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Posts Tagged ‘Indie

The legend says Christoph Sanders was brought to light by the guys from Labrador Records in a mall in Sweden, where he played his own songs over the speakers.  With some friends Christoph Sanders is Chasing Dorotea, playing mellow indie pop in the vein of Nick Drake and Belle & Sebastian. Gentle little songs, mostly sparsely instrumented, but with a wide range of instruments, from smooth horn sections to a melancholic melodica. If you are into a sound like this, check it out. Good stuff. As far as I know this record from 2002 is the only Chasing Dorotea release, Christoph Sanders still makes music, now singing in his native tongue and for my taste a little bit to pathetic, which is not applicable for Chasing Dorotea.

Paris rain in July.


This album, to put it short: is incredible. From the subtle, braille covered packaging and insert littered with graphs and equations (thats the reason why you only see a plain green cover here, you have to feel the cover), to the moody post-hardcore that lurks threateningly within, this is just the whole package. If there was any doubt before, this proves that Month of Birthdays are one of the most unique, creative, and downright great bands we’ve got on these shores right now.

For much of the album, you’ve got blissful, mellowed, chilled-out tunes to play late at night and lose yourself in the beauty of. It’s all very tidal. Small waves mind you. But every now and again you get caught up in a huge tsunami like “Of Chickens” which booms out whilst Cath gets all loud. For much of the rest of the time you get super-quiet, meandering songs with lots of repetetive guitar, softly-softly drumming and wandering vocals that soothe and ease you through the small hours if you happen to still be up. Don’t turn the light on. “Anticipated and Intercepted” practically stops in the middle whilst four fifths of the band go off for a cup of tea leaving one person to strum a guitar with the volume on 1.

I guess they recorded some of the songs at lower levels than others intentionally, because this creates a totally wonderful effect of contrast. The quiet songs really are quiet unless you turn them up. Which would kind of defeat the object, as from time to time these quiet songs break into sweeping power without requiring your over attentive ‘help’. Getting back to “Anticipated and Intercepted” again, that one totally unexpectedly introduces some lumbering hardcore chug-chug at one point after seemingly heading down the ‘pretty’ path for much of the song. Inspired! Also, you’ve got to love a song (“Mind Comes To Thoughts”) which uses a sample of a BBC radio travel report and you can even hear cars buzzing past in the distance behind some truly lovely, gentle guitar. No singing until 5 minutes in too. Fucking yes, Month of Birthdays really know how to push my buttons.

It’s tough for comparisons. Some of the really twinkly bits remind me of Rainer Maria, or sometimes the Van Pelt. Perhaps mixed with the moody tendencies and dynamics of Indian Summer? Bob Tilton maybe? But for the band’s sound as a whole, you got me. Yikes, truly an original sounding record! I’m running scared. (Source)

Mind comes to thoughts.


I almost had forgotten that I own this record, but when “four cornered night” was released  it made my summer, which was the summer of 2000. In the last weeks I listened again several times to Jets to Brazil who still keep their magic for me. In my opinion, this second album brings out the true personality of Jets to Brazil. Along with adding former Van Pelt guitarist Brian Maryansky to the fold (fronted by Blake Schwarzenbach (ex-Jawbreaker) with bassist Jeremy Chatelain (ex-Handsome) and former Texas is the Reason drummer Chris Daly), Jets to Brazil add dimension, savoir faire, and one hell of a grand piano to forge ahead with a breathtaking new direction. And just read that list of bands again: Jawbreaker, Texas is the reason, Van Pelt, Handsome… do you have to know more? Three top bands of american indie rock that evolved in the early 90s from the post-hardcore scene (plus post-Helmet project Handsome) and every expectation is fullfilled. Mastermind Blake really opens up here and lets his contradictory gloomy yet hopeful lines fill your head with images of hammocks, lazy rivers, and sunny summer afternoons with nothing to do.

When you become a stranger again…


After nine years and two albums, Seattle noisecore pioneers Botch decided to quit in 2002, leaving us with this EP as a parting gift. And it is a fine gift. Although only just over 22 minutes long, “an anthology of dead ends” is full of the angular song structures, unexpected tempo changes, and just plain noise, that made them probably the most consistently exiting band of their type. Botch combines the technicality of metal and the raw ferocity of punk with complex time structures, similar stylistically to bands like Coalesce and Converge. Evil Math Rock! The devastating combination of noise, indie rock guitar, rhythmic density, and scathing vocals is about as subtle as hitting your face with a sledgehammer.

Their final EP topped up everything they stood for in 21 minutes. It showed their abilites to create, minmalistcally (‘Spaim’), how to create noise within acceptable pop boundaries (‘Japam’), create haunting ballands (‘Afghamistam’) and how to top it all off with one huge agressive jam session (‘Micaragua’). And I promise, you can listen thirty times to this record and still will be able to pick up new details.

A special album by a special band who changed the music scene like Refused, At the Drive-In and similar bands, wether you understand it or not is totally up to you.

On this 2002 release, Salvatore keep an air of mystery by not listing the instruments played by each bandmember nor including any obvious photos of them, being content with a few grayed-out black-and-white landscapes and interiors. And at my first listening I wasn´t sure for a couple of minutes if this record is the product of a band or a one-man-show from a multi-instrumentalist. But Salvatore are a six piece band from Oslo, Norway and their camouflage helps add to an aura of mutability to the package, leaving the music to speak for itself and take on whatever shape the listener envisions. The legends says, that the members were sitting together and listening to Neu! – the German electronica pioneers. They all played in different bands and suddenly got the idea of creating a band based on the Neu groove. Which is what they did. Since 1998 they have created a sinewy, pulsating, jazzy brand of arty instrumental rock derived from early Tortoise records and the electro-acoustic Motorik of the Krautrock scene. This fourth record emulated not surprising the originators of the Chicago school of post-roc, since this session was recorded and mixed by Tortoise’s John McEntire (also member of The Sea and Cake and Gastr del Sol) in his Soma Studios in Chicago, and the band even did a brief European tour with Tortoise.  But Salvatore, despite wearing their influences on their sleeve, manage to forge their own identity with this collection of evocative soundscapes. The tracks here are relatively short for a genre that tends toward excess, which leaves them concise and to-the-point, almost disappointingly so, because they set up some exceedingly tight and memorable grooves which could enthrall a listener even if they went on forever. And though they sound like they may have evolved from loose improvisatory jam sessions, the evolved pieces are executed with precision and passion, as opposed to the cold, contrived playing of some of their contemporaries. Hypnotic keyboardss, pulsing bass, looped guitars – this is an excellent trip onto the Autobahn. And when the album ends after a mere 42 minutes one wishes there were more. In its home country Salvatore won the prestigious Spellemannsprisen (the Norwegian Grammy) in the “Electronica” category.

not chello!

Two men from Leeds, but a wall of sound. James Islip on the drums and Andy Abbott with a baritone guitar transform into monsters when entering the stage, make more noise than they should be able to. Often improvised, always loud, always hypnotic and enthralling, That Fucking Tank always leave an impression on the audience with their heavily riff-reliant intensity.

Take the slab-heavy mathematics of Shellac and injecting them with an elastic twang reminiscent of the Minutemen, always in the way of a good solid groove, be it fuzzed-out bass note roars or clanking staccato funk, these five songs on “a document of the first set” are guaranteed to have your puny frame forming unimaginable contortions in vain attempts to keep up with their multi-directional racket. You may feel your head bobbing erratically, joints grinding, clicking and locking uncomfortably while each toe tries to sneak your feet in a different direction, but I swear you won’t regret a single aching tendon.

“A document of the first set” is the debut from these two Ex-Kill Yourself members, recorded in a few brief moments in the top of a pub before a William E. Whitmore gig and catched perfectly the best moments to listen to That Fucking Tank: live and loud. The fine people at Jealous Records turned it into a record in May 2004 and the band with this delightful non-radio compatible name is releasing stunning records until today and regularly plays live gigs on the British Isles and Europe. Make sure to check them out, robust and riff driven math noise.

The rain travels all the way from Siberia and this is the first place it breaks.

First I thought I didn´t presented you so much dark music yet, but that´s not true. You can find a haunting collection of dark, enigmatic tunes here, from really depressive tunes, to melancholic gloriousness, technical cold and dark soundscapes or dark, psychedelic and bitter-sweet tunes, which come closest to Black Heart Procession. A uniquely dark and theatrical Americana, a singular mixture of Calexico, Tindersticks, Angelo Badalamenti and then some. The band from San Diego, with a Three Mile Pilot based core and fame, has used saws, stripped-down unconventional percussion, Wurlitzer piano, subtle Moog, and other nontraditional instrumentation to create the kind of carnivalesque dirges we’ve come to expect from Tom Waits over three records before the release of “amore del tropico” 2002. With this fourth release the BHP forges new paths, seemingly inspired by tango infusions the group has left behind their infamous funereal gloom for a noir-laden land of intrigue. The only thing they packed was their trusty saw and a suitcase full of heartache. Or like pitchfork wrote:

The Procession was once funereal through and through, keeping the same slow pace and lonely lyrics throughout. Here, however, they’ve taken their march somewhere south of the border. Judging from the instrumentation and odd flourishes, the narrator of Amore has ventured to a small Central American country of beauty and intrigue. Wherever he is, one thing’s for sure: things are not going quite as planned. The first track, after all, is called “The End of Love”, a 12-second instrumental spurt that introduces the listener to what will be a 55-minute tale of lost love and vengeful murder. The subsequent titular track, “Tropics of Love” (in translation), opens with the band’s trademark instrument, the saw. But then deft strings and hip-swinging percussion set a sexy, noir-ish scene suffused with whispering men and crooning female gypsies. With this record, the band has taken a risky, ambitious leap forward, ditching the capable producer of their previous records, Ryan Hadlock, in favor of manning the boards themselves. The move has paid off in a dense, inspired musical narrative that should, dare I say, surprise fans old and new.

The Black Heart Procession has seamlessly integrated their trademarks—low, strained vocals, eerily whining saw, organ, piano and strings—into an entirely new sound that they wear so naturally. Sometimes darkness is so beautiful!

“Was it here where we left our hearts?” sings Pall Jenkins. “Was it here in the tropics of love?”

always open minded! feel free to leave a comment if you like or dislike the music, the review or just this blog in general. make the monologue a dialogue! (and receiving some responses keeps me motivated)

normally I try to post new stuff once a week, quality not quantity, so the front page shows you the posts of the last month, but there is a lot more to discover, just click your way thru the older entries.

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