The cover art for Ohrca's "s/t" album is a picture of an old chimney shoot cleaning brush that had been sitting in a backyard for years. The brush had been collecting rust, spiders, seeds and anything that fell into it's trap. Ohrca's music came together in a similar fashion. Lawrence Grover (Boc Scadet, Ships On Fire) and Billy Sprague (Galena) collaborated, sharing ideas and sketches with one another to see what stuck and what forms the music manifested into. Boc Scadet's melody and beat making skills combined with Galena's structure, fluidity, and love for organic textures.
Taking breaks in-between sessions and waiting for each respective party to make additions was key to the project. This allowed time for the work to breathe and the artists to contemplate whether the pieces were shaping to each other’s liking or not. Thankfully, Ohrca is now sharing their work with us some six years after it's creation.
Ships On Fire is Lawrence Grover's (aka Boc Scadet) minimalist side project featuring drone, soundscape, and beatless electronics. Originally released as a free download on the now-defunct Protoplazma label, this recording quickly became an office favorite. Completely enveloping and amniotic, "The Sleeper Must Awaken" is the aural equivalent of being in a lucid state of weightlessness or suspended animation. Pure ambient bliss.
Clocking in at nearly 65 mins, "Broadcasts In Colour" delivers over an hour of music that explores new sonic territory for the artist, including but not limited to vocals on selected tracks. A six-panel digipak featuring artwork and illustration by Paul Nolan round out this hauntingly beautiful package.
"Moitessier" is the brand new single off of Northcape's upcoming full-length, inspired by the French yachtsman Bernhard Moitessier, who took part in the first solo, non-stop round-the-world yacht race in 1968, and the film "Deep Water" (which comes highly recommended if you haven't seen it). Moitessier abandoned the race to continue around the world a second time.
The Boy Who Spoke Clouds debut album was recorded in 2004-2005 at a beach house over a four month period without release in mind. All the songs were recorded via the microphone of a Sony handycam video HI8 into a cheap soundcard. Everything from flamenco handclaps, percussive chanting, foot stomping and chopsticks hitting guitars were incorporated, sometimes in the hope of mimicking a sound Adam had no means of producing conventionally, and sometimes, trying the ridiculous in an attempt to dispel self conscious methods of music production and simultaneously to push himself out of his regular habits and musical clicks. ‘One of my biggest fears as an artist is to repeat myself, to fall back on my comforts. These recordings began as explorations outside of my usual musical vernacular. They very quickly became something intensely personal for me.’
On this album, Adam sings predominantly of death, transitions, and one’s engagement with the mystery before the answer or question arise. ‘My fascination with things in-between, the shadows between the branches, have crept into these songs. The songs are like little invocations, prayers to not knowing.’
Recorded & Mastered by Adam Casey. Female voice on 'Ending' by Jenny Jo Oakley. Violin on 'Fill This Room' by Alex Taylor.
Boc Scadet's "Yleptic" [EP] was originally a CDr release on Lawrence Grover's (aka Boc Scadet) own microlabel clickclickdonedrone. "Sel Alterat" was also featured as a standout track on Toytronic's "Everything Is Green" compilation.
The recording has been completely re-mastered and features new artwork by Liam Frankland, also responsible for Boc Scadet's "Temporary Oceans" artwork. This release will be digitally exclusive.
Formerly only available as a CDr release on Lawrence Grover's (aka Boc Scadet) own microlabel clickclickdrone, "Temporary Oceans" has been completely re-mastered and features new packaging and artwork by Liam Frankland. This folks, is a hallmark IDM and electronica album.
Sentient has gone through many mutations since their inception in 2004 in Lawrence, KS. Determined to find the perfect line-up, Sentient endured frequent step backs but they are stronger than ever thanks to the addition of Mike Quillin (Theta) on vocals. James Sizelove and Troy Richardson are well known from some of their previous bands such as Jumbo's Killcrane, Filthy Jim, and Lafayette. Every member of Sentient is determined and driven to explore the realms of modern music. Sentient's objective is to bring a fresh aural and visual assault to the senses of the masses. With terror comes beauty. With life comes fear of the unknown.
Boy Is Fiction offers up one of the best albums we've heard in recent memory. Previously available on the UK's List Records and now licensed for distribution worldwide, you'll be sorry if you pass this one up -- it is absolutely stunning.
Lights Out Asia's debut LP. What started as a few former members of Aurore Rien dabbling around with guitar and programmed beats, has since become a staple in the diet of many shoegaze/electronica fans worldwide. Now coming into their own on the n5md imprint, this recording is still arguably their best.
Debut full-length from multi-talented New Orleans outfit/ensemble. For fans of The Sea and Cake, Tortoise, Aloha, and The Mercury Program. Over an hour of warm summery goodness that will transport you, however briefly, to a time and place where lemonade and lawn chairs rule the earth.
Two stellar artists come together for a split release that's something truly unique and special. A good argument for a split release, whereas this format can be otherwise redundant, littered with a few (but not all) solid tracks, nor particularly worth your time and money to investigate. Not so with this release. Stunning artwork and packaging matched by equally beautiful and harmonious tracks.
After reading an article discussing the subject of Scientism, Mike Allen embarked on a journey to write and record his debut solo album "Cirrhotic". The album represents a culmination of Mike's thoughts and rather strong reactions to the above subject matter, but too, marks a brief departure from his regular role of guitarist and vocalist in the band Sunday Flood to write and record solo material of his own.
This album is by far the most intense set of recordings the band has ever documented on a given release. "Advisory" further showcases Sunday Flood's ability to move effortlessly between the emo and hardcore genres, which on more recent recording efforts shows the band leaning toward the latter.
The song of Lewis and Clarke is a craft of beautiful and subtle intensity through the timeless sound of guitar, Rhodes piano, drums and voice. The sound strikes the human chord. Hailing from the rural anthracite region of northeast Pennsylvania where the fever of isolation burns from an underground blaze, Lewis and Clarke was formed as an extension of singer/songwriter Lou Rogai's solo work and features a cast of friends that contribute on the recordings.
Schooled In Victory formed out of the ashes of The Storied Northwest. While still retaining Nick Cline's amazing vocals, Brandon Lott's low-end, and Justin Tricomi's tight drumming, stylistically the band delivers a more polished effort on this recording.
NEIGHBORLY, sadly, was the apex and end of my time as a primary singer/songwriter. From 1993-1996 I was the drive behind Skiploader, a band fortunate enough to sign with Geffen Records and perform with many of our influences/friends at the time (Foo Fighters, Sunny Day Real Estate, Seaweed, Shudder To Think, Heatmiser, etc). When Skiploader imploded [for which I can also assume responsibility] I moved back to California, got married and continued writing the batch of songs that would become Grass Is Greener. The first 11 songs would have likely represented the follow up to Skiploader's From Can Through String and as I listen back from a quasi-objective distance I see an interesting evolution. The Neighborly songs are more traditionally arranged, allowing the vocals and lyrics to come to the forefront, rather than hide behind the quirky rhythms and dissonant chord voicings that Skiploader preferred. The lyrics, although still a bit angsty, are far more universal and less personal diary/confessional than Skiploader. Although it could probably be effectively argued that those traits are exactly what made Skiploader more unique sonically, I suppose like most creative types I suffer from the disease of preferring my most recent efforts.
From 1996-1999, Bob Penn (Coco B's, The Jealous Sound and Racquet Club) and I rallied several friends - Wes Davis, Val Wolfe, Adam Orth and Rodger Marinelli - to help us write, perform and record these 16 songs. As the primary songwriter and now archivist of this project I guess I get the last word, so I cannot overstate how integral Bob Penn is to any project he plays. If I was the brains of this poorly conceived operation, Bob is most certainly the soul which preserves it's integrity. Not to denigrate any of the other performances or contributions (especially Adam Orth who played a huge role in tightening the LPs final performances) but Bob was there from bittersweet end to end and listening to his drums on these songs always brings a smile to my face.
Songs 2-10, the main bulk of the original Grass Is Greener CD release, were mixed in 1998 or 1999 by Mark Trombino at Big Fish in San Diego. The extra tracks "Is That All?" and "She Watches Columbo" also come from that mix session. "Jarvik 7" was actually a Skiploader demo recorded with Pat Wilson from Weezer on drums and bass that was originally slipped onto the original CD as a hidden track. "Vandalized," "Nibbler" and "Chasing Trash" were the very first Neighborly demoes recorded for Warner Chappell Music Publishing in the Fall of 1996 with Wes Davis (bass) and Val Wolfe (guitar) absolutely crushing it. It's probably for the best that we didn't re-record those tunes, because their rawness is my favorite part of this re-issue. "You and I Against..." was a demo I forgot existed until I found it on an old DAT while trying to curate this reissue. I was tempted to re-record lead vocals because I really love the music, but I'm older now and am somewhat capable of not making an ass of myself from time to time. Finally, the demo version of "Bully's Bliss" had to be added because it too was found on an old DAT and I had absolutely no recollection of its original structure or even which line up is playing it. I may prefer the final LP version as a cohesive song, but I'm amazed at how we went from that demo to the final version.
Finally, it occurs to me that the reason you might be reading this has everything to do with Sunday's Best, which was arguably the most "successful" band I was in despite [or perhaps because of] the fact that I was playing in what seemed like a more diminished/collaborative role. The truth is I was also the primary lyricist in Sunday's Best and co-produced/engineered all the S Best recordings (although Tony Lash performed miracles mixing both records and co-producing The Californian LP). The Sunday's Best song "In Beats Like Trains" and "I Concede The Point" from Grass Is Greener were the last two songs written as Neighborly. S Best needed a 10th song to finish the Poised To Break LP and they helped me rewrite/clean up the chorus. Ed from S Best co-wrote the bridge to "By The Way..." and Ian helped engineer me playing all the instruments on "I Concede The Point" because I guess every rock dude who can play multiple instruments has to record an entire song by himself.
That's about all I can think to say about this project for now. When I listen to these songs today, I get a feeling you might be familiar with: you know when you see an old photo of yourself and you actually look pretty good but then you remember how you saw yourself back then and how you were always plagued with self-doubt? Well I do and when I see old candids from my 20s I want to jump back into those photos and pat that person on the back and say, "take it easy on yourself, kid. You're doing ok..." So when the iTunes shuffle drops a Grass Is Greener track, I smile and think "you were not half bad at the whole songwriting thing, maybe you should have tried to enjoy it more."
The Storied Northwest encompass what some have come to know as the "KCMO" or "Kansas City" sound bands like Giants Chair and Shiner helped shape many moons ago. Bands such as Boilermaker, Juno and SDRE also come to mind. Not unlike their predecessors, The Storied Northwest compile a pummeling lineup and retrospective of songs on this release that have been completely remastered and released for the first time ever. Members would later go on to form Schooled In Victory.
We lifted this from the band's website...."Well, there's the crunching of Tar and Big Black. Then there's the pastoral side of bands like Codeine. And of course there's the seminal noise of Sonic Youth and Gang of Four. And maybe the latent metalisms of folks like The Melvins. Which is not to say that we approach the greatness of any of the above-mentioned outfits, but we're worth a whirl nonetheless." Yep, we couldn't have said it better ourselves.
Just about everyone who knows about Sunday Flood owns this [EP]. Fantastic packaging by HammerPress (see: all Gaints Chair related releases and artwork), and songs that showcase the earlier songwriting tendencies of the band that have since been replaced by more metal and rock influences.