Category Archives: Recommendations

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.

S4E


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.

S4E


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.

S4E


A Bit (And A Half)

It's probably best you don't ask how I wound up putting this picture in this post

Ever on schedule am I… Most everyone has already taken an eye to the music of 2011 thus far, so there’s not a great deal left for me to do but nod in agreement, wonder why I never heard the most lauded¹, and/or troll old threads demanding to know why no one is giving kudos to my favoured releases.

So let’s pretend I’ve done all that, and move on to something more interesting. At least to me.

At the end of last year, I posted my personal favourites of 2010, and included a list of releases I was most looking forward to, as well as a couple of artists I had my fingers crossed for new material. So far, 2½ out of 8 have granted my wish.

First up was Inga Liljeström with the album Black Crow Jane (the first since Elk back in 2005), and a little birdie tells me that yet another album’s worth of material has been recorded, to be released possibly late 2011 or early 2012 (I think-hope). So that’s one, and since I already wrote about it, we’ll move on.

One of the other artists on my “wish list” was My Brightest Diamond. While since A Thousand Shark’s Teeth Shara’s been directly involved in a number of collaborations, guest appearances and so on, (not to mention having a baby), the thought of a new MBD album puts a little extra skip in my step – All Things Will Unwind was announced quite recently, and with a track currently available to download for free via Bandcamp. (Album due October).

The half is for the continuing promise of an album by Joseph Childress. I said most of the important stuff last year, but if you can’t remember back that far (or never read through to the end of the fairly gargantuan “book”, I don’t just want an album by Joseph Childress, I’m quietly disappointed every day there isn’t one.

The recent discovery of this track on Bandcamp – from a compilation featuring 14 San Franciscan artists, out on City Limits Records – will suffice. For now.

Of the albums I was most looking forward to… I’ve ended up with a grand total of 3 out of 11.

PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake was the first, and though I did once attempt to mention something or other about it here, I daresay there’s not a whole heap I can put out there that hasn’t already been said in one form or another. Do I like it? Aye; there’s even a couple of tracks I’m quite fond of. Favourite PJ Harvey album ever? Nah.

Second was Pillars And Tongues’ recent release, The Pass And Crossings. Ok, so technically it’s not out yet, and owing to a error at the pressing plant, the release date has been delayed, but them’s the perks of my job… (That’s not quite true. I can count on one hand the number of labels I’ve specifically contacted in the hopes of acquiring certain releases. For review purposes, of course, and Endless Nest is one of them. I did indeed gush over review this (on [sic]), so I don’t think there’s much more that I can say.

Last was Giles Corey. I’m still processing this one – I read the accompanying book during the first listen, opened my notepad and jotted down the word “imprisonment” – eventually I’ll (re-)twig exactly why, and I’ll come back and explain. In case it’s not clear, though, this is a recommended release.

So, that’s my recap – if you can really call it that. Though it’s a pretty narrow selection of the music I’ve been digging this year (or am yet to), it’s been more difficult (and expensive!) than ever keeping up with as much of the awesome music being released as I can. Don’t pay any attention to anyone who’s saying this year hasn’t delivered – go and pay some attention to music instead.

S4E

1. I don’t actually need to wonder why – it’s because I’m rarely interested.


June’s Swag: Free (& Legal) Music Downloads

Ok, I’m hideously behind on posts here, so this month (well, last month, actually) gets the cuckoo clock bag.

Don’t forget about Denovali’s new MP3 store, either, with 17 different releases available for free.

Damn Robot! – Hunang Skrímsli
Electronic/Ambient | 78MB – 320 kbps MP3s
I reviewed this a short while ago on [sic], but if you missed that all you need to know is that this low-key release combines elements of ambient electronica, trip hop and post rock, resulting in a lovely album that is both soothing mood music and an energised listen.

Battle Pope – Pantless Carnage EP
Punk/Thrash/Grind | 27MB – 320 kbps MP3s
Featuring members from Aussie bands Adrift For Days, Serious Beak, Kill A Celebrity and Ebolie, and probably not recommended for taking along to your Sunday School Social – unless you feel like being forcefully baptised in whatever they find handy (holy water, fire…) Also, whenever I play this, I pretend there’s only five tracks; I did listen to about a minute of the last track, once.

Balmorhea – Daytrotter Session
Acoustic/Instrumental| 13MB 128 kbps MP3
The second session from Austin’s 6-piece instrumental group, and a highly recommended one at that. Quite a bit more energetic than the last session – which was quite mellow and folky, this probably falls somewhere between The Monroe Transfer and GY!BE. You can grab them here.

Beko / Skrot Up – Compilation
Experimental/Lo-Fi | 116MB – 320 kbps MP3s
One of the best labels (Skrot Up) around for lo-fi, experimental indie music, teamed up with digital singles label Beko for this free compilation. Featuring 12 tracks by different artists and described as “slowed down dirges, strange sounds, punchy beats, 8-bit manifestos, prolonged explorations of lateral thinking (that sounds familiar!), synth creepers, warped pop, syrupy industrial and weird metallic clatter.”

Look for this cover on the site:

ATP I’ll Be Your Mirror London Mixtape
Almost two hours in duration, this mixtape is exactly what the title suggests and features artists such as GY!BE, Portishead, Swans, PJ Harvey, Grinderman plus a whole bunch of others. You can download it from the player below, or check here for more info.

Bat For Lashes – 10 Best Cover Songs
Another collection, ranked and offered via Stereogum, this time it’s (mostly) a bunch of lo-fi live recordings, with BFL covering The Cure (twice), Radiohead, Depeche Mode, et al. Sound quality etc is variable, but worth the downloads for fans. Go grab them here. (If you check it out, you might notice a link in the comments section to SVELTA’s version of Horse And I – another free download, and worth following up).

Fear And Loathing
Punk/Rock | 13MB – 128 kbps MP3s
These guys have been stalwarts of the Adelaide scene for a long time (I still have my F&L “Beer Fat is Good Fat” stubby holder, bought circa 1994). You can get three tracks via JJJ’s Unearthed site – go get edumacated.

S4E


T E Morris – An Ocean Is Enough To Love

It’s been about a whole five minutes since I’ve mentioned something to do with Her Name Is Calla, so I was sitting here thinking something wasn’t quite right…

Just for anyone out there who hasn’t caught this yet, An Ocean is Enought to Love is the new EP from Calla member Tom Morris (under the moniker T E Morris), with five acoustic tracks, including the lovely duet (with daughter Edie), Thumper.

I haven’t read any reviews for this, nor am I going to write one – I just listened. And, as always, so should you. 😉

You can purchase one of 300 CD copies here (availability is starting to look a little on the low side), or download a digital copy from Bandcamp (dates for the imminent solo tour are also up on the Bandcamp page).

S4E


Pillars and Tongues: The Pass and Crossings Track Preview

Sometimes, I sit at my desk for a long time. I listen to music and carefully consider what to say about it. Other times I know exactly what to say, or decide to be swift and reckless, applying no filters to what is written. For this, I thought it best I do both.

Pillars and Tongues are magic.

The Making Graceful is from the forthcoming album The Pass and Crossings, due towards the end of June through the wonderful Endless Nest.

A proper review is to come, but in the meantime you can listen to that song, and I can consider just how exactly I will be able to put into words something that is already distilled darn-near perfectly in its own language.

Then we’ll wait until the end of June.

S4E