Archive for the ‘Free Download’ Category

‘Journeyed Road’ is lifted straight from Seabuckthorn’s ‘In Nightfall’ which is due to see light of day very soon on French imprint Bookmaker Records.  Limited to just 100 copies and furnished with a silkscreen recycled cardboard sleeve, this CD is a 23 minute exploration of dusty instrumental mantras that bridges folk, acid-rock and psychedelic styles.

The work of UK-based guitarist Andy Cartwright, ‘In Nightfall’ will compliment record collections that feature LP’s by the likes of Grails, James Blackshaw and John Fahey.  The music is exquisitely detailed and has a certain melodic and rhythmic quality to it, performed using an array of 6 string and 12 string guitars.  The instrumentation is impeccable too, underpinning a meditative, crepuscular atmosphere notable on tracks such as ‘Dark Blue’ and the simply sublime ‘Journeyed Road’. There’s always something new to uncover with each spin here. Cartwright’s style is hauntingly beautiful, filmic and doused in mystery.

‘In Nightfall’ can be pre-ordered from Bookmaker Records, where you can also stream the full record too.

Seabuckthorn’s psychedelic folk is led by a voluble but never demonstrative acoustic guitar, often accompanied by more electric and ghostly sounds.  Both dense and warm, In Nightfall’s melodies weave a poetic tinge of melancholy. This fourth album is an accomplished work that impresses by its humility and consistency.

Source: http://www.bookmakerrecords.com/releases

Journeyed Road.mp3 (Mediafire link)

ROBOT HOUSE!, surely named after this Futurama episode, are a Liverpudlian/Mancunian trio who claim they offer ‘something new to alternative rock’.   While I think they’ve got a bit to go to achieve that aim, there’s certainly something about tracks such as ‘German Suplex’ and ‘I’d Like To See You Fall’ which are brimming with confidence.  These crunching arrangements remind of the frenzied but infectious style of The Pixies or Nada Surf’s hit ‘Popular’ in the way they incrementally get angrier.  The final two tracks ‘Gaps’ and ‘Neck and High Rising’ lean more towards an early Smashing Pumpkins style, especially in the vocal department.  The synth/keys near the end of the former is a nice touch, helping to highlight the chorus.  For a demo it is promising stuff, though I do prefer when the band simply let the instruments do the talking such as in this short record’s first two tracks.  Still, ROBOT HOUSE! are definitely worth a second look.

This track from Perth, Australia-based Umpire wouldn’t normally be my particular cup of tea, but its subtle chorus has managed to coil itself around my brain, now I am unable to get it out of my head.  Umpire were born in 2006 and feature several members with a long-standing reputation in the Perth music scene. They’re a quartet that deal in finely crafted, breezy Indie-Rock, perhaps the product of living in a sun-drenched Western Australia? Certainly, you won’t find too many Glaswegian bands sounding like this, what with our 70 mph wind gusts, consistently grey clouds and incessant rain!. There’s a nonchalant atmosphere prevalent here, further highlighted by a smartly produced monochrome video, that opts to show the band playing rather than a superfluous promo vid. ‘Green Light District’ is lifted from their debut full-length ‘Now We’re Active’, which will be released by Hidden Shoal Recordings on July 14th, and is available to download for free at the link below.

To be honest, I wasn’t really sure what to make of Londoners Shield Your Eyes on first listen.  In fact, I almost switched their album, ‘Theme From Kindness’, off after about two minutes such is its rough and ready nature.  Thankfully, I stuck with it and their incessant sound started to wear me down, for want of a better term, until I realised I was actually enjoying it, nodding my head along while trying to anticipate the next tangent the band where about to choose.  SYE possess an enviable spirit and for a trio they make one hell of an unholy racket.  Described as a Post-Hardcore/Progressive Blues outfit operating well out-with standard circles, they utilise unique, alternative guitar tunings (sometimes playing with only 4 or 5 strings) and frenetic, yet intelligent drums that are literally off the chart in terms of power, speed and delivery. The bass is seemingly there to try to make sense of it all

‘Too Little…’ highlights this perfectly, it’s raw and raucous as if on the verge of collapse.  There’s melody underneath too, buried under the instrumental wreckage and analogue scree, but there all the same.  The vocals are delivered in a strained, half-shouted fashion adding to the band’s explosive nature.  It has also been recorded in a very lo-fi fashion, with the band opting for a ‘plug in a play’ method, giving a crude, demo-like quality while hinting at their enormous live potential and telepathy.  A riotous avalanche of spiky guitar, bass and twisted, razor-edged drums.  It was interesting to read, in Exploding In Sound’s recent interview, that Shield Your Eyes list Rory Gallagher as one of their main influences and heroes; There’s certainly shades of his blues-rock power trio Taste in their sound, in that they pack a real punch.  And much like Gallagher, they’ve taken a hammer to standard blues rules and are melding it into new shapes.

One other point, the band are literally giving away their three albums on vinyl and CD.  You can purchase all three Vinyl versions for the sum total of £7.  An absolute bargain if you ask me.

Iretsu are a band that sound like no other, with a theatrical bent that underpins their clever math-pop + anything goes style. They’re a band with boundless energy, to the point where you don’t quite know what to expect.  It seems there’s always something new on the horizon when this Portland, Oregon quartet is around.  It’s as if they have tapped into a 4th dimension of pop, one which us mere mortals cannot see.

‘Sexy, No?’ is their new (free download) single, lifted from last year’s excellent ‘Fang’ LP and released by the consistently great Australian imprint Hidden Shoal (more on them soon).  It’s a funky number anchored by a throbbing, forthright bass line and bongo-infused percussion, which leaves the guitar free to create some interesting, exuberant sounds amidst the layered vocals.  It’s another feather in the cap for the peerless Iretsu, a band that continually proves to be as eclectic as they come.  Such eclecticism doesn’t detract from the overall quality of the song either, there’s no needless noodling, Iretsu don’t need to flex their instrumental prowess.  Instead, ‘Sexy, No?’ is delivered in a succinct, infectious and delightful fashion.

Amplifier’s ‘The Octopus’ is easily one of the more daring records released in 2011 and was rightly hailed by Classic Prog Magazine “The grand benchmark against which all British prog rock albums will be judged this year”.  ‘The Octopus‘, issued on the bands own label,  is a sprawling double concept  album, spanning two hours worth of music over sixteen tracks channeling influences from the likes of Tool, Hawkwind (at the very least in the video above) latter-day King Crimson and other more contemporary acts such as The Pineapple Thief.

It took over 3 and half years to make and there’s a whole host of strange propaganda  (The Octopus is not a thing…apparently) related to the record at their website as well.  There’s even a book, which can be read here.   Not since the heady days when Prog Rock ruled the roost has a band issued an LP as grandiose as this nor with such widescreen concepts.

They’re due to play High Voltage’s Prog stage this year, I show I’ll be attending and very much looking forward to and have recruited Oceansize guitarist Steve Durose to enhance their live sound.  One of the many epic moments on ‘The Octopus’ includes the mind-boggling 10+ minute ‘Interstellar’, a glorious peaen to ‘travelling faster than light”, which can be downloaded for free below.

Buy The Octopus

Full Album Stream

I’ve been enjoying the latest Young Widows record ‘In And Out Of Youth And Lightness’  quite a bit recently.  It was another that received regular rotation while I was on holiday.  Signed to Temporary Residence, in good company with the likes of Grails and Explosions in the Sky, this Kentucky three-piece are sure to find their way onto plenty of end of year lists come December, with their blistering  new LP  There are hints of Grandfather especially in the thundering basslines that anchors several of their compositions, but I also detect notes of Grinderman and Apse in a sound that’s firmly rooted in Post-Hardcore aesthetics, think Jawbox or a less abrasive The Jesus Lizard.

‘Future Hearts’.mp3

Skeletons hail from Brooklyn and ‘People’ is their latest LP, newly released in collaboration with Crammed Discs (Europe only) and Shinkoyo on cassette and CD, with a vinyl edition coming later via Socket Records. ‘Grandma’ is lifted from said album and is probably unlike anything you’ve ever heard before. To these ears, I can hear notes of Extra Life, Dirty Projectors and, perhaps, Volcano!, but such loose comparisons are rendered superfluous by this peculiar, but utterly compelling track.

It’s a collision of mathy guitar lines almost at odds with scattered, jerky rhythms that somehow remains totally fluid. An elaborate musical geometry, where Matt Mehlan’s incessant vocals only reinforce this abstract, yet infectious track. Skeletons then veer off in another, quite unexpected, direction with an explosion of hulking guitar and rolling percussion, before things end via a gentle, meandering epilogue. Inherently strange, but all the more remarkable for it.

Download

One of the most fascinating bands from the hugely creative Brooklyn/NYC scene of recent times, Skeletons create intense, original and revelatory music, working a globe-spanning realm of inspirations into a singular and colourful vision of guitar-based songcraft. Led by Matt Mehlan and his long-term collaborators Jason McMahon and Jonathan Leland, Skeletons have spent the last few years touring their potent live show all around, releasing a string of bold, beautifully recorded albums in the process.

“People”, their new album, co-mixed by Rusty Santos (also known for his work with Owen Pallett and Animal Collective/Panda Bear)is the first released in exciting union between Shinkoyo and Crammed Discs, with a limited vinyl edition via Sockets Records. It brilliantly boils down all the band’s thrilling sonic excursions into a collection of concise, fluid and emotive songs: rich, subtly dramatic musical atmospheres envelope Matt Mehlan’s compelling lyrical tales, inhabited by unlikely real-life characters (Jimmy Damour, Tania Head, Lil’ Rich and others) whose stories are told from a viewpoint which is both human and social/political.

Source: http://skeletonstv.bandcamp.com/

Rural Colours is an off-shoot of the boutique label  Hibernate Records, focusing on an on-going series of subscription-based 3″ CDr releases and paid or free downloadable recordings.  Concentrating its efforts  in and around Ambient, Folk, Drone and other experimental genres, this label houses a number of interesting records with notable names including D_rradio and Celer contributing pieces to the impressive back catalogue,  nestling comfortably with newer names such as Listening Mirror and Zvuku.

Talvihorros, the work of Londoner Ben Chatwin, first came to my attention via his sublime 2009 album ‘Some Ambulance‘, a record that literally blew me away with its attention to detail, fantastic musicianship and downright excellent compositions. At the time, I called Chatwin’s debut LP ‘endlessly listenable’ and ‘the first port of call for those with even a passing interest in where electro-acoustic and ambient music is heading in 2009/10′. It’s a record I definitely intend to revisit again on this blog.

Solo Guitar Improvisation II‘ is as exactly as stated in its title, a long-form recording using differing guitar textures and effects, the difference being that it’s recorded using unconventional techniques  and implements including an ebow, a buddha machine, battery operated instruments and shortwave radio via an array of pedals and effects units.

Chatwin’s controls each sound beautifully, forming them into a cohesive whole.   From the scything guitar wails, the screeching feedback, free-form riffing and the layer of electric scree that seems to engulf this piece, there’s a deliberately tempered flow pervalent here and one cannot help but picture an erupting volcano when listening.

Unlike ‘Some Ambulance‘, this track is aggressive and relentless, yet isn’t exempt from the compositional flexibility that made that record so interesting.  It belies the fact that it was recorded live in one take with very little digital tinkering or over-dubs.   A phenomenal piece that’s not short on melody and one that reminds of the guitar and anything-goes experimentation approach of a certain Jonny Greenwood.  This is available as a free download, so there really is no excuse not to check this fantastic,  Rural Colours release out.

Download Zip

Talvihorros is an experimental composer from London, exploring the possibilities of the guitar.  His compositions venture into the fields of ambient, modern classical, drone, post-rock and folk but fails to fall into the cliches associated with any of these genres.

Old and broken equipment and recording techniques are favoured over new and modern tools.  Both acoustic and electric guitars are layered with organ, synthesizer, mandolin, radio frequencies and various percussion instruments to create dense collages of sound, sometimes melodic, sometimes challenging but always captivating.

Live Talvihorros performs solely with electric guitar and effects pedals.

Gargle of Tokyo, Japan comprise Jun Minowa (guitar & glockenspiel) and Satoshi Ikeda (accordian & programming).  Minowa also records piano-led pieces as Yawning, but as Gargle the instrumental style is far more dynamic and cinematic.  The ‘Looming Ep‘, at just four tracks long and issued through Clinical Archives, is an inspiring release, encapsulating everything that can make netaudio music so wonderful.  The proverbial needle in the haystack, the pearl at the bottom of the ocean or the diamond amidst the rough stone, Gargle have constructed a record that deserves attention.  Mixing mournful, almost vaudvillian orchestration with shimmering guitar deftly placed along with intricate, origami-sized chimes, ‘Looming‘ runs like a Yann Tiersen or Hungry Ghosts record, filtered through Japanese cultural aesthetics.

This blog hopes to serve as a guide, one which picks throught the masses of electronic debris and mountains of wallpaper ambient and dull drone so prevalent in the Netlabel scene to bring you music that makes the difference.  Gargle are the real deal and come with my highest recommendation.  This is netaudio at it’s most unique.

Gargle is a duo band based in Tokyo, Japan.  The band consists of a guitar, an accordion and a sampler, also invites some string players at recordings.  The band offers instrumental music combining mixed emotions and trying to express a gleam of light in the darkness.  Our “Looming Ep” was released in Dec 2007 in japan (physical),  and on Clinical Archives of Russia in Apr 2009 (digital).  At our live shows we use huge range of dynamics to express our feelings.

Download Zip