Review: Traditionally the liner notes of an album take on a kind of third-party address, where a writer is delivering their thoughts about how an album makes them feel without breaching that space where they are representing themselves or the moment in time directly to the reader. The goal is typically a kind of timelessness, but as we live in unprecedented times, unconventional methods take on new life, and hopefully importance. In the spirit of that idea... man, is this the kind of album we all need right now. So many of us feel like we're constantly walking a tightrope, are feeling like we can't unwind, are in genuine need of a few moments of respite. Every so often an album emerges from an artist that most likely did not realize when they were composing how timely the results would be, and Lofi Dimensions is exactly that kind of record. It doesn't really matter why it's coming when it is, what's important is that it's here, offering peace to the perturbed and inspiration for the downcast. The American Dollar have long been one of those artists operating in a kind of middle ground, a band with a long history of creating moving instrumental rock that has somehow avoided ever becoming synonymous with modern American post-rock acts. They retain a sort of autonomy in a valued position just outside the boundaries of classification. Blending electronic textures with moving guitar and keyboard melodies, their music has always traveled somewhere in the spaces between trip-hop, electronic, post-rock and ambient, and this inability to be defined is ultimately what sets them apart from the trappings of genre, allowing them to be whatever they want The American Dollar to be in a given moment, always on their terms.
Review: Gunter Stoppel, founder and owner of Equinox Records, takes us on a wild trip into all forms of beat making on The Artless Cuckoo Vol. II, which arrives eight years after the still revered first volume. Ambient, downtempo, psychedelic soul, trap, boom bap and plenty more all feature and showcase his many talents, as well as how the hip hop genre at large has grown and evolved in the years since its companion LP came out. The record is released in a very limited quantity of 100 hand numbered copies and arrives on new label Further Down The Line, founded by John Raincoatman and Aaron Thomason.
Review: When one considers the American post-rock bands that emerged at the outset of what would become the modern era of the genre, the moment when a once fringe experimental form transitioned into a recognized faction of contemporary alternative music, there are only several still active today. Salt Lake City's I Hear Sirens are a member of that circle, having released their debut EP in 2007, followed by two LPs including 2013's Between Consciousness and Sleep, an album that has achieved a place of high regard with fans. However, the moment of their greatest acclaim has since stood as their culminating statement. But now their highly anticipated new record Stella Mori marks the continuation of their inspired exploration into instrumental music and its power to foster emotional release, invite reflection, reward vulnerability, and become the artistic abstraction of a limitless number of interpretations for each individual listener.
Review: Jonsi Birgisson is a multidisciplinary artist and, most famously, the frontman of Icelandic post rock legends Sigur Ros. Shiver is his first solo record in a decade. PC Music founder A. G. Cook is the man behind the production and of course, the record is a bone chillingly atmospheric and sparse affair that plumbs the depths of the human experience and our connection to the natural world. Guests Elizabeth Fraser and Robyn make fine appearances, and overall the record has plenty of dreamlike qualities and organic textures as well as Cook's own synthetic and occasionally abrasive sounds, making the whole thing a fine work of avant-garde experimentalism.
Review: Icelandic post-rockers Sigur Ros picked up hefty amount of critical acclaim for their third full-length album () in 2002. It was very much a record of two halves, with the first section of tracks offering up lighter and more optimistic pieces, and the second taking a darker, bleaker, more melancholic path. The vocals are all sung in a language of made up gibberish called 'Hopelandic' that lends the already intriguing music and air of extra enigma. As is often the case with this band, the tracks often head to huge climaxes that are as thrilling now, 18 years after first being recorded, as they ever were.
Review: Still House Plants - AKA drummer David Kennedy, vocalist Jessica Hickie-Kallenbach and guitarist Finlay Clark, who all met at Glasgow Art School - have certainly made a lot of noise with this record. Respected critics are hailing it one of 2020's standout musical moments and, despite the pared back aesthetic throughout, the meeting of jazz percussion styles, repetitive and often locked grooves, and R&B time signatures can reach cacophonous proportions with ease. And that's no bad thing.
You realise about two seconds into the distorted vocal-guitar-drum warm up 'Pleasures', these guys aren't willing to play by the rules, and they really shouldn't have to. It's a rough, ready but incredibly tight nod at punk, UK club music, blues, lo-fi garage rock and something avant-garde or other. 'Shy Song' sounds like a sombre ballad lost its way in opiate heaven, 'Getting Murky' has this wonderfully heavy, sticky night air swagger, and 'PredickateD' is a kind of abstract soul. Exceptional.
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