Tag Archives: demos

Jesy Fortino Self-Releases 5 Tiny Vipers…

Jesy Fortino, under the Tiny Vipers moniker, has been responsible for some of my favourite music in recent times. In fact, her second album – 2009’s Life on Earth – was not only my favourite release of the year, but it also was the first time I’ve ever been able to name one without any hestitation or endless self-debate. Thus, I was quite pleased to learn there were a few tracks I haven’t heard yet available to purchase via Bandcamp.

If you’re a Tiny Vipers fan in the league of wanting to have a copy of any and every song Jesy has been vaguely associated with, you won’t need any encouragement from me to go grab them post-haste as the tracks available you’ll be unlikely to find elsewhere, and you’ll certainly not be disappointed if you do so. There are three singles to purchase individually, as well as a two track EP containing parts 1 and 2 of of a song titled Blades of Grass, which is a home recorded ambient piece that was sent out on CDr to those who pre-ordered Life on Earth via Sub Pop. It’s easy enough to let the songs speak for themselves, so I’ll do just that. Here’s three of the five available tracks:

Another Day’s Sun features Colin Roper on backing vocals (a name I’ve not heard before, but a bit of swift research consisting of google and little else suggests he may be the same Colin who is ex-Cobra High and Loving Thunder. This is conjecture based purely on the fact that both bands were based in Seattle, as is Jesy).

Fell In A Well, according to the Bandcamp page, was originally recorded for Hands Across the Void but didn’t make the cut. The track does, however, feature on her first, self-titled release, which was pre-Hands… Whether or not they are the same version I can’t say, as that remains the only CD I’m yet to purchase. Places That No Longer Exist is a demo from Life On Earth, home recorded on 4-track, and again didn’t make the final cut for the album.

Fell In A Well would have been quite at home on Hands Across the Void, though I can see why it was left off – it is rather more like a b-side. It’s fairly clear the other two are still in demo form. Places That No Longer Exist is much quieter than the other two so I recommend the use of headphones to listen to that one. They are, however, unmistakebly Tiny Vipers’ tracks, very much in the realm of the Life on Earth (i.e. delicate, ethereal melodies and sparse guitar picking accompanied by that hypnotic voice, with the occasional chant and jangle). I’ve particularly favourited Another Day’s Sun, and hope to hear a fully realised version of that on album #3.

I have to defer comment on the Blades of Grass EP for the time being, as I haven’t purchased it yet. It is streamable, but with my current data usage limits I’m not keen on essentially using the same amount of bandwidth to listen and not actually have a copy afterwards. I can tell you that the two tracks run a total of around 40 minutes (which, coupled with the Sub Pop description of ‘ambient’, leads me to suspect they might be much in the same vein as the experimental music found on Empire Prism).

I’d say the release of these new/old tracks is aimed directly at existing fans – a little taster while we eagerly await the next studio album, plus the opportunity for those that missed out to get a copy of Blades of Grass. In that sense, they should tide you over quite nicely.

For the casual listener or simply curious, it’s a little less likely you’ll get further than a quick listen, so I think it would be mutually beneficial if I also directed your attention elsewhere – such as the wonderful Daytrotter session, a free download (albeit after a little registration and download manager rigamarole) of three songs from Life on Earth performed late last year – four when you take into account the first is a medley. A very good introduction to Tiny Vipers. I also highly recommend New Dawn Fades, a cover of the Joy Division song by The Sight Below, to which Jesy lent her vocal talents and manages to do that rare thing where it’s both true to the original and given a unique spin. Check it out in the video below, or just head straight to RCRD LBL and download it for free.



Rivulets – Original Demos EP Re-Released

Rivulets – d e m o s

I’m a pretty new to the music of Rivulets (AKA Nathan Amundson), having taken the opportunity to listen to the acoustic version of Stead (from 2002’s Thank You Reykjavik) just a few months ago. It was one of those songs that is so immediately easy to love and inspired the quest to hear more, but I’ve been taking my own sweet time about it. After a track here and there, Debridement finally became my first proper foray into the Rivulets catalogue – which is really quite wonderful and has been on high rotation the last couple of weeks.

Of course, it does further the desire to hear more, so alongside putting all current releases on my ever-growing ‘wish list’, I was happy to learn that not only was a new album planned for release in the near future, but that a recording of demos was recently made available to download via Silber Records, for the more than reasonable sum of US$5.00. (I’m also quite looking forward to the planned Stray Songs, which, according to a post on the Rivulets website, will be a complete collection of singles, compilation tracks and covers spanning 2000-2010).

Originally self-released in 2000 on CDr and containing four tracks, the  digital-only re-release of d e m o s has been expanded by an additional 6 tracks. Unfortunately for me, I’m not familiar with any of the later incarnations of these songs yet, so it’s impossible for me to get the same kind of insight from them that long-time fans might, but even without that history I can certainly appreciate them – some really nice, occasionally raw, work.

From the Silber Records website (for those a little more in the know than me ;)):

d e m o s” captures an era of Rivulets that hasn’t been documented elsewhere. During the first formative year of Rivulets, an important part of the band was bass player Jason Seckel, who’s minimal long sustained notes style can finally be heard for the first time by many fans. You get to hear early versions of songs like “Four Weeks” & “Past Life” along with unreleased songs like “Sick Love” & our personal favorite “Anyway.”

Visit here to go get your copy of d e m o s.

For my part, Rivulets is assuredly recommended for fans of softly spoken, highly charged acoustic slowcore – and quite likely to appeal to fans of Boduf Songs, Tiny Vipers, Jessica Bailiff (who has, I see, been a collaborator on a few projects) and Spokane.

Need more convincing? Watch, listen and ♥ this live performance of The Road.


The Band In Heaven – Free Demos


A while back I posted about Irish duo Low Sea, and if you dug that chances are highyou’ll find plenty to like in the 5-track demo by Florida’s the band in Heaven, who elsewhere have been likened to just about every staple shoegazer you can think of; for good enough reason, though… It’s not hard for bands like The Jesus and Mary Chain to spring to mind when you first take a listen – distant and dreamy female backing vocals, steady drive drenched in reverb, fuzz and distortion – on paper you might think it’s a recipe for heard it all before.

In practice, though, and garnished with some of psych, the songs offer plenty enough to stand on their own merit. Considering they’re 4 demos and one cover (CranberriesDreams), there’s definitely potential for these guys to become your new favourite dream-fuzz lo-fi noise-makers.

Check out Summer Bummer for proof, which would be my favourite track – there’s some neat psych-post-punk sounds layered in that one. Tagged as a ‘rough’ demo, but I like it pretty well fine as is.

All 5 tracks are currently on offer as a free download here.