Reviews

Artist
Label
Release Date
12 Jul 19

Seven years have now passed since the release of Imperial Teen's massively under-valued Feel the Sound album. That record was one of my favourites from that year, a textbook example of contemporary pop, and one which seemed to puncture the bubble of gloomy indie and rock which was the zeitgeist. They've finally returned with a new album, Now We Are Timeless, which firmly re-establishes them as trail blazers of this intelligent, but fun electro sound.

Label
Release Date
28 Jun 19

Ivan The Tolerable has traditionally been a thoroughly singular DIY project for Teesside musician Oli Heffernan. In recent years we've seen a gradual shift towards a fuller, more refined sound, getting friends on board to provide instrumentation and also relinquishing some production and mixing duties. Last year's Autodidact and Le Monde Inverse are a million miles away from the early tapes and EPs, for example.

Artist
Release Date
28 Jun 19

Molly are a duo based in Innsbruck, Austria comprising Lars Andersson on guitars and Phillip Dornauer on drums. But this isn't your standard raucous guitar-drums indie garage duo, Molly are more akin to the sweeping densely populated sounds of Explosions in the Sky or Sigur Rós. Occasionally toning things down a notch to Slowcore territoty. Put it this way, everything is slow and that ain't no bad thing.

Release Date
21 Jun 19

Stanley Brinks is the the sort of artist that just can't stop himself from releasing stuff. This could also be said of The Wave Pictures, to a slightly lesser extent. I think it's unwise to try and pin a number on this latest episode in the Brinks mega saga, but suffice to say he's released over 100 in various guises over the years (putting The Wave Pictures' impressive tally in the shade).

Artist
Label
Release Date
14 Jun 19

It's been six years since Bill Callahan released Dream River, an album which, like pretty much all Bill Callahan / Smog records, has aged nothing but gracefully. Now he's back with a new collection called Shepherd In A Sheepskin Vest which contains a whopping 20 tracks. You can only really get away with a title and duration like that if you've earned a fair bit of good will, and Drag City know that they can trust this fella to deliver the goods.

Artist
Label
Release Date
07 Jun 19

Earthen Sea is the recording alias of Jacob Long, a producer from New York, and Grass and Trees is his second album for Kranky records. His first, the well received An Act of Love, mixed electro beats with more abstract soundscapes. The inspiration for this one was to create simple, restrained music to contrast with the hectic city where he lives, so the music is quieter and sparser in comparison, removing most of the dance elements in favour of more ambient, thoughtful compositions.

Artist
Label
Release Date
10 May 19

Tim Hecker’s tenth Anoyo album sees him moving into calmer, more organic sounding territory. Miles apart from the icy electronica of Love Streams or the swirling intense minimalism of Ravedeath, 1972. And even though this album is drawn from the same sessions as his last album Konoyo (recorded with members of a Japanese classical ensemble called Tokyo Gakuso), it's quite different to that too. Presumably these are the tracks that didn't fit with the particular feel of that record which seemed far more direct, or "in your face".

Artist
Release Date
10 May 19

Live at Kulak’s Woodshed was recorded in a "bizarre and enchanting studio space in Valley Village" around the time of the release of Cloud's last album Plays With Fire. When you first listen to this album, you may wonder why Tyler Taormina is so intent on telling the audience that the upcoming set was designed for a standing audience, rather than the seated one he's been presented with. You may even wonder why the 41 second spoken intro has been included on this album (which only has 6 tracks in total). It all becomes pretty clear once you get to around about the track 3 mark though.

Artist
Release Date
03 May 19

Useless Coordinates is the debut album from Drahla (comprising of Luciel Brown, Rob Riggs and Mike Ainsley) which was recorded over just ten days in between a frantic touring schedule in 2018. It's dark and industrial right from the outset, utilising harsh, angular guitar sounds, discordant melodies and unusual rhythmic flows alongside more traditional punk and rock elements to create something that's both challenging and familiar. It can be harsh and desolate but with enough pumping rhythm to get you moving, should the mood take you (think Spectres with a bit more bounce).

Label
Release Date
26 Apr 19

Designer is the third album from New Zealand musician Aldous Harding. Its modus operandi seems to be beautiful, mellow arrangements over a bare bones - but cool and funky rhythm section (think 1960s French funk-rock a la Serge Gainsbourg / Jean Claude Vannier). It's a spotless mix of surreal pop and (mostly) sad, stripped back introspection, the only real constant being the ultra slow tempo. These lush compositions bring to mind a host of artists and genres over the nine songs.