Big Table No People

My Dad just got back from a business trip in Columbus. He said that the Ohio river was recently on fire (think about it...a river was on fire). God bless that nasty Ohio river, its polluted waters and virtually everything that comes out of Ohio (Devo, The Indians, etc), including this skeewompus POWER trio who may or may not take their name from that one movie with all those Italians in it. 

Big Table No People plays (at first) like a cassette with a stuck reel, caterwauling and reeling like a tinny, drunken yee-haw who's commandeered your iTunes and insists on fucking with all your equilibrium settings. 16 bombastic minutes sputtering with tempo changes, serrated riffs and the ever present thrum of an art-punk bassline. Take "Logjam," a corybantic freak session that crests with Kevin Hall's frenetic insistence that "this is hell, this is hell, this is hell!." or "Generation Loss," who's buzzing, seething salvo only offers the respite of a sinewy low-end teeter-totter once it's jammed its meaty esotercism right between your peepers. Shit, take the album's grandest statement, the humorously named "Not Transcendental, Just Stupid," all weirdo gee-tar noodling, tempo changes, nonsensical shouting and freak-beating, and bore it into your brain. 

Music to bum out the squares and the critics. Think post-rock minus the pretension, screamo minus the...you know...screamo, and think of Ohio's storied freakpunk tradition. Catch these cretins in a basement pronto! They're peddling these wares across this great nation of ours in August!

-Dylan C. 

SUMMER TOUR: 
8/2/14 Kalamazoo, MI @ Satellite Records w/ Forget The Times & Vermillion Father 
8/3/14 Chicago @Situations 
8/4/14 Milwaukee @TBA 
8/5/14 Minneapolis @Fuck Mountain 
8/7/14 St. Louis @FOAM 
8/9/14 Nashville @Springwater 

Thursday, July 31st, 2014 | Add New Comment (0)

Salt Lake City based guitar-wrangler, Braeyden Jae, has graciously donated this slow-build track to the goodship Heligator. "Switches" looms like a storm cloud in its third trimester, pregnant with expectation and static. When the storm comes it doesn't arrive with monsoon force, but rather, that cooling, giving rain that cuts the humidity in half and waters your garden for you. It breaks like that.

Beautiful washes of soft distortion worn smooth like river rocks.

As always all donations go directly to the Malindza Refugee Camp Library which has gone under some major renovations and expansions! All of this due to your generous contributions. Check out all the latest happenings at the Library at:

Malindza Refugee Camp Library Blog

Braeyden is also one of the featured artists to perform at the Goldrush Music Festival happening 09.13 / 09.14 at Larimer Lounge and the Meadowlark in Denver, CO.

Goldrush Music Festival

Monday, July 28th, 2014 | Add New Comment (0)

GOLDRUSH Music Festival is upon us.

GOLDRUSH 2014 WEBSITE

We can hardly believe we’ve made it to where we are now, but we are sure glad that we’re here and that we’ve brought our friends along with us yet again to share in this annual autumnal event. That of course means of bands, artists, sponsors, labels, writers, bloggers, and projectionists — all just for starters. As such, GOLDRUSH is now more than ever much more than simply a music festival. In its championing of the experimental community above all, GOLDRUSH has itself become a community. In its presentation of the progressive arts, GOLDRUSH has itself become a work of progressive art. GOLDRUSH is a collage, a combination, a pastiche blend of artistic mediums,styles, looks, sounds, feels, feelings, colors, shapes, sizes, moods, and music, pulling as much beauty from as many different corners of the map we can and pasting it all together into an interactive, living experience.

For our fourth edition, we’ve pulled out all the stops. GOLDRUSH 2014 represents our most ambitious project to date from a line-up standpoint alone. Match the unique and daring blend of music we’ll be presenting with our first ever record fair, a cassette compilation for the history books, an exhibition of local artists, experimental film projections and Denver’s definitive music journal in the form of our yearly ‘zine, and you’ve got something truly special. And we sure hope you’ll join us.

As in years past, GOLDRUSH could not be possible without the support of our amazing network of sponsors — record shops, ice cream parlors, cassette labels, music blogs, book stores and more have all shown their support this crucial effort, and we invite and welcome friends from all facets of our community to join in that effort. We are currently securing sponsors of all levels for GOLDRUSH 2014. Our mission remains to connect not only our community to one another, but to the world around us through progressive music. If this appeals to you or your business' ideals, and you'd like to be a part of this pioneering Denver music festival, please email info@goldrushmusicfest.com.

We are announcing the artists performing at Goldrush in waves. With no further ado here is the first wave of artists....Heaps more to come: 

mount eerie (anacortes, WA)

clipping. (Los angeles, ca)

thug entrancer (denver, co)

Good willsmith (chicago, il)

kevin greenspon (los angeles, ca)

stag hare (salt lake city, ut)

trabajo (brooklyn, ny)

rumtum (denver, co)

braeyden jae (salt lake city, ut)

homebody (denver, co)

sister grotto (denver, co)

champion (denver, co)

cp 208 (denver, co)

 

 

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014 | Add New Comment (0)
Heaven House

"In the absence of God we drink our tears because we are never promised rain." I just wrote that. I have some idea of what it means, but I can't really tell if that gibberish or truly profound. I can tell you that Heaven House by Braeyden Jae is truly profound. I can say that because I tend to give a lot of ambient-drone/experimental musicians the benefit of the doubt in most cases. My natural enthusiasm for most things often gives way to lavish praise although my naiveté of non-musicianship usually tampers full critical engagement with a shrug of, "eh, they must know what they are doing".  I'm on my Future shit right now. drones all on drones. I'm just being honest.

But guess what? I tell the truuuuuuuuuuuth, when I say that Heaven House feels real. And as we all know feeling is the same as knowing. Heaven House is not some lab-grown, domesticated experiment in manipulating external sounds. Rather, these are the vibrations of the fibers of Braeyden's soul as they pulled out through his chest by thin, elegant fingers of something glowing and white, uncreated and infinite. These are the sounds as these fibers break loose with a limp unraveling and then arc upwards caught on a stray draft and become visible for the split second they catch the sun's glare.

We've covered a lot of Braden J. McKenna's work here on the Tome. Pound-for-pound probably the most on the internet. A lot of times I've said that this current thing. This is the best he has ever done. I'm not interested in hyperbole anymore. I will let you, the reader, come to your own conclusion. My only hope is that by writing this, Heaven House will find its way to your ears. Then you can know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this house is the true and living house on the face of the earth. One that you can find refuge in when all the sounds around you are terrible acts of violence and you need some sort of arc for safe passage.

Outside of the arc. Violence. Drowning.

Inside of the arc is a different kind of drowning. A kind oceanic pull back into the sea inside. A place where we floated first. Our gills not yet closed.

Yes, this is a drone record. Yes, I've pretty much exhausted about every metaphor I can use without tackling the content of this record head on. But you can do that. I sincerely hope you do. Because in it you will find safety and peace. You will hear the ocean thousands of miles away from the ocean. You will reconnect with that part of yourself that still craves the embryonic stillness of floating. You'll want to write things that you find beautiful and meaningful but will cringe at later when you step off the arc and are back in the world where there is judgement and every idea isn't a good one. But you can get back on that arc anytime. Float on.

Ryan H.

Thursday, July 17th, 2014 | Add New Comment (0)

"Can't Stop Loving You" works as a triumphant fade-out on True Neutral Crew's latest EP #Poppunk which we covered earlier. This song/video is too good to not share as a stand alone single piously struggling under the weight of slowmotion, cavernous punk. TNC's pairing with Venezuelan musician Algodón Egipicio and I.E's ode to falling straight in love like consecrated fire with director Joshua Studham's blaringly beautiful use of gold palate and visceral overlays is a fine thing of beauty. Plus, however he got I.E to stand still enough to deliver her rhymes in a deadpan, upper-torso isolated movement is beyond me. 

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014 | Add New Comment (0)

Plains - Stone Cloud (Happenin/Nouemnal Loom, 2014)

Replacing the jittery, smack-seizures of the Lower East Side for the Sweet Tea sipping eternal afternoons of Alabama, Travis Swinford's uncanny knack for sounding like Lou Reed at his most content makes a strong contender for one of the finest psych-rock entries of 2014. Granted, you only had to read one sentence to get that Swinford-Reed comparison, much of Stone Cloud transcends easy comparisons and finds its biggest returns in Swinford's surreal guided imagery, compositional tightness that is adept enough to sound loose and banged out in one golden afternoon (eternal and FINALLY cooling off a bit). While most tracks wouldn't sound too off on a Transformer outtakes colleciton, Stone Cloud includes several outstanding tracks such as "Jessica", which centers on a dangerously addicting riff pounded out ad nauseum that gathers intensity like a proverbial snowball, and "The One That Took the Eye", whose Serge Gainsbourg-like pairing sophistication and nonchalance with one really killer guitar solo. Swinford finally caves into his kraut demons in the album's intense closing track which rides a motorik beat through a shambolic cloud of bent guitars and Swinford's adjacent croon. 

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Marcus Rubio - Land of Disenfranchisement (Already Dead, 2014)

Coming off a string of compositions made up of field recordings and fluctuations in microphone feedback, Land of Disenfranchisement - a fully fleshed out pop record full of whip-smart social commentary - came as a bit of a welcome surprise. And in this record we can hear Rubio settling into his role as an arbiter of resigned bitterness over an expansive palate of lo-fi landscapes that acts as a clearing house for Rubio's many musical personas and proclivities. Take, for example, the sheer breadth of a track like "Brodayte Weekend 2K10 (No Regretz)". It starts as an ambient low rumble, breaks into a bubbling synth track and by the end of 2:38 (!) Rubio pulls in a ruddy fiddle, swirling organ and heavily strummed power chords. Brodayte, however, doesn't play like cut-and-paste garageband schizophrenia, there is a distinct melody running throughout the track shepherding and corralling all these disparate musical voices. This is one of the real strengths of this record. There is some golden mean running throughout the record of insidiously sly and clever melodies that pull the listener through whatever eye of the needle approaches us. He makes such a compelling case through melody and strong songwriting - focused on unworthy attachments - that we accept whatever compositional water we find ourselves in. I'm not saying that this is a record full of anachronisms. Most of the tracks are understated, shuffling, folk-tinged beauties. A kind of tape that gets stuck in your player for days at a time because there is never not a time when it is appropriate. But when Rubio starts flexing, pulls some heavily reverbed drone sandwiched between two perfect pop songs, we are willing to go there because we have our Virgil through the Land of Disenfranchisement. One of my favorites for the year of our Lord 2014.

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Decade in Exile - Transit/Pulse (Crash Symbols, 2014)

Taking on some pretty heavy themes following the passing of his father, Duncan Lloyd takes on death and transition time (instantaneous? light years?) between this world and whatever is after here through creating a terranium of sadness in which these ideas are played out through the careful observation in a contained space where questions of faith and life can take root. Split between two sides, Transit is split between spectral, shoegaze-folk and multi-tracked guitar loops overwraught with every drop of emotional transference wrung from them. These multi-layered guitar lines and drones are reminiscient of the kind of worlds Yume Bitsu tried to create, and more specifically with their raga-like leanings in the percussion, more akin to the spiritual realm of post-Bitsu Adam Forkner projects. Pulse is a bit more a subdued affair, much less focused on world-configuration than sending transmissions with enough signal strength to reach the other side. Long, sustained drones of amplifier-destroying severity punctauate this side of the tape. One of the most beautiful meditations on passing and the afterlife since Panda Bear's Young Prayer.

Wasted Cathedral - Pleasant Valley (Adhesive Sounds, 2014)

Pleasant Valley is a creeping motorcade of repetition and drone, a beat tape as dictated by Vangelis, an endlessly listenable series of looping, ever-ascending tendrils born from static and grit shooting forth straight into the sun. And this is the sun's communique back. Flecked and shedding beams of pure light on its descent back to its earthly grave. Chris Laramee creates some all-encompassing, completely engulfing compositions that don't rely on the club-like (as in weapon) tendencies of kraut to railroad the beat into infinity, but rather the club-like (as in this) repetition found in dance music. A communal practice of repetition to slow down time. Thats why, in light of tracks like "We Depart Memphis Moons" I want to call this a beat tape, even though I am not really sure what that is or if that is a thing. These tracks push a sense of laser-focused attention to the way in which the pulsing, eternally repeating beat interacts with the hazy, soft-noise drones emitting from a boombox experiencing some serious R.E.M cycle sleep. Otherwise, the eponymous "Pleasant Valley" finds its sanctity in repetition of sampled strings layered on top of each other creating subtle, ghosting movements of overwhelming beauty. "Blood Diamonds" ends the tape with a compelling, long-form exploration into creating sacred space via tape, a forever-drone decaying under the weight of some serious Basinski style tape destruction. 

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Nate Henricks - Neon for No One (Crash Symbols, 2014)

Nate Henricks opens Neon for No One with one colossol pastiche. The 10 minute + "Dead Fox Waltz" is comprised of three or four song-songs segued with a dense soup of swirling musical voices. This song (probably an EP unto itself) sets up the rest of the tape in a brilliant way. It exposes Henricks as a songwriter of great repute in the song-songs and a brilliant sound-collage artist in the gaps. On Neon For No One these two personas exist in perfect concert with each other.  These folk-tinged, shuffling mid-tempo tunes are beguilingly simple. A melody strong enough to carry any song is meticulously fucked with until a bright, shiny new creature arises. A tune simple enough to get any toe to tapping, yet bathed in enough lo-fi aural light to keep an audiophile's ear to the stereo. It's the songs. Really, the songs. "No More Shows" narrates the sad D.I.Y self-immolation of every great punk venue in your rinky-dink town. "Too much dumb behavior/too much broken equipment..." Sound familiar? If not, let Henrick's spoken word bridge lovingly dictate how your ethics and ideals of a community-centered "scene" is ruined by too many egos and too many drugs and vulture-like commodification of cultural colonialists hoping to cash in on the next big thing. "Sometimes I Die" is a cavernous, slow-build of a song that staggers its way to a sweeping, cathartic climax full of heartstring tugging strings, major chord flailing, distant martial drumming and Henrick's voice dripping with a sweet sense of ennui haunting through the entire composition. Too much perfection. Buy this.

Ryan H.

Thursday, July 10th, 2014 | Add New Comment (0)

Live God Collective came to my attention a few months ago after (missing) a performance by Apartment Mouth in Cincinnati where I currently reside. I was introduced to this collection of renegade artists and musicians by Boyfroot's Jay Harmon, a musician we here at the Tome have long admired. Live God took me through a backdoor portal into a world created by a group of unheralded artists creating music and art virtually out of any spotlight here in Cincinnati. While some have received significant blogger accolades, most of these artists represent that one-in-a-million bandcamp find that alerts you to the sheer vastness of how many people exist who make weird, unearthly music and put it out there for public consumption without much thought for compensation, and how will never truly have any sort of handle on what is out there and how much of it you will never hear. This is stuff that deserves to be heard. It is dark, dank and occasionally totally brilliant. It comes to us with the smell of unfinished basements and stale weed clinging to its garments that follow it into public, alerting you to the fact that its home is not your world and daring you to follow it into that part of town you've glimpsed from the freeway but never quite felt comfortable going into alone. The albums below represent Live God's 2014 releases thus far.

Live God Collective

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Apartment Mouth - The Vile Dialect

A totally depressing, guttural trudge through half-vacant apartments and weed-covered lots. Lots of eyes on you. Smell of anxiety like mold on half-rotten cardboard boxes. a feral bag of Hot Cheetos torn free from a nearby fence crosses your path and onto the street. Danger. Sweat. Apartment Mouth, a distinct type of dental rot caused by eating right before bed, is a collaboration between Live God artists Keiki and Boyfroot, and boy does it seeeethe. It writhers in unpleasantness and guitar feedback under the hands of Keiki and mutant, idiot beats are trawled up via a mic cable straight into Boyfroot's fucking soul. Some of the most dire stuff I've heard all year. Ponderous riffs and disembodied vocals coming from those flats condemned to demolition. Where will ghosts go after we have taken their homes?

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Sal Lake - Sodyolk

Sal Lake (no relation to the city of Salt Lake where I spent my early 20's) has a streak of eclecticism that runs a pretty deep chasm through this relatively short album. Songs (in that capitalized "S" sense of the word) range from tape manipulation, harsh noise, sample-based collages to droning, synth-based compositions. The two highlights below of this are cross-samples of these tendencies in Sodyolk: freak-the-fuck-out to compositions with enough patience and grace to invite deep listening. "Burgerbreath" is the most straight-forward noise track on this album, borrowing heavily from Kevin Drumm's dips into militant knob-twisting abuse, this 1:12 track is a palate cleansing raid on the senses. A perfect antidote for an afternoon spent trying to unclog a drain only to break the tool you were renting (FML). "Fussle" is many things, a post-IDM, industrial-lite slowburner with free-floating, pitch-shifting vocals and a quite beautiful repetitive synth call ...a signal to other sentient instruments. A machine's mating call. Pretty great stuff.

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First Dog - Music for Paranoid Cartoons

Both First Dog (formerly First Dog to Visit the Center of the Earth) and Boyfroot (then Boyfruit) were some of the first musicians to contact us to review their stuff. That was back whent they were still in high school. Now look at them running labels and art collectives and stuff. And this, this hour + wade into some of the best synth-based music I've heard all year. Present throughout are First Dog's playful and minimal melodies, all warped and sunbaked, cracked beats, swirling, buzzing guitar solos. First Dog never really went anywhere after relasing several fantastic releases including Every Machine On which Foxy Digitalis (R.I.P) awarded a "perfect 10". This is simply where we have decided to pick back up the trail, a place where First Dog is creating sprawling, melodic, beat-heavy records that are endlessly listenable, probably danceable (somewhere in this galaxy) and quite possibly one of the best things you will hear this year.

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Boyfroot - Drug Lord Wizard

Boyfroot - a self-proclaimed "demonic trap lord" - is never not making music. Fully invested into a culture that favors off-the-dome rapping into a cell phone that is never not on you and later piecing these together into a composition, Boyfroot's rebirth as narrator and arbiter of all things "darksided" from a loop-based electronic artist which Nick Potter accurately and lovingly described as a "troop of retarded elephants" has been a seamless delve into the Midwest's utterly bleak description of urban life by sixteen year olds claiming to tote AK's. This has yielded some pretty terrific results (including a Tiny Mix Tapes "Eureka" nod). Drug Lord Wizard follows on the heels of those successful mixtapes by pairing dreamlike, ambient soundscapes with crisp, skittering trap beats and Froot's pitch shifted, multi-layered voice narrating all types of deviant behavior. At this point this isn't the venue to discuss persona, appropriation, or anything like that. Drug Lord Wizard is a crystalline statement of Boyfroot's intent to compose incredibly well-crafted atmospherics to the immediacy and freedom of revealing your darkest and most twisted thoughts without any intermediary. 

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Keiki - CBK II

As one half of Apartment Mouth, Keiki has created a record that is sludgy, intense, and pretty difficult to get through. CBK II is an expressionistic, immediate guitar record that provides a glimpse into the transference between a musician's brain and instrument. A privileged glimpse of improvisation that does not follow perfect scales or aims at proficiency (not saying that this is anything but proficient), rather CBK II revels in the close proximity of mic to mouth, the aleatoric moan, the omnipresent drone, the harsh squeals of feedback oscillating madly over a wall of distortion. Ultimately, this is a guitarists record, a record filled with anxious discovery of what the amplified instrument can do. On "Error Control" these sounds are packaged and processed and let out in forced, controlled blasts of machine gun regularity. "The Traveler" is a long form, droning masterpiece of sludged-out heaviness that creeps and bellycrawls on its 24 + minute journey from lament to cemetery wail. CBK II is a necessarily intense record, and one doesn't give up its treasures easily.

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Zach Zinn - Time and the Diamond 

Zach Zinn, a rare non-midwesterner, creates beautiful, contemplative meditations that seemingly offset and/or counterbalance much of what we've heard on Live God. Not that Keiki's guitar destruction is any less spiritual or there isn't some kind of zen-like quality to the surety that Boyfroot will kill, smoke or fuck anything in his path (oneness of mind and purpse), but Zach Zinn's compositions surrounded by cystal-studded synths, processed and modulated woodwinds give Time and the Diamond a sort of studied, world-weariness of an attempt at communicate with the divine through ritual and drone. Huge, oceanic swells of noise underscore blinking, repeating bell sounds, mournful woodwinds, shamanistic vocals, tape manipulation, looped percussion and improvised synth lines. This is the kind of New Age dispatch that artists on Constellation Tatsu or Moon Dial Tapes are really proficient in making. This record, however isn't a maudlin, floating affair. The Celestial comes in mud-flaked and with bags under its eyes. The kind of happy, tired perfection that comes with lots and lots of practice and time in repetition. Beautiful stuff. 

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014 | Add New Comment (0)

 

True Neutral Crew - #POPPUNK (Deathbomb Arc, 2014)

Last year TNC dropped #Monsanto, a sprawling (for a four song EP) vision of the future of Hip-Hop. Featuring members of Foot Village, Clipping and I.E, that spooked EP sent reverberations around the horn to discerning listeners. With those reverberations was also a warning. A warning that #POPPUNK was in the works. #POPPUNK as a title is a bit more on the nose than the actual music itself. If you expected a record made with guitars, bass and drums or a terrible mid-00's bastardization of hip-hop and punk, you would be only half right...half of the time. #POPPUNK captures the battled punk spirit of killing sacred cows as trodden out in their opening track "Modern Art", a track that rails against equating intention with creation. That song is replete with bright, simple melodies couched in the voices and aspirations from a hundred different sources. That track also serves as a debut of TNC's newest crewster, Sir Benedick the Moor, whose elastic, hyper-kinetic flow is a welcome addition to the loose group that defines itself in spurts of intense collaboration. This collaboration eschews any sense of easy answers that the record title would give of  "hey, deyre rapping over pop-punk!" explanations and instead dips into left-field production that works on the strength of the crew in total instead of a showcase for each individual's talent. "New Shit" is one of those workably great tracks where everyone, including Brian Kinsman's awesomely nasally flow shows up to absolutely kill the track. There are stops and starts, the eponymous "Pop Punk" is as close to pop punk as we're going to get, "Can't Stop Loving You" is a cavernous, mid-tempo ballad sung in Spanish featuring I.E rapping on last half of the song. Everything in between is as raucous and thought-provoking as TNC wants/is capable of producing.

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Tideland - Lull (Sterling, VA Records, 2014)

Tideland from Sterling, VA on Sterling, VA records. I know the kind of pride/revulsion of coming from middle-class suburbia. Places where planned, covenant-controlled communities wind with sprawling, serpentine precision through former forests/plains and everyone has a backyard and driveway. Of course you can't mention Sterling, VA without Pg. 99. As I am finding, however, Pg. 99 is a very visible head to a legion of suburban punks sweating it out in basement shows and legion halls. Tideland, probably the most notable group to form out of Sterling in the recent years, is well into their young career of crafting shoegaze inspired melodic rock songs that ring and shine with that crunch that died away when alternative rock stopped being a thing. There are probably a billion "90's" band that one could point to as touchstones for this record full of hummable hooks, dueling guitars and waves of distortion that crash in deafening waves. Failure, Hum, Superchunk and recent revivalists Pity Sex come easily to mind. This is a record that deserves to be played way too loud through decaying car speakers with the windows down because the AC is broken and you don't earn enough money from delivering pizza to get it fixed.

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Wreck and Reference - Want (The Flesner, 2014)

Want as a record is a thing that leaves scars. An unrelenting dive into self-loathing and unredeemed angst that is difficult to shake. A record that splinters into a thousand shards the minute it hits the turntable. Unsettling and and leaden without a downstroke on a guitar or a single bass line. Wreck and Reference is consisted solely of Felix Skinner on midi-controller/synth/piano/vocals and Ignat Frege on drums. This sparse line up belies just how huge these tracks can get. Skinner's electronic compositions range from snarling, minimalist seas of distortion and glass to pulsing, halting waves of modulated blood pumping through a robotic aorta. Skinner's voice takes center stage here moving from tortured scream, husky growl, fraying croon to monotone spoken word. These iterations often fall over each other in the attempt to expel the breath out of his lungs like Skinner consumed poison or these words were put into him by a non-benevolent being. Something needs to come out. The human mouth can only contort itself in so many ways and lungs can only handle so much strain until they begin to flake and detach themselves. Frege's expressive drumming is strangely not the heaviest thing on this album. He can pound out powerful, cavernous lines that pummel unforgivingly, but often they are understated and mixed pretty low so as to let the listener roil and seethe in the carefully crafted electronic atmosphere. The Flesner can do no wrong this year. Every release has been an incredibly powerful, boundary pushing endeavor in the world of heavy, intense music.

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Salazar - Saudade (Self-Released, 2014)

A perfectly composed, perfectly paced record full of understated beauty that is easy to lose an afternoon in. It is not often that these kind of polite, earnest indie rock records have this immediate of an effect on me. But here we are with a record that easily matches the compositional complexity and high falutin crooning vocals as a band such as Grizzly Bear, Midlake or any group like unto them. Saudade takes time in revealing its tricks. Insidiously hooky melodic lines couch themselves in prog-lite guitar and bass lines, only revealing themselves in memory or repeated listens. Perfect for late afternoon house cleaning, dinner party hosting, Saudade is a non-confrontational album that still retains enough backbone to fade into obscurity in social settings and enough aural meat for this to be a serious headphone affair. Melodies, jazzy time signatures and instrumental flourishes manifesting themselves as each track meanders and moseys to its eventual demise.

Saturday, June 28th, 2014 | Add New Comment (0)

This immersive, creationist video of first-person astral-tripping is one of the best videos I have seen all year. From this video's first tell to the deconstruction of our observed world, the first-person/fourth-wall breaking schema is breath-taking, totally erasing any separation from this glitched computer-generated landscape. Being in it creates a sense of empathy as an active participant/avatar in this birth/destruction of this world inside. Rumble seats would be the only improvement. Oh yeah, and these fully fleshed drones by Braeyden Jae (WYLD WYZRDZ, Weighted Pines, Braden J. Mckenna) are the ascension soundtrack guiding dying circuits to their home in this CG heaven. Enjoy.

Friday, June 20th, 2014 | Add New Comment (0)

North Atlantic Drift / Northumbria - S/T Split (Polar Seas, 2014)

Everything thing about this record is freezing. The glacial pace of these expertly crafted ambient-electronic / drone-based compositions, the icy remoteness of  North Atlantic Drift's crystalline synth draws, piano lines and ice-crack crisp beats to Northumbia's winter-squall whiteout of guitar drones. This split finds two Toronto-based groups exploring similar themes of isolation and beauty found in Canada's extreme north. North Atlantic Drift's compositions are placid, beat-driven compositions bolstered by floating guitar and synth lines that drift like icebergs on a sad, fate-bound course to warmer waters. These are hummable,  trackable tunes of icy ambiance that is more warm cottage in the distance than the ice and snow itself. Northumbria, on the other hand, is winter storm personified. "Cold Wind Rising" is a thousand different oscillating guitars on top of a growling, low-end destroying drone. The album closer both for Northumbria and the split is a beautifully decaying guitar riff that accumulates more and more static and tape debris as it is ponderously banged out by tired hands. "Vanishing Point" is an album-ending slowburner in the vein of Yume Bitsu or Birchville Cat Motel. And it slays. Not surprised at all this is mastered by James Plotkin.

Purchase on Bandcamp

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Alex Cobb - Marigold and Cable (Shelter Press, 2014)

Alex Cobb has had a banner yeart thus far. In 2014 Cobb's label Students of Decay has recently put out three releases of great note, Kyle Bobby Dunn's 3xLP ...&The Infinite Sadness, reissuing Mark Banning's immortal New Age work Journey to the Light, and releasing Anne Guthrie's organic-electronic masterpiece Codiaeum Variegatum, Alex is finally getting around to releasing some of his solo ambient-drone work. Marigold and Cable is a stunning collection of long-playing, engulfing drones full of elegiac sustained tones and shimmering mid-ranges that teeter on that knife's edge of sonorous and dissonant (much of which has to do with how loud you have the volume). "Famosa" opens the record with a full-on muted roar, an all-encompassing, warm-hearted maw of a sheltering cave in which the sea still reverberates. In "Oversong", Cobb is accompanied by Maxwell Croy (see below) on koto, which gives the track a nice counterbalance of dissonance in an otherwise all light, all shimmer, all spectral album that walks lightly on a shimmering layer of newly formed earth's crust while fully acknowledging the roiling, viscous madness just below the surface. Another album, not surprisingly mastered by James Plotkin.

Purchase at Shelter Press

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Maxwell August Croy and Sean Mcann - I (Students of Decay, 2014)

In many ways a pairing like this had to happen. These two forces of exploratory compositions could not be separated for long. Even if they were born thousands of miles apart and the internet did not exist they would find each other. The overall sound of I lends itself to such conjecture. We can imagine Croy as a practitioner as well denizen of the east. Bowing elegiac, longing passages on the koto, working through eastern scales in an unhurried, courtly sort of restraint. Mcann on the other hand we can picture as the worldly western composer whose catholic compositions rely on delicate melody, and a mirrored sense of longing and melancholy. The collaboration between Croy and Mcann, however, consisted of a meet-me-in-the-middle type holing up and playing off each other's respective strengths of the respective San Francisco and Los Angeles musicians. The result is something fearless and altogether wonderful. Croy and Mcann craft delicate, spacious arrangements centered around the koto, cello, various electronics and other bowed and plucked instruments. Most of the compositions give plenty of room for worshipful space and longing with rushes of warm, orchestral beauty rushing in to fill in the spaces of an open mind. Other compositions are hypnotically bowed pieces of aural intensity that create sonic walls of circling, spiraling noise. Like Stars of the Lid channeling Eastern Chamber Music. Mastered by Rashad Becker.

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Sparkling Wide Pressure / Madrugapha - S/T Split (Salvador Records, 2014)

This split with Sparkling Wide Pressure and Madrugapha is steeped in a stated lack in the ability to communicate. "I Have no Words" and "I'm Not Trying to Make Music" are the titles of the respective sides of the split. Both pieces of music exist beyond that plane of intention of sheet music, pre-planned aesthetic or ideas beyond the next movement. The golden thread that ties these two compositions together (not mention most of the records on this post) is the presence of eastern instruments bowed or plucked in a delirious type of revelry that seem to send notes creeping out of every porous surface. SPW, always the master tape manipulator, throws a delightful curveball during "You Have the Most Blue" where he sends a tension-filled looped banjo passage under the bus and turns the entire track into a dub-heavy dance track. Loops and loops of guitars and synths make up the back bone of many of these tracks. SPW is not afraid to send them out into unknown territory far away from their original home. The Madrugapha side of the split is a welcome introduction to this mysterious artist. Madrugapha has recently completed a split with crazy, dance-party-causing, gamalean-slangers, Trabajo. Madrugapha's compositions have a more pieced-together feel. A stitched up Frankenstein made with parts of various eastern stringed instruments, woodwinds, tape manipulation and bass. Songs such as "Journey through the Dust of Midnight" are a spectral drift through improvised guitar lines and cosmic synths. Hate that I used "cosmic synths". Buy this record. 

Buy on Salvador Records

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Oiseaux-Tempete - S/T (Sub Rosa, 2014)

If you wrote post-rock off as this boring, predictable parody of itself prepare to eat those words with a healthy dose of genre-bleeding stabs of noise, leftist politics and gut-wrenching intensity.Oiseaux-Tempete, a French three-piece create brooding instrumental passages that wrap themselves in shimmering tremelo-picked guitars, a cinematic sense of tension and release, found-sounds, excerpts of interviews, flashes of harsh noise, sprawling, open compositions that evoke the crumbling infrastructure that suffered neglect in light of Europe's last fiscal crisis. I haven't heard a debut record with such assurity and presence in a long time, not to mention in the stuffy, formulaic genre that post-rock ineviatably had to crystalize into. Oiseaux-Tempete's self-titled record also comes with a pretty amazing remix disc that features Leopard of Honour, Dag Rosenqvist (Jasper, TX), Machinefabriek, members of Do, Make, Say, Think and Aun that either serve to play on the band's penchant for layering thick waves of reverb and tape manipulation on top of inherently melodic guitar lines or to condense these tendencies into dark ambient/IDM territory. Not since Pyramid's debut record has a remix album almost been as good as its source material.

Purchase here

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Gazar Strips - Sparkling (Sonic Masala, 2014)

Our Australian bloggers-in-arms Sonic Masala officially christened themselves a record label this year with their first release of London's goth-psych band Gazar Strips. Sparkling is a four song lament and prophecy, a dispatch from a really, really dark and dank London basement. A faithful channeling of Bauhaus and the Cure seeping onto the streets from some decrepit building with a marked date of demolition. These tracks buzz, drone and seethe with a righteous sense of dissatisfaction and desertion. A rumination on gifts squandered. I really enjoy the unrelenting, omni-buzzing basslines and minimalist guitar lines permeating the entire EP. This is an excellent debut for a newly minted record label that grew out of a thankless passion for exposing people to undiscovered musical acts. Recorded by Lawrence English.

Buy on Bandcamp

 

Monday, June 16th, 2014 | Add New Comment (0)