Wednesday, June 25, 2008
The Severely Departed - The Severely Departed
Artist: The Severely Departed
Album: The Severely Departed
Label: Self Released
01. A Small Divide
02. Closer To Home
04. In The Coming Days
05. No Help Comes
06. Sincerely Yours
08. To A Friend
The Severely Departed play beautiful and powerful instrumental rock. It is becoming more and more difficult to stand out in the instrumental scene but The Severely Departed are able to do just that with these eight songs. The band has a knack of keeping things interesting along the way while never falling into the “sameness” that plagues so many other instrumental acts. At times they recall Pelican in the way they are able to balance beautiful instrumental passages with a heavy metallic nature. However, not to sit still, the band only lives in that realm for a few songs. Other pieces bring to mind the wistful instrumentals of bands like Explosions In The Sky. Yet, The Severely Departed are able to put their own unique spin on the post-rock sound. The band adds depth to these songs with instrumental flourishes of piano and synths. At times, the piano/synths actually take the lead leaving the guitars to fight in the background. All these additions and changes of pace give even more weight to these already densely packed songs. Fans that live within the instrumental scene might find something to complain about here, but as a casual post-rock fan, The Severely Departed have kept my attention and then some. (urlfan.com)
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Monera - Well Dressed Ghosts
Album: Well-Dressed Ghosts
Label: self released
01. Rape Whistle
02. My Left Fang
03. Hey Hey Knife
04. Eggplant Parmesan
07. Eating Germany
08. Godsex Hallucination
10. Portable Grin
Monera is an independent, aggressive, and experimental music trio based out of the Northeastern United States.
Monera, comprised of Ryan Hare, Zach Lipkins, and Dan Stevens began in a single dorm room in the fall of 2004 in upstate NY. Hare and Lipkins had already been performing in another band in Long Island, NY and met Stevens while attending the college at SUNY College at Oneonta. The three clicked right away and began crafting a sound all their own, with Hare on guitar, Lipkins on drums, and Stevens on bass; with all three sharing vocal duties. They started playing the Open Mic night at the local pub almost every Tuesday under the moniker Tonedeaf and Barefoot. After receiving positive feedback on their performances, the trio decided to get serious and change their name to Monera and record a demo. Hare and Lipkins now reside in Boston, while Stevens is currently in upstate New York. The group manages to perform and write despite the distance separating them.
Monera creates a new sound that has been described as being vicious enough to start a fight to, groovin’ enough to dance to, and complex enough to excite music geeks of all interests. They released their full-length record, “Well-Dressed Ghosts” in 2008. The album was comprised of 11 tracks; new and old songs, some which were written when they first began playing together. Lipkins recorded the album in his Long Island home and Hare designed the artwork.
Monera sells their album digitally and physically through their website (www.myspace.com/moneramusic), as well as at their performances for $5.They have performed at venues in both New York and Boston and plan to continue performing and writing music together.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Bossk - .1
First impressions are everything they say. Bossk supplies an interesting piece of music for their own. First, you must realize that this EP has only two songs, each more than fifteen minutes in length, and are titled in a most clever fashion “I” and “II”. Obviously, these will be meandering sorts of songs, and ultimately its important to realize not only where the song is headed, but where it has been as well.
The first song “I” is 16:08 in length, and starts in a fashion those familiar with Godspeed You, Black Emperor! will be familiar with. Droning noises appear first, painting a rather somber soundscape. Next the drums appear, softly creeping in with the cymbal and then guitar with distortion builds into the meat of the endeavor. This all occurs at a pace quicker than that of GYBE!, with the true heart of the song revealed much sooner.
The song overall feels like a slow motion liftoff, each section firing in stages. After about four minutes of build, the song really kicks in and begins to meander a bit. It quickly comes back, stronger and more intense. Finally, the power chords begin and the bass and drums begin to get heavy. The character from before is gone, and now it chugs along. At some points, this heaviness feels a bit unwelcome, as if it were forced upon the listener. Some may enjoy such a change, but I found it to be a bit abrupt and overall a bit forceful. It is important to note the instrumentation remains solid throughout, and the transitions are smooth. However, unlike some of the stronger presences present in the postrock world (i.e. Explosions in the Sky), the overall build and structure of the song seem to trail off as one gets deeper into the song. Eventually “I” comes full circle, ending with a familiar yet strange arrangement similar to something previously heard in the song.
“II” is decidedly heavier than “I”. It starts with some curious notes on the guitar, leading into accompanying bass and a second guitar. More importantly, the song seems to have a more clear direction than the first, and lays its groundwork well. What is so brilliant about it is the result of this soothing intro. The segue into the rest of the piece is both subtle and with purpose. Unlike “I”, the heavier sections of the song are most welcome, perhaps because the music leading up to it prepared the listener for the menace that lay ahead. The riffs are deliberate and sound not unlike a slower metal band. About 2/3s through the song, a growl appears. The words are indistinct. I am not sure whether or not they actually matter. In my eyes, they serve to further create a sense of atmosphere, almost evoking a sense of dread. Ultimately, the EP ends the way it began, with droning noises appearing and instruments slowly falling from the scope of sound.
While I do enjoy longer songs, these tend to push the feasible limit of length. The songs are interesting, but little grabbed me except for the middle of “II” forward. In the end, I got what I usually get out of good EPs: the band in question has a lot of potential and are moving in an promising direction, but it’s missing something essential. Bossk is no doubt good and as they mature they may deliver with something truly amazing. But for now, they may get lost amongst the other fish in the postrock ocean. - by Travis (invisionfree.com)
Monday, June 9, 2008
Gardenbox - Gardenbox
Label: Poeta Negra
01. Inexpensive Ways To Fly
03. Another One And You're Finished
04. Sick of Everything
05. I Need A Map
06. You Can't Hurt It
07. Yes, We're Alive, Shouldn't We?
08. The Grief of Sadness
09. Let Op Afstap
10. For Everyone
11. I'm In The Dark Here
GardenBox started off in late 1998. Since then they've been creating and recording their music in their own studio, pursuing an orbit of constant development. With a background of a few individual productions on limited edition, they proceeded with their first official release in 2003 (PN22CD, "GardenBox", Poeta Negra Records). Now, having just released "The Last Resort" (VEIN002, Venerate Industries) their second official release, the band is gathering momentum for a series of live shows. At the same time, and following a brake of two weeks (sic), they have started working on new material.
GardenBox's music aims at illustrating the sound of contemporary cityscapes. Through an alternation of electronic and electric sound as the leading vehicle, they attempt to outline the conditions of urban life.
With their resonating allusions to current trends of electronica and post rock, they create a sound idiom that is individual, prolific and tence. The compositions are vigorously intreaguing, featuring drastic transitions and peaks. Their structure is at times dominated by layers of electronic sounds and beats, at others by the circular unfolding of melodic passages on guitar.
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Zodiak - Sermons
Label: Translation Loss
04. Wouldn't Wait
05. Their God Reigns
06. Zeros and Ones
There's not really much I can think of to say to introduce Zodiak, so I'll let them do it. Their press release compares them to Tool, Massive Attack, Pink Floyd, and Failure, among others (those are the ones I think are the best comparisons). The album was put together out of mostly improvised jams, but, according to the band's MySpace, came out more structured than initially planned. They're also set to appear on a Syd Barrett tribute compilation coming out on Dwell Records, entitled Like Black Holes in the Sky, contributing a cover of the Pink Floyd single, “See Emily Play.” Translation Loss Records will be releasing their debut album, Sermons, on May 13th.
The album opener, “Excavate” opens the album with a song that combines the more melodic side of Tool with Isis-style “loud” parts. This is all pretty standard, but the track ends on a weird, spacey note, which brings it nicely to the title track, “Sermons,” which shows more of a Pink Floyd influence (Pink Floyd if a guy who sounded a little bit like Maynard James Keenan was doing the vocals). The guitars are drowned in effects, one with what sounds like possibly a space echo, and the other with tons of sustain. There's a pretty cool, kinda Floydian guitar solo in there, and it's all tied together quite nicely. It ends on a drone that abruptly cuts off.
The next track, “Etc.” sounds like exactly what its name implies. Like something they had no idea where to place on the album, or whether or not they should incorporate it into a song. Which is not to say it's all bad. It carries on the spacey vibe of “Sermons,” but it sounds like kind of an afterthought.
“Wouldn't Wait” is more of a rock song with heavy guitars and a nice reverb effect on the vocals. It's kind of cool, but doesn't seem to go much of anywhere. Not one of the album's stronger tracks, but not bad.
“Their God Reigns,” on the other hand, builds from a spacey drone to something that sounds like the bastard child of Isis and Pink Floyd, with the droning space rock weirdness laced between heavier sections with an awesome “pissed-off, wounded animal” quality to the vocals. This is capped off by another instrumental, “Zeroes and Ones,” which brings that space rock vibe back into the picture.
The next track, “Outlined,” mixes metal riffing with reverb-drenched verses. The result sounds a lot like Tool with a slightly different melodic sensibility, and ends with another droned-out space rock part.
The closer, “Untitled,” is surprisingly short. To be honest, this is the kind of band I would figure would end on a really epic space jam or something. Instead, it's more of a straight-ahead, rock instrumental that ends in about thirty seconds of drone.
I would say this is a pretty promising debut, despite its flaws. I'd recommend this for fans of Isis or Old Man Gloom, and, of course, for fans of Tool. This is a pretty solid effort at bringing the progressive rock of today back together with more classic progressive sounds. I'll look forward to hearing what these guys are doing in the future.-W♥M (weheartmusic.vox.com)
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Hen:ge - Stationery/Crater EP
Album: Stationery/Crater EP
Label: Close Nerd Recordings
02. The Way To Enclosure
No password for this one!
Hen:ge is a three men group from Regensburg, Germany. Björn Schmitz and Tobias Zenger (Silent Duel) who both play in the band fire walk with me! and are members in the close nerd collective had the idea of moving some steps back to explore some more experimental droning and slower soundscapes. The original idea was making music just for personal catharsis. At that time they met Matthias Menath who had also the idea of creating hush. Finally they invested two hours for recording the Stationary / Crater EP.
Hen:ge's music can be described as movements of slow rhythms surrounded by hounting walls of guitar and explosive escapes into the static or even the epic. It shows a landscape of sound in which the atmosphere is mostly dark, lost and less plastic than vivid.
Stationary / Crater EP (Concept):
A lot which is neither worthy to live nor to die for. Proud men built it all up with their own perspiration. Now the people don't have the right any more to just close their eyes and let the tyrants do whatever they like. It's time for them to unite. The way to the enclosure must be paved. Don't be that foolish to confide in anyone blindly. No tyrants, no tears, not even a dust particle will outlive our nature. But on the horizon beyond the majestic mountains of dust beyond our own lies lays the visage of our own nightmares. The last bridge between desperation and aspiration. Deep under the sprawled ruins of ancient times, under the aspirations which were buried there in older days lurks arcane animosity which will resist the devastation. It draws the pain of the world to concentrate it like a magnet. Just like children they will grimly judge one below the other without any meaning of right and wrong till they recognize that in a final step the nature is above all things and everything they prayed for and wanted to die for... the lot is turning and... ...is now just a scar in the earth.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
The Seven Mile Journey - The Metamorphosis Project
Artist: The Seven Mile Journey
Album: The Metamorphosis Project
01. Theme for the Elthenbury Massacre
02. The Catharsis Session
03. Identity Journals (anonymous)
04. January 4th - The Hypothesis Hour
05. A Sanctuary for Lugubrious Tracy
06. Purification - The Journey Transc
Operating under the post-rock banner, The Seven Mile Journey's The Metamorphosis Project offers an hour of sparse and atmospheric soundscapes. It is the group's second release for Denmark's Fonogram Agency, and is released in the United States on Pumpkin Seeds in the Sand. The design is minimal yet eye-catching, with a white logo stamped in the corner of a glossy black digipak. Varying only in color, the art is identical to their previous releases. It's almost as if the band wants the music to speak for itself...
Opening track "Theme for the Elthenbury Massacre" offers little in terms of variety, using droning guitars that maintain a bleak aura. It's similar to many Explosions in the Sky songs before they crescendo and, frankly, that monotony makes it rather boring; it's the auditory equivalent of driving through the plains for hours on end. You might come across an occasional hill or curve, but it's basically a lot of the same thing. After fifteen minutes and two tracks, the album starts to pick up.
On "Identity Journals (Anonymous)," the group incorporates more energy, varying the tempo and offering a melody to counter the record's dreary start. For my tastes the melody is essential. Despite any traditionalist arguments one might make for the post-rock genre, the hint of catchiness keeps me interested. The guitars are utilized to drive a melody that overlays the earlier drone - shifting the tone from banal to foreboding and eventually optimistic. It's effective without being flashy. The next two songs incorporate a mild crescendo, subtler than their aforementioned Austin contemporaries, with a melody weaving in between the atmospheric, tone-setting drone and an emotional rise. After approximately twenty minutes of teetering on catchiness, the band briefly transitions between the earlier abyss and back to a gloomy crescendo in tune with the middle of the record on the closing "Purification - The Journey Transcriptions."
The Metamorphosis Project is parallel in structure to a screenplay: the six tracks can be broken into two-song "acts" conveying an emotional setup, change of outlook, and climax. The rise and fall are alternately intriguing, mildly catchy, and climatic. It's a solid album with emotional heights but, unfortunately, the record just takes too long to get going before its all-too-brief peak. It's an epic crescendo structure without enough epic. The record is solid but unexceptional. I would not recommend it for anything more than atmospheric background or enthusiasts of the genre.-Loren (scenepointblank.com)
Monday, June 2, 2008
2 By Bukowski - What a Long, Strange Journey This Has Been
Artist: 2 By Bukowski
Album: What a Long, Strange Journey This Has Been
Label: Poeta Negra
01. Buckle Up Scully, I Believe Chuck Here Is About To Take Us On A Ride To The Abnormal
02. It's Time To Hybernate
04. 8 Steps Of The Crane And The Snake
05. Burn Witch, The Sorceress
06. Solution - Sarrus
Following the release of their first two mini attempts, 2 By Bukowski present their first complete voyage that certainly gives the feeling of a concrete work.
Through their flow, the compositions complete one another, forming a kind of narrative puzzle that describes blurred images and intervals of a journey that unites sensitivity and logic, nostalgia and vision, peace and eruption.
Using predominantly electronic instruments, 2 By Bukowski succeed in creating a personal sound and identity. Moving beyond the limits set by the post rock tag, they do not express the need to be classified under a specific musical scene.
From their first steps, they've already gained recognition from press and radio connoisseurs. From the triumphs of Brainwashed, to the presentation from Norman Records as the European answer to Godspeed You! Black Emperor and the designation of their 7' as single of the month by Record Collector, 2 By Bukowski seem to win the esteem of a growing audience all around the world. (poetanegra.com)
Sunday, June 1, 2008
Followed By Ghosts - The Entire City Was Silent
Artist: Followed By Ghosts
Album: The Entire City Was Silent
Label: self released
01. Hymn Of Twilight
02. A Mirthful Experience
03. Clear Blue Sky
04. Manifest Destiny
05. City Of Noise
06. A New Dawn
07. The Entire City Was Silent
I am a firm believer that no great art was borne of happiness, I don’t how or why I came to this conclusion – it’s just something I feel. Which leads me to quote something once said by some mug in Hamlet - "When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions". Followed By Ghosts from Waverly, Iowa have encapsulated the sound of that battalion approaching from over a grassy knoll, with a skyline breached by banners and spearheads.
They come in the name of the fallen, with a force ten fold, kicking in the door of heaven. Not as musicians, but as disciples of something otherworldly sent to initiate the masses, dancing on the very grave of life itself before it’s even dead. Their latest endeavor, The Entire City Was Silent, is a behemoth, a leviathan of fuzz and drizzled feedback, and majestic like slow motion tape-breaker footage from a city marathon, the Angel Falls, or a battlefield sky victorious. It swells with emotion in places with a musical scope that ranges from the quietly subtle to bombastic bravado, with a pervading taste of sweet melancholy ever-present, like pride and nobility in the face of impending doom. It is a soundtrack for when underdogs become kings, anthems for the lost, saves-the-day-gets-the-girl music, and songs for watching comets to; the list is endless but all within it encompass that surging blissful feeling of hope, the physician of all misery.
To be perfectly honest, I don’t know where to start as there are so many endearing attributes to highlight. Initially lulled into a false sense of security by “Hymn Of Twilight,” I’m rendered speechless by “A Mirthful Experience” with distortion like Teslas’ earthquake machine. It freezes my heart like liquid nitrogen and smashes it into a million crystalline pieces. Clocking in at over nine minutes, “Clear Blue Sky” offers a reprieve of sorts until a sense of urgency kicks in. A paroxysm of emotion ensues in a slowly building crescendo which peaks with a ferociousness that could tear the very fabric of reality itself. Regardless of its gargantuan timescale, it’s by no means boring and probably one of the best tracks on the album. It breaks at the five minute mark in what initially sounds like a solitary E-Bowed guitar that is hauntingly beautiful and gives the piece a whole new dimension and direction. A fixed fulcrum from which the album revolves around – impeccably consistent and completely breathtaking stuff. Behold, the Illuminati.
Each track bears its own idiosyncratic qualities and character, as if obsessed over like a musical Frankenstein which has slowly been brought to life in accordance to the prophecies. “City Of Noise” is the slightly introspective twin of “Clear Blue Sky,” also swallowing whole another nine minutes but leaves us yearning more. Time appears unrestrictive with no detail spared from the brief to the seemingly endless and epic. The awkward, yet captivating piano of “A New Dawn” gives way to tremulous guitar, like the first shimmering rays of light. There’s a sense of something growing or coming to life – a sense of becoming culminating with delicious feedback and fuzz that heralds the climax. A fitting, piano-centric closer that leaves a sweet aftertaste and promises the advent of amazing things is found within “The Entire City Was Silent.” Falling somewhere between 65daysofstatic’s “Radio Protector” & “Furnace” by Troubles, it incites a desire within me to start from the top and play everything right through once more for posterity. If FBG maintain this momentum a few cities will fall silent to there resounding knell I’ll wager – I for one will answer the call.
A maturity exists that belies their collective experience, with an amazing sense of individual awareness within the band – never overstepping or overcrowding each other in sound. They allow each the necessary space to shine, and shine they do, like a carbon arc searchlight. Symbiotic guitars weave smoothly executed melodies, metallic shimmerings that swell to blistering crescendos. Littered with start-stop syncopation and percussion that marches into the ether, FBG is somewhat reminiscent to they whose name I dare not speak in these parts, you know who I'm talking about. With masterful instrumental pieces of oscillating fretwork and crisp percussion, The Entire City Fell Silent is an intricate and transcendental collection of music that is as rare as a Dodo sighting.
This is majestic post-rock, brooding, apocalyptic, and yet often delicate, peppered with subtle changes and melodic nuances that steal the very breath. The album title itself suggests imagery of a populous place lain to waste by some fantastical force that dwarfs Hiroshima, or a burning cross perhaps suspended in an anthracite sky raining tongues of fire on a day of final judgment. Everything works cohesively, songs titles, artwork, band name and musicianship. Imaginative, inventive, ambitious and all beautifully interweaved into a Technicolor soundscape. Like a moth to a lightbulb, I’m suspended in the blinding brilliance - trance-like, a devotee.
I offer a quip pilfered from Hunter S Thompson as a final note - "The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs" - Blatantly misquoted and molded with reckless abandon, but nonetheless a fitting statement. That these guys are not already signed is an absolute heresy, I feel like setting fire to myself in protest, while sitting cross-legged with my eyes closed. A cracking album, I can't recommend it enough. -by James Crossan (thesilentballet.com)