Friday, May 24, 2013

Mark Kozelek & Jimmy LaValle - Perils From the Sea (2013)


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For fans of: Low, The Besnard Lakes, Bill Fay

"Perils from the Sea, a surprisingly absorbing collaboration between Red House Painters and Sun Kil Moon frontman Mark Kozelek and Album Leaf mastermind Jimmy Lavelle, sounds exactly as one might imagine. Kozelek's richly detailed, impressionistic lyrics and laconic delivery, when paired with Lavelle's barebones bedroom electro-pop, are as engaging as they are impossibly lonesome, sounding on occasion like Kid A filtered through a Pacific Northwest skylight. Released on Kozelek's own Cobra Verde label and credited to Sun Kil Moon and The Album Leaf, the 10-track collection feels less like a product and more like an accidently overheard musical conversation between two of indie rock's most enigmatic personas. Opener "What Happened to My Brother," the track that initiated the project, is indicative of much of what is to follow, with Lavelle's minimalist, Postal Service-inspired, 8-bit sounding synth lines and antiquated drum machine patches falling effortlessly in step with Kozelek's evocative, Bay Area-inspired wordplay. At its best ("Baby in Death Can I Rest Next to Your Grave," "Here Come More Perils from the Sea," "Caroline," "Somehow the Wonder of Life Prevails"), Perils from the Sea skillfully bridges the gap between Kozelek's most recent offerings, which favored classical guitar and vocal over full-band arrangements, with the fuller sound of his Red House Painters and early Sun Kil Moon years, resulting in a listening experience that trades in the distant, narrative-driven opaqueness of Admiral Fell Promises and Among the Leaves for a newfound inclusivity that suits both parties." - AMG

Jenny Hval - Innocence Is Kinky (2013)


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For fans of: PJ Harvey, Carla Bozulich, Laurel Halo

"Jenny Hval’s previous, highly acclaimed Rune Grammofon album “Viscera” (2011), recorded with her own free rock trio, overflowed with intimate detail and surrealistic bodily imagery. The follow-up “Innocence Is Kinky” was produced in Bristol, England by PJ Harvey collaborator John Parish, who helped bring out the intimate qualities of her lyrics and sharpened her improvisational tendencies, weaving spellbinding new forms of intelligent, experimental pop with injections from mythology, theory and gender politics. You can also trace her no-holds-barred streams of consciousness and unorthodox subject matter back to earlier heroes such as Einst├╝rzende Neubauten’s Blixa Bargeld (her title puns on their LP “Silence Is Sexy”), Patti Smith, Michael Gira, Nick Cave and Kate Bush." - Rune Grammofon

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Revival Hour - Scorpio Little Devil (2013)


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For fans of: Grizzly Bear, Sufjan Stevens, The Flaming Lips

"Scorpio is an album that is continually digging. It wields a deep-rooted passion that's on hands and knees, sweating, and tunneling both sonically and lyrically, shaping itself as a wellspring in a drought-ridden indie landscape. Stith and Lapham have crafted a near flawless ten-track album that takes an experimental approach to older soul and pop music. The Revival Hour are certainly channeling a hip, nostalgic era of music, but not like most of their surf-rock, neo-doo-wop contemporaries. Instead, they've upended the dream-pop format with bubbling, soulful vocals, convoluted percussion, and shadowy guitar and synth that get past all the indie fluff and directly to the core of expression." - Buffablog

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Uusitalo - Vapaa Muurari Live (2000)


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For fans of: Ricardo Villalobos, Pole, Fluxion

"One of a rash of various projects produced by Vladislav Delay around the turn of the millennium, Vapaa Muurari is the first of his Uusitalo attributions, and it's yet another impressive musical excursion. Techno is clearly the modus operandi here (opposed to the house approach of Vocal City or the ambience of Entain), for the beats hit relatively hard and chug along in a more or less linear fashion. Still, this is a Delay production, so expect the usual sense of wooziness that often characterizes his rhythms and the gauzy haze that often envelopes his tracks at times. Another impressive release needless to say, Vapaa Muurari serves as yet more evidence that Delay is prolific and ambitious, in addition to being multi-talented, as he seems able to make amazing electronic music regardless of style." - AMG

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Fire! Orchestra - Exit! (2013)


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For fans of: Mostly Other People Do the Killing, The Necks, Matana Roberts

"Fire! is where Mats Gustafsson (The Thing), Johan Berthling (Tape) and drummer Andreas Werliin (Wildbirds & Peacedrums) go to stretch their instrumental skills and collaborate with prestigious guests like Jim O’Rourke and Oren Ambarchi. Fire! Orchestra takes the project to the next level: a sonic behemoth comprising 28 members from Swedish jazz, improv and avant rock that should be unmanageable, but turns out to possess the elegance and lucidity of the righteous free jazz big bands of the past. Charlie Haden’s Liberation Orchestra. Carla Bley’s “Escalator Over the Hill”. Centipede. Sun Ra’s “Space Is The Place”. Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood Of Breath. Freddie Hubbard & Ilhan Mimaroglu’s “Sing Me A Song Of Songmy”. All these classic landmarks come to mind as you listen to their monumental “Exit!”. “Exit!” was recorded in front of an over enthusiastic audience in January 2012 at the headquarters of Fylkingen, the legendary Stockholm avant garde music centre. But before you go thinking this is an impenetrable free jazz meltdown, listen again. “Exit!” follows in these mighty footprints, but it’s also an odyssey that takes its own route, with post-rock/krautrock diversions along the way. There is a way in to “Exit!”, and the way out is clearly signposted. Fire! is all about burning up tradition and blazing new paths and fresh approaches in improvised music – approaches informed equally by garage punk, electroacoustics and the noise of heavy industry. Throughout both long halves of “Exit!”, Mariam Wallentin (Wildbirds & Peacedrums) and Sofia Jernberg chant ritualistic lyrics written by Arnold de Boer of Dutch avant rock institution, The Ex. " - Rune Grammofon

Lusine - The Waiting Room (2013)


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For fans of: Luomo, Gudrun Gut, The Black Dog

"After taking a break from recording as Lusine to score the film projects Snow Angels, Linewatch, and The Sitter, Jeff Mcilwain returned to creating electronic music for Ghostly, for 2013's The Waiting Room. Whereas the albums prior to 2009's A Certain Distance had an understated ambient vibe, he goes for a bigger production on this outing, enlisting guest vocalists on five of the songs. On some numbers, he incorporates a clever trick, and processes the vocals so heavily that it takes the human element out of the singer's voice. Such is the case on the squishy dance beat of "Another Tomorrow," where Caitlin Sherman sounds like a robot singing through a vacuum. This little trick helps to make the radio songs like "By This Sound" fit into Lusine's digital realm and match his futuristic aesthetic. However, when Sarah Mcilwain sings on the Air-styled "Get the Message," or when Janelle Kienow lends her delicate voice to "Without a Plan," they do so cleanly and change the sound dramatically, in the way a remix might. These songs have more crossover potential and are likely influenced by Jeff Mcilwain's time working in studios for Hollywood executives. The rest of the album is more suited to the typical Ghostly fan, highlighted by instrumental beats with thumping kick drums, acidic basslines, and sparkling keyboard loops. It's fun to see him dip into a wider array of pop influences, and even the instrumentals vary from the usual IDM, minimal house, and ambient techno. "Stratus" is a rave ramp-up that runs about twice as fast as the downtempo "On Telegraph." Those looking for something more consistent should first check out the exceptional Serial Hodgepodge, but fans of the poppier side of Lusine will find this to be a nice counterpart to A Certain Distance." - AMG