30 July 2011

Jefre Cantu-Ledesma - love is a stream (2010, Type)

A strong monolithic impression, "Love is a Stream", a huge iceberg, the size of an island, is drifting slowly on a quiet sea, towards warmer climates, with all nuances of white and blue, its cliffs reflecting on the dark ocean water and contrasting with the deep foggy sky.

At equal symmetrical distance between "Music For Nitrous Oxide" by The Stars of the Lid and Belong's "October Language", My Bloody Valentine-esque to the core, but devoid of shoegazing archetypes, reinventing what was considered as marked out by Windy & Carl and peers, here we are.

26 July 2011

Colophon - love loops (Flau, 2010 - Temporary Residence, 2003)

I missed the original release of "Love Loops" in 2003 on Temporary Residence, even if I previously enjoyed his "Spring" EP on Dream By Degrees in 2002.

Now listening to this new edition on the Japanese label Flau, with three bonus tracks, I strongly regret my lack of attention and feel grateful for this second chance.

24 July 2011

Talk - waltz for feebee (2010, Dead Funny / YCT)

Started as a trio in March 2009 and expanded six months later to a five piece, Talk is a band from the south part of Japan, from Kumamoto.

"Waltz for Feebee" is their first release, six songs between dreampop and post-rock, with often more emotional shoegaze accents. 

21 July 2011

Tara Jane O'Neil & Nikaido Kazumi - tara jane o'neil & nikaido kazumi (2011, Sweet Dream Press / K Records)

Tara Jane O'Neil toured Japan five times with Nikaido Kazumi, and in the process, they built mutual friendship and musical appreciation, so appeared the envy of a collaboration.

It is an album built in two phases: at first, four hours of improvisation recorded during one single day in 2008, basis for a reworking, turning elements into songs, in 2010. They use a very minimal setup, guitar, voices and various percussion instruments. Much more strange is the fact that this record has been realized without a common language, using alternative methods of communication most of the time, like drawings, pantomime, and clapping.

17 July 2011

Good Weather For An Airstrike - a summer (Sonic Reverie, 2011)

After several short releases, Tom Honey, Winchester, UK,   makes the big step with a first album. A project at first conceived as a way to alleviate the effects and symptoms of tinnitus, by creating collection of calming and sleep inducing composition.

14 July 2011

interview: Mountains for Clouds

They are typically the kind of band you'll be reluctant to admit they are geniuses. You may also pretend that they don't bring anything new to the game, you're so blasé, and honestly that's how I reacted when American Football released their EP or when I first discovered the Player Piano album or during my first weeks with the Seam discography, ...., but don't get too excited, "Some People Buy Scenery Like This" is like a slap, a familiar feeling but done with a dexterity and a simplicity which cannot be reduced, a mystery. They are a young band, with a lot to prove now for their debut LP. Listening to their music makes me smile and it's priceless.

Six Organs Of Admittance - maria kapel (2011, Pavillion)

During the 2010 edition of the Incubate festival in Netherlands, Ben Chasny spent two weeks in the area and recorded a concept album, about small chapels he visited and got interested in during his stay. Called Maria Kapellen, they are typical of North Brabant.

13 July 2011

Trembling Blue Stars - correspondence ep (2011, Elefant)

So this is goodbye. After The Field Mice (1987-1991) and Northern Picture Library (1993-1995), now it's the turn of Trembling Blue Stars (1996-2011), once again Bobby Wratten closed the door, and this time with en EP available in both digital format and a limited orange 10" vinyl edition.

12 July 2011

The Appleseed Cast - middle states (2011, Graveface)

I started to listen to The Appleseed Cast with their first album, "The End of Ring Wars" (1998), in the middle of the Midwest emo wave, and went on with "Mare Vitalis" (2000) finding it even better but as a second-rate Mineral or Sunny Day Real Estate, powerful, even if almost mind-blowing on a few tracks, but not as subtle.

11 July 2011

Jeffrey Wentworth Stevens - highway driveway (2011, Plastic Sound Supply)

Some musicians are so obsessed by their own music that they finish inside their own universe, stuck in otherworldliness, with codified rules, exuberance, sometimes ending as loners if condemned to dead ends, or sometimes, if talent never stops to bloom and develop, finally founding doorway to singular artistic recognition.

10 July 2011

interview : Villa Venus

There is an EP you shouldn't miss because it's one that will grow slowly through days and slowly become more and more endearing and essential, just like autumn is never so far away, free & full of this priceless slowcore melancholy :

Ex Confusion - something to remember (2010, U-cover)

If you read only the titles and consider the cover, you might imagine a very dark, cold an depressive ambient record. While not a totally inaccurate presumption it fails to grasp what's really going on.

Ex Confusion is the solo project of Japanese musician Atsuhito Omori, recording ambient music with synthesizer and processed guitar sounds. His music seems mostly improvised and with open structures devoid or melodies or plan, but without falling into an experimental or senseless direction.

08 July 2011

Steiner - untitled (2011)

Sometimes, records come out of nowhere, a first release from a new musician, from a relatively unexpected place, and please you without even trying to hard.

Stijn Huwels lives and works in Brussels, has been playing music for years but never felt he could pass the border and actually release something. Everything changed during a summer night, suffering of insomnia, he decided to play music instead and started to experiment with electric guitar, e-bow and laptop, and rapidly achieved the draft of "Untitled". Pleased with it, he decided to release it by himself as a CDR.

07 July 2011

Debutant - we stand alone together (2011)

Debutant has been one of my discoveries of last year, through two nice songs, "Thirst" and "Definition", on a split EP with Conquering Animal Sound.

Finally Phillip Quirie is back with a debut full length, self released and offered for free, a pure solo album, written and recorded alone, the conclusion of three years of intensely personal songwriting.

Josh Varnedore - 186,000 Endings per Second (2011, Dynamophone)

Half of the Amman/Josh duo, whose  last year "Places" EP was a real jewel but whose future seems apparently in indefinite hiatus, Josh Varnedore is back with an EP under his own name, preceding a full length.

Four tracks of instrumental ethereal ambient dreampop music with the same usual suspected influences, Hammock, RF, Sigur Ros, Insides, Album Leaf, Cocteau Twins, Harold Budd...

05 July 2011

The Apartments - black ribbons (2011, Chapter Music)

A new single, with two versions of the same song, one autumnal and the other spring-like,"Black Ribbons", Peter Milton Walsh is back behind The Apartments, with soft and sensitive guitars, a gorgeous melancholic, romantic and desperate melody, and sharing vocals with Natasha Penot on one of the two versions.

Saito Koji - luck (2011, Resting Bell)

Each new release by Saito Koji is like a new iceberg joining the ice sea, a new monotonous area with his own landscape and minor variations. Would it be ice, sandy desert or tropical forest, his music always perfectly illustrates the definition of ambient music (a style of instrumental music with electronic textures and no persistent beat, used to create or enhance a mood or atmosphere.) once developed by Brian Eno with his ambient works. 

03 July 2011

Villa Venus - villa venus ep (2010)

Villa Venus is a slowcore band from Brooklyn, with if I'm not wrong, 

Jeff Ciprioni (guitar / vocals), Mike Zorrilla (guitar), Beth Ann Coulton (bass) and Ian Vidaurre (drums), playing slow melodic songs, recalling the older stuff of bands like Barzin, Radar Bros or The Clientele but also more obscure formations such as Coastal, Hula, Best Boy Electric, The Relict or Nord Express.

interview : Coate

Would it be through his solo project Arroes or as a member of Coate (both highly recommended, reviews here and here), Will Roud is becoming a familiar name of my usual shuffle playlist. On the heels of the superb debut EP of Coate a few questions quietly explored:

02 July 2011

Apollo - the small step ep (2011)

First EP for Apollo, a band from Brisbane adding his name to the underestimated, underexposed list of Australian bands showing some slowcore features in their genes.

01 July 2011

Idaho - you were a dick (2011, Talitres)

Eighth album for Idaho, six years after "The Lone Gunman" and eighteen years after "Year After Year", "You Were a Dick" is another step in a faultless career and offers enough gems to be cherished. Jeff Martin is alone behind the instrumentation and songwriting, recorded at home, with just a few backing vocal by Eleni Mandell.