Seims are from Sydney, they play instrumental rock songs so utterly slathered in synths, effects pedals and guitar trickery it’s actually sometimes hard to determine exactly what bits are guitars and which are not! It’s reminiscent of old 8-bit video game music..but with guitars…and drums…anyway this is really engaging stuff! Very inventive!
The album is simply titled ‘II’ (or ‘two’ for those who cant read good or do other stuff good) and is 9 tracks of riffy math-rock that maintains an up-tempo pace and high energy from start to finish. It’s not overly complex for a band with these leanings but is probably some of the most fun and accessible music in this genre I’ve ever heard! Highlight track for me was #3 TUN’ with its super dirty opening bass riff, fast driving drums and the glitchy but still really cool slow-down-build-up section towards the end.
On the bands music page they have a spoiler alert: no clean tone was used in the making of this album. They are not lying and it’s clear right from the start that main man Simeon Bartholomew isn’t taking himself too seriously but still wants this stuff sound powerful. It does.
I cant recommend this enough to fans of prog/math & instrumental bands who don’t have 12 minutes to sit through a song. Or perhaps you don’t want to feel super bummed out and depressed whilst listening to your music… this is what you’ve gotta put on!
Newcastle 4 piece ‘Majora’ released a powerful collection of 6 songs back in August in the form of an impressive debut EP entitled ‘Iridescent’.
Gaining some early radio exposure through Triple J and Unearthed (plus favourable reviews on the web site), they drew listeners attention to the bands dynamic prog/post-rock sounds.
Initial comparisons with Sydneysiders ‘Sleepmakeswaves’ would be forgiven (if not welcomed given their success this year) as the two bands subscribe to the same idea of crafting high energy rock with the intricacies of progressive metal and ambience of post-rock.
Interestingly, the band worked on the material and recorded the entirety of this EP before even stepping foot on stage together as a group. In fact the bands live debut coincided with the release of the EP which stands as a testament to patience and preparedness! Since then Majora has been eagerly trekking up and down the east coast on tours and road trips spreading the name and building a national profile which I feel is going to benefit them quite a great deal when it comes time to drop EP #2 should the love from Triple J not be there a second time around.
What you get with ‘Iridescent’ is essentially a very engaging and sometimes heavy riff-driven instrumental record that boats tight clean production, big drum sounds and thick guitars. Tracks are sprinkled with blips and clicks courtesy of samples and synths for added colour. There’s melody a plenty and a more than a few moments of well executed tension building up to satisfying crescendos. All this suggests it isn’t their first rodeo (so to speak) but rather just our first time hearing them under this banner.
The record is available via usual digital outlets..
Melbourne’s 5 piece post-rock outfit Fourteen Nights At Sea release their amazing third album ‘Minor Light’ on Adelaide based indie label Hobbledehoy Records.
Fourteen Nights at Sea have followed up their brilliant 2013 full length ‘Great North’ with five new tracks of sombre, emotional and epic instrumental post rock that relies heavily on layers of sound created by guitars, effects, synths and drums.
It took the band some time getting this release out to the world. It’s been roughly a year since the majority of the material was completed for ‘Minor Light’ to getting it all wrapped up and packaged for people to take home. Wether you opt for the digital grab or the gorgeous vinyl option (available to pre-order now) the end result will truly reward.
Opening track ‘Teeth Marks’ makes a big entrance. First impressions include noticeably more polished production than previous works, big guitar sounds and volume. Many of the bands other songs take the slow climb to a huge moment… this one starts right up there and slowly winds down. Instant favourite.
‘Them Colonies’ is a slow burner with layers of ambient tones and ringing guitars that suggest just enough melody to suit a film score or soundtrack. Only in the last 1 and a ½ minutes does the track start to swell, drums enter, gain on the guitars goes up and it’s all fans of this genre could want.
Following on almost seamlessly is the title track ‘Minor Light’ and once again shows how this group has mastered their approach to building a wall of sound from so little without loosing its integrity or relevance. Suitable listening for meditation, cleaning up after the apocalypse or star gazing. Totally up to you.
‘Vale’ was the first track shared in the lead up to the albums release. (http://digital.hobbledehoyrecords.com/album/minor-light)It’s a familiar offering which could have fit in easily amongst the bands other releases. Drums enter right at the beginning and the band plays out in a restrained manner until around the 5 minute mark. Then gears switch and it dwells on this progression of chords supported by the synth/ambience layers that provokes images of cold winters, empty houses and sad goodbye’s. Not a happy summer jam.
The closer ‘Chiltern Justice’ has a depth and darkness to it that will really appeal to fans of GS!YBW and This Will Destroy You. The slow climb reaches its crescendo at around the 4 minute mark and from then on it’s a dark and moody ride out to a close.
‘Minor Light’ is about 40 minutes of ethereal gloomy music that wont disappoint fans of the bands earlier work and will serve as a solid introduction to new listeners. The band plays gigs pretty regularly and are well worth catching at a show to witness their craft in a live setting. The energy you can’t capture on a recording that can only come from thrashing about on stage and coercing guitars to wailing and drone is needed to round out the experience of this bands music. But until then.. buy the record.
Rat-Filth is a brilliant two-piece free-jazz-post-punk mess. It’s awesome music for its complexity and ambitious boundary pushing energy. It’s jarring, angular, chaotic and yet somehow still manages to make sense!
The guitar/organ/vocals are recorded by Tim (Timothy and the Wilderness) way down south at his home in Tasmania. He then sends the tracks to the ridiculously talented Noah (Great Earthquake) back in Melbourne who then drums over the top. They work by correspondence bridging the rather large expanse of water between them and the result is this 5 track EP/collection titled ‘Today Feeling’.
It’s largely instrumental stuff, the music is at times insanely busy and intense as the guitars jangle and jolt, strings bend and the gain breaks up resulting in an oddly Fugazi feeling guitar sound and the drums blast and roll away. The recordings are all of a modern lo-fi standard, this isn’t a studio treated recording and by the sound of it..likely all recorded live. I have recollections of listening to The Mars Volta, Off Minor, Mice Parade and other progressive/arty bands when I listen to this. It’s pretty fun to follow along as in some parts the songs sound like they’re about to completely fall apart into an utter train wreck and then suddenly it all resolves, tightens up and it’s back on track. Bloody remarkable…or pure fluke. Can’t decide!
Love it though!
It’s worth noting that these two guys have done nearly half a dozen other incarnations/bands together over the years and so if you ever heard: Lions Light, Great Earthquake, Timothy and the Wilderness, Light Lions, Flag and Forget… Then this more or less fits right in with the collection!
This is an instrumental/ambient post rock band from Melbourne. They have released two LP’s through the awesome Hobbeldehoy Records (Adelaide) and this one titled ‘Great North’ is the latter of the two. I’ve never seen or heard of them before as I am only just getting my bearings around the instrumental scene in Melbourne..but upon being rewarded with a free d/l of the album I thought I’d give it a spin.
This is hauntingly beautiful music. Some bits feel hopeful and uplifting. Other bits feel downright heavy and dark..but not at all in a metal/post metal way. More like the chords are sad and the weight of the emotion makes it feel heavy. The guitar tones are drenched in reverb/delay and more delay. It’s a wall of noise when it all builds up to the peak moments but still it’s very soft and easy to listen to at the same time. When both guitars go full scale in the big bits and the stereo effects sway from left to right, it creates a bit of a spacey/ethereal kind of feeling. Very cool but easy to get a little bit emo and sad along with it.
Drums are thankfully dead centre and sound just roomy enough to be live and clear enough to have been well recorded…and sounds perfect for this. The cymbals particularly carry well with the guitars at their peak and the bass drum sits spot on with the bass guitar helping the ears to follow along with the timing.
It’s not complicated music to follow though, it’s just that I get distracted and carried away and without the presence of drums/bass I’d have no idea where we were!
The tracks are pretty lengthy..around the 8 minute mark for some and they use every bit of that time well. The hightlight for me was last song on the album. It opens with the loudest and biggest stuff on the release. It’s a massive minute and a half! Then the distortion fades out and the gorgeous clean guitars start and delays feedback and resonate into ambience with the boomy drums pulsing slowly and brushes tapping on the rims. It’s incredible to say the least.
Instrumental bands have a niche scene but it’s a growing one too. A lot of alternative/indie, post-rock and progressive bands are dabbling, sharing the stage, touring together and often signed to the same labels as instrumental bands. Largely thanks to some serious ground breaking by the infamous ‘explosions in the sky’ to name one such band (go google it later) this stuff is gaining exposure and earning new followers!
So here’s one such artist from Melbourne who have just dropped their first full length titled ‘Yamadori’. (Japanese word for a small wild tree like a bonsai)
Here’s my breakdown from the first listen through. It’s 6 tracks but don’t let that fool you into thinking this is a short trip. Nup.
Track #1 ‘Cloverlea’ is an ambient intro that feels sort of spacey..until you hear the guitar slide up and down shifting in-and-out of its sustained note/feedback. Then I realised it was a guitar and not some keyboard/synth thing..very clever.
Drums come in and it’s track #2 ‘What’s Yours Was Mine Is Never Leaving’ and it’s more of that roomy/reverby guitar stuff until the bass comes in all dirty and carrying rhythm and melody with it. I’m hooked at this point. At around the 3 minute mark things turn sort of dark and the guitars start strumming instead of picking and the drumming gets a little Tool-ish. Not in complexity..but in feel. Rhythms continue, band follows, pattern builds momentum and this is getting all kinds of wonderful!
Now an interesting thing occurs at about the 5 minute mark. It seems the band has stopped and then there’s a 4-count on the hi hats and they start up again but with what sounds like a whole different song. A proggy one. A nearly 8 minute journey ends with a high and a bit of a surprise. Did not see that coming.
Track #3 ‘The Bonding Leech’ plays with some nice delays on the guitar to start. Great with headphones btw. Drums and Bass enter the fray and it’s tight syncopated stuff, very cool and rhythmic. This track has a much more immediate and instantly likeable feeling to it. Could easily find it’s way onto a sound track for an indie film…that sort of thing. It winds back the energy at the 4 minute mark and begins the build up all again. Towards the end the guitars find the spotlight and the focus is on this cool lead-part that plays with delays and finds very emotive ground. Plus the gain is up a bit, the bass and drums are in full swing and it’s solid. Favourite track by a mile.
By this point in listening I’m feeling reminded of artists like ‘Because of Ghosts’, ‘Sleep Makes Waves’ and the obvious ‘Explosions in the Sky’ with all these beautiful guitar tones and effect laden notes ringing out in the background against interesting rhythms.
Track #4 ‘Glycine’ is back with familiar ambient tones and occasional booming blows from the drums. Very relaxed but honestly a bit boring…I was about to skip it..but at the half way point the snare rolls and bass juts back and it starts moving with a brooding kind of feel. I swear it’s the bass and drums that hold all this together and my attention along with it. So patience yields rewards..cos the next 3 1/2 minutes are freeking rad. Just…so good. Reminiscent of ‘Russian Circles’…super fun times. (You know you need to go google them after reading this right? Ok good.)
#5 ‘Heironymos Bosch’ is another straight into it track, thankfully leaving the ambient noodling for a while. This gets a little mathy and proggy again and I’m beginning to understand that they don’t go for the big heavy/loud dynamic but rather the busy riffing and contrasting sounds. Ironically this track gets about as heavy as you’ll hear on the album..and even then it’s just dramatic rather then heavy. Another standout track for me.
#6 ‘Molly’ is a 9 minute epic. It’s more of the same..beautiful music and melody played out over big build ups, slower quieter bits and a great wind down. Each wave or..I dunno..section gets it’s time and it’s got to be said once again..it’s really well written music.
Summing it all up…
It’s a beautiful album with dynamic characteristics that reappear across the course of the 6 epic tracks. It all feels connected and like it belongs together. The mix lets it down a little at times when I really wanted the guitars up front and in my face…but they stayed buried or just too peripheral and never really come up out of the mix. But that’s about it for complaints. The sounds are all great, the performances are all brilliant. Muso’s will lap this up. If you have the patience then this will reward you big time
RIYL: Explosions In The Sky, Russian Circles, Lights and Motion, beautiful music, proggy music, guitars, delay pedals, reverb, music…feelings ha ha!