WHOOP-Szo, Citizens Ban(ne)d Radio

WHOOP-Szo, scrappy little band of my heart (Frozen North division) has released a new record, which, like previous efforts, is a multi-layered and -textured piece of music that blossoms afresh with each re-listen. It is, by turns, dark, twisty, fuzzy, bright and beautiful. Some parts of it sound like a choir; others like an oncoming storm. It is all well worth your time.

WHOOP-Szo – Citizen's Ban(ne)d Radio by Out of Sound Records

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Superior, Self Defense Family

The real point of this post is to tell y’all that Run for Cover Records has put a whole lot of its catalog on bandcamp and that everything is “pay what you can” for the weekend, with the proceeds going to Planned Parenthood. They’re matching up to $5000, and last I looked the total donation was at $14,000.

Superior by Self Defense Family is one of the records available. Self Defense Family is an artistic/musical collective mostly from upstate New York, sufficiently fluid in composition and style that every record is distinctive and unlike the last, though they tend to drift on the hardcore-shoegaze currents. This particular record is more shoegaze, which for them means it’s a little softer and there’s no angry yelling.

Superior by Self Defense Family

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Folk Music Friday: Laghdú, Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh and Dan Trueman

Today on Folk Music Friday: ALL FIDDLES ALL THE TIME.

Laghdú, which translates as “a lessening, a decrease, a reduction,” is Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh and Dan Trueman‘s debut record. Both of them are accomplished solo artists; Ó Raghallaigh is also a member of The Gloaming and This Is How We Fly, and Truman, a professor of music at Princeton University, also recently collaborated with Adam Sliwinski and So Percussion.

On this record, they both play a 10 string instrument that is a cross between a Norwegian Hardanger fiddle and a viola d’amore. And as fiddle music goes, their tunes are unusual – experimental, even, in shape, structure and texture. The sounds are bold, sometimes hovering on the edge of irritating, but ultimately compelling; the songs expand, contract, and loop back and forth in intriguing ways.

While the tracks can be absorbed individually, I very strongly suggest listening to the whole thing straight through for a more immersive experience.

Laghdú by Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh & Dan Trueman

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Luke De-Sciscio, Gossamer Rose

1. Luke DeSciscio is from Bath, England. Gossamer Rose is his debut LP.

2. His bandcamp lists his genre as “post-boatcore” which at first I thought might be related to yacht music.

3. As it turns out the “boat” in question was a coal barge from Manchester which he was living on for a while, on the Kennet and Avon canal, shuttling between Bath and Bristol.

4. The “-core” part is a reference to hardcore and post-hardcore, which he was listening to while making this record. The genre didn’t stick, but the suffix did.

5. The record grew out of his experiences on the boat. It is effectively the opposite of hardcore: there is no howling, screeching, or thrashing, just sweet guitar melodies and his sharp clear voice.

6. The thing that first hooked me on this record was the cover art. The splash of soft gold light playing against the muted rose-pink of the wall hits a very specific receptor that I can’t really explain other than to say I was distantly surprised there may be a ghost of a photographer in me yet, still in love with light, shadow, and the possibilities on the other side … Continue reading

Chill Out Drown Out: My Invisible Friend

Chill Out Drown Out: music for when you need to, well, chill out, and also drown out extraneous noise. Tunes for calming down and concentrating on important tasks or just having a peaceful time in the middle of a hurricane of a day/week/month/year/existence.

My Invisible Friend are based in Parma, Italy. Their self-titled EP is not their first EP, but it is the most recent; if you’re even vaguely interested in shoegaze, you should listen to it. It’s a magnificent mixture of droning fuzz, feedback, and bright clear tonal highlights. It’s a little more uptempo than some of the other bands I’ve filed to Chill Out Drown Out but, well, when the going gets tough, the tough step on the fuzz pedal and crank up the volume.

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Chill Out Drown Out: TOUJOURS, In Vivid

Chill Out Drown Out: music for when you need to, well, chill out, and also drown out extraneous noise. Tunes for calming down and concentrating on important tasks or just having a peaceful time in the middle of a hurricane of a day/week/month/year/existence.

Ok kids. Here is your moment of zen for today.

TOUJOURS is the second record from In Vivid (Ben Snook), and it is a gentle soothing bath for your brain. The songs are chill but rich in texture, just enough grit to be perfect for background music, and not so slippery as to be instantly forgettable.

TOUJOURS by In Vivid

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Late Night Listening: As Old Roads, Goldmund

Late Night Listening: a home for things that might be fleeting, might be soothing, might be weird, might be soothing and weird. The blogging equivalent of sitting in the garage twiddling radio knobs just to see what might be out there.

I have dutifully listened to all three of Keith Kenniff‘s bands – Goldmund and Helios, which are solo projects, and Mint Julip, which he shares with his wife, Hollie – and determined that I’m most fond of Goldmund. Below, as a taste, is As Old Roads, from Sometimes, which is a piano-focused gem.

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Late Night Listening: Along a Vanishing Plane, Christopher Tignor

Late Night Listening: a home for things that might be fleeting, might be soothing, might be weird, might be soothing and weird. The blogging equivalent of sitting in the garage twiddling radio knobs just to see what might be out there.

Christopher Tignor is a composer, violinist and software engineer. He’s written works for several groups, including A Far Cry and Brooklyn Rider, and done strings arrangements for artists like John Congleton, This Will Destroy You, and Meshell Ndegeocello.

Along a Vanishing Plane is his most recent solo record, and it is a delight. It would, I suppose, fall into the category of “soothing and weird.”

It is, unsurprisingly, mostly violins, intercut with thudding drums and the occasional burst of experimental noise. It’s peaceful, but not dull. If Metal Machine Music is a cathedral made of noise, Along a Vanishing Plane is the flowers planted in the churchyard: singularly lovely and delicate, but watch out for hidden thorns.

Along a Vanishing Plane by Christopher Tignor

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Folk Music Friday: Myrkgrav, Takk Og Farvel; Tida Er Blitt Ei Annen

I can’t give you a better teaser/introduction/summary of Myrkgrav (Lars Jensen) than he gave himself, on his website, which is “Old-fashioned peasant metal from the farmlands of Ringerike.”

Ok, I’ll explain: it’s old fashioned Norwegian fiddle music crossed with the finest in ogre-roar metal, and it is glorious. I mean, I love fiddle music and I love ogre-roar, so long as the doom is properly leavened, and in this case the folk elements shine like bright ribbons on a dark tapestry.

It is sweeping, majestic, overwhelming and boneshaking, the way ogre-roar metal is supposed to be, at its finest when its power feels inexorable, like pull of the tide going out. It is also chair-shimmy music.

The overall tempo is sludgy-but-upbeat; both the fiddle and the drums are played at a breakneck pace, while the guitars expand to fill in the empty spaces, and the result is magnificent.

Other things go to know before you plunge in:

1) This is Myrkgrav’s first full-length record in 10 years. If you’d like to listen to his back catalog, you can find it at his bandcamp, where this record will also eventually live.

2) The title of the record … Continue reading

Has a Shadow, The Flesh

Has A Shadow are from Guadalajara, Mexico, and they have just been signed to Fuzz Club records. As the name of their new label suggests, there’s an element of fuzz to their sound, but also some droning guitars, and insistent drums. If you like the roar of the big machine, you will like them. You will definitely want to investigate their back catalog.

On the subject of the back catalog, their genre notes are “lo-fi psychedelica” which, okay, fine, maybe, I guess, but y’all – they’re goths. This is straight up Sisters-of-Mercy-in-the-1990s-style gothic rock and it’s excellent. Sky is Hell Black is particularly good.

Meanwhile, hot off the presses, there’s The Flesh:

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