Album Of The Year?

Yes it’s that time again……and with it being a very busy year I thought i’d better prepare the long-list early on…..so in no particular order the candidates for this years “Best Of…..” not jazz albums… I’ll whittle it down to a top ten in due course, and I may well include some other ones I have missed and some things in the pipeline which look like they make the list.

There are a couple of very strong front-runners at the moment and after that it all gets a bit difficult…………

  • The Seven Twenty – The Seven Twenty
  • Niche – Heading East
  • Heroin In Tahiti – Sun and Violence
  • Dilly Dally – Sore
  • The Holy Soul – Fortean Times
  • Mammoth Penguins – Hide and Seek
  • The Lancashire Hustlers – What Made Him Run
  • Moff Skellington – Scribnalls
  • Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Just Sit And Think And Sometimes I Just Think
  • Robert Forster – Songs To Play
  • Bouquet of Dead Crows – Of The Night
  • Dave Graney – Once I Loved The Oceans Roar
  • Monkeys In Love – Take The Biscuit
  • Corrections House – Know How To Carry A Wip
  • Esmerine – Lost Voices
  • Dead Sea Apes – Spectral Domain
  • Moff Skellington – The Corkscrew Tongue
  • Liberez – All Tense Now Lax
  • Vienna Ditto – Circle
  • JD Meatyard – Taking The Asylum
  • Ken Mode – Success
  • Dead to Dying World – Litany
  • Myrkur – M
  • The Creeping Ivies – Your New Favourite Garage Band
  • Ought – Sun Coming Down
  • Big Brave – Au De La
  • The Happy Fallen – Lost and Found
  • Cryin’ Queerwolf – Diva
  • Alif – Aynama -Rtama
  • Dave Graney ‘n’ The Coral Snakes – Night of the Wolverine  (Expanded)
  • ZX+ Don’t Drink The Water
  • Author & Punisher -Melk En Honing
  • Dave Graney & the mistLY – Play mistLY for me – live recordings vol 1
  • Flies On You – Etcetera
  • Brothers of the Sonic Cloth – Brothers of the Sonic Cloth
  • The Go-Betweens – G stands for Go-Betweens : Volume One 1978-1984 (yes I know it’s a box set but it’s too good to ignore)
  • Moff Skellington – The Corduroy Bridge
  • The Fall – Sub Lingual Tablet
  • Minimi Deutsch – Minimi Deutsch
  • Anna Von Hauswolff – The Miraculous
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New Voices Found

Esmerine 

Lost Voices

Constellation

16th October 2015

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Montréal chamber rock ensemble Esmerine return with their new full-length album Lost Voices , which follows their highly-acclaimed and Juno award-winning 2013 release Dalmak . The title of the album is intriguing and somewhat contradictory given the group have actually found some new musical voices on this release.

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 which adopt driven percussion in a rock style. Electric guitars appear for the first time (courtesy a variety of guest players) alongside the group’s nucleus of marimba, strings and percussion.

Expanding from Dalmak ’s core quartet, Esmerine also now includes 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.

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The album is equally notable for the appearance of GY!BE/Silver Mt. Zion violinist Sophie Trudeau as a featured guest; her potent attack , particularly on opener “The Neighborhoods Rise”, “19/14” and the centrepiece track of the second half of the album, “Funambule” adds to the established Esmerine sound and makes for an altogether more epic feel. Thompson’s drumming comes to the fore on these pieces too, and on the rock-steady minimalism of “A River Runs Through This City”, which references the likes of Tied & Tickled Trio, June Of 44, Shipping News and Lungfish.

It’s not all about big statements however, there are reflective pastoral pieces just featuring tuned percussion and strings which balance the big tunes. The band’s reputation as a chamber rock group is enhanced with this new dynamic approach. Post-rock, a good slice of minimalism, serialism in a Steve Reich/John Adams style, some odd time signatures via math-rock and that eastern european vibe that cuts across the ASMZ/GS!BE family are all here. There’s also a nod towards TNT/Standards era Tortoise with some of the structural arrangements.  A highlight is the occasional leap into riff-driven tex-mex/desert rock which sits well in the Esmerine sound. Some of the breakdowns also get into a funky celidh area., albeit from a slightly parallel universe.  There’s a lot to grab the attention and it is all good.

Their best release to date and highly recommended.

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.

http://cstrecords.com/esmerine/
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Esmerine/115994205138357
http://www.esmerine.com/
http://cstrecords.com/

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

Esmerine

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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Aural Delights Radio Show – 23rd May 2012

On this weeks show….. listen here

1 Six Organs of Admittance Waswasa Ascent
2 Dave Graney Flash in the Pantz Single
3 Sinister Chuckles Wiggy Brown Demo
4 Vespa Voodoo Lounge Storm is Breaking
5 Esmerine Learning to Crawl 2012 Spring Tour Single
6 E-Mute Clock Moves Forward Too Proud to Say Loud
7 Alex Winston Fire Ant King Con
8 The Wobbly Hearts Any Time Demo
9 Island Audio Two Teams Demo
10 Moff Skellington Greeting Card No1 Valentine Thorny Conduits
11 Moff Skellington The Kneeling World Thorny Conduits
12 Burning Love No Love Rotten Thing To Say
13 Grumbling Fur Huthering Whites Alice
14 Vespa Fever Grow Old Storm is Breaking
15 The Fire Engines We Don’t Need This Fascist Groove Thing Fond

Aural Delights – 22nd June 2011

A variety of new sounds on this show a lot of them from the Greater Salford area…….or Manchester as it is more commonly referred to…..but many more from far flung places like Coventry, Falkirk and Huddersfield……

  • WU LYF – Dirt (Single) : the next big thing? I think it’s too early to tell but this single is definitely quality stuff. You will be able to see for yourself at Manchester International Festival in July.
  • White Swallow – Rain (Single) – consist of Bobby Mambo- Guitar + Vox and
    Sam Swallows- Drums and hail from Chorley (a fine place with some nice restaurants).More info the Brock and Roll site.
  • The Strive – Down in London (Demo) – interesting band from Stretford consisting Gurmakh Singh – Guitar/Vocals, Jake Ogden – Guitar/Vocals
    Thomas ‘Toast’ Barlow – Bass/Vocals, Mike Carolan – Drums.
  • Beirut – East Harlem (Single) – nice to see them back and with a great tune from Zac Condon.
  • The Suns – Sun Strut – Down and Out in Little Deva (Album) – the rather impressive and utterly groovy Suns who are playing at Helmets for Men in September…..and are well worth seeing.
  • Zap Zap Zap – Brick Window – apparently the NME think they are good which is usually the kiss of death for me but they are actually very impressive. It would appear that they “enjoy taking influence from the potent and enigmatic things of everyday life; amplifying them to great heights of their own musical art”. Not sure that adequately covers a very polished and unique sound that encourages further listening. Very melodic and well constructed tune this.
  • Bad Pollyanna – My Incubi (Single) – I like a touch of alternative rock sturm und drang once in a while and this one ticked my one working set of ossicles so I thought I would give it an airing.  The album is in gestation as I understand it. Based in Huddersfield the band consists of Olivia Hyde – Vocals, Nikki Kontinen – Bass, Sam Morrow – Drums,  and Peter Dawes – Guitar. Apparently the stage show is pretty impressive and looking at some of the vids on You Tube they do have an impressive look to them. Turns out Sam the drummer lives in Manchester also. If you want to contribute to the production of the album you can pay for the single otherwise its free to download. Good idea I think – something Kristin Hersh does with her Strange Angels thingy.
  • Audio Asylum – Pressure (Demo) – a very impressive band from Liverpool who I’ve played before. A taster from a forthcoming ep.
  • The Black Hands – 45 (Demo) – Five piece Blues Rock outfit The Black Hands are: Daniel Riley – Guitar & Vocals, Richard Moore – Guitar & Vocals, Andy Gannon – Vocals & Harmonica, Dan Bennet – Bass, Ben Atkins – Drums. Rather reminiscent of the music I was listening to when I was a young whippersnapper in loon pants and a tank top.
  • The Wild Swans – Falling to Bits – The Coldest Winter for a Hundred Years (Album) – if you want any further evidence of my advancing senility then you have it in me describing the rather marvellous Wild Swans as the “White” Swans – I put this down to an over-ingestion of Doctor Joey Holts bronchial medicine. Aside from my idiocy an excellent track from a brilliant album.
  • Pose Victorious – Off The Rails –  Beneath the Lighthouse (EP) – e a 5 piece indie rock band from Falkirk, Scotland. Having formed in mid 2009 they quickly released their self titled debut E.P. in March 2010. Since then the band have endeavoured to introduce their sound to new ears, playing a host of gigs and down the country, this is from their new EP.
  • V Thirteen – What Happened To You (Demo – Radio Edit)  – V Thirteen was formed in March 2011 by Dermo (from Northside) and Matt Rynn. Work is now underway on the writing of the self recorded debut album ‘The Rest Is History’ which will be engineered, produced and mixed by Dermo and Matt. This is the first demo.
  • Pint Shot Riot – Twisted Soul (Single) – from Coventry, the band were formed in 2004 under the name ‘Avenue’ – they changed their name to ‘Pint Shot Riot’ because when you enter the word ‘Pint’ into predictive text, the phone often mistakes it for ‘Shot’ or ‘Riot. The Band’s current lineup consists of two cousins Richard ‘Rocket’ Emerson (Guitar and Vocals) and Chris ‘Mini Rocket’ Connell (Drums and Backing Vocals) with Dave ‘Baby Dave’ Page (Bass) and Rob Clements (Lead Guitar & Backing Vocals).
  • Esmerine– A Dog River – La Lechuza (Album)an experimental instrumental group started by Bruce Cawdron and Beckie Foon, who have contributed to other Montreal-based bands as Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Set Fire to Flames, and Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band. The music consists mainly of percussion, cello, and marimba sharing many characteristics with minimalist classical music and chamber music.
  • Electric Wood – A Tragic Satire (Demo) – very little info about these guys at this point in time but an impressive tune.
To listen click on the link below