ELEPHONE Bunny Ears EP (Three Ring Records) 7" + cd-r 4.98
Elephone follow up their Shivering cdep with... bunny ears? Wha'?! Not sure if the cover art's intended for Easter time or maybe the band's been hangin' out with Hefner. Hey, that's a pretty good song title, innit? Anyways, these SF fellas have generously offered up a limited edition combo set of 7" record and cd-r (both with the same music). Sort of a return to their earlier more punchy and poppy selves, but also a bit more edgy and angular than their more dramatic, moody recent offerings. Includes a cover of U2's "Seconds". Limited to 200.
"Hemlock 3" MPEG Stream:
ELEPHONE Canister (Talking House) cd 9.98
The latest album from this veteran Bay Area indie rock combo finds the band on a slightly different path. Most notable is the addition of female vocals courtesy of new band member Sierra Frost who also fleshes out things further on keyboards. Elephone has always been pretty darn punchy yet also well-crafted and dramatic, but these days they're even more so -- easily bringing to mind bands such as The Pixies and Arcade Fire. Heck, who doesn't love intelligent indie pop rock with boy-girl vocals and infectious hooks? This band always delivers the goods!
ELEPHONE Far Distant Parade (Brown Owl Bakery) cd 9.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
ELEPHONE The Camera Behind The Camera Behind The Camera (Three Ring) cd 12.98
The Camera Behind The Camera Behind The Camera is by far this SF band's most composed and focussed release to date. Tight and punchy (with the exception of the eighth song "Hollyhock" whose first half is slow and pretty and the vocal'n'guitar album closer "Something About Fire"), Elephone have smoothed out the rough edges in the vocals, tightened up the rhythm section and applied more attention to detail on each song's arrangement. The dynamics in the big sinewy guitars, synths and solid drumming are more pronounced and effective. The album as a whole is propelled by a brooding verve. On a bunch of these songs with their solid thumpin' beat, Elephone will have the indie rock kids making their way to the dancefloor in no time! Fits really well alongside the recent self-titled debut from their local pals (and frequent show bill sharers) Madelia. Psst, the official release date is July 11, but we've got some now!
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ELEPHONE The Shivering (DIYORELSE) cd ep 5.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Here's the new 5-song ep from local combo Elephone which treads a different, more expansive path than their last self-released ep 2003's Still Life with Vodka and its full length predecessor A Far Distant Parade (both now sadly out of print). The first two songs are very dramatic and surprisingly early/mid-Radiohead-eque, but on the third the band shifts into quite a different space... and for fans of the Elephone of old, it's a welcome one! The song "Style Style" is definitely more pop-oriented and more like their past efforts, but much more composed and crisply executed. High on energy and emotion. With cool artwork featuring a gasmasked frog and a goggled bird.
"Moving Beds" MPEG Stream:
ELEVEN POND Assemblage (Dark Entries) lp 16.98
The very first release from reissue imprint Dark Entries was the highly collectible, if obscure album Bas Relief by Eleven Pond. Originally self-released in 1986, that album slipped out of view except for those avid synth-pop / minimal-wave collectors. Yet, when Dark Entries reissued the album in 2009, the album went viral, reflecting a particular historical revisionist strain of the mid-'80s that earnestly held onto the romantic poetry that oozed out of 4AD and Factory Records from those seminal days. Even two decades after the fact, Eleven Pond had a verifiable 'hit' single on their hands with the track "Watching Trees" which landed on many a retro-garde compilation and even warranted a limited edition 12" single from the art-rock imprint Angular Recordings in 2012. So, with Assemblage, we have another set of Anglophilic synth-pop from these upstate New York lads; but unlike Bas Relief, this album was recorded and then languished for 25 years (!) until Dark Entries was able to get the songs remastered and released. The bulk of the sound, all bittersweet chiming Marr / Sumner guitars meshed with minor-key synth percolations, carries over from Bas Relief, with a difference found in a new drummer using electric drums instead of a kit, really giving Eleven Pond a pretty serious New Order vibe. Certainly nothing to scoff at! There's a reprise of the aforementioned single "Watching Trees" appearing as a bedroom demo, which still sounds pretty damn good in a more stripped down, electronic context. Listening to this, you gotta wonder if there'd ever be a Bolshoi reissue campaign in the works... Great stuff as always from Dark Entries.
"Blood Ruins Film" MPEG Stream:
"Watching Trees (Bedroom Demo)" MPEG Stream:
"Green & Gold"
ELEVEN POND Bas Relief (Other Voices) cd 15.98
A lost classic from '86, reissued on lp back in 2010 by Dark Entries, now available as a handy cd! What a total gem! An amazing unearthed, ultra obscure album from way back in 1986. Hailing from Rochester, NY, Eleven Pond crafted super infectious dark pop with wonderful synth moments and song writing that has really held up over the years. Some of the production, and much of the overall sound reminds us a bit of Seventeen Seconds era Cure, where basslines lead the tracks and the guitars and synths add such a nice mood and texture. We're also reminded a lot of another obscure mid '80s band, For Against, who had the same ability to take Factory/4AD elements and influences and meld them so nicely with classic eighties American college rock, they kind of sounded like this amazing hybrid of Joy Division and R.E.M. With new romantic vocals that totally tap into vintage Depeche Mode and New Order territory, we also hear echoes of other lesser known yet great bands of this era like Soul Merchants and Jet Black Factory. With so many new bands lately referencing that era and looking to similarly vintage sounds for inspiration, it's so refreshing to hear an actual relic from that period, too bad it sadly somehow slipped through the cracks, but now we can finally enjoy this set of songs, so worthy of much wider appreciation.
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"Asterisk" MPEG Stream:
ELEVEN POND Bas Relief (Dark Entries) lp 19.98
BACK IN PRINT!!! What a total gem! An amazing unearthed, ultra obscure album from way back in 1986. Hailing from Rochester, NY, Eleven Pond crafted super infectious dark pop with wonderful synth moments and song writing that has really held up over the years. Some of the production, and much of the overall sound reminds us a bit of Seventeen Seconds era Cure, where basslines lead the tracks and the guitars and synths add such a nice mood and texture. We're also reminded a lot of another obscure mid '80s band, For Against, who had the same ability to take Factory/4AD elements and influences and meld them so nicely with classic eighties American college rock, they kind of sounded like this amazing hybrid of Joy Division and R.E.M. With new romantic vocals that totally tap into vintage Depeche Mode and New Order territory, we also hear echoes of other lesser known yet great bands of this era like Soul Merchants and Jet Black Factory. With so many new bands lately referencing that era and looking to similarly vintage sounds for inspiration, it's so refreshing to hear an actual relic from that period, too bad it sadly somehow slipped through the cracks, but now we can finally enjoy this set of songs, so worthy of much wider appreciation. Limited to a pressing of 500, each copy has been silk screened and contains two Eleven Pond postcards as well as a sticker from Dark Entries, the label who mark this as their first release and who we have a pretty good feeling we're going to be hearing a lot more from in the future. Grab one while you can, as this is highly recommended!
"Tear & Cinnamon" MPEG Stream:
"Asterisk" MPEG Stream:
ELEVEN SHADOWS Sangsara (Adastra) cd 13.98
"If Brian Eno produced beautiful Italian arias in a Tibetan monastery". That's how the band's website describes AQ customer Ken Lee's Eleven Shadows and it's not that far off the mark. Haunting, creepy, sort-of-gothic epics with soaring strings, ominous atmospheres and operatic female vocals. Very cinematic and etherial with lots of traditional Tibetan instruments. Reminiscent of Dead Can Dance, Kate Bush, Enigma and the like. Nice.
ELEVENTH DREAM DAY Stalled Parade (Thrill Jockey) cd 14.98
The ninth record from this all-star ensemble (weird to think that EDD is going on 17 years now, but the band members side projects are so much more high profile: Freakwater, Tortoise, Brokeback, and Tara Key's band), 'Stalled Parade', is more of their dreamy, droney, funky, twangy, hypnotic rock. Nice.
ELEVENTH DREAM DAY Zeroes And Ones (Thrill Jockey) cd 14.98
It never fails to amaze just how incredibly strong Chicago, Illinois' musical roots are, and that they feed a sturdy community trunk from which have flourished countless awesome branches that themselves have become deeply interwoven. This band is a perfect example. Metaphors aside, throughout the '80s and '90s, Eleventh Dream Day was a consistently amazing outfit, and this new album proves that they still are. A little history lesson for ya... commencing in 1983 their original lineup included Janet Beveridge Bean (also of Freakwater), Doug McCombs (also of Tortoise, Brokeback, The For Carnation and Pullman). Baird Figi and Rick Rizzo. Over the years, a fella named John McEntire (also of Tortoise, duh!) stepped in from time to time to help produce and play stuff. Their current roster is graced by the talented former Coctail multi-instrumentalist Mark Greenberg. The sound of these pop rockers has always been comfortably nestled right in with the likes of fellow college pop veterans the Go-Betweens and Throwing Muses. They've surely shared a lot of fans. And with this, their return after six years of silence, they've picked right up where they left off. Perhaps with even more vigor and urgency than before. Catchy, smart, solid and executed with ease. Welcome back old friends! Note: not to be mistaken with the album Ones and Zeroes by Canadian youngsters Immaculate Machine. Hmmm, does everyone have binary code on the brain?
"Dissolution" MPEG Stream:
ELF POWER A Dream in Sound (Arena Rock/Elephant Six) cd 13.98
The newest release from probably the least well known of the Elephant 6 bands (Elephant 6, for the uninitiated, is a loose collective of experimental 60s-ish psychedelic bands including Neutral Milk Hotel, Olivia Tremor Control, Apples in Stereo and more). Not as intense and soul baring as NMH, and not as 'out there' as OTC, Elf Power play a raggedy catchy amalgam of the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and the Kinks all filtered through that lo-fi/4 track/ homespun Elephant 6 aesthetic.
ELF POWER Back To The Web (RykoDisc) cd 15.98
On Back To The Web, Elf Power's frontman Andrew Rieger's voice struck us as really familiar, and then we realized that it reminded us of Al "Year Of The Cat" Stewart. Is that a good or bad thing in your books? For us, we don't have a problem sayin' it's not bad at all. The album's pretty darn good from beginning to end, but stand-out songs are "The Spider And The Fly" and "Peel Back The Moon, Beware!" Both are entrancingly psychedelic and a bit folky at times, but also check out "All The World Is Waiting" which combines late night slinky electric guitar with the more characteristically Elf Power plucky folk guitar. It's a very groovy, very glammy tune. The album as a whole is infused with a '70s rock vibe, especially the final third which definitely reveals the potent influence of bands from that decade such as T-Rex and Led Zeppelin. While we do on occasion yearn for the toothsome dreamy psych pop of the Elf Power days gone by, we do quite dig the new direction the band's been taking on their last couple albums.
"The Spider And The Fly" MPEG Stream:
"All The World Is Waiting"
ELF POWER Creatures (Spin Art) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Elf Power have quietly dwelled under the shadow of Neutral Milk Hotel, Olivia Tremor Control, and Apples In Stereo of the Elephant 6 collective, consistently releasing some fantastic, if quirky indie jangle with lots of thoughtfully constructed lo-fi fuzz (a la Sparklehorse, Mercury Rev, Flaming Lips) running through lots of references to the Beatles and the Kinks. "Creatures" is the least adventurous and most accessible album for this Athens, Georgia outfit, pushing closer towards the bubblegum pop of the Apples and further away from their earlier Neutral Milk-ish ramshackle pop as on "Dream In Sound" and "Winter Is Coming."
"Let The Serpent Sleep" RealAudio clip:
"Everlasting Scream" RealAudio clip:
ELF POWER In A Cave (Rykodisc) cd 16.98
It's hard to believe that this is the 9th album from Elf Power. Seems like just yesterday that this Athens, GA band were the new kids on the Elephant Six block. They really haven't released a dud either over the years and like lots of bands who remain consistent over a long period of time it becomes easy to take what they do for granted. In A Cave might be their most fresh and immediate record since their 2000 album, Winter Is Coming, which has definitely become an all-time AQ favorite. They've really excelled and created their own unique take on psych-pop that's so well constructed and pleasing on the ears. Swirling melodies, experiments with tape and subtle electronics all used to great success, and above all such great songwriting that continues to set Elf Power above the pack, far beyond the rest of those outfits desperate to tap into that paisley psychedelic pop sound but lacking the great songs and killer hooks. Like early R.E.M. paying homage to The Kinks and The Zombies, In A Cave is proving to be one of the better pop records of the year.
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"Spiral Stairs" MPEG Stream:
"Heads Of Dust, Hearts Of Lust"
ELF POWER Nothing's Going To Happen (Orange Twin) cd 14.98
An all covers collection by these Georgia-based Elephant 6'ers released on Jeff Mangum's label. 16 songs in all (six of which were previously released on their tour only limited edition "Come On" ep) including Tall Dwarfs' "Nothings Going to Happen", Billy Childish's "You Make Me Die", Bad Brains' "Pay To Cum", The Misfits' "Hybrid Moments" (with altered lyrics), Sonic Youth, Jesus & Mary Chain, Frogs, Buzzcocks, etc. The broad choice of covers all done in Elf Power's indierock style actually serves to highlight the excellent *songwriting* evident in each track, and this is a very pleasant listen. Earnest, fun, crowd-pleasing tributes to their favorite bands or neutered, lackluster indie pop versions? We're on the fence. We enjoyed this a lot, but does that mean it's great? Hmm. You decide.
"You Make Me Die" RealAudio clip:
"Pay To Cum" RealAudio clip:
"Hybrid Moments "
ELF POWER Vainly Clutching At Phantom Limbs (Arena Rock) cd 14.98
"Vainly Clutching At Phantom Limbs" is a reissue of a super limited edition lp, with the "Winterhawk" ep tacked on for good measure. When this was recorded in 1994, Elf Power's sound had not yet developed into the tropes of Elephant 6 avant-psych-pop, instead they dabbled in gritty lo-fi straight-forwardness of the kind that made all of those early Sebadoh / Sentridoh singles sound so brilliant in their crappiness. That said, the best track on this album is a cover of "Drug Store" by, yes, the Dwarves!
ELF POWER Walking With The Beggar Boys (Orange Twin) cd 14.98
Many of the Elephant 6 crafty retro pop experimental collective members have been resurfacing as of late. Not only have AQ faves the Olivia Tremor Control's albums been reissued, but many of the bands in the E6's second tier are stepping forward with new albums too! As soon as you press 'play' on Walking With The Beggar Boys, Elf Power are bursting from your speakers with their particular tasty blend of jubilant retro folk pop. Much less psychedelic than previous releases, instead it's very "Up With People" and filled with lyrics of wide-eyed innocence like "God is cool". It's not all sunshine and daffodils though, there are somber moments on this album. They just take a little time to materialize (how 'bout the sixth song "The Cracks"?). As per most E6 projects, this album features members (and ex-members) of other E6 bands, namely Laura Carter of Neutral Milk Hotel and Eric Harris of OTC. An additional highlight is the unmistakable voice of Vic Chesnutt! Yup, he sings on the title track.
"Never Believe" MPEG Stream:
ELF POWER When the Red King Comes (Arena Rock/Elephant 6) cd 13.98
Second album from the Athens-based pop group that was the last minute surprise act at Terrastock West.
ELF POWER Winter Is Coming (Sugar Free ) cd 14.98
With every Elf Power release the band grows in leaps and bounds, gleefully becoming more psychedelic and less sweetly pop. This is a good thing! Developing their own, original spin on the tried and true Elephant 6 sound (the underground pop collective typified by Neutral Milk Hotel, Olivia Tremor Control, and Apples in Stereo) has resulted in "Winter is Coming", which is filled with delightfully ambitious psychedelic rock with a few nods here and there to their toothy pop roots. Very well executed and stunningly melodic. Highly recommended!
"Embrace the Crimson Tide" RealAudio clip:
"Green Sea Days"
ELIZALDE, PETER Winter Playground Mystery (Riverman) cd 19.98
The crude cover painting is sorta psychedelic, and though this album dates from 1982, the breathless obi text claims this to be the work of an "unknown brilliant all original outsider loner singer songwriter who completely sounds trapped in 1972 not '82!!", so we kinda had to check it out, being big Bobb Trimble fans after all, who also fits that description. But, we were also a bit wary, 'cause while it's true that the reissue label Riverman, based in South Korea, HAS put out some pretty cool stuff - including the George-Edwards Group and Ted Lucas discs we've reviewed recently - they also have reissued a lot of things that, uh, we don't quite "get". They seem to have a thing for American '70s singer-songwriter soft rock, maybe it's more "exotic" for them than it is for us, but a lot of their catalog seems to consist of justly-forgotten thrift store mediocrities that we have a hard time understanding why collectors (in Korea or elsewhere) care about. But yeah, once in a while they nail it. So we're always curious about their reissues, hoping they'll come up with a really amazing, acid folk obscurity or something like that. Plus they sure look good in their mini-lp style sleeves, with beguiling blurbs on their obis - that, again, they rarely really live up to. However, guess what? Peter Elizalde's oddly titled Winter Playground Mystery, kinda actually does! There is certainly something "outsidery" about it, that's for sure. Your mileage may vary, indeed ours already has, some of us here are totally digging on this (enjoying it a bit ironically, maybe, but for reals too), others like Andee gave it the gong... Here's the deal. While there's elements of psych and prog here, what this really is, is "yacht rock"! Outsider yacht rock, but yes, yacht rock. Even though it's from '82, the Berkeley-based Elizalde, an obviously talented multi-instrumentalist, was super into seventies soft rock and jazz fusion, and we figure exceedingly influenced by the likes of Todd Rundgren and Steely Dan. So, much of this is synth laden, sprightly '70s sounding AM radio pop, with, naturally, the occasional cheesy saxophone solo. And oh boy is it poppy, these songs sound like hits that never happened, y'know, totally like they should be familiar, and in fact soon will get stuck in your head... yet they're just a bit weird and warped at the same time. In part that's 'cause Elizalde has an ever so slightly strange singing voice, often oddly high and nasal, which might have to do with the fact that he grew up in Peru, perhaps that's a little trace of a Spanish accent we're hearing? Or more likely he was a big Al Jarreau fan. Besides that, this disc is also full of surprises. For instance, track 5, "Passion Play", an exuberantly uptempo, POP-PUNK song that we definitely weren't expecting, which would have opened the original lp's second side with a bang. Really cool though, especially with its slightly incongruous keyboard lines, like some sort of super happy new wave. The wild guitar soloing on this one is also pretty choice. Later on, the album's big finale, "Day Dreamer", is another stop-and-stare-at-your-stereo number. It's one of the catchiest cuts on the record, with high pitched Bee Gees style vocal harmonies, but Elizalde also cranks up the distortion on his guitar, and also indulges in some over the top synth soloing, turning the track into a burnin' jazz fusion freakout by the end of its rather proggy 7+ minutes! Wow. Overall this album is an eccentric mix of goofy pop pleasures, synth shred, and moments of truly emotional beauty. We also wonder if the several songs with a lyrical focus on winter, are somehow part of an exercise in Beach Boys/Brian Wilson emulation, but just about the opposite season to summer? Well, you'll either love this or hate it, if the AQ staff is anything to go by. Enough of us love it, though, to suggest you open your heart to it, those of us here who did are happier for it. If we're gonna listen to "yacht rock", this gets our boat afloat... Though Elizalde is no Bobb Trimble, this is still pretty cool, and catchy, and quirky, and equally kitschy.
"Winter Playground Mystery" MPEG Stream:
"Winter Reflexions (sic)" MPEG Stream:
"Passion Play" MPEG Stream:
ELLIOTT, MATT The Mess We Made (Merge) cd 14.98
As Third Eye Foundation, Matt Elliott was one of the pillars of the Bristol post-rock sound, producing a volatile concoction of drum and bass breaks suffocating under the weight of space-rock dissonance and apocalyptic references. It's been reported that Elliott was disbanding Third Eye Foundation and stepping away from music for good. Thankfully, those reports have turned out to be false and he's begun what we can only hope will be a long and fruitful 'solo' career. On "The Mess We Made," Elliott turns the corner on the rhythmic aspect of his work, instead building outward from melancholic piano melodies that fall between drunken-sailor waltzes, the paranoiac isolationism of David Shire's soundtrack to "The Conversation," and the more deconstructed renderings of Radiohead's "Kid A" or "Amnesiac." Using these morosely fragile melodies as the foundation for his music, Elliott saturates his music with theatrical orchestrations of french horns, accordions, lilting Spanish guitar lines, and windswept ambience. He furthers the creepy melodrama on "The Mess We Made" with an unusual production technique that warbles some of the sounds into an antiquated vibrato as if transmitted through a haunted Victrola from the 1930s. The title track to the album stands out with a two minute interlude of drum & bass, as Elliott tosses in a caustic Amen workout into the baroque cobwebs that dominate the remainder of this album. A very welcome return for Mr. Elliott!
"The Mess We Made" MPEG Stream:
"The Sinking Ship Song"
ELLIS, ROB Music For The Home (Leaf) cd 16.98
Rob Ellis spends a lot of time as PJ Harvey's full time producer and drummer. He's talented. But this solo album is another thing entirely. Not rock at all, it's pseudo-20th century new music for the synthesizer-inclined. So I listened to this at home like the title says, and have to say rather than being good home listening, it'd be better titled Music for Walking Around Staring at Bare Trees in the Winter. Stark synthesized piano/harpsichord, tinkling electronic chimes, typewriters, and programmed percussion all add up to a dreary minor key case of seasonal affective disorder suffered by Claude Debussy.
"Parade in Your Palm"
ELO (ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA) Out Of The Blue (Columbia) cd 5.00
**SALE **SALE* *SALE**
ELONKORJUU Harvest Time (Shadoks) cd 17.98
Yeah! Here's another rad reissue of early '70s proto-metal. Of special interest to us, Elonkorjuu are Finnish, in fact hailing from the same town, Pori, that later gave us AQ faves Circle! Their ultra-collectable 1972 album Harvest Time is a heavy progressive gem, full of ripping guitar and wild organ... wailing English-language vocals, melodic moody parts, many mathy changes, and galloping riffage are also all elements of the sometimes complex Elonkorjuu equation. Although fairly heavy for the time, they also have a generally "happy" sound, one that's often hectic too, these guys obviously reveling in their music making prowess. Their fervor is infectious, this is great stuff for anyone who loves other early '70s prog-psych acts of this ilk like Trettioariga Kriget, Wishbone Ash, Cargo, Culpeper's Orchard, Murphy Blend, Steamhammer, Wind, Irish Coffee, Osage Tribe, Odmenn, Blues Addicts, Stonewall, Toad, Road, etc. While they only recorded one more album in the late '70s, the talent and exuberance displayed on Harvest Time earned 'em (and Finland) a spot in early, obscure hard rock history, for sure. Forever underground, they even title a song here "Praise To Our Basement", wherein these young long haired hippies first had first begun jamming back in '69...
"Unfeeling" MPEG Stream:
"Future" MPEG Stream:
"Old Man's Dream"
ELOPE 3WD (Gravitation) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. YES! Sweden's Elope are back. One of our favorite discoveries of 2004, their No Name Album was Beatlesly (or Wingsy), Neil Youngish, sorta stonery, and maybe a little Stonesy, authentically retro '70s classic rock sounding, utterly entrancing, mostly mellow pure POP genius! So we're excited to hear their new one, 3WD (three wheel drive?? somebody clue us in... maybe now we understand why their first album was more or less untitled). And additionally excited to learn that this is only the first of two new Elope albums due out this year, this one supposedly being the more rockin' one, with another cd coming this fall entitled 9 Distilled Dreams that will focus on mellower, slower, quieter material. So how's 3WD? Well we couldn't be happier. It is on the uptempo side -- they even break out a boogie now and then -- but still has the wonderfully laidback vibe we loved about their debut. And their abilities in the pop songsmithery department haven't diminished at all. Elope's honeyed vocals and harmonies help give a gentle glow to the hard-rocking energy on display. Reference points, '60s/'70s retro and otherwise ('cause they sound modern too): The Pretty Things, Pink Floyd, Redd Kross (but not soo nyahh nyahh nyahh), and maybe even a little bit Elliott Smith if he had been more rockinger... And definitely if you like Dungen (especially the poppier side to their psych-pop equation) you should definitely be aware of their talented countrymen Elope. Totally recommended, and now we're impatiently awaiting the next one!!
"Dragonstone" MPEG Stream:
"Friend Of Mine"
ELOPE 9 Distilled Dreams (Gravitation) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. At last!! AQ faves Elope from Sweden, the world's mellowest and most melodic "stoner rock" band, are back with their third album of timelost psych rock beauty, 9 Distilled Dreams. It's the relaxed companion to last year's more rockin' 3WD, bringing to the fore the dreamiest side of the Elope equation. First off, gotta mention that we're super flattered that the band was so appreciative of our reviews of their previous two albums that they wanted to thank us by putting a dedication "to Aquarius Records San Francisco" on this new album. Awww. We blush. Of course, that puts some pressure on us to come up with a worthy review of this their excellent third effort. We might have been able just to say something along the lines of: NEW ALBUM FROM ELOPE! IT'S AWESOME! GET IT! But though that's all very true, we feel we ought to rise to the occasion with something more in depth and, if possible, poetic. Ok... like the snow-dusted winter trees in front of bright blue sky depicted in the photo on the slipcase of this cd, 9 Distilled Dreams is a thing of sunblessed natural beauty. Ambling, amiable, a bit sad, sweet... tugging at the heart with yearning vocals and irresistible pop songcraft. Yep, this long haired trio -- Sebastian Aronsson, Tomas Eriksson, and Anders Person -- have done it again, just even slower and softer this time. A couple of the songs ("Elope & Fuge") make judicious use of keyboards for gentle prog caresses. Other tracks, like "Not Even Close (Closer)", work their magic with just voice and acoustic guitar. There's the usual '60s/'70s references we could make -- Beatlesy McCartneyesqe Neil Youngish Allman Brothersy bits in here and there. But for some more up-to-date citations, we're feeling the Cyann and Ben style layered three-note melodies. And are reminded of those Supergrass ballads... with that satisfying really good pop resolve. And in a weird way, with their harmonies and all, we're put in mind of old faves the Scud Mountain Boys, without the country slant. Also, need we say, if you're one of Dungen's many fans and haven't yet heard their fellow countrymen Elope, this would be a good place to start. But hopefully, if you're a regular AQ customer, we've already turned you on to Elope and you like 'em as much as we do. If that's the case, then we probably can just say NEW ALBUM FROM ELOPE, etc.! Delicate, moody, gorgeous, and rather more like their debut The No Name Record than its intentionally uptempo-all-the-time predecessor. Happily recommended.
"Black Eyed Citizen" MPEG Stream:
"No Don't" MPEG Stream:
"The Core "
ELOPE The No Name Record (Parasol / Gravitation) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Here's an album from last year that we LOVED, and it turns out we're not the only ones who thought it was pretty special, 'cause our friends at Parasol decided to license it for release in the US. So now it'll be easier to keep in stock, and it's a buck cheaper than the previous import version was! So if you missed it before, here it is again... And note that Elope hail from the same part of the world as the much hyped (and deservedly so) Dungen, and play music that similarily has got a decidedly retro bent. So if you've been impressed with Dungen, you might find Elope to be an equally wonderful addition to your cd collection. And maybe we should also mention another lauded band of Scandinavian '70s worshippers, heavy rockers Witchcraft...what is it with these Swedes and their mastery of the way-back machine?? Anyway, here's our Elope review again, from AQ list #190: We get A LOT of records coming through here, as you might imagine, many of them great -- but very few that I (Allan) have listened to as many times upon acquisition as this one. I just can't stop spinning it. It's one of those special cases, the new purchase that actually achieves "heavy rotation" in my home. The Elope trio hail from Sweden and are on the same label, Gravitation, that's been bringing us those lovely Bjorn Olsson albums. They're a current, contemporary band but you'd be forgiven for thinking otherwise 'cause this record sure sounds like it was recorded no later than 1973, if it was yesterday. They've captured a long-ago, classic rock, heavily Beatles-influenced vibe, and written songs with pop brilliance to match. They're retro but not self-consciously, calculatedly so. I mean, the album cover suggests indie rock along the lines of Death Cab For Cutie or Modest Mouse or something like that, way more than it does what the band actually sounds like. Which is the Beatles, Neil Young (they cover his "Bad Fog Of Loneliness"), a little country-Stones, a little Pink Floyd, maybe the Pretty Things circa their Parachute LP, and some Wings (or more Beatles). More obscurely, I'd say a lot of this has the same magical effect on me as do the albums by early '70s Peruvian Paul McCartney worshippers We All Together. (Some of you might be familiar with those guys, we used to stock the reissues of their two albums when we could get 'em). Relaxed, super melodic, stick in your head songwriting. Another kinda obscure comparison would be to the quieter, acoustic side of heavy British '70s rockers Budgie (!) who also were devoted Paul McCartney fans I'm sure. And, additionally, this has a restrained-but-effective hard/psych rock side to it that also could relate to the riffing of Budgie (a lot of critics apparently say Cream, but I don't hear that as much). Like the guy from Budgie doing their more sensitive songs, the intimate, gentle vocals here have an air of wistful melancholy I always find hard to resist. Pretty, exquisitely crafted songs that are so very seventies but also evoke the current folky indie-pop of, say, Belle & Sebastian. I wasn't entirely surprised to find out that Elope apparently includes some member(s) of stoner rock band Lowrider. Indeed, Elope had a release (a split with a band called Backbiter) on the defunct Man's Ruin label some time ago, and have been called "possibly the mellowest stoner rock band ever", although they certainly are capable of rocking out, as on the track "Pride Approaching". They do it rarely but they do it well. But unlike a lot of 'stoner rock' bands, whatever inclinations they have towards psychedelic guitar jamming are balanced by the melodic/structural needs of the song at hand. So good. I know I'll keep spinning this for some time to come. Quite possibly top ten 2004 material as far as I'm concerned!
"Anyone" MPEG Stream:
ELOY s/t (Revisited) cd 17.98
ELPH.ZWOLF (AKA COIL) 20' to 2000 : December (Raster-Noton) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. With the datapanic in year zero amounting to next to nothing (just a lot of government money spent), the countdown series by Raster / Noton to the year 2000 may seem a little anticlimatic... especially since the last disc arrived in the middle of January 2000. Fortunately, the musical content of the finale completes the brilliant and nearly perfect series on a rather bleak note. Coil's contribution to the countdown series is recorded under their Elph moniker, whose 1994 release "Worship The Glitch" was the metaphoric precursor to this series as well as such digital fuckery by Oval, Pan Sonic, Ryoji Ikeda, etc... Coil's menace, which was oddly lacking on the "Musick To Listen To In The Dark", returns as creepy lunar drones shift into an oppressive digital dirge and followed by a recombination of contemporary digital skitter with 1960's concrete / academic bleeping.
ELSEN, KAREN Milk & Honey / Winter's Going (Third Man Records) 7" 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
ELTRO Information Changer (Absolutely Kosher) cd 12.98
ELTRO Past And Present Futurists (Absolutely Kosher) cd 12.98
On Eltro's third album Past And Present Futurists, it's nice to find that their sound is still very very sweet and soothing, but they seem to have ventured out into slightly darker, more trippy and expansive territory. This is definitely no less pretty, but much more active than the comparatively even keeled gentle drone'n'pulse dream pop of their previous record Velodrome. During a spin here at AQ, a customer likened them to a more languid and lil' bit druggy Stereolab. This was particularly in reference to the album's fourth song "On One". While we can certainly hear what he meant and if comparisons are to be drawn, then this album as a whole seems to be much closer to the undulating grooviness of Laika and the quirky pop beats of Solex or Cibo Matto. Laidback female vocals, trumpet blasts, funky melodies, percolating rhythms, smooth'n'steady basslines? It's all here, presented in fine, smoky latenight fashion. A side note in the "maybe I'm crazy but was that...?" department: one thing that caught our ear in the third song "Fram" was a recurring melody that bore a striking resemblance to the Charlie's Angels theme. Odd!
"On One" MPEG Stream:
ELTRO Velodrome (Absolutely Kosher) cd 12.98
Absolutely Kosher traffics mostly in pop prettiness, and has discovered it in its many different shades and styles. A few examples? Well, the angular off kilter pop of PEE (r.i.p.), the complex loveliness of Optiganally Yours, the brooding melancholy of Telegraph Melts and more recently The Places and Jim Yoshi Pile-Up. Eltro is no exception. A glimmering, gliding earful. Actually the cover photos of a bicycle race track seem odd to me in relation to what I hear in the music. This seems much more an aquatic affair. A hypnotically lovely dreamboat album with sleepy girl/boy vocals, washes of milky way drones and gentle pulsing beats underlying the proceedings.
ELUVIUM An Accidental Memory In The Case Of Death (Temporary Residence Ltd.) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Last year's Temporary Residence debut from Eluvium aka Matthew Cooper, entitled Lambent Material, was an excellent ambient drone-drift record. For this follow-up, he's pared back his instrumental palette to *only* piano. An Accidental Memory In The Case Of Death is just Matthew sitting at his baby grand, letting his fingers play on the ivories, mellow and melodic. It's very relaxing and pretty, a bit Windham Hill-ish we have to admit, but nothing if not nice, quite nice!
"Genius And The Thieves" MPEG Stream:
"The Well-Meaning Professor"
ELUVIUM Copia (Temporary Residence Ltd.) cd 14.98
Although it really really sounds like one, the new Eluvium album is not a film soundtrack. Copia breathes deeply with instrumental cinematic expanses. Much like what Rachel's and their label base Quarterstick did for chamber music back in the mid-'90s, Eluvium (aka Matthew Cooper) and his label home Temporary Residence are doing for ambient, new age and classical compositions, exposing it to a new audience, today's indie scene (even more so since he's hitting the road with Explosions In The Sky). Undeniably influenced deeply by genre patriarchs the sublime and venerable Phillip Glass and Brian Eno, Cooper's middle name just might be 'austerity'... well, with the exception of the muted cannon blasts in the final track. That said, we couldn't help but notice that the ninth track "Reciting The Airships" sounds more than a little like the intro to Journey's "Don't Stop Believing"! Nonetheless oh so very somber and beautiful.
"Reciting The Airships" MPEG Stream:
"Repose In Blue"
ELUVIUM Lambent Material (Temporary Residence Ltd.) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Lambent...ambient and gentle like a lamb? Actually the word means luminous, which is appropriate as well, for music this light and pretty, casting a soft glow. Wispy, but not wimpy. Eluvium is the work of Portland Oregon's Matthew Cooper, a post-rock bliss-out artist if there ever was one. His music, constructed of layers of guitar, piano melodies, and some distant voices perhaps, swells and falls, wrapping the listener in pale, gauzy colors and textures. On the fourth and longest (15 min.) piece, "Zerthis Was a Shivering Human Image" Eluvium gets nicely fuzzed, warm and deep and droning -- not so light but still pretty. Whoosh. There's five lovely tracks here total, all of which should appeal to fans of Stars Of The Lid, Brian Eno, Landing, Labradford, Sonna, P. Jeck, etc. We like.
"Under The Water It Glowed" MPEG Stream:
"Zerthis Was A Shivering Human Image"
ELUVIUM Similes (Temporary Residence Ltd.) cd 14.98
Oh man, is this gorgeous! Eluvium's follow-up to 2007's somber soundscape Copia continues along a similar solemn path, but embraces some new elements into the fold - namely male vocals and understated percussion. They add a fresh dimension that works perfectly. Actually at times Similes draws comparisons to the desolate beauty of early Black Heart Procession. We like very much! The withered murmurs from mainman Matthew Cooper melt into the enveloping reverbed sea of velvety organ drones and creeping piano melodies. A shimmering and glimmering journey into the shadows of the most heavy hearted.
"The Motion Makes Me Last" MPEG Stream:
"Making Up Minds"
ELUVIUM Talk Amongst The Trees (Temporary Residence Ltd.) cd 14.98
Ambient music can really suck. Yeah sure, -all- music can really suck, but ambient music has a not so stellar history. The likelihood of music being actively touted as 'ambient' actually being closer to 'new age' is greater than we'd like to believe. We here at AQ have been a bit spoiled, since our idea of ambient music includes most things drone, and lord knows there is no shortage of amazing drone music. So when a specifically 'ambient' record comes our way (especially one that vehemently defends itself against the perceived stigma of being labeled ambient) we are pretty skeptical. No need with Eluvium, who over the course of several albums have demonstrated (like a select few before them) time and time again that ambient music need not be wimpy or boring, and in fact can be dark and deep and emotionally charged. The music of Eluvium on Talk Amongst The Trees has as much in common with Philip Jeck or William Basinski as it does Brian Eno or Tangerine Dream. Maybe more so. Slow, fuzzy melodies, constructed from processed guitars and pianos and voices, are stretched into blurry soundscapes, lazily looped into slowly shifting snapshots of long forgotten pasts, brief glimpses of barely there memories, stories told in smears of tonal color, emotions expressed in rumbles and reverberations. Eluvium manage to create a strangely luminous center to each song, a pulsing heart, whose glow suffuses the thick sonic sprawl around it, making the hazy and murky depths of each song breathe with hope and glow with a subtle warmth. So nice. A perfect late night drifting off record. Fans of Stars Of The Lid, Jeck, Basinski, Labradford, Eno, and other ambient luminaries should now add Eluvium to that list. If you haven't already.
"New Animals From The Air" MPEG Stream:
"Show Us Our Homes"
ELUVIUM When I Live By The Garden And The Sea (Temporary Residence Ltd.) cd ep 10.98
Here's a new four-song ep from Eluvium aka solo instrumental soundscapist Matthew Cooper. When I Live By The Garden And The Sea is a slow-building stormfront of hazy distortion washes, gradually materializing contemplative note sequences and an occasional dialogue sample. This cd might be only four tracks long but they're quite lengthy -- plenty long enough for you to stretch out and sink into.
"I Will Not Forget That I Have Forgotten"
ELUVIUM / JESU split (Temporary Residence Ltd.) lp 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. More limited vinyl madness, this time in the form of the hotly anticipated vinyl only split between Justin Broadrick's Jesu, and US ambient drifter Eluvium. So the skinny is this, a split release between Temporary Residence Limited and Hydra Head, the copies we got are the TRL version. The TRL version is already out of print, but the folks at TRL let us have a big bunch (only about 50) and even cooler, a handful of them are the mailorder only colored vinyl version. So first 30 or so folks will get colored vinyl, the rest will get black, and please don't ask for colored vinyl, and don't order unless you'll be happy with black, it's first come, first served... Three new songs from Jesu, and as if we didn't already see Broadrick and Co. heading in this direction, they've almost entirely jettisoned the heaviness, in favor of a blissy new wave-t drift. Really! No massive sludge, no blissed out crunch, in fact, most of this sounds like Jesu doing the soundtrack to a John Hughes movie, all drift and croon and no crunch and pummel, but it's really nice, and pretty, and still suitably Jesu-like. Imagine Simple Minds or the Cure but raised on Slowdive and Chapterhouse and Swervedriver and My Bloody Valentine, doing the theme song for Sixteen Candles 2007 (which if our calculations are correct would be more like Thirty Nine Candles). The first song would be a massive hit, sort of melancholy and romantic, dark and dreamy, but still sort of catchy and hopeful, like sunbeams barely making it through grey storm clouds. The final track sounds like it could be from that last scene in Sixteen Candles 2007, the one where the boy and the girl finally make it to the dance after all of the crazy mishaps and misunderstandings and are finally sharing that slow dance... lugubrious and fuzzy, and soft focus and so great actually. It's weird, and a bit unexpected, but as much as we love the glacial crush of past Jesu discs, this new-wave-y drift really suits them.. The flip side features a side long three part epic from Eluvium, aka Matthew Cooper, whose usual stately dreamlike ambience, is here rendered even fuzzier and blurrier. The first part could be some long lost Tim Hecker or Basinski jam, all dense washes of keyboards and crumbling shimmer. The second and third parts feature Coopers doleful minor key piano, more recognizable than on the opener, but still takes those notes and smears them into glacial stretches of glistening murmur. The perfect sonic match up for Jesu's new, less heavy, more drift-y sound.
EMBARRASSMENT Blister Pop (My Pal God) cd 12.98
Rough, raw and shambolic pop from midwest art rock / garage popsters the Embarassment. This is the perfect companion to the almost-comprehensive 'Heyday' compilation released a few years back. Live tracks and demos of some of their best (and for some reason unreleased / unrecorded) stuff.
EMBARRASSMENT Heyday 1979-83 (BarNone) 2cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. There's 42 songs here, which we think is their entire recorded output, but one of you embo experts should come in and set us straight.
EMBER MINOR Part 1: Nine Ol' Jack Favorites (Kuhlmination) lp 11.98
EMBRUJO s/t (Normal) cd 17.98
Yay, a new reissue of this old fave! Glad to have it back. Here's what we said when we raved about an earlier edition: Wow! While Brazil gets most of the attention in terms of creating some of the best South American psychedelic music, we've recently been checking out the left coast of the continent, namely Chile, and have been digging some amazing stuff. Perhaps it's the epic geographical relationship of mountains and coast in close proximity that inspires such transcendent music or perhaps it's the constant political unrest of the period that cultivated a longing for the more earthy populace-empowered past. Smooth romantic harmonies, ancient flutes and dreamy textures of jungle and nature sounds are all key variables in the sound of great Chilean psych bands like El Congreso, Congregacion, Kissing Spell (featured on the Love Peace and Poetry Latin America comp), and that latter band's later incarnation, Embrujo. While Kissing Spell was more of a mellow psych-pop confection singing songs in English as was the trend of Latin groups seeking to become more commercially viable, the decision to become Embrujo stemmed from a revolutionary stance possibly inspired by the Brazilian Tropicalia movement both politically and sonically, to write songs almost entirely in Spanish and create a dynamic sound on their own terms upping the ante on their songwriting craft and musicianship. What they add to the equation is gr-ooo-ve, driven along by fuzzy organ, simmering guitar and funky drumming, building on the traditional Chilean sound with fluid changes, solid rhythms, and like Os Mutantes, occasional wackiness. Tight hook-laden arrangements, lyrical breaks and progressive interludes are what make this sole 1972 album fetch astronomical prices amongst collectors of private press recordings. Embrujo means "bewitched" in Spanish, and we are positive you too will be captured by its spell! Recommended!
"Voy Hacia El Sol" MPEG Stream:
"Corre A Los Campos" MPEG Stream:
EMBRYO Father, Son & Holy Ghosts (Garden of Delights) cd 21.00
EMBRYONNCK (EMBRYO AND THE NO NECK BLUES BAND s/t (Staubgold) cd 15.98
The weird thing about this wonderfully weird collaboration, between NYC's premier avant free folk tribalists and legendary German progrock/krautrock combo Embryo, is that it doesn't sound all that different from what we might have expected a new NNCK record to sound like. Not sure what that says, either the two groups were absolutely perfectly in sync, or NNCK are masterful channellers of classic Krautrock jams, or NNCK stole everything they know from Embryo and their sonic brethren, or Embryo are the true masters, aligning themselves with the manic primal tribal sound of NNCK's percussive rituals. Hardly mattters, whichever way you slice it, this record is stunning. Dense and lush, and packed solid with strange and wonderfuls sounds, tribal rhythms, chimes, woodblocks, drum kit, hand drums, hand claps, all sorts of buzzing strings, what sounds like sitars and harpsichords and autoharps, woodwinds, flutes and recorders, and vocals, an impossible array of chanting and moaning, gargling, mumbling, humming, whistling and singing in tongues. Dreamy super melodic grooves give way to full on Wicker Man pagan insanity which further gives way to some clattery free jazz minimalism but always returning to that transcendental tribalism we just can't get enough of. If Embryo add anything to the mix, it's a warmth and melodicism that sometimes seems to be missing from a a lot of the more abstract NNNCK jams. Folks who dug NNCK's recent Qvaris will most certainly find this to their liking as it sounds like a much more dense, much more melodic, much more vibrant exploration and expansion of the songs on that record. And we LOVED that record, so that should tell you something! The more we listen to these songs, the more we think it might not be such a bad idea for this NNCK / Embryo hybrid to just BE the new NNCK, those No Neck guys ought to just ask those Embryo guys to join the band, what the hell, the more the merrier, and judging from this one time jam, the thought of these guys moving forward as a single unit, and actively exploring the realms of inner and outer musical space, is almost too much for us to handle.
"Wieder Das Erste Mal" MPEG Stream:
"After Marja's Cats"
EMBRYONNCK (EMBRYO AND THE NO NECK BLUES BAND s/t (Staubgold) lp 21.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Also, now on vinyl! The weird thing about this wonderfully weird collaboration, between NYC's premier avant free folk tribalists and legendary German progrock/krautrock combo Embryo, is that it doesn't sound all that different from what we might have expected a new NNCK record to sound like. Not sure what that says, either the two groups were absolutely perfectly in sync, or NNCK are masterful channellers of classic Krautrock jams, or NNCK stole everything they know from Embryo and their sonic brethren, or Embryo are the true masters, aligning themselves with the manic primal tribal sound of NNCK's percussive rituals. Hardly mattters, whichever way you slice it, this record is stunning. Dense and lush, and packed solid with strange and wonderfuls sounds, tribal rhythms, chimes, woodblocks, drum kit, hand drums, hand claps, all sorts of buzzing strings, what sounds like sitars and harpsichords and autoharps, woodwinds, flutes and recorders, and vocals, an impossible array of chanting and moaning, gargling, mumbling, humming, whistling and singing in tongues. Dreamy super melodic grooves give way to full on Wicker Man pagan insanity which further gives way to some clattery free jazz minimalism but always returning to that transcendental tribalism we just can't get enough of. If Embryo add anything to the mix, it's a warmth and melodicism that sometimes seems to be missing from a a lot of the more abstract NNNCK jams. Folks who dug NNCK's recent Qvaris will most certainly find this to their liking as it sounds like a much more dense, much more melodic, much more vibrant exploration and expansion of the songs on that record. And we LOVED that record, so that should tell you something! The more we listen to these songs, the more we think it might not be such a bad idea for this NNCK / Embryo hybrid to just BE the new NNCK, those No Neck guys ought to just ask those Embryo guys to join the band, what the hell, the more the merrier, and judging from this one time jam, the thought of these guys moving forward as a single unit, and actively exploring the realms of inner and outer musical space, is almost too much for us to handle.
"Wieder Das Erste Mal" MPEG Stream:
"After Marja's Cats"
EMERALDS Allegory Of Allergies (Weird Forest) 2lp 25.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Of the three Emeralds releases we've heard so far (Solar Bridge, What Happened, and now Allegory Of Allergies), Allegory has to be the most removed from the scene these guys seem most linked to. Whether the connection is geographic, or sonic, or social, Emeralds for better or for worse have been a part of Wolf Eyes' considerably noisy orbit, as well as a constant presence amidst the No Fun noisemakers. But even since that first disc, these guys definitely stood out, eschewing abject noise and rough raw grit, for something much more drifty and spacey and dare we say new age-y. Klaus Schulze is and has been an obvious reference, and Tangerine Dream and Ash Ra Tempel, thus Emeralds belong more to a modern strain of kosmiche krautrock than any sort of noise or drone rock scene. Never moreso than on Allegory. A sprawling double lp, the whole first side is filled with the billowy breathlessness of "Nereus (Spirits Over The Lake)", easily the groups, dreamiest offering to date, and the one that most taps into the sort of timeless new age drift we can't get enough of. Thick rounded tones, softly undulating, a gentle ebb and flow, melodies spread out over minutes, unfurling lazily, sun dappled, soft focus, we've already listened to side on 3 times in a row. So great, The B side is split into three tracks, but they play out more like 3 linked movements, the sound here is a bit more ominous, minor key, slightly foreboding, but still darkly delicate, the multiple synths creating softly fluttering layers of sound, that by the second track build into something much thicker and fuzzier. Long tones, the various overtones creating buried rhythms and fragmented melodies, pulsing and throbbing thickly, before the final movement dials back the buzz, but cranks up the bottomless low end, offering a vast expanse of deep subterranean rumbles, both intense and heavy, warm and enveloping. The other 2 sides are also side long epics, the first is about as corrosive as these guys get, layering sheets of buzz and fuzz and rumble into a heaving slab of washed out whir, that seems to breathe, growing thicker and thicker, the tones climbing gradually higher and higher in pitch, eventually locking into a soft focus Sunroof!-like divine ur-drone. The final side returns to the spare tranquility of the first side, all barely there drift, hushed shimmer, deep softly swirling tones. Those tones are slowly subsumed by what sounds like crackle or glitch, or maybe even field recordings of rainfall, until eventually it's just that crack and glitch and buzz, the tones fading to near silence, before returning, in an altogether reimagined form, thick, viscous, aggressive, intense, a buzzing, softly corrosive rumble, that eventually thins out leaving just shadowy traces. So gorgeous. Incredible packaging, super thick, full color gatefold sleeves, gold printed inner sleeves, pressed on nice heavy vinyl too! WAY RECOMMENDED!!
EMERALDS Does It Look Like I'm Hear Remixes (Jiaolong ) 12" 13.98
Remixed by Daphni (aka Dan Snaith -- better known as Caribou)