Monday, October 31, 2011

Julia Holter - Tragedy

(Leaving Records, 2011)

The vinyl pressing of Tragedy disappeared in like ten seconds because those in the know knew Julia Holter is the for-real real deal and that her album--her debut full length--was/is pure awesomeness and so snatched that up like mad gold, because it's worth its weight, and me, I'm sitting here and I just stumble upon Tragedy and am like, "This is mad gold!" and swing over to Leaving Records and their like, "Nopes: all gone. But digital..." and I'm like, "Fer realz?" and they're like: "Yeah." and I'm adding my name to the long, hopefully growing longer list of peoples begging--on our knees begging--for a repress, because Tragedy has more depth, more sheer-blow-you-out-yr-chair wow-factor, more dynamic victories, more clairvoyant knowingness about what it really is that I have really been waiting to hear all year long, and then is all those things, forever; sign me up: Tragedy is kaleidoscope hymnals that needs to be had, held and heard by any and everyone with a discerning ear (I think that's more than 300--I could be wrong).

(Update: As of Halloween, the day this was originally posted, Leaving Records announced a repressing of Tragedy.  Pre-order here.)

Julia Holter - Try to Make Yourself a Work of Art
Julia Holter - Goddess Eyes

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Millipede - Realms

(Dead Pilot, 2011)

What I think about when I am listening to Realms:

Four heavy beasts, horned and tusked both—dark, gorgeous, mammoth-sized beasts—each roped around the neck and pulling, the four of them, an enormous coffin. The scene is painted over groggily in pre-dawn mist, the heavy breath of the beasts, pockets of ethereal fog and a long-tailed parade of torch flames held in the memorial convoy. The coffin drags laboriously, scoring the earth like a massive plow, grinding against the rocks and soil; a cacophony dirge in its wake. The kingly funeral procession of a darkened lord.

Realms is what it sounds like in the mourners' hearts. What's ringing in their ears. The appropriate requiem song.

Realms is also the third full-length album of Chattanooga guitar slayer, Joseph Davenport, AKA Millipede. His magnum opus. And, appropriately, (finally), his first album pressed to wax.

There has always been a certain sense of masochism present in the Millipede sound palette. A trenchant abrasiveness and acerbic pop that’s warded off weak-boned, weak-bodied, weak-eared listeners. (An otherworldly loudness.) Realms is similarly abrasive, but the sorrowful gorgeousness that has long been lurking beneath Davenport's mordantly slathered guitar is finally dawning in a way that makes Realms a perfect entry point into the Millipede sound-world.  But this isn't simply an entry point, Realms is it: the genuine article: a massive melting pot of beauty and ugly, perhaps the true nature of what it means to experience the deathlinks of life and come away with two lung-fulls of air and circulating heart.

Millipede - "Magma"

Stream the full album Here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lee Noble - Horrorism

(Bathetic Records, 2011)

If you're into ghosts, ghosting, dim lights, dim lamps, dim sunsets, general dimness; if you're into groggy hums, low humming, low flying birds flying upside-down and in reverse; if you're into extraterrestrial fog, extraterrestrial miasmas, extraterrestrial ghosts and ghosting, extraterrestrial ghost viscera hanging in the air, extraterrestrials; if you're into mottled surfaces: concrete, bird-wings, degraded metals, worn/faded cotton; if you like it when it's mid-afternoon and a slow moving darkness propagated by a hulking mass of clouds terminates your afternoon and sucks you into the loose-quilted fabrics of your favourite grandmotherly-stitched quilt, watching David Lynch movies with the volume low so that when the rain hits against the windows it infiltrates the scenes in the movie; if that's what you are inclined towards, you might be interested in Horrorism.

"Desire Isn't Suffering" Lee Noble from Bathetic Records.

Nigel Peake - In The Wild

(Princeton Architectural Press, 2011)

I've been drooling over this book for awhile, finally ponied up and purchased it, and it's better than I thought it would be.  Peake's meticulous inking and painting of what he terms "the middle of nowhere" in Ireland is pure gorgeousness.  I'm even a bit reluctant to gather up these images I've pulled from around the web.  They do not compare to seeing them on the page.  Peake composes each page perfectly and with stunning detail.  One of my very favourite working artists.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Colin Stetson - Those Who Didn't Run EP

(Constellation, 2011)

Colin Stetson pretty much owns 2011--musically speaking--evidenced by his breath-stealing (quite literally) full length LP, New History Warfare, Vol. 2.  And Those Who Didn't Run only strengthens that pwnership.    An EP-lengthed 10" (as opposed to LP-lengthed 10"?) equating to two ten-minute sides of heavy-surreal saxophone apocalypse, Those Who Didn't Run expands on everything that is good about New History Warfare.  Both sides offer a variation on Stetson's rhythmically mind-warping saxophone tones, pushing and pulsing into big gorgeous mechanized biologies: side A skewing a bit more industrial with flecks of magic realism, side B skewing a bit more ghostly with an ear for reckless abandon.  The bottom line is the material here is on par with any track from his New History Warfare, perhaps better, considering the space he allows for each composition to grow and mutate.  Colin Stetson is salvation.

Those who didn't run (excerpt) - COLIN STETSON by Constellation Records

Nomi Chi

Flower Man - Inversion Fortuite

(Monofonus Press, 2011)

Chris Bush, of the marvelous duo, Caboladies, is Flower Man in solo form.  And Inversion Fortuite, a one-sided 10" from Monofonus Press, is an almost-twelve-minutes composition of bizarro-beautiful skitter-scatter electronica from the able hands of Mr. Bush.  Interspersing various discourses, from string-like (or actually string-performed, I can't tell) grandeur to mumble-junk blippity to generally laser-guided skiwompusness, Inversion Fortuite is certainly worthy of anyone who has been blessed with ears for Caboladies.  At the same time,  this is also distinctively new, with Mr. Bush working things over from a different kind of logic.  Well worth your time.

Inversion Fortuite by Flower Man by Monofonus Press

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Thundercat - The Golden Age of Apocalypse

(Brainfeeder, 2011)

I think I'm listening to "Jamboree" off of Thundercat's debut, The Golden Age of Apocalypse, when Erin asks me:

"What's this fart music you're listening to?"

To which I respond:

"If this is fart music, than this is the awesomest fart party ever."

Later I think I'm listening to "Walkin'" when Erin says:

"This sounds like sexy space glitter."


"It feels like I should be seeing Levar Burton dancing in a glittery onesie when I listen to this."  (Photoshop gurus: your next assignment.)

"Does that mean you equate Levar Burton with sexiness?"


So anyway, obviously, you should be listening to this.

Thundercat - Daylight by BRAINFEEDER

Thundercat - For Love I Come by BRAINFEEDER

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Winged Victory for the Sullen

(Erased Tapes / Kranky, 2011)

I've been neglecting posts on Forest Gospel for a little bit, for a variety of reasons which equate, in general, to busyness.  But in addition, some sense of exhaustion and, being in a wholly new and largely unfamiliar place, depression.  Life doing what life is best at: overwhelming.  Not that it has been all bad, but certainly difficult.  So I can feel for, in some sense, the emotional weight of what is happening on A Winged Victory for the Sullen.  Not that my troubles compare in any tangible sense to those of Adam Wiltzie and Dustin O'Halloran, composing in the wake of their dual divorces, but it is a very human experience, this loneliness, and one that Wiltsie and O'Halloran are both well suited for, musically speaking (Wiltzie being one-half of Stars of the Lid and O'Halloran having a history composing minor key piano phrases).  Another somewhat depressing layer to this story, though more of a side note, is that Wiltzie and O'Halloran met backstage during the what became the final European tour of Sparklehorse.  So, yes, this is sad, beautiful music.  However, there is also something majestic at work here, something revitalizing and magical.  It's been preying on my weak-spiritedness but unlike Elliott Smith, I'm rejuvenated in the aftermath.  Strengthened somehow.  Which really speaks to something quite dynamic about what is happening here.  To the aspects of victory (the duo's name being quite a wonderful representation of the music).  So, this is vital music.  Vital in the sense that loneliness is simply a part of the human experience, and it is rare that something captures that loneliness so elegantly then takes efforts to sew wings onto its back.  Truly gorgeous in every sense.

A Winged Victory For The Sullen (album teaser) by erasedtapes

United Waters - Your First Ever River

(Arbitrary Signs, 2011)

Mouthus is among the more interesting and dynamic (and best) of our avant gardists (American or otherwise) so it's no surprise that Brian Sullivan's (Brian Sullivan being 1/2 of Mouthus) United Waters project is similarly compelling.  I remember a few years ago being taken aback by Sullivan's voice as it first emerged from the bristly cantankerous sound clutter Mouthus has been dealing in for years.  A deep, soothing voice that sounded almost shamanistic juxtaposing against the industrial muck.  That moment on Saw A Halo is still among my favourites from the Mouthus discography.  United Waters sees Sullivan continuing forward with that songwriting path, lending his voice to a shadowy mix of toppling DIY electronics.  Your First Ever River is not so divisively caustic as your standard Mouthus record, but still, Sullivan maintains a minor destructiveness in his aesthetic here with various moments that feel like an old swaying house on the verge of collapse.  Elsewhere, things are distinctively (to this listener) liquid, as if you are indeed floating down a first Godly attempt at river-making, the water filled with mud-clots and oils of various kinds, but still somehow inherently beautiful.  There is a beautiful chaos here that is quite unique to Sullivan and one well worth experiencing if for nothing else than to hear a truly distinctive artist. But rest assured, this is more than simply unique.

United Waters - "Platetectonics"

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Anna Wili Highfield

Michael Carson

Sandro Perri - Impossible Spaces

(Constellation Records, 2011)

It is both a pleasure and a frustration to be at a loss of words when trying to express properly the wonderful, magical turns of a nearly perfect album. A pleasure for hearing, for being a lover of music, for having unequivocally a new master work with which to sink into. A displeasure for the ways in which the music magnifies your inadequacies as a writer. Sandro Perri's Impossible Spaces is performing this bitter-sweetness on me.

Of course, for those operating outside of the hype machine, Impossible Spaces is simply a reprieve. An actual island where a listener can rest its ears and suck in the sweet goodness, relieved from the exhaustion of an industry clambering for the next big thing.

Sandro Perri likely is not the next big thing (not that he doesn't deserve to be). He's simply not young enough, for one. He's also not burrowed into the singularity of a strike-while-it's-hot genre explosion. Perri's been around for awhile now, operating in various capacities for a decade's time. Nope, they do not award 'next big thing' to individual's with Perri's CV.

That decade-length experience is well exhibited on Impossible Spaces as Perri's fluid, multi-layered songs cover a variety of sonic territory while maintaining a personality all its own.  Impossible Spaces is soul music.  Flush with breezy, muscle relaxing jams and more introspective, tenderly rapturous moments, the album feels to me like a more successful version of The Dirty Projector's Bitte Orca, or a more focused version of Skeleton's Money.  Comparisons though do Perri's work a disservice.  This is a singular record that demands its own space.  Here's hoping Perri finally gets his due.

Love & Light by Sandro Perri

Wesley Allsbrook

Monday, October 3, 2011

:::Notable North American Music:::

Crystal Swells - Goethe Head Soup

(Self released, 2011)

Brilliantly caustic garage rock with a tuneful, hook-laden heart.  Think Moonhearts, Pumice, The Hospitals.

Luke Temple - Don't Act Like You Don't Care

(Western Vinyl, 2011)

Erin and I have always loved Luke Temple's solo work (more so even than Here We Go Magic I think), so it's nice to see he hasn't abandoned it all together.  Don't Act Like You Don't Care definitely dips into country and folk, like Temple via Dylan.  It may sound unassuming on first listen, but the album has a lot more depth and listenability than it first lets on.  And of course, there's Luke Temple's voice...

Ophelia by Luke Temple by western.vinyl
Remote Islands - Days of Heaven

(Stunned, 2011)

This album is pure pop bliss.  Thanks to Crawford over at The Tome for directing me to Days of Heaven.  Really terrific stuff.