Saturday, 21 May 2022

Healing Together - A Compilation For Mental Health Recovery (2022)




GENRE : ambient, electronica, drone, ethereal, meditative
RECORD LABEL : Past Inside The Present

This is a beautiful benefit compilation album for mental health recovery from the wonderful record label Past Inside The Present, featuring 23 talented women ambient-electronic artists from all around the globe.

Cynthia Bernard (Marine Eyes) curated, sequenced and provided the artwork for this album, with all proceeds go towards benefitting Sounds of Saving -  a non-profit organization which uses music to raise awareness of mental health wellbeing.
So many of us have been facing immense mental challenges and emotional difficulties over these past couple of years. In times like these we need to reach out and help each other, as well as taking some much needed time and space to breathe deeply and heal.
I loved the idea of this compilation album before I even heard a single note of it, and now that I've finally heard it - it does not disappoint in any way. It's a beautiful and soothing journey that takes the listener to a safe gentle place of healing and self-discovery.

Read the PITP mission statement and all the individual song descriptions from the artists at the Bandcamp link below. A huge congratulations to all those involved with this compilation. You did a phenomenal job.

Stream/Download the compilation here...

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Here are some of own personal thoughts on these individual songs as I was listening to the album...

Sofie Birch -Willness 
Bright gentle ethereal wooziness amidst a wilderness of soft electronica.

Hollie Kenniff - Embers
Beautiful expansive vocal ambience that swells and soars over glistening synthesizers.

Clariloops - Today
Playful, pensive and cinematic. Gorgeous clarinet melodies drifting over softly dancing synth notes.

Drum & Lace - Felt
Sweet soothing chords performed on a felted upright piano over luscious birdsong and swirling voices.

Sachi Kobayashi - Scent of Roses
This is what you want to be listening to as you lay down on a bed of soft grass in a field of beautiful flowers. You close your eyes and let the morning sunshine gently warm your skin and the music warm your soul...

Belly Full of Stars - Charlie Day
A heartfelt piece in memory of a good friend... the gentle pulsing of keys and a blanket of soothing voices to a backdrop of quiet distant conversation... a sad yet comforting tribute.

More Eaze - Better
A beautiful sea of euphoric electronica, beautifully digitized voice and electroacoustic guitar chords. Deconstructed and glitchy, yet airy and serene. Wonderful stuff.

Marine Eyes - Doorways
A stunning piece of sparse yet expansive ambience with gentle waves softly lapping in the background, reminding us that it's okay to stop what we're doing and breathe deeply now and again.  Sit back, close your eyes and allow these melodies to soothe your soul before they leave and rise up to the heavens.

IKSRE - You Will Find
Gorgeous healing dreamscapes layered over soft binaural beats, creating a deeply meditative environment in which to relax and surrender yourself completely.

Inquiri - Ruminating 
A gentle slow-motion whirlpool of ethereal beauty to counteract the stresses and anxieties of everyday existence. Sweeping and captivating. Incredible.

Clarice Jenson - Getting Lost Is Okay
Soft dreamy arpeggios soaring and shimmering over heavenly electronic soundscapes...

Christina Giannone - Decor
Pulsing sweeping droning bliss. Shadowy and haunting and glorious.

Patricia Wolf - Cognitive Disorder
Melancholic glacial-paced ephemera. Introspective and enveloping. Let the waves come and wash right over you...

Penelope Trappes - Possession
Dark lonely vocals drifting endlessly through haunted dreamscapes. A yearning for salvation and inner peace.

Claire Deak - Dampen The Waves
A deeply reflective journey through the annals of long forgotten histories of the many gifted women composers of time - expressed through softly-plucked harp, melancholic accordian and electronic ambience that gently ebbs and flows...

Ami-Dang - Cerulean
Wonderful psychedelic New Age ambience - fragmented and glitchy, layered over with emotive sitar melodies.

Pechblende - Glacial Lake Lullaby
Icy tinkles and cold expansive swells create this gorgeous and majestic Nordic ambient soundscape.

Karen Vogt - I Know It Is Hard
Blankets of beautiful soaring vocal ambience and the hypnotic tinkling of house keys... a soft balm for the aching spirit. 

Zoe Polanski - Liu
Equally sad and sweet - this is a stunning Japanese-flavoured ambient dreampop feast for the ears. A peaceful sanctuary.

Nailah Hunter - Yaellan's Grove 
The feeling of finding yourself alone in a luscious meadow of strange flowers and beautiful fragrances in some fantasy land, and never wanting to leave...

Caminauta - Endless Tide
Minimalistic and sparse, yet mesmerizing and utterly captivating. A beautiful blanket for the soul.

Ai Yamamoto - Yamaha to Yamamoto san
A breathtaking cinematic dreamscape that lifts you up and transports you to a wonderful place of healing and inner peace.

Cat Tyson Hughes - Almonta
A slow and pensive ending to a long journey of self-discovery. Quietly wandering through your favourite chosen place, reflecting on the immense beauty and power of the natural world, and its ability to heal.

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Monday, 9 May 2022

Spotify Playlists

I'm not really a Spotify user...but I decided to create a couple of playlists featuring a combination of artists that I've written about on this blog and just general miscellaneous music that I love.

I have a lot of issues with Spotify and how they treat their artists, but my intention with creating these playlists is to hopefully get these great artists a bit more exposure. If there's enough momentum/interest in my playlists, I'll try my best to curate and update them regularly : )

Any Follows/Likes/Shares would be really appreciated.

FOG SONGS

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/51qZD5WmlDh8UG0LZii0Nr?si=26e00e621cc447ee


MELANCHOLIC AMBIENT MUSIC FOR DEEP INTROSPECTION


Thursday, 5 May 2022

Ambient/Drone Recommendations (May 2022)

Here's a list of wonderful ambient/drone albums that I've been enjoying lately and would highly recommend. Most of the awesome artists in this post are low-key and relatively (or completely) unknown, and they deserve our support.

We all know at this point that Bandcamp isn't perfect... but they're still BY FAR the best digital music platform to directly support independent artists. 

If you have time, please check out my other general non-genre specific list of Bandcamp Friday recommendations that I published today.

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Rafael Anton Irisarri - Peripeteia (2020)



GENRE : dark ambient, modern classical, drone, electronica
RECORD LABEL : Dais Records

I might as well begin with one of my all-time favourite ambient artists, and in my opinion one of the very best in the game. Sweeping is the word I'd use to describe this album. Irisarri creates these enormous dark sweeping soundscapes that completely wash over you and envelope you, and this is one of his best. A proper emotional catharsis of an album.

Stream/Download the album here...

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Enmarta - The Hermit (2016)


GENRE : dark ambient, drone, gloom, soundscapes, field recordings, violin
RECORD LABEL : Cryo Chamber

Here's a haunting atmospheric gem of an album from the wonderful Swedish record label Cryo Chamber. Dark gloomy atmospheres and cinematic soundscapes made from layered drones, electro-acoustic instrumentation, field recordings and beautiful sweeping violins. Ideal for late night listening.

Stream/Download the album here...

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The Lonely Bell - s/t (2015)


GENRE : dark ambient, drone, noise, ethereal, post rock, Scotland
RECORD LABEL : Dead Forest Records

Intensely introspective and mesmerizing dark ambient/drone music from a cold wet Scottish island. This album sounds like it came from the depths of isolation, solitude and depression. The closing track in particular sounds like the end of life on earth. Beautiful stuff.

Stream/Download the album here...

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Marine Eyes - idyll (2021)


GENRE : ambient, new age, experimental, field recordings
RECORD LABEL : Stereoscenic Records

Marine Eyes is the solo ambient project of Cynthia Bernard. In this album she has created a gentle peaceful place for weary troubled souls to stop what they're doing and allow themselves to breathe deeply and heal for a while. Bernard uses mostly vocal ambience, nature samples and heavily effected guitars to make these wonderful expansive soundscapes that relaxes, heals and elevates the listener to a higher gentler dreamier plane of existence. A truly beautiful album from a super talented ambient musician. Perfect music for lying on the grass and watching clouds softly drift by...

Stream/Download the album here...
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Carrion - Her (2022)


GENRE : ambient, dark ambient, experimental, field recordings
RECORD LABEL : Veinte 33 Records

Do yourself a favour and immerse yourself in this soft dreamy 15-minute long ethereal ambient piece by Carrion. It feels like being at the top of a lonely hill at the dawning of the day when the world is only half awake, as the sun slowly rises soft and golden and birds begin to chirp their sweet morning songs in the distance, and you quietly reflect upon all of life's loves and losses.

Viente33 has a lot of great ambient releases on their label. You should take a good snoop through their Bandcamp catalogue.

Stream/Download the album here...

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The Gateless Gate - Hinterlands (2022)


GENRE : ambient, new age, drone, electronica, soundscapes
RECORD LABEL : self-released

This is a gorgeous dreamy journey of an album that I can't get enough of. In this inspired project, The Gateless Gate has named each sweeping ambient piece after place names in the books of fantasy giants Le Guin, Tolkien, Lewis & Moorcock. The music is sprawling and majestic, immersive and engulfing... it shimmers and swells and sweeps across your consciousness, transporting the listener to beautiful unknown lands.   

Stream/Download the album here...

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Barley & Blush To The Snow - Aura (2022)


GENRE : ambient, dub techno, downtempo, electronica
RECORD LABEL : Not Yet Remembered Records

Stunning airier than air ambient dub techno music from a collaborative duo of whom I know nothing about. What I do know is that you probably need this album in your life. This is great music to brush away the cobwebs. 

Technically I haven't heard the full album yet because it officially comes out tomorrow (05/06/22) but the 3 preview songs are incredible. I can't wait to hear the rest. And while you're at it, check out the other wonderful releases on the Not Yet Remembered Records Bandcamp page. They have such a beautiful eclectic array of ambient/noise/drone releases on their label.

Stream/Download the album here...

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Vapour Night - The Dirt Sea (2014)
 

GENRE : dark ambient, drone, noise, Scotland
RECORD LABEL : Dead Forest Records

This is one 25-minute long bleak ambient/drone/noise piece that feels like being caught out in an apocalyptic storm at the edge of the world. Dark engulfing drone music at its best.

As the music blog Fucked By Noise described it : ''a journey through largely grey and ambiguous landscapes, with little room for light''

Stream/Download the album here...

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Hawaiianvest - Chasms (2021)


GENRE : abstract, ambient, dark ambient, experimental, avant-garde
RECORD LABEL : No Thank You Recordings 

This album is mental. It's actually very difficult to describe...it's basically an abstract dark ambient album, made up of  haunting drones and hypnotic pulses, and creepy disturbing psychedelic spoken word sections about black holes, alternate universes, dark sexual perversions and serial killers. Total batshit crazy, but I love it.

Stream/Download the album here...

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Diamondstein - Asleep In The Creek (2021)

 


GENRE : electronica, ambient, techno, vaporwave
RECORD LABEL : Doom Trip Records

Hazy vaporous ambient techno music for dark lonely wanderings through deserted city streets at night. Asleep In The Creek is the two-part collaborative project of composer/musician Diamonstein and photographer Kait Fischer. I am totally enraptured by the ethereal beauty of this double-part release, both musically and visually.  

Stream/Download the albums here...

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Seetcya - Bleakscapes (2011)


GENRE : dark ambient, doom ambient, gothic, experimental, Germany
RECORD LABEL : Essentia Mundi Records

This album is exactly as the title suggests - bleak, haunting, doom laden ambient music from the darkest depths. It's abstract and minimalistic, with very little melody to be found anywhere... but it really sucks you in a refuses to let you go.

Stream/Download the album here...

Bandcamp Friday Recommendations (May 2022)

I've fallen way behind on blogging this past month due to internet connection difficulties and some other life stuff...but I'm back up and running now, and I thought I'd compile another list of juicy Bandcamp Friday recommendations for you all. I decided to mostly concentrate on small low-key bands and artists this time. They're the ones who really need our support and attention.

We all know at this point that Bandcamp isn't perfect... but they're still BY FAR the best digital music platform to directly support independent artists. 

P.S I'm making a separate blog post for instrumental ambient/drone recommendations. Please check that out too if you're into that type of music.

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Sooner - Days and Nights (2022)

GENRE : power pop, indie rock, post-hardcore, dream pop
RECORD LABEL : Good Eye Records

Sooner are a shoegaze-tinged alternative rock band from Brooklyn, New York. Their new album is a wonderful mix of jangly power pop, dreamy emo rock and ethereal dream pop. The songs are powerful and energetic, yet pensive and beautiful. Great stuff.

Stream/Download the album here :











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Yasmin Williams - Urban Driftwood (2021)


GENRE : instrumental, folk, acoustic, kalimba
RECORD LABEL : Spinster Sounds

Here's some breathtaking intricate rich acoustic guitar music to soothe your aching spirit. Yasmin Williams utilizes various guitar techniques such as fingerpicking, lap tapping and percussive hits to create an unorthodox yet soulful sound. She's the most interesting solo guitarist I've heard in a while. Go and sit somewhere out in nature and let this album be your delightful soundtrack.

If you're a fan of the more stripped down acoustic work of Mark Kozelek (Sun Kil Moon, Red House Painters), then you'll love this. I reckon if Kozelek had an extra pair of hands and someone duct-taped his big mouth shut, this would be the kind of music he'd come out with.  

Stream/Download the album here :










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Vollam - Mirror EP (2021)

GENRE : shoegaze, ambient, post-rock, slowcore
RECORD LABEL : SomewhereCold Records

Here's some super-slow, dark, sleepy shoegaze from Texan band Vollam for you to sink into. The 5 songs that comprise their debut EP are heavy yet tranquil, depressing yet comforting, noisy yet melodic...a wonderful treat for fans of shoegaze, post-rock and ambient music alike. Another glorious release from SomewhereCold Records.

Stream/Download the album here :













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Deva Grace - Vocivos (2022)


GENRE : synth pop, electronic, chillwave, witch house
RECORD LABEL : Furious Hooves

Mesmerizing psychedelic synth pop that shimmers and swells and engulfs you from beginning to end. Glistening sparkly ethereal atmospheres and Deva's beautiful silky dream voice will elevate you and transport you to a higher plane...far beyond the boundaries of our ordinary mundane existence.

Song titles like 'Ego Death' and 'Mycelia' instantly convinced me that I was in for a surreal and otherwordly listening experience, and that's exactly what it was. Great album. Go get it.

Stream/Download the album here...






















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ASkySoBlack - Autumn In The Water (2022)

GENRE : emo, screamo, post-hardcore, metalcore, alternative rock
RECORD LABEL : New Morality Zine

The awesome new EP from Philadelphia post-hardcore band ASkySoBlack. Their music is dark, heavy, atmospheric and beautiful - a glorious and seamless mixture of 00's emo/screamo/post-hardcore, 90's alt-rock and melodic metalcore, with some dreamy shoegaze elements thrown in there. This EP is a wonderful little blast that's all over before you know it. 

Fans of bands like Deftones, Hum, Finch, Basement, & Waterdown will likely dig this. If you like it, check out their debut EP 'What Is Yet To Come?'. I'm not sure which one I personally prefer, but they're both definitely worth a spin.

Stream/Download the album here :






















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Mila Webb - Lucky Nights (2022)


GENRE : folk pop, psych folk, indie rock 
RECORD LABEL : Perpetual Doom

Mila Webb is the sixth child of legendary singer-songwriter Jimmy Webb, and this is her debut EP as a solo artist. It's a delicious slab of dreamy wistful 70s-tinged psychedelic folk pop. Her songs speak of love and longing, and the desire to know one's place in the big bad world by diving deeply inwards. This EP is lethargic and sad, yet beautiful and captivating...it makes me feel like I'm drifting helplessly through a tunnel of misty old memories, wondering if I'll ever emerge from the other end. 

The 70's style production on this EP is gorgeous too. There's so much clarity on all the individual instruments, and so much space for the notes and melodies to breathe... yet it retains a certain amount of rawness, which complements the feel of the songs perfectly. I love it.

Stream/Download the album here...






















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Vapour Night - Snow Fled (2015)


GENRE : shoegaze, dream pop, noise rock, dark ambient, electronica
RECORD LABEL : Dead Forest Records

Vapour Night is a Scottish shoegaze/noise pop music project, and this album is a long dark winter journey into the abyss. The songs are dark, melancholy and lonely...yet sweeping and beautiful. 

There's lots going on in this album - dark post-punky guitars, bittersweet dream pop, ferocious noise rock, cold ambience, mournful electronica, sheer walls of glorious noise, and haunting vocals. Highly recommended.

Stream/Download the album here...






















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Le Morte d'Abby - Is This Machine Recording? (2021)


GENRE : experimental, lo-fi electronica, EDM
RECORD LABEL : self-released

How can something be nauseating and beautiful at the same time? I don't have the answer to that, but this album by Le Morte d'Abby proves that such an absurdity exists. It's an album of warped lo-fi instrumental electro-pop songs that makes you want to chill out and puke at the same time. Brilliant stuff.

Stream/Download the album here...






















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Abronia - The Whole of Each Eye (2020)

 

GENRE : psychedelic rock, prog rock, kosmiche, experimental, krautrock
RECORD LABEL : Cardinal Fuzz / Feeding Tube

Abronia are a unique psychedelic prog-rock sextet from Portland, Oregon. They make big brooding (sometimes thunderous) 60s/70s-influenced kosmiche art rock using heavily-reverbed/tremolo'd electric guitars, sweeping atmospheric pedal steel guitar, jazz-infused tenor saxophone, brooding basslines and monstrous drums, over which drifts the haunting soaring vocals. 

In their sound I hear elements of bands like The Black Angels, Popol Vuh, Jefferson Airplane, Nico, Shiva's Headband, etc...but the way they combine these elements, along with their particular delivery of the overall sound is very unique and refreshing.

This music makes me think of some sort of giant ominous shadow monster, slowly making its way across vast desert plains, devouring everything in its path. Great stuff.

Stream/Download the album here...
















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Mt Fog - Guide To The Unusual (2021)


GENRE : folktronica, electronica, synth pop, dark pop, art pop
RECORD LABEL : Self-Released / Ghost Mountain Records

And last but not least - here's some beautiful foggy synth pop from ''forest folktronica'' artist Mt Fog (a.k.a Carolyn B). This is a wonderful album, and not just for its fogginess... it's a mystical journey through strange twisted fragmented dreamscapes, leaving the listener unsure of whether they're going to emerge from the other side or not...

The music itself is fairly minimalistic synth-driven pop, but it's powerful and atmospheric...and pretty theatrical. Carolyn B's voice is so haunting and beautiful. It soars like a strange bird over her own magical dream world. The whole album is like a breath of foggy mountain air.  Fog songs likes Mt Fog.

Stream/Download the album here...





Monday, 25 April 2022

Kissing Party - The Hate Album (2020)


 

GENRE : power pop, dream pop, indie rock, lo-fi pop rock
RECORD LABEL : self-released (I think)

Here's some jangly lo-fi power pop to soundtrack your forthcoming summer adventures. Kissing Party are an indie rock band from Denver, Colorado. Their songs are sometimes fun, sometimes depressing, and sometimes both simultaneously... Think Belle & Sebastian meets The Smiths meets early My Bloody Valentine. Wonderful pop slop for sad beach days.

Stream/Download the album here...




Monday, 18 April 2022

Lee Baggett - Just A Minute (1979?)

 


GENRE : psychedelic rock, psychedelic folk, indie rock, 70's psych rock, freak folk
RECORD LABEL : Perpetual Doom

Lee Baggett is a mystifying songwriter/musician who was musically at his most active throughout the 70s and 80s, but seemed to have disappeared into the mists of time. 'Just A Minute' is his legendary album, which was thankfully re-discovered and exhumed by indie record label Perpetual Doom, and eventually released on their label in April 2021.

This sounds like a lost Neil Young album from the 70s, and I'm saying that in the best possible way because let's be honest - 70's Neil Young is the best Neil Young. If you loved Neil Young and Bob Dylan when they were at their peak, and (like myself) constantly crave more of their material from that era - you need this album in your life. It might take a while to get into the vocals, but I plead you to persevere. Since it clicked with me, it just gets better and better with subsequent listens. A perfect album for lazy depressing sunny days.

Stream/Download the album here...





Ali Murray - Wilderness of Life (2022)


GENRE : alternative folk, dream pop, shoegaze, post-punk, Scotland
RECORD LABEL : Dead Forest Records

Ali Murray is a half-Scottish/half-Filipino songwriter/musician hailing from a cold little Scottish island - the Isle of Lewis, to be precise, and this is his first solo album since 2017. I've been highly anticipating this album for what seems like an eternity. Often when I build things up in my head over a long period of time, they inevitably disappoint...but this album was even better than I expected it to be.

This album is a dark lonely introspective journey through ambiguous dreamscapes. Musically, it's an interesting mixture of ethereal alt-folk and melancholy dream-pop, with some elements of shoegaze and gothic post-punk thrown in there for good measure. Lyrically, it tackles profound themes of mortality, love, loss, freedom and the fragility of our existence. 
It is not light shallow music for the masses. Murray constantly manages to tap into something deep, dark and uncomfortable... but somehow turns it all into wonderful dreamy pop music.
The atmospheres and soundscapes within the album are exactly how I imagine the Isle of Lewis to be - cold, barren and beautiful...

I would highly recommend this album. It's one of the best singer-songwriter albums I've heard in years. And while you're at it, you should definitely check out his older albums.

Stream/Download the album here...



Friday, 15 April 2022

Armed Love Militia - Raw Lo-Fi EP

 


GENRE : dark folk, gypsy rock, dark cabaret
RECORD LABEL : self-released

Armed Love Militia was a random musical discovery I made while snooping through Bandcamp recently. I was drawn to the title and the visuals of this particular project, so I ended up clicking play and really enjoying the 3 individual songs that are posted on the page. It was only upon paying closer attention to the information written on the Bandcamp page that I realized that Armed Love Militia is the music project of the actress Fairuza Balk!

If you didn't already know, Fairuza Balk is an American actress (and goth-punk cult icon) that has starred in lots of notable movies like American History X,  Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead, The Waterboy & The Island of Dr. Moreau, but I had no idea she was also a talented artist/musician...

The three songs on her Bandcamp page make up Armed Love Militia's debut EP, 'Raw Lo-Fi' . 'Stormwinds' was the first song they ever released. It's a slow brooding atmospheric electronic goth-rock song that has quite an apocalyptic blues vibe to it. 'Dream45' is a dark haunting acoustic murder ballad that Balk recorded on her iPhone, and 'Davie' is a dark cabaret-style rock song delivered with a punk energy and fury that will likely please fans of P.J Harvey. Awesome stuff. I hope she releases more music in the future.

Stream/Download the songs here...



Sunday, 3 April 2022

NEST: A Compilation Supporting Trans Youth and Their Families (No Thank You Recordings 2022)

 


GENRE : experimental, abstract, ambient, field recordings, avant-garde
RECORD LABEL : No Thank You Recordings

No Thank You Recordings have one of the best Bandcamp bios I've ever read - ''a place for ambient/avant-garde/experimental/field recording artists to share pieces they really believe in and to which others have No'' . I love it. 

No Thank You Recordings are an ambient/experimental/field recordings label, and this is their recently released charity compilation to help raise funds to support trans kids and their families through the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund - www.transgenderlegal.org. You can read their full mission statement at the Bandcamp link below...

I must say...the quality of music on this compilation is pretty damn incredible. The compilation consists of 32 tracks of wonderful (mostly) ambient/noise music from artists I've never heard of. There's a huge range of styles and moods throughout the songs, and it never gets boring or predictable.
The songs range from the abstract & atonal to the melodic & dreamy to the disturbing & creepy to the harsh & painful to just all-out weird as f**k... but the album as a whole is a joy to listen to, from beginning to end. There's lots of cool surprises in there, even a couple of pop songs and a vapourwave song!

I highly recommend you check this out. Ideally I'd like to have posted this on Bandcamp Friday...but I was super busy that day, and I wanted to actually listen to the music before writing anything about it.  

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Some of my own personal highlights...

Solo1 - Sunland Drive No.2
The delightful swirling melancholic opening track of the compilation. It's quite Lynchian actually.

Mollbury Medical Research Centre - We Have Established Communication
I did a write-up for the debut MMRC album here a couple of months ago. Very disturbing and unsettling dark ambient/drone music. 

TABBY - Love Processing
A glorious electronic ambient track. It feels like being sucked up into the stars.

Cyparissus - fibi 
Gorgeous birdsong. Sometimes that's all you need to hear.

Infrasubcontra - Verdant Slant
Slow dark cinematic drone music composed from tubas, pedals and synths.
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Stream/Download the compilation here...



Thursday, 31 March 2022

Bandcamp Friday Recommendations (April 2022)

If you're looking for some ideas/inspiration for music to download this coming Bandcamp Friday (tomorrow), here's a list of awesome albums of various genres that I've been enjoying lately. 

I plan on plugging these individual releases on Twitter (@fogsongsblog) throughout the day tomorrow too, because they definitely deserve some standalone attention.

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Dayton Swim Club - HANGMAN (2022)


GENRE : post-punk, indie rock, alternative, western noir
RECORD LABEL : Perpetual Doom

The dark sinister apocalyptic debut album from LA's psychedelic goth rock band Dayton Swim Club. Think early Nick Cave meets The Doors meets Joy Division meets Swans in a desperate fight to the death. Great album.

Stream/Download the album here...

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Dear Boy - The Strawberry EP (2019)
 

GENRE : pop rock, alternative rock, indie rock, alternative punk, power pop
RECORD LABEL : self-released

Dear Boy are an excellent power pop band. They're currently working towards the release of their debut album, but they have a pretty sizeable discography of EPs and singles so far that you should definitely dip into. This is the last EP they self-released before they got signed to a record label (Last Gang Records). I think they really found their stride with this one.

Stream/Download the EP here :

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Hainbach - Assertion


GENRE : cosmic disco, electronic, electroacoustic, ambient, experimental, techno
RECORD LABEL : Chase Bliss Records

I previously did a write-up for Hainbach's wonderful 'Home Stories' album here. This is another excellent release of his. Beautiful experimental techno music - at times somber, at times bright and (dare I say) dance-y. This is cosmic disco at its finest. 

The beautiful artwork by Nani Gutierrez deserves some love and attention too. Look at it. Stunning!

Stream/Download the album here :

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Ali Murray - Wilderness of Life (2022)


GENRE : alternative folk, dream pop, post-punk, shoegaze, ethereal
RECORD LABEL : Dead Forest Records

Dark ethereal alt-folk/dream-pop from a small island in the north of Scotland. This is the long-awaited new solo album from melancholy Scottish/Filipino songwriter Ali Murray. It's not officially out until April 17th, but you can pre-order it now. The 3 songs that are available for streaming are f**king beautiful. I can't wait to hear the whole thing.

Stream/Download the album here :

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CADE - s/t (2018)


GENRE : alternative folk, indie folk, folk rock, Canada
RECORD LABEL : Fox Food Records

A sublime, delicate, mesmerizing folk album by Canadian songwriter/musician Kaiya Cade. These songs are raw, fragile, dreamy and ethereal. Her vocals are beautiful and the instrumentation is very spare and restrained. Great stuff.

Stream/Download the album here :

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Field Mouse - Meaning (2019)


GENRE : power pop, pop, indie rock, alternative punk, alternative rock
RECORD LABEL : Topshelf Records

I'm a sucker for good power pop, especially female-driven power pop. Here is an awesome summertime album from Field Mouse. A really cool mixture of power pop, alternative punk, dream pop and emo rock. Check it out...

Stream/Download the album here :

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The Liquid Clear -  Yhyhh-Krymm EP (2021)


GENRE : avant-garde, post-industrial, noise, dark ambient
RECORD LABEL : self-released

This is a weird, glitchy, futuristic cyber-noise EP from The Liquid Clear. The recording originated from an improvised live performance using a single unit of (unknown) hardware. It's a wonderful sonic assault on the senses.

Stream/Download the EP here...

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The Honeysuckle Steamboat - Let's Get Away (2022)


GENRE : alternative folk, indie folk, psych folk, folk pop
RECORD LABEL : Vard Records

The Honeysuckle Steamboat are a brand new alternative folk/rock band, and this is their debut single. It's cheerful and playful and fun (almost like a nursery rhyme, or a children's singalong) but it's also a bit dark and demented below the surface. Regardless, this song really puts me in the mood for summer.

Stream/Download the song here...

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Richard Luke - Glass Island


GENRE : modern classical, neoclassical, instrumental piano, cinematic
RECORD LABEL : Moderna Records

Beautiful muted pianos, lush soaring violins, shimmering ambient synths, soft pulsing trip-hop electronic beats, jazz-infused double bass and intelligently-placed field recordings comprises this wonderful neo-classical work of art from Scottish composer/musician Richard Luke. Another gem from Moderna Records. 

Stream/Download the song here...

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Hark/We Are Joiners - Split Album (2022)


GENRE : lo-fi punk, punk rock, noise pop, noise rock
RECORD LABEL : Totally Real Records

This is a really cool split album from fuzzy folk-rock band Hark (USA) and lo-fi noise punk band We Are Joiners (Netherlands). Listening through the album in its intended sequence, we're constantly being bounced back and forth between the fuzzed out acoustic melancholy of Hark and the ear-splitting noise punk chaos of We Are Joiners, and it works really damn well. Both bands are ripping on this one.

Stream/Download the EP here:

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Loretta's Museum - Sound Portraits From The Gelmer Tastle Odyssey (2020)


GENRE : Instrumental Folk, Freak Folk, Psychadelic Folk
RECORD LABEL : Furious Hooves

Bizarre dreamy instrumental indie/folk soundtrack music. The acoustic guitar playing is slightly reminiscent of Robbie Basho, and the keyboards and synths remind me of The Books...but the sound as a whole is very unique and difficult to pigeonhole. It's playful and depressing at the same time...kind of like a Wes Anderson movie.

Stream/Download the album here:

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Orchid Mantis - Yellow House (2018)


GENRE : Bedroom Pop, Lo-fi Pop, Ambient, Dream Pop, Experimental
RECORD LABEL : Z Tapes

This is a great lo-fi chillwave pop album. Orchid Mantis creates a weird and beautiful blend of ambient pop, tape samples, ethereal electronica and glitchy trip-hop. It kind of reminds me of early Washed Out, but more experimental and strange. A great soundtrack for long summer rides.

Stream/Download the album here:

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

Fatou Seidi Ghali & Alamnou Akroun - Les Filles de Illighadad (2016)

 


GENRE : African guitar, tuareg guitar, world, minimalist folk
RECORD LABEL : Sahel Sounds

Fatou Seidi Ghali is one of only two known Tuareg women guitarists in Niger, and she's sublime. Recorded in the open air of the desert, this is wonderful minimalist Tuareg folk music, mostly centered around fingerpicked guitar (some of it obviously improvised) but occasionally accompanied by beautiful heartfelt vocals and some tende - a Tuareg drum made out of a mortar. I thought I heard a bit of some kind of flute instrument in there too, but I'm not entirely sure. What I do know is that this is beautiful music. Check out the video of Fatou Seidi Ghali playing under a tree, posted down below. 

Stream/Download the album here :















Thursday, 24 March 2022

Harry Towell & Guy Gelem - Restful Spaces (2022)

 


GENRE : modern classical, ambient, minimalist, neoclassical,
RECORD LABEL : Polar Seas Recordings

This is a long distance collaboration of two musical composers and fathers to be - sound artist/musician Harry Towell (aka Spheruleus) from the UK and cellist/musician Guy Gerem from Israeli. They created this album while expecting the arrival of their respective daughters, Emily and Neta. Their aim was to create a restful listening space for their children, and in doing so have created one for adult listeners too. This is a restful listening space for lovers of all things peaceful and ambient.

These beautiful gentle lullabies are a wonderful remedy to the current state of this world. Our lives are so noisy and frantic and busy, and there's so much cruelty and hatred all around us... it's so lovely and comforting to be able to slow down, kick back and immerse ourselves in Towell & Gelem's gorgeous aural world.
There's a delicate child-like playfulness to the shimmering ambience of these pieces. The instrumentation plucks and tinkles and chimes away to the backdrop of birdsong and other miscellanous field samples, while the cello soars and swells over it all in such a yearning and wistful way. A beautiful album for a not-so-beautiful time.

If you like this album, you should have a browse through the Polar Seas Recordings back catalogue of releases on their Bandcamp page. Lots of stunning releases in there.

Stream/Download here...
Polar Seas Recordings...




Wednesday, 23 March 2022

Lisbonne - Debut 7" (2013)

 


GENRE : alternative, France, bedroom pop, lo-fi pop,
RECORD LABEL : Wonderful Sound

If you're looking for a little ray of sunshine in your grey little life, here's a fun little release from French lo-fi pop artist Lisbonne, who now lives in London. Or at least she was when she recorded this little 7" record back in 2013...

The songs on this debut single are quirky, cute and very lo-fi - performed on Casio keyboards, guitars and ukeleles, through vintage amps and pedals, with Lisbonne's lovely voice laying sweetly on top of the mix. On Track 2 there are guest vocals from Laetitia Saedier, who was one of the vocalists for the legendary Stereolab! The songs are sung in French. I don't understand the language, but it doesn't take anything away from my enjoyment of it. So if you need to have your day brightened up a bit, look no further than Lisbonne. 

Stream/Download it here :




Sunday, 20 March 2022

Best Underground Shoegaze/Dream Pop

Shoegaze and Dream Pop tend to go hand in hand. You could argue that they're basically the same thing. Anyway, I decided to dedicate this post to some of the best modern Shoegaze and Dream Pop albums from underground acts that most people likely aren't aware of. 

Everyone knows The Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Slowdive, Ride, Swervedriver, Lush, etc... and for good reason. They're the original Shoegaze/Dream Pop bands that created and launched the wonderful genre, and they're all incredible bands that you should definitely check out, if you haven't already...

This is just a list of ten of my personal favourite underground modern Shoegaze/Dream Pop albums (in no particular order) that all seem to exist on the fringes (or completely outside) the popular circles of all things noisy and beautiful.

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Be Forest - Knocturne (2019)

This is a dark psychadelic post-punk album from Italian band Be Forest. It's stark, hazy, raw and mesmerizing. Ethereal vocals, heavily-effected guitars, haunting basslines and thundering drums create these dark swirling vaporous atmospheres that not only captivate you - they completely swallow you up. Sick album.

Stream/Download : https://wwnbb.bandcamp.com/album/wwnbb-099-knocturne

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Blankenberge - Everything (2021)


Blankenberge are a fuzzy shoegazey post-rock band from St.Petersburg, Russia. Their sound is somehow both soft and noisy at the same time - beautiful serene vocals drifting in the midst of a dreamy haze of melodic reverb-drenched noise. Some songs are slow and brooding, others are delivered with a faster punk rock energy.  Overall, this is a wonderful shoegaze album to lose yourself in.


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Vapour Night - Snow Fled (2015)


Vapour Night is a dark noisy pop project from a small island in the north of Scotland. 'Snow Fled' is a cold dark winter journey into the abyss. The songs are dark, melancholy and lonely... yet sweeping and beautiful. 
There's lots of different musical elements going on in this album - dark post-punky guitars, bittersweet dream pop, ferocious noise rock, cold ambience, mournful electronica, sheer walls of glorious noise, and haunting vocals that cut beautifully through the mix. 

Plus there's a rare guest vocal from the mysterious Sun Devoured Earth who seems to have disappeared into obscurity after doing this.


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You'll Never Get To Heaven - Adorn (2014)


A wonderful album from Canadian dream-pop duo You'll Never Get To Heaven. Celestial, ethereal, airy and sweetly melodic music that seriously wouldn't be out of place in Twin Peaks
This short album consists of only six songs - five originals and one beautiful rendition of Brian Eno's 'By This River'. Great album from a great band.


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Pia Fraus - Now You Know It Still Feels The Same (2021)


Pia Fraus are an awesome jangly noise pop band from Estonia. This album was recorded when they were only sixteen years old! Gorgeous female/male vocal harmonies backed with bright sparkly guitar pop instrumentation that shimmers and glows with a fresh dreaminess and buoyancy often lacking in a lot of shoegaze-influenced bands. This is the only album of theirs I've heard, but it's excellent, and I look forward to hearing the rest.


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Teen Daze - Glacier (2013)


Here's an electronic ambient pop album from Canadian solo artist/musician Teen Daze. Often referred to as ''chillwave'', Teen Daze uses layers of ethereal synthesized sounds to create these sweeping autumnal atmospheres that drift and swirl beautifully into your ears and through your brain. Listening to this album from start to finish feels like sleepwalking across a frozen expanse...in a good way.


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Sun Devoured Earth - Sounds of Desolation (2012)


Sun Devoured Earth is the solo project of Vadim Vasilyev - a Latvian bedroom artist/musician. He modestly describes his own music as ''a no budget take on shoegaze with other genres mixed in here and there''. Don't let that put you off. Yes, this music is very homemade and raw...but it sounds huge. He creates dark guitar-driven walls of noise and barely decipherable vocals over cheap programmed drum beats. The end result is bleak and depressive, yet beautiful. 

Sun Devoured Earth gained quite a substantial cult following in the years that he was prolifically releasing music, but he seems to have disappeared into obscurity since his last album in 2013. I have no idea what he's doing these days.


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Jane Woodman - Teenage Red (2013)


Jane Woodman is a darkwave electronic artist from San Francisco. I originally discovered her through a guest vocal she did on the self-titled Vapour Night album. She's a mega-talented musician that expertly mixes gothic post-punk with dark shoegazey electronica. The music is sometimes abstract, sometimes hooky and melodic... but always massive and cinematic sounding. This is her only full-length album to date. It's a long dark romantic journey through an ambiguous apocalyptic landscape. 


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Hearts of Black Science - The Ghost You Left Behind (2007)


Hearts of Black Science are a dark electronic gothic-rock from Gothenburg, Sweden. This is their wonderful debut album. There's an airiness and weightlessness to their sound that conjures up images of softly falling snow on rooftops and lonely city streets at night. A beautiful combination of hooky electro-pop and dark broody gothic shoegaze. Excellent stuff.


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Crescendo - Unless (2016)


LA quintet Crescendo make bright nostalgic shoegaze delivered with a striking emotional intensity and upbeat punk energy. Their glorious pop melodies and jangly instrumentation make these songs so sparkly and crisp, and a pure joy to listen to. According to an article I read about them, one of their goals is to inspire listeners to dance and disappear from reality via space travel.