Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Kayo Dot - Blue Lambency Downward (2008)

I had debated whether or not I should post this because it's technically not free to own. But I decided to because a) Kayo Dot are, in my opinion, the greatest band of the decade and Toby Driver is the most forward-thinking composer of our time and b) it's free to stream in its entirety and Hydra Head never take the streams down, I guess they leave them until the domain expires (case in point; the streams for last year's albums from Pelican and Tusk are still online).

In all honesty, I don't know what to make of Blue Lambency Downward. It certainly doesn't have the same punch that Choirs of the Eye and Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue had on first release. The heavy moments we saw on both of those albums have almost completely disappeared. At this point, the pieces don't seem to distinguish themselves from one another anywhere near as much as they did on Dowsing... or even Choirs of the Eye, which had a number of moments that were extremely memorable (the solo in "The Manifold Curiosity" being the most obvious example) and the songs seemed to build to huge climaxes and then stop, or end with meandering passages.

On the other hand, I find myself counting down the hours until I can hear this record again. In fact I'm gutted right now that I can't listen to it because someone seems to have exceeded the download limit here.

If you want detailed descriptions of the music on this, I really can't give them to you. The best I can do to sum it up is that its some sort of mix of Toby's solo album, last year's Sixty Metonymies (released under the Tartar Lamb moniker by Toby and Mia) and the sound that Kayo Dot were going for on "Immortelle and Paper Caravelle". Other than that, I don't know what to say. It's going to take me a few months to figure out this record. But dammit if it's not one of the best records I've heard in a long, long time and I have no doubt it will be firmly secured in my top 5 records at the end of the year, even if at this point I don't dig it as much as the last two records.

For now, listen here.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sed Non Satiata - Le Ciel De Notre Enfance (2005)

Some of the absolute best screamo in the world is coming out of Europe at the moment and particularly France. By my estimation, there are two bands at the forefront of French emo; Daitro and the band this post is about; Sed Non Satiata. While Daitro wrote possibly my favourite hardcore song of all time with "Nous Sommes D'ici", Sed Non Satiata's album is a remarkable piece of work. It seems to be common in European emo to mix bouncy, catchy rhythms with brutal tones and textures.

By far my favourite song on this record is its centrepiece, the instrumental "En Attendant L'aube". It's possibly one of the most interesting tracks I've ever heard on a hardcore album, mixing some weird sweeping tones with brutal, chunky powerchords and one of the most
gorgeous lead riffs I've ever heard (so much so that I immediately had to learn to play it on guitar when I heard it). I guess you could call it a post-rock song but I feel like it would be doing the song a disservice to use that term, considering how much it gets thrown around and used to describe the most vanilla music in the world.

Though this album is short, it is definitely one of the best European screamo albums I've heard along with Daitro's Lassiez Vivre Les Squelettes and La Quiete's La Fine Non e La Fine. Even if you're not into the genre, I would at least recommend checking out "En Attendant L'aube" as its represents the most masterful use of dynamics I've ever heard on a hardcore album.

SNS website (click on Media > Mp3s)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Low - Live @ East Brunswick Club 2008

Earlier this year, I had the privilege of seeing Low, one of my favourite bands ever, play a small gig in Brisbane. It was at one of the nicest and smallest venues in city and if I had to guess I'd say that there were probably even less than 150 people there; the show didn't even sell out. I could make a few complaints about it; like about how two dudes decided to stand right in the middle of the seated crowd, forcing every person in the room to eventually stand (it's standard practice at Low shows to sit on the floor), but really, it was an unreal show and pretty much any complaint I make is me being picky.

Brisbane were only treated to one show, but Melbourne got three. At one of those shows, Low performed Things We Lost in the Fire in full, which I was semi-gutted I didn't get to see. Fortunately for me, some nice guy decided to tape all three of their shows and put them up for download on the Internet Archive, which is truly the greatest website in the world when it comes to free music. Apart from this one, of course...*ahem*

I've linked two shows in this post; one is the Things We Lost in the Fire show and the other has a very similar setlist to the show that I was at. If you dig either show, I highly recommend checking out the third one (especially Waltzing Matilda at the end), which you'll be able to find pretty easily if you start at the pages of the other two. I guess I should make special mention to "Dinosaur Act" on the Things We Lost in the Fire set, which is probably even better than the album version. Also look out for "Lordy" on the other set, which was, despite being super quiet, one of the most mesmerising and intense things I've ever seen at a show.

Things We Lost in the Fire show
Third show

Saturday, April 12, 2008

E-603 - Something For Everyone

Mash-ups have always been silly fun and they probably reached their peak in terms of popularity with Girl Talk's Night Ripper album, released in 2006. E-603 doesn't really pull it off as well as Girl Talk (he makes some questionable decisions and mashes some things that don't really go together) in his actual music, but he does go further with the 'nerdy white guy with a laptop' image. He's probably just as fun as Girl Talk, even if his sampled artists are occasionally a little more obscure. He's also from around where I used to live in the USA and he samples The Boss. Good driving or party music.


Friday, April 4, 2008

Burton Wagner - A Sentinel's Eyes

Burton Wagner is a DIY post-rock guitarist who makes instrumental music, releasing an album every year for free over the internet. A Sentinel's Eyes is his second of three the releases and in my opinion, his best work to date. A Sentinel's Eyes is made up of two 30 minute tracks that cycle through a number of ideas that range from being incredibly depressing, noisy and chaotic to ambient, melodic and pretty. Burton's album 21 was also one of my favourite releases of last year, being pretty much the opposite in structure to this record. As it is now, I still have a tape of A Sentinel's Eyes in my car that I listen to often. It's an album that truly represents the emotional and artistic peak of what can possibly be produced out of a bedroom by a dude with a guitar, an effects pedal and a piece of recording software.

Track 1 - A Sentinel's Eyes
Track 2 - Beginning's End
Section Names

Thursday, April 3, 2008

My Disco - Live At the Espy (2005)

My Disco are one of my very favourite bands from Australia. Their sound has undergone some fairly serious changes over the years to the point that it has become some of the most colourless, minimalistic music I have ever heard. Their new album Paradise has just dropped and I am yet to hear it but 2006's Cancer is truly one of the best and most interesting Australian albums of the decade. Last year I had the privilege of seeing My Disco open for Deerhoof and their set was incredibly loud, brief and repetitive (and I mean that in the best way possible). This set from 2005 includes a number of the band's earlier tracks, as well as a few tracks from the then upcoming Cancer. The last song of the set is Troubled Receiver, from the group's excellent split 7" with Off Minor, which bridges the gap between their earlier work and their later, more minimalistic leanings.