Showing posts from 2015

Villagers - Darling Arithmetic

Irish folk singer/songwriter Conor O'Brien gives us a very personal peek into some of his thoughts and feelings.  Sounding very much like he is sitting in the room performing just for us, with some of that "magic" band behind him in just the right sparse measures.  Darling Arithmetic is a perfect Sunday morning record.  Serene, peaceful, and quietly pleasing, it gently nudges you into wakefulness.

Die Form - Rayon X

Beware.  Listening to Die Form may corrupt your base nature.  This is music for your most decadent desires.  Rayon X serves up a mean mix of fetish electronics and sexual vocals.  Abandon reservations, embrace corruption, explore sensations, seek to discover deviations from your "normal" life.  Here you will find acceptance of those dark secrets and desires you have been hiding.  Bring them out and surrender to the chant and beat of Die Form, Rayon X.

Half Moon Run - Sun Leads Me On

Indie Rock just doesn't begin to describe this band's sound.  Comparisons to other artists from Band of Horses to Radiohead are relevant in part, but again don't paint the full picture.  I discovered their first album, Dark Eyes (2012), on bandcamp last year and fell immediately in love with them. Phenomenal musicianship, mellifluous vocals, tempos that vary from strident urgency to placid calm.  Sun Leads Me On is different every time I listen to it. My favorite songs change, my takeaways vary, I get a new appreciation for the depth of the music.

Soft Kill - Heresy

Once more into the bandcamp cornucopia of musical fantasy...and I discovered this post-punk marvel.  Hailing from Portland, Oregon according to bandcamp,but from San Luis Obispo, CA according to facebook - their first release, An Open Door, came out in 2011.  This is their third album, but it is a rather short album, less than 30 minutes.  Those thirty minutes, however, are superb.  They said they would be reissuing their catalog this Fall, but I have not seen this to be happening yet.  Keep up with them in facebook.  Firmly planted in the post-punk genre, Soft Kill carries on where bands like Interpol, She Wants Revenge, Glorious Din, and others either gave up or phased out.  Soft Kill manages to sound new, fresh, and important while staying true to their chosen sound.  So many, like Interpol and She Wants Revenge, couldn't grow within the framework of their genre and started pulling from other styles.  I am impressed that this lot seem secure in their sound and aren't jerki…

Selofan - Tristesse

Using bandcamp's music feed and fan following of like-minded users turned up this band a few months ago.  I've been trying to score vinyl copies of their releases to no avail.  I've actually got them ordered only to be told, twice, that they were sold out, after the fact.  So back to bandcamp and digital copies for now at least.  The important thing is being able to listen to this rather incredible music.  This is my favorite genre of music - dark, moody, haunting, dance-able...perfect for sitting in dark corners of a club with occasional forays onto the dancefloor.

Billy Idol - Kings and Queens of the Underground

Billy Idol seems to be enjoying a revival, especially in his live shows.   I personally think this album is the best he has had since Rebel Yell.  It has edge tempered with a lifetime's accumulated knowledge.  I hear a man that is feeling good about where he is along his timeline.   In advance of his biography being released, the song Kings and Queens of the Underground serves as a synopsis of what will may come out in the book. It is a moving track and even though it is written in a very personal way I found myself connecting with it vicariously.

Lydmor & Bon Homme - Seven Dreams Of Fire

Slick and posh dance music.  Sophisticated and ripe with attitude.  Glamorous with just the right amount of vanity.  Bon Homme is the personification of suave. Lydmor invokes the best of a modern Audrey Hepburn hipness.  Bringing with him the success of Whomadewho as well as his own solo album, A Life Less Fancy, and merging it with her new and emerging talent with two records of her own including recognition as an accomplished singer/songwriter.  Not since Black Box Recorder called it quits have I enjoyed this level of elegance and savoir faire in music.

Editors - In Dream

Editors are one of my favorite bands.  In Dream maintains their eminence.  This record is overall slower than prior releases, I would say more contemplative, but their other records were just as deep, they just had a faster tempo.  I think this album will sadly suffer from it's more drawn out nature, and won't get as many whole plays.  Artistically it holds it's own, and probably fits it's mood better in tempo, but doesn't pack the punch of earlier records.  Here the sound is more calm, rational, and less raw than before.  We have a band that sounds confident of what they have to say, and this album just says it a little quieter and less urgently.

Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band - Take Me To The Land Of Hell

A 2013 release, but again I just acquired it.  I was looking for a release she did for charity with Antony, review to come later, and discovered her and Sean Lennon's Chimera label/website.  Lots of excellent experimental, psychedelic, & avant-garde wonderment.  I had a hard time budgeting my selections and in the end it came down to format choices (I stuck to vinyl).  I find Yoko Ono to be rather inconsistent, but essential to investigate.  She is the only musician that travels to some of those places and not everyone wants to follow her there.  I find myself regretting the times I just can't go where she goes, like watching others skydive when I am just too cautious.  This record is perfection in blending her individuality and experiential creativity within a structure that is easy to assimilate.

Electric Würms ‎– Musik, Die Schwer Zu Twerk

So this was released last year but I just now acquired one on sale.  I like Progressive, Psychedelic Rock and this fits into that category, but in a mellow, chill-out sense.  It is a pleasant listening experience leading one to daydream in the lands of imagination.  Best for late-night after-party relaxation.

Will Young - Brave Man


John Grant - Grey Tickles, Black Pressure

John Grant knows that life is what you make of it.  He has been very candid about the twists and turns his life has taken him and how grateful he is to be where he is now.  The choices we make in even small things can have profound effect.  His songwriting reflects all of these experiences and the fruit they bore.  His intelligence and insight is easily heard throughout Grey Tickles, Black Pressure.  The dance beats and eclectic electronic rhythms add just the right level of levity to the mix.

Low - Ones and Sixies

I love the owl on the cover, but I think the tree really sums up the feel of the record.  It is sparse and dreary, poignant and dreamy.  I haven't been a loyal Low fan through the years, but their records are always being presented to me as something I should like.  I can't say why nothing has really captured my attention fully until this record.  Whatever the reason, the past is the past and this record is amazing.  Sub Pop's Loser Editions are always a great addition to a collection from an artistic point of view. In this case, especially, the music and packaging are really well matched.

Zola Jesus - Taiga

I recently found this record while making some other purchases.  I had not bought it when it came out about a year ago, and somehow it had slipped my mind.  It didn't seem to get as much attention as some of her other albums, at least not on the boards I follow.  I am not really sure why - it is an excellent record.  She has a lovely voice in a deeper register than most female singers.  I think this record is a bit more "commercial" than her prior albums, but not to ill effect.  It is still dark and aggressive, full of brooding electronics and has a haunting, tormented aura.  Her voice sounds like it originates from pain but soars above it and triumphs over it.

StrangeJuice - Leafblower

Why hasn't StrangeJuice escaped anonymity yet?  I am mystified that the world isn't enraptured by the magic he wields with what appears to be effortless ability and talent.

Some great 45s by Slovenly, Nervous Gender, Little Green Cars, Black Box Recorder, Pansy Division and The Dead Science

So I have been rather fanatic lately at searching for and buying records.  I am trying to rebuild my record collection that I sold off in a fit of depression and despair after losing a job, a house, and a lot of self-respect.  Selling the vinyl seemed a good idea at the time, but I miss them and am really just beginning to replace them.  I sold off CDs too, but I don't miss them really - too small and rather interchangeable from one another.  Vinyl is much more individualistic and therefore more satisfying to collect.  Do I need to say that digital is like having a collection of air in standard mason jars?

Today's scores:  Slovenly - "Plug", Nervous Gender - "Gestalt", Gargoyles - "Michigan", Black Box Recorder - "The Art Of Driving", The Dead Science - "The Tomlab Alphabet Singles Series V",  Little Green Cars - "The John Wayne" and Pansy Division - "Valentine's Day"

New Order - Music Complete

So it seems everyone has been lauding the return of New Order with this record.  Well I am also thankful that they got together and made this record even without Peter Hook.  However I am not as happy with it as the other reviewers I have read.  It just isn't "complete".  It sounds like tracks from past New Order albums that were left off.  It is lacking some of the depth of past records.  Less tricks and rhythmic variations.  Still I wouldn't want to be without it.

Human Tetris and Lil Swan

I have been waiting for some new music by Human Tetris for a couple of years, ever since I discovered them on bandcamp.  They are one of a about a dozen groups that I just do not understand why they are not better known.  Rivaling the sound of Editors and Interpol, I connect with them more as a evolution of one of my favorite short-lived bands, Glorious Din.  I recently found on their facebook page that they broke up, but the good news is that the "mastermind" behind the band had started a new group called Lil Swan, and the better news is that Lil Swan sounds wonderfully like Human Tetris.  I suggest getting to know both bands.  I can't really say more about their music other than - every song is my favorite until the next one starts.

Thighpaulsandra - The Golden Communion

A stunning package, this 3 disc vinyl is just incredible.  I was kind of hoping for a booklet similar to the Double Vulgar releases (II in particular) but I think this gatefold is beautiful and quite complete (though lyrics are always appreciated).  I was extremely happy to receive an email to download the album so that I could listen to it while awaiting my hard copy and I was blown away before the end of the first song.

This Mortal Coil

It seems fitting to begin  discussing "Incomparable Past" releases with This Mortal Coil as they had quite a profound influence on my college years.  This Mortal Coil was a cornucopia of talent that I harvested for years to come, indeed am still farming.  But I didn't know that when I first encountered them in my local Sound Warehouse.  Back in the days before internet and sampling, often you just had to go with your gut when trying to find new music.  I remember being drawn to the image and colors of the record, It'll End in Tears, and loving the poetry of their name and album title.  I new 4AD as the label for Cocteau Twins and Bauhaus, so I took a chance.

Half Moon Run - Sun Leads Me On Pre-order

Go to the Half Moon Run website to pre-order their new record Sun Leads Me On releasing October 23rd.  Vinyl orders include a digital download and the pre-order vinyl will be signed by the band!

Daughn Gibson - Carnation

Awash, adrift and fading... not the album I was hoping for, but it is growing on me.  I was annoyed with myself for not turning this pre-order post into an album review faster upon the release of the record - however, now I am glad I took more time.

Sometimes change is hard to accept.  I want an artist to grow and adapt, but not so much that I don't recognize them anymore.  I thought on first listen that Daughn Gibson had gone too far away from the sound I so loved.  Thankfully if you take your time with this record there is much to be discovered and enjoyed.

Editors - IN DREAM pre-order

Absolutely one of my favorite bands.  Tom Smith's voice is a-m-a-z-i-n-g!  Their songs are always relevant and moving.  They are dark enough to fulfill my imagination, bright enough not to drown my dreams, deep enough to keep me thinking, and creative enough to lift my spirit.  IN DREAM is out October 2nd (the same day as John Grant's Grey Tickles, Black Pressure) and you can pre-order it now.

Ballet School - The Dew Lasts An Hour

Discovered this band via a covers site that had their version of Fleetwood Mac's "Sara" on it.  I was very impressed and looked to see what else was out there.  I know lots of Indie bands have more exposure thanks to the internet, but I still find bands that seem to be "out there" but I have never come across - which seems odd since I read music blogs daily.  I guess that's why I started this one in hopes of eventually being able to help "get the word out" about bands like this.

Ford Proco / Coil - Expansión Naranja 12'' EP

Thanks to HeathenHarvest for posting this news.  I might have missed this incredible item.  Evidently demand has been much better than they expected as I totally missed the original 100 orange vinyl press - and also the second pressing on black vinyl - however - I dropped them a note asking to be emailed when copies were again available and got a message that they had a couple of copies and I headed back to their site and got one.  It now shows "sold out" again but that they are going to be pressing another run on orange vinyl in the near future.  I had never heard of Mannequin Records before and now I am very glad I have.  Go Here for more information. You can hear the tracks on Soundcloud.

Marc Almond, Jeremy Reed & Othon Kickstarter for recording a musical album of JK Huysmans novel, Against Nature

I hope this campaign is successful.  All the early information really looks interesting and promising.  I am rather shocked they haven't already made their goals - but money is tight these days.  I had to really think about it before pledging enough to get the limited vinyl release - I was kinda pushed over the edge when I saw all but 1 was taken - obviously it is the more popular pledge reward - maybe they will make more of those available. Consider that you have time to budget a pledge since they are only taken upon the project reaching it's goal and would not be withdrawn from your account until August 28. Check out the kickstarter campaign page.

Thighpaulsandra - The Golden Communion - Pre-order

Release date September 4, 2015

EMEGO 207 / Thighpaulsandra - The Golden Communion
1. Salute (8:45)
2. Did He Fall? (6:31)
3. The Foot Garden (9:55)
4. A Devil In Every Hedgerow (4:38)
5. The Golden Communion (25:56)
6. Misery (10:58)
7. Valerie (8:16)
8. The Sinking Stone (11:08)
9. On The Register (4:05)
10. The More I Know Men, The Better I Like Dogs (26:48)

Hear "The Foot Garden" via Soundcloud
Pre-order from Editions Mego on 2 CDs or 3LPs

StrangeJuice - Jalapeno Sun

StrangeJuice (Mike Anderson) has produced yet another amazing song collection.  I was a bit apprehensive, since he is calling this his first release in a "bedroom series", that it would be less complex and evolved than his previous works. I was therefore blown away by the first track, also the title track, as it blasted out of my speakers in an aural assault of impressive magnitude!

Catching Up - Why Barry Manilow?

Last weekend I had the stomach flu which somehow by Monday night had caused me to have a heart attach (Pericarditus). After a few days in the hospital and many wonderfully bizarre yet cool tests it seems I have a very healthy heart.

So I have been stuck unexpectedly at home the last few days and have been working on recording my vinyl to digital format.  The last couple of days that has meant a lot of Julie Andrews and Barry Manilow.  Needless to say this, paired with a rather forced awakening of awareness of my mortality, has caused me to be a bit nostalgic.

Pre-order Chelsea Wolfe - Abyss

Chelsea Wolfe is incredible.  I get chills listening to her and this album looks to be a progression of style and sound.  I love the first track Iron Moon - and was instantly compelled to order the vinyl - pre-orders get their choice of vinyl color - and there are several bundle options with t-shirts and more.  If you haven't heard her - think dark - think deep - and then scream.  I believe if you give her a chance you will find yourself enthralled.

Order vinyl and more here

Opinions requested

I am resolved to use this blog to promote artists that I like, however, that means fairly few posts when the well is dry like it has been lately.  I am wondering if people are interested in what I have bought/heard that I decided not to post about?  I would not be posting negative comments about them, just that they didn't really strike me as something I could promote.  This month that list would have included:

These albums were bought and/or listened to, enjoyed even, but I don't have anything to "say" about them.  If you tend to like what I like then you might want to check them out.
So is this something I should do - or is it best left out?
Thanks for your input.

Armen Ra - Theremin - Classique

Evidently I missed the preorder opportunity to get this is a physical CD and now you can only get it as a download.  Listen to it on soundcloud.  I haven't bought it yet as I was hoping someone would decide to reprint CDs or maybe even better vinyl.  But that is not looking too good.

Baby Dee - I am a stick preorder

I want to preorder this new Baby Dee due out June 1st, but it is priced a bit too high and shipping costs are almost as much as the LP.  $40 is just too much for a record.  It does look fantastic, and I have loved everything she has put out so far.  I may have to be satisfied with a download of this but I will wait and see if there is a lower price later, sometimes shops order enough other stuff they can relieve the shipping costs and even offer a bit of a discount.  Unfortunately I also gamble with the possibility that interest exceeds availability and the price goes threw the roof.

Voltaire tour

I'll be at the Wednesday May 13th show in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The day before my birthday and about the 6th time I have been to a Voltaire show!! I did not make the show.  My friend came down sick and I did not want to go alone - call me a wimp if you will - but it just didn't seem "fun" to be on my own at a show like Voltaire's where camaraderie and interaction is expected.

Marc Almond - The Velvet Trail

A masterful performer, Marc Almond slays yet another record.  One of the most diverse performers, over the years it seems he has done it all.  Many would think this was back to his roots, but alas his roots go deeper than that.  The Velvet Trail is a great amalgam of the many diverse styles he has used over the years, merging it with a current, timeless quality.

Scott Matthew - This Here Defeat

A sublime listening experience.  Hauntingly beautiful.  A masterpiece of cathartic dirge-like torch songs.

Kate Pierson - Guitars and Microphones

Nothing like a little controversy to kick off album sales.  Personally I love Kate Pierson and her unflappable upbeat attitude.  At least her public persona is of a person that chooses to see what is good in life and tries her best to elevate those around her.  She doesn't appear to take the downturns in life too seriously but rather focuses on how we can turn these things around, see them in perspective, and move on to the next better thing as quickly as possible.  I think if she were my friend she would generally recommend a night of dancing as a remedy to most of life complexities... and I think she would be right.  This record fits perfectly in line with that perception.

Asaf Avidan - "Gold Shadow"

Blending classic rock sounds with modern themes and styles, Asaf Avidan manages to create a flawless album of creative maturity.