Tag Archives: Pillars And Tongues

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

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Some People Just Don’t Want Your Money

It’s unfortunate that I feel compelled to make this post; unfortunate for whom I haven’t worked out just yet – which may or may not make the idea a good one, but I’m not too concerned about that right now.

If you read my last post, you’ll have noticed a recommendation for Fringe by Evan Hydzik, one that was based purely on my sincere love of Pillars And Tongues, plus the brief video. I’m still yet to be able to listen to the release in full, and it would now appear that I never will. Which saddens me greatly.

I don’t seem to have much luck when it comes to certain releases by this band, and now associated member’s solo stuff… Long-term readers may recall that last year, I broke my “no cassettes, ever” rule by purchasing More Sun. I never received that cassette, unfortunately. Which was kinda ok, at least in the beginning, as I know stuff can go wrong in all sorts of ways. What wasn’t ok was that I never received a response from the label. I would have been happy just to have the download code, but I didn’t even get that. Thankfully, Pillars And Tongues released the track via Bandcamp, enabling me to purchase the song eventually.

Not the point, though it is most definitely worth mentioning that both my communication and transactions with Endless Nest/Empty Cellar (responsible for last year’s Lay Of Pilgrim’s Park and this year’s The Pass and Crossings), have never been anything less than friendly and successful (respectively).

The point is, despite several attempts, I could not get the checkout process to work over at Contraphonic so that I could buy the MP3s. In the end, I sent an email to their general enquiries address, which was brief but contained as much detail as I thought relevant, as I figured it might help troubleshoot the problem.

I sent the email on the 19th of September, which (as you may be able to see) was a week before I posted the recommendation for the release, and at that stage I had not received a response.

I wasn’t prepared to give up, though, as I really did (do) want to hear the music. So, on the 8th of October (more than two weeks after my initial enquiry), I looked up the Facebook fan page for Contraphonic and posted a comment/enquiry. They’ve deleted it, so you won’t find it there anymore, but  asked them if they checked their emails, and if not was there any way possible they could allow me to purchase Fringe, and if they did check their emails, I guess I’ll take that as a no.

The post was tongue in cheek, but most definitely borne from frustration. I had been trying to purchase the music for more than three weeks, and had my initial enquiry ignored. And quite frankly, I see nothing rude about it.

Today, 10th of September, I finally received a reply to my initial email. The message was actually quite polite, and offered me a solution to the problem. Fantastic, I thought. Can’t wait to hear it…

Then I saw this underneath the much more polite message:

I’m quite sure I wasn’t meant to see that, and if I hadn’t, I would have happily gone ahead with the purchase being none the wiser of the merchant’s rather low opinion of me… But I did see it.

I guess what I want to know, is why sending one email enquiry, then following it up once a couple of weeks later in order to be able to a) send this company money, and b) receive a music release I very much want to hear, qualifies me as such? What am I supposed to do when I haven’t received a response to an enquiry, and thus have no way of knowing if it’s being ignored on purpose or whether or not it was received? Of course I’ll look for another way to try and make contact if the first avenue didn’t work. So, it would seem this is what at least one representative of Contraphonic will think of you if you dare make two attempts at trying to communicate and purchase from them.

I may be able to understand the attitude if I was rude, or had been sending emails daily or something, but I didn’t do either. Long-term readers may also remember that this is a label I have attempted to both support and promote in the past. I obviously didn’t make a difference, so I guess it’s neither here nor there anyway.

What’s disheartening the most, in all honesty, is that at the moment, stuff like this is something I can barely make allowances for (in terms of purchasing ‘luxury’ items, that is), but I do so because I respect the artists and labels that work so damn hard to put their stuff out there for what is often very little return. Right now, I’m working unbelievably hard just to get that US$8.99 to spare for something like this. I do not steal music, no matter how much I want it and no matter how little $’s I have to spare.

Never mind. There are other releases currently available that I will be happy to purchase instead. From labels whose owners and representatives have been exceedingly kind, gracious and generous in the music they have shared with me.

I don’t know, perhaps you think I’m just being whiny over being called names, I’ve certainly been called worse! Tell me what you think, would you have still bought the music in the same circumstances, or would some unknown stranger’s opinion of you bother you enough to prevent you from acquiring something you really wanted? As an online retailer myself, I would never a) let a customer’s enquiry go unanswered for longer than 12 hours, and b) think any less of them if I did ignore them and they sought other means to try and communicate with me, but obviously other’s have different ideas.

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


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.


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


March’s Swag – Free (& Legal) Music Downloads

 

This month swag - small, but sweet

I haven’t had a great deal of time to actively look for these this month, plus there were a few too good to wait for along the way, so new pickings are a little slim for this post. To make up for it there’s a couple of extra older downloads you may have missed out on that are more than worth your time and bandwidth. And to recap those previously mentioned, don’t forget about these:

Plus…

Pillars And Tongues Live at 2640
Folk/Drone | 118MB – 320 kbps MP3
This makes the third free P&T download in the last few weeks – which is fine by me, I can’t get enough of these guys. It’s apparently a bootleg recording of a live show, offered in one 51:30 minute MP3 (or other formats available via Bandcamp). While I can’t really call a bootleg legal, I only know about it because P&T posted the link on their Facebook profile, thus at least condoning it if not outright supporting it¹. Therefore, I do too. Download it here.

 

Eels Trilogy EP
Rock/Folk | 24MB – 320 kbps MP3s
A sampler to celebrate the upcoming tour, containing one track each from the albums Hombre Lobo (Fresh Blood), End Times (A Line In The Dirt) and Tomorrow Morning (I Like The Way This Is Going). Good for anyone who has ever wondered if they’d dig the Eels but haven’t done anything about it before. Free in exchange for your email – download it here.

 

Snake Rattle Rattle Snake – March 4th (Daytrotter)
Rock/Post-Punk | 20MB – 128 kbps Mp3s
Great session from the female-fronted Denver band, slight pub rock feel mixed with post-punk – reminded me at times of The Cure, in their slightly rockier moments. Download it here.

 

 

My Brightest Diamond – Shark Demos
Folk/Rock/Chamber/Acoustic | 54MB – 320 kbps MP3s
Released initially as a bonus for those that pre-ordered A Thousand Shark’s Teeth, then made available to everyone just prior to Christmas 2009. 6 tracks in total of demos and outtakes, including an unreleased song called Music Box. Worth it just for the demo of one of my favourite MBD tracks, To Pluto’s Moon. Available via Asthmatic Kitty.

 

Mount Eerie – Seven New Songs of Mount Eerie
Lo-Fi/Rock | 34MB – 192 kbps MP3s
Originally released as a limited quantity CDr and sold during a 2004 Australian tour, now free  to all and a good way to introduce yourself to the awesomeness of Mount Eerie. Available from Internet Archive.

 

Natural Snow Buildings – The Centauri Agent
Folk/Psychedelic/Drone/Experimental | 193MB – 256 kbps MP3s
A double album released by community label Vulpiano Records, available in FLAC or Mp3 format. Usually, venturing into the weird and wonderful world of NSB isn’t all together easy, as official physical releases tend to be in rather small quantities, and it can be a little daunting owing to the sheer scope of some of them, but well worth it. Download it here.

 

S4E

1. This is, of course, based on the presumption that P&T members maintain that page. Happy to remove this link if the download is not sanctioned by the band.


Pillars And Tongues Daytrotter Session (3rd March, 2011)

I had something of a full circle moment the other day when I saw Pillars And Tongues had a new Daytrotter Session available (recorded back in Spetember last year, available to download March 3rd).

I had not long discovered Daytrotter when I took a quick listen to their debut session from February, 2009. Back then I was intrigued just enough to bookmark it, promising myself I’d come back later and take a proper listen. It took me a few weeks to do so. In a odd coincidence, I chose March 3rd, posting about it the same day simply because I thought it very necessary to tell everyone about it.

That day I was instantly enamoured – the kind of enamoured where you can’t help but insist absolutely everyone must hear it too, and inbetween that insistence you spend many other moments listening yourself and finding as much else as you can – information, music, whatever is out there.

This time around I wasted no time in acquiring the session, though I have spent the better part of a week listening to it before ultimately, once more, finding it very necessary to tell everyone about it.

Most people, including myself, tend to perplex a little over describing the music of P&T, (believe me, there are good reasons I haven’t linked to my first post!), but the most common summary is folkish drone (or vice versa – droneish folk). Others tend to veer a little towards the metaphysical; I’ve seen mesmerising, spiritual and even holy used. For the time being, I’m going to continue with my original position, but tone it down somewhat and simply suggest it’s music you need to hear.

Check out both sessions here.

 

S4E