Jay DJ Heroin(e) Linden Blair
Sunday, March 8th, 2009

Belbury Poly — From an Ancient Star

Belbury Poly - From an Ancient StarBel­bury Poly, the first and still pop­pi­est artist on Ghost Box’s ros­ter, released their third full-length record ear­li­er this win­ter. Despite being the least abra­sive of the Ghost Box club, they’ve still always retained a creepy vibe, some­thing that is a lit­tle less pro­nounced here. Still, it’s more of what you’ve come to expect from the niche label — gur­gling and plunk­ing elec­tron­ics seat­ed square­ly in a half-imag­i­nary past of British alche­my, mys­ti­cism, and edu­ca­tion­al mul­ti­me­dia.

Also notable is the album art’s increased depar­ture from the Romek Mar­ber homages that have char­ac­ter­ized Ghost Box releas­es. I’d have admired their tenac­i­ty if they had stuck with the same tem­plate through every release, but I guess they can’t be blamed for want­i­ng to try some­thing a lit­tle dif­fer­ent.

And if you are in or around Lon­don, be sure not to miss the Bel­bury Youth Club Night at The Shunt Lounge, this Wednes­day, March 11.

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

Songs of Green Pheasant

Songs of Green PheasantSongs of Green Pheas­ant is the record­ing name of Dun­can Sump­n­er, orig­i­nal­ly of Eng­land, and resid­ing now in Cal­i­for­nia. I’ll be damned if I can remem­ber where I heard about Aer­i­al Days, 2006’s fol­low-up EP to his debut LP of 2005, but for a while in June it sound­tracked my falling asleep at night.

Any­way I just got a hold of his new LP, Gyl­lyng Street, and it’s pret­ty beau­ti­ful. Accu­sa­tions of freak-folk­dom weren’t total­ly unfound­ed before, but I think this release will help to abol­ish that mis­cat­e­go­riza­tion. It’s gauzy, even a lit­tle shoegazey, and, admit­ted­ly, kind of pas­toral. But its chug­ging momen­tums and elec­tron­ic flour­ish­es recall Bibio, Chessie, Cari­bou at times (due to the vocal qual­i­ty, I think), and I swear I even hear a lit­tle Joy Divi­sion. “West Coast Pro­fil­ing” is par­tic­u­lar­ly great, rat­tling along grace­ful­ly for five min­utes before mor­ph­ing into a bleak, fune­re­al elec­tric gui­tar line, soar­ing, uniden­ti­fi­able pipes, and thump­ing, tam­bourine-led per­cus­sion. A great sound­track to the falling tem­per­a­tures.

Saturday, August 4th, 2007

Chessie

Chessie - Overnight

I first encoun­tered this album years ago, when some­body men­tioned it in a forum thread about favorite album art. The cov­er is cer­tain­ly intrigu­ing, with that fat sans (Futu­ra?) and the glow­ing pur­ple moun­tain — and like all good album art, it real­ly lends some­thing to the sound it’s rep­re­sent­ing. The DC band does a kind of chug­ging, throb­bing, ambi­ent dronescape thing, which is typ­i­cal­ly more form­less than the tracks I’m shar­ing here. Overnight is their third and most recent LP, from 2001.

I’m not sure whether “Chessie” is a ref­er­ence to “the Chesa­peake and Ohio Railway’s for­mer hold­ing com­pa­ny, the Chessie Sys­tem,” or “a leg­endary sea mon­ster sup­pos­ed­ly liv­ing in the Chesa­peake Bay,” but it seems to me that both mean­ings offer a per­spec­tive on their sound.

Friday, September 15th, 2006

Ohbijou

OhbijouFor­give them for being from Cana­da, for­give them for hav­ing six(ish) mem­bers, a vio­lin, a ban­jo, a xylo­phone, and who knows what else. Despite all appear­ances to the con­trary, this is not anoth­er cloy­ing, for­get­table act clam­or­ing for bread­crumbs at Pitchfork’s table. In oth­er words, you’ll enjoy these guys the sec­ond time you hear them, too.

Ohbi­jou’s twi­light cham­ber pop is rem­i­nis­cent of The Con­cretes’ soft­er work, but this prob­a­bly owes a lot to their female vocals, light orches­tral touch­es, and pen­chant for 3/4 time sig­na­tures. Their debut LP, Swift Feet For Trou­bling Times, was self-released this year and pro­duced by Leon Tahe­ny of Final Fan­ta­sy. It’s the kind of sum­mer album meant not for sun­ny after­noons, but for nights alone in your bed­room with the win­dow open and the cur­tains blow­ing; so hur­ry up and grab this before autumn hits us for good. My best guess at a way to obtain a copy would be to email them – there are no shop­ping carts on their site.

Sunday, September 10th, 2006

Dan Bejar Interview

Dan BejarRecent­ly Dan Bejar was inter­viewed by CBC Radio 3 about (what feels like last year’s) Destroyer’s Rubies. These are real­ly some of the most inter­est­ing insights into his rela­tion­ship with his music that I’ve heard; plus, you get to hear the first 20 sec­onds of “3000 Flow­ers” like five times.

Thanks again to the Streethawk Live­Jour­nal com­mu­ni­ty for get­ting this to me. Click through to the full entry for a painstak­ing tran­script.

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Monday, August 14th, 2006

Carey Mercer: Phoning It In

Carey MercerBack in March, Carey Mer­cer was fea­tured on Phon­ing It In, a week­ly radio pro­gram on WMBR Cam­bridge and WBSR Prov­i­dence, in which musi­cal guests lit­er­al­ly per­form over the phone. Mer­cer did some old Frog Eyes mate­r­i­al, three new (pre­sum­ably) Frog Eyes songs (“Ambas­sador,” “Car­a­van Break­ers,” and “Future Fortress”), and a song from the upcom­ing debut of his Bejar/Krug col­lab, Swan Lake (“The Par­ti­san But He’s Got To Know”). The sound qual­i­ty is under­stand­ably awful, but you can think of it as charm­ing if you want.

The Phon­ing It In blog is worth sub­scrib­ing to, as the show fea­tures some inter­est­ing per­for­mances. Hard­core Frog Eyes fans will also want to check out don’t laugh don’t choke, a fan­tas­tic resource with news, bootlegs, a forum, and more.

Monday, August 7th, 2006

New Swan Lake Tracks

Swan LakeUpdate: This post has been ren­dered obso­lete as a result of the named tracks being removed from Swan Lake’s MySpace. Keep an eye on it though, as they are like­ly to return.

The inces­tu­ous Cana­di­an music scene is dan­ger­ous­ly approach­ing crit­i­cal mass with its lat­est col­lab­o­ra­tion, one between lit-rock pow­er­hous­es Dan Bejar of Destroy­er/New Pornos and Carey Mer­cer of Frog Eyes. They’ve even let their lit­tle broth­er Spencer Krug (Frog Eyes/Wolf Parade) tag along! Novem­ber 21 will see the release of Swan Lake’s debut LP Beast Moans on Jag­jaguwar records, sneak­ing in just before 2007 to ensure prime place­ment on everyone’s year-end lists. The first pro­mo­tion­al track, “All Fires,” has been float­ing around for a while now, and just today two more songs, “The Par­ti­san But He’s Got To Know” and “The Free­dom,” appeared on the band’s MySpace pro­file.

Monday, July 31st, 2006

Black Moth Super Rainbow

Black Moth Super Rainbow

I’ve heard this name float­ing around for a while now, and despite the name’s sheer and over­whelm­ing awe­some­ness, I had failed to take notice. But I’m doing my best to quick­ly make up for that.

From what I’ve been read­ing, these guys are fre­quent­ly get­ting pegged as “rip­ping off” Boards of Cana­da. It’s a com­par­i­son that would occur to any­body, but “rip­ping off” is a harsh and plain inac­cu­rate way to put it. Still, they are heav­i­ly informed by BoC’s hyp­not­ic, break-dri­ven ambiance. And if you ampli­fy these ele­ments with the bom­bast of M83, and hints of Aavikko and Appa­rat Organ Quar­tet, you’ve got a pret­ty close approx­i­ma­tion of BMSR’s sound.

Fur­ther infor­ma­tion is scarce (not even sure where these guys are from), and they seem to remain inten­tion­al­ly elu­sive to pho­tog­ra­phers, so please excuse the brevi­ty of this post.

Drip­py Eye,” “Side 8,” and “Lost” all come from their (rather lengthy) EP of this year on Grave­face Records, Lost, Pick­ing Flow­ers In The Woods.