A Very Special Post

I’m pretty sure most of this blog’s followers are long gone by now, but I’ve decided to come back and hope that I may regain those who’ve given up on my stupid ass reviews and news.
I apologise for the delay, I really wish I had come back sooner. Love supporting indie artists and doing interviews with cool musicians I admire a lot. So yeah, here’s to more reviews and awesome interviews.

The truth is, my disappearance from this site was not in vain, I had several issues to work on and was worth it to take that time off. I’ve not stopped making music or writing for other sites though, which is good news, cause I haven’t lost practice.

The amount of new records I’ve listened to in this break is just astronomical. Seriously. It’s insane. So I’ll be doing a series of short reviews to save time. But when I find a worthy album, I’ll do a proper analysis and review (track by track, as usual).

Thanks for reading, I appreciate your time. My mind is set on posting every couple of days.

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(Four) Short Album Reviews (September 3rd, 2015)

Before you guys start freaking out about the album release dates, I admit not all these albums are new, so you’ll find various genres and well known bands here.

Augie March // Strange Bird (2002)

Probably the most outstanding piece of Australian music in history, considering music and lyrics as equals in the process and final product. Its lyrics are overwhelmingly contradictory, to the point of awe, rejoice and admiration for Glenn Richards.
Also, with no doubt, the most underrated album of the 21st century.

Essential tracks: The Vineyard, This Train Will Be Taking No Passengers, O Mi Sol Li Lon, Addle Brains, O Song.

Slow Meadow // Slow Meadow (2015)

Aural Method’s Matt Kidd’s new project (under the wings of Hammock, a consolidated post-rock/ambient band) is one of the standouts of 2015. I didn’t know what to expect from Kidd. I thought it’d be very similar to his last album, but I was SO wrong. Slow Meadow is far more focused on strings and minimalistic keyboards, creating a bubble of melancholy, sadness, mystery and awe, all at once.

Essential Tracks: Linen Garden Part I, A Farewell Sonata, Summer Vigil, Every Mourning Breath

Dakota Suite // An Almost Silent Life (2012)

Before listening to this record, I really had no previous experience with sadcore/slowcore bands. I was happily surprised to realise it wasn’t what I expected. At least from this specific artist. An Almost Silent Life is the defining album in Dakota Suite’s fairly unknown, yet long career. The wave of every tear shed as it crashes on the floor is audible behind Chris Hooson’s tender and breaking timbre. Not something you find every day.

Essential Tracks: I See Your Tears, An Almost Silent Life, Everything Lies, I Know Your Desolate Places.

Drake Bell // It’s Only Time (2006)

Although Bell’s fame comes from tv, rather than his music, it doesn’t seem to stop him from sounding absolutely confident in his work.
Bell’s arrangements are notoriously inspired by the works of McCartney and Wilson (Beatles and Beach Boys, for the…idiots). But before you start criticising the guy, please notice he has a very good producer and co-writer, Michael Corcoran. The man helped him craft Found A Way, the intro track to the Drake & Josh show.
If you want to enjoy this record, take off all expectations and prejudices. Trust me.

Essential Tracks: Do What You Want, It’s Only Time, Fool The World, Fallen For You, Rusted Silhouette, Break Me Down.

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Update

Man, it’s been a while…but I can’t say I’ve had time to actually miss writing here! Been so fucking busy with family and work stuff. Complicated issues (AKA Life).

Well, there’s not a lot to say, other than the fact I am working on an album called Elizabeth’s Heartbeat. It has been horribly slow, I’m aware of it. And I also know I promised to release it sometime in June, which won’t be possible, though a song or two might reach the surface soon enough. My last release was in December, I believe. So yeah, 5 months without any signs of life or progress might discourage a lot of fans. At least I didn’t take 8 years to say something, like Modest Mouse did (yeah, I fucking said it).

I consider “Elizabeth’s Heartbeat” a highly ambitious and powerful concept, and it’s a responsibility I have not taken lightly. I can be confident about saying it’s a work in progress that will see the light this year. Apologies to the people who’ve encouraged me and sent messages to the FB site praising the Ellie Mends EP! There will be surprises along the way, I promise.

Flocks might not be my only project this year. I’ve thought of taking a step aside with this one and go with a different type of music, but it’s only if I end up releasing Elizabeth’s Heartbeat relatively soon, otherwise it’s very unlikely any of my other projects will be available before 2016.

Cheers,
F

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Lights & Motion // Chronicle


As you all know, L&M means the world to me, for a lot of reasons. So this will definitely sound more like something I’d write for my other blog (journal kinda thing). 

-I must declare that I listened to the L&M discography over and over without stopping for days until I felt ready to write this-

There comes a time in everyone’s life when you just get tired of being (unless you’ve had a particularly easy life). After listening to Chronicle repeatedly since its release, I’ve come to the conclusion Christoffer is past that time. Reanimation was the awakening of a dream, a spark of euphoria…Save Your Heart was the search for meaning and self-discovery and -if we count this as a trilogy- Chronicle is the climax for Chris’ magnificent dream. 

It is tricky to review an album without considering the rest of the discography. Some reviewers pretty much compare between albums instead of actually listening to what the artist is trying to say. 
I will make several connections within L&M’s records, by the way!

-You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to concieve a single song for some people. Guys like Chris are songwriting machines when in the mood-

Chris has released other sides of Lights & Motion, such as the TV/Film compilation and the outstanding Holiday Visions. Each of those are the perfect pathway between records and ease up the transition for the listener. Maybe if he hadn’t released Holiday Visions, I might’ve not understood Chronicle so fast. There is a huge process behind this music and not only in terms of production. We have euphoria, meditation and unraveling in a trilogy I can only describe as perfect. 

Although Chronicle feels less musically cohesive (as in connecting each song) than its precedesors, it finds a way to become a journey anyone can relate to. And that’s the magic of it! 
It seems to me that Christoffer has found his comfort spot with this album. After two critically acclaimed (I think he never got bad reviews) records, I guess he felt it was time to take a step forward and let passion take over the process. 

I won’t talk about the songs more specifically, because I think my point was made already (yeah, deal with it). All I will say is: watch out for Reborn, Particle Storm and The Spectacular Quiet….just wow.

You may think by my little essay that Chronicle will not get a perfect score, but you are dead wrong: it’s a frontrunner for best album of 2015. 

Final Score
100%
Simply perfect

All the best to Christoffer and kudos to Deep Elm for sticking around!

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Best Songs of 2014! FINALLY!

I’m not gonna make you wait more, so here’s how it’ll work: I’ll write in ascending order, which means I’ll start by the bottom of my list. Thirty songs made it to the list, while others were just left aside as “honourable mentions”. That doesn’t mean they’re inferior, just couldn’t place them right!
I’ll write a little text below each song, to explain my reasons. Nothing long, don’t worry. I’ll make it worth your time!!

Honourable Mentions (This won’t include texts):

1.- Keaton Henson // Elevator Song
2.- Bon Iver // Heavenly Father
3.- A Sunny Day In Glasgow // Crushin’
4.- Rumour Cubes // Seven Year Glitch
5.- U137 // The Poet
6.- Dakota Suite & Quentin Sirjacq // This Is My Way of Saying That I Am Sorry
7.- Firekites // Closing Forever Sky
8.- Prawn // Glass, Irony
9.- …Of Sinking Ships // It’s Easier With No Destination
10.- This Patch of Sky // Time Destroys Everything, But Our Foundation Remains

The 30 Best Songs of 2014:

-A couple don’t have texts below because I got tired of writing….my bad-

30.- The Handsome Family // Far From Any Road
– Some of you might recognise this tune from a show called True Detective (cause that’s the only place you’ll hear it). A deep-voiced country song, filled with subtle details.

29.- The Pains of Being Pure At Heart // Simple and Pure
Just figured it deserved a spot around here…

28.- S.Carey // Glass/Film
– I still wonder why I put this one at such a low spot. Really a great song, reflects the evolution of a musician who’s worked with probably one of the best in the business for a long time: Justin Vernon.

27.- Coldplay // Midnight
– This song comes out of a breakup and listening to the Volcano Choir discography repeatedly. Evidence that Chris Martin is a huge Vernon fan. Check out “Woods” or “Still”, you’ll understand what I mean.

26.- Yuki Murata // A White Bird
– Minimalistic track, a real surprise for me when I found it online. What can I say, I’m a huge fan of minimalistic piano tunes.

25.- J Mascis // Every Morning
– The Dinosaur Jr. frontman shows a different shade of his songwriting, exploiting the acoustic guitar and pumping out his famous soloing style. Lovely.

24.- Hundred Waters // Murmurs
– Florida-based electro-folk project that impressed me with their debut record and now even more with their sophomore attempt. A band to look out for, extremely careful songwriting.

23.- OK Go // The Writing’s On The Wall
– The pop band OK Go have once again demonstrated their ability to create a compelling and catchy tune without destroying the foundation of pop itself.

22.- Good Weather For An Airstrike // Lungs
– An ambient song worthy of reaching my list…truly astonishing work of art. Great to listen when you’re alone and in pain.

21.- Tweedy // Low Key
– Jeff and Spencer’s blood connection is notorious. There are things only father and son can do and this is one. Low Key reflects the true essence of their debut album Sukierae.

20.- Augie March // Villa Adriana

19.- The Rosebuds // In My Teeth

18.- Phish // Fuego
– These guys were once the ONLY band I listened to. I remember listening to Secret Smile from Undermind and crying like a baby. It is a different album, but Fuego just exceeded my expectations so much! Outstandingly complex song to perform (but then again, it’s Phish, they can do ANYTHING).

17.- Owl John // Cold Creeps
– Not sure if this is the Scott Hutchison songwriting style I like the most, but I do freakin like it. He’s at his creative peak, you could say.

16.- The Shins // So What Now
– Mercer’s contribution to Zach Braff’s Wish I Was Here couldn’t have been better. Kudos to the god of pop.

15.- Owl John // Red Hand

14.- Alcest // Wings + Opale
– Yeah, a 2×1! It’s basically one song, so I don’t care what y’all say. A true post-rock gem.

13.- Broken Bells // A Perfect World
– There is one thing you can’t deny about Danger Mouse and James Mercer: they got the groove. For some artists it takes ages to create a hook, but these guys made an album based on neo-psych-pop hooks and cheeky bass lines. Admirable.

12.- Maybeshewill // In Amber
– Instrumental post-rock at its best. It’s one of those tracks you just understand, without really knowing what it means to the writer(s).

11.- Lights & Motion // Winter
– Part of the Holiday Visions compilation, one of the most perfect EPs I’ve heard. If Franzén was trying to describe a season, he fucking pulled it off. Perfect song.

10.- Eels // Mistakes of My Youth
– Mark Oliver Everett reached that point in life that I’m unable to understand. Well, he is like 30 years older. Things get better when you can admit what you’ve done wrong and sorta laugh about the whole event. Here’s to growing up!

9.- Modern Baseball // Fine, Great
– One sentence: “Youth-minded/immature emo isn’t dead”.

8.- Cassie // Old Light
– Old Light is what happens when you blend Finnish post-rock with a rough night of booze and despair. The second part is absolutely amazing and unexpected, I still get the chills listening to the vocals at the end. Quite a memorable track.

7.- Damon Albarn // Parakeet
– You all know I love a good interlude and Parakeet is my fav of 2014. Indescribable, to be honest. A must hear.

6.- Augie March // Definitive History
– Yet another amazing Australian band (they have like 5 other records and I had NO idea) that managed to catch my attention. Definitive History will most certainly become an anthem for me. The vocals and lyrics are marvellous, by the way.

5.- Foster The People // Pseudologia Fantastica
– Mark Foster’s band clearly took their time to think this one through. I consider it a swirl of Tame Impala and FTP’s electro-pop origins. Worth the wait.

4.- Beck // Waking Light
– Beck’s return to the music world could not be more well-timed. I needed a perfect mix between harmony and melody. Waking Light might be Beck’s masterpiece.

3.- Cold Body Radiation // Slowly Falling From The Sky
– CBR has become one of my favourite projects this year. The previous albums are way darker musically, but this one is darker emotionally and the fact you can’t really understand what he’s saying makes it even more shocking to hear. No way of describing thoroughly the genre, I guess you’ll have to listen to it yourself.

2.- Go-qualia // White
– I know, why an IDM song would reach my 2nd spot? Easy, it’s the most basic, yet intelligent electronic track of the year.

1.- Sun Kil Moon // Carissa
– It takes courage to write a song about a second cousin you didn’t really know, that burned to death in a freak accident taking out the trash. Mark Kozelek’s Benji may be the greatest life/death folk album of the 00s. It’s only natural that Carissa becomes the anthem for people with a deep love for life, even though it may seem they don’t enjoy it.

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Q&A with Post-Rock powerhouse This Patch Of Sky

Recently I realised I hadn’t worked on any Q&As and it just hit me that I HAD to do more.

So without further ado, This Patch Of Sky’s Q&A with The Elevator Anthem:

THE INTERVIEW

1.- How did you all meet? Was it through other colleagues or through festival meetings?

TPOS:
The original band members (Joel, Nate, Kit, Andrew) were all friends before we formed TPOS. Kit, Nate, and Joel were in a previous band together that had a alternative/indie type style. 4 years ago we knew very little about the post-rock genre, but after hearing Quiet by This Will Destroy You in a VW Jetta late one night after a band practice we were instantly hooked. A few months later we formed the band.

Chris King joined the band in early 2012. Joel was going to college and met Chris in a music class. We were toying with the idea of adding a keyboard/synth player and Joel immediately thought of him. On a Friday evening he practiced with us, the next day he played his first show with us. It’s been love ever since.

Joshua Carlton joined the band in late 2012. He had moved here from Indiana and had played in a previous post-rock band (Chiaroscuro). I saw him post an ad on Craigslist about starting a post-rock band. After a few emails back and forth we met up with Josh and realized we shared the same vision and style of music. I now joke that Josh is my guitarist soul mate.

Alex Abrams we also met through Craigslist. We were gearing up to record S/T and though it would be cool to have a few cello tracks on some of the songs. Alex responded to the ad and practiced with us. A few practices later we all got down on our knees and begged him to join the band. He said yes, we hugged (molested) him, and now have him tied up in a closet so he can never leave.

2.- What’s the process behind the writing of a single song? And how long does it take you to have the final product?

TPOS:
Every song we create seems to go through a different process. For example, “Time Destroys Everything, But Our Foundation Remains” was accidentally written at one of our band practices. I was messing around with one of my guitar pedals and started finger picking a chord over and over while tweaking some settings. Josh looked at me and said, “That’s kinda cool, keep it going.” We started to build off of it after that. Other songs like “The Winter Day Declining” or “Love Is In Beauty and Chaos” start with an idea that someone brings in and we begin to develop it.

The entire S/T album was written in roughly 3 months. We’ve lately been on this crazy role where songs just keep pouring out of us. We are already writing a new album which is probably half way complete.

3.- Favorite city/venue/gig

TPOS:
Doug Fir Lounge in Portland, OR is by far the best venue we’ve ever played. Everything about that place just feels right.

4.- Favorite bands

TPOS:
The list can go on and on about favorite bands. Here are just a few examples:

This Will Destroy You, Sigur Ros, Minus The Bear, Olafur Arnalds, The Album Leaf, Iron and Wine, Snow Patrol, The Appleseed Cast, TTNG, Message To Bears, Blink 182, Moving Mountains, Debussy, Wagner, Hans Zimmer, Hammock, Coldplay, Death Cab For Cutie, Phillip Glass, Arvo Part, MONO, Silent Whale Becomes A Dream.

5.- Favorite albums

TPOS:
Right now my favorite album is Valtari by Sigur Ros. I can drown out to that album for hours.

6.- Favorite songs

TPOS:
Same as question 4, that list can go on and on. How about I give you my top 5 favorite from this past month:

Such Great Heights by Iron & Wine
As Walking On Canopy by Silent Whale Becomes A Dream
God’s Teeth by This Will Destroy You
Where We Begin by Mono
While The Ages Steal by Giants

7.- Personal heroes?

TPOS:
My parents. The faithfulness, love, and personal role models they have been to me my entire life encourages me to live life the same way.

8.- First song you wrote

TPOS:
Yikes. I was 13, barely learned to play guitar. At the time I was heavily influenced by bands like MxPx, Blink 182, Sum41, Officer Negative, Rancid, Dogwood, ect. I played 4 chords over and over as fast as I could and sang about some girl I thought I liked at the time. It was horrible.

9.- Favorite chord

TPOS:
Right now, C#

10.- Plans for 2015? More touring or planning a new album? If so, will you travel to a different genre or try to replicate what you’ve done your self-titled record (which is fantastic, I must say!)?

TPOS:
2015 is yet to be determined. As I mentioned before, we’re currently in the process of writing another album. I think this new album will show once again how we’ve pushed ourselves to write better songs. But I suppose that’s up to the fans to decide.

We’d like to play more shows around the US, and eventually around the world. Who knows what will happen, let’s just say we’re open to whatever.

——————————————–

Wow, they really took the time to think about each answer haha! This was an amazing Q&A for me, I loved every answer and they were SO cool about it!

Make sure to check out their latest self-titled album and to keep reading this crazy blog.

There’s more to come, don’t worry, kiddos.

Signing off,
F.

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Lights & Motion – Holiday Visions

I know, I know. How many releases can this guy have in 2 years? The answer is: enough to keep me happy.

Christoffer is probably the nicest dude I’ve “encountered”. He’s just incredibly humble and polite and loves his fans. I’ve been a fan since his first release and never stopped rooting for him. So it’s an honor to have the opportunity to write about his music once more!

Let’s do this!

L&M - Holiday Visions

THE REVIEW

“Holiday Visions” is the closest to a holiday record we’ll get from Lights & Motion (as far as I know). Though it doesn’t feel like a Christmassy release, it sure as hell fits the wintry season ahead of us.

Barely hitting the 5 minute mark, “Holiday Visions” manages to be compelling and completely as any other EP. It only holds 3 very short tracks, but no one’s ever criticised short songs, am I right?

Franzén finally reached a feeling where he knows exactly where he’s standing. At least that’s what this EP truly reflects. We not only get to hear the finest L&M tracks yet, we get to feel that evolution grasping our hearts. From the euphoric “Reanimation”, to the deep and warmhearted cinematic post-rocking “Save Your Heart”…”Holiday Visions” proves to be the logic step in a chain of well thought songs.

The three tracks (“Melting Ice”, “Winter” and “Covered In White”) together are the most perfect combination I’ve heard in a while. It’s very saddening that it has to end so fast. After all, 5 minutes go by like a flash.
I can only be grateful for the hard work behind each track. And there’s no doubt that Christoffer Franzén is the leader of the new post-rock era. Youth has never been as fruitful as what I’ve just listened to.
A whole season through 3 songs. Not many can do that.

A great applause to Christoffer for yet another masterful set of magical and heartfelt sounds.

THE VERDICT

Franzén’s geniality can’t be fully described, so I won’t even try to elaborate more on the subject.

One thing I must declare: the lack of percussion didn’t bother me at all. I actually look forward to more of this!

Final Score
100%
Yet another masterpiece

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