Late Round Gems #2
Well, it's just about Christmas so I figured now was as good a time as any to ramble on about some great shit I've heard over the past couple of months. 2006 has been a pretty damn good year for music if you ask me, and this is just a little bit in the world of weird shit that has been gracing my headphones as of late.
Antti Tolvi's self-titled tape on the awesome Sloow Tapes imprint. This tape is full of minimal sonic squeaking and free-form organic jams from this member of Rauhan Orkesteri, Lauhkeat Lampaat, Taikuri Tali, etc (and the newly christened Lauluva Laama). Sometimes it seems as though there's not much happening, but that just adds to the importance of each sound, each note. Great stuff. Extra-sweet packaging in handmade paper - nice! Also on Sloow Tapes is an excellent tape from Frozen Corpse, the duo of Audiobot honch Carlo Steegan and Orphan Fairytale. Doomsday drones galore! This is heady shit steeped in bongwater and rolled-up all nice and tight. There's so much crazy shit going on (keyboards and synthesizers, haunted, blitzed grooves, and a whole slew of theatrics) that you'll get trampled and left for dead. Yeah, just the way they like it... the duo also have a really good tape out on Bread & Animals (the new label from Imvated's freak-general Lieven Martens).
Another excellent tape comes from Australian kingpins Brothers of the Occult Sisterhood on the new American Grizzly imprint. As I've made clear before, I'm not a fan of tapes. But still, this one is worth picking up. Four jams spread across two sides. Organic clatter that hinge on swells of synthesizers mixed with makeshift percussion and walls of acoustic guitars. It's the typical BOTOS mix and worth every penny.
One last tape to mention before I move onto more accessible shit. Not Not Fun has become one of my absolute favorite labels as of late. They've put out tons of killer stuff in 2006 and this recent tape from Pocahaunted called Moccasinging. This is some magnificent tribal exclamation. This duo of Bethany and Amanda (who co-runs Not Not Fun with Britt from the also fantastic Robedoor) know how to turn a simple freakout jam into something spectacular. Cryptic drums and layer-upon-layer of treated voices fly through the air like ghosts scared of their own fucking shadows. Bits and pieces of keyboard and guitar make their way into the mix, but it's the vocals that really set this shit apart. I love this tape and am dying to hear more from these two. Typically excellent packaging, too.
Root Strata has one hell of a track record at this point in its existence, and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma's label shows no signs of letting up anytime soon. John Davis already did one lovely CD-R for the label last year (called Instructional Sculpture for Children), but the most recent release, a 3" CDR entitled At Home and Afieldis even better. Glacial drones and beautiful, subtle sonic landscapes float on a wave of terrestrial debris. Housed in a handpainted mini-box with hand-assembled mini-booklet, you've got nothing to lose in picking this up. It's absolutely stunning.
The Golden Hours play simple, melodic pop-infused songs with a real delicate feeling to them. Headed up by Eliza Sohn, their self-released CDR, The Mystery & Her Crew, is short and sweet, but nearly perfect. Opening with the synth-and-voice duel of "Ships at Sea," one listen to this track and you know you're in for something special. Each song is its on miniature world with the perfect accents and touches to set each one apart from each other. For me, though, they're at their best when Sohn takes over vocal duties. Worth the cheap cost of admission for the stellar "Shallow Breath" alone (seriously, one of the best songs of 2006). They come in great handpainted covers to boot. Don't miss it.
Musicyourmindwillloveyou continues to churn out incredible shit at an alarming rate. Newly released Sun Dreamer : Moon Shaker by the inimitable Matt Earle aka Muura is the best of the bunch. Discordant drones that run through peaks and valleys like they're nothing. Earle is perhaps the most prolific motherfucker around (seriously. His Breakdance the Dawn label is a criminally-obscure treasure trove full of his own gems), but the quality never suffers. Muura is his favorite project of mine, though. Last year's incredible Scarlet's Urmine Sandstone Lady on Black Petal was equally fantastic. This CDR, though, is like the sound of electricity moving at snailspeed. Earle matches the hum of his guitar with understated keyboards perfectly. It's like the latter is barely there, but enough to cause concern. Sun Dreamer consists of one long track, but the journey to the end is fucken great. Also worth mentioning is the 3" from GMC, one-third of the crazy-ass Argentinian trio, Vlubä. More sweet packaging and more heady acid-spazz guitar chaos. Kind of rides the same wave as Vlubä, but tends to exist well on its own.
I was recently turned onto Circumstational imprint and told I had to check out the debut CDR from Arrowwood, Hemlock and Spindle Flower. Suffice to say, I wasn't disappointed when it finally arrived. Housed in a nice-looking digipack, this is some seriously enchanted, dark-infused folk. Arrowwood is mainly the solo project of Chelsea Robb, and her ability to craft songs using a variety of instrumentation is impressive. Of course, the best thing is her beautiful voice... it's easy to get lost in. And honestly, I'm a sucker for anyone who uses a bouzouki.
Anyone who has paid any attention to this website for the last few years knows just how damn obsessed I am with Dunedin, NZ's very own Futurians! They're they best punk band on the fucken planet - it's not even close. So this recent CDR of theirs, Spock Ritual, was a pleasant arrival here at FDHQ. This studio-recorded effort is one of their finest to date. Loud, spastic guitars, screehing vocals, and all sorts of cosmic madness make up the bulk of what's happening here. It's the same Futurians as ever, but with a shiny coat of paint. And Invisible Generation, who released this baby, did an incredible job on the packaging. I have already listened to the shit out of this thing, and my neighbors are really starting to get pissed. Limited to 300, so get your fucken hands on it while you can. God bless the Futurians.
Last but not least comes the self-titled debut CDR from Old Million Eye. This solo project from 1/2 (Brian Lucas, ex-Mirza) of the excellent Father Beard is released by the same label (Yen Agat). This treads similar ground as Father Beard, but is a bit more subdued. It's definitely got a psychedelic feeling to it, but the overall effect is more hypnotic than anything. Lucas weaves his windblown tales and repeats them into oblivion. Definitely one to check out (and pick up Father Beard's latest offerings while you're at it).
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