Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Slow to post, two "Slow" bands to post...

Well, after a L-E-N-G-T-H-Y hiatus, Ear To The Sound is back. I had hoped to continue updating the blog on a semi-regular basis while I was on parental leave, but I gotta tell you - children are exhausting. Seriously, if you're a single parent I have nothing but respect for you. At the end of a day spent chasing a crawling baby, feeding, changing and entertaining said baby and housework I just couldn't find the energy to listen to much new music let alone blog about it.


There were some albums I did manage to listen to while I was off and to get the ball rolling here on ETTS again I'm going to write about two that I've listened to repeatedly (yup, they've been out for a few months) and then we'll try to move on to more recent releases.

While the two bands in this post have little in common sonically, they do share one thing - both have names starting with 'SLOW' which seemed fitting considering how slow I've been to update this blog.

First off is UK male/female duo Slow Club. Their debut album Yeah So was released in England in 2009 but was re-released in North America earlier this year on Moshi Moshi Records. Balanced precariously between pop and folk the tightrope these two are on is twee with a capital T.
Take opener "When I Go" - wonderful harmonies, whistling(!), delicate acoustic guitar and lyrics so full of the promise of love. The tempo and the jangle-quotient pick up on "Giving Up On Love" which lyrically is a curious flip-flop from the hopefulness of the lead-off track.
Speaking of flip-flops, Charles Watson and Rebecca Taylor vacillate between upbeat and restrained numbers throughout Yeah So, reflective of the back-and-forth between hope and resignation evident in the lyrics

Our second 'Slow' band comes courtesy of Western Vinyl, a label I've grown increasingly enchanted with and whose roster I've mentioned previously. Slow Six are actually a quintet from New York City that melds sweeping instrumentals with computer-manipulated found sound and avant-garde elements. Tomorrow Becomes You is the band's third album and it finds the group returning to Western Vinyl after their 2007 sophomore album came out on classical label New Albion.

Things start off promisingly on the nine-minute "The Night You Left New York" which deftly employs the band's not-so-secret-weapon; violins. Composer Christopher Tignor along with Ben Lively both play the instrument and it lends a certain flavour to this 'post-rock' that other bands lack - when the upper registers of the instrument are reached around the 6:30 mark its a transcendent sound floating above the rhythm section. Picture a gull flitting about as waves crash into a rocky shore - that's the mental image I get as this song reaches its climax.
With the instrumental nature of Tomorrow Becomes You the listener is bound to come up with all sorts of images and ideas in their mind's eye. Alternatively, this is the perfect record to put on while taking a walk and allowing it to soundtrack your peregrination.

Close your eyes, take a listen to album closer "These Rivers Between Us" and see where the song takes you.

Thanks for reading, now start listening...

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