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.