*May not contain any actual Liberace
On the turntable this week: the eponymous album by The House Of Love. Some obscure tracks from Viv Stanshall’s, mid-seventies “blue” period. Burned, the solitary LP released by McCulloch & Sergeant during their Bunnymen hiatus. Meat Is Murder, obviously…
And in other news, the stack of new(ish) releases lurking amidst the LGM mainframe continues to swell. A wee bit disingenuous to fail with a listen; obviously not every track echoing across the radar and out to sea is destined to set the aural taste-buds aflame – Aretha Franklin’s grindcore reinvention doesn’t possess the sultry depth of her mid-seventies “blue” period, for instance. But elsewhere, there’s an incredible amount of erudite, atmospheric, and ultimately life-affirming sounds spinning earwards. This suggests that some kind of regular, blog-bound series is called for. All reviewed by dead celebrities, natch
First up, Boston’s The Ocular Audio Experiment. Should you be named after something that overblown ’70’s behemoths Emerson, Lake & Palmer might have conducted in their basement laboratory during a particularly acute attack of self-importance, I’d probably advise against releasing two albums entitled The Witch’s Whispering Tomes. Thankfully, titles can be deceptive (even if the ambitious premise – the same twelve tracks arranged in contrasting styles – does whisper at the excess of progressive rock). Think enticing, blissed-out riff-ology; The Brian Jonestown Massacre high on krautrock nuances… at least on disc #1. The second release is darker, hooked up to a far slower pace and slithering forward on warped inflexion. This makes it a far less immediate listen than the original tranche of songs, but stretched out in such a manner, the intestines of individual tracks are revealed as something shimmering. Two contrasting versions of the same album – released almost simultaneously – is one of those sleights of hand we’ve all heard before, but when talking discs of interest, I’m not especially bothered if Emerson, Lake & Palmer are the words etched upon the front cover(s).
The Ocular Audio Experiment / Their Majesties’ Tapestry Of Gloom
Coursing in on the riptides of San Francisco Bay – the Bay Area such the hotbed of warm, drowsy shoegaze motifs at present (unless that’s been the case since 1988, and this blog is just too parochial to notice). Thus: Echodrone, and their new 6 track Bon Voyage; loaded with nuzzling, tender and intriguing guitar licks that open like a flower. Blooms against which the vocal harmonies linger, and when experienced via headphones (how many times am I gonna have to tell you pop kids how to listen until you catch on?), those embedded intricacies ripple across your eardrums in a most pleasant manner.
Echodrone / Under An Impressive Sky
New Pictish Trail alert! In between running one of Europe’s finest record labels, constantly (or so it seems) travelling between Fife and Eigg, and accidentally bumping into Lazer Guided Melody in Glasgow record stores or at the bar in random venues, Johnny Lynch has kept himself busy with the forthcoming follow-up to his excellent Secret Soundz LP of a few years back. With a release date of October 2012, word’s yet to hit if ‘Michael Rocket’ will be a feature of the new album – but I suspect so, if only because this a is track that grows and grows and grows with every spin. A tune that by rights should be played during the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics.
The Pictish Trail / Michael Rocket
Finally (for this episode at least); the prolific, weird, wonderful Genus Inkasso, smirking against our preconceptions of genre on latest disc The Despised Pastora. Flitting between mood like some erotic, electronic vulture, this works best when keeping to the shadows, ready to bite. Play in a darkened room.
Genus Inkasso / Some Peculiar Awkwardness
This is Liberace, saying stay cute.