Talk about a beautiful find! The music of Whiskey Priest sounds familiar; it's that of the comforting sound of love, peace, and the calm feels of a serene sunset. This three-piece is most notable for the gorgeous vocals of Noah Hall, but their music is so hushed and gentle, it's had to notice the other two in the band. That's not meant as a slight; the simplicity of the arrangements on Hungry wouldn't lead you to think that Hall is backed by a band. And yes, Whiskey Priest is all about Noah Hall; the man has the voice of an angel, and the delicate gossamer-like music behind him makes the whole darn thing seem utterly angelic. Hall never sounds overly dramatic; his voice has the same heavenly quality found in Jeff Buckley, but he never attempts Buckley’s operatic melodrama heights. The music itself is pretty traditional folk, but the band offers spacey, trippy sounds on "Souvenir" and "Saturn." Oh, and there's a Guns 'n' Roses cover, too. I will not tell you what it is; listen to the album and find out for yourself—it's gorgeous!
Over the years, Jack Dangers, maestro behind Meat Beat Manifesto, has made some interesting, thought-provoking, and sometimes intense music. His newest release, Music for Planetarium, consists of eleven tracks commissioned for a planetarium in Budapest, and these eleven tracks most certainly feel like space. These songs are primarily drones, quiet drones, hushed drones, beautiful drones, and they remind me of the wonderful score to 2001. As such, Music for Planetarium is the perfect soundtrack for calm mornings and for quiet nights, and, if you so desire, for star-gazing. According to the notes, it was "recorded under a quilt at night in Marin County, CA." Hmmm...interesting! I've enjoyed the quietness of the tones on this; it's one of the more relaxing records I've heard this year.
For fun, I threw together a little podcast including songs from records out now or about to be: enjoy!
1. "The World The People Together (Come On)" -- The Dandy Warhols 2. "Dance Parties (Distant)" -- 65daysofstatic 3. "The Story of the Impossible" -- Peter von Poehl 4. "Mono no Aware" -- Hammock 5. "We Were So Entangled" -- Head Like A Kite 6. "Down for the Count" -- Daniel Ahern 7. "Northern Skies" -- The Instruments
About all I know about Beequeen is that they hail from the Netherlands and that they sporadically release beautiful records. I happened upon the band on the Important Records website, and I liked what I heard enough to purchase their newest record, Sandancing. After a few listens, I've decided I generally like what I've heard. The band is the longstanding collaboration between Freek Kinkelaar and Frans de Waard, but for this record they've added the vocals of Olga Wallis, a gorgeous singer with a lovely voice--once steeped in folk tradition, if I were to make an educated guess.
Musically speaking, the songs have a tendency of being rather nondescript, but that's quite fine; they're pretty and dark and that's all that matters. There's nothing too intrusive or unpleasant, either. At times, their sound reminds me of Weird Weeds, especially the song "Breathe." At other times, the music reminds me of Mazzy Star, His Name is Alive, and, on "The Honeythief," American Analog Set. Get the vibe here? Mellow, minimal, and occasionally stoned.
Honestly, I've neve heard their earlier work, so I have nothing to compare Sandancing to, but I'd be curious to hear it, because what I've heard here is pretty and interesting and downright enjoyable.
As much as I liked Paul Dickow's last Strategy album, Future Rock, I like his new one, Music for Lamping, a bit more. The previous album was a curious blend of World Music-style rhythms blended with electronica, and it worked in a way Moby's styles theoretically should have worked. It was funky, but in a rather intellectual way. If Future Rock's modus operandi was to get your feet to move, Music for Lamping is the exact opposite; its charms are pure overcast, downbeat drone and foggy atmospherics. It's what some might call "space music," and rightly so: this is the sort of music that soundtracks starry nights, rainy nights, cloudy nights, moonlight nights, snowy nights, stormy nights. I think that's what Paul was going for; hence the connotations in the title! Heck, I'll be honest; when I first gave this record a go, I did so during the afternoon, and it didn't really reveal its inner beauty; as soon as the sun went down, though, well…hello sailor!
None of Music for Lamping clocks in at less than five minutes, and is bookended by two beautiful fourteen-minute compositions. But time isn't important here; like the best records of this genre, Music for Lamping is a record that flows seamlessly, and you don't really think about trivial things as songs or song titles or "gee, what is he going to do on the next track?" If you listen to Music for Lamping properly, you really won't care about such trivial matters. None of the songs are particularly assuming; there's not much activity within their melodies, but don't worry; the album won't bore you, though it will compel your senses to relax. If I were to describe what he's going for on songs like "I Can't Stand the Rain" or "Cathedral Spark," it's that he's trying to capture the sounds of a city at night. Of course that might be exactly what he's going for. If so, he's succeeded! Music for Lamping is one of the better 'chill-out' records I've heard in a while, and is a gorgeous though unsurprisingly lovely little treat from one of today's more prolific electronic composers.
An honest confession, if I may: I didn't care much for Valet's previous record, Blood is Clean. Why? Can't quite say, really. Sometimes one cannot fully vocalize their aesthetic decisions, and in such cases, why overanalyze? Accept you feel a certain way and move on. I always prefer to give a band or an artist the benefit of the doubt; after all, an unsatisfying record doth not an unsatisfying career make.
And such is true with Valet. My feelings for Blood is Clean bear no influence on my feelings for Naked Acid, because I find Honey Owens' latest creation to be a beautiful, seamless collection of modern prog-rock and impressive ambient drone. Heck, before I heard one note I had a feeling it was thus so by judging the cover; it certainly looks like an obscure prog-rock record from 1973, no?
Set those things aside, my friends. How it sounds is much more important than how you think it should sound. Naked Acid sounds exactly as you think it should sound, though, so I think I wasted your time with that last sentence. Honey is a visionary, and her songs are big, beautiful, droning things, but within those big drones are many little themes, insuring a captive listening experience and a sound that never grows dull or monotonous. I like that she starts songs one way and then finishes them another. I like that she throws in beats at the end of an album's worth of psych-rock and experimental drone. Thus, I could say, "I really like the electronica dance element found Valet's new record," and I would piss off the po-faced art-rock loving types who have heard only one or two songs without actually hearing the entire record, but I would be correct, because "Streets" is a nice little electronica/dance-style number, though done in a way that is oh-so-Valet.
Mainly, though, I like how Naked Acid is just mind-meltingly beautiful. Sometimes love's reasoning is simple...
Holy crap, this band is amazing! I don't know much about Music Go Music other than their sound is total Abba-esque pop, and if Secretly Canadian isn't the luckiest label in the world for finding them, I don't know what else to say. This band's gonna be big, I promise you. It's like Agnetha and Frieda got together and recorded a demo or two with Benny and Bjorn, and though I haven't heard the rest of their forthcoming 12" debut, I'm sure it has to be as amazing as "Light of Love," the title track from their three-song EP....more 12" vinyl singles are apparently forthcoming...and my heart is waiting to fall in love....
I admit I had not heard the song at the time I wrote that previous post. But I have heard it now, and it's such a beautifully simple song, representing everything I love about Marty's music. It is a simple song with a simple melody and simple lyrics highlighting the very simple joy of being alive and being in love, with an understated chorus of singers in the background. If you haven't heard it yet, I encourage you to do so, and listen with the following caveat: you will smile, you may shed a tear and you will definitely hit repeat.
The brilliant Marty Anderson has a new Okay album coming out! Absolutely Kosher will release Huggable Dust next Tuesday, and I'll admit right now to being highly biased to anything with his name on it. Listen to this wonderful song, and understand why I am so infatuated with his work.
On a purely superficial level, I expected Lie in Light to be a party album. I say this because the cover art for Cloudland Canyon's latest full-length is a three-panel fold-out lined with pictures of the band, various friends, and other sorts of things that one would associate with having a good time--you know, not unlike the covers of a lot of 1970s coke-fueled self-indulgent records by people too talented to release such crap. (God bless your rum-soaked soul, Harry Nilsson.) Opening track "Krautwerk" does a rather convincing job of hinting at some sort of behind-the-scenes Bacchanals; the bass-line is pulsing and very sensual; the mantra of "Lie in light" heightens the tense, sexy atmosphere, and the song simply pulsates on for almost seven minutes. And yes, I most certainly would play a song like that if I wanted to get a booze-up, erm, "groovin'."
For those who appreciate Cloudland Canyon on a level not conducive to "fun," let not these things dishearten you, for soon do they return to the beautiful drone and ambient noise that makes them such a pleasure to behold. "White Woman" brings in the noise and weird-ass vocals amidst swirly sheets of noise--if they're going for a vibe of standing on Mt. Everest and singing down sweet folk songs into the valley of the shadow of death, then hey, mission accomplished! In short, it's all a bit trippy. Psychedelic? Yeah, that too, but it's a particularly delicious trip; hypnotic at times, restful at other times, and downright, well, mind-bending most of the rest of the other times if i can rightfully remember those times. Prog rock or kraut rock? You can call it that, if you're an idiot who has to classify music in such meaningless, amorphous categories with no real bearing on the actual music. And, good grief, please please please, if you use the words "Animal Collective" to describe this music, please go buy a clue, will you?
I do, though, think the band had a fun time making their record. Within the dark and twisting grooves, though, there's a pulsing heartbeat of joy. I can't explain why, but this record makes me smile and it makes me feel happy and warm and elated. Perhaps it's the cough syrup in me, but the way this record makes me feel is rather alien; as I write this, I am listening to the record. I sit back in my chair, close my eyes, and feel content, and I don't really think I want to try to understand why I feel that feeling, other than to say it exists, it's real, and it makes me smile.
I'm still not sure about Atlas Sound's debut album, but I am fairly certain that Atlas Sound's "latest single" is pretty amazing. For those of us old enough to remember the era when a 7" single wasn't a promotional gimmick or an instant uber-rarity, Mr. Bradford Cox has given us a "virtual 7'," and darned if it isn't a nice little slice of virtual vinyl. The introduction of A-Side, "Bored Dub," had me thinking I was about to be encased in Vini Reilly-esque guitar solo. It didn't happen, but Bradford's singing is just as lovely. It's all a bit somnambulistic, with his voice blending in with the gentle melodies behind him. In a way, it reminds me of 50s-era doo-wop ballads; it doesn't have the harmonies, but it has the atmosphere. I can't really explain it, but tune in to Blues Before Sunrise and you'll hear music that sounds an awful lot like this. "No Longer" is an instrumental number, not unlike his recent album--a quiet, blissful passage, neither overbearing nor disconcerting. If anything, it has me crawling back to that album to give it a second chance...
Watch some videos, specially selected for your viewing pleasure! I really love these songs, and I hope you do, too. It's kind of heavy on the British pop, I'll admit. But dig the Sailor video. I'll write more about them in the near future, believe me!
Feel free to comment upon what you've seen, and enjoy!
So, how do you describe perfection? How do you put into words the indefinable, to describe a sound so wonderfully indescribable? Honestly, I can't tell you-I just told you I can’t describe this record. But that's okay, I think I'll let the music speak for itself.
If I were in Auburn Lull, I would be proud of Begin Civil Twilight. It is a creative high point; it is easily their best record to date, and it is a seamless trip through aquatic galaxies and celestial seas. The record proves that they truly are the children of Eno and Budd and Guthrie, yet they possess their own identity. It floats by lackadaisically, without pause, without concern. They take their time with the music they make, and the delicate details of this album prove why those of us who know the band, we don’t mind the wait.
If I were with Darla Records, I would be proud to release Begin Civil Twilight. It is no secret that the label is one of my favorites. They have released many records I listen to on a weekly basis, and I will support them and sing their praises as long as I am writing about music, but damn--this record is a total, utter mindblower. I would honor James and Chandra by commending them for their good taste, but they already know that.
As a long-time follower of Auburn Lull, I am extremely proud of Begin Civil Twilight. I remember when this band started out on limited-edition vinyl, and I spent a pretty penny collecting their works, but as I said earlier, I do not complain about the length of time for records to appear; I have yet to be disappointed. And Begin Civil Twilight has played in my overnight playlists for sleepy times ever since I got it.
I wish I could give you all this record in toto, but, alas, I cannot. I want Auburn Lull to get paid. But consider it a gift, my friend, of the song I have posted, because the record is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful things you’ll hear all year. Simple words for simple melodies and simply beautiful sounds...
Finally, a band that recognizes the brilliance of the Mike Love-driven, pre-drug casualty Beach Boys sound! Pleased to make your acquaintance, Explorers Club! Way too much time and energy has been wasted on the Smile tragedy. (Personally, I think it was a self-indulgent head-trip that was never funny, not particularly good, and definitely not genius.) It's hard to remember the sound that brought them to the Pet Sounds era--harmony-drenched pop songs deeply indebted to Phil Spector, noted for Wilson harmony, a wall-of-sound that enveloped your listening experience, and heartfelt lyrics that made you feel loved if you were lonely, and even more loved if you were in love.
I don't have too much information on the band, but I really don't care, because I'm all about the band's vibrations. Yes, the blogging world has been all a-buzz over "Do You Love Me," and rightly so--it's a great song. But like the second side of Beach Boys Today!, it's the second side of Freedom Wind that really sparkles. Long comparison short: these songs are melancholy and beautifully arranged, but they're not over-arranged or over-orchestrated. These songs are the perfect length and the album is the perfect length, too—never overstaying its welcome, always leaving you wanting more.
The best number of the lot, "Safe Distance," is strumming guitars, harmonies, organ, and I think I hear a ukulele in there, too. It's slow, it's make-out music, it's sitting in the back seat of your daddy's car at midnight on a Friday night after the football game, holding your girlfriend tight and just feeling the moment. That the song is followed by a wonderful song called "Hold Me Tight" only proves my point--this is a high school pop record for high schoolers four decades ago.
I like the rest of the record, it's a gas, yes, but I'm only going to talk about those two songs, thank you very much, because, after hearing those two songs, I find myself not really caring about the rest of the record. Not that it's bad, but, excuse me, I am in love with the sound here, thank you very much, I'm done gushing, I'll never be done gushing...
All songs appearing here are done so either with permission or for sampling purposes only. Files appear here for a limited time only, so act fast! If you possess the copyright to anything posted here and wish to have it removed, please let us know and we shall do so. We're not wanting to cause problems, friends.