On their last release, Color Your Life EP, Twin Sister managed to deliver a diverse and interesting set of songs. While In Heaven is definitely more coherent (indie and dream pop dominate the album), it has little energy. There is no standout track such as All Around and Away We Go and most of the material feels tedious. Kimmi in a Rice Field saves the record – it’s a melancholic space pop evidence of Twin Sister’s talent. Surprisingly, Andrea Estella’s vocal has lost its intriguing timbre. Shame.

hydrameter: 2/5

Key Tracks: Kimmi in a Rice Field, Stop

Watch Kimmi in a Rice Field: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emCw-rRU3Q4&ob=av2e


September 29, 2011

Holiday! See u soon

September 18, 2011

BEAK> is Geoff Barrow of Portishead plus two friends from Bristol. It’s not that far from Portishead’s latest album, the acclaimed Third. Actually, it should have been named BLEAK> for the atmosphere is very gloomy. Stylistically, goth, krautrock and metal dominate. Vocals are vestigial and come from some obscure place like in Joy Division-esque The Cornubia. The biggest difference between Third and Recordings is that it didn’t take 11 years to make it but merely 12 days.

hydrameter: 4/5

Key Tracks: Backwell, Blagdon Lake, Ham Green

Listen to Blagdon Lake: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRkjPNd4XXs

On Strange Mercy St. Vincent finally releases her inner freak. While it’s hard to tell if it’s her best album yet, it is definitely the oddest. Take Northern Lights which morph from a heavy rock track into a psychedelic eruption of what’s the song’s title. Unfortunately, Annie plays the same trick too often as it is the finale that usually witnesses her “crazy” side (it all starts in the opening Chloe in the Afternoon). Still, Strange Mercy is one of the best pop albums you’ll hear this year. It’s also surprisingly melancholic as if the rising star of indie pop and rock had few reasons to celebrate. Two best tracks, however, are of a light side. Cruel is an intense pure pop zest (even if it touches rather important subject), while Surgeon is funky as hell. Again, lyrics are brilliant, not just skillful but cool in their sinisterness. Can I say no to Best, finest surgeon / Come cut me open ?

hydrameter: 4/5

Key Tracks: Chloe in the Afternoon, Cruel, Northern Lights, Surgeon

Watch Cruel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Itt0rALeHE8&ob=av2e

On their second album SVIIB abandon the world music references and move towards dream pop. I respect that conscious decision even if it means Disconnect from Desire sounds less exciting than Alpinisms. Nevertheless, this is SVIIB we are talking about – Desire offers some awesome moments. Dust Devil is an indie electronic masterwork as precise as it is hypnotic. In Bye Bye Bye the Deheza twins excel themselves and reach for the moon. The whole album is very solid for SVIIB derive from what’s the best in shoegaze and ethereal music tradition. For those missing the band’s old sound Babelonia will be a must-hear. To sum up, Disconnect from Desire is a dreamy gem interrupted by some glistening synths.

hydrameter: 4/5

Key Tracks: Bye Bye Bye, Camarilla, Dust Devil

Listen to Dust Devil: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHmEbKXjC9k

School of Seven Bells’ Alpinisms is one of those rare records that despite sounding interesting on paper actually sound interesting. It’s an intriguing blend of dream pop, electronic and that Eastern feel which makes the album (especially tracks 8-10) irresistible. Virtually, Iamundernodisguise is a sufficient proof of duo’s talent (at the time of LP’s release SVIIB were a trio consisting of Benjamin Curtis and identical twins, Alejandra and Claudia Deheza; however, Claudia left the band three months after the release of their second album). The opening track has an amazing tribal beat and the singing sisters do magic when they chant I am neither sister brother son nor daughter / Solely in my chest is my heart a drum of water. SVIIB have certain mysticism and it has nothing to do with cheap New Age spiritual emotion.

hydrameter: 4/5

Key Tracks: Chain, Iamundernodisguise, Prince of Peace, Sempiternal / Amaranth

Listen to Iamundernodisguise: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vt-SNwyxsBM

SALEM “King Night” (2010)

September 14, 2011

Prepare yourself for one of the gloomiest albums you’ll hear, like, ever. SALEM is a trio from Traverse City, Michigan that finds inspiration not in obscure films or literature but in the very past of its members, including prostitution and drug addiction. So don’t expect happy-go-lucky attitude from these guys. Critics describe their music as witch house – a term panned by some musicians identified with it – but SALEM don’t give a damn about labelling. What can be said for sure is that their sound is haunting: an eerie mix of darkwave, goth, industrial and hip-hop. Synths are freezing, beats are filthy – the overall impression is nihilistic and of despair. Zola Jesus’ Night this is not. Surprisingly, the album’s second half is better. Frost is an icy march of ghosts and zombies. Redlights would be a beautiful ballad if it wasn’t sickly (it’s definitely the most lyrical track). Traxx is an ode to the condemned, while in Tair you can actually hear them as they moan in the background. King Night is a perfect soundtrack to an apocalyptic movie, the one with the sky hidden by a factory smog and the surviving humans being hunted by some heartless machines. Or to modern times: screwed and lacking any values.

hydrameter: 5/5

Key Tracks: Frost, Hound, Redlights, Tair, Trapdoor, Traxx

Listen to Redlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PHHC2G-0JM

More Upcoming Albums

September 13, 2011

These three LPs are to be released this year too. Can’t wait…

Florence and the Machine Ceremonials (31 October)

Atlas Sound Parallax (8 November)

Kate Bush 50 Words for Snow (21 November)

Eating Us is the fourth and most recent album by the lovely psychedelic Black Moth Super Rainbow. The band’s biggest achievement is coherence: while there are no standouts here, these twelve tracks (one is hidden) feel like a continuous flow that is strange yet very pleasing. I deem BMSR to be less serious than an average experimental act (the vocoder vocal effect, the bubblegum pop trace) but they can be haunting like on the bleak Iron Lemonade. Writing tunes which are catchy and cheerful but odd is an art I appreciate very much.

hydrameter: 3/5

Key Tracks: Born on a Day the Sun Didn’t Rise, Dark Bubbles, Iron Lemonade, Twin of Myself

Listen to Born on a Day the Sun Didn’t Rise: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRNmvCWueEw