Archive for the ‘ Albums ’ Category

Silkworm – Firewater

Silkworm – Firewater

16 songs, 59 minutes long

Silkworm was an indie rock group signed to either Matador or Touch & Go Records from 1987 to 2005. This review would be hard to do with out comparing this band to Pavement. They were around in a similar scene during the same time period and it is hard to miss the similarities, but Silkworm is an amazing band that stands out in a sea of crappy 90 rock groups and deserves just as much attention as Pavement. Firewater came out in 1996 and is my favorite of the large Silkworm catalog. Firewater has the basic lo-fi 90’s indie rock aesthetic, but it also has some of the best musicianship of any group from that era. In between all the lo-fi noise emerges blistering guitar riffs, amazing long solos, and catchy yet meaningful lyrics. To me an album like this is rock at its finest and every time I listen to it I only wish i was old enough when this band and scene was active to have gotten in to it.

Firewater at Amazon

Mildew

Cloudkicker – ]]][[[

Cloudkicker – ]]][[[

3 songs, 15 minutes long

I have never been a fan of metal. I respect it completely as a genre, but its just not one that has ever appealed to me, at least until i found Cloudkicker. Cloudkicker is a one man project by B.M. Sharp, which is recorded completely at home using drum machines and custom tuned guitars. His entire discography, which includes 3 EP’s and a full length LP, is available entirely for free download. My favorite of these is the EP’s is ]]][[[, though all of them are worth listening to. This is metal that I feel appeals to metal and nonmetal fans alike. Its very melodic and complex, with easy to listen to atmospheric guitar riffs, heavy distorted breakdowns, and best of all, completely instrumental (sorry metal fans, I just can’t do screaming rough vocals). It’s short, but the perfect length for a metal album such as this. The listener never gets worn out, you can have 15 minutes of headbanging metal without ever getting a headache, and enjoy every minute of it. Since the albums are free, you really don’t have a good excuse to not check this out. It may be something new and it may even turn you on to checking out more metal.

Download ]]][[[ and all other Cloudkicker albums for free

Mildew

DJ Spooky – Under the Influence

DJ SpookyUnder the Influence

26 songs, 1 hour and 13 minutes long

DJ Spooky’s Under the Influence is long and badass. Released in 2001, I’m sad I’ve been missing out on it for the last nine years. Mostly remixes from other artists as varied as Amon Tobin, Sonic Youth,  Moby, and The Future Sound of London, DJ Spooky chills out each track and drops a sick beat. As each song is a remix, vocals vary from sung to rapped to nonexistent, but the album is coherent, with a laid-back attitude and great beats. Just a little too slow to be hip-hop, DJ Spooky lays out an album that is great to listen to with your feet up.

Buy Under the Influence at Amazon.

Skeeter

Biosphere – Substrata

Biosphere – Substrata

11 songs, 58 minutes long

Biosphere (real name: Geir Jenssen) is a well known and well respected ambient artist from Norway. He has released a notable catalog of music and is an essential listen for anyone who enjoys ambient music. He has many good releases, but his 1997 album Substrata really shines among them as a true classic in ambient works. Substrata is a cold, lonely, distant album, but among all that it is beautiful and relaxing. The whole album has a very arctic feel, and its easy to imagine sitting on a glacier viewing the northern lights completely alone for miles and miles while listening to this album. The album is full of looping strings and distant drones with detail and diversity that keeps the listeners attention (which is a feat for an album as ambient as Substrata). And on that note I must mention that this is a very ambient album. There is very little beat or rhythm and most of the focus is on creating a sound scape and atmosphere. If you are looking for something with just a little more beat, check out Biospheres album Microgravity, it is also fantastic and contains the same arctic feel, but with more techno beats and rhythm.

Substrata at Amazon

Mildew

Alva Noto – Xerrox, Vol. 2

Alva Noto – Xerrox, Vol. 2

11 songs, 1 hour 6 minutes long

Xerrox, Vol. 2 is an ambient masterpiece. One of my all-time favorite sleeping albums, Xerrox, Vol. 2 is ambient enough to sleep or work to, but also enjoyable to simply sit and listen to. There is never much rhythm or melody; Xerrox, Vol. 2 is probably closer to being interesting noise than it is truly music. That being said, Xerrox, Vol. 2 is beautiful and will have you questioning the definition of music itself, as the album is most certainly minimalist music. Full of buzzes, hums, and bleeps, Xerrox, Vol. 2 sounds like what I thought industrial would sound like when I first heard of it. It’s like listening to the thump-thump-thump of a dryer that is spinning off of its axis, and then a steam generator, and then a satellite. Xerrox, Vol. 2 has to be heard to be understood, and for any fans of ambient music, it’s high on my recommendation list.

Xerrox, Vol. 2 is available in vinyl on Amazon.

Skeeter

Air France – No Way Down

Air France – No Way Down

6 songs, 22 minutes long

This is an EP I have meant to review for a long time. It is probably my favorite 22 minutes of music and something that everyone should give a listen to. Air France is a group from Sweden that has gained respectable popularity for a band with only 2 EP’s. No Way Down is their second effort and while their first EP, On Trade Winds, was fantastic, No Way Down is, dare I say, perfect. The only good way I can describe Air France is beachy; not beachy like party pop music, instead melancholy and relaxing. The album is dreamlike, from the repeating “Sort of like a dream. No. Better.” to the dance worthy basslines to the horns and piano that fill the EP. Even though this is a disappointingly short album, every moment on it is worth listening to over and over again.

I can’t recommend this album enough. Its something I will be listening to for a long time, and I cant wait to see what else this group can come up with in the future.

Get No Way Down at Amazon

Mildew

Younger Brother – The Last Days of Gravity

Younger Brother – The Last Days of Gravity

9 songs, 1.123 hours long

The Last Days of Gravity is the most recent release from another one of Simon Posford’s (Shpongle, Hallucinogen) projects, Younger Brother. This album is probably my favorite of all of Posford’s work, and since I’m moving apartments this week and I haven’t had much of a chance to do any exploring, I’m going to take this opportunity to write about something I consider a modern classic. As usual, Posford’s work is genre-defining, and it’s placed somewhere between psybient and goa trance. The tempo is slow but the songs vary from being heavy to light and beautiful, and the album is somewhat of a journey, as Posford is known for. Personally, I find Younger Brother and Shpongle the best of the Posford projects by a wide margin, and Younger Brother is definitely the lesser-known of the two, and it’s not because of quality. For fans of Shpongle especially, this album is a must-listen. For those who want to know what the best of performed music combined with electronic composition can create, Younger Brother is at the top of the genre. My collection could not be complete without Younger Brother’s The Last Days of Gravity, as well as a few other Posford works that I’ll probably cover some other time.

Buy The Last Days of Gravity on Amazon.

Skeeter