Today’s Advent offering is a lovely slice of piano-led ambiance from Lyndsie Alguire. Almost like something from a film score, mournful piano is complimented with some field recordings of birds in the distance. Put on your headphones, sit back, close your eyes and just breathe.
House By The Lake was once the solo project of Norway’s Sondre Strandskog Arnesen, but has since become a fully-fledged five-piece band. Arnesen has been joined by members of two other Norwegian bands, Monstereo and Ekkolodd, as well as a member of the production team that worked on Bastille's debut album.
'Redwood', the band's new single, was released at the end of November and was premiered on Norwegian national radio station NRK P3. It’s a really nice harmonious indie/folk track that will appeal to fans of American acts such as The Head And The Heart and British bands like Bear’s Den and Dancing Years.
Listen to the track in the player above and then download it at the band’s Soundcloud page. Hopefully we’ll be hearing more from the band in the near future.
We’ve featured Glass Vaults before, briefly mentioning their single Crystallise here and including them in our best free releases of 2011 here. It is, therefore, fair to say, that we rather like them. Fortunately for us, they’ve put out another EP recently.
As expected, Bright EP is a beautiful conglomeration of guitar, synth and vocals, with each taking it in turns to percolate through the ambient haze to steal your attention for a brief, glittering moment.
Glass Vaults have always followed a name your own price policy and Bright EP is no different, so pick it up for however much you deem fair here.
Just a quick one. Hip Hatchet, aka Philippe Bronchtein, is planning a huge tour of the United Kingdom and Ireland starting in January. Check out the nifty poster below for dates and locations:
(for a hi-res image of the poster go here)
If you are unfamiliar with Hip Hatchet, then listen to last year’s Joy and Better Days and then book yourself some tickets for one (or several) of the dates above.
Pipe Dreams by Whirr is essentially all of the best elements of shoegaze packed into one album. If you like controlled, glossy noise pop full of gradual build-ups and epic crescendos, chances are you will like Whirr. Check out the opening track ‘Reverse’ below.
You can get the album now on Tee Pee Records.
Ellen Kempner, AKA Palehound, is a singer/songerwriter from Yonkers who make 90s-tinged songs with a slightly weird edge. ‘Pet Carrot’, from Bent Nail EP, falls somewhere between Kimya Dawson’s quirky lyrics and Pavement’s laid-back rock.
Jeremy Squires is a singer-songwriter from New Bern, North Carolina. You may remember him for his superb cover of Jill Andrews’s ‘Rust or Gold’ which featured on one of our cover mixtapes. He recently released his latest album, When Will You Go…, and it really is a thing of beauty.
The first thing to mention is that Squires is a super talented (and self taught!) musician, here playing guitar, banjo, piano and resonator guitar, as well as providing the large majority of the vocals (which are just perfect, by the way). He recorded, mixed and produced the whole thing on his own, which lends well to the personal atmosphere of the record. He also gets some help from a few friends, namely Anna-Lynne Williams (of Lotte Kestner/Trespassers William fame) and Shane Leonard of Kalispell and Field Report. All of this comes together to create an album of sparse, melancholy Americana reminiscent of artists such as J. Tillman and Richard Buckner.
The second strength of the album is the songwriting, When Will You Go… being an apt title for an album that attempts to deal with death and the fear of losing loved ones. Squires’s voice is candid and confessional, and the listener gets the sense that he is opening up to them, offering a glimpse of the demons that haunt many of us. This is a man who has battled with struggle and hardship and is now honest and open enough to channel that into something really very beautiful.
One of Squires’s greatest skills is his ability to prevent the whole thing descending into cheerless gloom. Yes the atmosphere is sad and lonely, but the album seems to have just the opposite effect, proving oddly comforting.
Having had the album on repeat for the last few weeks, I have come to the conclusion that the opening lines, just eight words, somehow sum the whole thing up better than I ever could.
I dreamt my life away
I never told
You can buy the album now via Jeremy’s Bandcamp page. I highly recommend that you do. This is one of the finest albums released this year and one worth every minute of your time and attention.
'Silver Timothy' is the first taste of Jurado’s latest album, Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son, which is out on the 21st January on Secretly Canadian. It once again sees him team up with producer Richard Swift and looks to be a continuation of the sounds and themes of 2012’s Maraqopa.
Canadian singer/producer Tommy Paxton-Beasley, better known as River Tiber, uses vocals, instruments, samples and sounds to create rich, melancholic soundscapes that fall somewhere between ambient and electronic music. ‘The Star Falls’, the title track from his latest EP, is a reflective track where gentle croons and far-away yelps combine to from something reminiscent of Port St. Willow, with added beats.
You can get the Star Falls EP now, and a full-length, entitled Synapses, is due out in 2014.
Jess Williamson's 'Blood Song' opens with sparse guitar notes that conjure a desolate image of a nameless American desert, and you get the impression the track might well be instrumental. Her vocals kicking in around the 30 second mark are a welcome surprise, and lift the song from an atmospheric backdrop to an intimate telling. The misleadingly gentle delivery hides a mixture of emotions, giving the song a believable voice as she demands and hesitates and pleads across five lovely minutes. Imagine Angel Olsen singing to Ry Cooder's Paris, Texas soundtrack.
See the rest of the calendar here.