Articles by "Music Fans Mic, Author at PORTALS"
Sure, guitar solos are a thing of wonder if you can pull them off. Tightly-knit acoustic patterns are impressive too, unless you’re the kind of guy that buzzkills house parties just to show off some Oasis covers. But if I could truly play the guitar to my heart’s content—and let’s face it, playing a couple of dodgy online Spoon tabs doesn’t count—I’d just live in the thing. The tones, the pulse, the overarching glow of the whole thing. One pedal and couple of strings and we’re away.
Jeanette Street finds solace in every open string, each heart-swelling pressure change. The three songs on her Three Songs EP are classed as “devotional” on Bandcamp. Devotional in the sense that she’s devoting everything to these extended piece, ranging from five to nine minutes. The opener is dusky and Grouper-like in its strung out drag, while the closer gets by on optimistic, muted patterns that stream by like an open-view of golden fields on some wild, imagined train journey. Beauty in despondence and beauty in the open air—Jeanette Street hones in at each of these, just as effectively as the other.
Sometimes you have to remind yourself that there is so much more going on in music than a flurry of bands uploading songs to SoundCloud and reaping all the hype-bait rewards. This is only a small, often beautiful bubble, but one that you can easily get sucked into.
Cosmo Sheldrake is one of many musician-types doing more than just the odd gig and song-penning here and there. He runs a choir in home city Brighton and gives workshops about beatboxing and vocal improvisation. Only now is the guy showing his face and doing things the routine way. The son of famed bio-chemist Rupert Sheldrake, he was never going to make his mark by following the pack.
“The Fly” uses verses from William Blake to make its point. A scattershot introduction soon finds form, defined by sharp percussion and Cosmo’s bold, wide-eyed declarations.
adze is a two-piece from Boston, with both of its members acting as crazed percussionists—or at least that’s how they used to work under their previous guise, Gero & Ide. Before, the two never shirked on making music that erred towards being on the brink of everything: sanity, good taste, you name it.
And under adze this motto persists. The opening moments of their debut EP provide nothing but a looped synth-pattern. This goes on for a good 40, 45 seconds before percussion suddenly intervenes, alongside the words “hey yo, hey y’all, we don’t own a bed no more!”. And then it builds and builds and builds into this deranged, all-encompassing beast of an opener. That’s “Media”. You’re then prompted with five tracks that root themselves in similar, loony ideas.
Sometimes you’ll have to take a step back, turn the record off and revive your sense of normalcy. But more often than not you’ll dive headfirst into the duo’s rhythm-enhanced noise. It’s all about the percussion, aesthetically, but there’s so much more to wander off into. So many dark alleyways full of psycho phantoms waiting to put your everyday feelings to rest.
Who knew that you’d be someone / Who knew that you’d be somebody?
“Be Someone”, which appears to be the debut track from Toronto producer gees, aims for the big time. It’s a small-town kid that sees the city lights and dreams of being surrounded by bright, bustling life when they grow up. And just like with every leap of faith, it’s a song that takes risks, towing a deep house pulse but playing into the hands of other electronic strands by instinct. This shouldn’t work. Technically it’s a mess—a strange fusion of current conventions. Think of it like the small-town kid not being accepted by the city-types when they first visit.
But a few minutes in gees‘ debut works its way into your headspace. It gives you the city lights, and then some. It gives you basement parties, love stories and every complimentary thud to the heart.
It’s an itch I can’t cure. Everytime I play a song by a new band, my head goes in circles, searching for some kind of simple comparison to make with music that I’m more accustomed to. Maybe that’s an automatic response for most people, but it’s something I’m trying to shake. Moustad, then, have proved to be something of a stumbling block in my attempts to value music at face value, without giving kneejerk comparisons to other bands.
Pick a track from their debut, self-titled album and you’re presented with a stampede of peers. Thoughts are fizzing, where a song like “Skùgga” will swing from Animal Collective-round-a-campfire playfulness to a distinct, spiky-guitar style not at all dissimilar to something on a Chad VanGaalen record. The indie hall of fame acts come out to play all at once. And that’s not a tragedy. If Moustad sounded like something on a Black Eyed Peas b-sides collection maybe we’d have an issue.
Once you’re accustomed to their music, the Gothenburg band begin to reveal the very essence of their own sound, which is in itself pretty peerless. In a self-resolution of avoiding telling readers that ‘X sounds like Y’, I’ve clearly failed. But give “Skùgga” a listen and hopefully all will be forgiven.
The Equestrian Vaulting album is out now on Fixe Records.