Posts Tagged With: 2014

Peu De Mots – Marie-Claire Durand

Canadian Jazz musician Marie-Claire Durand offers up her latest album ‘Peu De Mots’. The new album sees Durand offering up a contemporary and relaxing jazz album experience, one where Durnad allows her own natural talents to flourish with effortless ease. Much of ‘Peu De Mots’ offers up a more gentle jazz experience, where pianos, drums and brass instruments calmly set the scene for Durand’s vocal style. Durand has a comfortable and lovely presence on her latest album, pushing everything along at a gentle and easing rate.

On ‘Peu De Mots’, Durand offers up a gentle jazz album experience, where everything floats along effortlessly, pushed along by Durand’s vocal style. At times, ‘Peu De Mots’ comes across as a typical jazz album experience, one where the roots are ingrained in the traditional side as opposed to the experimental side. Everything is comfortable and gentle, being a perfect accompaniment to an evening of just sitting back and relaxing. ‘Peu De Mots’ is for the most part a very confident album effort, showcasing some strong talent from Durand who commands her album with her own presence.

Though there’s some strong elements to ‘Peu De Mots’, it seems the album comes across as rather limited for the most part. There’s a lovely gentle and relaxing air to the album, but it all feels a little too safe, with Durand and her backing band coming across as doing everything by the numbers as opposed to being even a little adventurous. Many of the techniques and elements Durand pushes forward are certainly nice and enjoyable, but they’re mostly techniques and elements that we’ve heard before many times, and arguably under better circumstances.

‘Peu De Mots’ is certainly an enjoyable album, certain to please those who enjoy gentle and relaxing jazz music, though it seems not enough has been done to really push anything forward. Everything, from the instrumental elements of the album, to Durand’s vocal style, all feel very held back, never daring to propel themselves forward in any way or another. There’s certainly something nice being presented here, though it’s perhaps a little too safe and un-daring to result in anything exceptional.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★☆☆  3/5

Selected Songs:

  • Come Back
  • Quiet Fire
  • Va Et Vient

Marie-Claire Durand’s latest album ‘Peu De Mots’ is out now.

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12-12 – Stefano Licio

Musician Stefano Licio offers up his debut album effort ’12-12′, showcasing his rock styling across a mostly enjoyable range of tracks. ’12-12′ sees Licio showcasing his own style of rock music, utilizing his own talents as a performer and a composer to push out an enjoyable and mostly accessible album experience. Much of Licio’s style offers up rock elements in a wholly instrumental fashion, arguably bordering on elements of post-rock, though stemmed in much more traditional formats of rock music. Licio demonstrates strong talent on his debut effort though the album itself seems to become a rather repetitive experiences it progresses along.

For his debut effort, Licio showcases everything he has going for himself, pushing out every creative talent he can muster in the form of instrumental rock music. Strong appealing elements come from Licio’s strong performances, weaving together guitar lines and solos with incredible and natural ease. There’s a nice energy to most of the tracks being presented on the album, most of which showcase the strong creative talent which Licio posses. When the album works, it demonstrates strong qualities of great showmanship, where indulgence of creative talent can flourish in the form of music.

Although there’s a lot of merit to Licio’s natural talent, though it seems to have been presented in a very limited way on his debut effort. There’s enjoyable elements to a few of the tracks on ’12-12′ but many seem to be dominated by similar formats and techniques, not really demonstrating much ingenuity within the genre. A repetitive quality seems to dominate the album after some time, resulting in much of the album experience being a rather dull and very limited. There are enjoyable elements present on the album, but it seems as though Licio is too limited in what he can present.

A few tracks demonstrate some very enjoyable techniques and good strong talent, but as an album experience, ’12-12′ is a little too thinly spread to result in something all that interesting. There’s some great talent being presented by Licio on his debut album effort, though most of it seems to be channeled in a very limited way, all pushed into similar sounding and structured tracks, where there’s been little inventive qualities or even much exploration of the genre itself. There’s some nice creative elements being presented by Licio from time to time, resulting in enjoyable instrumental rock music, though more creative elements and exploration would certainly benefit.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★☆☆  3/5

Selected Songs:

  • Tip Toeing Loudly
  • Purple
  • Br1212 (Suite) Awakened, Fight and Fear, Acceptance

Stefano Licio’ debut album ’12-12′ is out now.

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You Can Have All The Wonders – From Kid

Swedish electronic band From Kid offer their debut album release ‘You Can Have All The Wonders’. The new album sees this electronic act offering up an enjoyable selection of synth-pop tracks, though ultimately with a little bit more going for it than what we often see within the genre. For their debut release, From Kid showcase everything they have to offer, showcasing an enjoyable style of music that is ultimately catchy and easily accessible. Most of the tracks on ‘You Can Have All The Wonders’ offer up a dreamy soundscape, where little details have been considered in order to push forward a strong album effort.

Though not dominated by the genre, there’s a strong presence of synth-pop elements on ‘You Can Have All The Wonders’. From Kid seem to take varying elements from different genres, packaging them all up in a cohesive manner that brings out the best of the dominating genre. Everything feels well structured and very cohesive, with each track contributing nicely to the overall album effort. Vocal harmonies provide a lot of strength to the tracks themselves, using electronic elements here and there to bring more life out of the music itself. It’s an apparent strong effort, and one that highlights the many strengths of From Kid.

Whilst there’s many strong elements to ‘You Can Have All The Wonders’, there’s a few elements which might raise a few eyebrows here or there, or even be snubbed by those expecting something else from music of this genre. There’s a good mixture of downbeat tracks, bordering on trip-hop elements on a few occasions, which might perhaps turn those away expecting a much more upbeat experience, or even vice-versa for those expecting more downbeat elements when the album indulges in upbeat and catchy music. It’s perhaps arguable that ‘You Can Have All The Wonders’ might try to juggle a bit too much, though everything pushed forward by the band feature many strong elements in their own rights.

Even with everything it tries to tackle with in one go, there’s still a lot being presented by the band that makes ‘You Can Have All The Wonders’ a strong and enjoyable album effort. From Kid seem to have pushed forward a number of strong strengths from a genre that has many weaknesses. The rather downbeat nature of most of the tracks might perhaps turn heads, though there’s an equal number of strengths there than there are in the more upbeat tracks. From Kid’s debut effort is one with great promise, suggesting great things to come from this up and coming band.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆ 4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Applause
  • Itself
  • Wonders
  • Waltz

From Kid’s debut album ‘You Can Have All The Wonders’ is out now.

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L’Effondras – L’Eddondras

Post-rock group L’Effondras offer up their debut self-titled album effort, and unrelenting and forceful album experience certain to please fans of more heavier versions of post-rock music. On their debut effort, L’Effondras go full force in their music, offering incredible dynamics between quiet instrumental passages and loud heavy moments. L’Effondras have an incredible energy to their music, one that suggests much more care and attention than the average post-rock act. At times, it’s arguable that ‘L’Effondras’ falls into the category of typical post-rock music, though the band’s sheer amount of energy and dedication elevate their music far above the average.

For their debut effort, L’Effondras seem to push out everything they have going for themselves, utilizing the post-rock genre and formats to their own advantage to showcase a tremendously powerful musical experience. There’s almost an explosive quality to a few of the tracks as the music builds up effortlessly before crashing into hugely powerful instrumental sections. It’s in the bands’ unrelenting energy that we see the appeal of their branch of instrumental rock music, and the way they morph and shift everything into a cohesive vision. Everything feels very well structured and planned out, making this a strong effort that is easily accessible for fans of the genre.

Whilst there’s many merits to ‘L’Effondras’, it has to be noted that the album does seem to fall into some of the traps the genre lays out for itself. At times, L’Effondras seem to indulge a little too much in cresendocore formats and techniques, which at times works well in a few of the songs, but can arguably get a little tiresome after a while. Certain techniques that show great artistic merit don’t seem to dominate the album as much as one would prefer, which instead allows loud noisy passages to take precedent in the recording. L’Effondras do make the style work well for themselves, though seeing their creativity channeled into different territories would certainly result in something incredibly interesting.

Certain elements on ‘L’Effondras’ might be scoffed by certain fans of the post-rock genre, though those who are generally up for anything will find a lot to enjoy on this debut effort. Phenomenal energy and performance certainly elevates the album above the common norm within the genre, showcasing a very strong understanding of the genre and just what it takes to present the genre in a strong and enjoyable way. ‘L’Effondras’ is a strong debut album effort, one that arguably doesn’t highlight the absolute best elements of the genre it occupies, but one that does demonstrate some incredibly strong capabilities of this up and coming band.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆ 4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Amhra
  • L’Âne Rouge
  • Caput Corvi (Part I)
  • Caput Covri (Part II)

L’Effondras’ debut album ‘L’Effondras’ is out now.

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Drunktalk – Billy Momo

Swedish urban-folk act Billy Momo offer up their sophomore album effort ‘Drunktalk’. The new album sees the band offering up a fun and light-hearted selection of folk/alternative rock tracks, utilizing many strengths of varying genres to good effect. There’s a fun and almost sweet element to ‘Drunktalk’, which seems to showcase the band as really enjoying themselves as they push out their latest album effort. At times, ‘Drunktalk’ seems to fall into arguable elements of mediocrity as the band push out music that doesn’t add much to the album, or showcase much interesting talent, though there’s a fair few enjoyable elements on the album.

‘Drunktalk’ offers up an interesting album experience for the most part. There’s roots of folk music at the core of the album, though the whole experience hardly feels restricted to this genre, and instead allows itself to utilize different elements and ideas to add more to the music itself. There’s some very nice pacing to a few of the songs, showcasing some strong ideas as well as good presentation of these said ideas. Billy Momo present some nice ideas at times on ‘Drunktalk’ that are of very good quality, being as strong as some of the most popular acts currently working in this genre today.

There’s some strong elements to ‘Drunktalk’, but they don’t seem to help the album’s negative traits all that much. At times, ‘Drunktalk’ seems to fall back into dull elements that don’t add much to the album, or showcase anything of interest. A significant chunk of the album seems to be filled up with filler material, there only to pace out the album rather than assist and support the album itself. It’s a shame as when Billy Momo present strong material, it really works, but it sadly doesn’t continue throughout the entire album experience, and thus makes the whole album come across as weak for the most part.

There’s some good enjoyable elements on ‘Drunktalk’, but it seems not enough has been done to elevate the album over its negative points. Not every track has been cohesively planned out and structured to the same level as some of the album’s strong points, which affects the overall album experience quite a bit. When the album does work, it works well, and showcases some good strong talent from the band, though as a whole album experience, not enough has been done to make this a strong and consistently enjoyable album experience.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★☆☆  3/5

Selected Songs:

  • I’ve Got You
  • Shine Like The Devil
  • Drifting Away
  • Headlights

Billy Momo’s latest album ‘Drunktalk’ is out now.

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The Longest Year On Record – A Troop Of Echoes

Post-Rock band A Troop Of Echoes present their latest album ‘The Longest Year On Record’. The new album sees the band offering up their most cohesive and structured album yet, showcasing an incredibly paced and punchy post-rock experience. ‘The Longest Year On Record’ shows the band demonstrating the absolute best qualities of post-rock music, using its varying elements to great effect, whilst also adding in a few ideas and notions of their own to allow themselves to stand out amongst the genre. There’s an incredible energy to ‘The Longest Year On Record’, making it an album worthy of recognition from any fan of the genre.

On their latest album, we see A Troop Of Echoes pushing out everything they have to offer. Everything on the album feels incredibly well planned and thought-out, showing a meticulous side to the band in their effort to create something they can truly be proud of. There’s a wonderful cohesive element to the album as it progresses along, with each and every track contributing brilliantly to the overall album experience. A Troop Of Echoes utilize their different talents to great effect, creating a post-rock experience that is simply enjoyable. It’s passionate and energetic post-rock at its best, and one that manages to stand out amongst others within the genre.

It’s arguable that at times, ‘The Longest Year On Record’ falls back somewhat into elements of repetitiveness. Most of the tracks on the album offer up an incredibly fast-paced experience, and whilst it works well for the most part, it perhaps fails to show all that much variety from A Troop Of Echoes. There’s evidence of great talent on the record, though it perhaps feels that it could be channeled into other areas at times, utilizing all elements of the post-rock genre rather than just a few.

Even though there’s a few repetitive qualities on ‘The Longest Year On Record’, we’re still being offered a phenomenal and passionate album experience. What A Troop Of Echoes do right, they do so well that it’s hard not to enjoy this album experience.  Each track seems to work well with each other, making the whole album feel well structured and well thought-out. ‘The Longest Year On Record’ is a very strong album, and one that positions A Troop Of Echoes well above the average band working within the post-rock genre.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆ 4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Small Fires
  • Kereosene
  • Constellation
  • The Longest Year On Record

A Troop Of Echoes’ latest album ‘The Longest Year On Record’ is out now.

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Faces – Shawn Phillips

Shawn Phillip’s 1972 album ‘Faces’ sees itself being generously re-released on Talking Elephant Records, featuring the original album as well as a bonus track at the end to tide over fans. ‘Faces’ saw Phillips offering up arguably one of his most ambitious albums in his career, featuring a variety of different ideas and techniques as well as the odd experimental notion here and there, showcasing a great amount of creativity. Much of the album seems to have its roots firmly implanted in the folk music genre, though Phillips hardly restricts himself to the genre’s formats, allowing his creativity to take itself wherever it may please.

‘Faces’ offers up a very diverse range of different styles, resulting in an album that retains the listener’s attention as they’re guided through an enjoyable and fun album experience. Phillips’ style is rather relaxed for the most part, giving his music energy and a little bounce. There’s a wonderful variety of styles and genres being presented on the album, all of which come together in a cohesive manner, giving the album a strong structure as it journey’s through its varied tracks. It’s a strong album for the most part, and one that demonstrates Phillip’s talents at some of their strongest.

Whilst there’s a lot to enjoy on ‘Faces’, the album for the most part seems to indulge itself a little too much without offering something back in return. There’s sometimes an element of tracks dragging on a little too much, and whilst they demonstrate strong notions, it creates this somewhat un-enjoyable element as we start to wish that the music could just get a move on. Phillip’s demonstrates some great talent on ‘Faces’, but it sometimes feels like it hasn’t been focused clearly enough, and that certain elements are present on the album for the sake of it, rather than for the benefit of the album itself.

In some senses, ‘Faces’ is a little bit of a mixed-bag in terms of an album experience. There’s a lot on offer here, and much of it is incredibly enjoyable, though other sections seem to add very little to the album itself and affect the overall impact of the album itself. Even with its negative traits, there’s still many strengths to ‘Faces’, which still remains one of the strongest and more enjoyable releases by Phillips, and one we can certainly be happy with to see Talking Elephant Records re-releasing as part of their catalogue.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★☆☆  3/5

Selected Songs:

  • Landscape
  • Hey Miss Lonely
  • Parisian Flight II
  • A Christmas Song

Shawn Phillips’ 1972 album ‘Faces’ is now available through Talking Elephant Records.

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Svin – Svin

Svin pave the way for their experimental music notions with the release of their self-titled third album. The new album ‘Svin’ sees the band offering up a phenomenal and unrelenting barrage of psychedelic experimental music, bordering the lines of post-rock and experimental jazz. There’s an incredible energy to ‘Svin’, one that showcases great talent, as well as a real creative streak in producing something just that little bit different. At times, ‘Svin’ might come across as a little aggressive, but it is one that justifies its aggressive elements through brilliant showmanship and creative elements.

On their latest album effort, Svin demonstrate incredible artistic promise. ‘Svin’ offers an Odyssey of musical movements and techniques, showcasing a great range of different styles, all comprised together into one coherent structure.  ‘Svin’ offers up a varied style of instrumental tracks, and whilst from an outsider’s perspective they might seem to be clashing techniques, Svin manage to work everything together into one album experience, where everything seems to warrant its place on the album, whilst keeping everything interesting and exciting. It’s an exciting and exhilarating musical journey, and one that shows the best techniques in experimental notions. There’s a nice variety of heavy tracks partnered with more slower and downbeat ones, keeping the whole album experience refreshing and interesting.

Svin’s option to fuse together different genres works incredibly well, though combined with its rather experimental techniques, it makes the album experience one that is somewhat inaccessible, and perhaps off-putting to die-hard fans of the varying individual genres. Fans of post-rock or math-rock might find the more jazz-orientated tracks on the album somewhat unappealing, or even vice-versa. Some might be put off by Svin’s juggling of various genres, though for the most part it works incredibly well on their self-titled release, showing some incredible creative talent. The only real problem with ‘Svin’ is that it’s an incredibly short album, and one that seems to end just as it gathers up enough momentum.

Svin demonstrate wonderful musical technique on their latest effort, one that excites and sometimes confounds in oddly enjoyable ways. The record is perhaps a little too short at times, though it does result in an album experience where there’s absolutely no dead weight, and each track contributes wonderfully to the album itself. It’s a strong effort that really showcases Svin’s talents as a band, showing their ability to both conform to genre’s, and shape and bend their conventions at will, bringing out new and exciting ideas that haven’t really been explored before by other bands.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆ 4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Maharaja
  • Alt
  • Fuck John
  • Fede Piger

Svin’s latest album ‘Svin’ is out now.

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Wild Part of the World – Oh! Pears

Corey Duncan, working under the title of Oh! Pears, offers up his latest album endavour ‘Wild Part of the World’. The new album sees Duncan combining ideas, techniques and elements drawn from a wide variety of different influences, to create a wonderful album experience. ‘Wild Part of the World’ seems to demonstrate just about the full capabilities of Duncan’s talents, showing wonderful song-writing techniques as well as brilliant performing talents. ‘Wild Part of the World’ comes forth to life through its wonderful musical elements, where effort and care consideration have all gone into the creation of a strong and enjoyable album experience.

‘Wild Part of the World’ offers up an interesting album experience, one where the music feels very much a part of the folk-genre, though hardly restricted by its capabilities. Many different ideas and techniques all come into play, making everything a worthwhile listening experience. Duncan confidently expresses his own ideas and notions with effortless ease, utilizing his own talents with a few friendly faces to express a clear vision. Each song on the album contributes to the overall album experience, with there being a wonderful flow between track to track, giving the whole album experience one with character and flair. It’s a confident album, and one with many strengths to it.

Whilst ‘Wild Part of the World’ comes across as a very strong album, it does suffer from a few repetitive qualities in some of the songs. A few tracks on the album seem to fall back somewhat, demonstrating techniques that sound too similar to other songs on the album, or simply not demonstrating as much as the album’s highlights. Towards the middle of the album, the whole experience seems to wane for a bit before picking up again at the end. It doesn’t seem to affect the overall impact of the album itself, but it does result in a few tracks being largely unmemorable, and thus their place on the album itself being somewhat questionable.

Even with a few flaws here and there, ‘Wild Part of the World’ comes across as a strong and lovely album effort. Duncan’s barritone vocal style accompanies the music wonderfully to present varying concepts and ideas bursting forth from Duncan’s mind. Things might get a little dark at times on ‘Wild Part of the World’, but there’s also many layers of warming comfort that come through in many of the songs, making this effort one that demonstrates great talent and great ideas. There’s much to enjoy from Duncan, who pushes forth a wonderful album effort that is easily accessible.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆ 4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Conjurer
  • Natasha
  • Helena
  • Fill Your Lungs

Oh! Pears’ latest album ‘Wild Part of the World’ is out now. 

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Music And Words – Malcolm Middleton & David Shrigley

Scottish musician and composer Malcolm Middleton (formerly of Arab Strap) teams up with British visual artist David Shrigley, for their collaborative album ‘Music and Words’. The new album combines Middleton’s musical style with spoken word performances by Shrigley, resulting in an incredibly visceral yet engrossing album experience. Many of the tracks are dominated by a harsh electronic-punk style, partnered up with crude and humorous monologues. The whole album experience is one that is rather experimental for the most part, and one that is largely inaccessible for the most part, though one that is certainly enjoyable in a very odd way.

‘Music and Words’ for the most part is an incredibly harsh album experience. Both the music being presented by Middleton, and the performances of Shrigley seem to occupy ugly and odd worlds that are utterly engrossing. There’s incredibly crude humour being used by Shrigley in his performances, which oddly enough make the whole effort interesting in an odd way. The spoken word performances seem to be the main element of the tracks themselves, with Middleton’s music occupying more of a supporting role on the album. Even so, there’s a wonderful collaborative effort between the two performers, with both complimenting each others creative ideas in a very interesting way.

Some might find ‘Music and Words’ to be a hard album to swallow. The incredibly harsh elements of the album make it one that should not be taken so lightly. Harsh music coupled up with harsh vocal performances make the whole effort one that is a little difficult to enjoy at times. Those who enjoy Middleton’s music, both his solo works and his work with Arab Strap, might find many of the elements on ‘Music and Words’ to be rather unexpected. Those going into this work expecting something different might find it to be an enjoyable effort, or even those who enjoy crude humour.

Middleton and Shrigley’s collaborative effort is a rather odd one, though perhaps one that is to be expected from both these artists. There’s a great creative element running throughout the album itself, which presents some very interesting ideas here and there in its tracks. There’s a strong flow to the album, which rarely offers solace in its visceral presentation of its own material. ‘Music and Words’ is for the most part a rather bizarre album experience, though one that still allows itself to be appreciated.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Houseguest
  • Dear Brain
  • Story Time
  • A Computer

Malcolm Middleton and David Shrigley’s latest album ‘Music And Words’ is out now.

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