30km Inland – Stolen Shore Lines

Whilst this Anglo-Spanish enterprise has snuck out a clutch of compilation tracks over the last few years, this is the first full-length outing for the hard-to-file-alphabetically 30km Inland.  Cut by the combined skills of lead arranger/multi-instrumentalist Xavier Martí (Mudo, Continental Film Night), multi-instrumentalist/mixer David Sheppard … [Read more...]

Andrew Bird – Break It Yourself

The first time Andrew Bird’s music graced my ears, I had the good fortune to be outside.  On a balmy summer evening in August of 2008, I was in attendance at Tanglewood – the western Massachusetts summer residence of the Boston Symphony Orchestra – meandering around the manicured lawns in preparation for a show being headlined by Wilco.  Jeff … [Read more...]

Hey Marseilles – Elegy EP

It’s about time we heard something from Hey Marseilles, the Seattle chamber pop septet whose debut first dropped in December of 2008.  The band’s earnest orchestrations quickly became the toast of indie music’s glitterati, earning them coveted spots at CMJ, Bumbershoot, NPR, and even Starbucks.  To some, Hey Marseilles was merely a Decemberists … [Read more...]

Talkdemonic – Ruins

A ruin is the remains of something destroyed – as one might suitably label. But when you consider a ruin, it stretches further beyond the physical aspects we envision. Portland tandem Kevin O’Connor and Lisa Molinaro subtly offer Ruins with embellished instrumental music that stretches to a sonic landscape of sweeping arrangements. There’s a … [Read more...]

The Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library – Volume One

Like any other flourishing skill, many musicians believe that in order to improve and progress, practice can never hurt. For a few, this includes consistently releasing music in a timely manner: staying fresh and alert. For others, this includes immersing yourself in various projects where your talents remain attentive and invigorated. While … [Read more...]

Thurston Moore – Demolished Thoughts

Thurston Moore might be more recognizable for his noisecraft and his ability to take the fuzziest guitar lines and grind them out into a successful song, but Demolished Thoughts shows an impressively different side of the songwriter. This is the Sonic Youth alt-rock master playing the hand he's kept close to his chest: Chamber pop courses … [Read more...]

Loch Lomond – Little Me Will Start a Storm

There’s no denying the imprint music is able to leave on our personal lives and the way, many of us cope through/with it. For Portland sextet Loch Lomond, music seems to be the best way for one to express themselves, in being able to take symphonic chamber pop and fusing it with subtle but direct songwriting. There’s always the ability in being … [Read more...]

Ensemble – Excerpts

On Björk’s 2004 album Medúlla, Ensemble’s Olivier Alary assisted in co-writing “Desired Collection” with the Icelandic singer. And while it’s Björk’s magnificent voice that sparkles over the corruptive synth-line that sounds like something off The Eraser, pleading, “How am I going to make it right?” the presence of Alary stands out on one of that … [Read more...]

Wintercoats – Cathedral EP

The guitar's dominance as the string instrument of choice for songwriters is unlikely to be overturned anytime soon, but violins have made their presence felt on the scene in recent years, most notably in the form of Andrew Bird, Patrick Wolf, and Owen Pallett. Wintercoats, the one-man recording project of Melbourne, Australia's James Wallace, … [Read more...]

Antony and the Johnsons – Swanlights

Although we’ve come to know him as a modern workhorse, Antony Hegarty has always been able to keep his work with the Johnsons that much more invigorating. Whether he’s remixed mainstream artists or assisted on electronic records, albums like I Am a Bird Now and The Crying Light were always adorned with particular touches you couldn’t find … [Read more...]