Vic Mars – The Land And The Garden

All the (doubtlessly tiresome) ‘Dad’ stories that you may have heard about how, in the glory years of vinyl, we would recklessly purchase an album based entirely upon the merits of its sleeve art are scandalously true. Band unknown, we heedlessly cast our pennies upon the record shop counter sure in the knowledge that ‘album cover good equals band … [Read more...]

Laura Cannell – Beneath Swooping Talons

In a braver world a work such as Laura Cannell’s second album, Beneath Swooping Talons, would likely be released on an imprint such as Hyperion or even Veritas. Instead, the issue falls to the catholic tastes of the ever eclectic and adventurous Front and Follow. For what we have here is a bold collage of (only slightly) updated early music and … [Read more...]

Anne Garner – Be Life

Anne Garner’s new album Be Life announces itself, on opening song "Your Name" with all the grace and emotional depth of a Schubert Lieder. An elegantly understated, electronically treated, piano motif spartanly but superbly supports the vocal coils of what appears to be as much a meditation as a song. Possessing a faint hint of This Mortal Coil at … [Read more...]

New Album from Erik Nilsson in July

Hearing Things, the new album by  Swedish neo-classical ambient artist Erik Nilsson, will see release on 30th July through Hidden Shoal. Drawing on folk, classical and electronica, Erik Nilsson blends acoustic instruments with field recordings and computer-generated sounds, crafting music akin to early Four Tet, Tortoise at their most minimal, … [Read more...]

Teho Teardo and Blixa Bargeld – Still Smiling

Hellish nightmares, tender dreams and all that’s in between are dramatically evoked in this collaboration between Italian composer Teho Teardo and German musician Blixa Bargeld. The two originally worked together on a song for a film soundtrack and went on to produce a whole album over two years. It’s an album that encapsulates qualities of both … [Read more...]

Conspirare: Craig Hella Johnson & Company of Voices – Samuel Barber: An American Romantic

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, twice, Samuel Barber is perhaps most renowned for his beautiful work, Adagio for Strings. Rich, robust and engagingly gorgeous, its entire movement and scope is of utter greatness. Abundantly used when a struggle, an emotional strife, or a sad moment requires a sound for definition (think Platoon in a trapped jungle, … [Read more...]

Balmorhea – Stranger

The mysterious effects of remote Texan territory that births some of music’s most recent high points (here’s to Sonic Ranch for some of 2012’s best albums) is beginning to look more and more assured. Residing in Austin, instrumental band Balmorhea has always impressed with a calmly classical viewpoint, forming into a soft-forming, sometimes … [Read more...]

Antony and the Johnsons – Cut the World

Perhaps for many of us, the opening introduction into Antony Hegarty’s passionate music was on the initial strands of life of “Hope There’s Someone.” Although he and his Johnsons had already developed a rich following with their self-titled effort, I Am A Bird Now flourished with emotionally-vested, brilliantly-composed forays into the human heart … [Read more...]

Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra – BUM BUM

With every trite and overused musical description, there is the willful decision in realizing that almost everything to say about music has been said already. What exactly that means is if someone proclaims the newly restored Radiohead album as a terrific exercise in rock and pop, for how many other bands/albums/songs can we say that about? I look … [Read more...]

Jozef van Wissem and Jim Jarmusch – Concerning the Entrance Into Eternity

I must admit, its been many years since I've been really pleased with a Jim Jarmusch film. I was an obsessive fan of his work in the 80's and 90's. From Stranger than Paradise all the way through Ghost Dog, I anticipated each release. Although I don't care for his film work these days, I was excited to hear about his musical endeavors with the … [Read more...]