"Guilty Ghosts represents the musical endeavors of Tristan O’Donnell. Drone guitars, breakbeats, and tape loops all find their way into his unique style of ambient guitar music. His songs are the kind fit for rainy days, everlasting evenings, and melancholy moments in solitude.
Tristan, a life-long Brooklynite, recorded “Veils” at home. Vocal collaborations from Sea Oleena (Canada) and Guerre (Australia) were done via internet file exchange. Additional guitars are played by longtime friend and collaborator Luke Hill.”
Icebird is some soulful shit, a collaboration between Aaron Livingston, who self-proclaimingly makes songs to sing words onto, and RJD2, an electronics-producing aesthete, think Otis Redding meets Star Slinger.
“Color Radio is a band unique to the Chicago local scene. Two brothers, Jonathan and Tohm Ifergan came together with their close friends to create such marvelous lyricism and dynamic sounds that are as echoic and obscure as they are familiar. To listen to their forthcoming album, Architects (due out in June 2011) has such rhythmic precision. It is their glowing vocals, which blend over layers of dreamy guitars that are finely tuned and followed up by ambitious percussion. Their sound has similarities to such bands as Here We Go Magic and Radiohead. Though it is unique to its own, blending dreamy pop with glimmering guitar solos, their talent is immediately apparent when listening for the very first time. And on stage it is their warmth and exuberance that can’t keep you from smiling ear to ear.” - Gapers Block
A split record from two experimental rock bands out of Wilmington, Deleware, or Newark, New Jersey. Well, they’re from somewhere that seems to be the same place. There exist 300 copies of this ep pressed and hand-numbered, which you might or probably will not be able to find at your local record store.
“It was on a cold winter’s morning a neon sign in Brooklyn had the two high school friends Thorben and Sune form Alcoholic Faith Mission back in 2006. As they traversed the Brooklyn streets they suddenly found themselves in front of a church, Apostolic Faith Mission. If you took out Apostolic, put in Alcoholic, they discussed, you’d have a pretty cool band name; for an alcoholic elixir is needed, just like religion is needed for the pious.
It took them six month to record and release the debut Misery Loves Company. It came to be in Thorben’s bedroom with a few sets of rules: Record only at night. The only light source could be that of candles. Consumption of alcohol was integral. And lastly once anything was recorded it could not be changed.
However Brooklyn had struck a rich chord with the guys, and 18 months later they moved back. A rebuilt factory loft is where they lived and recorded their second album overseeing the magnificent Williamsburg Bridge. The following six months had only one rule: Record only things found within the four walls. This is how two dictionaries came to be a kick drum, and vocal chords came to remedy the lack of synths.” - excerpt from the band’s bio
Daughter is Elena Tonra’s voice, Igor Haefeli on guitar, and Remi Aguilella playing drums, with some occasional instrumentals from bassist Kevin Jones. Having already made a name for herself as a solo balladeer in the London music scene, Elena ran into Igor at a songwriting class and decided it was time to break into a more nuanced sound. From that bloomed a particular sort of experimental neo-folk, a collection of dreamsongs. The magisterial quality of her anecdotal, heartfelt lyrics, wrought over lush acoustic ecologies, embodying a transference of catholic experience, the ability to see our own image in the self-portraits of Rembrandt, to want with Stephen Dedalus for the uncreated conscience of our race. It’s the bridge that crosses the space between, the difference between stories and fables. And listening to her sing I cannot but help believe that those still bleeding are the lucky ones, that beautiful brains can indeed disintegrate, that maybe just maybe we can find someone who will take us home.
"A beautiful tension between calloused textures and melodic gleam."
If you like artsy folk-rock in the vein of Dr. Dog and Delta Spirit, and can withstand some in-your-face noise elements littered among moonstruck songwriting, this rounded, fully realized album should provide an insightful listen into inevitable restructurings of a sound that ruled independent music throughout the previous decade. On a side note, it’s nice to know that going retro can be so cool so soon, and that perhaps the period for reinvention is getting smaller and smaller.
First off, I can’t believe one of us hasn’t posted about this yet. Future Islands’ last LP, In Evening Air, blew away all [#] of us, and that’s an understatement. Singer Sam Herring states his manner of working as a songwriter: “I want you to cry…I want you to feel the way I feel. I want to crush.” Although the fast pace and dance floor bounce that made their second LP so energetic seems to have been traded in for more slow burning ballads, they’ve still managed to, well, crush me with On the Water.
This LP represents the reconciliation between one’s past and future, and this theme is thoughtfully expressed through both lyricism and instrumentation (I’d detail examples, but I feel those detections are better left to the listener). Herring has managed to temper his voice a bit, softening those calls to Meatloaf and Tom Waits, and as a result sounds more weary and less dramatic. That’s not to say he still doesn’t showcase those wonderful growling fulminations, he just does so more carefully this time around. The fluctuations in Herring’s voice mimic an ebb and flow construction the LP seems to have sourced from the ocean they recorded near in North Carolina. And, unlike In Evening Air, the instrumentation lines up with Herring’s lyrics in more inventive ways, each element adding to the other to elicit a stronger emotional experience.
Long story short, they’ve done it again. You’d be a fool not to check this out.
“Imagine an alien species of explorers from a galaxy some 70 million light years distant. Countless generations have lived and died on the journey to Earth. Whole histories, micro-civilizations come and gone. But at last they are here. Markarians are here. Only…somewhere along the way, rounding the Sombrero Galaxy, they forgot why they came. And how to get back. Marooned, they do their best to acclimate to this new world and its unique forms of joy and despond, its miraculous absurdity. Music helps. It has to. They listen. They assimilate. And as they assimilate, a sound emerges: their sound. A synthesis of styles and performers—the surrealism of Mark E Smith, the pop sensibilities of Ivy, the fuzzy angst of Sonic Youth, the haunted introspection of The Church, the velveteen, pillow-warm texture of The Clientele, the mellow earnestness of Kurt Vile. All of these, shaped, with lapidary precision, to seem effortlessly congruent, natural. At day’s end, though, the sound is unmistakably Markarian.
Now imagine that instead of a forlorn alien species, Markarians were actually one human guy. Call him Chad Murphy. A savant-type, living in Central Pennsylvania. Why not? The kind of guy who reads Japanese for fun, an alumnus of U of Chicago, a Penn State grad student. A guy who founded his own indie label, Exumbrella Records, became for a time the notorious fourth member of Tolchock Trio while also heading up his own band, Electoral College; a guy who has now single-handedly written, recorded, mixed, and mastered a solo project, two five-track EPs: Ten Means Heavenand Andre in Love. Which of these scenarios seems more plausible? Frankly, my money’s on the aliens. But do we have to choose? To me, Markarians is about how we are all of us aliens, a paradoxical community of loners, transients, and introverts; and if it evinces some longing for transcendence, for the otherworldly, well, that is only a castaway’s longing for home.”
Ad Astra Arkestra, a second incarnation of Kansas City’s Ad Astra Per Aspera, is a nine-piece calypso noise rock jam band whose four-song, twenty-eight minute long, debut ep leaves one utterly spent, slightly disoriented, and asking just who is on first. A wide and varied array of percussion provides a foundation of membranophones, idiophones, and aerophones frantically tripping over each other in a hurried muddle of electric guitar prostrations. In the middle of all this lies a scintillating complexity of dual-gender call and response vocals decidedly tribal and seamlessly integrated, adding a unique tonal aspect to the proceedings. If there is a message here, it is to be found in the totality of the sound, in the undeniable rush of ingenuity that makes one imagine it might be more likely to encounter this sound on an African railway platform than in a Lawrence night club. Think something like the soundtrack to a Saharan Slumdog Millionaire, a Tom and Jerry crime caper, a streetlamp city-wide scavenger hunt. It’s a lot of fun, witch-doctoring, soul-stealing, incanted fun. It will creep inside you like a warm kitten.