Posts by Andy French
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'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
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
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.
Well to be honest, any band that contains a member of Eddy Current Suppression Ring has an automatic spot on the RSTB turntable, but Ooga Boogas have caught our ears and hearts before with their 2008 LP, Romance and Adventure. Their latest self-titled affair shows no more effort to even an album out tonally but it is a vast refinement of their sound though-- four years tends to do that to a band. The record embraces its eccentricities and weaves them into a dark carnival of oil-slick midnight guitar jams, boogie-baiter epics and even some beat-chugged synth stabbers find their way into the mix. Now on paper that sounds like a bit of a disjointed potpourri, but under the steady hand of the band's Mikey Young (who has been involved in about 70% of the great Aussie bands of the last few years) the brew bubbles potently and the record comes across as a true album in the age of digital singles. Repeated listens open it up to ebb and flow with some of the best that the South Hemi has to offer. Definitely an album that your turntable is craving and a must for fans of Young's recording work and other projects. (via Raven Sings the Blues)
Ooga Boogas is available from Goner
Melbourne's King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard (damn that's a mouthful every time) were included in the ranks of the recent Australian Nuggets compilation and it's hard to think of a band more deservedly included in said ranks of that comp. The band's album 12 Bar Bruise retains a love for '60s flange, high-octane fuzz, and a whole pantload of swagger. The guitars sizzle, the organs lurch towards sci-fi heights and the rest is just a distillation of garage that feels like the live setting is where you need to truly appreciate these Aussie assassins. Hell it ain't the most original slab on the books but as we've pointed out so often and as loudly as possible, that was never the point. The point is to try to raise the timbers with the full force rumble of amplifier fuzz; The point is to try to sweat-soak every inch of yourself dancing to said rumble. King Gizzard get the point and that's pretty much all you need to know. (via Raven Sings The Blues)
Playing in surf bands all through high school as a kid in California, McMahon then gigged a bit around just North of San Francisco after enlisting in the Air Force between '65 and '67. In '68 he shipped out for a tour of duty in Vietnam, the Philippines, and Thailand where he formulated the basis of Spirit of The Golden Juice; said "golden juice" being a euphemism for the I.W. Harper bourbon that was found on base at the time.
Pressed in small quantities by Accent in 1969, the album became a grail among collectors of the psych-dappled loner folk that permeated the era. McMahon has drawn several comparisons to Fred Neil but the record is not as caustic as his biting world view. Instead it paints a sparse image of '69's war ravaged atmosphere, coming direct from someone who'd seen it first hand and who spent time dealing with it well afterward. McMahon's road-weary croon is laid sparse atop folk lines and spare drums that keep his tales of lost faith, disillusionment, and quiet suffering at the forefront where they belong.
This is the first approved reissue of the album, transferred by Nemo Bidstrup of Time-Lag and comes as the first LP release by Circadian Press, the venture run by Keegan Cook, who was instrumental in bringing to light the wonderfully singular Carl Simmons reissue for Sacred Bones a while back. Just as intriguing, the McMahon reissue is a prime example of collectors’ treasures that deserve a second light. (via Raven Sings the Blues)
Spirit of The Golden Juice is available now from Circadian Press.
It seemed only natural that Pye Corner Audio should cross paths with Ghost Box sooner or later, and with his second release of the year he does just that. Sleep Games continues PCA's dark soundtracking sensibility, tumbling into a labrynthine chaos of Tron grids and Haruki Murakami noir mysteries.
Martin Jenkins has a real talent for taking his synth epics into a territory that feels haunted, both physically by threats and mentally by turbulence. The pulse of Its creeping house beat pounds like a heartbeat in the back of the throat. It has a feel for dark corners and a love of Italian horror soundscapes to match, taking tropes of German progressive psych down a hatch and into the hauntology k-hole. (via Raven Sings the Blues)
Grab Pye Corner Audio's Sleep Games from Boomkat.
RSTB is never one to back down from a good compilation of psych rarities and especially not if the name Finders Keepers is attached. Andy Votel and Doug Shipton have dug deep into Manchester's vaults of psych, psych-funk, glam, proto-punk and gritty rock to pull up an eighteen-track set of rumble and pummel that stands along any of their other compilations. The comp digs up some familiar names like the Beefheartian Stack Waddy, and well into the archives for primo cuts from bands without such storied histories like Oscar, Greasy Bear, Socrates, Savory Duck, Urbane Gorilla and a ton more. It's certainly one of the most complete overviews of the Manchester heavy rock scene-- the liner notes and biker psych packaging contribute heavily. What else would you expect from Votel and co.? There are upcoming road trips that are begging for this on repeat and cranked. (via Raven Sings the Blues)
Man Chest Hair is available from Rough Trade
Back in 2012, Brad Rose and Eden Hemming Rose broke out of their noise-laden mold of Corsican Paintbrush and various other projects, which included leading the Digitalis label and its sister magazine Foxy Digitalis, to dive headfirst into dream pop and synth impulses in the form of Altar Eagle. The result was nothing short of a record that seemed to momentarily freeze any noise they'd made in a block of pink, gauzy ice and suspend itself in glycerin threads of synth-pop. Two years later, the duo has only strengthened those impulses and the result, Nightrunners, is on par with the year's best shimmering froth from those who dare step into the dream pop ring. The album swims in the deep end of early 4AD and breathes new life into its ethereal folds. (via Raven Sings the Blues)
Nightrunners is available from Boomkat.