Sunday, January 21, 2007

MAU! MAU! DIDI MAU!

Deerhunter the band (not the film) began in 2001 with a simple manifesto one which saw them attempt to fuse the freedom of ambient and minimalist music with the claustrophobic klang of garage punk. The central core of the band being Atlanta based songwriter Bradford Cox; who has over the years weathered numerous chaotic line up changes, the death of a band member and general discouragement from the public at large. Throughout this though a line up for the band has been shaped and shaped again. Eventually settling as a five piece comprised of Moses Archuleta, Josh Fauver, Colin Mee, Lockett Pundt and Bradford Cox. The band released two limited press records on local Atlanta based record label Rob's House Records.

2004 the band retreated to the rural hinterland of GA to record their debut self titled LP, released and promoted locally. In 2005 the band began work on their second full length release, one which would take nearly two years to record and in the process drive the band to point of near bankruptcy. The first half of the album was recorded first unsuccessfully. These recordings were a blur at best, wordless and bordering on psychological atrophy. The sessions failed to provide anything tangible, and were racked with technical and personal problems, including out-of-tune pianos, panic attacks, and a tape machine that seemed to fail to capture the full spectrum of ambience the band was exploring. Down trodden the band returned home and considered giving altogether. In an attempt to give it one last go they again decamped to that same rural studio that had bourne their first full length.

This session was far more succesful than earlier attempts, nailing the entire first half of what was to become their major label debut "Cryptograms" for Kranky Records. The second half of the record, also recorded in a day was put to tape in late November 2005. An exaustive calender of promotion began in 2006 during which they were voted critics choice for "Best Local Experimental Music Act" at Creative Loafing, 2006. Culminating in the band signing to the aforementioned label and agreeing to a distribution deal which would see their album released in late January 2007. The album shows a more coherent sound from that of the miasma and chaos generally showcased in earlier incarnations balancing earth-rattling drones with angelic cadences that dwell on the borders of coherent song structure. Utilizing the blank spaces inside the notes, which leaves plenty of room to roam around a wash of graceful guitar noise, clutter and kraut-rock rhythms. A competent take on less-than-orthodox sounds blossomed in only a few short years from lo-fi, "kitchen avant-garde" home recordings to a viable tenant of the pop avant-garde that gives a nod to everyone from Rhys Chatham to Stereolab. One to watch in 2007 with a busy calender to match, from support slots for both Grizzly Bear and Sparklehorse in March to an invite to the SWSX festival further into the year.


Deerhunter - Spring Hall Convert (MP3)

Friday, January 12, 2007

Hidden Pathways



There are many names in music today who are unfairly or otherwise not known; a lot of the time for no good reason other than word of mouth hasn't passed along the grape vine fast enough. When WIRE magazine's David Keenan coined the phrase 'New Weird America' back in August 2003 who could've known what was destined to happen to the fledgling movment (despite its hidden roots in just about every form of popular music since the late 60s.). Who could've forseen the rise of Animal Collective, the dissolution of The Tower Recordings into a million brilliant shards or Devandra Banhart becoming the figurehead of the offshoot bastardisation 'Freak Folk' movement?!? Then the the Finnic equivelent of vikings invaded and brought with them a whole load of wonderful feral folk, the likes of which is still wowing people three years later!

Back to the point though! One of those names that is passed around in hushed circles who really does deserve far more recognition is Matthew De Gennaro. A search of the intetnet reveals very little about this man, most often passing references as a footnote to one of New Zealand's underground lynchpins Alaistar Galbraith. Matt has thus far released a couple of collaborative affairs with the aformentioned in differing press runs on small run labels. These in themselves reveal that he is a consumate finger pick guitarist who can happily count Jack Rose and James Blackshaw as contemporaries. His style recalling at times that of John Renbourn/Burt Jansch as much aluding to the beloved American primative of John Fahey.

Away from his collaborative work he has also found the time to produce three albums of solo material; "Under The Sun" a limited pressing of 50 on Epigonic Recordings, followed by a second release "5" on the same label. Finally thus far at least "Humbled Down" on the Last Visible Dog imprint in 2005.

Matthew De Gennaro - Ross Creek Wander

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Mainline To Hell

2006 was a good year for music a really good year in fact. One that brought us triumphant returns from old favourites, self assured sophmore releases from relative newcomers and more than its fair share of surprise additions along the way. Among those surprises is the London based ten strong collective The Flowers Of Hell, who have been gently plugging away since they drifted together in 2005 over the course of a series of releases for the Shifty Disco singles club. The band counts within its number a glut of talent, side players from bands the likes of The Tindersticks, British Sea Power and newcomers The Early Years.

The group blend a majestic storm of drone and guitar into orchestral arrangements that call to mind The Velvet Underground & Nico and Spiritualized circa "Laser Guided Melodies." Which makes it fairly ironic that that the band found their mentor in Gary 'Sonic Boom' Kember the very man who acrimoniously split with the laters Jason 'Spaceman' Pierce after a fruitful career together as Spaceman 3.

The self titled debut album was released in November 2006 on Earworm records was produced by Tim Holmes of Death In Vegas at the Contino Rooms. Mastering for the record was done Dennis Blackman whose previous credits include Kraftwerk's "Autobahn" and raft of classic releases from the likes of T-Rex, Elvis and Led Zeppelin. Along with mentoring the group in the earlier incarnation Sonic Boom also collaborated with the band on the track "Through The F Hole" one of several standouts on the album along with the lenghty song that forms the backbone of the album "Opt Out." A swirling monster of understated guitars and violins that ebbs and flows like Spiritualized at their most incandescent and Godspeed You! Black Emperor at their most apocalyptic.

The Flowers From Hell - Opt Out

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Sustained Spectral Harmonics


Formed in the recent past in Baton Rouge, Louisana; Wilderness Pangs started out life as a Creedance Clearwater Revival tribute act. Originally a duo comprised of Randy Faucheux (Guitar, Percusion, Feedback, Anything Else) and Brandon White (Guitar) who shared vocal duties. Between those faltering early steps and the place we call now, they have evolved into a slightly more incandescant beast. in the process and in the words of the band themselves this process began when they took a journey to the centre of the earth and discovered a breed of fire breathing animal called gigantodons. A realm where rap music doesn't exist. Hokey stories aside what they did find at the centre of the earth was a more cohesive playing style one which takes notes from the overlords of the current psychedlic scene: Animal Collective.

Fast forward a couple of years and the duo were joined by full time bassist and drummer Jeremy Baptiste. The pallette of influences was extended further to include leftfield rap collective cLOUDEAD and the introverted psyche canvases of Spaceman 3 and the outsider acolyte of New York's Tower Recordings; James Toth (Wooden Wand). This enabled the unit to begin playing live and to flesh out those ideas collated over the embryonic stage of their development into a self pressed CD-R release. In late 2006 they also signed to German label Broken Ear with a view to releasing a fully realised version of the now out of print early material.


The Elephant Ghost Saga Part 3 (By Night)

Parallel Gigantadons