Despite its relative brevity (at 43 minuntes it is Envy's shortest album since their early 90s thrash days), Atheist's Cornea is easily the band's most progressive work. Beginning with a punishing pummel, holes of light are gradually punched open to reveal an uncanny series of dynamic, emotionally charged epics. Not only does Atheist's Cornea showcase some wholly unexpected new turns for Envy, it also often reaches transcendent heights that could overwhelm a major blockbuster film - all while vocalist Tetsuya Fukagawa sings, screams, and speaks like his life depended on it. Atheist's Cornea is the purest, most distilled example of Envy's brand of brilliance. It is also their bravest album, taking new risks with a much welcomed, broader vocal palette and an instrumental experimentation that navigates blistering shifts from impenetrable noise to poetic, pin-drop introspection with astounding grace. Envy have finally mastered the art of being effective and efficient without sacrificing an ounce of either - a truly inspired evolutionfrom a band whose mastery of both remains unparalleled.
It wouldn't be entirely accurate to say that EZTV met while trying out for J. Spaceman's latest US touring line-up of Spiritualized, but it's not far from the truth. Songwriter Ezra Tenenbaum had been casually working on solo home recordings in the vein of Shoes, Emitt Rhodes and Cleaners For Venus, and, in a desire to round things out, he enlisted bassist Shane O'Connell and drummer Michael Stasiak (formerly of Widowspeak). As it happened, the trio's first chance to play together was an audition for the American touring version of Spiritualized (they didn't get the job). But, the trio kept meeting and working, turning Ezra recording as a solo artist into Ezra, Shane and Michael playing as a band; thus, EZTV was formed.
With Jarvis Taveniere (Woods) onboard to produce, the band headed to Thump Studios in Brooklyn to record their debut LP. The result is Calling Out, a cohesive 12-song statement in the long tradition of fully realized debuts, stripped of artifice, but full of hooks and songwriting chops. With one foot firmly planted in classic American power-pop and college rock while the other utilizes more left-of-the-dial sonic experimentation, the result is a sound that's both familiar and new, but always about the songs.
Heather Woods Broderick excels at distilling her experiences into a soulful melancholy that's enduring both for it's intimate relatable moments and its persistent sense of mystery. Her uncanny ear for evocative production and gorgeous vocal harmonies serves her well on her new album Glider. Throughout the album, the rich dreamlike atmospheres she creates hint at a darkness looming on the horizon, while the singularity of her ethereal voice always seems to linger long after the music has stopped.
As a talented multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, Heather has had the opportunity to record and tour with plenty of incredible artists including Horse Feathers, Efterklang, and Sharon Van Etten, which has kept her moving house and traveling around the world for much of the past decade.
Before digging into the steely, handcrafted technoisms of Homesick, you need to know a few things about Charles Duff, the Bay Area artist behind Matrixxman. Perhaps most importantly, he is a dedicated futurist - quick to name Google's director of engineering, Ray Kurzweil, as a major personal inspiration, and prone to contemplating artificial intelligence and "a true post-corporeal reality." He's also a voracious information junkie, soaking up government conspiracies and contemporary science-fiction like a proper X-Files fanatic. These cultural reference points are as integral to the background of Homesick as Detroit, Chicago, and Berlin's musical legacies. Matrixxman uses his debut album to evoke visions of a not-too-distant-future with music made both for the dancefloor and the early morning zone-outs that follow.
Nova Scotia's Nap Eyes is the greatest band you've never heard, and Whine of the Mystic is their first full-length album, a brilliant small-batch brew of crooked, literate guitar pop refracted through the gray Halifax rain. Recorded live to tape with no overdubs, it's equal parts shambling and sophisticated, with one eye on the dirt and one trained on the starry firmament, inhabiting a skewed world where odes to NASA and the Earth's magnetic field coexist easily with songs about insomnia and drinking too much.
Nap Eyes' keen sonic signature cruises briskly and beautifully along the dog-eared axes of jangle-jaded Oceanic pop music (The Clean, The Verlaines, The Go-Betweens), and through the backpages of Peter Perrett (The Only Ones, England's Glory), via all things Lou Reed and Modern Lovers, without ever sounding very much like anything else happening today.
Rachel Grimes is a pianist, composer, and arranger based in Kentucky - most renowned for her work in Rachel's, the groundbreaking chamber-rock ensemble that introduced an entire generation of underground rock fans to the unexpected similarities and appeal of neoclassical music. Grimes has toured the world as a solo pianist, and as a collaborator with chamber ensembles such as Portland Cello Project, astrïd, Cicada, the Amsterdam Sinfonietta trio, and Orchestra Kandinskij. Unhurried, at times fleeting, and stretching into the sky, The Clearing is a winding path of transient moments exploring personal memory, relationships, and mystery from a deeply internal place. The music is a wide spectrum of textures in strings, harp, piano, woodwinds, and percussion. Featuring an ensemble that includes Scott Morgan (LOSCIL), Scott Moore, Kyle Crabtree (Shipping News), Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Jacob Duncan (Liberation Prophecy), and Helen Money, The Clearing reveals a broad new chapter for Rachel Grimes.
Originally released in 2008, United Nations' eponymous debut album was destined for commercial controversy from the moment it was announced. The anticipation surrounding its release was at a fever pitch as rumors circulated that the enigmatic band's all-star lineup included members of Thursday, Glassjaw, and Converge. When the album finally dropped, its lawsuitbaiting artwork - essentially the originally cover of The Beatles' Abbey Road album, with all of the Beatles engulfed in flames - immediately forced at least one major mall retail chain (rhymes with Not Tropic) to destroy all of the several thousands of copies it had ordered. The album's entire pressing was then recalled, destroyed, and repackaged with artwork presumably less offensive to Sir Paul and Co. The vinyl has been out of print ever since, and that original artwork has become more myth than material. United Nations has been remastered for this special deluxe vinyl edition, and includes an infinite bonus track. The original "banned" artwork has been restored to its litigious glory, now expanded to include the previously unreleased panels to complete the original triptych - all printed on a massive 12x36" full-color foldout poster. Not content to merely flirt with fire, we have housed this infamous, inflammatory artwork inside a custom embossed, numbered old-style gatefold jacket that is curiously reminiscent of the original Beatles' White Album jacket. Each album is stamped with a sequential number, in a limited edition of however many it takes for United Nations to get sued. Again.
Having moved all around Canada and settling nowhere, Walter TV are contemporary nomads. They formed their band in the basements and cottage-like houses of a beach town outside Vancouver.
After Joe McMurray and Pierce McGarry moved to Montreal, they shared an apartment with a constant revolving cast of characters. In a space often overpopulated and reeking of cigarettes, they began recording Blessed. Simon Ankenman would come by periodically, and with him they would finish most of the recordings between there and LA. The band's two members, Joe and Pierce, were also busy touring with Mac DeMarco, acting as his backing band. Mixing and recording turned into a thing to do on the road.
Although the group prefers tape recordings to digital, they have never been militant. Always trying to uphold their DIY sensibilities, Walter TV believes the music should speak for itself. It should come from wherever and whatever is available.