Alex Delivery: Star Destroyer
Think Can or Faust all mashed up with the personal disco of Arthur Russell. Think of the electric organ of Terry Riley's Shri Camel, slowly morphing and perpetually in motion, but remaining in step with a guitar-less and Moroder-charged Sparks. And think of a more composed Dead C, where Michael Morley sings about Big Thunder Mountain while holding a beach ball in one hand and fending off the digital shards of musique concrète humming around his ears with the other. Alex Delivery have gleefully exposed their myriad gifts and influences with their debut full-length Star Destroyer, almost two years in the making. On it the New York-based quintet have demonstrated their penchant for the electro-organic, seamlessly blending the sharp and gentle, like a chain-gang draped in organza. You can hear the chattering of insects resonating from the inside of a kettle drum, and you can imagine this colossal robo-beast wobbling and waltzing down an abandoned carnival boardwalk. Sylphs soar across strings, occasionally descending to enjoy some wiggle-worthy poly-rhythms. These and many more colorful characters have climbed aboard the Star Destroyer.
Alex Delivery is Nik Bozic, Marika Kandelaki, Robert Lombardo, Colin Ryan, and Yegang Yoo. Star Destroyer was self-recorded and mixed by the band and mastered at West West Side with Alan Douches. The album artwork is taken from six oil paintings made by Kandelaki.
Amateur Love: It's All Aquatic
It's a difficult task to write about Amateur Love. The band was the singular catalyst in founding Chigliak. What Amateur Love means to the history of Eau Claire music is representative of everything we set out to illuminate with this record label. Our goal is to release records that hold weight in people's hearts. For us, it's notable to point out that one person's favorite record of all time may have only existed in bedrooms that were within 100 miles of each other.
There seems to be a premium on popularity in popular music. When an artist sells records to people all over the world, their music is then validated by a larger social contract. But Amateur Love is the most popular band Eau Claire has ever known, and for good reason. It is not in our estimation that the re-issuing of It's All Aquatic will project the band into that great popularity. No, we just hope to give the music a further chance to live on... for those who adored and those who never had the chance.
Josh Scott was the ambassador of my heart for many years. While both songwriters in Eau Claire, we were close friends and admired each other's music. It was obvious to both of us, however, who the better writer was. Josh was writing songs that were both more mature and masterful than mine. His songs came from a perspective as snarly as Paul Westerberg, as enchanting as Neil Young, yet he wielded power as beguiling and unique as any songwriter I've ever heard. Nestling himself around Brad and Phil Cook (Megafaun) and Brian Moen (Peter Wolf Crier, Laarks and Shouting Matches), who stretched themselves outside their own comfort zones into those of un-tapped electronic pop, Amateur Love became one of the most enigmatic and electrifying bands I have ever known. With local-legend Jaime Hansen engineering, the band was caught at the rise to their peak of musical power on It's All Aquatic in 2003.
What you have here is Amateur Love's one and only full-length, initially only release on CD, now re-issued as a 12" vinyl LP. Included is a special download of unreleased recordings that I have come to know as the Ev Sessions; recorded by Ev Olcott, the great master of Minneapolis studio magic and former member of 12Rods and Halloween, Alaska. Ev produced these sessions after the release of It's All Aquatic sometime in 2004. These sessions are considered 'un-finished' by the band but stand as a fantastic 'what could have been' document.
Amateur Love gets to always live on, thru the grooves on our turntables now. Enjoy. We all did.
Angel Olsen: Half Way Home
After her highly-acclaimed debut Strange Cacti landed in the hands of listeners, it became very obvious the special presence Angel Olsen offered to listeners. She had a fresh edge to her sound, a warm and wonderful range, and a level of skill and charm out of this world.
Half Way Home is a continuation of her elegance brought forth on Strange Cacti, a collection of both new and old music, honed and matured, thoughts revisited. We're hearing this same beautiful girl with that same beautiful voice, this time brought up to a new level, in no doubt a growth and reach brought on by several roadtrips with the one and only Bonnie "Prince" Billy and crew.
The work of Angel Olsen is entirely her own: a raw, glowing sound that stands out now just as much as it did in 2010. It's an emotional stew with Angel's robust voice up front, bold and engaging, coming out of the background, aching to be heard. With the help of Emmett Kelly (The Cairo Gang) behind the board and playing throughout the songs, Half Way Home is a natural progression showcasing the wondrous sounds of a songwriter with such a voice that is rarely found.
Aspera: Sugar & Feathered
Through the cerebral undergrowth and fantastical thickets of Aspera's dark imagination comes Sugar And Feathered, the re-release of the elusive Philadelphia-based quartet's sophomore full-length, re-mastered and packaged with all new artwork. As eerie as it is amiable, the twelve songs of Sugar And Feathered create a conceptual forest breathing with melodies familiar and forgone.On this record, Aspera creates songs that bear a passing resemblance to Crocodiles era Echo and The Bunnymen as fed through the dry, trashy production work of Tony Visconti's T Rex recordings. The experimental nature of Brian Eno and David Byrne's random sampling on My Life In The Bush of Ghosts mixes with the rudimentary electronics of Bowie's Scary Monsters, a smattering of 80's-style synthetic percussion and a fondness for Peter Murphy, conjuring a record with only one non-wayward quality - unrelenting creativity.
Aspera: Oh Fantastica
After a summer spent listening to grimy hip hop beats and hooks, supporting the re-release of Sugar and Feathered, and making 4 track demos, Aspera converged at Tonearm Studios to begin work on their third album. Oh Fantastica continues a darkly thematic tradition established with Sugar and Feathered and the follow up Birds Fly EP (Suicide Squeeze) but strays from both records overwrought psychedelia (oft compared to Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev). Oh Fantastica is full of minimal yet memorable melodies driven by Drew Mills' most upfront and un-effected vocal performance to date. The beats are intentionally raw?composed of deep, 808 / 909 textures and laced with gated, acoustic percussion takes and dirty synth bass lines. On Oh Fantastica, Aspera ride a dream-like wave enjoying and sharing the fruit of parallel universes?where the epic '80s pop production (as heard in early work of Simple Minds and Tears for Fears) exist side by side with hip-hop's old school (Afrika Bambaataa) and new school (Swizz Beats, Anti-Pop Consortium, Missy Elliott & Timbaland, and producers the Neptunes), and, perhaps most-notably, electronic music's contemporary experimentalists (Boards of Canada) as well as its early trailblazers (such as the pop soundscapes of Another Green World-era Brian Eno; Giorgio Moroder's militant electro; and the early-80's tech-adventurism of musical veterans as manifested in Herbie Hancock's Future Shock and Paul McCartney's McCartney II).
Besnard Lakes, The: Volume I
Volume I" is the debut album by the Besnard Lakes, that preceded their recent opus "The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse" which was released on Jagjaguwar in early 2007. "Volume I" was originally released in 2004, and, at the time, The Besnard Lakes were comprised only of husband-and-wife team Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas. The Besnard Lakes have just recently become critical darlings, on the strength of their live performances throughout North America and Europe, as well as with their second full-length record "The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse", which quickly made it onto numerous and budding best-albums-of-the-year short-lists by a whole range of music-listening pedigree -- critics, casual and not-so-casual rock listeners, garden variety pop fans, and headphone junkies. Carrying the Breakglass label name, "Volume I" is distributed throughout the world with the help of Jagjaguwar.
Besnard Lakes, The: The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night
There is a war now. The message has been sent through short wave in code. The Besnard Lakes twisting chronicle, or fever dream, of spies, double agents, novelists and aspiring rock gods has turned violent. Loyalty, dishonor, love, hatred all seen through the eyes of two spies, fighting a war that may not be real. One follows the other as they receive coded messages and spread destruction.The city is burning, and it's to the benefit of music obsessives everywhere. Once again, the husband-and-wife duo of Olga Goreas and Jace Lasek has crafted a majestic, sprawling vision of guitar bombast and captivating pop experiments. With the aid of Besnard members Kevin Laing on drums and Richard White on guitar, The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night is a dense, ambitious recording, experimenting, as always, with the studio as instrument.
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. The album is a dark bliss-out that folds the eerie guitar epics of the Montreal band's breakthrough into a wall of affected drones and atmospherics, but with a toughened immediacy and grit that gives the form a much-needed shove over the cliffs, making for a haunting, provocative swan dive into the crushing tide.
Besnard Lakes, The: The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse
Rich with Beach Boys style harmonies, Roy Orbison reverbs and orchestra, Pink Floyd's pacing and Freddy Mercury's falsetto, The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse is a luxurious foray into sound and music. This is the second record by The Besnard Lakes, Montrealers by way of Western Canada. Their independently released previous record, Volume I, came out in 2004, and it was noticed by critics but was largely overlooked by the public at large. On both records, The Besnard Lakes have shown that they are masters of finely-honed experimental pop songs that invoke the eerie Lynchian setting as aided and abetted by the music of Julee Cruise. But, on The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse, the band throws into the mix a mad dash of Fleetwood Mac proportioned swagger and ambition. Not so incidentally, the Besnard Lakes have created a masterpiece that will resonate within all quarters, amongst critics, casual and not-so-casual rock listeners, garden variety pop fans and headphone junkies.
Besnard Lakes, The: Casino Nanaimo
In early 2007, the Besnard Lakes released a full-length album on Jagjaguwar that quickly made it onto numerous and budding best-albums-of-the-year short-lists by a whole range of music-listening pedigree. Now these inspired Montrealers continue what they've started, re-stoking the flames and releasing two additional tracks. Side A is "Casino Nanaimo", a place where repetitive sound and lights engulf addicted gamblers all vying for space on the eternal wheel of fortune. And then there is side B, "Devastation (alternate version)", the unedited and original straight-to-two-track nine-minute version, recorded live-off-the-floor at Breakglass Studios.