Review: APSE consist of five lads from the East Coast who have been playing together - with slight changes in line-up - for the last 7 years, creating one of the most serious and inspired sounds today. They showcase a solid, potent and mature musical sense with influences spanning Classical compositions, Slint, Joy Division/New Order, and The Cure to the first Sonic Youth noise adventures, ambient music and a wide range of post-punk. Upon listening to the record "Spirit" absorbs the listener in rough, bold percussion and dark, churning basslines, arguably referencing The Liars' 2006 "Drum's Not Dead". Over a hard-hitting bass-and-drum core, ethereal guitars, haunting vocals, and quiet synths nod to the Cure's "Pornography", "Disintegration", or b-sides from Radiohead's "Kid A". "Spirit" leads the listener through it's multi-percussional swamplands, plodding bass riffs, and alien melodies - both bittersweet and empowering. It is chock full of post-punk's disjointed rhythms, rough guitar passages and tribal stomp. Layers of tone and hand percussion top it all off, creating a beautifully produced record that a damaged pop odyssey as much as it is a breathtaking wall-of-sound. "Spirit" is one of the most astounding and unique records of 2006.
Review: Lou Barlow is a true workaholic and quite addicted to surprising us with his work. The musician born in Dayton in 1966 and now based in Los Angeles has become one of the most fundamental references of the North American indie music of the last two decades thanks to his hyperactivity in essential bands like Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh, as well as his presence in parallel projects like The New Folk Implosion or Lou's Wasted Pieces. In 2006 Barlow was immersed in new work for Dinosaur Jr (J. Mascis, Lou Barlow and Murph) and Sebadoh (Lou Barlow, Eric Gaffney and Jason Lowestein), but he still managed to find enough time to record a EP of five songs exclusive for Acuarela - "Mirror the Eye".
Review: This fascinating and creative Portland (Oregon) based pop-art group that are reputed not only for their music, but also for their romantic and epic spirit in the best sense, have released this 18-minute track called "The Tain". The cornerstone of the track, according to leader Colin Meloy, is a cycle of Celtic mythology under the same name, and is basically a conceptual work, a song divided into five parts. Recorded with producer Chris Walla in Seattle, one of its fragments marks the first time that group drummer, Rachel, put her voice on a record.
Review: LA JR (previously know as JR) are back, led as usual by Frank Rudow (also a member of Viva Las Vegas and Manta Ray), Rafa and Borja. Almost three years after their last release, "Dos Casas" is a work of dark atmospheric lounge, trancey Kraut-rock groove, or, anti-jazz-folk - as we like to name it. Less hermetic than their previous albums, less 'autistic pop', LA JR could be a blend between Ry Cooder, The Sea, Sun Ra and Cake.
Review: Num9 is the light after Migala's demise. In summer 2005 the group that changed the parameters of indie folk music in Spain decided to shut up shop and separate after eight years together. So after giving their last concert in Benicassim that year, Migala died. Full stop. What now? The abyss? or maybe not. For now an album titled "The Glow-Worm's Resistance".
Review: Thankfully, 2006 will not pass without Jamie Stewart's impassioned shouts and murmurs. Apart from releasing their next album, "The Air Force", in September/October on 5RC (on Acuarela only for Spain and Portugal), their new release is a five-song covers EP (Think 2003s Fag Patrol and its Stewart-centric acoustic focus) with fascinating style and instrumentation and titled "Tu Mi Piaci" (Italian for "I Like You"). Unlike Fag Patrol, however, these covers target non-Xiu Xiu material from folks like Air Force comrade Nedelle, Bauhaus, Alex Chilton/This Mortal Coil, Pussy Cat Dolls, and Nina Simone.