Marissa Nadler & Stephen Brodsky – Droneflower

droneflower

And this is from a similar folder on my home PC which is nowhere near as unwieldy (yet) but since I’m on a mission…

And their version of ‘Estranged’ is worth the cover price alone if I had it, but the whole thing is mighty fine.

I’m about to go to bed, as it happens. This is very good music for just before you’re about to go to bed.

 

Rise of the Echo Drone

rotedI have literally just discovered these. They remind me of Josefin Ohrn + The Liberation, who nearly made it into my best of 2015 (Pridjevi got there instead, and I have been caning that recently -it’s wonderful).

It’s kind of shoegazy dreampoppy probably psych but I’ve lost track of what that even means now. Very hypnotic.

It’s a home recorded collaboration but sounds very professional. They clearly know what they’re doing. I’ll be following these.

I have absolutely no idea how to pronounce this Réabhlóid word though.

Pridjevi

So I listed this in my best of 2015 already, but they really do deserve a post of their own. I don’t think I’d initially planned to include them in said list but played the album the night before I wrote it, and the rest is what happened afterwards.

The album is sung entirely in Croatian, because they are from Croatia. I don’t speak or understand a word of Croatian, but that doesn’t matter. Over the last few years I’ve begun to be more dissatisfied with bands output when it isn’t in their native tongue, because it somehow feels a bit forced. There are exceptions, obviously, but I don’t think it matters if I can’t understand the words. Music has its own meaning, and words sung naturally will always complement that.

TIM091_Pridjevi_LP.1600x1600__58102.1435286780.1280.1280So you can bandcamp this if you like and want, but you can also score a hard copy here, on the same label that put out the marvellous Matchess records.

Stylistically, we’re looking at sunny psych-pop, properly blissed out and sun-kissed and everything that implies. There’s a similarity to Brazilian Tropicalia, particularly Os Mutantes, although I may say that because they’re the artists I’m most familiar with from that ‘genre’. They have it down as lo-fi but that may be a function of the fact they recorded it themselves, which has been a lot easier since the digital revolution, since it doesn’t sound all that lo-fi to me. Maybe a ‘sound professional’ would find it so, but I’ve personally become a lot less bothered by such audiophile concerns over the last ten years, ironically since finishing a course in music technology…

 

 

Laughing Eye Weeping Eye

a2331277226_16I really don’t know where to begin with this.

And that is a good thing.

This is where drone, folk, what is probably a harmonium, and tarot cards meet. This is particularly good for me, as these are all some of my favourite things, although by way of a disclaimer, I should point out that I have many, many favourite things. It’s one of the very best things about getting older.

I mean, I’ve labelled it ethereal, and in many respects it is, but it is also an amazingly material sound. There’s a density which complements the obviously etheric inspirations. If I was a ‘proper’ music critic, I’d be trying to think of a new genre name now.

And it sounds like absolutely nobody else I’ve ever heard. Again, in a good way.

The website of the main player, Rebecca Schoenecker, is here. She’s about a lot more than the music. Have a look at this video for a tune that isn’t on the album I’ve embedded:

Probably the best thing I can do is stop typing. Probably the best thing you can do is listen.

Big Blood

Now, you may have to stay with me on this one.

When I die, as I realise I must, and go to heaven, as I know I will,* I will be hearing ‘A Watery Down Part II‘ on the escalators upwards, and probably constantly afterwards.

Unlikely Mothers‘ is flat out the best (as in, my favourite) album of 2014. I love it so much that I even bought the double vinyl LP despite having no means to play such an item (I’m giving it to my friend who does – his initial reaction to it was, shall we say, less enthusiastic, but he’s beginning to enjoy them now. Hence my opening caveat).

Big Blood create an eerie, unique sound, which perfectly matches the vocal styles created within. They find a groove, and they stick with it, except for the occasional instance when the song demands it. In some ways the music is quite ethereal, but it is more often ecstatic.  There’s an angels-getting-their-hands-dirty feel about this album. They are also quite clearly having a ball.

It is not just ‘Unlikely Mothers’ which so unrelentingly floats my boat. Check out their page on the Free Music Archive – I particularly draw your attention to the album ‘Dark Country Music.’

http://freemusicarchive.org/swf/playlistplayer.swf

On this 11-track album, there are 5 utter classics. Let me tell you, I’m very fussy about naming a song an utter classic. For an album to have 2 is rare enough, 3 is proper unusual – but 5?!?!

I’ll also point you to ‘Old Time Primitives‘ too, as there are some stunning songs on there too.

The two albums mentioned above are much more country, more ‘New Weird America’ (remember that?). The songs are generally shorter, but still with the same ecstatic vocals, although I have to single out ‘Coming Home Pt III‘ off Dark Country Magic as possibly the most heartbreaking vocal performance I’ve ever heard. Utterly transcendent.

Colleen Kinsella sings like an angel, pure and simple – not one of those sanitised, Aled Jones singing the snowman type (that’s not the work of angels – maybe cherubim. I don’t know, my theological taxonomy is non-existent) but an angel that has lived. Raw, passionate, at times absolutely deranged, at others transcendentally beautiful. In possession of the full realisation of the fact that in order to understand what you’re singing about, you have to live it first, and live it truly. If you want a reference point, Joanna Newsom and Kate Bush trying to outcompete each other, but effortlessly. Caleb Mulkerin has a decent style too, although equally far from the conventional.  It is fair to say, though, that to some ears, the vocals will be a dealbreaker.

In fact, as has been demonstrated above, this band is so good they make me write like a fool.

They have an etsy page where they sell some stuff, and also stuff by other people in their scene.

*I inserted that phrase specifically for the benefit of my friend for whom I’m buying the album, because I know he will appreciate it :0