They got in touch back in the summer and, for whatever reason, we never got around to posting about them. Luckily, I stumbled upon them again, this time their new single ‘Way I Sound’. The song is a blend of emo and grunge that sounds like a collaboration between Cursive, Cap’n Jazz and Nirvana, the hints of raucous swagger at odds with the dark and weird lyrics. Listen below:
What is slightly confusing is that the single we were sent in the summer doesn’t seem to be available anymore. ‘Low’ was a different animal, much more atmospheric and developed that ‘Way I Sound’, complete with a video starring Allison Scagliotti.
You can download ‘Way I Sound’ from their Bandcamp page. The EP is due out in early April on Toblerone Sunrise Records, so I guess time will tell whether ‘Low’ makes it on. We will keep you posted. In the meantime, check out Bummer’s session with Daytrotter.
Todd Umhoefer is back with a brand new release under his Old Earth moniker. All Kill comprises of a single thirteen minute track, encapsulating everything we’ve come to love about Umhoefer’s unique brand of experimental folk rock. The song is split into four acts or chapters (which are detailed on the cover art above). This subdivision prevents the lengthy run time from becoming a drag, and in fact, it could be viewed as an extremely cohesive four-song EP.
The atmosphere is otherworldly and ever-so-slightly ominous, the vocals abrupt, lyrics opaque and indistinct. Last summer, Umhoefer was kind enough to do an interview with us and here’s what he had to say about his lyrics, ”They’re intentionally vague, contradictory, and sometimes irrational. I like homonyms and multiple interpretations- sometimes the lines are a conversation, sometimes narration, and sometimes simply a human voice needed to be present and it felt good to sing there.” This instinctive attitude to songwriting is evident on All Kill, and the results make me very excited indeed to see which direction Old Earth decides to take things next (we wont have too long a wait to find out as there is an LP due later this year).
You can get All Kill right now as a digital download courtesy of mini50 Records.
We first covered Nathan K. after a very nice reader got in touch suggesting we listen to his album Dishes, an album recorded during Nathan’s time at the hospital with his dying grandfather. As you can tell from the write up, we were big fans.
'Most Birthdays' is the first song off of a forthcoming album, and was written during a time when Nathan was helping his mother move out of her home, his childhood home. As you can imagine, many memories were unearthed during this process, and these certainly inform the song.
‘Most birthdays don’t quite feel the same
as they once did when i lived at that place
but I can sleep all the way through the night
without waking up to hear my parents fight
and I’ll take that tonight’
As we mentioned a few weeks back, Ontario’s Dark Mean are back with a new EP, and we’re glad to report that the bright start that was ‘Albatross’ is far from the only good track on show.
The preview email we had from the band was an interesting one, with them straight-up admitting that they aren’t looking for a label or record deal, and don’t even plan to have a release show for the EP. Instead, they describe their music as a ‘simple passion’: ‘We write music, jam in the garage, and make records with friend and producer, Michael Keire’.
With this in mind, an unenlightened person (with no knowledge of DM or Mr Keire’s talents) might expect the sound to possess a certain… homemade quality. This could not be further from the truth. The band may lack the desire to push their music into money-making realms, but this does not mean they lack ambition in the musical department.
In a world of neo-classical ambient pop and new weird psych-folk, Samuel the Phoenix is a refreshingly straight-forward slice of indie rock, and it comes back to the ‘simple passion’ statement - you get the impression that these guys are doing what they enjoy. The shuffling drums and infectious melodies are peppered with some well placed horns and delicate piano to create something both emotionally charged and uplifting.
A collection of songs by artists featured in the past month here at Wake The Deaf. Going to try something slightly new this mix and use Minilogs to embed the player. Let us know what you think.
The mix is also available via 8tracks as usual.
Miss last month’s edition? Listen to our January round-up.
It has been a while but the Covers Mix series is back! This, the tenth volume in the series, contains a wonderful array talented people covering songs from other talented people. We hope you find something you enjoy - click on the artists in the tracklisting to be whisked away to their own music.
1) Midnight City (M83 Cover) - The Last Bison
2) Anthems For A Seveteen Year Old Girl (Broken Social Scene Cover) - Dancing Years
4) Native American Summer (Beat Happening Cover) - Small Wonder
5) Semi-Charmed Life (Third Eye Blind Cover) - Frontier Ruckus
'Home' is the brand new single from Arrange (aka Malcolm Lacey). It’s taken from his upcoming album, Their Bodies in a Fog. Fans of Lacey’s previous work (such as 2012’s New Memory) will be pleased to know that the basic formula remains unchanged, emotionally charged bedroom pop. But this isn’t going to be a simple rehash of old ideas. ‘Home’ sounds like the work of an artist who is growing in confidence, an artist who is striving to make his output even better. The track starts hushed and reserved, but blossoms into a rousing finale with triumphant horns sounding bigger and bolder than anything Lacey has produced to date. Check it out in the player below:
Lacey has also put together a trailer for the album, which features snippets of each track set to some pretty nifty visuals. It’s safe to say I’m super excited for the album, so keep an eye out in the next few weeks for a longer write up.
We were big fans of Black Walls's debut album, Acedia, here at Wake The Deaf, featuring it way back in May 2012. So we were pretty excited to hear that Black Walls (aka Kenneth Reaume) was back with a brand new album, Communion. Unfortunately, the album was recorded in tragic circumstances, in the aftermath of the death of Reaume’s father. The recording process appears to have become a kind of meditative experience, a form of personal exploration in response to the grief that Reaume doubtlessly experienced. He says, “Recording these songs, I found myself exploring the metaphysical nature of life, my deeply religious upbringing, solitude, dependency and detachment from others, confusion/anxiety and subconsciously craving to disconnect and yearn for a more pastoral existence.”
Communion consists of just five (albiet mostly rather lengthy) tracks, each of which could be described using terms such as ambient, drone and post-rock, although such terms do little to convey the emotional heft that the album carries. The album has a tangible substance, a weight, something that Reaume describes as ”a glacial, mountainous, almost monolithic quality that reflected my mood and state of mind.” For an album recorded in his bedroom, this is no mean feat. Lo-fi bedroom pop this is not. This may be due in part to the help Reaume received from James Plotkin, who mastered the album (having previously worked with bands such as Sunn O))), Isis, Earth and Oneohtrix Point Never).
There are very few conventional lyrics on Communion. The closest thing we get are the vocals on Field Two, but even here the lyrics are abstract and opaque (‘I much prefer the truth, ‘cos you know they say we’ll die by the sword’). Some of my favourite vocals on the album come on PTSD, where they have an almost hymnal quality, like some kind of monastic chant, bringing some semblance of peace to an otherwise powerful and lonely record.
For all the grief and pain on display, this is still a very beautiful album. There are occasions where the sonic landscapes feel bleak and desolate, but there are also glimpses of something else. Communion is a very human album, borne out of fear and confusion, but ultimately a testament to inner strength. It takes courage to sit down and record something like this, and it is this spirit which ultimately shines through.
I’ve been trying to write about this album for weeks but have found it incredibly difficult to pin down exactly why I like it so much. We’ve long been fans of Ricky Eat Acid here at WTD (in fact we have featured songs from this album twice already: here and here), and I kind of felt like I was going to wax lyrical about a cool LP just because I knew it was going to be a cool LP.
So… what was the epiphanic moment? I reached the opinion that my inability to nail down exactly what is good about the album is a sign of what makes it special. And when I say ‘what is good’ I don’t mean I had to look for something obviously good in the craft or the writing, we all know that Sam Ray is excellent, but rather what I was feeling that made it such a compelling listen.
Three Love Songs is the kind of record that demands your attention, expecting a little bit of effort or perseverance before the payoff. The first section is foggy and indistinct and you feel as if you are experiencing it through some sort of filter, like those dreams where your vision in impaired it some strange way. Around halfway through things come into focus as bit more, and the picture becomes clearer. Yet you are still left with a nagging sense that something weird is going on, that you aren’t quite able to experience it in its purest form. The sensation drives you back to the beginning to look for clues, probing every second of each track for the missing piece of the puzzle. Most albums would be happy to have the listener sit back, content, with their thoughts wandering. Ray has reached the level where he wants more.
Aside from all this overwrought description, and ignoring the possible injustice of pigeon-holing something so amorphous into a genre, Three Loves Songs is a great example of ambient/experimental music. The fact that Ray manages to cram so much food for thought in what are essentially twelve tracks of weird dance music is an achievement worthy of high praise.
I hope that explanation is halfway coherent. The task of writing this has been akin to describing a smell or flavour without referencing the direct source - a head full of thoughts is useless without the right words to set them on a page.
You’d be best off just buying the album right now and listening to it for yourself. Get it on beautiful transparent or baby pink vinyl via Orchid Tapes, or as a name-your-price download via the Ricky Eat Acid Bandcamp page.
Ryan Weber, one half of Eric & Magill (who we featured here and chatted to here), has put together an album under the moniker REW«. As the artwork suggests, the record has a dreamy, tropical sound that is chillled, reflective and really rather lovely.
When you hear the story of the recording process, the tropical sound isn’t surprising. Amazingly, Departeures was recorded in hotel rooms and train compartments across Kenya, India, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia and Indonesia, all within a few months in 2013. If the wet/snowy weather is getting to you, put Departeures on your headphones and remember that it’s always summer somewhere in the world.
The album is available on a pay-what-you-can basis over at Bandcamp.