Tag Archives: post-rock

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

April's Swag - bite-sized, but very tempting (and even a bit delicious)

Once again, there’s been so much going on this month that I’ve spared little time to dig up the best bits from the nether regions of the internet. Lucky for us both, I don’t have to look very far to find something worth bringing to your attention – to recap those I already have:

After that, I suggest sinking your teeth into these:

Heinali and Matt Finney – Plainsong
Shoegaze/Drone/Ambient | 15MB – 320 kbps MP3
You may have caught the recent Conjoined review over at [sic], if not, this duo blend heavy shoegaze-drone a la The Angelic Process/Nadja, with spoken word vocals. These guys have got quite a few things in store for this year, with another album set for release later this spring on Paradigms Recordings titled Ain’t No Night – keep your eyes and ears out for more info soon, as there’s some seriously good stuff going on with that. Currently available for free download on Bandcamp right now is their take on The Cure’s Plainsong and Radiohead’s Creep. To top it off, from May 1st, Dreamcatcher – a half-hour soundtrack over two movements (Lucifer 1 and Panopticon), which recently accompanied a photo exhibit – will go up as a ‘name your price’ download, with all funds raised going towards financing another album later this year; some very absorbing work all-round.

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Wild Dogs In Winter – Homba*
Post Rock/Ambient | 120MB – 320 kbps MP3s
Released last year but only just recently brought to my attention, this nicely done 10-track album has more than enough weight to grab – and keep – the attention of Blueneck, I Like Trains, Our Ceasing Voice and Her Name Is Calla fans. Available on Bandcamp as a digital download (or purchase the CD).

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Sleepy Sun – Marina
Psych/Stoner Rock | 14MB – 320 kbps MP3
If you know me, you know I can’t get enough of these guys and their particularly sparkling blend of hazy psych/stoner rock. To celebrate their upcoming US tour, Sleepy Sun have made a live version of the single Marina available for free download, which you can grab here.

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Other Lives – For 12
Folk/Rock | 6MB 192 kbps MP3
It was nice to see this new track go up on RCRD LBL the other day, as I’m quite fond of Other Lives’ self-titled debut. (Not so nice to see RCRD LBL decide to go the same direction as Daytrotter and disallow direct downloads without registering for a user account – they better not introduce a poorly functioning, site-specific “download manager”). Slightly more old-school psych-folk in this track, but very nice indeed – grab it here.

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NeTE – Greatest Non-Hits 1 LP
Industrial/Gothic/Lo-Fi – 73MB 128 kbps MP3s
Some of you may remember my Australian music special from a while back, and briefly mentioning I couldn’t recall any Australian goth bands I was into during the 90’s. Well, while I was trying to jog my memory, I happened upon a site called Shame File Music – a label dedicated to experimental Australian music. Long story slightly shorter, I grabbed this collection of tracks, and while I can’t say I heard them back then, I can say there’s some stuff here worthy of a listen now. Grab them from Internet Archive.

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*These are available as ‘name your price’ downloads. For Bandcamp releases, you are able to enter any amount, including $0. For Mamaleek’s Kurdaitcha, voluntary donations (via PayPal) to support the artists can be made through the Enemies List download page linked above. As always, though I know times are tough, I encourage sparing a few bucks where and when you can to support the artists making the music you enjoy.


Adrift For Days – the Lunar Maria

For reasons that are not unknown, but best left to explain in greater depth at a later date, it’s not often I mention Australian bands here. Though, to be more accurate, it’s less common when compared to the origin of the majority of other artists I write about. Also, unless you count artists on the more garage/punk/thrash side of things, like Massappeal (who, in all reality, are still pretty old school anyway), the last Australian metal band I had a yen for was Mortal Sin and the album Mayhemic Destruction (1985, but it was @1990 I wore out my vinyl copy – also more on that sometime later. Probably).

Consider that, however, a testament to the fairly narrow scope of what actually appeals to me in the relam of all things metal, and not necessarily that Australia doesn’t have talent worth exploring – as mentioned previously, I rarely ‘get’ black metal, I often lose patience with drone, and the slightest hint of a cliché makes me run a mile (eg silly aesthetic details like names that misspell words such as apocalypse, or other doom-inferring words, so they can put a big X in it – apparently that’s still cool). Add to that the fact that I now have a serious aversion to full-on screamo type vocals and it automatically excludes a surprisingly large amount of music in the genre.

Believe it or not, having such, shall we say, discriminating taste can actually be quite frustrating, and while the above is ultimately fairly extraneous, it’s also a way of explaining the little extra awesome it is to find something that pretty much exemplifies everything I look for in heavier music – that something being the above album by Sydney-siders Adrift For Days. As they’re on home soil, it also means – finally – I actually stand a chance of seeing them live (unlike every other artist that’s made my favourites list recently).

Just to be clear, this isn’t just a decent album I’m mentioning because the band are fellow citizens of my country (really, that’s just not my style), but as it happens to stand, the Lunar Maria is already my favourite Australian album of the last 5 years, probably more. There will likely be someone that suggests I must have missed out on a bunch of stuff, and they may well be right, but at this point in time they’re going to stay missed as this album had me right from the start and I can’t see it letting go anytime soon.

After a brief tribal incantation, opener Bury All That’s Chosen kinda lopes on in with an almost creepingly indulgent, downtempo bluesy feel. I was pretty content just with that, but at about 4 minutes the song kicks into a dense wall of heavy, sludgey, melt-your-face psychedelic stoner doom, accompanied by vocals that could well be just as at home in gothic post-punk as they are here. More to the point, vocals by someone that has a good voice and primarily uses it to sing. Praise be for that.

It doesn’t let up after the first track, either – Messages Through Sleep, the third track after a brief outro, similarly blends a chilled blues mood, post-rock ambience and the hefty weight of doom-laden metal to become some of the most effective 12 minutes out of the 71 minute duration. The blues gets a little low-down and gritty for the stoner jam The Leech, while Along the Moon River gives up 18 minutes of some seriously leaden-limbed, melatonin*-inducing stuff.

By the time Waveform Collapse dissolves, if you weren’t smart enough to do it in the first place, you’ll have to peel yourself off from whatever surface the Lunar Maria stuck you to (wall, floor, possibly the ceiling depending on your original disposition) so you can whack it on repeat and sink back in.  There’s nothing here that feels contrived, out of place or superfluous; for a debut album it’s impressively paced, brings a bunch of the best elements from various styles to the table (really digging the blues vibe) and does it all in an uncompromising, inspired and intuitive manner.

Hear what I mean by taking a listen to the first track:

You can check out Adrift For Days at  MySpace, better yet, click the following link and download the album from Bandcamp. But even better still, you can also buy the Lunar Maria in a CD/Digipak version directly from the band.

(*AKA “Hormone of Darkness“)

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Thorn1 – So Far As Fast

After learning a little of the history behind this album, it might not be surprising that it sounds a bit like an elegy – there is something of a funeral procession that moves steadily and subtly through each piece.

As Thorn1, musician Evegny Zhedya presented So Far As Fast as something of a farewell to his life in Russia before moving to Kiev, Ukraine. As a prelude to leaving,  saying goodbye to home and to friends, the album works exceptionally well to capture a bittersweet journey from one place to another.

The music presents a fairly turbulent range of emotions, yet more often than not it is subdued and sombre in effect. Through elongated, ethereal drones, blended with shades of post-rock, electronica and shoegaze, Evegny has created a dreamlike sense of separation and isolation; during which most pieces utilise either guitar, piano and accordian to elicit often searing melody, which both contrast and highlight the sense of loss.

Organiq Grostee, the opening track, is almost frightening, and probably would be had it been purely instrumental. It’s a little like the opening scene of a film, where an organ grinder is standing on the corner of an otherwise empty street –  one whose eerie presence has the capacity to inspire both  faint trepidation and a kind of comforting familiarity from the knowledge you’re not completely alone on that street.

Soon after, fourth track Safe Trip makes a rather definitive statement on the tone and perspective of the journey being related. It is a gorgous 8½ minutes of echoing guitar that rests on the cusp of the darkest moment before the dawn. As the sun rises, or in this case the rest of the album progresses, the light is cast on landscapes of various textures and temperatures.

This culminates in the final track, Welcome Home, a beautiful piano instrumental. It’s like listening to a heart simultaneously break and mend in slow motion – the triumph is tempered with tragedy, the hurt with healing, and the separation balanced with solace.

So Far As Fast is an eclectic mix, steeped in a similar sense of dreamy disorientation, the likes of which you feel when experiencing déjà vu – surreal and a little mysterious, but still…it is accompanied by the implicit knowledge that it belongs to you.

You can listen to Drone, the second track from the album, courtesy of Silber Records.

 

 

So Far As Fast is available now, as a digital only release via Silber. As with most of their downloads, it is offered for a considerably modest US$5.00.

 

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Irata – Action-Packed Post-Rock for Spy-Ninjas in High Speed Car Chases

…and somewhere there’s clowns

I’ll be the first to admit that, for as much as I like the genre, post-rock has a few problems. Without going into too much detail, it’s laregly owing to a few common cliches and the greater stumbling block of being able to effect long-term engagement (particularly with instrumental post-rock). I mention those (albeit briefly) because it’s nice to come across an instrumental post-rock act who, by and large, avoid those problems.

Having recently discovered the label Silber Records, I took it upon myself to explore a few other titles in their catalogue. (First, the lovely China Mountain by Lotte Kestnerreviewed over at [sic]). Next up on my “hit-list” was Irata‘s self-titled debut, which I admittedly approached with equal amounts of trepidation and anticipation. Trepidation owing to the aforementioned issues; anticipation owing to Silber’s own description:

Irata dwells in the world where drone, post rock, & metal unite into a giant monster to kick your ass. Guitars, drums, bass, & saxophone form this instrumental group from Greensboro, NC.

It is, at least, a combination that sparks intrigue, as my taste for projects blending drone into the mix has only been recently developed.

Ok, so what you can expect is some well-paced and energetic instrumental pieces that appear to draw heavily on action over emotion – which for me means it rocks without draining my energy. The riffs hook easily and there’s no unnecessarily extended or drawn out builds into cinematic-like climaxes (where often – even without lyrics – one can come away with the feeling of being a tad emotionally manipulated). These guys get straight into it and give it all right there. It might be just me, but I can see this being a great soundtrack to an action movie with tons of car chases and spy tactics. And ninjas. (Yes, there is some subtle subversiveness in this here music. Also, I just like ninjas).

You’ll get the post-rock, the metal and the drone, seasoned with the occasional touch of blues, shoegaze and even a light sprinkle of Middle Eastern influence. If it suffers from anything at all, it’s a bit of a tendency for repetitiveness, but at least the pace is swift enough to be able to carry it.

I’m often fascinated by the titles some post-rock bands will bestow upon their songs. Again there’s a common tendency to issue them with unnecessarily overlong and convoluted names that perhaps serve as an attempt to better clarify the story or concept with the listener… But I’m looking at this tracklisting and I have to say I find the comparitively succint Clown Rehab far more fascinating – my imagination has run away with it already (last seen wondering about the effects of clown addiction, whether or not one who suffers from it would hide big red noses and floppy shoes in various places about the house. It might seem like I’m making fun – I’m not. Consider it more having fun with what I’m being presented with; which I actually think is cool that I can do 😉 . If one was to actually take a more philosophical approach, one might consider it to be a reference to the often implied notion that the happiness of a clown is a facade, and perhaps there is an addictive quality to maintaining that).

So there you have it, taken it on the nifty action packed level and let your imagination do some wilder things than mine; or study it all a little more deeply and find your own rewards.

You can grab Irata’s album here.


Gizeh Records Are Letting You Practically Steal their Music

If you’re anything like me, no only do you love your music, but you also love a good bargain. Gizeh Records are home to some of my favourite artists since discovering the label last year, and are responsible for releasing what’s also been my favourite physical release so far this year (Glissando‘s The Long Lost / Of Silence – sublime music with simple but gorgeous handmade packaging; proof positive you don’t need to go all-out with over-elaborate bells and whistles to create something special, you just need to do it with love).

Now is a great time to get yourself acquainted with some of the artists that have been on Gizeh’s roster, as to coincide with the launch of their new website and online store, they’re offering nearly all of their currently avaialable stock at 50% off – this includes clothing and other merchandise as well as some brilliant albums (but excludes the two latest releases. Note also that some of the more limited stock is already sold out).

No excuse now not to go and claim your copy of some music that is nigh impossible not to immediately love, including Her Name is Calla‘s The Heritage (an absolute classic that everyone should have), Trespassers William‘s The Natural Order of Things and Glissando‘s With Our Arms Wide Open We March Towards the Burning Sea, not to mention albums by worriedaboutsatan, Sleepingdog, Redjetson, Immune & Detwiije – incredible music at incredible prices. I already have many of these (of course ;)), but I certainly took the opportunity to finally grab a couple of things I don’t.

The sale is on from now until the end of July, and all you need to do is go here, grab whatever takes your fancy and type the code JULYSALE into the appropriate box to effect the discount.

And while I wouldn’t usually post something that’s arguably one big advertisement, I do so because you’ll probably never get a better chance to grab hold of a bunch of stuff that’s worth loads more than what you’ll have to pay. 😉

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I Like Trains – Pledge Your Support

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I Like Trains (formerly stylised iLiKETRAiNS) are getting set to release their new album via their own newly founded label ILR, as well as embarking on a tour. While most artists can (or will) say “we coudn’t have done it without the fans” at some point, this new project really does need fan support to make sure it happens.

Announced a couple of weeks ago now, the project neared 100% of its target within the first 12 hours over at Pledge Music – a site dedicated to getting projects like this up and running. Pledges for the I Like Trains project is now hovering just below 150% – a great response from dedicated fans.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t still get involved and make sure you reserve your copy of the new album, He Who Saw the Deep. As well as offering the standard fare, there are a number of exclusive options still up for grabs, such as playing Alistair at Scrabble, signed drum sticks, a guitar lesson with Dave, and – if you’ve got the £’s – an executive production credit on the album itself. Not to mention a super-sweet looking vinyl box set, which contains all their previous releases (including The Christmas Tree Ship – one of my favourites), the new album and a b-sides and rarities collection.

Unfortunately, my plight is much the same as many others; i.e. really want the vinyl box set, but I have to make do with a signed CD. Not that that’s anything to complain about. I seriously recommend those who can sign on for the vinyl, as it will surely be something to treasure.

Here’s what iLT have to say about their new album:

Our new album ‘He Who Saw the Deep’ is written, recorded and ready to see the light of day. It is a progression from what has gone before it. Whilst still very much an I LIKE TRAINS record, we have taken this chance to re invent. There is light and shade, hope and devastation, and we are taking a look at where we are heading instead of where we have been.”

If that’s not enough to convince, you can find out more info as well as listen to a couple of new tracks by clicking that big button at the top and heading over to the I Like Trains Pledge Music profile. Exclusive content is available to all pledgers. 😉

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Beyond the Dune Sea

Accidental Music?

The sound, or “dimension”, acheived by Beyond the Dune Sea is – according to their bio – an accident. I wish I had these kinds of accidents with musical instruments, instead of the requiring medical treatment accidents I’m more likely to have or cause even with just a plastic whistle. Unfortunately, all musical instruments become dangerous weapons in my hands. Never mind, on to people who can actually use them…

To start off with. I’m going to call it instrumental post-rock. Then throw in progressive and experimental. Did you roll your eyes? I know I often do when I see those genre tags for the upteenth time; there just doesn’t seem to be a great deal of diversity or any real experimentation and progression within the plethora of bands garnering those tags. The shame is that now those generic tags are automatically applied to some not-so-generic bands. They fit, sure, but they don’t really tell you anything, and these days aren’t reason enough to want to hear what a new band has to offer.

Beyond the Dune Sea, however, deserve some attention, because their self-titled debut is an interesting one. To start off with, the album bucks the typical post-rock trend of only running 27 minutes over ten tracks (including the brief intro and a 23-second reprise) – there’s no drawn out, overblown self-indulgence here, which makes for a nice change of pace. Bonus points not for being brief, but for concise storytelling within instrumental tracks and knowing when enough has been said.

Experimentation with various sounds is generally kept to individual tracks, and are as diverse as some funky jazz influences (Time is of the Essence) and glitchy electronica (Save Game), to some breakbeat-like percussion in a few songs – which, by the way, sounds completely organic to my ears, so an interesting touch when used. I will say I’m not the biggest fan of Save Game. If the title doesn’t give it away, the bleeps and blips certainly don’t let you make any mistake about the inspiration for the track. Within the context of the album, it seems to sit a little left of centre and has the unfortunate effect of making it come off as more of a distraction than anything else.

Elsewhere, however, theres’s enough to have kept me listening to this album fairly consistently over the last couple of weeks. Final Solution, for example, starts off with some grungy post-metal, then melds into a 70’s-ish pych jam, while still every now and then touching on some subtle jazzy bass and percussion. Might sound messy, but it’s pulled together quite neatly.

As is the above track – The Red Tide. If that is an accident, I’d like to see what they come up with when they do it on purpose. 😉

The album, released via net label Abridged  Pause, is available as a free download here.

Beyond the Dune Sea @MySpace

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