fit so perfectly into a situation I was encountering in my life around the time it was released, songs like Who Will Brings Us Together, Let's Get Old and You Can't Say No Forever perfectly encapsulated the confusion and thrill that I was going through, the excitement of a new friendship and the strange feeling you get when you can't quite figure out how and when it will go anywhere and in fact why it wasn't and hasn't, the complicated make up of human relationships. Lacrosse put those feelings and scenarios into such perfectly crafted pop songs that really even the most confusing of times could be cushioned with a helping of pop

It's sad to say that there are few bands that follow up great debut albums with better or even a standard equivalent to its predecessor, in many cases they either replicate what preceded, at times this works but often the songs seem forced, take Los Camposinos for instance, i was still sweating from their near perfect set at ATP when a new album filtered into existence, rushed and, with the exception of the first few tracks, generally would've been better saved for B sides. The Aislers Set would be another similar reference point, although it was their second album that really shone, the follow up, although good, is a million miles removed, a lovely album of slow burning reverb drenched 60's spector-esque tracks. Good, but not a patch on The Last Match.

So it was with mixed feelings that i pressed play upon receiving Bandages For The Heart, hopelessly excited but equally fully expecting to be disappointed. Fortunately Lacrosse do not disappoint, where I’d be lying if I said that this was better than This New Year Will Be For You And Me it's certainly going to give it a run for its money.

Four songs instantly stand out, the opening brace of We Are Kids & You Are Blind, setting off at lightning pace with the pure pop that we've come to expect and are so happy that has not been lost. If you think that pair is special, then just wait until you get to the, I assume Bonnie Prince Billy referenced, I See a Brightness & maybe even better, It's Always Sunday Around Here, this is pop perfection as far as I’m concerned, like an old friend that no matter what your mood is, you are always happy to hear from or see them. The glockenspiel intro is so typically Lacrosse, very reminiscent of a track from their debut that i can't quite put my finger on, and the lyrics put any doubts that this may be anyone else completely to bed, "Tell me a story/ make the ending happy please/ put some unicorns in there/ and some animals that speak/ don't know where i go wrong/ but it always ends this way/ the world is full of saturdays/ but it's always sunday round here" the muted guitars building and building before exploding at the chorus.

All The Little Things That You Do, My Stop & Come Back Song#1 are growers but are likely to find a place in your heart after just a few listens.

I can't recommend Lacrosse highly enough, this is pop as good as it gets.

Lacrosse - I See a Brightness mp3
Lacrosse - My Plan mp3

on Friday, 15 May 2009
Animal Hopsital - Memory

I'd toyed with the idea of investing time into Animal Hospital, i was aware as some may well not be that the aforementioned band are not as twee as they sound and in fact one of a million recommendations last.fm had thrown my way care of my obsession with the Fun Years and other "drone"/"soundscape" types. Some intrigue, some disappoint, as always there will be a hundred poor/ average artists to every great one whatever the genre. Animal Hospital on first impression fall very much into the latter class, mesmerizingly brilliant and refreshingly innovative. Not afraid to drag songs past the fifteen minute mark, but not needlessly as bands of the instrumental variety have a habit of doing. Each note is gently pulled into the realms of sound with care and finesse, sieved to ensure that only quality comes through and the odd bit of experimentation, chilli and chocolate, peanut butter and jam, things that shouldn't work but do and in a more than pleasant manner. Note 5 mins 39 seconds into the glorious His Belly Burst, the guitars out of place, out of tune and yet fitting in like they'd been born to be there. 2 minutes into 2nd anniversary the guitars enter again, two notches too high on the amp, yet the contrast works perfectly.

The closing track Memory swells and ebbs and flows in a way not achieved quite so elegantly since Johann Johannssonns IDM Manual album, a quite beautiful discovery.


*I haven't listened to these 3 mp3's yet, they're off his 2004 debut album, Memory is worth checking out even if these don't seem that great

Animal Hospital - 1st Anniversary

Animal Hospital - Paralava
Animal Hospital - Below The Ocean

on Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Bearsuit - Muscle Belt

I was beginning to wonder whether i might be getting bored with Bearsuit, could they really continue to be so wonderful, could their ramshackle charm remain a charm without becoming annoying or repetitive, fortunately the answer is no and they remain as brilliant as ever, slightly electro, slightly no wave with their jagged guitar lines that those NME loving boys could well take a lesson from instead of spending so much time choosing which shockwaves product to use next. This is killer chorus pop perfection, a little bit chaos a little bit soaring boy/girl loveliness not a million miles from the Delgados of old but with the usual Bearsuit trademark brilliance. The perfect working out soundtrack or something like that...basically, its brilliant!


The Ideal Husbdand - No Bye, No Aloha

Another lovely discovery and quite possibly an early contender for soundtrack of the summer, The Ideal Husband make sumptuos music inspired by 1960's Hawaii, all grass skirts, lapsteel, ukelele and flowers in the hair.

Myspace try Terrified
on Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Ben Frost - Theory of Machines

I love that feeling when you discover an album that you instantly fall for, look no further than the Lovely Eggs review below for a recent happening where a track hit me so hard I listened to it 17 times in a row.

Despite being about as far away as possible from The Lovely Eggs, Ben Frost's Theory of Machines has hit me in a similar manner, you know how you read all those glowing reviews on Boomkat about the latest release from Machinefabriek and a whole host of other artists, and then you find that you're ever so slightly disappointed, i will step to one side to admit that not always do Boomkat dissappoint, in fact their end of year selection is normally amongst the most reliable, but if you're looking for pure drone perfection, pure drone perfection with a hint of noise, but restraintful noise, perfectly built up and executed then you should really look no further than the marvellous Ben Frost. Not since the Fun Years wonderful and ever fresh Baby, Its Cold Outside have i heard an album of such magnitude and natural, oraganic perfection. Static sounds and gentle, soothing soundscapes of epic proportions, so natural and inviting, a dream in sound, balancing the noise perfectly with the drone like a master of suspense. I can't recommend this highly enough, believe me, its on constant repeat.

on Monday, 27 April 2009
The Lovely Eggs

It seems that this weekend i have been somehow ripped out of my droney hollow of dreamy soundscapes that i have become so accustomed to over the bitter winter months, content to put my hood up, snuggle under the blanket and fall asleep to the gentle clicks, whirs and drones of the Fun Years and more recently Ben Frost and Alva Noto.

Instead, i find myself back in the land of indie pop, fanzines and the least self consious dancing i've seen in years and it was the best feeling ever. On Friday night I kicked myself at least 300 times for firstly leaving before a Horowitz encore, a rendition of Chilwell Olympia, the home of my school and a hundred million games of football, but still worse faux pas' would follow.

Let me introduce the Lovely Eggs, a simple two piece, her on guitar and vocals, him on drums and backing vocals and retardedly simple songs of such simplicity that it defies belief that anything more could possibly improve this pure simplistic device. Remember your first encounter with Scout Niblett? the stripped down brilliance, the rawness, the pure delight and proziacical feel those songs gave you, then remember when you first heard Kenickie, their poptastic hooks and their pure comic genius, then remember how Slow Club stole your heart with their onstage banter and simplistic joy and ecstaticism at the fact that peple care enough to come along and see them let alone the fact that they know every single word to each and every song, you should by now have a feeling of the pure euphoria i felt i we walked in to a song that repeated "I want to fall off my bike" again and again with relentless glee.

Things only got better with what i think may possibly be my favourite song ever. Have You Ever Heard A Digital Accordian can not be explained in words, its outright genius and gets better with every listen, even the most cynical person in the world would struggle not to smile at the retort "if you've never heard a digital accordian/ then you've only ever heard an acoustic accordian!"

Whats better is that you can stream it from Last Fm free... a great song, a great band and a kick in the teeth that this was their last song of the night :(

The Lovely Eggs - Have You Ever Heard a Digital Accordian?
on Wednesday, 18 February 2009

on Sunday, 8 February 2009

The Long Lost - The Long Lost (Ninja Tune)

Husband and wife duo's are normally a winner in my eyes, mates of state being the most immediate example to come to mind, two people in love making great music together, who could want anything more? or maybe more bizarrely the ever wonderful divorcees that form Quasi. Here though we have a fairytale set up, high school sweethearts, Laura & Alfred Darlington, better known as Daedelus, team up to deliver some bittersweet and melancholy pop.

The voices meld together quite beautifully, similar to Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan, his deep, hers high and sweet, recalling names such as Vashti Bunyan, Trish Keenan of Broadcast and perhaps most accuratley Kerry Shaw of late nineties band Whistler. Each song a delicate pop number given the appropriate twist that you'd expect with Daedelus at the controls yet never over doing it. Happy to throw in the occasional sample, electronic beats and some great vocals but never taking over. Particularly fine is third song, Sibilance, repetitive and lullaby like for the first minute before the marching drums and toy piano join in, leaving it for another minute before exploding into full glory and finally the icing on the cake as Alfred joins in with a glorious counter melody of she sells sea shells on the sea shore gently sending you into dream land, you can only wonder if this is how they send their children to sleep at night, magical and perfectly executed.

Overmuch has an icy melancholy about it with its repeating line "The curse of perfect vision" so elegantly delivered. Ballroom Dance Club starts off like a scene from one of those Saturday Afternoons sixties film before kicking into another great track. Cat Fancy is lovely too, the sampled lady sounding like the mother from Requiem For A Dream. Domestics a near perfect call & response him/her duet with an upbeat catchy feel, like Beck collaborating with Vashti Bunyan, a delightful disc to help us through these cold months.

on Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Automobile, Swift - Enemy, Enemy

Another day and so it would seem another great net release. I read with eager anticipation the press release to the ridiculously prolific Machinefabriek that his new release(one of them anyway) IJspret that claimes "Rutger Zuydervelt turns his ear towards that most fertile of creative themes for the microsound artist: winter. Ijspret was inspired by the timbral properties of ice, and features contact microphone recordings of all manner of frosty textures and interactions with the frozen ground, from the noise made by ice skaters to the strange commotion of the defrosting process." i expected extreme beauty and the sound of winter to be caught graciously, i was disappointed as i tend to be by his releases, apart from the lovely Drawn.
Automobile, Swift on the other hand capture the sound of winter, the crispy crunch of frozen snow that paves the streets of England right now, so well and without trying. Slow Ocean is all crackles and crunching set to whirring swells of drone and distant seagull calls. The rest of the five track EP is of a similarly high quality and far more worthy of your attention than any of the seven new releases that Rutger Zuydervalt is likely to release this week.