Quitter’s Raga is one of many EPs made by Gold Panda, an electronic music producer from the UK. While it’s extremely short (even for an EP), it contains one standout song. The title track amazes for it’s interesting how Gold Panda managed to put so many in only two minutes: strong beat, odd chants and that Hindu sound. Fifth Ave and Police are good but lack the single’s madness.

hydrameter: 3/5

Key Track: Quitter’s Raga

Watch Quitter’s Raga: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muMJtcXcM2c

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Haha Sound is considered Broadcast’s masterpiece. While it’s definitely not my favourite, it’s still fantastic, a work of musicians who know how to use their talent in full. This already being a classic of electronica, Haha Sound finds the band in a peculiar moment. The song structure reminds The Noise Made by People; however, Broadcast begin to evolve a new sound which takes a surprising turn on their next electrifying LP, Tender Buttons. This record is ghostly, mysterious, yet unexpectedly forceful. Man Is Not a Bird is a true rumble, the drumming simply paralyses. On the other hand, Before We Begin is a charming lost track from the ’60s. Finally, the best things come to those who wait. Hawk, which closes the record, is probably the best song by Broadcast. Gloomy and hypnotic, it makes me fall into a trance whenever I listen to it. The sonic explorers blend harpsichord, percussion, electronic beats and Trish Keenan’s subtle voice to a stunning result.

hydrameter: 4/5

Key Tracks: Before We Begin, Hawk, Man Is Not a Bird, Pendulum

Listen to Before We Begin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZNt3geXtJo

Baths “Cerulean” (2010)

August 24, 2011

Will Wiesenfeld is only 22 but many veterans should envy him his catalogue. And he’s just at the beginning of his career. Now working under a stage name Baths (he was previously known as [Post-Foetus]), Will released his debut LP last year. Baths claims he’s obsessed with Björk and you can deduce that he’s listened to Vespertine more than once. If Björk’s album was of a night time, Cerulean is rather of a daylight. It’s less meditative and introvert. Crack is the basic sound used here, like on the glorious Lovely Bloodflow which lyrics may (or not) be about passionate sex: Kick up my shit, you wanna / Rustle these leaves / Get me so red, you wanna / Ruffle these feathers. It seems that Baths made a sequel to his idol minimal Cocoon. Check out the thrilling videos for both tracks and melt with awe.

hydrameter: 4/5

Key Tracks: Lovely Bloodflow, Plea, Rafting Starlit Everglades

Watch Lovely Bloodflow: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtTpszuKXqA

In every review there has to be a part about musician’s background so let’s get straight to the point: ceo is Eric Berglund who was a member of electronic pop duo The Tough Alliance. He is from Sweden. White Magic is his first solo album. The reasons to love this record are as follows:

  • ceo has found a perfect balance between being catchy and out-of-the-way
  • Swedish musicians know how to make good pop, it’s in their genes
  • Come With Me, the lead single, is simply brilliant – it’s an irresistible synth pop invitation to reality
  • it’s not as bright as you may think, darkness lurks around every beat

hydrameter: 4/5

Key Tracks: All Around, Come With Me, White Magic

Listen to Come With Me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4T74frXBpgk

Twin Sister is an American band from Long Island who released their first EP titled Vampires with Dreaming Kids in 2008. They play indie pop with noticeable dream pop elements. At times they evoke neo-psychedelic experiments of Broadcast, especially in instrumental Galaxy Plateau and opening The Other Side of Your Face. Stereolab may also come in mind. Nevertheless, Twin Sister have their very own sound and a noteworthy singer, Andrea Estella. Milk & Honey is a distant cousin of Sat in Your Lap by Kate Bush but it’s less percussive and deals with different subject. In the guitar parts reverberates an echo of Forest Swords. Phenomenons is optimistic and relaxing thanks to a floating electronic backing. Finally, Color Your Life wouldn’t be that good without All Around and Away We Go. It’s superb. No surprise it was chosen by Pitchfork as the 59th best song of 2010.

hydrameter: 4/5

Key Tracks: All Around and Away We Go, Milk & Honey, Phenomenons

Watch All Around and Away We Go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yn0PISCGpg&ob=av2e

August 23, 2011

Absence is the third and final album by Snowman, an Australian band who just decided to stop playing together. It’s a shame for Absence is simply stunning, a tribal, drums-heavy avant-rock almost masterpiece. There is something primordial about this record. It’s physical, epic and quasi-religious as it gives a feeling of associating with some kind of ritual. Not only this, the album’s sound is of a haunted shrine. Hyena is the most extrovert track with lyrics mostly consisting of chanting the title mammal’s name. It doesn’t matter, vague vocals only intensify the uniqueness of Absence. Sigur Rós may come in mind but the mood is definitely gloomier.

hydrameter: 4/5

Key Tracks: A Vanishing Act, Hyena, White Wall

Listen to Hyena: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lb13PZMxTM

Here’s the list of 15 greatest releases of 2011 and a quick résumé of hydra’s activity so far. The artists are presented in alphabetical order:

  1. Austra Feel It Break
  2. Julianna Barwick The Magic Place
  3. James Blake James Blake
  4. Kate Bush Director’s Cut
  5. Cat’s Eyes Cat’s Eyes
  6. Deerhoof Deerhoof vs. Evil
  7. Forest Swords Fjree Feather EP
  8. Gang Gang Dance Eye Contact
  9. Grimes / d’Eon Darkbloom EP
  10. PJ Harvey Let England Shake
  11. Lykke Li Wounded Rhymes
  12. Panda Bear Tomboy
  13. Thao & Mirah Thao & Mirah
  14. Toro Y Moi Underneath the Pine
  15. Wild Beasts Smother

Check out the forthcoming LPs:

CSS La Liberación (23 August)

St. Vincent Strange Mercy (13 September)

Björk Biophilia (27 September)

Twin Sister In Heaven (27 September)

Feist Metals (4 October)

Prince Rama Trust Now (4 October)

Zola Jesus Conatus (4 October)

Justice Audio, Video, Disco (25 October)

Oneohtrix Point Never Replica (8 November)

If you had missed this year’s OFF Festival, purchase this record and feel sorry for yourself. Artur Rojek, the artistic director of the indie music fest that takes place in Katowice, prepared a double album with 2011 line-up. And one can easily notice that during the years the festival has become one of the biggest events for independent and underground music fans (actually, OFF is the second largest European indie festival, just after Barcelona’s Primavera). Artists gathered here are both Polish and foreign, well-known (if you can use this term while speaking of artists rarely present at the top spots of sales charts) and just emerging. Lo-fi hero Ariel Pink and his band Haunted Graffiti deliver a melancholic and charming Can’t Hear My Eyes. The masters of art and experimental rock Deerhoof demonstrate their genius with Fresh Born. Synth pop has never sounded as good as on Tether Beat, a track by George Lewis Jr. aka Twin Shadow, an artist present on almost every single list of 2010 best new artists and bands. Two greatest songs are to be found on the second CD: dark but catchy Blackout by English indie rocker Anna Calvi and This Too Shall Pass Away (for Freddy), Xiu Xiu’s track from their Dear God, I Hate Myself LP.

hydrameter: 3/5

Key Tracks: Blackout by Anna Calvi, Can’t Hear My Eyes by Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Fresh Born by Deerhoof, Heats by Kamp!, Not Getting There by Blonde Redhead, Orange + Apple by Tres B, Set Your Arms Down by Warpaint, Tatanc by DVA, Tether Beat by Twin Shadow, This Too Shall Pass Away (for Freddy) by Xiu Xiu, Try to Sleep by Low

Listen to This Too Shall Pass Away (for Freddy): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmBH08mVR9U

August 20, 2011