On The Hi-Fi

Well, good news is that I have finally gotten this great software called MacJournal to upload posts and images to the blog for me so I can write posts locally on my macbook and upload them without messing about in the WordPress back end. This means it will be easier for me to post and hopefully lead to me being able to post more often so here’s hoping.

At any rate, I’m here with a new music post which has been a long time coming. It seems I have come across a lot of great new music in the past month or so which I am excited recommend to readers looking for something fresh in their ears. Because it’s been a while I have covered a lot of music here so hopefully its not TOO much. There are things I had to leave out because the post was getting to long already but I think I ended up featuring a lot of great music for everyone to check out. So lets get started shall we?
Akira Kosemura – Tiny Musical
Anyone that has been following the blog here for a while knows how much I enjoy really minimal quiet music and that is still very true. It seems I’m a sucker for music that helps slow tine down a bit and gives my mind some breathing room and distance from the distracting world around me. I think that this genera of music has somehow adopted the name Folktronica but I really don’t like it because I don’t think it really represents the music all that well and, well, it sounds kind of weird. On this album you will find a lot of subtle, understated music. A lot of drifting piano, guitar and light electronics that float along through your mind as you listen. Highly recommended to anyone in need of some music that will help ground your mind during a busy day or relax you at the end of a long one. (iTunesArtist SiteMySpace)

The Cinematic Orchestra – Live At The Royal Albert Hall
I have not always really been all that into The Cinematic Orchestra but when my ears had the chance to hear the first single from their newest album Ma Fleur. I really enjoyed all of the music on their last album, a perfect collection of songs with a distinct mood about them perfect for listening with your eyes closed.Truth be told, I usually don’t really like live albums for the most part. There is always something missing from them somehow but from time to time there is a recording of a live show that feels really satisfying and really makes you feel like you could be there in the audience. This is one of those recordings. I don’t know to much about the event itself but the recording is wonderful. The performances of the songs this evening with a live string section and wonderful vocal performances really flow great together and its nice to see a good range of material from the group performed and recorded in this way. The music drifts between lighter almost trip-hop like stylings to moments of straight jazz. If your a fan of the band or this sounds at all interesting to you then I suggest you take the time to check this out! (iTunesArtist SiteMySpace)

Damien Jurado – Caught In The Trees
Over the years it seems Damien Jurado has kind of jumped back and forth between soft, whispered songs and more upbeat full band tracks. While I have preferred his quieter material in the past this album seems to have struck a perfect balance of full band songs and the quiet understated sort of songs that I think he is known best for. Often I find I was reminded of old Heatmiser songs for some reason while listening to the more lively songs on this album but they all certainly hold a feel of their own. This is easily one of my favorites from Damien Jurado. For anyone not familiar, his music varies from gentle indie rock to quiet singer songwriter folk inspired songs. He is a great songwriter in my opinion and never seems to get as much credit as he deserves as such. Take a moment and have a listen. (iTunesArtist SiteMySpace)

Kate Simko – She Said EP
From what I hear Kate Simko grew up listening to classical music and calls it a big influence in the composition of her songs. I’m not sure if I can imagine that for whatever reason but I do find that I really enjoy her music. It’s like elegant dance/minimal techno and I really love the way her songs evolve over the time of the track. Recently I’ve really enjoyed this sort of dance music that keeps you moving but keeps you calm at the same time (if that makes any sense at all) and this EP has filled that need perfectly. My favorite track on here at the moment is Soltera, if you interested and want a track to listen to before jumping in but really, its all good. (iTunesArtist SiteMySpace)

Michna – Magic Monday
Another Ghostly release here that I discovered through their free Ghostly Swim compilation. I think the first track on that album is also the first on this full length which it, as far as I know, his first release. Im not sure what it is that drew me into Michna’s music at first but I know what kept me listening. On this album you will find a lot of really catchy electronic that would bee good for a sunny day. A great album for the end of summer, something for those mildly warm sunny days of fall. One of my favorite aspects of this album is the occasional appearance of a horn section which gives the break beat filled tracks a spark of old soul music like energy that I really love. The album carries you through with plenty of chances to get up and dance and I could see anyone looking for some music to liven up their day enjoying this. (iTunesArtist SiteMySpace)

Mount Eerie – Dawn
I’ve been following Mount Eerie aka. Phil Elverum aka The Microphones since I saw him perform live a few years ago. The performance was outdoors at a college and it was a quiet, nearly silent night and although there was a lot of people in the audience while he performed they were nearly silent the whole time because of his whispering quiet performance. You could hear the crickets singing along and because he asked for the stage lights to be turned off he nearly disappeared into the night as he sang. After the show I bought an album from him which ended up randomly being a japanese import of a cd he released of songs recorded while touring in Japan. There were two songs on that recording that really pulled me into his music, Great Ghosts and The Wolly Mammoths Might Absence. Both are songs about the passing of time and fighting pieces of our past and the recordings of these songs on that cd are still my favorite versions of the songs. At any rate, I have since bought a lot of his material as the Microphones and some of his newer material under his new alias, Mt. Eerie and my favorite songs were always the ones I heard at this concert and the ones on this live import album and that is because they were such simplistic versions of his songs. Many of his albums seem to follow some sort of conceptual idea and while they are good I often wanted to hear these songs stripped down to the essence of the song writing. Finally, this album that he recently released, ‘Dawn’ is such a record. It was him revisiting these songs and recording them in the way they were originally written and conceived, acoustically and with minimal production and It is easily my favorite album of his and I would recommend anyone with an ear for this sort of quiet reflective sort of music to look into it. I have my eye on the vinyl version of this as soon as I have a few dollars to spend. (and if you like that be sure to check out his album recently recorded with Julie Doiron ‘Lost Wisdom’ which I enjoy just as much..) (Artist SiteMySpace)

Praveen & Benoit – Songs Spun Simla EP
Over the last couple of years I had the opportunity to perform up in NYC a couple of times with my friend Matt as A Drop In Silence and both of the times I was there we were able to spend some free time with friends new and old. One of the people we met while we were there was Praveen who, at the time, was the room mate of the guy we were staying with, Colin Palmer (aka. Calmer which im sure you will be seeing in a hi-fi soon enough..). So back story aside I recently noticed that Praveen had a new project that he was working on with another musician I’ve liked for some time now, Benoit Pioulard and that alone was enough to get my attention. Praveen has a really calm, warm sort of a feel to his recordings and Benoit has a sort of a dirty lo-fi kind of approach to his music and together their styles compliment each other really well. I would highly recommend this record not because I know one of the musicians but because it contains some wonderful music. On this EP you can expect really warm, inviting songs that flawlessly bridge the gap between organic sounds and electronic. Add softly spoken singing from Benoit and you have a really great EP. (iTunesArtist Site)

Squarepusher – Just A Souvenir
It’s been interesting the past few years to see what Tom Jenkinson/ Squarepusher will release next. The evolution of his music has been all over the place but a few themes have always lingered in the mix. Jazz, Drum n’ Bass, Breakcore, a constant explorative spirit and his skill as a bass player. While his early albums were full of often dark danceable tracks there has been a gradual shift to find something more organic in his music. Sometimes that was in the overall mixing and composition style and sometimes in the sound design and use of more traditional sounds and instruments. This evolution has left his music in a really unique place on this latest effort, Just a Souvenir. If you take the time to read his story behind the albums concept, it was based on a dream he had of a supergroup of musicians on stage performing music on manipulated instruments. The result is an album I have really enjoyed lately. Its like Squarepusher the band and holds a really wonderful combination of Jazz, Punk, Funk, and electronica. His simplified approach in production leaves you with the impression that it is a band performing the songs and its a great new direction for his music in my opinion. So don’t go into this album expecting an electronic album full of breakbeats, listen to it as something different all together. Currently this is only available in digital form on Bleep.com but there you are able to preview entire tracks of the album so head over and check it out. (BleepArtist Site)

School of Seven Bells – Half Asleep
I don’t know much about the story of this group but I do know that I’m happy to have found their music. More often than not I enjoy the music released by Ghostly International (record label) and this is no exception. While this is simply a single/EP with only two songs it has certainly gotten me excited to hear their full length album when it comes out later this month. The title track, Half Asleep, is a steady, dreamy electronic song. One of those songs that is balanced somewhere between shoegazing and dancing along which is a great place to be in my opinion because it is perfect for any mood really. The B-side here Caldo is a bit more on the calm side with its lack of drums but synthesizer, acoustic guitar and beautifully layered vocals are all a perfect match in the song. For two dollars I dont see how you could pass up the chance to grab these great songs and be sure to keep an eye out for the full length at the end of October. (iTunesArtist SiteMySpace)

The Juan Maclean – Less Than Human
I have always been curious to hear more of what comes out of the DFA label, especially after falling for a handful of songs on the last LCD Soundsystem album. Recently I randomly had a show at a local college with my live audio work and I unknowingly stepped into an electronic music show. I knew I had recognized the name of the group on the rider for the show but I didn’t connect the dots until they started up for sound check and I remembered where I had heard them, on a DFA comp that I had at home. So after their great performance that night I finally made the time to look more into the label and while its not all my favorite music in the world there is a lot of great music to be found. I got a couple of remix albums and this full length from The Juan Maclean, Less Than Human. For those of you now familiar, DFA has this disco rock kind of a vibe to it and this album very much fits in that category. Anyone looking for something to help put a spring in their step in the morning or any time really, should check this out. For an idea of what you can expect listen to the song, Give Me Every Little Thing, easily my favorite cut on the album. (iTunesArtist SiteMySpace)

The War On Drugs – Wagonwheel Blues
Filling in more on the indie rock side of things I’ve really been enjoying this album by The War On Drugs. It’s music at first reminded me of early Shins in some ways but not so much any more now that I’ve listened to it more. I really like the production of this album, its not as shiny and clean as most of the other music I’ve been listening to. This and some of these songs are really catchy and always seem to get stuck in my head. Start with the song Taking The Farm and you will see what I mean. (iTunesArtist SiteMySpace)


  1. Edward Vielmetti - October 6, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    (here via your twitter comment)

    I’m listening to a ghostlycast now – like the label and the music – and was happy to run into your reviews. will have to check some more of these out.

  2. john - October 6, 2008 at 8:11 pm

    ah, nice to see people catching those from time to time and I’m happy to hear your into the ghostly stuff. It’s a great label..

  3. Tilman - October 7, 2008 at 12:39 am

    Don’t know yet about the music, but did you recognize: The covers are phantastic, without any exception. Maybe you pick music by looking at the covers?

  4. kamadiva* - October 8, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    oh..now it seems i*m just repeating
    tilman*S words but i really thought
    the same when i noticed the covers..
    they are outstanding!*
    and i know you*re not just choosing
    the music reviews due to covers..but
    this time you picked not only great
    pieces of music but also nice pieces
    of art!*

  5. john - October 8, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    :) thats a nice way of looking at it that I didn’t notice because I was just trying to get the words all in order and all the links straight but your right, there is some great album artwork in there this time around…

    one interesting thing is that the Kate Simko one was done by an artist that made a few different covers for that label and something cool that they did was make the artwork he did available as limited edition art prints which is something you dont see all that often with album art: http://tinyurl.com/4jzcc4

    I used to really love posting album artwork bigger here on these posts because I think it can be an important part of it all but I found too many blogs and sites were hot linking my images and eating up my bandwidth.. so it goes :)

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