Monday, 17 February 2014

Weekly Spin: 17/02


We're well into the spring loom of mid-February, and it's around about this time of the year where the music calendar begins to feel a lot less 'new' and/or tentively fresh - like a clean slate desperate for new materials and a rejuvinated palette to work with. Thus, it goes without saying that the real heart and soul of 2014 - whatever it may have thrown at us come end of summer/autumn - begins right here, right now. Seven more hand-picked stand-outs grace our ever-hungry appetite, and it's clear from these selections alone, the year is now less new, and more 'now'. And it's with this certain now that the big guns are raring to be drawn...

Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks - Little Fang



Is this what we've come to expect from Avey Tare... a blend of Ariel Pink and of Montreal? Yes, actually, we have. Tare's solo releases haven’t always been the most distinctive in his broad discography, but he's always had potential beyond the Animal Collective name. Slasher Flicks will undoubtedly be this potential coming to use. His side-project also features Angel Deradoorian of Dirty Projectors, and the current Dan Deacon drummer Jeremy Hyman. Together they create a pop-sensical array of light psychedelia. Its indie pop for the technical wizard and Tare has the experience to make Shasher Flicks count. With Little Fang, Tare is really expanding his range from the complicated structures to the simple. The trio make it seem so easy, with deep bass, a funky guitar progression, and vocals fitting of Kevin Barnes' early work.
~Eddie Gibson



A Winged Victory For The Sullen - Atomos VII



Yes...we may [finally, at long last] have our MBV album; we have our Daft Punk record; and yes we at last can bathe in the analogous awe of a new Boards of Canada release. But you know what LP we still, still, do not have? It's been nearly seven years since ...And Their Refinement Of The Decline carressed deep within our ear canals, and since that continually-stunning release from US ambient giants Stars Of The Lid dropped, things have simmered (or should that be, simmered even more) on this particular fan-favourite front. But fear not, was the message, as from out of the duo's agonizing hiatus - and teasing series of videos and screenshots of recording sessions of what might be a new album - side-projects and spin-off's alike have at the very least passed these seven long years with some just-as-rewarding listening material from Brian McBride & Adam Wiltzie alike. 

The former's A Winged Victory For The Sullen is arguably the most discussed spin-off as of late. And three years since the self-titled, and impressive, debut graced both Lid old-timers and ambient newcomers alike, it's no surprise that Atomos VII - the latest release in promotion of the self-titled, upcoming EP and accompanying sophomore, ATOMOS - finds itself both continuing the delicateness of previous, but with a much richer and cinematic tail to its lead. Atomos VII is everything we've come to expect from McBride's time as both a musical architect and an inspirer of listener visage. The track's lead dynamic of droning violins and swiping, conflicting strings pave the way for what is once more a rich and immersive World of composition. But this is no Stars of the Lid attempt, and just like what made 2011's debut shine as bright, A Winged Victory's knack for textural detail and sonic density leaves it fleshed out and as solely inspring to stand as more than just a meagre spin-off. Atomos VII graces our ears April 28th via Erased Tapes/Kranky.
~Jordan Helm 

-

Solomon Grey - Last Century Man


Duo Tom Kingston and Joe Wilson make up the core of British/Australian electronic project Solomon Grey. They're joined by a crispy session drummer to complete the mix, but on paper, they're a duo just like the electronic greats. But Solomon Grey's talents aren’t shared through numbers. Their individual talent shines through on a B-side Last Century Man, a fantastic song which one finds hard to believe would ever be second-fiddle. Its coy nod to Walker's 30 Century Man goes unmissed, with Solomon Grey taking their ambience in a direction even Walker couldn’t fathom in the 60s.

Last Century Man is like a combination of Bon Iver and Vondelpark. It has all the lyrical and vocal work of the State side artist, but with the atmosphere and guitar accompaniment you find on Vondelpark releases. This makes for an organic sound which isn't afraid to grasp soundscapes seen out of the norm - note the trumpets - note the synthesizer arpeggio combined with a delayed high pitch vocal cut. Solomon Grey can take their sound to the bank right now and pick up awards, its material which can only be expanded upon to a bigger audience this upcoming year.
~Eddie Gibson

-

Wild Beasts - Sweet Spot 
 
 
Hands up those of you who still find whatever length of time to put Wanderlust - the first we'd heard from London-based quartet Wild Beasts since 2011's impressive Smother - on repeated listen and amaze one's self with how easy the once melodic and well-tuned four-piece could take to smothered synth play? I won't embarasss myself with a literal moving of my arm (at least away from the rotary mechanic of my typing at present), but if there's one thing to take notice of in the wake of Wild Beasts overdue forth full-length, Present Tense, it's that they finally seem to be on their way to not just standing among the present greats in British musical name-sakes, but with new drop Sweet Spot aptly hitting every one of their listener bases' right notes, the band from Kendal have a lot going for them moving forth, it appears, as they continue the march into more electronic, synth-acquainted territory.

Sweet Spot finds Wild Beasts, while relatively stable and imaculate, coaxing their established sound rather than aggravatng it; warming synthesizers and soothing keys drawing a faint but present perimeter to which Hayden Thorpe's vocals are once more in tip-top shape - easing in and out of the track's melodic guitar lines and accoustic rhythms. And all the while, drums continuing their persistent and concrete presence on the mix desk as ever, the lounging electronics perfectly match-up with Thorpe's unifying, soulful vibrato. The themes aren't as hostile as they were on Wanderlust, but there's no denying the intoxicating whirl of synthesizers (lead and bass alike) surrounding the bands simple, pristeen and delicate deliveries. Thus, with that February 24th date no more than a week away, we may be onto yet aother early offering turn overall 2014 uplifting and eclectic and release - the gold medal in admirable British bands now theirs to lose.
~Jordan Helm

-

Crywank - Love


Crywank's always covered the basics of writing about love and depression. The Manchester duo formed and fronted by James Clayton has now released three (mildly successful D.I.Y) albums, and in our Weekly Spin gap, released a Valentine's Day EP. Now as you would expect, it's not a lovey dovey I CARE SO MUCH release. Instead of acclimatising on the capitalist gains or hormones and sold out cinemas, Clayton focused on the anti.
 
Love isn't an anti-love song, though it seems that way on the naked ear. Clayton sings: 'When we first met we always wanted to have sex, and now we just watch DVD boxsets' plucking at the heartstrings of listeners who are A) Lonely, B) Single, C) In a relationship - covering his audience, and pretty much doing what he does best - making people sad.
~Eddie Gibson

-

Langdon Alger - Entitled Monster

[Direct Link]

Langdon Alger is another pseudonym of Crywank's James Clayton. This time, it's a side-project with a vivid concept around The Simpsons (comic) character Langdon Alger and his love interest Lisa Simpson. Clayton's always wanted to do side-projects, and putting himself in a concept is a great outlet for his music. The EP titled Following The Lizard Queen also came out on Valentine's Day, a sort of sister release as opposed to the main body of work with Love from Shameless Valentines Money Grab. The highlight is of course Entitled Monster, a call out to Miss Lisa Simpson for her love. The sound and structure differs greatly to that of Crywank. There's far more fingerpicking going on, and reverb affecting the overall eerie and delusionary aspect of this release - weird sad folk music for the broken hearted fan of Elliot Smith.
~Eddie Gibson

-



STAR SPIN

SOHN - Artifice








Given the majority of London-born singer-songwriter-producer-wanderer SOHN's artwork for his handful of EP's & 12" in the two year spell of activity - the expansive, cloud-drenched, geologically-tainted wilderments - one could likely hazard a guess (as artwork usually tries to be representative in the context of music) that SOHN's music is vast yet discreetly focused; careful in its consideration, pre-planned in ensuring the finest details are kept without sacrificing any of the surrounding space. Well this is definitely a perfect surmize to SOHN's early output, an output thanks to the likes of Bloodflows & Lessons that showcased the man's bluesy importance amid spacious and intently spectral varieties of electronics.

While it would be a treat to hear more of SOHN's vulnerable, anxious take on synth play, the bigger question is how far this particular soulful individual can go when the tension is cranked all the way and the room for security is non-existent. Artifice is that exact what-if scenario realized in full flurrying, energetic delivery - SOHN's once-nimble and delicately shy voice now pumped with a new-found synth-pop-like efficency and drive to be felt, let alone heard. The shifting synthesizer chords brood with strength; percussion making their presence be felt as SOHN shifts between colourful contemplation and sampled scurrying in-between point A and point B. What was once voided, cloud-covered melancholy mixed with compassion now stands as something far more rejuvinating and realized; SOHN's sound as much about the drive as it is the end point. The question now, with both sounds striking a remarkable edge, is how this will collectively play into his full-length debut for 4AD falling 7th April. Still, credit is long-due for the label in this regard: how do you fill the void left by St. Vincent's departure? Easy, you just sign this guy.
~Jordan Helm

2 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete