Category Archives: Posted by N

Sun Kil Moon – Admiral Fell Promises (2010)

I have been listening to Mark Kozelek for the better part of 10 years, and he’s been producing music of an exceptional depth and quality for almost twice that time. I honestly believe that he sits high amongst the canon of truly great living songwriters. This is probably my most anticipated album of 2010. It is a record of nothing other than nylon string guitar and voice – a notable departure for someone as renowned for his Crazy Horse comparisons as his Nick Drake ones. It works, though, and even better than i’d hoped. Kozelek may never see the appreciation he is due – or at least not whilst he’s still alive, as these things always go – but he seems determined to keep making profoundly beautiful music all the same.

Please click here to sample this album

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Natureboy – Natureboy (2009/2010)

I am SO bad at being a blogmaster. I swear, it takes months for me to remember to post things, and it’s usually because some lovely person bothers to comment. I’ll work on it, guys. We can work it out.

This is worth me telling you about, though. Sara Kermanshahi is an Iranian New Yorker, and she made and self-released this wonderful album under the name Natureboy, which is now seeing wider release through Own Records, one of the better labels presently operating (and home to Gregor Samsa, Firekites, Charge Group and S.) It’s a hazy and beautiful thing, a marvelous drifting folksy echo. It’s not so surprising to find out that her collaborators for this record are synth experimentalists Masterface – it treads a fine line at points, the same way For Emma, Forever Ago did (albeit in a more restrained way). I haven’t wanted to listen to much else lately. That never happens.

Please click here to sample this album

The Nashnal – Hive Islet (2010)

You’ll notice my intentionally poor spelling. Just hoping to provide this sample as long as possible without being reported. It’s not normally my style to post something so “enjoyable”, but hey, been waiting a while for this. So enjoy.

Please click here to sample this album

(original link lasted 5 hours. Should work now.)

Autistic Daughters – Uneasy Flowers (2008)

Contemporary Song Cycles #4

It’s 2 AM and the neighbours’ kid is screaming his lungs out. Here, I want you to listen to this. In some way, it is an album about someone called Rehana, but there’s no information on who or what this means. What we’re left with is a brilliant trio – New Zealand’s Dean Roberts on guitar and vocals, and Austrians Werner Dafeldecker and Martin Brandlmayr on double bass and drums/loops respectively – putting together 7 really challenging and utterly rewarding tracks of unrivaled beauty and complexity. Chris Abrahams from The Necks adds his usual brilliance on the piano for several tracks. These songs are slow burners and understated growers. It might take a couple of listens for you to realize that something really special is hidden in here. I hope you give it that chance.

Please click here to sample this album.

(yes, i’ve taken to posting again. If you leave comments, that will make us want to post even more, fickle though it may seem.)

Okay, okay…

We just had a talk. We’ll start posting again this week. If y’all had commented at the time, then maybe we would’ve kept it up – we’re grateful for the belated kind words though. In summary: this week, we return. Epic.

N

Richard Youngs – Beyond The Valley Of Ultrahits (2009)

If there’s any justice, Richard Youngs will be remembered as one of the great musical auteurs of the last two decades. There is literally no genre the man cannot succeed at – from the exquisite  minimalist folk of Sapphie to the maximalist folk of Air Of The Ears, the drone chanting of Under Stellar Stream to the psych-electro of Like A Neuron, not the mention a stint playing bass for Jandek, it’s hard to think of someone more diverse and successful.

No-one counted on the “pop album”. Apparently on something of a dare, Youngs made this record in a limited run of 100 copies, which is why it’s so important that the blogosphere helps to spread it. This is too amazing not to hear. Echoic drum machines, sequencers, perfect harmonies and the odd gratuitous guitar part spiral around these songs. This will simultaneously appeal to the current taste for ‘chillwave’ and the like whilst also rendering the entire idea irrelevant.

SAMPLE REMOVED – Jagjaguwar are releasing this properly now. They are an amazing label (dude, those Spokane records are the best thing ever) and you should support both them and Richard.

Jóhann Jóhannsson – Fordlandia (2008)

Contemporary Song Cycles Pt. 3


Did you, as a matter of reference, know that Henry Ford tried to establish an Americanised city in the middle of the jungle in Brazil, in the 1920s? He decided it would be a really good way to get cheap rubber. He forced indigenous workers to live in white picket fence style surrounds and eat hamburgers. They rioted in 1930 and the ruins are still there. Henry Ford never once visited the place, and they also never succeeded in exporting a single iota of rubber back to the USA.

Majestic strings alongside blipping electronics, deep looming bass and old creaky pianos. And a killer backstory to boot. Jóhannsson is surely one of the better composers currently making recordings – not to mention that he’s labelmates with the Pixies and the Shins whilst doing so. If you have an appreciation for the delicate and the grandiose all at once, this is a wonderfully moving record, and a wonderful gateway into his other works too.

Please click here to sample this album. (link now fixed)