31 October 2010

Scott Tuma - not for nobody (2008, Digitalis)

The first time I've heard of Scott Tuma, it was in 1996. He was the bassist (also one of the guitarists, I suspect) of Souled American and I felt in love with their last album “Notes Campfire”, a gem of these years were Palace Brothers, Songs:Ohia or Appendix Out were still, pure, and at their beginning. On this album Souled American was already exploring new territories and listening backwards to their discography was next deceptive because their previous records were much more traditional.

But listening to Scott Tuma now I have the impression he was the one longing for these new landscapes because it's there that he settled in his solo career.

30 October 2010

Mineral - The Complete Collection (2010, Fatbone)

During the second part of the nineties and the early years of the new century, I've listened to the two Mineral album a ridiculously high number of times ("The Power of Failing", 1995 and "EndSerenading, 1998). 

I remember myself ordering the 7inches, tracking down the compilation tracks on Napster, all of them finally included here, all things remastered, except the absence of one track, Sadder Star, which was in fact their only weak one. 

29 October 2010

Sun Kil Moon - admiral fell promises (2010, Caldo Verde)

Technically, this is not a Sun Kil Moon album but a solo Mark Kozelek one and as he admits, the trick is to sell that way much more albums.

"Admiral Fell Promises" is just Mark Kozelek singing and playing on  a nylon-string guitar. But somewhat, the context and the style are different and more subtle than on previous solo albums, so this new release stand somewhere between solo and band material.

28 October 2010

Duster - apex, trance-like (1998, Skylab Operations)

Described as a long lost and underestimate American lo-fi slowcore trio, Duster never really fitted with the established archetypes of the style.

27 October 2010

Vio/miré - january 2009 (2009)

I don't know what makes me the most melancholic, the songs or the songwriter. Brendan Glasson has got such a, ouch, sensitivity that you wonder how such treasures have managed to find their way to your ears without disappearing into the ether. To the point I could become almost believe in the existence of careful divinity somewhere above.

26 October 2010

The Green Kingdom - laminae (2008, The Land Of)

As a geological term, lamina (plural : laminae) means a a layer of sediment or sedimentary rock less than a centimeter in thickness. It's something that can stay unnoticed if you don't look with care. It's exactly what happens with “Laminae”, second full length by Michael Cottone, a graphic designer and sound artist based in Michigan.

25 October 2010

Travels - robber on the run (2010, Own)

Third album for Travels and first one on Own Records.

While their second one was a kind of comet trail to their splendid debut, on "Robber on the run"they renew with exploration, risks and depth. After the honeymoon of "The Hot Summer", the clouds, the uneasiness and the autumnal melancholy are back in full force but without removing the playfulness tension of their song.

24 October 2010

Algernon Cadwallader - some kind of cadwallader (2008, Be Happy)

I'm sorry dear emo math/pop/punk-rock out of ordinary band, I tried to love you but I never succeeded, I do enjoyed a few song but a whole album is too much for me as I'm too old, disabused and blasé.

23 October 2010

Auburn Lull - begin civil twilight (2008, Darla)

A few bands are exceptions, living besides tendencies, in their own bubble, enriching their own ground, preserving their special ecosystem. In the shoegaze realm, Pia Fraus is such a band, Auburn Lull another, if the first one, from Estonia, has built a universe from My Bloody Valentine, this one, from Lansing, Michigan, is like a lost child of Slowdive, playing atmospheric songs of pastoral dreampop.

22 October 2010

Whitesand/Badlands - blank czech/humans, #1 (2010, The Riley Bushman Recordings & Archives)

I wonder who really knows or reminds of The Swirlies, Eleventh Dream Day, Juno, 90 Day Men, Savage Republic, Channing Cope or Unwound (with their last album), so I'm curious about who would or could or should enjoy Whitesand/Badlands.

21 October 2010

Love Of Everything - superior mold and die (2006, Record Label)

This is ninth release, so I experience a sense of vertigo because I do enjoyed each one.

No dramatic change here, eleven songs for thirty minutes, a better production and better microphones maybe, or, at least, growing technical skills. But all these things have not much importance, this progress simply shows that Bobby Burg is alive and well, looking at the future with the same motivation than before.

20 October 2010

Shaula - Oneiroi (2010, Audio Gourmet)

After a debut album on Under The Spire, "Haze", Shaula goes on with an EP on another UK ambient label, Audio Gourmet. Progress is in the air.

19 October 2010

Marihiko Hara - nostalghia (2010, Audiomoves)

Instrumental ambient album composed between 2007 and 2009 by a Japanese musician from Kyoto, Marihiko Hara, "Nostalghia"finds the inspiration inside a collection of transparency films he got from his grandmother and which were taken in 1967, during a world trip in Europe, USA and Soviet Union. 

18 October 2010

The Books - the way out (2010, Temporary Residence)

It's a fact, The Books albums are indigestible but they age pretty well. Acclimation is necessary and finally you are not expected everything. After five silent years, they are back with "The Way Out".

But it's not about going out of an impasse, because, it's kinda the same as they are following their way, digging deeper in their own dead end. Nick Zammuto sings in fact better on this album, assuming more space on a few songs.

17 October 2010

Empress – 1996-1999 (2002, 555)

1996-1999” was released, after their self-titled album on Geographic, as a way to collect compilation songs, unreleased tracks  and alternate versions, with the symbolic goal to put a final point to the first version of the band, before they became a duo and started to explore more digital sounds.

16 October 2010

Storm & Stress – under thunder and fluorescent lights (2000, Touch & Go)

Joan of Arc, Gastr Del Sol, Shipping News, Collections of Colonies of Bees. Add a fifth name to the list, it will be this extraordinary (defunct) trio from Chicago. Two albums, this is their second and last one. 

15 October 2010

Do While - do while (2010, Wigflip)

Coming from Baltimore, MD, Do While is the solo project of John Somers, who is the brother of Alex Somers (Parachutes and Jónsi & Alex).

This is his first album an the works of other artists like Windy & Carl, My Bloody Valentine ("Loveless"),  Grouper ("Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill"), Oval ("94 Diskont"), Pia Fraus or Belong appear as obvious reference points.

14 October 2010

Mike Tamburo - the ballad of one hung glove (2009, New American Folk Hero)

Sometimes, the most moving and heartwrenching compositions have got, what could be seen as, anecdotic reasons, as inspiration. "Sapphie" by Richard Youngs was about the death ot his dog, "The ballad of one hung glove" is about a glove previously worn by Michael Jackson, which a psychic gave to Mike Tamburo in order to heal him from a curse.

13 October 2010

Shaula - haze (2009, Under The Spire)

A dreary landscape and glum face pictures of the artist, Shaula build around herself an aura of mystery and misery, with dryness, asceticism and minimalism. 

She is Japanese and doesn't belong to a particular artistic clan or local community and if we look at her favorite friendlist on myspace, she is a listener of typical post-rock (from Mogwai to Sigur Ros, from Jesu to Nadja, from Mono to Balmorhea) which could explain the coldness of her music, with an inclination towards ambient /electronic stuff with Basinski or Fennesz, which could be felt in the very personal investment of her music, the intimate and strong subjective dimension. 

12 October 2010

Yo La Tengo - big day coming 7inch (1993, Matador)

I discovered Yo La Tengo in 1993, with their album "Painful" which is still my favorite in their discography.

"Big day coming" is a 7inch from this album, it features on the a-side, the noisier and more straightforward rock version of the track, sung by Ira Kaplan, and totally in terms with the spirit of this era when alternative rock became popular thanks to MTV and Nirvana.

11 October 2010

Chronik - i'm a tree (2010, Enregistrements Variables)

Enregistrements Variables is the evolution of the netlabel Camomille into a small scale label, and "I'm a tree" is their first release, by Chronik, aka Giorgos Papadopoulos, living between Athens, Greece, and Berlin.

39 minutes and 9 ambient instrumental songs (only one with female vocals). It is soft, delicate, dreamy, warm and comforting and even if he is not using exactly the same type of sounds and instruments, his productions explore the same type of space, intimacy, and ambience cherished by artists like Bexar Bexar, So Quiet or The Green Kingdom.

10 October 2010

C-Clamp - meander + return (1996, Ohio Girl)

Let's say it plain and simple, C-Clamp (Seek Lamp) was one of the major slowcore bands, with two albums leaning toward the tense side of the genre (math-rock is not so far), best exemplified by Seam, Idaho (the two first albums), Boy's Life (their second lp), Bluetile Lounge and Codeine. They offered dynamic, energetic, tense and emotionally restrained music for very subtle and continuously moving results.

09 October 2010

Olan Mill - pine (2010, Serein)

Olan Mill is the project of Alex Smalley (Pausal, Alpine.) and Svitlana Samoylenko. "Pine" is their debut release. It's an instrumental ambient album with piano, violin, pipe organ and guitar, all instruments draped in reverb with attacks and levels smoothed and blurred. It floats somewhere between both other projects of Alex Smalley, more developed than Alpine and less complex, and engulfing than Pausal.

08 October 2010

Carissa's Wierd - they’ll only miss you when you leave: songs 1996-2003 (2010, Hardly Art)

I discovered Carissa’s Wierd ten years ago by pure luck, a small article published somewhere, just a note from a live show, mentioning their lo-fi songwriting and their prevalence and predisposition for all things melancholic and slowcore. 

07 October 2010

M. Ostermeier - lakefront (2010, Hibernate)

After his debut EP and contribution to a compilation, both on Parvoart, I was expecting more of the same, a development of promising atmospheres, but on this aspect, "Lakefront" is surprisingly something like a withdrawal, towards something more confined.  There is less reverb on this new ep and the piano is now playing a more central role, with field recordings of scraping and rubbing, and processed digital sounds. Guitars and beats are absent.

06 October 2010

Trampoline Dreamers - hate patterns (2010)

Some days, this is all, All, aLL, alL, aLL, alL i I i neeeeed.

Superchunk at its strongest noisy melodic side, The Pine, Mineral circa "The Power of Failing", the most raging parts of The Van Pelt or Seam, all of this with a fantastic NZ accent à la David Kilgour never too far from what their compatriots Loves Ugly Children reached on their "Cold Water Surf" ep in 1994.

05 October 2010

Martin Herterich - silent fields (2009, Kesh)

Born in Budapest 25 years ago, but moving in his childhood to Stockholm, Sweden, Martin Herterich enters the ambient field like a shooting star. A first album - there are two previous EPs - released as a limited CDR (100 copies) on the obscure Swedish label Kalligrammofon, later re-released on the UK label Kesh. 

04 October 2010

Kazumi Nikaido - you dropped something again, didn't you? (2003, Poet Portraits)

Coming from Hiroshima but leaving in Tokyo, Kazumi Nikaido looks and sounds like a strange bird. Her songwriting is quie innocent, candid, naïve and spontaneous. At times it recalls me of Julie Doiron, The Softies, Tenniscoats or even Meredith Monk but it's in fact much more simple and totally deshinibited and natural. She is exotic like Bjork was at the beginning of her career, or like Brigitte Fontaine has always been.

03 October 2010

Thanksgiving - the 'in the world ep (2005, Marriage)

A few years ago, in 2004 to be exact, I've seen Adrian Orange – from Portland -  playing alone in a kind of cellar somewhere in Brussels. I think Sharron Kraus and Fursaxa have shared the scene with him that night.  He was playing guitar and singing barefoot, with a very simple and humble attitude, and the show was intense. His interpretation and his songwriting had something of old records by Palace Brothers, Smog or Songs Ohia: bare, honest and sincere.

02 October 2010

Rdl - decades away from home … (2009, P-Vine)

RdL is a Japanese duo, was formed in 1999 by Mondii (who runs labels SPEKK, PLOP, Lantern) and Naph (working as sound engineer).  They are playing instrumental music which I would consider in a similar vein as Six Parts Seven, Dif Juz, Eisi, Penguin Cafe Orchestra  or early records by Tristeza or Collections of Colonies of Bees.

01 October 2010

v/a - advent (2010, Parvoart)

Conceived as a meditation and celebration of all things wintry, "Advent" is an ambient compilation released on the German label Parvo Art.

Honestly the only name I was familiar with was M. Ostermeier who released an EP, "Percolate" on the same label. His track on this compilation "Sagewood", is delicate, introspective, minimal and moving, one of the three highlights.