Boring Machines Disturbs Sleep: April 2007

Boring Machines Disturbs Sleep

Sunday, April 29, 2007

New Charts

This week I spent most of my time listening to CD's rather than music uploaded onto Itunes, hence the low count on the charts below. Although it still gives a good indication of what was being played last week. The cd's in question are all worth checking out. Pirate Ship Qunitet's self-titled ep is impressive, while Shout Out Out Out Out defintely have something going for them. I should also mention Panther Attack's "Martyr Bonus", this Seattle-based band are immensely talented and the album features some very complex rythmns. But where as, a lot of math-rock leaves me feeling quite cold, there is something about Panther Attack's style that suggests they have a long career ahead of them. Finally, Port-Royal have refined their sound slightly with "Afraid To Dance" which is out on May. Another impressive release from Resonant and worth investigating

micky67's Profile Page

Thee More Shallows : "Book of Bad Breaks" (Anticon)

On face value, signing to Anticon (home of underground hip-hop) was a strange decision for Thee More Shallows. But the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. One of the things I love about TMS, is their eccentrity or quirkiness, Anticon's ethics are based around the concepts of non-conformity. The label ahs been keen to diversify and lately have brought in more indie-oreintated acts such as SJ Esau and Bracken. I also love the fact that Thee More Shallows write some of the most euphoric melodies since Rivers Cuomo disbanded Weezer. However, TMS can wrap these melodies into experimental rock structures akin to someone like Pavement. Only the Yanks can produce bands like this and TMS follow in the traditions of Stephen Malkmus, Sonic Youth and even Grandaddy. Listening to the likes of "Night At The Night School", "The White Mask" and "Dutch Fist", you cannot help being swayed by this wonderful music. Some of the best songs written so far this year

Rating - 86%

"Night At The Knight School" mp3 - Thee More Shalows

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Triptych Round-Up

It says a lot about the passion of Kling Klang, that they contributed one of the best performances of this year's Triptych Festival. From out of nowhere, the Liverpool four-piece stole the show from their more illustrious counterparts with a performance that was equal parts invention and energy. There was something novel about their set-up, consisting of 3 synthesizers and drums, while their sound is a unique mix of stoner rock sludge and Kraftwerk style electro. The drummer was, quite frankly, fantastic while some of the monsterous guitar riffs had the walls rattling. Most impressive, though, was the sheer passion of this young band as their label boss, Stuart Braithwaite, looked on proudly.

65 Days of Static are unbelievebly talented musicians, there can be no doubting that. Some of the rythmns the drummer was pounding out were outrageoeus. An inventive blend of glitch electronica and precise post-rock, they sound something like a collaboration between Mogwai and Aphex Twin. It was all remarkably impressive at the start. Things, however, got a bit tedious towards the end with the band relying on the same formula throughout the whole set. Not a particularly bad thing, but a little more variety could have propelled this performance to a higher standard. Having said that, they certainly know how to channel the enormous amounts of energy they project and I can see why people swear by 65 DOS. They are certainly a different kettle of fish, but perhaps they suffer from trying to cram too much of a good thing into the one set.

While both 65 DOS and Kling Klang were certainly exciting, the same cannot be said about The Cinematic Orchestra. A performance that would cure even the most extreme cases of insomnia, everything was carefully measured and, therefore, soulless. The musicianship was impeccable, but this was a problem. It left you almost praying for a mistake, a sense of a human touch. But at £18 per ticket, I left feeling that listening to the CD rather than going to see The Cinematic Orchestra live, would have been a better option. Considering they have a new album to promote, this was one lacklustre (and boring) show.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Cinematic Orchestra : "Man With The Movie Camera"

I'm off to see The Cinematic Orchestra tonight, as part of the Triptych Festival (Scotland's answer to SXSW?) and am hoping to see a performance like this!

And here's a remix by RJD2 as a bonus

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Triptych Festival : David Pajo and Alexander Tucker Live @ The Classic Grand

Despite the universal critical accalim. Despite the fact that the album has been getting heavy rotation on my Ipod. And despite the fact they are widely regarded as the best band to come out of Glasgow for some time. I ,inexplicably, managed to miss The Twilight Sad's set at last night's Triptych Festival performance. Poor stuff, so I can't tell you if they deserve your attention!.

Thankfully though, I didn't miss Alexander Tucker, who defintely does deserve your attention. Words cannot do this guy justice as his brand of hypntoic, looped instrumentation and booming vocals is immense. The last time I caught him live, I was more than slightly drunk. So I was pleased to get some confirmation that my judgement isn't really clouded by alcohol. My fillings were actually rattling during one song, as Tucker switched between distorted and acoustic guitar recording each part, looping it and then playing something new over it. The end result is one huge, monolithic cloud of sound.

For those people that weren't talking during a frightfully shy performance by Slint mainman David Pajo, they were treated to a collection of gentle and melancholic songs. Using an unbelievebly beautiful guitar and what can only described as foot bells (he had 10 or 11 bells on the ground that made a glockenspiel sound when pressed down by his foot), Pajo half-whispered and half-mumbled his way through some gorgeous moments. Although slightly one-paced, there was something captivating about his peformance that kept most people's attention towards the stage. Except, one girl behind me, who obviously paid the £10 entry fee for the banter alone. She talked to her friends as if she would never see them again. Shame really, because she missed an interesting performance from Pajo. But former Arab Strap frontman, Aiadn Moffat, seemed to enjoy it. I'm just hoping there will be NO talking at all when Slint come to play The Barrowlands.

On a side note, tomorrow night I'm hoping to catch a bit of the much-hyped 65 Days Of Static, Kling Klang's performance and some of Stuart Braithwaite's DJ Set, before heading off to see the Cinematic Orchestra.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

More Queens Of The Stone Age

Another taster from Queens Of The Stone Age's forthcoming "Era Vulgaris" album.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Stats - On Itunes Last Week

I'm back on Last.FM after a 6 month hiatus, here's what I was listening to last week

From The Sky : "Like Crystal In A World Of Glass" Ep (Sound Devastation Records)

Sound Devastation have a potentially fantastic band on their hands, in the shape of The Pirate Ship Quintet. There's a real sense of invention about that particular 7-piece collective. The same, however, cannot be applied to labelmates From The Sky.

There's nothing particularly wrong with their 5-track "Like Crystal In A World Of Glass" Ep. "There Are Ghosts In The Glass", for example, packs a real emotional punch, as the band pile on the layers of distortion. While, "Someone To Remember" is a slow-buring epic of a track, featuring lovely cascading guitar lines before it all ends with some spectacular percussion crashes.

But in all reality, Mogwai were doing this much better, way back in the mid-90's. Some of the music seems a little forced, where as Mogwai can let things flow organically. In fact, their sound mirrors that of another early post-rock band called South Pacific. There aren't any real memorable moments on this Ep and this has left me wondering if I will ever go back to it again. Granted poor production doesn't do From The Sky any favours. The empty sound probably hinders "When The Sun Sets The Cloud On Fire". I'll bet that this is show-stopper when played live, but on this ep it's impact is minimal.

Overall, it is disappointing for a band that on occasions displays talent. Had From The Sky been a schoolchild instead of a post-rock quartet, then their teacher would be reprimanding them for copying other people's work. Must do better.

Rating - 60%


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The Pirate Ship Quintet - Self-Titled Ep (Sound Devastation Records)

Not really a 5 piece band, but more of a 14 legged army of musicians, The Pirate Ship Quintet are another young British band intent on creating lavish instrumental soundscapes. This is all getting a bit tedious, isn't it?. Not if TPSQ have anything to do with it. Like Yndi Halda a few years ago, these young upstarts are dragging a stagnant post-rock scene out of the mire of mediocrity using their raw materials to meld something new. They have big ideas, bucketloads of ambition and most importantly the charisma to pull it all off. Witness the jaw-dropping "Pirate Ship", the final track of this ep. A dynamic mix of brass, string arrangements and distortion. It is dramatic and euphoric music, that summons the spirit of the much missed Godspeed collective.

"I Kina Spiser De Hund", meanwhile, comes across like a classically trained Red Sparowes. Maintaining their American conuterparts metallic edge, TPSQ add sombre piano lines and layers of heart-breaking violin, to create a mini-symphony that explodes like a volcano. There's plenty on offer on this 30 minute, 3-track Ep to suggest TPSQ are here to stay. Huge expectations have been placed on this band by those left disappointed by Explosions In The Sky's return earlier this year. If this Ep is anything to go by, this young septet have the abiltity to take instrumental music into uncharted territories.

Rating - 87%


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Monday, April 23, 2007

Patrick Wolf Calls It A Day

Despite a seemingly succesful support slot on Arcade Fire's tour, Patrick Wolf has issued an online statement telling fans he is quitting music.

" I have enjoyed making and performing music for you all, I have enjoyed trying to give a little hope and inspiration to the world. But I feel, especially when I read all this and I go about my days that I have failed."

"I am not sure whether there will be anymore public communications after that (the final November show), In fact I am pretty sure there will be none. A creative clock is ticking and I have many many projects to be creating with my time left on this earth. I hope to share my last shows with you this year

Seems like he has a dislike of the music industry, but the video above ("The Wind In The Wires") below (a live performance of "Teignmouth") shows why he will be a big loss.


Fulton Lights : Self-Titled (Android Eats Records)

Fulton Lights' self-titled debut is a magnificnet collection of songs that can effortlessly burrow their way into your conscious. The album is an alluring mix bringing together experimental indie rock and dark trip-hop production. What could have been a potentailly awkward combination, has turned out to be one of those little, unexpected treasures. Each of the ten tracks on show offer their own highlights here, which makes for an enticing listen from start to finish.

The project of the velvet-voiced Andrew Spencer Goldman (Maestro Echoplex, John Guilt), it's an ambitious attempt to soundtrack his surroundings, the daunting city of New York. It would be easy to file this album under the label of post 9/11 tension. Fulton Lights, however, is so much more that with lyrical content that gets under the skin of the city. Goldman's sentiments such as when he half whispers "That's the pound of the subway, That's the metal screeching like tortured souls", transports the listener to the very core of the Big Apple until you can almost feel its beating heart. "The Sound Of The City" is an early highlight capturing the dense atmosphere of New York with wailing guitar effects that merge with wind sounds. Goldman's fragile vocals offer up a perfect contrast to the disorientating nature of the instrumentation.

Released through his own Android Eats imprint, Goldman has enlisted the help of several high profile friends. Musicians from diverse acts such as The Walkmen, Wilco, The Hold Steady and Christmas Decorations appear throughout the album. But perhaps the most striking contribution comes from the claustrophobic production overhaul on "1,000 Little Eyes", courtesy of former Dälek DJ, Still. Evoking images of smoke-filled jazz clubs, its the sound of the city that never sleeps as eerie effects combine with a thudding beat. Goldman heightens the tension, repeating the hanuting mantra of "You're being watched by a thousand little eyes" over and over.

"Thank God For The Evening News" follows a similar strategy, resting somewhere between Portishead and Massive Attack. Yet, with its dusty trip-hop beat and cinematic string arrangements, it's instantly compelling. If you feel a little too over-whelmed by the album's claustrophobic nature, however, you will find solace in the beautiful "Old Photographs" and the mesmerising "Fire In The Palm Of My Hand". The former contains striking guitar harmonics, while Goldman's soft vocals recall Grandaddy's Jason Lyttle. "The Fire In The Palm Of My Hand", meanwhile, is a laid-back affair with twinkling piano notes, vocal harmonies, floating string arrangements and soft percussion.

Full of sublime production touches, inventive instrumentation and packed with an endless amount of ideas, Fulton Lights debut offers ten dense and beautiful compositions. It is a heartfelt tribute to the city that Andrew Spencer Goldman has called home for the last five years. A gem of an album and a worthy addition to your record collection.

Rating - 89%


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He's Done It Again

The video above will explain my abscence over the last couple of days. Shunsuke "Genius" Nakamura secured yet another league championship for Celtic with a superb last gasp free-kick. Nakamura is a superstar in his native Japan, he has his own media entourage that follow his every move here in Scotland. Celtic fans were partying all over the world last night!

A Hawk And A Hacksaw And The Hun Hangár Ensemble EP

Following on from last year's excellent "The Way The Wind Blows" album, A Hawk And A Hacksaw have again travelled to the heart of Eastern Europe for their latest project. Jeremy Barnes & co have roped famous Hungarian musicians under the The Hun Hangár Ensemble guise and Beirut's Zach Cordon turns up adding his trumpet and mandolin expertise. Limited to just 4,000 copies the "A Hawk And A Hacksaw And The Hun Hangár Ensemble EP" will be released on May 7th, to coincide with an extensive tour of Europe.

With Efterklang's sublime "Under Giant Trees" already under their belt this year, The Leaf Label are looking to provide yet more evidence of the multi-dimensional artists on its roster. And they seem to have found a winner in A Hawk And A Hacksaw, who are dragging authentic European folk music in the 21st Century.

A mix of the weird and wonderful, exotic instruments such as Hungarian Bagpipes, Cymbalom and Bouzouki are combined with more traditional equipment to create these 8 compositions. Leaf have kindly donated two mp3's.

"Ihabibi" mp3 - A Hawk And A Hacksaw And The Hun Hangár Ensemble

"Zozobra" mp3 - A Hawk And A Hacksaw And The Hun Hangár Ensemble

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Fulton Lights : "Fire In The Palm of My Hand"

Work commitments have meant I am slightly delayed in posting the review of Fulton Lights' self-titled album. But you can check out the serene "Fire In The Palm Of My Hand" above in the meantime. It's the work of Andrew Spencer Goldman (released on his own Android Eats imprint) and a plethora of guests and is the culmination of his experiences of living in New York City. Sevearl tracks deal with issues and themes prevalent in the daunting city and makes for a very interesting listen. But the most startling aspect of this album has to be Goldman's soft, velvet vocals. Review to follow


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Queens Of The Stone Age : "Era Vulgaris"

Queens Of The Stone Age are set to return in June with new album "Era Vulgaris" and the video above gives an insight into the recording process. Not only is Josh Homme one of my favourite guitarists (ever since his work in Kyuss), QOTSA are easily one of the best rock bands on the planet.

According to Homme the album will be "dark, hard, and electrical, sort of like a construction worker"[1]," and "it's like dirt, clearly seen". Track titles include "Sick, Sick, Sick" (which will feature Julian Casablancas) and other guests include DFA 1979, Trent Reznor, Mark Lanegan and Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top.

Listen too "3's & 7's" here


Brand New Herb Mix

Never one's to stay quiet for too long, those kind people at Herb Recordings have come up with another mix. This time it focuses on some newer material with the likes of Engine7, Kingbastard, Rubens, Zerova and Solipsism appearing.


1. Engine7 - Sunrise, Catalonia
2. Kingbastard - [E p s i l o n S o n g]
3. Zerova - Unnamed Place
4. solipsism - Organicism
5. Shamanic Technology - Thought Bubble Experiment
6. Austech - Circuit Bent
7. Rubens - Vertical Hold
8. Kingbastard - [T r i p o d]
9. Zerova - You Won't
10. Engine7 - Tempertantrum
11. Shamanic Technology - Electronic Therapy



Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Explosions In The Sky Cancelled, But Panther's Attack

Just came home from work to find out that both th Glasgow and Manchester Explosions In The Sky gigs have been cancelled, due to adverse weather conditions in the USA preventing the band getting a flight. I'd been looking forward to this for a while, so this was a real kick in the teeth.

This is what we'll be missing:

My disappointment has been tempered somewhat, by the arrival of a cd (in my mailbox) by a band with the excellent title of Panther Attack.

I'll admit to not knowing to much about this Seattle-based band. But, judging by the initial impressions of their "Martyr Bonus" CD, that will change in the coming days. The video above makes them look like a harder-edged Tortoise.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Shout Out Out Out Out

Bizarre circumstances at the weekend, meant I recieved an e-mail from who I initially thought was Leslie Feist of Broken Social Scene. It turns out it was her sister!, Emily, who is currently deeply involved with Toronto based Six Shooter Records. Six Shooter also run a media company that is responsible for Arcade Fire's publicity. One band she mentioned, was the fantastically-titled Shout Out Out Out Out. The band from Edmonton have blog-cred written all over them and describe themselves as:

"...two drummers + four bass players + two samplers + five synthesizers + one vocoder. volatile dance music. pick your jaw up off the floor and get down."

A modern day, more fun-loving version of Kraftwerk, if you will. I actually remember there was a fantastic buzz about this band when I lived in Toronto.

"Forever Indebted" (advance mix) mp3 - Shout Out Out Out Out

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Verdena & Ronin

You can read a review I wrote for Italian webzine Rockit, on Milanese trio Verdena, here (it's in English too, for all you non-Italians). A loose description of their sound would be something akin to Muse jamming with Reef (whatever happened to them?) or The White Stripes. Although, not something I would normally listen to, their album "Reqium" was enjoyable, with some monster-sized riffs and grandiose arrangements, that did remind me quite a bit of Muse.

Interested?. Stream These.

However, I think I would have been more at home reviewing Ronin's "Lemmings" album. This was given to another blogger, who made a very good job of getting me excited about hearing this band:

"Like some kind of indie Ennio Morricone, Italian post-rockers Ronin compose the kind of languorous instrumental pieces you would expect to find in a modern spaghetti western. At times akin to Calexico, at others reminiscent of a less guitar-dependent Texas blues, the band is at its best when the various pieces come together to reminiscent images of a romantic past. Accordion, tuba, singing saw – all evoke the parched landscapes and rugged characters of Sergio Leone"

Read the rest of the review here.

Update: Just checked out Ronin's myspace page, they seem to have around 26 members!. An Italian version of A Hawk and a Hacksaw?

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Islaja : "Ulual Yyy"

Both Volcanic Tongue and Boomkat have given Finnish musician Islaja "Ulual Yyy" album of the week, so this may be worth checking out.

"...just slightly out of phase double-tracked vocals, all navigating with a zagged, fractured almost free jazz logic and weird hints of primitive dub damage that provide glimpses of the kinda parallel universe where a phantom Nina Simone might front Can" says the Volcanic Tongue.

Boomkat,on the other hand ,has come up with a new genre to describe her sound, naming it Finnish forest folk :

"don't expect to hear any future radio hits, this is an album that demands your full attention, your time and your love, and the more you give it, the more you'll end up taking away with you. A glittering recommendation and without a doubt one of the finest discs you'll hear this year... buy it...."


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Celeste : "Pessimiste" (Denovali Records)

France is better known for electronic exports like Air and Daft Punk, but Lyon hardcore/metal quartet Celeste are here to redress the balance with "Pessimiste", a 12" (limited to 500 copies) featuring 5 tracks of apocalyptic, discordant heavy rock. It's a devastatingly brilliant statement combining the key elements of Neurosis, Will Haven, Red Sparowes and even hints of Explosions In The Sky. Celeste have created a distinctive sound despite being involved in a over-crowded genre.

Listening to the monumental "Diluons Nos Souvenirs D'enfance", is like the equivelent of being hit by a tonne of bricks. It leaves you absolutely flattened by the sheer intensity of its impact. It's stunning five minutes of barbed guitars, explosive throat-shredding vocals and dynamic drums. But you will realise from the outset on opener "Afin de Tromper L'ennui", that Celeste are an uncompromising beast. They don't do things by halves, they go for the throat like a pack of rabid wolves.

Music simply cannot get any heavier than "Car Quoi Qu'il Advienne, Tout est à Chier". Designed to rupture your speaker system (and possibly your eardrums), Celeste weave between dense metal dynamics and intricate Explosions In The Sky style guitar interplay. Then both aspects are combined to near fatal effect. However, amidst the mass of doom, strife and juggernaut riffs, there is a keen sense of melody buried deep in their apocalyptic sound. "De Notre Aversion à Notre Perversion" starts like the tolling of the bells of hell itself, then swerves into a beautiful tranquil guitar passage, before we are escoretd right back to Satan's lair via riffs the size of tidal waves.

Drawing on influences that are both experimental and diverse, Celeste has melted the boundaries of hardcore and metal to create something that is their own. Hauntingly heavy and intoxicatingly melodic, this is metal but not as we know it.

Rating - 86%


"Afin de Tromper L'ennui" mp3 - Celeste

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Blonde Rehead : "23"

Thanks to Opuszine for pointing out the new video for Blonde Redhead's rather terrific song, "23". Blonde Redhead are a band I see all over the net, yet I had never taken the time to listen to them. Better late than never, I suppose


Friday, April 13, 2007

Engine7 : "Songs For The Lonely Mix"

Another couple of weeks have passed, so that must mean its time for another exclusive mix courtesy of Engine7. This one is entitled "Songs For The Lonely". These mixes are providing a fascinating glimpse into Engine7's wide ranging influences.


1. World Trade Center Cello Theme - Craig Armstrong
2. Camille - George Delerue
3. On the Nature of Daylight - Max Richter
4. The Sun's Gone Dim and the Sky's Turned Black - Jóhann Jóhannsson
5. Des Plumes dans la Tete - Sylvain Chauveau
6. Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten - Arvo Pärt


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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Yellow6 : "Painted Sky" (Resonant)

Three things in life are certain. Death, taxes and quality releases from Yellow6. The solo project of Jon Attwood, Yellow6 releases have graced the coolest indie labels on the planet, from Darla right through to Make Mine Music. For "Painted Sky" (his 7th album and over 50th release in total), Attwood seems to have found his true home through the Resonant Label who can count kindred spirits like Port-Royal and Library Tapes amongst their roster. Amazingly, this is the first release by a British artist from the UK label.

As a relative newcomer to Yellow6's music (I bought "Disappear Here" around 18 months ago), I was hugely impressed by his contributions to compilations for a few European based labels. It seems, despite the prolific nature of his abiltiy to write songs, quality is rarely a problem. It appears to be the case with "Painted Sky" too, where Attwood has opted to dismantle his sound, instead using just guitar, piano and subdued percussion elements only. It is testament to his abilities, therefore, that his guitar-based experiments here, are some of the most emotive and rich sounding of the year.

"Pleasure/Pain" is an absolutely gorgeous piece of music, with a cool, pronounced melody that combines with frost-bitten guitar work for over eight beautiful minutes. A definite album highlight. Attwood's sound mixes the key elements of cult bands like Bark Psychosis, New York experimentalists Charles Atlas, some of the earlier Kranky artists and even hints of Ennio Morricone. "I Know I Shouldn't (But I Do)", is a superb album opener, like the most affecting Labradford number you've never heard. Full of vivid guitar notes, dripping with melancholy, they reverberate from speaker to speaker. The track becomes more aggressive, towards the end his guitar tone is full-bodied and even a little anguished sounding.

"I Loved You More Before I Knew You Loved Me", comes across like a gigantic music box, with the sounds of Attwood's guitar slowly weaving intricate lines around a shimmering backdrop. "Common", meanwhile, gives us the first hint of the subtle percussion, mentioned in the press release. Using more glacial melodies and guitar distortion, this track is transported into darker territiories with the addition of Massive Attack style beat work and mysterious sound effects.

It is tracks like "Common", "Mare" and "Azure" that prevent "Painted Sky" from being one-paced and repetitive. There is no disputing Attwood's guitar skills, but changes in tempo help space out the driftng ambient passages. Both "Azure" and "Mare", for example, make good use of excellent organic percussion, while Attwood sprays a combination of subtle, distorted and reverbed guitar tones around his canvas. It is a simple, but effective technique.

With over 50 releases its never easy to know where to start with Yellow6. I would suggest "Painted Sky", it contains most of the elements of Attwood's sound. Consistency is never an issue, steeped in emotion "Painted Sky" features several heart-breaking moments . For organic guitar and piano experiments in an ambient post-rock/shoegazer vein, you could do far worse than visit Attwood's back catalogue. But in 2007, he stands shoulder to shoulder with some of his more famous counterparts and "Painted Sky" could very well be soundtracking these last few weeks of Spring.

Rating - 84%


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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Some (very unexpected) News

A triple whammy of sorts, straight form the horses mouths. There was me thinking it was impossible for 2007 to get any better:

Last Days

"Ok, over 2 months without an update isn't great but there's little info to share. At the last count I had 49 minutes of new music worth hearing, most of it is finished and a couple of tracks are still in demo form. At this time i would predict that it will be complete by the end of June at the latest but I'm aiming for the end of May. Artwork is being produced as I type.

In about 4 weeks, or when i'm clearer about the final tracklisting I'll put 1 or 2 new tracks up on the last days myspace.

One of the new tracks called 'Points Bridge' will appear on a forthcoming compilation, more about that when I get the go ahead to talk about it!"
(via Graham Richardson aka Last Days)

There's a new Last Days interview with Foggy Nations Magazine, but it is eerily like the one I conducted.

Sigur Ros

I never believed those Sigur Ros rumours, until this was posted on the SR message board:

"the band has recorded and mixed "Rokklagið", "Lagið í gær", (new version of)"Von" and "Salka" but these songs will not be included on the next album. instead, they will appear on an EP to be released (tentatively) later this year. the band wants to build the next album on a clean slate instead of mixing together old and new songs.

I think this is going to make a fucking great EP... three of the band's most conventional basic instrument "rock" songs and then the sugarsweet "Von" in between.....
" (via the moderator of the Sigur Ros Message Board)

Just in case you forgot how wonderful they are.


John Xela announced this on the Type Recordings Message Board last night:

"Okay I thought I might break some news to you... the long awaited followup to Helios' "Eingya" is finally here - it's a 6 track (30 minute) EP called 'Ayres' and it's going to be out in early July on CD and very limited vinyl (the LP version of Eingya sold out most stores in about 4 weeks...). As some of you might know it's quite a progression from "Eingya" and I'm really excited about it indeed. More news soon and maybe some sound samples." (via John Xela)

The progression he is talking about, might or might not be be the tracks you can listen to here.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Japanese Gum - "Talking Silently" Ep (Marsiglia Records)

Marsiglia Records unleashed Port-Royal upon an unsuspecting music scene a few years back and it seems they are up to their old tricks again. Japanese Gum are another Genoa based band and one that has all the right ingredients to follow in Port-Royal's footsteps. Mixing crystal clear beat programming with syrupy vocals and glazed melodies, this duo's "Talking Silently" ep is a captivating listen from start to finish. They elegently meld shoegazer structures with cutting edge beats a style that is most evident on the excellent "..And Talk Silently".

"Could The English Rain Wash It Away", meanwhile, deals with the current political climate in Northern Ireland. It's rare for music, that is primarly electronic, to strike such a chord. But admist the chiming melody and crisp processed percussion, Japanese Gum certainly get their point of view across using a filtered sample of a television news report. The fact that the best track here is actually a remix of Port-Royal's "Speznaz Paul Leni" shouldn't detract from the overall quality of this ep. Featuring whiplashed beats and static hisses over the original Port-Royal music, Japanese Gum have turned this track on its head and made it completely their own.

It's an impressive release, clocking in at just under 25 minutes and spread over 6 tracks, from the Italian duo (until recently they were a three piece outfit). Although not a million miles away from Port-Royal's epic sound, Japanese Gum certainly show enough originality. After the Marsiglia ep, Port-Royal went on to create the sprawling "Flares". My money is on Japanese Gum doing something similar, keep your eyes peeled for this lot!.

Rating = 83%

"Paul Leni (Deep Mix)" mp3
- Japanese Gum / Port-Royal

Download full album

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Monday, April 09, 2007

What Boomkat Is Saying....

It's the Easter holidays and this is what Boomkat recommends....

"Hibernaculum" - Earth

Earth mainman Dylan Carlson is better known as the man who allegedly bought the shotgun that Kurt Cobain committed suicide with. Tragic circumstances asides, he also serves as the lead guitarist of Seattle drone rockers Earth and their brand new "Hibernaculum" LP is album of the week over at Boomkat:

"The next chapter in Earth's revitalised story and, interestingly it sees the band re-visiting some of their old classics and bringing them up to date..."

It's also worth mentioning that the mighty Autechre have been drafted in for remixing duties too.



"Burning Of Impurites" - Grails

Following on from th astounding "Black Tar Prophecies" Grails are back, Boomkat says "..this is rock-folk (not folk rock) and by injecting it with a keen knowledge of classic metal, the band have procured for themselves a distinct sound.."


"Farval Falkenberg" - Erik Enocksson

Friends have been raving about this Erick Enocksson album, a gorgeous soundtrack to the Swedish film Farval Falkenberg. A must for fans of Jasper TX, boomkat urges us to "close the doors and lock yourself inside, this is personal... music to fall in and out of love to..."


"Altar" - Boris & Sunn0)))

I bought this on a trip to Toronto last year and it became one of my favourite purchases of the year. Sunn0))) and Boris are two of the most intense bands on the planet and combined to create this masterpiece. It's now available for the not so cheap price of £29.99 on heavy duty triple vinyl. This album is worth buying for the track "Sinking Belle (Blue Sheep)" alone.

"Altar is truly one of the most stunning albums you're likely to hear this year, which should serve to redefine a genre"


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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Japanese Gum : "Could The English Rain Wash It Away"

Japanese Gum - Live@Piazza Banchi

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I have a review of Italian duo Japanese Gum coming up later this week, but I thought I would share this short exceprt of the politically-charged "Could The English Rain Wash It Away". Signed to Marsiglia Records, Japanese Gum are kindred spirits of Port-Royal and even feature a terrific remix of "Paul Leni" on their "Talking Silently" ep. In fact, Port-Royal even recommende them on this site some months ago. This release is currently available to download for free and has recieved some favourable reviews.

'Port Royal made it on Resonant after a cdr like this…will they have the same luck? Keep your eyes and ears open'.

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The Twilight Sad

I have been slow on the uptake about this Glasgow quartet. Friends from as far a field as Belgium have beaten me to it already, a poor show from someone who has lived in Glasgow for 24 years. The Twilight Sad are actually from just outside Glasgow and have been about since 2003. Playing a few gigs in Glasgow's famous 13th Cafe, they initially created half an hour compositions using guitars, drums, brass, theremin, tape loops and effects pedals. Ok, so far so post-rock!.

However, over the last couple of years the band have refined their monolithic sound, adding heavily accented Glasweigan vocals. It's akin to Aidan Moffat (ex-Arab Strap) joining Mogwai or Idlewild. Now signed to Fat Cat, the band lay on layers of distortion and when combined with those vocals, gives them a unique selling point.

Critcal acclaim has been poring in over the bands "Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters" album. I can safely say I have yet to see a negative review. The band are keen to capitalise on this critical success, they have scheduled an appearence at Scotland's Triptych Festival (with David Pajo and Alexander Tucker) and will also embark on North American tours with both Aereogramme and A Northern Chorus.

"That Summer, At Home I Had Become The Invisible Boy" mp3 - The Twilight Sad

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Friday, April 06, 2007

Library Tapes : "Feelings For Something Lost" (Resonant)

The problem with this 2nd album from acclaimed Swedish duo Library Tapes, is not trying to negotiate the long song titles ( example : "It Was A Cold Day In February And We Walked Across The Lake"). It's finding the right mood or setting to fully apprecite this short collection of sparse piano-led pieces. Listening to this when driving is a no go, too many distractions. Similarly, loading this onto your Ipod and for use when travelling on public transport doesn't work either, the background noise would drown out 75% of the sounds on "Feelings For Something Lost". I found sticking this on repeat, dimming the lights and reaching for a good book (I chose Ian Rankin's excellent "The Hanging Garden") is the best way to sample this album. I often find this method allows the music to slowly edge its way into your subconscious and that proved to be the case here.

I got this album on the basis of some excellent reviews and one truly outstanding contribution to the Miasmah "Silva" compilation. This was a distortion heavy piece that really did have me thinking that the world had finally found someone to carry on Labradford's work. So it came a s a surprise to find this album contained little more than muffled piano arragements, field recordings, tape hiss and static sounds. A little disappointed, this one was consigned to the nether regions of my Ipod playlists.

However, through the methods described above, I have managed to stretch some enjoyment from this album. "Lives Running Low Through 7th (The Shame Of It All)" starts with low-key storm sounds and adds some beautiful piano playing that resembles a toybox. Barely one and a half minutes long, it sounds as if it was recorded in a darkened attic. Restraint is the key here, the spaces betweem notes are important. "Departures (Burning Saints For Your Own Sins)" is an unsettling mix of wind sounds, gurgling noises and a vacuum of wailing guitar feedback, that is so far back in the mix that it is hardly audible. But there is a feeling that a lot of the short tracks on this album are out-takes from previous recording sessions.

Lasting just 28 minutes, this release would be better suited as an Ep. Although, the length of time it takes for "Feelings... to register anything of note would suggest otherwise. There are some inspired moments, such as the lonely piano of "Feelings For Something Lost In Two Parts" or the rain-soaked ambience of "It Ends With A Version Of Keeping Reminding About What Once Where". But, the majority of the music is rather forgettable, making this record a challenging experience at best. However, I will reserve judgement until their next release "Höstluft" surfaces, which should see light of day in June 2007 through Make Mine Music.

Rating - 62%


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Celer - "Ariill" (Archaic Horizon Records)

This is the latest offering from the relatively new Archaic Horizons Netlabel and it comes from Californian duo Celer (pronounced "Sle"). Influenced by the likes of Brian Eno, John Cage, Arvo Part and Wendy Carlos , their rolling soundscapes are suitable for fans of Marsen Jules and Wolfgang Voigt. Both compositions last over the half hour mark and were created on piano then filtered through 'triangular synthesis'.

Press Release

"Celer's "Ariill" was a beginning point for the two artists to produce original, melancholic music with a geometric and technical approach, at many times allowing the machines to compose on its own without previous sound examination. Originating from improvisational piano sonatas, the husband and wife duo performed their entire pieces on the piano, allowing the keys to float into their triangular sound setup, and in the end, produce a result that makes sound appear as if it is actually standing upright.

In the first self-titled track, Celer present the definition of their experiment. To understand this procedure the listener must think of a typical music track to be flowing from left to right, such as starting at 0:00 and continuing to the end, from left to right, just as is always displayed by any typical music player. From this point, at the end of the recording, the listener must think of the track being 'pulled upright' from the center. This is how it was originally recorded. The original beginning and ending are now indistinguishable in the center of the track, and the current beginning and ending finally only resemble each other.

The second self-titled track shows Celer demonstrating a continuous mix of shorter experiments, all having unknown geometrical shapes, flowing effortlessly into each other.

The entire release can also be enjoyed while reading the poetry written by Dani, which can be viewed here on the album art. In addition to the poetry Celer has provided a diagram to help understand their unique (recording) process."


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Ólafur Arnalds - "6" (live)

This is a rather fantastic recommendation from Last Days. Ólafur Arnalds is just 19 years old! and hails from Iceland (where else?). This is taken from his "Eulogy For Evolution" debut, out on Progress(ion) Records. Combining classical instrumentation with and indierock aesthetic, there are obvious comparisons to Sigur Ros. But Arnalds is sculpting his own epic, string-laden compositions. If you head over to his myspace profile, there are two tracks available for free download.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007


Once described as "the audio equivelant of heroin", Birmingham quartet, Mothertrucker create one unholy racket. With an impressive list of influences, their sound encompasses the bludgeoning desert rock of Kyuss and the epic instrumental nature of Mogwai.

Tours and shows with the likes of Aereogramme, Yndi Halda, The Pirate Ship Qunitet and Bossk, has brought them to the attention of the rock bibles Terrorizer ("Hypnotic") and Metal Hammer ("anyone who can write such punishing riffs, deserves success"). A must for any self-respecting post-rock/stoner rock/heavy rock fan, I've just ordered their "Electric Blacksmith" ep and you should too (it's only £3).

Need some more convincing?. Listen to the mp3 (kindly donated by the band) below at face-shattering volume.

"Kings Of Kabaddi" mp3 - Mothertrucker


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Rafael Anton Irisarri : "Daydreaming" (Miasmah)

Deaf Center certainly know a thing or six about deeply affecting, piano-led compositions. 2005's "Pale Ravine" remains one of the most enthralling recorded documents in that field. "Daydreaming", by Seattle-based composer Rafael Anton Irisarri, is my first foray into the Norweigen duo's impressive Miasmah imprint. Irisarri, himself, has a terrific pedigree, as well as sculpting captivating electro-acoustic sounds, he also curates the Kupei Muska label and serves on the board of directors for Seattle's Decibel Festival.

Using piano, synths and acoustic and electronic instruments his album, "Daydreaming" consists of seven beautifully crafted modern/classical compositions. Irisarri creates music that can be both epic and subdued, with dreamy textures floating effortlessly and dissolving into one another. "Lumberton" is a highlight that incorporates glittering piano tones and backward looped synths. It's a little less cinematic than Deaf Center, but a tad more aggressive than Goldmund. The listener can only bask in its shimmering beauty.

"Voigt-kampff" (surely named after the polygraph test to determine replicants in "Bladerunner") recalls the glacial intensity of Radiohead's "Treefingers", while, "Fractal" employs barely audible beats, reminiscent of Gas' "Konigsforst". The vinyl crackles only serve to heighten the tension, as shimmering synths and fluctuating textures hover and blend.

Much like Wes Willenbring's "Somewhere Someone Else", this album is full of atmospherics, lulling piano tones and multi-layered instrumentation. Ending with the introspective "A Glimpse", you are left with a complete sense of calm and relaxation . With just under 35 minutes worth of imaginative piano-led pieces, it may not be breaking any new ground, but "Daydreaming" is utterly gorgeous all the same. Which should warrant furthter investigation into the Miasmah collective

Rating - 80%


"Lumberton" mp3 (Excerpt) - Rafael Anton Irisarri


Kingbastard : "Upwnstairs" (Herb Recordings)

Kingbastard - Upwnstairs (Herb Recordings)

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This is an older track from Herb Recordings' Kingbastard, that has been given a nice production overhaul. If you like this track, it may be worth investigating his "Bastardise" (Review) Ep which you can order here.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Grinderman : Self-Titled (Mute Records)

"Foul-mouthed, noisy, hairy and darn well old enough to know better" reads the Grinderman press release. This is not what we expect of Nick Cave, along with three of his Bad Seed conspirators, at this stage of his career. Approaching the ripe old age of 50, most artists are content with nostalgic arena tours where they recall past glorious in front of over-zealous audiences. Cave, though, has chosen a completley different path. Maybe it was a pact with the devil in exchange for his soul, but on this form there is no stopping rock's main hellraiser. Grinderman are a hard-drinking, hard-rocking garage rock band that recalls the spirit of MC5 and The Velvet Underground.

Stripped down to the bare essentials, Cave even learned the guitar for this album. He is joined by Warren Ellis on Fendocaster duties, Jim Sclavunos manning the drum stool and Martin P. Casey holding it altogether with some dirty, distorted bass. This Grinderman experiment is said to be the way forward for future Bad Seeds releases. Let's hope so because this album is tremendous from start to finish, with Cave in particularly fine form.

His lyrics are brutally personal ("My face is finished, my body's gone, and I can't help but think up here, in all this applause and gazing down at all the young and beautiful, with their questioning eyes that I must, above all things, love myself"). They are wickedly funny too, on the same track, "No Pussy Blues", Cave bemoans his lack of luck with the ladies with this classic line: "I sent her every type of flower, I played the guitar by the hour, I patted her revolting little chiwawa, but still she just didn't want to...". Of course, this is all soundtracked by rapid-fire basslines and staccato drumming. It's honest and angry, with the band unleashing their vitriol with furious wah-wah guitars and pummelling percussion in the chorus.

Despite being labelled a garage-rock band, Grinderman are far from limited. On the eponymous "Grinderman", Cave shows us why he is the closest thing to Jim Morrison, with a performance that summons the shamanic spirit of The Doors poet. "Love Bomb", on the other hand, is a greasy blues-based track with waves of wailing guitar. While, "(I Don't Need You To) Set Me Free" returns to that vintage Bad Seeds sound. "Honey Bee (Let's Fly To Mars", however, is the album stand-out. A fast-paced, dynamic rythmn, howls of discordant guitar work and kooky, horror movie organ sounds are mixed to terrific effect, giving the impresssion that this would be an absolute show-stopper if the band ever toured this album.

Grinderman, therefore, is a massive slap in the face to those who doubted Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. In these days, when BBC Radio don't play your records because your not on their cool list or because your over 40 years old, this record gives the middle finger to all those who place unfair expectations. The older you get, the more retrospective your material should be. This is a school of thought shared by media and (some) fans alike. Not so!, says Cave and his cohorts. A mid-life crisis?, not a chance!. This is the sound of a band showing us young upstarts how it should be done.

Rating = 87%


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Monday, April 02, 2007

Crippled Black Phoenix Debut Album Released

The long-awaited debut album from the super-collective Crippled Black Phoenix has been released today. "A Love of Shared Disasters" is available from the Portishead owned Invada Records in both CD and 2x LP. Crippled Black Phoenix feature former Electric Wizard drummer Justin Greaves, Mogwai's Dominic Aitchison ,folk-rock singer Joe Volk and experimentalist Team Brick, as well as about another EIGHT musicians. The album itself is a stunning collection of classic rock, psychedelia, post-rock and dark, slow-burning ambience. The band uniquely blend Victorian instrumentation with modern day techniques and equipment, to create a compelling and totally original sound, that they have christened "Endtime Ballads"

"Born from a blizzard of horned cats, Crippled Black Phoenix bring you a twisted cinematic experience, handcrafted by a mercenary crew of musical outsiders, giving depth and gravity to regal songs about love, loss, tragedy and redemption" (Press Release)

Order your copy of one of this year's most anticipated albums.


"When You Are Gone" mp3 (excerpt)
"You Take The Devil Out Of Me" mp3 (excerpt)
"Sharks and Storms/Blizzard of Horned Cats" mp3 (excerpt)

For more insight into this enigmatic collective, read this interview I conducted a while ago.

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iLiKETRAiNS : "Spencer Perceval" (Beggars Banquet)

The rather charming Czech blog, Getecho, alerted me to the new iLiKETRAiNS single, "Spencer Perceval". I was quite impressed with the brooding nature of their "Progress: Reform" Ep last year and featured them in the tips for 2007 post. This track is eccentrically English, dark, epic and is what I'd call progress from this young band. It has the potential to propel them into the big leagues. This is what Sigur Ros would have sounded like if they had to put up with the miserable UK weather. The video is also pretty excellent and reminds me of some of those stunning Tool promos. Impressive stuff all round. The single was released on March 26th

This is the band's explanation of the themes of the single:

"Spencer Perceval is a colossal nine and half minutes, reciting the story of the only successful assassination of a British Prime Minister in 1812. The song is written from murderer John Bellingham's perspective whilst its accompanying track I am Murdered is sung from the perspective of Spencer himself. Both tracks were produced by the band late 2006 in the first recording session for their forthcoming debut album. Read more about the history of both the murderer and the murdered "

If you want to find out the story of Spencer Perceval, go here.


Sunday, April 01, 2007

Myppa : "Altruistic Behaviours" (Herb Recordings)

Following on from Zerova, Martin Czajka is another Polish import from Herb. Recording under the moniker, Myppa, he creates organic electronic music that delights with it's child-like nature and simplicity. Each of the nine tracks on "Altruistic Behaviours" are perfectly crafted slices of electronica that employs looped vocals (that recall Sigur Ros), colourful melodies and innovative rythmns.

The album's title track comes across like Sigur Ros clashing with the playful nature of Khonnor, while "Gydppa's" combination of a heart-warming melody, innocent samples and gorgeous string arrangements is magical. The seven minute long "Ledesma", meanwhile, points to an Album Leaf influence, with a stuttering rythmn and hazy tones that builds eventfully for its duration, before subsiding into the next track, "Kindergarten".

"Kindergarten", itself, is the album's best track and is a little surprising given the playful nature throughout the rest of "Altruistic Behaviours". A slow moving ambient passage, that consists of ethereal drones and some chiming sounds, it's repetitive nature will soon cast a hypntoic spell over the listener. Giving a rather tranquil impression to the end of this album.

"Altruistic Behaviours" is another lovely release from Herb Recordings, its childlike naivety is part of Myppa's charm and has you wondering if Martin Czajka really is that little cartoon child on the cover of the album.

Rating - 78%


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Three Free Mp3's

Over the last couple of days, there has been an outbreak of free and legal mp3's surfacing on the net, that warrants this post:


Firstly, Berlin-based Phon°noir, who mixes introspective guitar work with inventive programming, has his track "Slowdown" available for download. His album "Putting Holes Into October Skies" featured in my top 20 albums of 2006 last year. The artist also known as Matthias Grübel, is also putting the finishing touches to his 2nd album, which is due out in May 2007.

"Slowdown" mp3 - Phon°noir


Due to a production mix-up with Narc Magazine, d_rradio's track "Way Out", said to be featuring on their forthcoming new album, the band have uploaded the proper version of the song. The band felt that if anyone was to hear the Narc Mag version, they would get the worng impression of d_r's sound. So, every cloud really does have a silver lining!.

"Way Out" mp3 - d_rradio

Godspeed You Black Emperor!

Last, but certainly not least, a demo from the enigmatic Godspeed You! Black Emperor has spread across the web. It is not known if it is new material or an older recording, but is worth downloading just for the fact that it is Godspeed. Let's hope they return from their self-imposed exile.

"Untitled Demo" mp3 - Godspeed You! Black Emperor

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