» LATEST FEATURES
LITERATURE» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
MUSIC» The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
MUSIC» Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
While Lost At Sea endeavors to write about a great deal of the music it receives, there are hundreds of releases that slip through the cracks - things too strange, too transient or (yes) too bad to earn a full review. EPs, CD singles and 7" records are particularly hard to deal with because there are so many of them - and they are so small - that they often get lost in the shuffle. This sometimes means that deserving music released in non-album form is not reaching the people who might enjoy it most.
In an attempt to rectify this situation and to give some of this music its due - or at least its moment in print, Lost At Sea occasionally dredges through the bins of EPs and singles to weed out a select few for comment.
The Late Cord - Lights From the Wheelhouse (4AD)
The haunted piano played a funeral dirge fitting for all of the cursed fingers that had jumped and danced across it throughout the years. Once shiny and new, it was now tarnished with the ruin of time, its white keys stained with the dirt and grime of a thousand unwashed hands. If one listened close enough, they would swear they could hear the piano as a backdrop in a varied past filled with everything from saloon fights to elegant costume balls. Perhaps it was because of its part in so much history that the music came out so beautiful, yet so sorrowful. No one lives forever, but maybe immortality can be found in the bittersweet notes that fill blank spaces, dissipating like spirits in the night air.
The Muggabears - Teenage Cop (self-released)
Muggabears are not as cute and cuddly as I thought they would be. Not a mix between a koala and an ice cream cone, these bears can bear teeth. Melodic one minute and fractured and noisy the next, this CD is stylistically a mess in the best way. The Muggabears might need to change their name to the Funky Grizzly Bears when they decide to drop a full-length.
Eluvium - When I Live By The Garden And The Sea (Temporary Residence Ltd.)
As the drones slowly and softly break the silence, my mind drifts off into a thousand exhausted thoughts. Never quite building or receding, the music instead creates a sustained melancholic mood capable of bringing peace to a weary soul or wringing tears out of troubled eyes. Listening to this on both headphones and stereo the effect is the same- atmospheric and immediate, the four instrumental songs on When I Live By The Garden And The Sea never fade into the background. It is so easy and comforting to find solace in repetition.
Yellow Swans - Drift (Acuarela)
Some of this my dad would refer to as "space" music, some of it he would dismiss as crap. There's also a bit of that episode of Seinfeld where George hides a microphone in a briefcase and hears a suspicious "galonk." Later, I can't help but be reminded of a ride on Space Mountain after eating too much of a pot brownie. The whole thing ends with a sustained buzz in my ears and a quizzical look on my face.
Voxtrot - Mothers, Sisters, Daughters, and Wives (Cult Hero)
Uptempo and bouncy, Voxtrot stop just short of shaking my ass right out of my chair. They've definitely got the hooks and play some catchy music. Throw this on when you are in a blue mood and I guarantee you that in no time you will be dancing around, using a broom to lip-sync the lyrics.
Silver Pyre - Silver Pyre (Sedgemoor Recordings)
A couple of days ago, I received an inconspicuous little parcel all the way from England. Inside was an elegantly packaged CD by Silver Pyre and a note that said that this was recorded in a barn in isolation to evoke the ghosts of the place of the artist's birth. Following a statement like this, I was expecting thirty minutes of reverby banging on a cobwebbed tractor while a seagull squawked in the distance. Instead, the first of the four songs sounds like an Irish drinking song. Then, just to confuse me even further, the second song is an electronic-y instrumental that progresses from mid-tempo to something that would be played at a bad rave. The third song consists of a five-minute, quiet, ebbing hum that is more along the lines of what I had envisioned. The EP closes with another soft meditation punctuated by spectral vocals that hide deep in the mix. I have no clue how all of these fit together, but if you are a fan of variety, then Silver Pyre is the band for you.
Djizoes - The Erkonos Project (self-released)
Djizoes sound like a metal band fronted by Jack Black, as seen on Conan O'Brien. Shit sounds epic, but it is also a little difficult to take seriously. The singer enunciates, guitars wail, and all dogs within hearing distance howl.
Thee More Shallows - Monkey Vs. Shark (Turn Records)
Perhaps I am suffering from delusions of grandeur, but consistent readers of this column will have noticed that a lot of my reviews are tied to my adventures and misadventures in San Francisco. Having recently moved, this will probably be one of the last CDs to evoke memories of my time spent living in the city by the bay. Bittersweet without pandering to cheap emotions, Monkey Vs. Shark was on repeat during the week preceding my departure. It was the soundtrack to my moving and whenever I listen to it I will think back to my last days in San Francisco; days filled with excitement about the future, but tinged with the sadness that always accompanies such major change. As I put my life into the various labeled boxes scattered about my room, the songs on Monkey Vs. Shark alternately brought a smile to my face and tears to my eyes. Also, their cover of "I Can't Get Next To You" perfectly captures the heart-breaking feeling of longing and just about kills me for too many reasons.
An aspiring global adventurer who cut his teeth on the sandy beaches and dirty bitches of Southern California, Kevin Alfoldy now spends his non-vacation days in Brooklyn, New York, where he occasionally finds the time to rub the crust out of his eyes long enough to contribute reviews and feature articles for LAS. A longtime staff member, Kevin also captains the tattered, often half-sunk raft of EPmd, our irregular column of EP reviews.
See other articles by Kevin Alfoldy.
» MEDIA DOWNLOADS
» GOT STICKERS?
--> Send an with $2 in PayPal funds to cover postage. Don't worry, we'll load you up with enough to cover your town. Then just be patient. They will arrive soon.