Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Instruments

Browsing about in the collection of music I saw this band and decided that it was far too long overdue to post their discography. This group is interconnected intimately with the Elephant 6 collective. A regular reader might see a pattern and realize I am a big fan of E6. Cellist Heather McIntosh, who played with Elf Power, Circulatory System, and Japancakes, founded the Instruments. The rest of the roster is mostly made up of E6 founders and veterans like Peter Erchick, Will Cullen Hart, John Fernandes, Hannah Jones, and Derek Almstead. If their names aren't ringing a bell a simple wikipedia search will tell you the projects they've been involved in. However, beyond possessing the necessary talent, the style of the band is a bit different from the pop sound of many E6 groups. The Instruments falls into the much smaller faction that embraces Eastern European folk traditions with A Hawk And A Hacksaw. This influence is more pronounced in the first album, Billions of Phonographs, newer release. This is not to say it evaporated in the succeeding albums, but they focus more of lyrics. All three of the releases memorized me in turn, so I can't tell you which is better than the other, and perhaps starting at the beginning is best. If you were a fan of previous E6 projects I posted or if you like European folk infused acts like Beirut, A Hawk And A Hacksaw, and Black Ox Orkestar then you shall likely appreciate this.

Have a wonderful new year spacerockmountain pilgrims.

To be had here:

Billions of Phonographs [128 kbps] (2002)

Cast A Half Shadow [192 kbps] (2006)

Dark Småland [192 VBR kbps] (2008)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Best Coast - Where The Boys Are (2009)

Best Coast is a solo effort of a former member of the psychedelic drone band Pocahaunted. This release is only an EP containing five short songs, clocking in at a mere fourteen minutes. Just enough to get yourself excited about it. The tracks are something like a lo-fi, garage-recorded version of beach-side rock and roll anthems. The most interesting aspect I find is that there are not percussion instruments to be heard upon any of the tracks, as she relies on her manipulated vocals and guitar playing. An excellent EP for those short breaks on menial jobs like I unfortunately have currently.

To be had here:
Best Coast - Where The Boys Are [224 VBR kbps]

P.S. I'd like to recommend that to readers looking for some more good music to check out the blog entitled: √-1. It has some most excellent experimental albums to be found and has a fantastic "You might also like" feature that directs you towards older posts you might not think to search out on your own.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sin Fang Bous - Clangour (2008)

Sin Fang Bous is another group from Iceland, just more reason for me to get there someday. They came originally to be view because of my enjoyment of Benni Hemm Hemm, and my following of recommendations given to me (I have forgotten from whom, my bad). Whilst similarity betwixt the Icelandic artists exist, there are not the native language folk songs that Benni Hemm Hemm excels at on Clangour. Notwithstanding, there are some strikingly elegant tracks upon this album and recurring listens have only served to reinforce this notion. Sin Fang Bous is the name adopted for the solo work of Sindri Már Sigfússon, who is the head of Seabear, also a notable band. Plus one must admit that both his stage and real names are amazing. To my untrained ear I hear a likeness to Le Loup on several songs. Overall a highly agreeable release.

To be had here:
Sin Fang Bous - Clangour [256 VBR kbps]

Monday, December 28, 2009

Matrix Metals - Flamingo Breeze (2009)

I suppose this is an EP, comprised of three songs. Two of them are longer ones, as you may know I fancy. The theme Matrix Metals is going for is something between retro mash-up and psychedelic gamewave dance music. It has perhaps the strangest tag on I've ever seen, "80s hawaiian pi vhs flickering through sega genesis circuits." Nonetheless, it seems rather more accurate than anything my feebleminded self can conjure up. The most fundamental concept I feel transferred through Flamingo Breeze is radical excitement. Excitement for how funny the past was, that today can be, and how amazing sounds are. And yes, the shape of the album art is oblong because it is meant for a cassette tape.

To be had here:
Matrix Metals - Flamingo Breeze [192 VBR kbps]

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Shogun Kunitoki - Vinonaamakasio (2009)

These Finns really made something fantastic back in 2006 with their debut album, Tasankokaiku. I feel somewhat obligated to share this as well. This is there follow-up, and as that was a hard act to come after it isn't as amazing to me. Overall, the style is very similar except that the gamewave elements of first album have diminished greatly. The entirety is organized heavily around percussion and synthesizers. Same as the last release, this is a completely instrumental album and it has some really foreign track titles that are really fun to try to say. While Vinonaamakasio could be better it is by no means a bad album. It can be thoroughly enjoyed if this sort of electronic music is something you seek out. I'll probably listen to is a few more times and see what comes of it.

To be had here:
Shogun Kunitoki - Vinonaamakasio [320 kbps]

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Meth Teeth - Everything Went Wrong (2009)

Hailing from the music producing machine that is Portland, Oregon, Meth Teeth seem like a fine example of how noise-riddled, garage-like, rock and roll should sound. They remind me of my early love, Detroit garage bands in a fashion, sounding like the Gories at moments, but there is a different feel. The base it is built up from seems more folksy than bluesy if you get my drift. Vocals are just as fucking incapable of being understood. Personally, this sort of music is very upbeat to me and brings with it a pleasant after effect that I crave. Fuzzed out guitars and distortion are something my ears will never have too much to hear.

To be had here:
Meth Teeth - Everything Went Wrong [256 VBR kbps]

Friday, December 25, 2009

C-3PO with R2-D2 - Christmas in the Stars: Star Wars Christmas Album (1980)

Sometimes one forgets what Christmas is all about, commercialization. Befitting the goal of such a holiday season one of the masters of merchandising, George Lucas, did everything possible to cash in on his blockbuster success. Hell yes this included making an intensely trite and heinous Christmas album featuring Ben Brutt and Anthony Daniels from Star Wars turn a buck. Mostly very poorly written and sung but seasonally appropriate songs alluding to vague lines or concepts from the movie. C-3PO rambles on about some "S. Claus" and robot toy makers, really bizarre. I am sharing this as one of the few holiday themed albums I own. The reason for my ownership of this album is of course the novelty and when I was younger I was a huge Star Wars nerds. Co-opting the Christmas spirit to reference droids and galaxy-wide toy distribution might seems irrational and unnecessary, which it certainly is, yet it is something you can tell your friends about. This is why Easter is cooler, with pagan rituals, a zombie Jew, lamb meat, and no themed soundtrack. At least be thankful you didn't pay for it... may the force be with you.

To be had here:
C-3PO with R2-D2 - Christmas in the Stars: Star Wars Christmas Album [256 kbps]

Thursday, December 24, 2009

City Center - City Center (2009)

Bumping around on the information superhighway I ran across a reference to this album. So as I find myself doing often I looked it up. Imagine how surprised I was to find the famous Michigander, Fred Thomas, is a member of this duo. Yes, the same Fred Thomas of Saturdays Looks Good to Me, Lovesick, and Flashpapr renown. Of course, just as those projects were of different styles so to is City Center. He's paired with is buddy from SLGTM, Ryan Howard, who also made music in a band called Canada. I was a bit saddened to see they're basing this latest endeavor out of New York City, but that's mostly jealously that I haven't gotten out of Detroit yet. The music is excellent though; makes up for any minor geographic disappointment. Basically, if you listened to anything Fred Thomas as done, then imagine if he was going for electronic and experimental instead of whatever. It is more than just a novelty and I've already given it a few listens in the last week. Merry Christmas Eve if you're into that sort of thing.

To be had here:
City Center - City Center [256 VBR kbps]

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Sound of Wonder! (2009)

This is a crazy compilation that I actually heard recommended on my favorite international news show, The World from Public Radio International, et al. The fella who's name I forgot said it was something unique. Boy howdy he was correct, it blew my fucking brains out as I wasted hours playing click-and-point RPGs to celebrate by break from college courses. After a short time I was playing them just to have an occupation for my hands and eyes while my ears were pleasured. As to what exactly is on this compilation of humdingers, if my memory serves me the fella on the radio said it was 1970s Pakistani songs from the often overlooked film industry of Lahore. If that doesn't sell you on wanting to hear some I'm not really sure why you read my blog at all. Naturally, Pakistan did not exist in a void in the 70s, so there are features one familiar with the eras music may likely recognize like fuzz guitar. The majority of the lyrics are sung in language known to Pakistan, I hesitate to state which for sure for I am not capable of differentiating South Asian tongues. The point is that they transport you to another time and place. Being it predictable that you're as unfamiliar as I am to the culture around them they won't explain much but they'll hopefully send your mind of some delightful imaginations. Oh, and if you do like this sort of thing, weird compilations I mean, the label that released this has more cool shit, them being Finders Keepers Records.

To be had here:
The Sound of Wonder! [160 VBR kbps]

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ólafur Arnalds

In my imagination Iceland is some strange combination of futuristic and old worldly qualities that breeds an amazing culture, current economic disaster aside. If I'm wrong don't tell me for I haven't a need for more places that aren't cool. I'm looking at you, Ohio. The speculation on Iceland is not irreverent though, as the artist I'm sharing today is a son of the island nation. Ólafur Arnalds makes some of the most beautiful of Iceland's famed ethereal sounds. A natural comparison is Sigur Rós, who has grown on me in recent times. Nevertheless, I do enjoy Mr. Arnalds far more and his latest release, Dyad 1909, is simply extraordinary. He's got your chamber stings, your creepy robotic voices, your strange song titles, and some soothingly calm piano blended with chaotic electronic racket. The man is a mad wizard, and I think my class is only bolstered by how much Icelandic looks like spell-casting to an asshole like me.

To be had here:

Eulogy for Evolution (2006) [192 kbps]

Variations Of Static (2007) [320 kbps]

Found Songs (2009) [192 kbps]

Dyad 1909 (2009) [320 kbps]

Monday, December 21, 2009

Little Girls - Concepts (2009)

This like the last post is most likely one of the better albums of 2009. I had found this band through the internet before I could even find the album on p2p and having to wait only made me cherish it all the more. Right along the lines of psychedelic noise I have been tooting off about as of late, Concepts is a most righteous addition to the latest posts. They seem to fancy themselves a post-punk group and to a degree I can see this, but I always think of Josef K and Gang of Four when I think post-punk. Needless to say, some of it reminiscent of those fine days in Britain yet is is far noisier than anything they were undertaking. I'll admit a certain amount of jealously for my friends that are in Toronto and get to claim them as their own. Luckily, being in Detroit means Toronto is among my cheapest and most accessable vacation destination. I'd drive four hours to listen to them, and I pass up some decent shit right here out of my laziness.

To be had here:
Little Girls - Concepts [224 VBR kbps]

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ganglians - Woodsist (2009)

Woodsits is undoubtedly one of my favorite releases of the year. It is really everything I was looking for in an album right now. Encompassing slow, psychedelic, sparely instrumented tracks as well as garage-noise-drone ones it switches between exciting and memorizing in equal capacity throughout the all to brief album. If this sounds like high praise that is because it is. I really liked this shit. I mean fuck damn. These fellas have something that too many bands overlook or fail to do well, utilize a variety of instruments and styles in a seamless fashion. I'm gonna keep the post short for I am planning to write a few and there's no need to make myself tiresome yet. Be sure to get this one, even if I do tend towards lavishing admiration (it is a blog of music I like after all).

To be had here:
Ganglians - Woodsist [224 VBR kbps]

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Candy Claws - In the Dream of the Sea Life (2008)

Another release I had to shamble about on the p2p for. Correspondingly, I discovered them to in the same fashion of kicking around on the internet for similar artists to those I've been recently enjoying. Immediately on the first listen I was liking what I heard. The instant gratifaction of the album is due to it not being a drone album, which is a genre best reheard and heard again to digest in my opinion, but having a more shoegaze-style infusion of more slightly more understandable vocals. Overall, there is more of a pop feel, but it is really well done. Very much experimental rock yet I can't think of a good comparison due to my mind's rotting away as I continue my higher education, at least insomuch that I can't remember all my nerdy music, Star Wars, and Marvel Comics knowledge. Just hit up for similar artists this time I suppose, I am no fountainhead.

To be had here:
Candy Claws - In the Dream of the Sea Life

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Topaz Rags - Capricorn Born Again (2009)

Topaz Rags is something that I swiped through a p2p program. I got it for I saw the name come up as something similar to Peaking Lights, which if you've read that post you know has been one of my favorites as of late. The comparison is apt for the style of the two groups is likewise. Not as good as Peaking Lights, but I fear few things could be in my mind. The vocals are what really set Capricorn Born Again off. They're eerie and achieve a fantastic feeling of dreary and unreal imagery accompanies it as I listen. If you like things like Peaking Lights, Super Minerals, and Robedoor then I suggest grabbing it.

To be had here:
Topaz Rags - Capricorn Born Again [320 kbps]

Friday, December 11, 2009

Duster - Contemporary Movement (2000)

I don't have too much energy to explain a bunch of jazz about this album. I'm sure I found this on a blog on some corner of the internet, placed it somewhere, forgot I had it, found it, listened and loved it. Nevertheless, beyond my scatterbrained thought process, Contemporary Movement is a fantastic, if not brand new, album. Musically it is an admirable combination of noise pop and electronic ambient sounds to make something that possesses relaxing qualities (at least for me) while not putting me to sleep. Feels like the name of this blog come to life to a degree, insomuch that it is very spacey. Despite it's what I initially thought upon starting the first track, there are vocals, good ones at that. This wasn't this first album, but the only one I've gotten time to listen to. There's info aplenty about Duster on the intertubing if you need to know more.

To be had here:
Duster - Contemporary Movement [256 kbps]

Thursday, December 10, 2009

John Fahey - The Voice of the Turtle (1968)

John Fahey was a pioneer in the solo use of the steel-stringed guitar. He is a legend in modern folk music, although he denied that is what he played, citing his suburban roots. I'm not gonna get into too many details about Fahey's style and work, as I am not a musician nor an enthomusicologist. It must suffice to say that I find his albums enthralling examples of folk and blues that he was not shy about experimenting with. The Voice of the Turtle has some of my favorite songs that he played like "Lewisdale Blues" and "Je ne me suis reveillais matin pas en May." There is a bit of all sorts of instruments on this album, and some singing that is damned close to yodeling in its long drawls. Somethings the songs are slow and distorted to the point that they remind me of beginning to drone tracks only to shift smoothly into acoustic guitar playing and back again. Fahey was surely a wonder-maker.

To be had here:
John Fahey - The Voice of the Turtle [192 VBR kbps]

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Le Loup - Family (2009)

I had high praise for this group's first album, which I still feel is a fantastic release. However, I feel even more enamored with this album, it just blows my fucking mind. I had a certain timidness towards listening to it at first as I enjoyed the first album so much I as fearful of disillusionment with the new songs, and I was holding out hope that somebody would tell me it had more crazy sweet guitar parts like the first. The guitar parts are not really there, but I couldn't care less to be honest. Once I finally got over my fears and plunged into giving it a whirl, it turned into about 15 whirls I loved it so much. I could not pin down a word for it on my own, but the music gave me a strange feeling like I was hearing it on a tropical island or forest. On the description is a mixture of tribal and experimental rock, and I guess that works, but it isn't like world music if you follow me. The singing is amazing, just like the last album, but the overall composition of the songs are far superior I believe. Additionally, they cut out the electronic aspects found in a few tracks of the first release. This is a improvement for the style they capture in Family. If you're the type that doesn't want to search the tracks for your favorite song (why are you bothering with life by the way?), the favorites are "Grow," "Sherpa" and "Family."

To be had here:
Le Loup - Family [192 VBR kbps]