Browsing All posts tagged under »indie rock«

Various Artists – Singles and EPs

December 15, 2015

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Richard Wileman seems to be going through a particularly fertile patch of late, putting out releases somewhat faster than I can write about them (and the day he puts out something I don’t write about will be a long time coming). After the vigorous collaborative chops-fest (I simplify unfairly) of Strange Relations comes this short programmatic piece depicting the eventual collision of the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies. Wileman predicts a cooler, calmer and altogether more pastoral event than sprang immediately to my thoughts, although the vast and oblique affective compass of his alternately gelid and cosy …

Dropout Patrol – Sunny Hill (art-pop)

November 9, 2015

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‘Literate’ is a term that some might use to characterise Dropout Patrol, and ‘erudite’ is another: neither is really up to the task. Sunny Hill is not a literate record in the sense of being wordy, or more concerned with meaning than feeling, and neither is its erudition of the obvious sort, presenting a succession of clever references or flash musical competencies. But this is a band that knows its language, that has schooled itself in the ways that sounds and stylistic tropes signify, presenting its insights with precision and nuance. There is never any possibility of substitution or paraphrase in the exact…

Ashley Reaks – Before Koresh (avant-rock)

October 8, 2015

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Ashley Reaks speaks from outside. His work is most obviously ‘outsider art’ if you look at his visual work, rather than his music: his collage-based pieces, deliberately ugly as they are (although they are often richly and decoratively patterned), with their disturbing, and frequently sexually explicit iconography, position themselves unequivocally away from the mainstream, far from the clean white gallery wall (metaphorically, at least – I have no idea what his shows look like!). Aside from the fact that he uses his own work as cover art, Reaks does not refuse socially conventional framing devices for his music in …

Various Artists – Singles and EPs

September 14, 2015

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The Stringers are a four-piece from Ontario, that plays rock music of the old school – which doesn’t mean that it’s ‘old-fashioned’, but that it’s pop music, god dammit! This is entertainment, with no pretensions to any kind of creative territory beyond that compass; all too often that can imply some kind of highly manufactured, overly polished and self-consciously vapid ‘product’, but this is all about melodies, grooves and the raw sound of musicians making it happen together. Crisp, tight performances are represented in an immediate, close-quarters production, through arrangements that evince a good understanding …

Deerhoof – La Isla Bonita (avant-pop)

March 21, 2015

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There are many ways to do anything. There are musicians that spend their entire career mining one small patch of stylistic territory, exhaustively plotting its possibilities, immersing themselves in its world, refining its vocabulary until their creative utterances are as idiomatic as the language of everyday life. Then there are those that reinvent themselves continually. Both approaches are equally valid (as if I was in any way qualified to tell anyone whether or not their work was valid!), and as far as I can tell, both are equally fertile. I know of many artists, especially in genres like jazz and folk, where great store is …

Various Artists – Album Roundup

November 27, 2014

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This is a selection of records that I’d like to review, but for one reason or another, it’s not going to happen. Some (in fact most) of them just didn’t quite make the cut, in light of the extremely high standard and preponderance of physical submissions I get now (these were all received as digital submissions). Others have just been sitting in the queue for too long for a review to be meaningful now, with their release dates receding behind us into historical time… All of them are well worth listening to however, although I do appreciate that most people reading this won’t have tastes quite …

Various Artists – Album Roundup

September 25, 2014

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Mark Harrison and his very capable band (whose members include the extremely talented duo Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker) play a curiously English take on American roots music. Their stylistic materials mine the cracks between country blues and old time country music, continuing a UK tradition that began with skiffle and was nourished by the likes of Ramblin’ Jack Elliot and the pop-jug-band sounds of Canned Heat. There’s a sense when listening to American performers in such styles, particularly the older ones, that they are singing from beneath a heavy encrustation of …