I picked up a copy of this five-track EP at a gig where Dundee band Vladimir supported The Twilight Sad in November (reviewed Here). Unfortunately I missed them live, but thought it’d be worth picking up a copy. Upon a bit of light new year’s cleaning I happened upon it and thought I’d give it a listen.
EP opener On My Wall opens with a driving growl of bass and guitar that brings to mind the racecar-inspired Black Sunshine by White Zombie. Big, distorted guitar hits are the order of the day here, and it’s an enjoyable track. Vocalist Ross Murray’s double tracked vocals are all -encompassing and fit well with the driving rock ethic.
I Fight Fire and Passing follow a similar mould and are similarly enjoyable tracks, with the vocal style coming much more to the fore. The drums in particular shine on I Fight Fire with a nice spring echoey guitar line and heavy, mildly psychedelic vibe. It sounds a bit like a bad trip. In a good way.
For me though, Mellow really stood out. Alternating between a mellow post-rock/shoegaze calm and a full-on driving rain guitar assault, it works well. It’s nice to hear the bass take the lead, with an atmospheric seismograph-line guitar adding texture. The vocals on the chorus do verge on being a bit overly ‘shouty’, but that’s really a question of taste.
Album closer Untitled showcases further sonic possibilities, with static guitar and a series of un-nerving obscure movie samples. The drums beat hard amongst the guitar lines before a final explosion of feedback and cymbal crashes.
Vladimir showcases an almost embryonic band that could evolve in any of many directions. It’ll be interesting to see where they go from here. I am definitely gutted I didn’t turn up in November earlier.
I caught these guys on their (what I assume was) their 1st foray into Arizona at the Trunkspace, in Phoenix. I remember going to see someone else but they canceled (I think) and ended up being pleasantly surprised. Of course there were only like 8 people there and that obligatory kid that knew all about them but regardless I was still impressed and purchased a cd right away. They came out said 2 words and then stormed the venue. Anyway, this band has consistently been good and are kinda funny assholes (you know the type). Listen listen listen!
Released about a year ago, Mogwai’s seventh studio album had a bit of a lukewarm reception. I don’t think it isn’t an album of merit. It’s just a little schizophrenic in its approach- attempting a new direction whilst still keeping that Mogwai identity.
Album opener White Noise is perhaps a little gentle, but it gradually crescendoes into a flourish, laden with guitar fanfares. To me, it brings to mind train journeys into the city- gradually increasing dynamics as one travels deeper into the metropolis. It plays a little like a more polished version of previous album opener I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead.
I would argue that Mogwai’s strongest tracks are opener/closers- Consider Auto Rock & We’re No Here, Yes! I am a Long Way From Home & Mogwai Fear Satan. Unfortunately, HWNDBYW‘s opener is a bit lacking. It just never breaks out.
After three years of having albums released through small run tape labels, kosmische revivalist Steve Hauschildt finally gets a proper release for his mind bending work. Being one third of the Ohio zoned out giants, Emeralds, his solo work could be easily overlooked. ”Tragedy & Geometry” is an album with focused energy on shorter compositions rather than the long form style of his earlier releases.
The aura of this album generates feelings of a mature nature, completely packed with lush synth zones and melancholic, meandering arpeggios. The opening track, “Polyhymnia”, is a representation of just that. The fourth track and one of my favorites on the album, “Already Replaced”, starts off with a delicate arpeggio quickly being met kindly by airy, melancholic undertones to give the intention that you or something else being replaced. Shimmering, high toned synth calms that melancholic smoke by dancing a melody around it. ”Music for Moiré pattern” is the only slow burner on the album clocking in at a comfortable 11 minutes and reminds me heavily of his work with Emeralds. The quasi-distorted synth that comes in two thirds of the way through is reminiscent of Mark McGuire’s fret board magic and trails off for the rest of the track. The last track, “Stare into Space”, brings everything full circle. As the track hones in on friendly arpeggios again, it really smooths out into a suggestive soundscape relating to the closing of the album.
Sandro Perri’s latest album for Constellation Records, “Impossible Spaces”, is quite nice listening. Similar in structure to his previous “Tiny Spaces“, but this time, filled out with a large selection of accompanying instruments, in comparison to Spaces simplistic, guitar driven folky tunes. Perri’s underrated voice goes well over the songs that meander through pleasant instrumental sections that help add color to the album, but don’t go too far as to drag on. It’s hard for me to come up with a comparison to a similar sounding album, but I think it’s worth a listen for all. It’s a relatively easy album to listen to.
Perri’s album is available in just about any media you can desire on Constellation’s website. Additionally, the entire album is available for preview via soundcloud below.
This is a very short release, two tracks in total. The first is the title track, clocking at nearly five minutes, it has room to meander without losing direction. The band has an ability to play with time signatures and pull off melodies and rhythm’s that, while complex, are catchy and easy to groove with. These Englishmen have always had a vibrant and lively sound. Even as some lyrics lean towards a more sincere introspection and reflection, they’re delivered with energy and finesse.
There is one bittersweet reality that has to be swallowed with this release. These are the last recordings to have Stuart Smith on Vocals. If this is your first exposure to this band, you’ll need to check out some older material if you’d like to hear more. I’d recommend their self-titled (a compilation of older EP/split/otherwise unreleased material) before their full-length, Animals.
I first heard of Canadian artist The Weeknd [yes, it’s spelt without the third ‘e’] on twitter one night, seeing that ‘Dirty Diana’ was trending. So I went and had a listen to the guy’s cover of it, not knowing whether to expect a remix, cover or general mickey-take. I tripped over the ‘mixtape’ Echoes of Silence, offered free of charge.
The aforementioned cover opens a nine-track ‘mixtape’ as it is being referred to all over the internets. Certainly not a bad set of songs whatever you desire to call it. It’s a rollercoaster-cum-ghost train of a ride, via reverberating piano ballads, satanic frat parties and more than a pinch of the late Mr Jackson.
XO/The Host and Initiation exude dark like some kind of anti-lightbulb. Singer Abel Tesfaye’s voice is at odds juxtaposed against the dark, occasionally ethereal noises he’s produced but it somehow works. XO/The Host sparkles with a ghostly carousel organ, but for me Initiation really stands out. With Tesfaye’s words on hedonistic addiction twisted and vocoderised, it brings to mind an evil-dark approximation of N*E*R*D’s video forLapdance, shot with torches, dark corners and even darker deeds.
Conversely, Montreal has more of an 80s feel to it whilst the dial tones of Same Old Song bring to mind Mike Shinoda’s remix of Enjoy The Silence. There’s a definite amount of tonal variation on the album- you couldn’t accuse it of being ‘samey’ in the slightest.