Friday, February 29, 2008


It's that time again. Voting for Salt Lake City Weekly's Best Of's have begun. So, we just thought we would take a moment and shamelessly ask our beloved readers to vote for us in the "Best Local Blogger" catagory. Hey who knows, winning that may just up our reader count by five or six more people! You know you want to vote.... The deadline is March 10th, so get on it!

The Helio Sequence - Keep Your Eyes Ahead

The Helio Sequence
Keep Your Eyes Ahead
(01.2008, SubPop)
Verdict: Helio's gone Dylan

The Helio Sequence is back in action with a 2008 release to blow all subsequent Helio Sequence releases to smithereens. The more I listen to this swirling hypnotic album, the more I am convinced that this is their crowning achievement. The songs have more structured melodies than before, but they're still pretty shoegaze. A soft fuzz covers the songs as always, but doesn't take away from the clarity of the objective. The songs are intoxicating and addictive. The most notable change on this album from ones in the past is Brandon Summers vocals. Supposedly after touring for Love and Distance Brandon suffered some heavy vocal chord damage, forever changing his tonal quality. After vocal therapy he figured out how to sing with this new damage, which resulted in Summers sounding incredibly similar to Bob Dylan. Although this is the most significant change in The Helio Seqence's sound, it is not what sets this album apart. It's the evolution of the already full sound that they have been producing into a cross genre complexity. Is it folk? Shoegaze? Dance music? Or, the all inclusive word, Pop? I guess we will never know. It's just enjoyable.


The Helio Sequence - "Can't Say No"

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Vile Blue Shades, These Are Powers, Mt. Eerie, Calvin Johnson, and Mahjongg @ Kilby Court 2.27.08


Vile Blue Shades – VBS live spectacle has been covered before on the pages of FG and not much has changed. This isn’t a bad thing though. Let’s just say that Vile Blue Shades make an incredible argument for having the best live presence in all of Salt Lake City.

These Are Powers – And then, amongst modern indie legends such as Mt. Eerie and Calvin Johnson and seasoned “dance rockin’” band, Mahjongg, These Are Powers go and play the most swaggeringly powerful, ear blisteringly loud and uncompromisingly entertaining live set that I have ever seen. That’s right, I just went there; Kilby got pwned! I literally can’t think of any set that I have seen before (or after for that matter) These Are Powers that approaches such a high level of performance. The motley Brooklyn/Chicago trio hammered through modestly labeled “ghost punk” like they were releasing packs of wolves to maul each and every member of the audience in the name of love. Lead singer/guitarist and general cartoon character, Anna Barie, paraded lankly on and off stage singing, dancing, shredding and causing general elation and discomfort with her charmingly joyful smile and prankster/partier attitude. Backed by a jarring bombardment of thick bass and pounding drums and an endless field of effects pedals, Barie lead These Are Powers into glorious display of punk spirit at its finest. I am really slaughtering this review, but for those who were present, the memory of the spectacle of this show and its accompanying sound will forever be tattooed to the brain. So so so so so so so so so so so so so so so good. I can’t say it enough.

Mt. Eerie – And then, beautifully, after the most rockingest set ever, every one sat down for the quietest one. Having seen Mt. Eerie a few times before this show I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I can’t say that he has been the most consistent of live performers that I have seen and I tried to set my expectations low. However, in a stroke of incredible luck, Phil pulled out his A game and an acoustic guitar and proved why his Microphones/Mt. Eerie project is one of my all-time favourites. Running through a series of new songs and submitting to the somewhat belabored recommendations of the crowd, Elvrum laid on his awkward charm and beautifully lulled a packed and seated Kilby Court into glossy eyed adoration. Mint. I will undoubtedly be back cataloging for the next couple of days to retain the wonderful air of Mt. Eerie’s beautiful songs.

Calvin Johnson – I better start this out by saying that I don’t really listen to Calvin Johnson. I have heard a song or two, but they were neither here nor there and I just never really gave it a try and to be honest, probably never will. About Johnson’s set last night though, let me just say this: Calvin Johnson is a comedic genius. I mean that in the best way possible too. With a quaint, subtly awkward humor Johnson basically just rambled on through half of his set while playing really inspiring, humble songs the rest. With a magnificent baritone Johnson was an absolute knock out and aside from the glory of These Are Powers, the most pleasantly surprising musician among the foray. He just seemed so calculated and comfortable and seemed to be really enjoying himself up there. I don’t know if you could ask for much more than that – a modestly assured set of beautifully humorous and solid songs and banter.

Mahjongg – I feel bad for Mahjongg. Practically 2/3 or more of the crowd had departed by the time the band finished setting up and who can blame them? The show was as good as it was long and required stamina. Fortunately and despite of some technical difficulties, Mahjongg proceed to run the remaining crowd members into the ground with a polyrhythmic, bass heavy post punk dance party and wrung every last drop of energy from anyone left standing. Another really good set that was shamefully missed by most, but certainly appreciated by everyone who stayed.

Gavin Bryers, Phillip Jeck, Alter Ego - the Sinking of the Titanic

Gavin Bryars / Philip Jeck / Alter Ego
The Sinking of the Titanic
(12.2007, Touch)
Verdict = Audio Perfection

Whether to your dismay, relief or ultimate indifference, I am beginning to try and distance myself from indulgences in overtly experimental and avant garde music. Heaven knows I have definitely had my fill. There is a part of me that could continue my addiction well on into oblivion, but there is another part of me that lays cold and dead upon such indulgences. Continually repeating ventures into the often heartless experiments on texture and tone can become mindless and useless, cluttering what has already been appreciated before it. I have always been a little over enthusiastic about the stuff anyway. I mean how many drone records does any one person really need? I suppose it would be important to make a concession here. I do plan on remaining open to those releases that seem truly relevant and that I believe should be appreciated on a grander scale than their genre platform would traditionally allow; those with heart. But again, gone is the indulgence. Now that that ridiculous preface is out of the way and anyone reading has the opportunity to call me out in the future for what I am reviewing, I would like to say that The Sinking of the Titanic as released here by Touch is archetype for the exception. In fact, I may be providing a disservice here by coupling The Sinking of the Titanic with those faceless experiments at all. Before now I was unfamiliar with the piece so I am going to recount the players here for anyone who is similarly out of sync with the history of this masterwork. Gavin Bryars is the composer of The Sinking of the Titanic which was first penned over 39 years ago. Philip Jeck is a renowned electronic manipulator and turntablist and Alter Ego is a chamber ensemble who, with Jeck, recreated Bryar’s masterpiece, as recorded here, at the International Festival of Contemporary Music at The Venice Biennale in 2005. From what I understand, Bryar’s accompanied on the double bass for the performance as well. The piece is kind of an ode to the hearsay of a chamber group from the Titanic that courageously played into the night until the last moment as the ship sunk until they too were engulfed with the ship. Incorporating a light static buzz, various clicks and bells, a few audio samples and the more traditionally classical instruments from Alter Ego to perpetuate the wash of melody, this most recent rendition of The Sinking of the Titanic is an undeniable emotional powerhouse. Acting as a requiem, the work creeks and moans as if it were panning the underwater grave of the giant ship. Portions literally had me tearing up. The recorded performance is on par with (if it doesn’t completely exceed) William Basinski’s Disintegration Loops or Johann Johannsson’s Virulegu Forsetar and is similarly slow moving like a drifting mountain. There is also a steep sense of history stuck in the The Sinking of the Titanic that is reminiscent of old photographs and film that slowly decays and becomes more beautiful with age. This is classical ambience at its best, evoking something deeply personal and sentimental in its powerful movements. In the end, words really can’t define the impact of it. The piece spans 72 minutes long without any cuts to separate tracks, so to experience it in its entirety is to get comfortable and to be patient. The experience is wholly worth it though and is not something to be passed up because of the constraints of its length. There are plenty of token experimental or avant garde albums out there that you could sink your teeth into nowadays for casually enjoyment, but if you want a unique, involving experience; if you are looking for that one record that will do justice to the impossibility of its concept, The Sinking of the Titanic is for you.

-Mr. Thistle

Listen to clips from The Sinking of the Tintanic on Boomkat

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Chris Schlarb - Twighlight & Ghost Stories

Chris Schlarb
Twilight & Ghost Stories
(12.2007, Asthmatic Kitty)
Verdict = A Mess of Patchwork Beauty

With Twilight & Ghost Stories, seasoned experimental guitarist Chris Schlarb has sewn together a patchwork quilt that is as comfortable, sentimental and ragged as the one you’ve been draggin’ around since child birth. Employing field recordings, and friend’s recordings along with his own instrumentation and final editing, Twilight & Ghost Stories floats by like a like bright midnight clouds that alternately obscure and reveal the stars that shine behind them. Some of the notable contributors here are Sufjan Stevens, Ray Raposa of Castanets, Half-Handed Cloud and Dirty Projector, Dave Longstreth. There are plenty more contributors as well in a project that took five years to complete, but you would never know it if it wasn’t for their inclusion in the liner notes. In fact the only time I was able to identify someone was when Longstreth’s unmistakable elastic voice surfaces in “Section IV.” Released on Sufjan’s Asthmatic Kitty label, Schlarb is the first among an assumed series of artists to follow that are being labeled “unusual animals.” Schlarb’s work is definitely a departure from the largely pop oriented roster on AK but is not out of place in his light, life affirming delivery. There is a certain air of comfort in the collage that I haven’t heard since The Books debut, Thought For Food. In all its abstraction, Twilight & Ghost Stories maintains a resilient degree of heart and an inviting, humanizing touch that allows the album to employ the sum of its many parts equitably and to great satisfaction. I think the real achievement of the album is its replay value. You can’t just listen to the record once and go. “huh, that was nice,” and move onto the next album in your CD player. Once the album draws you in it becomes necessary to listen to it again and again, not only to dig deeper into the wealthy depth of motifs but also to simply enjoy the record once more. For all of Schlarb’s output elsewhere, Twilight & Ghost Stories is his most assured release to date and a lost gem released late in 2007.

-Mr. Thistle

Chris Schlarb - "Section I"

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Beach House - Devotion

Beach House
(02.2008, Carpark)
Verdict: So Guuuud!

First In The Future, then The Evening Descends and Vampire Weekend and now this! It's only 57 days into 2008, we still have 308 days left and already we have been blessed with some seriously amazing recordings. As I recall, at the beginning of 2007 I was feeling a little disheartened that 2007 would never be as good as previous years in music because very little interesting music was being released in January and February, but this year is a complete 180. I predict 2008 will knock our socks off, clean off, like across the room off. I guess possibly I am being rash, and 2008 could take a total nose dive in the months to come, but let's just be optimistic right now. Beach House may just be the creme de la creme of the afore mentioned albums. Their self-titled 2006 debut held my interest but not my heart. Now with a fuller sound, bursting with slide guitar licks and organ swells accompanying the ghost of Victoria LeGrands vocals, hitting melodious jackpot after melodious jackpot, my heart is theirs. It's layed back and overwhelming and affirms your love for music within 20 seconds of the first track. Every song is the best track on the album.



I haven't done a goodies post forever! There are so many awesome things to waste your time with!

First off, The Arcade Fire continues to push the boundaries of what a music video should be by yet another interactive music video. This time around you control the audio rather than the video. It's for the song "Black Mirror," and although it takes a while to load it is well worth your time to experiment with the music that fits nicely with the beautiful black and white hazed imagery. Even if your aren't a fan of the regime, you should still try it out. My favorite combination was turning off all audio except #'s 1,5, and 6, which leaves you with only distorted vocals and strings. So haunting! Go ahead, click the link.

Next off, some killer videos!
First is Evangelicals "Midnight Vignette" which I personally think is hilarious.

Now The New Pornographers new video for "Myriad Harbour"


Monday, February 25, 2008

Shows This Week

Wednesday (2/27), Kilby Court is hosting the show of the week. Hey, let’s just call this the show of the month and if there weren’t so many nuts shows coming up in the near future I would be apt to label this as the show of 2008. So here it is: the show is starting off with local megatrons of rock Vile Blue Shades and then transitioning into the wonderful ex-Liars swagger of noisy/awesome These Are Powers that have been creating quite a buzz for themselves. Next electrofunk/post punk heros Mahjongg (can’t hail these guys enough) will mesmerize, followed by the indispensible Calvin Johnson. And as if these four weren’t enough to qualify the night for the afore mentioned FG awards, Mt. Eerie has mysteriously dropped himself into the mix as of last week or so. It is almost too much to comprehend, rest assured this show is un-missable.

These Are Powers


Calvin Johnson

Mt. Eerie

Wednesday (2/27), hip hoppers will also have something to be excited about as Sole and Telephone Jim Jesus from the Anticon camp hit up The Urban Lounge (21+). Really good stuff for those who can’t get into the indie smorgasbord at Kilby.

Telephone Jim Jesus

Thursday (2/28), Kilby is sending off their father, Will Sartain, and his band, The Future of the Ghost, on tour. Should be a wonderful local night with the likes of Bad Weather California, Tolchock Trio and Kathryn Cowles. Word.

El-P - I'll Sleep When You're Dead

I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead
(03.2007, Definitive Jux)
Verdict = More polished but just as paranoid.

I don’t know about anyone else, but to me El-P seems to be just about the most intense character in modern music. Everything he touches seems to be infused with a vision of perfection coupled with insanity. All I know is that I would not want to compete with this guy on any terms. I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead is certainly no exception to this rule. With this follow up to the nuts incredible Fantastic Damage, El-P continues to pull all the stops. First off, for those unfamiliar El-P means El Producto and what that equates to is insane production. This has always been El-P’s specialty and I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead only ups the ante. It seems that in the last five years since his last full length came out, all the various other production work he has been up to has helped El-P find some chemical that has made his beats somehow more polished and heavy while retaining his signature noisy grit. The bottom line is that El-P is the best producer in the business and I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead is the nail in the coffin that is going to secure that title until God decides to start producing hip hop. Next up: lyrical content. El-P is one sick, paranoid, crazy dude and the last seven years of Bush certainly hasn’t helped things. That fact alone makes El-P’s futuristic, political flow as relevant and (un)comfortable as ever. In the end there is one word that can sum up I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead, ‘intense.’ This is a rollercoaster ride that you won’t soon forget and an absolute essential for anyone with an inclination towards hip hop.

-Mr. Thistle

Friday, February 22, 2008

Times New Viking - Rip It Off

Times New Viking
Rip It Off
(01.2008, Matador)
Verdict = I Love It!

It is official, with Times New Viking’s move to Matador records ultra low fidelity production is officially the new black. Seems the FG office building has seen its fare share of purposely ill recorded jams as of late, but don’t let that make you shy away from this little gem because Times New Viking has got-it-going-on! With an ever lengthening Utah winter constantly hurting my poor feelings with its bitter frostiness, Times New Viking feels like sunshine via a gloriously grainy 60’s era 8mm. The wonderful surprise here is that the songs buried underneath all the swirling distortion and feedback would be as lovable without the static filter as with it. This is something of a contrast from most lo-fi pirates who use hip anti-production values as a gimmick to over shadow the fact that their songs actually suck. Yep, Rip It Off is the real deal and something of a rarity for it. So it makes sense that TMV get picked up by a larger indie label. Congrats guys! Drink in the money - you deserve it! In other news, I recently gained a new friend named Tip Toe who is actually a stuffed elephant and he says Rip It Off is the best album so far in 2008, but I still think it’s The Evening Descends. He thinks I’m lame, but whatever, at least my arms aren’t sewn to my stomach! Times New Viking rules! …this review has been lying around for awhile and I am still listening to Rip It Off and I just gained a second wind after watching Tip Toe boogieing to the album. This record is so great, good and grand. It makes me want to take of my shirt and drink lemonade and skateboard on my old driveway (no skateboarding on FG office building premises). I would almost even cuss I like it so much. That’s nuts! And I’m spent.

-Mr. Thistle

Times New Viking - "(My Head) R.I.P. Allegory"

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Saul Williams - The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust

Saul Williams
The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust(2007, Self Release)
Verdict = Groundbreaking

Saul Williams is the most evocative lyricist in modern hip hop. There is really no one on the landscape of emcees that is as powerful a wordsmith in my mind. This has been always been the case for me. Ever since the release of his debut album, Amethyst Rock Star, it was clear that Williams was a whole different animal. On his third album, The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust, Williams continues to turn heads with his own brand of socially conscious, artistically progressive work. Teaming with Trent Reznor this time round, Niggy Tardust is produced impeccably. Somehow Williams and Reznor have created a perfect set of harrowing Frankenstein beats that are impossible to not nod to. As Tardust, Williams’ is as provocative a vocalist as ever, refusing to be pin holed to any one style. While overall this works in his favor, there are a few stutter steps here and there that will keep Niggy Tardust from demanding the same reverence that his previous albums have garnered. Still, Saul Williams continues to rise head and shoulders above the crowd. In addition to being on the forefront of the landscape lyrically and musically, The Inevitable Rise and Fall of Niggy Tardust puts In Rainbows distribution plan to shame. Removing the safety net of a physical release that Radiohead provided themselves, Saul Williams has decided to release one of the most fantastic hip hop albums of 2007 as an internet only release. Available for $5 or absolutely free, Williams has chosen to bravely test the distribution method that Radiohead dipped their toes into before allowing their record companies to sell it as plastic and wax. On all levels of integrity, Williams’ record is more than worth the meager $5 asking price. Oh, and this would all feel completely inadequate if I didn’t mention that Williams’ cover of U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday” completely dusts the original and is the highlight of an already great album.

-Mr. Thistle

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Earth - Hibernaculum

(03. 2007, Southern Lord)
Verdict: So slow, but so rockin'!

I'm starting to think I've played way to many RPG's in my young life. Drone metal legends, Earth, released Hibernaculum in 2007 as a slow and steady paced instrumental epic full of repetitive chord progressions and slow build ups that sometimes don't really build to anything beyond what was there in the first place. And for some reason whenever my ears have the pleasure to get lost in these gems I can't help but think of a level 23 Dragon Masters going face to face with mysterious baddies bent on world domination and princess swiping, or maybe a Level 31 Cleric raising a fallen comrade who has just been hewn down by an ogre. I'm guessing comparing Earth to video games will not really give anyone bearings on what to expect from this album. So basically just expect way epic, dark, devastating, beautiful stoner jams that make the perfect soundtrack to dragon slaying or just sitting around doing nothing. I guess I should mention despite Earth's legendary status as masters of slow metal, this is my first dive into their captivating world. Since Hibernaculum consists of re-working past tracks to fit their current sound, it makes a perfect entry point. Needless to say, I'm more than in love with this album and am going to equip myself with some healing herbs and potions to start the journey through their back catalog.

- Wooly Mammal

Earth - "A Plague of Angels" (exceprt)

Psychedelic Horseshit - Magic Flower Droned

Psychedelic Horseshit
Magic Flower Droned
(10.2007, Siltbreeze)
Verdict = The Goodest, Lowest Lo-Fi Record

It’s unavoidable. This may mark me as a prude or something, but Psychedelic Horseshit is the worst band name I’ve heard since the Butthole Surfers. So terrible…in fact the name alone dissuaded me from listening to them even though I knew that I would like them from different tracks that I had overheard. Maybe you like lame band names but I have some weird disorder that allows me to let ridiculous band names bug me. I even missed the show they played at Red Light Books last year in some lame protest. Well, I finally came to a resolution that may be helpful to others out there dying to listen to this record, but without the mental block of a bad band name. I decided to separate the band name into three words. So now on my Ipod, the debut album Magic Flowers Droned is attributed to the band “Psychedelic Horses Hit.” Heh, I really can’t help but laugh at myself. This is totally literal; I am being completely honest here. You want to find out who Mr. Thistle is? Find the kid with Psychedelic Horses Hit on his Ipod and you’ll know. And what do you know, the album is an essential. Marrying ramshackle garage rock with the worst possible production available, Psychedelic Horses Hit is a wreck. I would not be surprised if the bands instruments were found in a dumpster, further destroyed and then taped back together with duct tape before recording. Fortunately, PHH’s songs are strong enough to keep them from being completely undefined ramshackle recording methods. I’m sure some will disagree, but something about the band’s debut reminds me of The Who and The Kinks (if they were processed through a meat grinder). Anyways, nuts awesome band, incredible debut album, senseless (revised) name. Psychedelic Horses Hit are super duper.

-Mr. Thistle

Psychedelic Horseshit - "Rather Dull"

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

MGMT - Oracular Spectacular

Oracular Spectacular
(01.2008, Sony)
Verdict: Background dance party music

My initial reaction to Oracular Spectacular was astoundingly positive. They have a funky fresh sound that is both danceable and creative. Then, I started familiarizing myself with the lyrics and getting more familiar with the full album rather than the few stand out tracks that I had been repeating, and realized that the entire album feels like one giant joke. You know, songs you and your friends would make up on the fly in your apartment on a boring Friday evening. Not the full album, but a definite large portion of it seems to have this sort of half joking air about it. Especially "Electric Feel," and "Weekend Wars." Seriously, is it possible that these songs were written without jest? If they are supposed to be funny, they aren't funny enough, and come across as incredibly ridiculous. Those tracks in particular (which happen to be the two tracks they have music videos for) have provided serious hang ups for me with this album which have magnified to the point that I have a bad taste overall in my mouth from this album, which is a shame since they really have captured a great sounds and made a few very enjoyable tracks. If not for being overshadowed with the slivers of ultimate lameness that have made me take them less seriously as a band, I would probably actually want to listen to this one. The only real accomplishment MGMT have made with Oracular Spectacular is an interactive music video that you can manipulate while watching.


Download MGMT's interactive music video here, or just watch this youtube of someone playing it.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Xiu Xiu - Women As Lovers

Xiu Xiu
Women as Lovers
(01.2008, Kill Rock Stars)
Verdict = Best Xiu Xiu Yet

I have always wanted to love Xiu Xiu on record. Live they are absolutely stunning, possibly one of the most consistently incredible live acts I have ever seen. However, on record I have always had a difficult time. Perhaps it is the extremeness of the vocals on record as opposed to how they are more a layer of the clouded mix of noise live, or perhaps it’s that their intense live sound simply can’t fit within the confines of a plastic disc. Either way, each album has left me wanting just a little bit more than was offered. This time around Xiu Xiu has managed the record that I have constantly hoped for: an accessible, consistent record. Don’t get me wrong here – this is still Xiu Xiu and if you felt that there was no way that you would ever enjoy the band, Woman As Lovers probably won’t convert you. However, for those on the sidelines, Xiu Xiu’s continually expanding roster (including the most recent addition of bassist Devin Hoff) works wonders. Ches Smith continues to provide incredibly inventive drumming and, thankfully, Caralee McElroy continues to add her wonderful vocals to the mix. Surrounding himself with tremendous talent, Jamie Stewart’s brainchild has moved from being a band that you can’t ignore to the band that you don’t want to ignore. It seems that the band has hit its stride, upping the accessibility while retaining the signature sound that can only be attributed to Xiu Xiu; and it’s their best yet. After five records that have continually pushed the envelope, “their best” is a considerable accomplishment.

-Mr. Thistle

Xiu Xiu - "I Do What I Want When I Want"

Shows This Week

Monday (today), Billy Harvey is playing at Kristina’s place (?) which is apparently a house. So yeah, house show which is always a wonderful venue for music I think. The address is 225 6th Avenue in SLC and the show starts at “around 8” with no opener. Should be terrific. A $5 donation is requested and there will be free treats!

Friday (2/22), Hieroglyphics & Blue Scholars will be providing college demographic a show on their home turf at The University of Utah. Here is to hoping Del’s new record on Def Jux can stand up to the hype.

More Upcoming Shows:
2/27 – Mahjongg, Calvin Johnson, These Are Powers, Vile Blue Shades – Kilby Court
2/27 – Sole, Telephone Jim Jesus, Sinthesis – Urban Lounge
2/27 – Built To Spill, Meat Puppets – The Depot
2/28 – The Future of the Ghost, Band of Annuals – Kilby Court
3/04 – White Denim – Urban Lounge
3/06 – A Place To Bury Strangers, Holy Fuck – Urban Lounge
3/08 – Portugal. The Man – Club NVO in Logan
3/08 – Panther, Navigator – Slowtrain
3/09 – Living Legends – Kilby Court
3/10 – Xiu Xiu, Thao Nguyen – Urban Lounge
3/10 – The Helio Sequence – Kilby Court
3/13 – Travis Morrison Hellfighters – Kilby Court
3/14 – Leslie & The Ly’s – Kilby Court
3/18 – Zion I – Urban Lounge
3/20 – The Helio Sequence - Velour
3/21 – Beach House, The Papercuts – Kilby Court
3/22 – Tokyo Police Club – Kilby Court
3/22 – Jose Gonzalez, Mia Doi Todd – Union Ballroom
3/24 – Explosions in the Sky, Lichens, Black Moth Super Rainbow – In the Venue
3/24 – Aloha, Georgie James (formerly of Q & Not U) – Urban Lounge
3/26 – Headlights, Evangelicals – Kilby Court
3/31 – Vampire Weekend – Kilby Court
4/03 – Cryptacize (members of Deerhoof & Nedelle) – Kilby Court
4/03 – Daniel Johnston, Band of Annuals – In the Venue
4/04 – Rogue Wave – Kilby Court
4/07 – KRS-One – The Hotel
4/12 – Why? – Urban Lounge
4/14 – RJD2 – Urban Lounge
4/15 – Blitzen Trapper, Calico – Urban Lounge
4/16 – Enon, The Joggers – Urban Lounge
4/21 – Man Man, Yeasayer – In The Venue
4/22 – Islands – In The Venue
4/23 – Saul Williams – Kilby Court
4/25 – Norfolk & Western, Weinland, Deadhorse Point – Urban Lounge
5/02 – Dark Meat – Kilby Court
5/15 – Dead Meadow, The Furs – Kilby Court
5/16 – Destroyer – Urban Lounge
5/16 – Tapes & Tapes, White Denim – In The Venue
6/02 – Ladytron, Datarock – In The Venue

Friday, February 15, 2008

Blood On The Wall - Liferz

Blood On The Wall
(01.2008, Social Registry)
Verdict = Muscular Indie Rock

For some time now I have had a yearning for the straight forward grit and grunge produced by late eighties and early nineties indie rock. Something about how its united blown out urgency and drifting slackery was just the cat’s meow. Everything now-a-days seems to be just outside of this broken perfection. It’s either much too produced or overtly under produced. The absent middle ground has seemed to be a part of the largely missing fun in modern indie music. It is for this reason that Blood On The Wall is such a wonderfully welcome breath of old air. Reverting back to the days of incredible indie rock songwriting that wasn’t worried about the hipster sub-genre that it reached, the Brooklyn band embodies everything that is wonderful and pure in rock music. On Liferz, the follow up to their sweltering kaleidoscope of a debut, the band has cut the filler and tightened up their attack to produce a perfect hallmark to the days of yore. Without missing a step in their pro/regression, the bands heavy handed drums churning guitar squalor and alternating male and female vocals continually appease. Everything about the release is chiseled, grinding and, ultimately, a complete blast to listen to. It kind of depends on the mood though. I don’t know how to properly explain this except to say that about 8 times out of 10 I love this record, but occasionally it just comes off as tired. You should probably discard that, but I felt like telling you anyway. Feeling completely unruly (with the assistance of the brilliant “Sorry Sorry Sarah”), I am going to skip naming all the dissonant indie staples that should probably find themselves in this review and go ahead and randomly give a nod to Sebadoh. Whoa…sorry, this album just has me in such a wonderfully unwieldy mindset that I just lost myself there in ancient indie nostalgia. The real beauty of what Blood On The Wall have created is that it’s an album that you don’t have to think about to like. Void of pretense, Liferz is an instant classic from start to finish.

-Mr. Thistle

Blood On The Wall - "Junkee... Julieee..."

Yael Naim - Self Titled

Yael Naim
Yael Naim
(10.2007, Tot ou Tard)
Verdict: Playful femininity

I picked up Yael Naim after hearing the hit single "New Soul" featured on the MacBook Air commercial. I didn't know anything about her and was pleasantly surprised by the simplicity and joy I discovered in the album. The first song "Paris," is a gently spinning pleasantry which reminds me of sunny days and home videos. Sung in Hebrew, French and English, each song is a little multicultural feminine gem. The songs are primarily slow and sparse. The overall feeling of the album is similar to Feist's The Reminder, and in that way I am worried that the charm of the album won't last long with me, but at least I am enjoying it while the time lasts. Yael Naim even includes a haunting cover of Britney Spear's "Toxic," which I would have never picked up on my own. (Mr. Thistle recognized it immediately from his Britney worshipping past.) It's one of my favorite tracks on the album. "Too Long" also has a brooding but playful melody that will keep you coming back. Overall the album isn't an instant stand out, but will definitely be enjoyed should you give it a try.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Aye Aye - Saint Delay and The Golden God

Aye Aye
Saint Delay and The Golden God
(01.2008, A. Star)
Verdict = Avant Psych-Blues Rumblings

For all those bustling around the FG office (which is actually a computer desk snuggled tightly into a short hallway of a minuscule apartment complex) Aye Aye’s debut record has been the subject of much anticipation. Proceeded by a year full of constantly changing and constantly satisfying live shows it was anyone’s guess what would make it to disc. In all honesty, this uncertainty as to what Aye Aye would turn into when recorded left me a little dissatisfied in the beginning. I listened to the first couple tracks was sort of anticlimactic. If you’re skimming this review, don’t stop here; my initial listen was far to rash and in retrospect, completely off base. There was a bit of trepidation in returning to the album after my first self ascribed scare. It can be hard to address something that you feel is going to disappoint, when you so desperately want it to succeed. It is like watching your scrawny little boy, who naively wants to be a boxer, prepare for his first match against an experienced kid twice his size. It’s almost unbearable to watch. Well, I’ve finally dug my heels in, gritted my teeth and followed the thing from beginning to end and what do you know: Aye Aye knocked that kid clean out! Round after round Aye Aye courageously shrugs off every paltry suggestion to bow out and instead pummels your expectations with an album completely fresh and astoundingly invigorating. Taking the signature bluesy roots of his songs and contorting and manipulating them into the perfect Molotov cocktail, Saint Delay and the Golden God is a ferocious victory. The deeper you get into the album the better it gets too. Like an uncontrollable snowball constantly building on the shoulders of the track immediately preceding it. As a reader of this here site and a fellow music enthusiast I can’t recommend enough that you throw out any hesitation and pick this album up. You will be glad you did.

-Mr. Thistle

Aye Aye on Virb

Will Sartain - Bash Your Face In

Will Sartain
Bash Your Face In
Verdict: Salt Lake City emo

Will Sartain is a solid singer songerwriter, however, his experimental flair that reared it's head in Bash Your Face In has a little polish work to be done. Most the songs on the album are actually reworked acoustic Future Of The Ghost songs. I liked them once, and I like some of them ever better the second time around, except for the vocal recordings that are scattered throughout the tracks, in between the tracks, before the tracks and just about anywhere they could be squeezed. The voices are muttered statements that seem a bit inflated and overly dramatic which makes the album a little too revealing, a little too emo. It's interesting to have a careful listen one time through to understand what is being said, especially when various people's vocals are layered all talking about random but somehow linked ideas, but it's draining on repetative listens, espeically when the recordings are primarily one voice. This reminds me very much of I Can Make A Mess Like Nobody's Business, except in those recordings Arthur Enders was recording crazy people saying crazy things rather than emotional statements. It was more of an experiment rather than an audio diary. Don't get me wrong, the songs sans the rants are absolutely gorgeous, with layered vocals, interesting melodies, and accoutics recorded masterfully. I just wish the filler distractions weren't so strong to the point that they subtract from the overall listening experience.


Will Sartain on Myspace

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Dinosaur Jr. - Beyond

Dinosaur Jr.
(04.2007, PIAS)
Verdict = As Good As Any Ear Bleeding Country Ever Made

I initially picked up Dinosaur Jr,’s Beyond in a fit of nostalgia. The acquisition was probably one of the most defeated of last year. It felt defeated because I was positive that it was only going to disappoint me as a comeback record is bound to do. Being released after a ten year gap from their last album and almost twenty years since the band had played with its original members, failure was almost a mathematical certainty. The second part of my defeat was the fact that even though I knew the album was destined to forever taint my memory of J. Mascis and Co. I was completely unable to restrain myself from getting the record, like some terrible addiction to the past. So, I eventually got the guts to play the record and to my surprise I left the experience unscathed and still in love with Dinosaur Jr. I considered the experience as some odd grace and immediately detached myself from the record avoiding the repeated listens that would surely reveal holes in the album. Later in some unforeseen turn in mood I haphazardly listened to Beyond again and this time, instead of feeling a casually positive ambivalence, light spread liberally across the record and I began to realize that Beyond may in fact be the best thing I have ever heard from the band. The statement seemed awkward when it streamed through my head but I stuck with the feeling and now, about a bazillion listens later it’s been confirmed: Beyond is outstanding! And as I’m sure other critics have said before me, but it’s important to note that the album feels as fitting today as it would’ve in Dinosaur Jr.’s heyday. So in some weird event involving time machines and ten years of harvested creativity, Dinosaur Jr. has not only created a record that feels like Dinosaur Jr., but they have created a record that sounds like Dinosaur Jr. at the peak of their potential. The accomplishment is possibly the most welcome of surprises in the midst of the continually embarrassing revivals of countless hip bands selling their history for one last shot at some cash. Alas, Dinosaur Jr. is the exception and may their ear-bleeding country live on forever for it.

-Mr. Thistle

Dinosaur Jr. - "Almost Ready"

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Vampire Weekend - Self Titled

Vampire Weekend
Vampire Weekend
(1.2008, Xl Recordings)
Verdict: A successful combinations of the last six decades

I read a review on this album yesterday that was titled "wimpy wimpy wimpy." It's so true, this is wuss music at it's finest. I love it. It seems 2008 is going to produce some of the happiest since a half centurty ago. It's about time. Vampire Weekends' first full legnth sounds like a sunbleached surf excursion to a charming old fashioned beach town, or carnival by the sea, possibly how I envisioned Coney Island in it's heyday. Complete with a ratty organ and what sounds like a toy drum set, Vampire Weekend sounds like cheery and joyous pop from the 50's and 60's, or wait, sometimes I can hear some Talking Heads and Paul Simon which would be the 80's, but then again, sometimes they are reminiscent of a slight ska or punk wave in the 90's, oh ya, but it all sounds really fresh, in a revival sense, like Panda Bear or No Age as well. They sound a bit like Brit Rock and sometimes I can hear Afro Pop. Their sound is a combination of good aspects of music spanning generations and all different geographies, which makes this one of the more infectious albums I have ever heard. You can feel the grittiness, as the album was recorded in various locations from their school (Columbia University) to a family barn. Each song is distinctly itself, but the album is very unified and functions well as a whole, although I do have a few favorite tracks. "Oxford Comma" has a genious break beat and charming organ chords, "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" sounds like Rhythm of the Saint's Paul Simon with a yelled chorus which will have you sining along on sencond listen, and "Bryn" has some wonderful guitar work. Get ready for some finger muting madness and pick up a copy of one of the most playfully enjoyable modern albums in existence.


Monday, February 11, 2008

Mammal - Lonesome Drifter

Lonesome Drifter
(2007, Animal Disguise Recordings)
Verdict = Torturously Draining

Something about Mammal’s 2007 release, Lonesome Drifter, feels completely devoid of water. Water may not seem like the most likely component of music, but somehow Lonesome Drifter seems to emphasize its dry, barren landscapes; it seems to parade its alien survival without this essential element. The album’s dusty, dehydrated grit is so tangible it almost induces cotton mouth like a vacuum sucking away your saliva. Constructed with crushing power electronics that were most likely manufactured by the sand people (Tusken Raiders to be exact) Mammal looms dauntingly on Lonesome Drifter as each track feels like a wall of sand pummeling relentlessly against your ear. Mammal have adopted both Guitar fuzz and excruciating feedback and I mean it when I say excruciating. Occasionally coupled with a slow pounding drum, enduring each track can become an exercise in masochism or, especially when the drum is pounding, like awaiting execution by firing squad. The minor moments when vocals appear on the album do provide some type of redemption but are no consolation for the rest of the album. All and all, Lonesome Drifter is literally punishing and if that is your thing, well, I don’t know what to say – maybe don’t be so hard on yourself.

-Mr. Thistle

Mammal - "Repulsion"

Friday, February 8, 2008

Sawako - Madoromi

(11.2007, Anticipate)
Verdict = A Quietly Elegant Take on Perfection

From what I understand, Madoromi is a Japanese term for the period of time between sleep and waking. A sort of gauzy quasi-conscious space confused with dream and reality. That being as it is, Madoromi is the perfect title for Sawako’s third release and first on Anticipate records. The label seems to be a hotspot for intensely high quality ambient electronics featuring important releases from Mark Templeton and Morgan Packard in 2007 (both of which landed on my top 50). It’s is unfortunate that I didn’t catch Sawako earlier because Madoromi is definitely Anticipate’s finest release thus far. In fact, in the long line of regrettably late reviews of what would have been substantial portions of my year end list, Madoromi ranks the highest. Everything on my wish list is here: blissfully bright oceans of ambience, succinct loops that feel progressively faultless the longer they play and a porcelain ear for the most enjoyably textured samples. The result is a gorgeous lulling sound collage that is more reminiscent of the beauty of nature than that of manmade art. Occasionally, however, Sawako injects some grounding human samples that helps maintain that semi-consciousness that Madoromi implies. Even before I knew what the title meant, Madoromi reminded me of waking up to light beaming through my bedroom window on a Saturday morning, completely free of responsibility and being gently warmed by the rays of the sun. In conclusion, just know this: whenever the word ‘perfection’ sneaks its way into my verdict, the connotation is wholly intended.

-Mr. Thistle

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Andrew Bird - Soldier On EP

Andrew Bird
Soldier On EP
Verdict: Guilty

For some reason when I see that an artist is releasing an EP I have the natural tendency to dismiss whatever music is on the disc without thought. I generally assume that if the songs were any good they would be on a proper album. However, on occasion I have submitted to the alluring call of the catalogue completist and purchased an EP. In most cases I have been less than impressed. Off the top of my head I can’t think of one EP that I consider essential to my musical life. Maybe your musical life is different, but EP’s are just not generally essential to mine. I don’t need more music, in fact I’d probably do well to limit the music I let into my life. I don’t need alternate versions of songs, no matter how much I love them. And I certainly don’t need to own an EP to validate my love of an artist by owning everything they’ve ever released. I just don’t. Now for the contradictions.
Having said so much, Andrew Bird’s EP Soldier On is amazing! (including the alternate versions of ‘Plasticities’ and ‘Heretics’). And this conclusion is not biased by the fact that Andrew Bird’s Mysterious Production of Eggs is one of my favorite albums of all time, although it is. Armchair Apocrypha left me a little concerned that Eggs was just a flash in the pan of greatness. Don’t get me wrong Armchair is good, but there is a distinct line between a good album and a great one, and for me Armchair just didn’t approach the level that Eggs mastered. And then comes Soldier On. Given my inherent skepticism of EPs, it is even more remarkable to me that I can get so excited about a paltry six new songs, and two re-workings of old ones, but Soldier On has reignited my confidence in Andrew Bird. ‘The Trees Were Mistaken’ and ‘How You Gonna Keep ‘em Down on the Farm’ rival any song on Eggs as some of Bird’s best. And the ‘early version’ of 'Heretics' gives insight into the intricacies of Bird’s songwriting, and in my opinion eclipses the album version. Bird shows that his unique style has in no way pigeon holed him. His rhythms and melodies continue to expand and soar. For my money it just doesn’t get much better.

-Spruce Lee

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Letters Letters - Self Titled

Letters Letters
Letters Letters
(10.2007, Type)
Verdict = Gritty, Sexy, Smart and Underappreciated

Quavering between grizzly, dance infected post-punk and sputtery, knob twiddling folk, the debut album from Letters Letters is dynamic, to say the least. The trio has somehow seamlessly integrated two apparently disparate sounds to create one that is wonderfully distinctive. To make a completely lazy, unfair comparison, Letters Letters really reminds me of some combination of Mahjongg with Gowns. There is the skittery electronics, strained male and female vocals and a wonderfully damaged drum machine. As a whole, there is just a generally liberal degree of experimentalism running throughout this stunning debut and yet it is still pop. It also contains a type of sexy vibe that is confirmed by some occasionally questionable lyrics. You won’t have to go too far beyond the first track to pick up on this. Even still, the tone of the record is simultaneously stark and menacing. To be honest, I keep listening looking for a catch – why haven’t I heard more praise of this thing? So spin after spin I search for the problem areas only to be further inundated by its druggy hooks. Letters Letters has flown much too far beneath the radar here and their self titled debut deserves to be blasted from the rooftops.

-Mr. Thistle

Letters Letters on Myspace

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Evangelicals - The Evening Descends

The Evening Descends
(01.2008, Dead Oceans)
Verdict = Magic in epic proportions

It seems that a dammed stream of viable indie rock has been unblocked in the opening month of 2008, releasing an array of solid albums each with their own wonderful quirks. Of the quickly flowing lot, Evangelicals’ sophomore release, The Evening Descends, is undoubtedly the cream of the crop. If the record were a super hero trading card the stats, spanning ratings from one to ten on the back, would run something like this: Melodic Agility – 10, Loveable Charm – 10, Quirkiness – 10, Astral Beauty – 9, Indie Rock Danceability – 9. Essentially the stats speak for themselves: Evangelicals are a band to be reckoned with (playing card wise). But what makes the band so sugary delicious is that they aren’t fighters; The Evening Descends is an album for lovers. That’s right (!), Evangelicals are pulling on heart strings here. These aren’t really romantic heart strings though; they’re strings that resonate of the fresh beauty of life. It seems almost impossible not to just absolutely love life when you are listening to this album. Seriously, the United States could become infested with a ravenous zombie infection, mad scientists could accidentally release a pack of wild man eating rabbits and Hilary Clinton could win the Democratic bid for President and I could still just feel like baby puppies and flowers when listening to this album. Yeah, it’s a life affirmer and though it isn’t a rookie card, The Evening Descends definitely deserves one of those super thick plastic cases to keep the whole thing mint and perfect for your fireplace mantle. I don’t know if there is much more praise I can heap up on to this thing – it just contains the perfect amount of pure indie rock, charming experimental quirks and a good ‘ole fashion dash of surreal diamond dust that allows the whole thing to just float you as if it were Tinker Bell’s magical powder seeping out of your headphones. It is only February and Evangelicals have already secured a spot within my top ten of 2008. (PS – Favourite album cover for a long time too.)

-Mr. Thistle

Evangelicals - "Skeleton Man"

Monday, February 4, 2008

Shows This Week

Wednesday (2/6), the A. Star collective will be providing their finest at Kilby Court. Navigator, Aye Aye, Stag Hare and The Grizzly Prospector will all be playing with a few suprises along the way. Aside from the unmissable lineup, the label has paid the cover fee for their show so that you and yours can come enjoy the event for free! That's right, free A. Star show at Kilby Court.

Saturday (2/9), The Future of the Ghost, Cub Country and Libbie Linton will be providing another awesome local show at Kilby Court. Seems that this week is the best time to catch up on all Forest Gospel's local faves.

2/27 ・ Mahjongg, Calvin Johnson, These Are Powers ・ Kilby Court
2/27 ・ Sole, Telephone Jim Jesus, Sinthesis ・ Urban Lounge
2/27 ・ Built To Spill, Meat Puppets ・ The Depot
2/28 ・ The Future of the Ghost, Band of Annuals ・ Kilby Court
3/06 ・ A Place To Bury Strangers, Holy Fuck ・ Urban Lounge
3/08 ・ Portugal. The Man ・ Club NVO
3/08 ・ Panther, Navigator ・ Slowtrain
3/09 ・ Living Legends ・ Kilby Court
3/10 ・ Xiu Xiu, Thao Nguyen ・ Urban Lounge
3/10 ・ The Helio Sequence ・ Kilby Court
3/14 ・ Leslie & The Ly・s ・ Kilby Court
3/18 ・ Zion I ・ Urban Lounge
3/21 ・ Beach House, The Papercuts ・ Kilby Court
3/22 ・ Tokyo Police Club ・ Kilby Court
3/22 ・ Jose Gonzalez, Mia Doi Todd ・ Union Ballroom
3/24 ・ Explosions in the Sky, Lichens, Black Moth Super Rainbow ・ In the Venue
3/24 ・ Aloha, Georgie James (formerly of Q & Not U) ・ Urban Lounge
3/26 ・ Headlights, Evangelicals ・ Kilby Court
4/03 ・ Cryptacize (members of Deerhoof & Nedelle) ・ Kilby Court
4/03 ・ Daniel Johnston, Band of Annuals ・ In the Venue
4/12 ・ Why? ・ Urban Lounge
4/14 ・ RJD2 ・ Urban Lounge
4/15 ・ Blitzen Trapper, Calico ・ Urban Lounge
4/16 ・ Enon, The Joggers ・ Urban Lounge
4/23 ・ Saul Williams ・ Kilby Court
5/16 ・ Destroyer ・ Urban Lounge
5/16 ・ Tapes & Tapes, White Denim ・ In The Venue

Radicalfashion - Odori

(01.2007, Hefty)
Verdict = Piano Essentials

As a self ascribed diction geek I often grasp onto certain new words and phrases that I read in various texts and have the compulsion to write them down, cataloging interesting word usage. It hasn’t really served a specific purpose, aside from pacifying my occasional literary OCD, until now. A certain descriptor used by Alexander Pope to describe the fantasy creatures like nymphs, pixies, gnomes and the like seems completely and unequivocally applicable to Radicalfashion’s Odori. He didn’t originate the term, but 'machinery' as a literary device harkening fantasy creatures just seems so perfect in its double meaning here. Radicalfashion seems the product of this specific 'machinery.' The album is piano based but flourishes with several electronic treatments including several magnificent uses of samples. Despite the strength of the electronic decorations, Radicalfashion’s piano remains the back bone and tonal thrust of the tracks. The piano playing seems stridently unique among peers, being played with a much more apparent classical background and technique. Radicalfashion also never submits to falling into the plaintive minor chord piano loops that seem to be flooding the home listening market as of late. No, Odori is constantly marked by light plucked agility and harkens tiny, magical fingers. The playing also marks a range of moods that seem to flutter about with an odd magical proficiency. It is as if that ‘machinery’ was at work in the album’s creation, not overly grandiose, but like Pope had written of his precious 'machinery,' it feels like it was played by a "light militia of the lower sky." The dualistic implication of machinery also applies to the robot-esque samples and electronic fuss that occasionally clouds the tracks. I don’t mean to appear well read or particularly insightful, because I am far from either, but I do mean to assert that this album is completely out of the ordinary for someone who listens to an over abundance of music. The last time I think that I was charmed like this was the first time I heard The Books. It may not be entirely unique in its instrumentation or methods, but in the success of its aim Radicalfashion’s Odori is virtually unparalleled.

-Mr. Thistle

Friday, February 1, 2008

Klimek - Dedications

(10.2007, Anticipate)
Verdict = Too Paranoid

There is something alternately majestically enveloping and claustrophobically alienating about Klimek’s most recent full length on the wonderful Anticipate label. After listening and pondering for some time I finally fell upon the imagery of space. The albums motifs float beautifully like a space station caught in some orbital river forcing Dedications into the outermost regions of space. While a look outside the cockpit window reveals a vast wonderland of star clusters twinkling vibrantly in all directions, however, a minute turn will ground you into a frosty, claustrophobic cabin. This feel seems to permeate the album: a lonely, completely detaching stargaze. The sentiment is odd when coupled with the very self descriptive album title. Each track on Dedications is named after a couple of Klimek’s apparent inspirations. The oddity in it is that the music’s austere livability doesn’t seem to invite friendship; more like stalking. As beautiful as some of its themes may be, like being stranded in outer space, ultimately Dedications is furiously maddening. This is the kind of music that will burrow deep under your skin and before you know it you’re twitching with paranoia. Not really the kind of reaction I’m personally looking for when listening to ambient or any other kind of music. It seems that the intentions here are good, but in the end it is not an album with which to return.

-Mr. Thistle

Hew Mun - Scintillated Garble

Hew Mun
Scintillated Garble
(01.2008, A. Star)
Verdict = Satisfyingly Odd Sound Sculptures

In a somewhat surprising feat, A. Star compatriot Hew Mun (AKA Matthew Munn) has created the most self descriptive album title in Scintillated Garble. The album is a bizarre traverse through sparks of garbled noise undercut with melodies most likely spawned from an ogre’s wedding. If that doesn’t make sense then you are right on track. Hew Mun’s compositions could be reservedly called noise, but only in that they are supremely peculiar and, well, garbled. This isn’t however analogous to any hideous grind or dark drone. What sets Hew Mun’s brand of experimental music apart is its wonderful use of backwards melodies that seem to parade out of some alternate reality. It’s definitely a more hospitable noise if we must label it so at all. Hew Mun finds a lineage through similarly experimental noise-smiths that aren’t quite noise like Black Dice, Jan Jelinek and the earlier soundscapes of Animal Collective to name a few. Even with nods too these elder statesmen of weird, Hew Mun comes off as unique and humble. Munn, who is know to be reclusive shows on Scintillated Garble his meticulous attention to detail spreads throughout the album. The image of a boy in his room with a closet full of instruments seems to be overwhelming. Inject a few happy monsters into the mix out we have Scintillated Garble. With all the quaint simplicity and eccentricity of the album it is hard to convey how perfect this collection of songs is. Perhaps it is the charm of this inherent humility and certain innocence that drives Scintillated Garble beyond novelty and into the arena of essentiality. With every listen the album seems to snuggle closer and closer, becoming more familiar and warm while retaining its wonderful magic. It’s almost indefinable. Trying to handle it with words feels like carrying something immensely fragile and ultimately priceless. It is in this quaint and meek way that Hew Mun has created an intense classic that will become a treasure to those who embrace it. My favourite A. Star release yet and a certain fixture on my year end list.

-Mr. Thistle

Hew Mun on Virb