Posts by Andy French

Moin: "Murphy"


The somewhat secretive Moin shared a side with Pete Swanson last year that left their names on the tongues of noisemakers. There were questions to be answered, but it appears that time has shown Moin to be pseudonym for Raime, who has released dense electronic sides for Blackest Ever Black. This 12", also appearing for BEB, shared a darkness, intensity and thick wall of sound with their other project but it diverges down roads paved by stark, muscular rockers like Rapeman or This Heat and the onslaught of post-rock to come. What take things to another level here is the skin tight combination of guitar and drums has been recorded then sequenced for a feeling that is part human rock and part mechanical menace. It’s a borg of an EP that never once lets up, laced with stabbing, furious vocals that seem to come swiftly from the shadows. Defintely ones to keep an eye on here and with their work in Raime. (via Raven Sings the Blues)

Moin's EP is available from Blackest Ever Black

Constant Mongrel: "Complete"

Constant Mongrel:

Much like their debut Constant Mongrel brings a buzzing bit of tension and a cloud of negativity to the proceedings but manages to do so in a way that's welcome like a sedative kick to the head at the end of a long day. A cleaner affair than its predecessor, Heavy Breathing pulls at the tails of post-punk heroes and shaves their sound to bone, laying down a convincing bounce and more often pummel over the course of eight songs that reach their conclusion far too quickly, leading to plenty of repeat play. The band make no mistakes about where they lie and how they want to be perceived, the sound is a steady bone crush, but each of the songs feels like its own spiral of negative creeping towards the drain. Not to make it all seem like the razors are on the wrists, its a celebration of negativity and in that it becomes much more than a mere whine about subjects varied, instead it grits its teeth in the muck and filth and ends up with heads raised high. Its nihilism swinging in all directions and more often than not hitting its targets square on the jaw. (via Raven Sings the Blues)

Heavy Breathing is available from Siltbreeze

Light House: "Walls Want Communion"

Light House:

Portland's Light House issued a tape version of the In Their Image EP last year, but with the help of Mannequin Records its getting a shiny new life in digital and vinyl form. The band has been on the Portland scene for some time, etching out a sound that marries the dreamy dark headspace of classic 4AD to a modern goth palette that would feel right at home amongst the Blackest Ever Black stable. The band boasts talent from ex-members of The Rapture and Atriarch, but the real centerpiece of their allure is the velvet pulse of Dawn Sharp's vocals. Resonant and assured but with a vaguely threatening edge, her voice pulls listeners to full attention like a magnet, moving all distractions to the background where they belong. Those vox sit atop a steady throb of beat and menacing churn of synths that put a little green in your pallor and hint at darker things to come. (via Raven Sings the Blues)

In Their Image is available from Mannequin Records

Joseph Childress: "Whispering Tide"

Joseph Childress:

Originally self-recorded in 2005, this album has been a long time coming in an official form and has been one of the major development items over at Empty Cellar over the years. Raven Sings The Blues first got a taste of Childress back in 2009 when the label released a split 7" with White White Quilt that featured the two recoding in an abandoned water tower, the Childress track being an especially fragile and gorgeous highlight of that release. In the intervening years he's garnered a live reputation that's only built clamor for this album louder. The Rebirths wears its humble, bathroom-recorded origins on its sleeve, feeling like an intimate performance for an audience of one, but thanks to a proper remastering by Paul Oldham the album's quiet solitude now envelops the listener like wood smoke in autumn. The songs aren't embellished with studio sheen, but little is missed in the production department as Childress' cracked, enigmatic voice and backporch delivery seem to transcend the need for lush surroundings and painstaking polish. There's time for all that anyhow since this reissue is the first of three records from the artist that Empty Cellar will release over the next year and a half. Presumably we'll see what the studio lends in the months to come. For now though, its plenty enough to just sink back into The Rebirths with the sense that Childress is sharing a private performance of soon to be well worn favorites. (via Raven Sings the Blues)

The Rebirths is available from Empty Cellar

Verma: Coltan

Verma: Coltan

Chicagoans Verma depart from their usual Krautrock sympathies and expand into cinematic textures on their latest album, Coltan. The album was written as a soundtrack to VICE's "Guide To The Congo" and it's meant to underscore the devastation of mining Columbite-Tantalite, an ore used in the manufacture of capacitors found in everyday electronics. The mining has devastated the region and, fittingly, the thrust of Coltan paints a bleak sonic picture, with each of the four improvised pieces displaying a dour edge cut through the band's dark psychedelia. Fraught with a knotted tension and slashed deep with welcome amounts of flashing feedback, the album sounds foreboding. As such, it makes an excellent accompaniment to its subject matter; but it's also an extremely accomplished set of ink-black cosmic psych that stands alone from the documentary as a welcome addition to the canon of gathered-cloud psychedelia, cinematic psych of the type that sits easily among bands like Barn Owl, Date Palms, Danny Paul Grody and even Gnod in some places. It’s a thunderous work that seems to close in as quickly as the branches of a deep and knotted jungle, eager to swallow whole those who have gutted its precious resources. (via Raven Sings the Blues)

Coltan is available from Trouble in Mind

Danny Paul Grody: "Grass Nap"

Danny Paul Grody:

On his third LP Danny Paul Grody (Tarentel, The Drift) expands upon his brand of American Primitive guitar, nuanced not as much by the flash virtuosity as some of his contemporaries, but rather by a sense of floating space that would belie his work with drone-based outfits in the past. While Between Two Worlds also utilizes drone in a traditional sense, several tracks have a certain hushed ground to them that drive Grody's gentle pickings along with a sinuous purpose, as if insinuating an unconscious grounding tone throughout. Where many from the Fahey school would insert flurries of notes into a given passage to create tension, Grody does just the same by picking only those notes necessary and bending them around an unsettled center that's pastoral but always with a sense of creeping nostalgia and the loom of darker clouds. In fact, with his use of quietly looping synthesizer woven between guitars, DPG's closest current touchstone might be Barn Owl's Evan Caminiti, though Grody's desert is never quite as vast or as bleak as the one Caminiti seems to conjure. And perhaps the crux of Between Two Worlds is Grody bridging the gap between the fluid tranquility of the fingkerpicked style and his past in the complexities of layered synth. It seems he's found the perfect footing here and that bridge turns out to be tumultuously gorgeous. (via Raven Sings the Blues)

Colleen: "Humming Fields"


It’s been quite a few years since Colleen (aka Cécile Schott) has released a record of fragile, angelic compositions. Its been six years in fact-- the last record was 2007's Les Ondes Silencieuses for Leaf and in those intervening years she's certainly been missed. She picks up her orchestral folk blend easily though, and The Weighing of the Heart expands Schott's catalog nicely. Sweeping and delicately soundtrack-like in its scope, the album has a sense of whimsy and sadness that echoes through its entirety. Amid the plucks, bowed strings, and gentle woodwinds, Schott's voice floats as heavy and as thick as fog but just as ethereal and elusive too. The songs are some of her best, and with that in mind they're well worth the wait it took to get them here. The album presumably takes its name from the Egyptian ceremony of weighing the heart to enter the afterlife-- if you're heart was light from a lifetime of doing good deeds you entered the afterlife, if not, Ammit would gobble you up. The songs on the album seem to be so sad and, admittedly weighed with some force, one wonders what Schott has to be sorrowful about. If she has indeed done things to make her heart heavy, surely music this lovely is tribute enough to allow her a happy eternity. (via Raven Sings the Blues)

The Weighing of the Heart is available from Second Language

Joane Skyler: "Orz"

Joane Skyler:

Joane Skyler's debut tape Orz is a hefty bit of float and buzz that throws her quickly into contention, along with Cupp Cave and Paco Sala, for some of RSTB's favorite bits of electronic flotsam on the horizon. It brings to mind Stellar Om Source as well as bits of Demdike Stare and Boards of Canada in various flickers of haunted synth and faded collage electronics, following those predecessors while stitching their paths together into a new tapestry that skews several directions without ever sounding scattered. The release eases in with gentle float before seeping down dark gratings to subterranean breaks laced with nightmare echoes, faded vocal transmissions and the buzzing grind of vengeful, acidic keys. Beats shift and contort, changing from hard and driving to fractured and glitchy, winding their way between the crackle and hum of drones and crumpled electricitiy. Endlessly immersive, the album ends far too soon and so it's a fine candidate for the repeat button, looping endlessly through tunnels of glycerin sheen that sparkle best through headphones to transform Skyler's world into your own. (via Raven Sings the Blues)

Orz is available thorugh Boomkat or Bandcamp

Golden Gunn: "The Sun Comes Up a Purple Diamond"

Golden Gunn:

Released during the rush and crush of Record Store Day-- some copies remain from more than a few sources-- this collaboration between Steve Gunn and Hiss Golden Messenger and the lead by the spirit of Dickie Silk is probably one you missed out while grabbing copies of limited vinyl fodder. It seems you should check back in the racks and stacks, as it’s a gem among the hastily packaged split 7"s and double bound reissues. The record rolls on a dusted country vibe, with Gunn's guitar sounding clear and clean as ever and pumping down double barrels and wide open stretches to the kind of rough shod territory that bound '70s troubadours to the FM dials and jukeboxes of the Southern watering holes oh so long ago. But it seems that the reception's hazy, or maybe that's just the vibe. There's a melting lilt to the record that lends it just a touch of that hot-tar highway haze. Mostly, it plays through some instrumental stretches that feel reminiscent of the two halves of the whole that make the moniker of beast, and they play out sweet and low and plaintive; but when the sun dips right, the funk sinks its teeth into those country boys for the kind of burnin' end credit lothario jams that we all crave sometimes. Don't let the smooth taste fool ya this one's got bite to spare and its not letting go any time soon. (via Raven Sings the Blues)

Golden Gunn is available from Forced Exposure

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard: "Evil Man"

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard:

Following up your debut with an album comprised of a full-on voice-over from a Western is a ballsy move for anyone. It’s an exceptionally ballsy move for a bunch of Aussies who are geographically and culturally removed from the American West by almost 7500 miles. The band embraced the voice-over in the past, utilizing narrator Broderick Smith on 12 Bar Bruise's "Sam Cherry's Last Shot". but it seemed like a one-off trick at the time rather than the impetus for a follow-up. However, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard deftly wrap their Morricone meets Jarmusch narration-pocked odyssey in the kind of Spaghetti Western grit that feels pulled out of time. The Jarmusch notes are no joke here either: Eyes Like the Sky plays out like an aural recreation of Dead Man narrated by a grizzle-throated Sam Elliot. To complete the effect, the band drops in plenty of golden-era radio sound effects, creating a kind of surreal, dark Sunday serial that would scare Little Orphan Annie halfway to Topeka. The record isn't the kind that can be lightly played in the background, but as a centerpiece of listening it achieves a balance of musical homage to the Sergio Leone crowd and oral tradition storytelling that seems to have lost itself in the digital age. (via Raven Sings the Blues)

You can get King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard's Eyes Like The Sky at their page here.