Category Archives: General Interest

Moving On…

But just before I do… I think it’s important for me to acknowledge that apart from the unfortunate comment (as discussed in my previous post), my communication with Contraphonic was completely polite and respectful.

Also, my bemusement over it should do nothing to stop anyone from checking out either Fringe, or any of Pillars And Tongues’ work for that matter. On that note, do yourself a favour and go check out Oaky (doting, in late summer), an alternate version of the track Oaky, which appears on The Pass and Crossings, plus an additional track. It’s a free download, so there’s no better opportunity to see for yourself what I’ve been raving about all this time (if you haven’t already).

In other news, I was a little saddened to read the other day that Her Name is Calla members Thom Corah and Michael Love have now left the band… Sad for me, mostly, as it means I’ll never get the chance to see HNIC live with the line-up as I came to know and love them – not that it was anything other than the faintest of possibilities anyway, but now there’s no possibility at all, so the sense of finality is doubly saddening.

In saying that, the most important thing to say is how glad I am to have discovered (for lack of a better word) their music when I did. The Quiet Lamb may be – as its name would suggest – a quiet achiever, in that not nearly enough people are aware of it, but (in my very humble opinion) it’s one of the greatest albums of the decade… So, Mike and Thom will be missed, but I’m sure their contribution both to HNIC, and music in general, will continue to be cherished and influence music for years to come. All the best for their future endeavours, and I guess this means changes are in store for Her Name is Calla, too. Looking forward to it.

I’ve nothing in the way of tribute, so I’ll let the music speak for itself. Here’s one of my favourite tracks from The Quiet Lamb. I never get tired of listening to this, or any of the other tracks on the album.

PS – There’s just 7 days left on their Indie GoGo campaign.

And now for some good news… My favourite Aussie band, Adrift For Days, are heading back to the studio to record the follow-up to The Lunar Maria, with a prospective release date early 2012; which makes me all kinds of happy. The Lunar Maria is a name-your-price download over at Bandcamp, with a limited edition CD version also available, so go check that out while I wait impatiently for album #2.



In Passing, In Hindsight & In Need

Here’s another mixed bag of a post, in order to serve as a quick catch/heads up on some recent releases of note. In alphabetical order…

Birds of Passage and Leonardo Rosado – Dear and Unfamiliar

Currently up for pre-order from Denovali, with two streamable tracks. I was quite taken with BOP’s album, Without The World, so hopefully will be able to check this out before too long.

Blueneck – Repetitions

I’m not sure I’ve ever mentioned Blueneck here on S4E, and if not… Shame on me! They’re wonderful, and I currently have this album pretty high up on my want list. You can stream three tracks over at Denovali, where you can also buy the album in all the usual formats.

Evan Hydzik – Fringe

In case you aren’t aware of my Pillars and Tongues obsession (and that would be a reference to the band of that name, by the way), it’s enough to inspire immediate purchase of just about anything musical and vaguely associated with them, including this very intriguing release. At least, it would be if I could purchase it. I did go and have a listen, though, albeit via the following all too brief YouTube clip. You may be able to purchase it from Contraphonic, if they like you or something.

Lozninger – Moving Targets

If you didn’t listen to me (or Lozninger) last time, tsk! But at least you get the chance to hear something for the first time here and now. Moving Targets is currently available for pre-order, to be released 17th October in a limited run of hand packaged CDs (which, if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to make sure to check out, as the packaging sounds just as lovely as the music). Two tracks are currently streaming on Bandcamp, once you’ve taken a few moments to listen to those, head over to the Like A Snake EP and grab the three tracks which are still available as a free download.

Weikie – I Am The Tin Man

More solo artistry stuff, this time with Her Name Is Calla member otherwise known as Adam Weikert (or so I assume, going by the pseudonym. Could be a ruse, or diversionary tactic, but Sophie Green is ruled out based on the fact she’s credited with the [always awesome] violin noises, and sounds a bit different on the occasions she’s contributed vocals). Folky, and banjo-y, occasionally bringing The Tallest Man On Earth to mind. Buy the two tracks currently available on Bandcamp (and yes, I said buy – pretty sure the money raised is going to charity).

Those very worthwhile releases aside, I’m back to working on a couple of new [proper-like] reviews, which’ll be appearing over at [sic] sometime soon. Two Hands & Anomie continues well… (quite guiltily not much thanks to me). Also, as soon as I get the chance, I’ll be grabbing a copy of Tori Amos’ latest release, Night of Hunters. I’ve heard some really positive feedback on this, so looking forward to giving it a listen and maybe putting some thoughts on up here.


Things Of Interest

Just a quick note to update a few things…

First, the good people at [sic] Magazine recently posted an interview with yours truly about the Two Hands label; which you can read here if you want to know some of the reasons behind the decision to launch the label and what our goals are. Much thanks goes to [sic], and Rob Gannon for that.

Second, you know I love Her Name is Calla, and while I don’t have a ghost of a chance to see them live any time soon, I’ll be pledging my support for their tour campaign currently being run via Indie GoGo so’s I can at least nab one of the postable perks. Check ’em out, discover an awesome band (if you haven’t already), and drive me mad with jealousy if you go see one of their shows.

Last, a recommendation I should have made already… Back in March 2009, I picked up the rather good Daytrotter Session by Golden Ghost. It took me a while, but I recently bought the album the session songs came from. RIYL Dark Dark Dark, Lotte Kestner, The Sandwiches, Bad Braids, Tiny Vipers.


What I’ve Been Up To & What I’ve Been Getting Down To

Ok, so I didn’t die from my cold, but dear lord I wish I could curl up into a ball and sleep for a month right now! What are the chances that four weeks later – almost to the day – I instead get a nasty case of the flu? The kind that impacts every little muscle and – while it may be TMI – makes you want to cry when something remotely sentimental comes on the TV, like ads for dishwashing detergent.

Bleh, that’ll teach me to think I can survive on four hours sleep a night and still get everything done, like my hero here:

But instead, I see Jane finally achieved that freshness and sparkle she’s always longed for, and I’m all

like Timmy fell down the well again.

Ok, so that’s an exaggeration (promise – I’ll only get teary if there’s exotic scents involved, not your stock-standard pine or lemon).

While I’ve got the chance, though, and an excuse for being slightly sentimental, I want to thank each and every person that’s given Two Hands and our first release some attention, and – in a lot of cases – exchanging their hard-earned for the album. Bless your hearts, you’re awesome.

I’ll be updating the THM blog in the next couple of days with all the new features and reviews. Also, keep an eye out at [sic] for a label focus piece some time in the near future.

Meanwhile, and though I know I said I wouldn’t do this, here’s what’s been taking up most of my time and attention – most of which are still unfinished because I forgot this stuff is actually work.

But on to the actual important stuff – what I’ve been listening to…

Anyone who reads [sic] will know I took a bit of a liking to the album Gallantry’s Favorite Son by Scott Matthew recently – really, go check this music out. It’s just lovely.

Last year, Crippled Black Phoenix’s I, Vigilante was one of my favourites, though it was edged out of my top ten at the last minute… Recently, I finally caught up with more than just a sampling of tracks (some b-side type stuff available on Bandcamp) and actually bought the Resurrectionists & Night Raiders box set (an expanded version of 2009’s 200 Tons of Bad Luck). Like I, Vigilante, I can’t say I’m enamoured with every single song on this massive 2-CD set, but really… Who needs to be when the songs I dig are so bloody good!?

If you haven’t listened to them before, give the opener – Burnt Reynolds – your full attention.


Good News! I Didn’t Die…

I missed last month’s swag post, and the opportunity to talk about a whole bunch of things, while I’ve been quietly working on a few other things and establishing my online store. That’s rather by the by, though, so we’ll skip the most of it and head straight on in to a few of the things I should have already brought to your attention…

First up, the awesome things happening over at mini50 Records…

Do yourself a favour and go grab the free digital single of Like A Snake (with two bonus non-album tracks) by Lozninger.

Secondly, you know how sometimes all you have to do is listen to a short snippet from something and you immediately know you have to have the whole album? Well, most of the time that’s awesome, but it sucks when everyone else has the same reaction and gets in before you do, meaning the album in question is sold out before you can even blink.

I’m talking about Lost Again On Waking by Glacis, written by Euan McMeeken (from over at TheSteinbergPrinciple) and performed by Euan and James Scott (from the fabulous Conquering Animal Sound/Japanese War Effort), and the rather stunning physical version available for about 5 seconds from Fluid Audio. The CD copies included photography by Heidi Kuisma and looked absolutely lovely, so very disappointing to not have been able to get a copy.

Of course, it was listening to the music that made me want it in the first place, which is available to download from Bandcamp for a modest £3.

Some absolutely beautiful work – with or without the packaging.

Lastly, I found out quite recently that the anticipated new album by Rachael Yamagata has a campaign being run via Pledge Music. She’s (quite understandably) hit nearly 150% of her target already, but the campaign still has about three months left before it closes to pledges. Most of the limited items have been snapped up, but still worthy of a pledge just for the album. Very much looking forward to hearing this one – Elephants…Teeth Sinking Into Heart is brilliant. Go pledge for the new one here.

Take a listen to one of my favourites, Horizon. I played this to death about two years ago – simply stunning.


Some Late Night Rambling

I googled my symptoms and I'm on schedule to look like this within 36 hours; only with a much redder nose

I’m shaking my fist at circumstance right now. For some reason, I’ve developed a habit of timing things so that whatever I want to do is inevitably impeded by minor inconveniences. A classic example of this is that there are never any cars on the road unless I need to cross it.

I’m now in a rather curmudgeonly mood, having come down with a cold right at the start of the weekend (also a tad delirious, so may go off on random tangents slightly more than usual – on both those notes, if you’re one of “those people” that spits in the street, stop it. It’s the worst habit ever).

I rarely get sick, and to do so now is just another example of one of those poorly timed events, as I’ve decided to turn one of my occasional hobbies into a proper business-like thing and open a shop…on Monday, with a whole bunch of work to do this weekend. (Don’t worry, I’m not going to start advertising my junk here. Unless I make something really awesome. I used to make these hand-embossed aluminium sculptures and a few other crafty things, then sell them at markets; I always wanted to make a massive aluminium dragon but even the little things cut up my hands pretty good, mostly because whenever I try to do anything even remotely artistic I’m impatient to the point of careless and tend to have to keep things simple to avoid ruining moderately decent efforts. Or, in the case of a large-scale project like the dragon, bleed to death before it’s finished).

Anyway, I’m going to have to resist the temptation to yammer on about some important stuff – some of them music-related, some of them rather not – and just mention a couple of quick things that I can’t get too distracted with or indulgent about, lest my slightly-more-than-usual incoherence leads to some place weird.

Two Hands Music now has one of those Facebook pages you can like n’ stuff, which you can find here. I’m all on my lonesome there at the moment, and while it’s making me feel sufficiently hipster-ish with the obscurity of it all, I suspect the novelty of that will wear off sometime soon. It’ll probably be the best way to keep somewhat up to date with the happenings of the label, in a totally non-spam way. Promise.

And to sign off, here’s a track from a recent favourite album that I’ll probably never quite manage to give its proper dues – the rather brilliant Sistar from Kyü’s self-titled debut (released 2010 – check them out, more than worth the effort).


News & Blues

Just before I resume regular “Official Duites” here, I wanted to take a quick moment to post about… Well, a variety of different things.

First, a big thanks to those who have checked out Two Hands and our first release, the support means a lot!

Second, as a fan of Bandcamp, I was really pleased to see their latest announcement about the addition of an integrated shopping cart. While that may sound like a rather small, inconsequential thing, just from a buyer point of view I can see that will come in very handy – no longer will I need to go through separate transactions on the odd occasion I buy more than one thing. For artists and labels, it means receiving one transaction for multiple purchases, which will cut down on a few assocaited fees¹; so kudos to Bandcamp for this development. I firmly believe these kinds of continual improvements are ensuring Bandcamp is the premier place for online music distribution.

The only feature I’d really like to see them implement now is the ability to purchase a download as a gift for someone else, which I have wanted to do a couple of times and was a feature available on the now defunct Amie Steet. (I think that might be particularly useful to those using Bandcamp as a fundraising platform, especially so if the pricing format is a flat rate rather than ‘X-or-more’, which makes every purchase count). I realise there are “workarounds”, but a few times I’ve purchased an album and thought someone else would really enjoy it afterwards – being able to make a purchased download exclusively available to someone other than the purchaser would be awesome.

In other news, along with a few really awesome releases that I need to talk about very soon – Wreck And Refernce’s rather good Black Cassette being one of them – I’ve been listening to quite a bit of old blues music lately – mostly the stuff that falls under Delta, electric, folk and harmonica blues, so artists like Little Walter, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Sonny Boy Williamson (II), Howlin Wolf and Son House et al, have been getting quite a bit of attention.

I’m not going to launch into a full-on post about the music, it’s history or why it’s attracted my attention lately, but just because I can, I’m going to post Glory Be by Lightnin’ Hopkins, a track that’s really just brilliant.


1. This actually depends on how individual transactions are processed; which I don’t have any definite insight to as yet. However, I do assume that as each purchase is individually processed via PayPal, each transaction would attract the base fee from PayPal; which in Oz is 30¢ for each one – not much, but it’d add up to a fair portion of any profit under certain circumstances.

Image: Blues by Bénédicte Mackengle