Friday, January 24, 2020

Xo - "Le Coeur"

Following a minimalist intro - a kick and snare drum pattern drenched in reverb, soft vocals sung in French, and wispy, whirling synth pads - "Le Coeur" blooms into something altogether tender and beautiful. Each element, from the acoustic guitar strums to the wavering tremolo leads and piano melodies, sounds delicate and wistful, as if the notes themselves are wary of strain. Meanwhile, the timbre of the vocals is as soothing as it is melancholic. The result is intimate and heartfelt, and, despite the language barrier, the delightful music speaks volumes: it is as dreamy as it is enchanting.

"Le Coeur" is the eighth song on Passe Muraille.

Xo - "Le Coeur" (Soundcloud)
Xo - "Le Coeur" (Bandcamp)
Xo - Passe Muraille (Bandcamp)

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Savage Sister - "phantomvision"

Though the rest of Savage Sister's album, Speechless, includes full-band instrumentation, embracing a more traditional dream pop sound, "phantomvision" serves as its ambient intro, content to drift along in an airy breeze. The track is dense, steeped in layers of washed-out chords and obscured vocal phrasings, with equal glimpses of a shimmering light shining through the waves as well as hints of a dark, brooding undertow. It's short, sweet, and effectively sets the tone for the tracks that follow.

"phantomvision" is the first song on Speechless.

Savage Sister - "phantomvision" (Soundcloud)
Savage Sister - Speechless (Soundcloud)

A Sugar Punch - "Fuck"

Though the composition is minimalistic, A Sugar Punch's "Fuck" is a lush and meditative track of electronica pop, guided by soft, gliding synth melodies, warm pads, and a thumping sine wave sub bass. It's a lovely piece, unfolding before the listener as it progresses, each layer complementing the others in a blissful harmony. The subtle touches, such as the chimes around the 0:45 mark, help round out the track's beauty. Although the title and sample (1:44) may be intended to cause an intentionally jarring contrast, they unfortunately detract from the track's otherwise serene nature. Regardless, a sparkling piece not only worth listening to, but one which warrants revisiting.

A Sugar Punch - "Fuck" (Soundcloud)

Friday, December 20, 2019

Bug - Triptych_3

From the artist:
The Triptych series includes a selection of tracks that mark various experiments and vignettes written and recorded over the course of 2019. The third and final EP in the series, Triptych_03, includes a total of seven tracks; the few which had previously been released as singles are modified from their original versions, creating, like the first two Triptych EPs, a more unified and seamless listening experience, despite spanning genres ranging from ambient electronica to liquid drum & bass.

Bug - "walking with the muse" (Soundcloud)
Bug - Experimental Bug House: Triptych_03 (Bandcamp)
Bug - Experimental Bug House: Tripytch_03 (Soundcloud)

Disclaimer: This artist is affiliated with this blog.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

valerie reyes-cooper - "bySweet Jesus Sisterfy"

A fantastic shoegaze track, no frills to it, which is perhaps surprising considering the musician's lineage. "bySweet Jesus Sisterfy" is the latest track by valerie-reyes cooper, a member of the seminal band Sweet Trip, who are, depending on who you ask, either "ineffable" or "inscrutable." However, gone are the glitching rhythms, blasts of noise, and rampant experimentation of that band. Instead, we are treated to a straightforward wash of distorted guitars, bending every which way; airy vocals, aloof and the words muddled; and a dancing, pop drum beat, riding on a ceaseless blast of hi-hats and a huge snare. The track wastes no time, careening through two alternating sections for a few minutes before fading; repeated listens reveal nuanced guitar melodies and bass grooves sprinkled throughout, hidden amidst the ever-enveloping wash.

valerie reyes-cooper - "bySweet Jesus Sisterfy" (Soundcloud)


Not sure why; I've been drawn toward dark, expressive tracks lately. "SHE" is haunting and evocative, as MADISON's vocals drip with gothic flair, alternating between a low, monotonous sneer and haunting, all-encompassing cries. The vocals stand at the forefront of the track, pleading, grim, and beautiful; however, they rest during the song's bridge (1:50), allowing swirling, windy textures to take over, re-emphasizing the track's otherwise minimalist instrumentation, while also allowing enough contrast for the vocals to return with greater splendor. Other highlights of the instrumentation include the crisp, overblown bass line which serves as the core of the track, as well as the drum pattern that enters following the aforementioned bridge (2:14); there's something very satisfying about the way those snare and stick hits cut through everything else. That being said, though I tend to try and look past hiccups in production, there is some inconsistent mixing here, in particular with the vocals, which unfortunately distracts from the otherwise stellar atmosphere created by the track. Overall, an effectively bleak track which captures a snapshot of forlorn bitterness within us, especially when compared to the glittering pop of some of MADISON's other tracks, such as "SHELTERED GOWN."

MADISON - "SHE" (Soundcloud)

The I IV V 2 - "Standing in the Sun"

A buzzing garage rock track which blends psychedelia with grunge, "Standing in the Sun" is loud and fun, and, much like the bands it emulates (perhaps from a certain Pacific Northwestern area), sounds like it'd be best enjoyed live and with a cheap beer, or ten. Following a tremolo-laden ambient-psych intro, the song kicks in proper with a delicious fuzz riff; it's velcro-tearing, heavy and melodic. The guitar-work, paired with the soaked, slacker-rock vocals, places this somewhere between Dinosaur Jr. and a (significantly) more mellowed-out Red Fang or Harmonicraft-era Torche. I'd like to hear more psychedelic elements interspersed throughout the track, as they're mainly relegated to the intro and outro, and I feel this differentiation would help the track to better justify its four minute runtime. That being said, it hearkens to the appeal of getting a few friends together and rocking in the garage; in capturing that vibe, it's a roaring success.

The I IV V 2 - "Standing in the Sun" (Soundcloud)