Posts tagged drone

The Vacant Lots 'Departure'

"Departure" by The Vacant Lots // Paint This City 7” (Out Now via Sonic Cathedral)

There are plenty of times when I find myself wishing that Spacemen 3 were still churning out spaced out noise for all to hear. And while in this day and age of the reunion tour is still alive and kicking, I still won’t quite put the nail in that coffin, but in the meantime there is a place to get that sonic fix. Look no further than the current studio work of Peter Kember (Sonic Boom of Spacemen 3), who mixed and mastered the newest album by Vermont psych rockers, The Vacant Lots. On “Departure”, the b-side to the recent Vacant Lots single, “Paint This City”, you can hear the duo going deep into a world of hypnotic drones and scuzzy, spaced out guitars and coming up with an ominous world of noise that would feel right at home on a mixtape next to Spacemen 3, Primal Scream, or The Jesus and Mary Chain

A Winged Victory For The Sullen – Atomos VI

"Atomos VI" by A Winged Victory for the Sullen // Atomos (Out 10.6.14 via Erased Tapes)

Earlier this year A Winged Victory for the Sullen released the stunning Atomos VII EP, as a sort of glimpse of their forthcoming full length that sees release this October. Now, they have released an audio sample of the finished product - the cinematic beauty, “Atomos VI”. Once again, Adam Wiltzie and Dustin O’Halloran have constructed a moving, breathing mixture of neo-classical, ambient, drone, and electronics that manages to utilize the wonderful talents of both artists in a remarkably beautiful way. I suppose, the less said and the more experienced is the best way to hear the new work, so by all means, hit play. 

Eli (Bosnian Rainbows)

"Eli" by Bosnian Rainbows // Bosnian Rainbows (Out Now via Sargent House)

There’s something magical that occurs when sound and vision connect in a particular way. When just the perfect song is chosen to soundtrack a powerful moment in film or television. On the fifth episode of HBO’s "True Detective", the closing moments are laid out over the ominous opening of the track, “Eli”, from El Paso’s Bosnian Rainbows. Considering the band features Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (formerly of The Mars Volta and At The Drive-In), it should come as no surprise that the track captures that sort of otherworldly mysteriousness so well. Of course, paired with the brilliance of Cary Joji Fukunaga's supremely intense show, the combo becomes altogether entrancing. It's also another great opportunity to post something from Bosnian Rainbow's excellent self titled record, which you can stream and purchase now at Bandcamp.

Angel Olsen - White Fire

"White Fire" by Angel Olsen // Burn Your Fire for No Witness (Out 2.18.14 via Jagjaguwar)

Angel Olsen has been getting a good amount of (well deserved) praise for her forthcoming album, Burn Your Fire for No Witness. “White Fire” is one more reason for that praise. As the album preps for release in two weeks, another sample of why the album is so excellent shouldn’t be necessary, but it’s welcomed. Here, on “White Fire”, Olsen sings a haunting dirge - part ethereal drone, part pained confessional. The dark and ambient backing track is often barely audible over Olsen’s powerful whisper/singing. Like most of Olsen’s music, there’an ephemeral beauty to her work that leaves you wanting to replay it immediately after, to stay just a little longer in her compositions. Highest recommendation.

Miserable – Bell Jar

"Bell Jar" by Miserable // Halloween Dream (Out 2.18.14 via The Native Sound)

Miserable is Kristina Esfandiari, the former vocalist for the Bay-area shoegaze crew, Whirr. Now, set out on her own, the artist has stepped away from the direct shoegaze sound and moved toward an evocative blend of drone, goth rock, and post punk. “Bell Jar” is a pitch black journey through shadow-y atmospherics, tribal drums, piercing guitars, and haunting vocals. The track is contained on her forthcoming EP, entitled Hallowee Dream, and the name is fitting. This is heavy, spooky music that calls to mind the early work of Chelsea Wolfe and Empyrium

Stray GhostBefore It Turned To Rust, It Spoke to Us Somehow

"Before It Turned to Rust, It Spoke to Us Somehow" by Stray Ghost // Maly Wilk (Out Now via Bandcamp)

Without fail, every year, I post my favorite songs of the year - only to be find something a few days later that just floors me. This year the honor goes to Stray Ghost. That moniker is actually the production name of English composer, Anthony Saggers. Saggers compositions are modern ambient and neo-classical songs built mostly from piano and cello. His work immediately called to mind the work of one of my favorite modern composers, Dustin O’Halloran. The track that is currently on repeat, breaking my heart with each spin, is the absolutely stunning composition, “Before It Turned to Rust, It Spoke to Us Somehow”. I’m not going to pretend to imagine what the artist had in mind when constructing such a beautifully melancholic piece of music, but for me it sort of feels like the perfect kind of lullaby to eulogize a pretty rough year. I don’t mean to lay a heavy connection to it. Quiet the opposite actually. It’s light, airy flow feels like a soft letting go. Somber, but sweet. Holding your breath for fear of letting go, but knowing it’s for the best. Please give this song a listen. It’s eight minutes go by in a blink, and it’s a perfect way to stop the push for a moment. To let go. I hope you agree.  

October Lights And Fields, Pt. I

"October Lights and Fields, Pt. 1" by Lost Trail // How an Absence Creates a Presence (Available Now via Carpi Records)

It’s funny how a piece of music can conjure an image in your head. Perhaps, it’s just recalling a memory that’s vague enough to not quite register as your own. Ambient music works this way for me. Correction: great ambient music works this way. There’s certainly a difference. “October Lights and Fields, Pt. 1” by North Carolina’s Lost Trail is exactly that kind of music. Upon first listen, my mind immediately shifted to thoughts of deep, red canyons unfurled out toward the horizon - beneath the darkest blue sky that i have ever seen. It reminded me of a time in my life when everything was chaos, and in an attempt to get my head right, I found myself parked at an overlook in Utah - lost, unable to drive another mile. I must have sat there for five hours, just staring as the sky turned darker shades of blue and the dull, rhythmic hum of the nearby highway provided a sort-of natural score to my mind’s anxieties. Eventually, the natural elements washed those anxieties away and put me in a place of calm, that allowed me to finish that trip. Hearing the lonely drone of “October Lights and Fields” brings back that mesmerizing calm. The warped opening sample spinning away as the crackling ambient loop takes over, feeding your brain with a hypnotic beauty that can only hold for so long before it too drifts away, washed out by a static world of noise. 

* Stream the entire album now @ Bandcamp

Raum: Blood Moon

"Blood Moon" by Raum // Event of Your Leaving (Out 11.15.13 via Glass, House)

Raum is a collaboration between Liz Harris (Grouper) and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma. Being a fan of Harris’s work as Grouper is not necessary to enjoy the sounds of Raum, yet they feel linked and comparable. The biggest shift is that whereas the sound of Grouper tens to lean toward the ethereal and otherworldly, Raum experiments more with flat out noise and reverb. As the atmosphere is flooded with oceans of reverb, peaks and valleys of cinematic synths begin to show through - pushing the drone into some lovely hidden spaces that open up into haunting soundscapes that exist just beyond the noise. One could certainly classify this as challenging and that may be, but throughout it’s six minute runtime, it’s never unnecessary. It feels alive and vibrant, if even a little sinister.   


"Found" by SPC ECO // Sirens and Satellites (Out Now via Bandcamp)

SPC ECO continues to be as prolific as ever, releasing another full length to Bandcamp after releasing two full lengths, an EP, a remix album, and string of singles in just a little over a year. Luckily, the plethora of releases hasn’t dulled the band’s ability to churn out gorgeous spaced out shoegaze and hazy, ethereal dream pop sounds. “Found” is the closer from the band’s latest full length, "Sirens and Satellites", which just dropped this week. The track is a shadowy lullaby that uses an airy, minimalist piano line to perfectly compliment Rose Berlin's haunting, ethereal vocals. The end result sounds like some stunning collaboration between early Sigur Ros and Julianna Barwick. Highest possible recommendation. 

Savage Sisterfractalfingers

"Fractalfingers" by Savage Sister // Savage Sister (Out Now via Bandcamp)

Savage Sister is a Chicago based dream pop/drone/shoegaze project that is mostly the work of one man, Michael Tenzer. The band’s self titled debut LP recently dropped, revealing a collection of ethereal electro-tinged shoegaze tracks that call to mind the fantastic work of Liz Harris's Grouper, as well as Jessica Bailiff's shimmering ambient/shoegaze compositions. What makes Tenzer's work really stand out is the light touch of textures that permeates the album. Vocals are used as instruments and delicate waves of synths glide in and out of tracks offering more texture than you're usually gifted on ethereal drone releases. The otherworldly beauty of a track like “Fractalfingers” is derived mostly from the layered soundscapes that melt together to create sweeping waves of airy ambiance. If you listen closely, you can hear a pop melody here and there, but instead of carrying the song, they just play their part in creating an exciting and dreamy wave of beautiful noise. Highly recommended. 

Camp CounselorsBarren (Hounds)

"Barren (Hounds)" by Camp Counselors // Huntress (Available Now via Bandcamp)

Kyle J. Reigle, the artist behind one of last year’s most underrated (and downright stunning) albums ("The Wilderness" by Cemeteries) is back with a new project to soundtrack your crisp summer nights. Using the moniker, Camp Counselors, Reigle has set aside the autumnal dream pop of Cemeteries, and slid comfortably into a starker, minimalist ambient sound that feels alive and despite an occasional sinister pulse, carries a genuinely inviting, yet mysterious, sound. Sure, the inspiration may come from the often creepy tones of lost horror scores, but the melodic song structures can’t help but draw you in to the wonderful sound that feels like a winter thaw breaking into spring. Then again, if the seasonal connection is not your thing, the album is brimming with gorgeously eerie soundscapes that border on the ethereal and would make any late night summer walk under the stars feel a little foreboding. “Barren (Hounds)” is a perfect representation of the excellence that awaits inside the hallways and corridors of “Huntress”. An ethereal hum wraps a dreamy synth line as distant vocals lead toward a stop/start electro beat that pushes toward a haunting shift in the latter part of the song as ghostly synth sighs carry you out. It’s another incredible, beautifully atmospheric work from an artist with a excellent grasp of mood and melody. You can grab the album now at Bandcamp for a Name-Your-Price fee. Be sure to support talent like Reigle when and where you can, so that we can hear more from the young musician in the months and years to come. Highest recommendation.

In Search of the Miraculous

"In Search of the Miraculous" by Mark McGuire // Along the Way (2013 via Inpartment Inc.)

Mark McGuire is an artist that always seems to pop up with something new just when I’ve stopped obsessing over his previous release. His work with Emeralds is amazing work, but his solo work is the stuff that keeps me coming back. Which is probably good, because he’s no longer a member of Emeralds. At any rate, McGuire’s brand of ethereal ambient/drone has developed into something extraordinary these past few years, and this new track, “In Search of the Miraculous” from the forthcoming album, "Along the Way", is itself, “miraculous”. The track is a shimmering, widescreen slice of psych pop layered with otherwordly vocals and guitars that shift and warp, flowing together in a way that feels like fantasy, but it’s real and you can hit “repeat” as much as you like. It’s really wonderful stuff. Highest recommendation for fans of Emeralds, Motion Sickness of Time Travel, and Skyramps

Godspeed You! Black EmperorWe Drift Like Worried Fire


"We Drift Like Worried Fire" by Godspeed You! Black Emperor // 'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend (2012)

I found Godspeed You! Black Emperor at a turning point in my life. I was newly independent, had a burgeoning interest in the vast world outside of my little  home, and was in the midst of a music revolution in my own mind - shifting from brit pop and indie rock to more experimental sounds. Everyone goes through a similar stage, I’m sure - mine happened to occur in the late 90’s/early 00’s. When “Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada” was released, I found myself at Flat, Black, and Circular in East Lansing, Michigan. It was just in and one of the guys working there (John - I wonder if he’s still there), who had been facilitating my expanse into new territories of sound, was listening to “Moya” from that record. The last half of that record left my jaw on the floor. I don’t thing that I had ever really heard something so massive and progressive, and challenging and beautiful as that particular orchestration. I bought it and found myself soon living in the sounds of GY!BE, who along with  Sigur Ros soon became my go to bands for seeking further inspiration (be it political, musical, or referential). Two bands from different parts of the world, with different designs on music, but essentially the same effect on my brain - an atomic bomb of interest in everything that they were. I followed links and influences and off shoots and as Sigur Ros became more popular throughout the 00’s (and spawned many imitators), GY!BE drifted away (spawning even more imitators). Occasionally popping up in other bands and experiments. I kept waiting and hoping for something that would take me back to that feeling when I first heard “Moya”, but it never came (sure there were pieces of tracks on “Lift Yr Skinny Fists” that came close but never that introduction). Then, two weeks ago, they announced a new album and I eagerly sought it out, expecting another massively complex orchestration, peppered with drones and explosive  power. I got those things. I also found myself stunned, and wrapped up in the awe of one particular track, “We Drift Like Worried Fire”, which started to feel like the way I did all those years ago. The strange thing being that you can’t have a second first impression, so I was not shocked by the band’s power. I was freshly invigorated by it all, one more time. No longer did I find myself leaning to the bands side projects, or the bands that were inspired by their sound, I was back listening to Godspeed do the thing that they are so brilliant at - challenge and push and inspire while leaving you in awe of the power of music - triumphant, sorrowful, and ominous simultaneously.

(pre-order) "Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!" (via Constellation // Out 10.16.12)

(Source: aubade)

Tropic of CancerIt's All Come Undone

"It’s All Come Undone" by Tropic of Cancer // Permissions of Love (2012)

Sometimes it’s not a particular melody or harmony that grabs your attention, it’s just a singular vibe. Tropic of Cancer have regularly grabbed my attention with their releases by providing that, a vibe or an atmosphere. The band regularly produce dark and haunting compositions that are equal parts beautiful and menacing and tend to exist somewhere between post punk, goth pop, and drone. “It’s All Come Undone” is a ghostly, hypnotic beauty from the “Permissions of Love” EP, which is now available for stream and purchase at Bandcamp. Highly recommended. It’s easy to get lost in these sounds.