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  • 3 weeks later...

I've recently become enamored with By Hearts+Horses by Park Avenue Music. I really liked their previous album, For Your Home Or Office, which was very much in the vein of M

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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  • 2 weeks later...

I am really enjoying the *two* new releases from Hawksley Workman. Have you heard of this guy? I discovered him with 2001's "(Last Night We Were) The Delicious Wolves" and have been a pretty rabid fan since. It started with a song called "You Me and the Weather" that my brother Micah played for me. The guy has an amazing multi-octave voice and considerable songwriting skills. Anyway, he just released "Between the Beautifuls" and "Los Manlicious," but not in the USA. You can get them on his website.

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Joy Electric - The Otherly Opus

I know many, many folks who deride and ridicule Ronnie Martin for a lot of things. In my mind, he's a pop genius. Labelling Joy Electric's music "synth-pop" always feels a little lazy to me. How many synth-pop musicians write fairy tale-laden odes to Nikola Tesla and the joys of domestic life, or in the case of The Otherly Opus, craft a concept album about the fall of Mankind and antedeluvian history? I've always been a fan of We Are The Music Makers, so I really dif the first half of this one. Meanwhile, the second half finds Martin breaking out a bit, with a greater emphasis on the vocals.

I'm glad to hear that someone else likes Joy Electric! I, sadly, still need to get this CD somehow. I've been a fan since Christiansongs came out, and I still have my first copy of that. They played at my church when he was still working with Caleb (I can't remember his last name); I was about ten, and was there all day while people were setting up. It's still one of my most-treasured geek moments that after spending all afternoon with Ronnie, he gave me discount on their merch in exchange for a bag of jawbreakers. Super nice guy, at least for the afternoon I and a friend spent with him.

Plus, I really liked the music. :) "Birds Will Sing Forever" is still a favorite song.

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And I still need to pick up his latest disc, My Grandfather, the Cubist.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

The Declining Winter - Goodbye Minnesota

I've been a big fan of Hood ever since I heard The Cycle Of Days And Seasons. Their music as of late can roughly be divided into two categories: long, meandering pastoral post-rock songs that evoke Bark Psychosis, Talk Talk, and Flying Saucer Attacj, and experimental electronica that blends glitch, hip-hop, and ambient. Last year, Chris Adams (one of Hood's founding members) put out We Know About The Need under the Bracken moniker, which fully explored the more electronic aspects of Hood's music. And now his brother Richard has released Goodbye Minnesota, which explores the other side of Hood's music. Sure, there are electronic beats and programming, but the focus is on acoustic guitar, dulcimer, piano, strings, and various horns -- all of which sounds like they've been gathering dust in some attic for the last five decades. It's all rainy day gloom, melancholy, and nostalgic, in the best Hood tradition. MySpace

Au Revoir Borealis - Dark Enough For Stars

In 2001, Au Revoir Borealis released the Tienken EP, which was a lovely little slice of melancholy shoegazer. And then the band went on hiatus, with the members pursuing other projects (e.g., For Wishes, The Great Fiction, Man's Last Great Invention). But they're back with a full-length, and it's a gorgeous work. Yeah, it falls under the whole "shoegazer" tag, and while there are plenty of swirly guitar sounds and layers of noise, the music has a stronger emotional heft thanks to Stephenie McWalters' gorgeously world weary vocals. "The Winter Room" is one of my new favorite songs, beginning with a slowcore motion that'd make Low proud, the guitars pooling around McWalters' voice before exploding and creating in slow-motion glory. MySpace

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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  • 1 month later...
The Field Studies split EP with Lymbic Systems and This Will Destroy You. The Lymbic half utilizes TWDY band members and kicks it beyond their ambient electronic stuff with post rock accompanied by a swelling benevento keyboard vibe. This Will Destroy You had a spectacular debut EP a couple years ago and then flat lined this year with their first full length album. This collaboration is very nice.

"The things we enjoy are channels through which the divine glory strikes us, and those who love and delight in any good thing may yet learn to love God." --Gilbert Meilaender

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  • 2 weeks later...

Eric Bachmann's post-Archers of Loaf work has been eclectic, to say the least: his extremely introspective solo album, the tantalizing sound snippets of the soundtrack for the film Ball of Wax, and his Crooked Fingers albums, which are all over the map anyway. I mean, his self-titled Crooked Fingers debut was just him finger-picking an electric guitar over strings and a drum machine, and did an album of full band pseudo-Latin indie rock that sounds like Neil Diamond covering Calexico tracks.

Bachmann's latest Crooked Fingers album, Forfeit/Fortune is just a mess, in ways both good and bad. It's the worst Crooked Fingers album, which

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  • 2 weeks later...

Currently playing Local Attachments by Moore + Sons, an independent artist from the Brooklyn area.

You can learn more about Chris Moore's work from Waterbug or CD. Baby (his site and myspace need to be updated, otoh)

To speak to specialists in some way, let's mention the kind of music it recalls to me: Robert Wyatt, Wilco, Chris Bell.

I first loved Chris Moore's music with his Figurines album in 2004. I loved the way he made work ideas of melodies and varied instrumental textures, lots of great finds. I didn't connect much to the follow up Us Fools (under the artist/band name Moore + Sons this time) though it was still int he same style and mood. But the new one, Local Attachments, is a pure listening pleasure.

Just give a spin to tracks 6 and 8 for a start on CDBaby, it could give you a good idea of the whole stuff.

Chris Moore sends regularly cards of his drawings to those who buy his music (well, at least to me!). He has a broken voice and a searching soul. In short, here's a creative man, far away from the music biz.

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Mount Eerie, Julie Doiron, and Fred Squire - Lost Wisdom

To be honest I sort of lost track of Phil Elvrum when he changed monikers from the Microphones to Mount Eerie and I really enjoyed Julie Doiron's 2007 effort - Woke Myself Up. I know nothing of Fred Squire. As it turns out, Lost Wisdom is a perfect distillation of what I've liked about Phil Elvrum and Julie Doiron. Lost Wisdom combines the warm lo-fi hiss and crackle of of Elvrum's work with the jagged beauty of Doiron's voice. And as it turns out Elvrum and Doiron sound great together. The closest approximation of this album's sound is Nina Nastasia and Jim White's album You Follow Me which used modesty and temperance of sound to great effect yielding a quiet but intense homespun album that demands repeated listens and your unwarranted attention.

Listening to this album makes me want to lay my head down and sigh. It's remarkable how much emotion they are able to convey from a borrowed Bjork lyric: "it's not meant to be a struggle uphill". Wow.

"It is scandalous for Christians to have an imagination starved for God." - Mark Filiatreau

I write occasionally at Unfamiliar Stars.

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PS: oh, and thanks for the tip above, Kyle! I'm really interested by this trio. Will give it a listen.

I think you'd like it. If memory serves me correctly you were the one who nudged me into trying the Nina Nastasia and Julie Doiron albums last year - both of which I really like and fall in the same venn diagram as Mount Eerie.

"It is scandalous for Christians to have an imagination starved for God." - Mark Filiatreau

I write occasionally at Unfamiliar Stars.

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  • 3 weeks later...

the Postmarks - By the Numbers

The Postmarks are by no means revolutionary. They are pleasant indie-rock lite that serves well as adult indie-rock dinner music. There is nothing unlikable about them. The music falls somewhere between the goes down easy stylings of the Sea and Cake, American Analog Set or some of Stereolab's lighter moments. What sets this band apart is the bands breathy and sweet female vocals.

This album started as a monthly project where the band recorded one cover song a month and posted it for free on emusic. As it turns out, the quality was good enough to release it as a full-length album. The novelty is that each song title runs parallel to it's track number (e.g. track one = "One Note Samba"; track two = "You Only Live Twice").

The results are noteworthy. They turn Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds" into a slice of dream pop. The move into more of a shoegaze (without any rough edges mind you) on Ride's "OX4" and the Cure's "Six Different Ways".

By far the standout is the Ramone's "7-11". The Postmarks take the songs doomed lyrics and give them a female's perspective, add production that would have made Phil Spector proud, and create a 60's girl-group number in the vein of "Leader of the Pack." It's a great, great tune.

Fans of mid to late 80's Sesame Street will instantly recognize the final number: "Pinball Number Count" - a cover of the iconic segment featuring an animated pinball machine with the lyrics of "1-2-3-4-5/6-7-8-9-10/11-12"

"It is scandalous for Christians to have an imagination starved for God." - Mark Filiatreau

I write occasionally at Unfamiliar Stars.

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the Postmarks - By the Numbers

Sounds interesting... is it still freely available on eMusic?

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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the Postmarks - By the Numbers

Sounds interesting... is it still freely available on eMusic?

No. Not any more, which is a bummer. Thankfully I was able to get the first 8 tracks for free. If you go to their website, www.thepostmarks.com, they have a number of mp3's from their other albums. I recommend "Goodbye" and "Let Go" from their S/T LP and the unrealeased song "My Little Heart".

Upon listening to "My Little Heart" you would swear it is a standard. It's not, it's an original.

"It is scandalous for Christians to have an imagination starved for God." - Mark Filiatreau

I write occasionally at Unfamiliar Stars.

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Well... the tunes are big and clumsy, the lyrics frequently make no sense whatsoever and the guys in the band aint exactly teen pinups. This is precisely why I will hail these geezers and their fist pumping, psychedelic rock n roll every chance i can.

The new album "Communion" doesnt officially hit till next week, but it's streaming in its entirety here. I've havent let the sprawling 24-track extravaganza soak in yet, but so far so good. Soundtrack of Our Lives, bros and sisters! yeah!

"The things we enjoy are channels through which the divine glory strikes us, and those who love and delight in any good thing may yet learn to love God." --Gilbert Meilaender

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I ignored them at first, but I cannot now: The Uglysuit write some neat tunes.

My first thought was how much it sounded like Fleet Foxes sitting down for lunch with Bedhead. And I laughed when I saw a reviewer make a "Bedhead meets Phish" comment, since it's pretty accurate.

They did some sessions at the Daytrotter studios, so listen to those here. It's very dreamy, relaxing stuff.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hotel Hotel - The Sad Sea

When Hotel Hotel's lead songwriter basically disappeared after their first tour, the band found themselves in a quandary for their next album. Until, that is, they encountered a captain in a rundown bar that inspired them his tales of seeking after the ghost ship Marie Celeste. Or so the story goes. Anyways, The Sad Sea fourteen songs meander through the same sort of haunted, apocalyptic wasteland explored by folks like Godspeed You Black Emperor!, A Silver Mt. Zion, and Set Fire To Flames. And while they do their fair share of post-rocking out, Hotel Hotel's finest moments are their subtler and quieter ones, such as the final moments of "The Shoreline Disappeared", when the violin and guitars blend together to create some incredibly ghostly and eerily affecting moments.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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  • 2 weeks later...

Coming in just under the wire is one the best post rock albums ive heard this year. Even though i've only spun it a few times, I may actually want to revise my year-end list when all is said and done... Samuel Jackson Five's, Goodbye Melody Mountain is scrumptious. For fans of the genre, an essential addition to the 2008 collection.

"The things we enjoy are channels through which the divine glory strikes us, and those who love and delight in any good thing may yet learn to love God." --Gilbert Meilaender

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  • 3 weeks later...
Mount Eerie, Julie Doiron, and Fred Squire - Lost Wisdom

It's a great little record. Julie was Phil's favorite singer when he was a teenager, and they'd since played shows together. Then when Julie had a couple extra days off on tour this March, they banged out a bunch of songs spontaneously. Phil was just giddy about it.

The best Mt Eerie release that came out this past year, though, is "Dawn". A gorgeous collection of songs, all written during a winter spent in northern norway. Really powerful stuff.

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