Album Reviews

A beautiful album with gentle melodies, ethereal electronics and harmonies. Hushed rasping vocals, acoustic, crystal clear and distorted guitars, brass, piano oh, and church bells. 

The band’s website shows that Epic45 are a home recording project/collective based around the ideas and inspiration of Ben Holton and Rob Glover.” Well if music of this quality is the product of a home recordings then, think what they can do in a fully functioning studio!

 

Lo-fi and shoegazing are I suppose the genres to give you a starting point but, the album expands many musical boundaries at will. The band has been around since the late nineties. The first album proper ‘Reckless Engineers’ was released in 2002 on Canadian label Where Are My Records and regular releases through shifting band members have been released since.

 

Described as Seattle's ‘Best Kept Secret’, there is nothing new about My Goodness, but, then why the heck does the music sound so alive and refreshing? You can recall the White Stripes, or anything Jack White that is, The Black Keys, Blood Red Shoes and the list goes on when listening to the ‘My Goodness’ record.

This is powerful and invigorating blues based rock with the Seattle grunge element chucked in. Seventies influences can be heard alongside the thundering bass lines throughout the album which actually, seem to blow a hole through the airwaves with the crashing drums keeping the songs somehow on course, in a blues rock way.

On the rather wonderful hometown label Sarathan Records, My Goodness is made up of guitarist Joel Schneider and Drummer Ethan Jacobsen. I am generally of the opinion that trios are louder than a four piece perhaps, that now needs to be reduced to a duo!

It’s nice to be able to pack instant sunshine to play when you most need it or just, for the sheer fun and ‘chill-ability’ that’s available from Sargasso Trio’s, new album, Get To Grips.

 

A summer record and full of life for sure, the album was recorded not in Athens, Georgia where one might assume it hails from but, in the depths of Norfolk. UK (where there are beaches for sure).

 

The album has a depth in styles, pop, reggae, electro, Caribbean rhythms and roots yet, this mix creates a seemingly simple yet effective body swaying sound. Listen carefully and you will be surprised what you can hear.

 

I was aware of the Middle East from their excellent six song ep I picked up last year ‘The Recordings of The Middle East’ so their full length debut has been eagerly awaited. ‘I want that you are always happy” does not disappoint either; indeed, I would have to say it is a stunning full length debut.    

An Australian six piece collective from Queensland, the album was recorded in DentonTexas and with that in mind, there are some Midlake comparisons here sound wise. Rather than gush about the album on the first few listens, I thought that I would give it some time and see a month down the road if, I remained ‘ blown away’. It seems I do.  

‘Black Death 1349’ is an ethereal start, a story of London 1349 sung with reverence. ‘My Grandma was Pearl Hall’ has sombre piano and a Tom Waits rasping vocal. ‘As I go to See Janey’  has an acoustic guitar which brings a lighter note musically if not lyrically, even at this stage you find yourself sucked into the substance of the album.   

It’s a pleasure to discover a band just by chance and with a great record. Satisfaction even, when you can say to your mates, great record by the Ladybug Transistor and they say “who?, never heard of them” and that would have been me less than 24 hours ago. Now I am even a bit smug, if sixteen years too late. 

Thanks to the record store listening post (Rough Trade Records East) I was able to spend some time being captivated by this lovely record during my lunch break. It came as a bit of shock to learn that this band have been around for sixteen years and ‘Clutching Stems’ is their seventh album! 

Formed in 1995 in (where else?) Brooklyn, the band seems to have had a stable (Gary Olson) yet at times, shifting personnel, they also suffered the tragic death of a band member. The band is recorded as being part of the Elephant Six Collective, who can count the likes of Jeff Mangum, Apples In Stereo and The Essex Green amongst their ranks. In 2006 the band contributed to the recording of Kevin Ayers' album ‘The Unfairground’ which Gary Olson also produced.