Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Joy Formidable-Wolf's Law review

Today's musical discovery came from the unlikeliest of places.  I was scanning the local news rag and saw a list of mini album reviews from bands I don't really care for--except for The Joy Formidable.  I have been aware of this band and have liked them since they released their EP "A Balloon Called Moaning".  I had no idea they have just released a brand new full-length album.

When discovering indie and alternative rock music, you have to be careful because the genre includes so many styles of music that it is dizzying.  I dislike plenty of indie and alternative rock.  The best practice for me is referencing bands who have influenced a particular artist.

One of the many influences The Joy Formidable mentions is that of shoegaze legends My Bloody Valentine.  That's all you have to see. 

Where "A Balloon Called Moaning" was a remarkable album in its overall scope, "Wolf's Law" sees the band strip away some of the lengthy shoegazing pedal effects in favor of a more mainstream rock sound.  The first several tracks feature various rock hooks backing Ritzy Bryan's fantastic vocals.  This represented a stylistic change that was easier to get over as the album progressed.

The album's sound fills in nicely towards the end and the last four tracks are some truly epic rock tunes with a huge variety of sounds, including string arrangements.  This disc caught me as somewhat underwhelming considering the band's earlier work, but the final tracks easily made up for that with impressive rock beats and soaring melodies.  I know I say this a lot, but this is truly music you must hear. 

Lucky for you, we have the full album stream via the band's Soundcloud page here.  I recommend skipping to midway through the album and paying close attention to the last four tracks.  This is some of the best alternative/indie rock I have heard in a long time.  Thanks for listening and enjoy!

Friday, January 25, 2013

New Music from Apricot Rail and Gliss

It's Friday, ladies and gentlemen.  You know what that means: only one more day this week of work for Yours Truly.  It also means we have some brand-spanking new music to share with you, which has accumulated over the course of the week.

We'll start this session off with the wonderfully talented pop/post rock outfit Apricot Rail from Perth, Australia.  This band has a new album coming on February 25.  This will be one of our anticipated releases.  I've been loving what I've been hearing from the album's first single, Basket Press and can't wait to hear more.  Apricot Rail blend pop stylings with stretched post-rock atmospherics and ambiance to create a unique style that is easy to get into.  What I love so far is that they are not afraid to use true melody as a way to make the music move and breathe.  While there is ample ambient and atmosphere to pique the senses, the melodies carry the music to greater heights.  Check out the single below and stay tuned for a full review of the album shortly after the official release date.

Of course post rock isn't the only kind of music we like around here.  I sparingly listen to pop, but what I do enjoy is particularly good.  Take Gliss for example.  This dream pop trio from Copenhagen and Los Angeles produces tastefully melodic, yet artfully atmospheric dream pop with shimmering vocals that put most pop vocalists to shame.  The real shame is that this band is not better-known, because from what I have heard so far, they are excellent.  Gliss has just released a new album called "Langsom Dans", for which a couple of singles have surfaced.  Check out The Weight of Love below.  As always, thanks for reading and enjoy!  Happy weekend!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Free Downloads-Weird

Today seems like a perfect day to celebrate weirdness.  More often than not, I am described as weird, not to mention my musical tastes.  There is a rich bounty of amazing music in the world these days, partially because of Al Gore's second most famous invention, the Internet. 

There is a lot of weird in the world today.  Look no further than a friggin' ice storm in Boise, Idaho.  Seriously?  Must I go on?  Well, I'm not going to because I have some weird music to share with you today.  Weird music, weird album title, weird cover art.  "Desert Love for Lonely Graves" has it all.

Italian shoegazers Weird have released their brand new album, available for FREE download on their bandcamp page.  Since I'm a huge fan of free music, I just had to check them out, despite what I view as somewhat shoddy cover art.  Sometimes cover art is not a good descriptor of the music in an album.  This album cover screams lo-fi bedroom pop, but the music is much better than that.

"Desert Love for Lonely Graves" is almost purely a shoegaze album with the obligatory nods to standard-fare indie rock added for good measure.  If not good, this album is great.  The first few tracks of this release are warm indie rock tunes with underpinnings of solid atmospheric reverb and looped vocals.  The last few tracks virtually explode with long, slow tempo shoegazing tones that are at times reminiscent of late post-rock. 

Although the music is indeed weird, it is not too weird.  In fact it is nothing rivalling the artist we profiled here yesterday in terms of the weirdness scale.  At least one of the first few tracks seemed iffy to me, but I found myself digging the album more and more as it went along, culminating in the breathtaking final track.  You have to forgive me for using a 'digging' reference in describing how much I enjoyed this album.  As a matter of fact, I didn't even realize what I had done until it was on the page, and when I write something fabulous unintentionally I have a certain penchant for leaving it on the page.

Listen to the full album stream and then download this thing immediately.  It is worth it, especially for free.  This download is absolutely free, meaning they are not asking for donations.  Thanks for listening and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Gate-Sekai review

There are some bands whose sound is impossible to categorize.  This can be either a good or a bad thing, but it is often refreshing to hear something so original that as a listener, one can't help but be pleased with the artist's effort.

|**| Gate is a rare breed of an artist.  Hailing from Japan, Lajos Ishibashi-Brons creates an intense musical sound that straddles invisible lines between ambient drone, electronica, techno, and industrial.  This is an incredible journey through soundscapes too numerous to describe.  The best one can do in categorizing the sound this artist employs would be industrial noise.  As Gate's record label, Fluttery Records, tells it, there is sound in music throughout our world and that all our world is beautiful.  Just as warm melodies create space with passion and grace, sharp, discordant sounds create a different sense of bliss--a different state of sonic beauty.

To describe the music in "Sekai" as discordant would be an understatement.  The music herein is for open-minded listeners willing to dabble in any kind of musical pleasure.  The sound of "Sekai" is incredibly diverse, yet jagged, irregular, eerie, dissonant, and at times downright jarring.  Though many listeners will simply pass this album off as noise, the music contains an unmistakable thread of musical composition that few artists would dare attempt, let alone master.

"Sekai" is unlike any album I have ever heard, and that says a lot.  I never thought I would find myself listening to this type of music, but this music is so atypical that to attempt description through words is folly at best.  As layered and discordant as this music is, I inexplicably find it appealing and even addictive.  This music that truly must be heard to be understood or appreciated.  That said, I don't expect many of our readers to get a proper handle on this album.  Listen if you dare--the entire album stream via Gate's bandcamp page follows. 

This is an underrated effort that is worth the price. "Sekai's" five tracks average a hefty 15 minutes in length, so you will more than likely have to find something else to do while you listen.  Try to listen to the entire track you choose because there are so many jolts, so many surprises, twists and turns, that it is difficult to fathom.  It is a fantastic listen and I hope you enjoy.  Thanks for reading!