Thursday, June 26, 2008

Rory Storm The Sun Always Rises on Robot Morning (Cook An Egg)
The Lost Domain The Mystery of… (Cook An Egg)

New Zealand’s Rory Storm is back with a new album and like previous outings I’ve heard it’s very much unlike its predecessors. What we have here is a meeting betwixt catchy slow pop nuggets, Flying Saucer Attack-like walls of feedback drowsiness and pretty harsh NZ noise. It’s a fascinating cross pollination that works amazingly well. If you want to read more about this fellow make sure to check out the new issue of the always excellent Dream Magazine.

More on the same French label comes from the land of kangaroos. This country from down under continues to be a strong provider of things droning and essential. Brisbane’s The Lost Domain uses several different approaches into making varied and innovative musical shapes. These improv shamans take cues from pre-historic blues and brain-frying folk and puts the whole thing under the drone rock microscope. It’s all very dialogic and organic although we find the band focusing on the primitive and somewhat skronking side of their repertoire this time out. Overall an excellent addition to the Lost Domain library.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Terrastock 7

Tomorrow morning I am off to Louisville, Kentucky for the seventh Terrastock festival. I hope to run into some of you on the other side of the pond…and if you think some of the band descriptions in the festival program suck go ahead and blame me and my partners in crime, Lee Jackson and Kevin Moist.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Some vinyl action...

I’ve been meaning to write about Robert Martin’s The Long Goodbye LP (Yik Yak) for a long time but for some reason I’ve found it difficult to find words that can do it justice. This is apparently some well-hidden ‘80s recording that first saw the light of the day on some extremely limited CD-R in 2001. This is the first time it reaches out to a wider audience and if you consider yourself a fan of primitive outsider folk somewhere along the Barrett-Ayers-Jandek-Bailey-This Kind of Punishment axis I am sure that you just like me will consider this a lost classic. It’s all murky, skeletal, introspective, joyous and beautifully damaged but most of all it’s music that aims for the heart rather than the brain.

Shadow Music of Thailand is another of those stellar Sublime Frequencies compilations, this time displaying Thai pop influenced by Western music in general but most importantly all kinds of surf music. The suft guitar is all over this LP and I can’t say that I mind as it’s always been a musical style I wanted to explore more thoroughly and placed in these capable Thai hands we get something ecstatically groovy. Catchy melodies are draped in fuzzed out organs that wrestle with all sorts of buzzing guitars and it’s indeed liberating to hear folk/pop/psych bands that temper their traditional approach with a firm willingness to rock out in a spacey, drawn out kind of way.


Friday, June 13, 2008

After the goldrush #45

Hello, Blue Roses is the very capable duo of Dan Bejar (Destroyer, New Pornographers, Swan Lake) and Sydney Vermont. On The Portrait Is Finished And I Have Failed To Capture Your Beauty (Locust) we find Vermont in the song-writing position and Bejar doing most arrangements. It’s a lovely little folk pop record that escapes the risk of becoming too fey through some pretty stellar guitar action. Sparkling choruses with female meets male vocals and ecstatic hooks echo the original crop of folk and pop in a quite impressive way.

Majessic Dreams is Jessica Breitholtz Björk and Mats Björk and what they do on Beautiful Days (Pony Rec) certainly have roots at the same places as the aforementioned Hello, Blue Roses but what we have here is probably more reflective in a day after Midsummer’s Eve kind of way. On the title track we find fem vocals hovering over repeated guitar patterns and strings like mist over some remote lake. The occasional addition of circling flute adds a bit of a prog feel and the way it’s done it’s most certainly welcome to these ears. “Cloaks” and “The Lake” are fine instrumental odes that have more of a distinctive experimental feel to them while “Wife’s Song” is more direct and even bouncy in a quietly disorienting way. Another fine meeting betwixt folk, pop and experimentalism.

A new Oddfellows Casino recording is cause for much celebration around these parts. That The Absence of Birds (Pickled Egg) just offers an EP’s length of music (plus a film track) doesn’t bother me much as David Bramwell and his collaborators once again display pure sonic brilliance. What we get is lush and soulful pop informed by elements of jazz, folk, haunting electronica, psychedelia and avante-garde accents. Bramwell’s gently melancholic voice gives life to his timeless sound and forlorn lyrics. There's a combination of almost fey qualities and haunting things that really defies my description and even though a few '60s legends comes to mind it still sounds so incredibly unique and modern.


Sunday, June 08, 2008

Scott Tuma Not for Nobody (Digitalis)

Discovering Scott Tuma’s solo material was one of my personal musical highlights during 2003 and this rather new disc from the former Souled American member is sure to have a similarly strong effect five years later. Tuma plays skeletal, repetitive guitar figures that loop and drone, seeming to go on forever with crystal clear melodies often hidden in the eerie depths, but every now and then it all gets up to the surface and it’s at these occasions the tension between complete darkness and skeletal beauty reaches lordly heights. The sound is blurry and hypnotic, tranced out and serene, slowly weaving between gorgeously organic instrumental parts, dark dissonance and cloudy aural landscapes.

Drowsy childlike vocals that move across the room like ghostly silhouettes start and end this emotional journey and bind things together in an absolutely stellar way. Between these two sister tracks there’s a lot of variation, but it’s more like moving from room to room in a decaying building rather than going from house to house. Every quiet track is in the right place and they’re all overflowed with warmth, abandon, nostalgia and winter darkness. Essential.