Fascinating Things : Issue 17

Montréal chamber rock ensemble Esmerine return with the new full-length album “Lost Voices”, described as  “the most dynamic and incendiary record of the group’s career”, following its highly-acclaimed and Juno award-winning 2013 release Dalmak. Led by co-founders Bruce Cawdron (Godspeed You! Black Emperor) on various mallet instruments and Rebecca Foon (Thee Silver Mt. Zion, Saltland) on cello, Esmerine also includes drummer/percussionist Jamie Thompson (The Unicorns, Islands, Little Scream) and multi-instrumentalist Brian Sanderson.

Lost Voices is the result of multiple recording sessions led by Vid Cousins (Kid Koala, Amon Tobin, Colin Stetson) and was mixed/produced by Jace Lasek (The Besnard Lakes) at his Breakglass Studio in Montréal. The album features several tracks that are hands down among the band’s most rocking, making newfound use of electric guitars (courtesy a variety of guest players) alongside the group’s nucleus of marimba, strings and percussion. Expanding from Dalmak’s core quartet, Esmerine also welcomes bassist Jeremi Roy (who began touring with the group in 2013) as an official member; his contrabass work adds potent low-end to the heavier and more muscular jams on the new album. Lost Voices is equally notable for the appearance of GY!BE/Silver Mt. Zion violinist Sophie Trudeau as a featured guest.


It is released on Constellation on October 16th, here is a link to a  taster with the track Neighbourhoods Rise


With only a few weeks to go until Helen’s debut LP “The Original Faces” is released, the band have shared a second teaser from the album in the form of ‘Violet’. ‘Violet’ perfectly captures the dreamy pop-rock essence of Helen, with Harris’ airy vocals dancing atop the fuzzy guitar textures and rhythmic bass tones.

Helen is a pop group from Oregon. Liz Harris (vocals/lead guitar), Jed Bindeman (drums/tambourine), Scott Simmons (bass/guitar), and Helen (back up vocals).

Originally started with the intention of being a thrash band, it turned into something else entirely. The Original Faces was recorded over a period of several years in Portland by the band members, their friends Nick, Chris and, largely, Justin Higgins. The record was written together, with some songs based on Liz and Scottʼs demos.

The Original Faces will be released 4th September via kranky.

I don’t normally post jazz related things in this part of the blog but Dave Douglas‘ new one “High Risk” contains sufficient elements of improvised music to warrant a look. It’s been out a month now, and it will be a strong front runner for my jazz album of the year. The band is Dave on trumpet with DJ producer Shigeto, bassist Jonathan Maron, and drummer Mark Guilianah, The video below, of the excellent “Tied Together”, contains a great tune which marries Dave’s warm tones with some fascinating electronica from Shigeto and a great rhythm section performance. Note the use of echo on the trumpet in places to great effect. Nils Petter Molvaer has been doing similar for years so it’s not exactly ground-breaking (despite some critics getting a little tipsy about it) but Dave always brings something new to the table and that’s certainly true of this album.

Excellent work by Tony Thornborough here below in capturing the excellent Flies On You live at The Crescent in Salford. As I have posted. at length, previously Tony and Steve Nicholson are putting on some great nights at the venue and Jim Watts has to be best sound man in the conurbation at the moment.

PPNW Records have announced the release of “13 O’CLOCK”, a limited-edition compilation album that you CAN’T download from iTunes! Lovingly compiled by the Atlanta-based company, it stand for Post Punk New Wave Records, “13 O’Clock” revives the spirit of 80’s DIY, a sound & aesthetic which can still be heard today in Franz Ferdinand, The Horrors, The Bravery, Ladytron and many more…

Featuring exciting previously unreleased tracks from 80’s cult favourites Uur Daughters Wedding (recorded live!), European hit makers B-Movie and French electro-punk pioneers Metal Urbain, the album also features the post-punk classic “Agent Orange” by Ski Patrol (w/Killing Joke’s Jaz Coleman) and the EPIC track “Galapagos” by European music collective Family Fodder (full tracklisting below).

The label has taken the bold move of not making the album available on iTunes, and is available exclusively as a limited-edition CD (500 copies only!) via the PPNW Records website.





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