The Ketamines go all out, at the very least, on Spaced Out (Mammoth Cave). A bit of ’50’s rock n roll, a jigger of blue-rock, some psych and whole lot of garage fuzz. Their tight delivery justifies every last impulse they follow, as they aspire to greater heights than many of the same ilk. Think small-time circa BJM, Velvet Davenport and Hell Shovel, but more riffy, more linear, yet more dripping synth effects. The tight song cycles on Spaced Out keeps us wanting more.
So, when word came that Andrew Bird would be releasing a companion piece to this year’s Break It Yourself, one that would feature covers of old-school country acts from the likes of the Carter Family, Townes Van Zandt and Alpha Consumer, along with re-workings of 2 tracks from that new album it definitely seems like a collection for the die-hard Bird fans. As a whole the album’s 8 tracks show Bird at his folksiest. The vocal harmonies create the imagery of being recorded in a large old family barn, with century old wooden beams. Hands of Glory doesn’t shock or change the course of rivers, but it does invite, and welcome, and might pour you a cup of tea and ask about your day.
Introspective, one word that comes to mind when discussing Mono. Their new album For My Parents is just five songs but clocks in at over 50 minutes. Known for their sweeping textures and sonic assaults, For My Parents is a statement by the band that couldn’t be more honest, moving and heart touching. I’ve always been a fan of artists that can create a space for their listener to reflect. Mono has blown us away time and time again with genius and gift but here on the new release they challenge us to go back and reflect upon our own upbringing and that of our parents. The gentle, the subtle, the sad and the eloquent all come together with a fondness that is gorgeously soundtracked by one of post – rock’s greatest.
Matthew Shaw‘s musical creations fall somewhere in the category of “transcendentally tripped out”. For the album Lanreath Shaw is credited with guitar and phonography, the field recordings (mostly of birds) and the fog banks of reverb that create this 47 minute drone piece. Look up at the peak of these pieces and you might just expect to see light glinting through stained glass windows casting shadows on the white voids of space that stretch internal architectures into infinities. Shaw’s religion is that of the natural world; feet deep in clay, with moss and lichen collecting around the instruments as they echo across the landscape.