The Besnard Lakes: The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night

It can be a little bit unfair – describing bands by their relation to ancestors – but there’s something about The Besnard Lakes‘ “Albatross” (from their new release  on Jagjaguwar: The Besnard Lakes are the Roaring Night) that makes me instantly think of The Jesus and Mary Chain.  Well, The Jesus and Mary Chain going supernova, anyway.  This is a song of epic architecture: of honey-coated vocals layered on top of waves of fuzz and driving beats.  There is something about this Montreal band that is both immediately familiar, and yet fascinatingly new.  And what makes them all the more intriguing is that every song is strikingly singular in its composition.

From “Disaster,” which wanders through more styles than a Brian Wilson album, to the “My Bloody Valentine jams with early-U2 in space” feel of “Thomasina,” I have this sense  that I’ve discovered a handful of bands that are kindred spirits, rather than just the one.   And it seems that I’m not quite alone in this feeling.  As the folks at Jagjaguwar describe The Besnard Lakes are the Roaring Night:

The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night calls upon the influence of ELO and finer parts of the Alan Parsons Project in its orchestration. Still helped by the Ghost of Beach Boys Past, the album is more Dennis Wilson than Brian, and more Peter Green Fleetwood Mac than Lindsay Buckingham. That said, standout track “Albatross” has all the swagger of a Stevie Nicks-led Fleetwood Mac classic or Roy Orbison reimagined as a rollicking, snakeskin-booted Mazzy Star — dousing it all in gas and throwing the match as we hear its tale of Vancouver’s skid row and its inhabitants.

Perhaps it’s for this reason that I’ve been playing their superbly intense, uncompromisingly emotive music over and over since I first heard it.  And now you can, too!  Check out “Albatross,” and then go visit the above pages, and their myspace page,  for more.

[audio:|titles=The Besnard Lakes – Albatross]  Download

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!  I’ve thrown together a few things to help make the day a little more musically satisfying.  There’s a nice playlist I put together over at Grooveshark, some videos on YouTube, and some links to other fine sources of entertainment.  Hopefully, there’s something for everyone!  As for me, I’ll be passing St. Patrick’s Day in that most traditional of places… an English jail.  (Well, all right, university.  But there’s not much aesthetic difference, I’ll tell you that!)

Now, just click the link to see the good stuff, and enjoy!

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Other Stuff You Might Like: Luxury Wafers

Whilst doing a bit of research on YouTube for an upcoming post, I came across a Lissie video from LuxuryWafersVideo (posted below).  It was a great, studio rendition of “Wedding Bells,” and I was instantly intrigued.  Upon further investigation, it turns out that Luxury Wafers is chock full of amazing studio sessions by artists from Lissie to J Tillman (Fleet Foxes) and Tiny Vipers.  It’s a really great bunch of artists – all produced in a slick, yet immediately accessible and intimate style.  They offer the following about their site:

Luxury Wafers is the passion child of Landry and Peter Malick, raised with the help of an amazing network of dedicated, creative folks who also dig fine indie music.

Peter produces, engineers, mixes, writes and plays music. Hardly moderate, total immersion is his way. Long sleepless nights cozied up to his radio began for Peter in grade school. It wasn’t long before he pumped over to sketchier neighborhoods on his bike to discover the juiciest of records. Peter avidly listens to new indie music from his favorite blogs and podcasts. His professional experience goes way back to his first signing on the Vanguard label in 1968 when he was just 16. Peter engineers and mixes the Luxury Wafers sessions.

Nurtured from birth by a big, black, baby grand piano, Landry has also had a life-long love affair with music. When she was about seven, she received an 8-track with some tapes to play in it, the most rousing of which was the William Tell Overture. As fate would have it, her room was soon after remodeled and the drywall guys forever changed her life by leaving behind a mysterious copy of Led Zeppelin’s IV. Since then, she’s delighted in exploring most genres, ever connected to the core of music as she’s traipsed through life and various professional incarnations. She lives in LA with Peter, where she coordinates Luxury Wafers, helps to manage their music business, writes, cooks, teaches yoga and edits this blog. Landry books the Luxury Wafers sessions. She also photographs and shoots and edits video for the sessions.

Peter and Landry owned and operated Chessvolt Recording Studios from 1/2006 until 10/2009, when LAUSD grabbed it by eminent domain to build a new elementary school. They currently work from their home studio and at Kingsize Soundlabs Studio C (where much of the gear has found a home) as well as at various studios around LA, including Scott Gilman’s Eagle Rock Hobby Shop.

Together, the pair brings friendly ears, techie lust and artistic vision to Luxury Wafers.

The site is full of beautiful videos, free music downloads, and great information.  I strongly encourage you to head on over and check it out!  You can see some of my favorite videos after the cut:

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Joanna Newsom – Have One On Me

Out today on Drag City, Joanna Newsom’s Have One On Me is a triple LP of amazing depth and beauty.

And that’s really it.  I mean, I could try and explain this feeling that keeps me glued to my headphones.  This transcendental stillness that makes me feel like I’m both floating and sinking.  I could go on about the amazing bravery it must take to make a collection of songs that seems so driven by intuition and instinct.  The sort of courage it must take to make two hours of intimate, oft-abstract music, and then to try and organize that into something coherent.

I could do all of those things, but I’d just be keeping you from heading on over and having a listen.

So, after the cut, courtesy of NPR, I present you with the whole album.  I’ve also separated out “Baby Birch” – my current favorite.  Enjoy!

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Preview: Shearwater – The Golden Archipelago

Out February 23rd on Matador, Shearwater’s sixth album The Golden Archipelago – is a stunning, dramatic work that merges Art Rock, whispy Folk, nature sounds, and a soundscape of complex, shifting harmonies that move like light on leaves.  From the outset, the album’s “Leaves Eclipse the Light” has an earthy, hypnotic quality that evokes the sense that we aren’t so much beginning an album as we are flowing into a more magnificent space.  Though there are more frenetic moments – “Corridors” and “Castaways” for example – the album seems content to speak in an intimate, frank voice that is just for you alone.

And perhaps that’s best… at the suggestion of the folks over at NPR, I’ve given this album a couple of listens through nice headphones, and it really is immersive and grand.

The Matador review tells us, and I sincerely echo:  “The results are singular, revelatory, and demand to be appreciated as a whole. Islands under siege, islands of impenetrable solitude, islands of the world and islands of the mind – all are here in The Golden Archipelago, whose shores and reefs flicker and beckon, even as they crumble under rising seas. “

You can hear the whole thing after the cut, courtesy of NPR, and you can download a couple of songs, too!


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