27 June 2011

Coate - coate (kōt) (2011, Eat a Book)

Coate is a four people band from Christchurch, formed in mid 2010. One year after their creation, they have their first official release : two brothers, Will (guitar/ vocals) and Thomas Roud (bass), with Taylor Welsh (guitar) and Dan Black (drums). They recorded it in January 2011, in a church, using a Tascam 32 reel-to-reel tape machine, gloriously represented on the artwork.

The first impression is that it sounds quite well considering the technical limitations and analog method. Of course it may not be a perfect full and vast sound as recorded digitally in but it is nicely balanced, clear and refreshing (with no hiss).

25 June 2011

Taylor Deupree - journal (2011, Champion Version)

After having being disappointed by "Shoals" (2010), my expectations about new releases by Taylor Deupree were reduced to a minor magnitude, but this new single (of two four minutes tracks) edited at 100 copies is a salutary shock.

It's a kind of complete reversal, after the technical and disconnected "Shoals", we discover two very personal, fragile and intimate songs - even one with vocals -, through a quite minimalist approach:  a synthesizer, some field recordings, delicate sound processing and a few effects to give authenticity.

23 June 2011

Mars To Stay - staywell / saturday (2011, The Low and The Highs)

I'm not sure if this two track release comes before or after their EP but it is as impressive and even more because the vocals are recorded here more clearly. The UK duo slowly takes importance as a new slowcore band to follow attentively.

22 June 2011

Mountains For Clouds - some people buy scenery like this (2011, Count You Lucky Stars)

On a label who still keeps faith in typical but sincere and authentic, "midwest, mid-nineties emocore" with bands on it such as Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate) or Football, etc., comes an inexpected EP of a band which auto-digested its own pedigree, potentially with too much ease and which plays nicely, combining  imperfection and grace and putting the listener in a sudden state of shock.

21 June 2011

Taishi Kamiya - spectra of air (2010, Home Normal)

This is the first album by Taishi Kamiya under his own name, previously he was a member of Ku, playing sax and electronics.
Now he does just the same, but alone, a perspective  with empty rooms, empty landscape where to unfolds slowly, where to forget the passing of time and the need to fill all the space.

19 June 2011

Biosphere - n-plants (2011, Touch)

Geir Jenssen wrote this album during the first half of February, inspired by the Japanese post-war economic miracle, and his search of information led him to the paradox of the nuclear plants in Japan, most of them in earthquake and tsunami sensitive areas, so .

One month later Japan was hit by a strong earthquake leading to the collapse of the Fukushima nuclear plant, and its innumerable consequences.

17 June 2011

Donato Wharton - a white rainbow spanning the dark (2011, Serein)

Five years after "Body Isolations", Donato Wharton is back with a new release on Serein. He hasn't been musically inactive during these years and dedicated himself to sound design for various dance, theater, video or exhibition projects.

All of these works have certainly a strong influence on his recent music as more than before it tends to stay in the background, waiting for patient, attentive and curious ears to reveal all its nuances.

15 June 2011

Mars To Stay - ep (2011)

Three songs, just eleven minutes, a duo from Cardiff (UK), hidden in an ocean of foggy reverb, reviving the aesthetics of the early nineties slowcore & shoegaze scene, close to artists like Duster, This Invitation, Songs of Green Pheasant, Chuzzlewit, with above in the sky tutelary figures such as Low, The Red House Painters and Slowdive.

My only complaint would be a certain lack of clarity with the vocals, which may be due to production choices but which weakens their impact.

13 June 2011

Thomas Mery - des larmes mélangées de poussière (2010, Ohayo)

Two albums with Purr, a first one giving very good impressions, connecting to the post-rock/post-hardcore/slowcore US scene and a second one sung in French but unable to get a complete achievement, like growing up too quickly.

The demise, everyone going into very different directions, followed by a solo career for Thomas Mery, which kept him busy, developing and searching, for austere, obscure and not always gripping results - but some impressive surprises -, something at times I was afraid could become an impasse.

10 June 2011

Colour Kane - mild to wild (2010)

Colour Kane is a Belgian duo band Antwerpen and they are releasing their second album. Two names come immediately to mind when I listen to their music: The Cocteau Twins and Hammock. 

Like them they enjoy ethereal, cascading, guitars and some beats, and like the Cocteau Twins, they develop on it vaporous female vocals.

08 June 2011

Simon Bainton - sun settlings (2011, Hibernate)

Simon Bainton is one half of Pausal, and if Alex Smalley tends to multiply his other projects and releases, here it is a real debut EP which was strangely recorded almost two years ago, only to see the light of the day today.

Present is the refinement of Pausal but absent is their ambient cinematic dimension and breath, as drone parts play just a very secondary role on "Sun Settlings".  While that said, Simon stays closer to Pausal than Alex did with his other projects.

07 June 2011

Antonymes - like rumours of hushed thunder (Time Released Sound, 2011)

When you have got some fans, at various degrees, no matter what you do, when your discography grows, you'll finally disappoint some of them, sometimes definitely and sometimes temporarily. Because, you evolve, because you try new things, because you live simply and anyways you never totally grasp exactly what makes people enjoy music.

Caught In The Wake Forever/Karina ESP/Sheepdog- sadness & static (2011, Hibernate)

A few ideas borrowed from Hood circa "Rustic Houses, Forlorn Valleys", "The Cycle of Days and Seasons", plays over and over again, static and diluted, with just enough bitterness to avoid saturation from the listener. "Sadness & Static" seems like an accidental success, it is in two parts for a total length of 18 minutes.

05 June 2011

Trouble Books & Mark McGuire - self-titled (Bark & Hiss, 2011)

I admit, I've never given too much attention to Mark McGuire and to his band Emeralds because none of his tracks I've heard grabbed totally my attention.

On the other side, my admiration for the discography of Trouble Books is without flaw so far.

04 June 2011

Van der Saar - lowpass (2011)

New and third release for Allan Lewis, recorded at home in Toronto over the winter 2010/2011.

If you followed his past releases, there are no big change, just a cleaner sound and a slower more delicate songwriting. This new ep is a step towards a more sensitive kind of bedroom pop, at times, with the use of beats and keyboards behind the guitar and vocals.

Van der Saar - swedish sheets (Death Benefits, 2007)

Van der Saar is a duo from Edinburgh, UK and when you hear this album, the collaborative process is probably very intricate and roles much less defined and confused.

Electric guitar and voice are the two main ingredients and Van der Saar's music sounds like a tribute to early nineties U.S. indie rock scene: from Sonic Youth to Yo La Tengo, from Sebadoh to Pavement, from Dinosaur Jr to For Carnation.

03 June 2011

Herzog - young lungs agains the sea (2011, Bedside Table)

Debut album for  Bill Bawden, after a five shorter releases on various netlabels: Serein (2005 & 2006), 12rec (2007), Resting Bell (2009)  and finally Audio Gourmet (2010). It is something like a slow and constant progression, weighing time, refining, adjusting and digging, and building an identity.

01 June 2011

Antonymes - the licence to interpret dreams (2011, Hidden Shoal)

I really enjoyed "31: before the light fails pt.1" (2010) and "beauty becomes the enemy of the future (2009, Cathedral Transmissions" (2010), so this new album by Ian M. Hazeldine was anticipated for me and I was full of expectations.

After having explored this new one I'm half satisfied and half disappointed. Convinced by the quality and even by technical progress but also wishing it was more surprising and regretting the use of vocals, more like spoken words, on a few tracks, which are distracting and lacking of impact.