Wednesday, 17 April 2013

ALBUM: LORE CITY - ABSENCE & TIME

Lore City are not the kind of band to take things lightly. Their dark and emotive music absorbs and revels in all that is melancholic and tumultuous in life. Their music is a giant lament to the bittersweet nature of existence. 

Their debut album ‘Absence and Time’ isn't the kind of catchy record to sling on the stereo whilst cooking dinner, it’s a painful work of love and demands attention. It’s not a dip in and dip out record, it’s an all or nothing affair and somehow, Lore City convey all this with half an opening track. ‘Keep’ is the kind of epic sorrow that commands respect; like the Smiths ‘How Soon Is Now’ or any other great, atmospheric song about how it hurts to live. 

Yet, this is no emo album. This isn't about high school popularity, body confidence or haircuts. Laura MariposaŹ¼s vocal acrobatics puts paid to that idea. At times she is soft and nurturing, at others slurry and drunk with woe, like a well meaning but ultimately unfit mother. Sometimes, like on the psychedelic tipped ‘Whole Lot’, she is positively psychotic, a screaming banshee, yelling along to a singular reverb soaked guitar. Like Zola Jesus or a latter day Grace Slick, she is profound in her declaration to the world. 

Of course, musician and artistic partner in the band Eric Bessel must also take equal credit and blame for this heady creation. Looking a bit like a bespectacled lawyer or promising, number crunching prodigy in an accountancy firm, he confounds expectations by skilfully creating ominous soundscapes for Mariposa to play with and manipulate. Moaning guitars, elongated, rumbling bass lines and warm, atmospheric hums all wallpaper a backdrop of night time deserts, outstretched roads and the kind of creeping skin touch of reality that only comes in the depths of the night. 

All this might sound ludicrously pretentious, but Lore City aren’t here to entertain, they’re here for your soul. Simplicity is their forte. With droll, plodding drum lines Meg White would scoff at, the shimmering loop of a single guitar strum, the wail of a lonely, anguished vocal and the empty chasms of time between beats all strike their own, resonating chord. Closing track ‘Fortuneless Fortune’ displays all these traits with the kind of idiosyncratic flare that it’s only taken a mere eight tracks to fall in love with. 

This album is an esoteric, existential and enlightened work of art that operates on a different plain to its contemporaries - if it has any. Truly great from opening bass drum kick to closing guitar strum. Hold on in there, it’s going to get bumpy. // Lore City

Thursday, 11 April 2013

EP: LONDON GRAMMAR - METAL & DUST

So far not much is known about London Grammar, apart from them being a 3-piece (Hannah, Daniel, and Dot), and that their debut release, a 4 track EP titled 'Metal & Dust' is out right now digitally and on 7".

Our attention was first drawn to the track 'Hey Now', a quiet, dark song that gently simmers along almost unnoticed but easily catches you off guard during its relatively short length of 3.27. The vocals are clearly the first point of notice, with Hannah's depth and range standing out, but the electronic based music behind is also interesting, with the use of space, tempo, ambiance, and repetition quite alluring. 

Title track 'Metal & Dust' is more up tempo, with the beats turned up front and centre, whilst 'Darling Are You Gonna Leave Me' has a gentle, party feel to it, with certain parts a bit reminiscent of Ellie Goulding from her debut record. The EP ends with a Dot Major remix of 'Hey Now' which only goes to further strengthen the effectiveness of the track and EP as a whole.

There's plenty of reference points on this EP, with the likes of The XX, James Blake, Egyptian Hip-Hop, Alt-J, Mt Wolf and other ethereal electronic pop artists that seem to surround the airwaves at the minute all being picked up on, but there's also enough ideas and invention to suggest London Grammar have a clear voice of their own. We hear a debut album is in the pipeline and by accounts could be something rather special if this EP is anything to go.

Buy the Metal & Dust' EP from iTunes or the 7" now. // London Grammar

Monday, 1 April 2013

EP REVIEW: ANNIE DRESSNER - EAST TWENTIES

Whilst the slew of twee female singer-songwriters continues to be ever present in our mailbag, it does mean that finding those needles in the hack-stack has become quite a joy. The latest sharp point to stand out is American Annie Dressner.

She's from New York City but moved to the UK last year, which was presumably not for our weather. In 2011 she released her debut album 'Strangers Who Knew Each Other's Names', and has played numerous live venues both in New York, and across the UK since her move here. April 8th sees the release of her latest body of work, an EP titled 'East Twenties', which is co produced with Paul Goodwin.

The EP begins with 'Heartbreaker', a song which lyrically deals with that well trodden sad subject, yet musically things are joyously upbeat, with warm sounding guitars and percussion, quite a lovely juxtaposition. Her vocal delivery throughout the record is almost conversational, allowing you to feel a sense of easy understanding and knowing of her songs. 

'I Can't Forget' is a touching song that delicately deals with the feeling of loss, with the sincerity of Dressner's vocals shining as well as a beautiful cello emanating throughout. 'Flame' is the shortest track on the record at just over two and a half minutes, yet is feels the most full bodied of the songs put forward. 'Lost In A Car' closes things out in poignant fashion, dealing with more of life's troublesome issues, with Dressner's soft voice and delicate guitar proving hard to not get swept up by.

'East Twenties' is a record which makes you consider those events which have gone before you, taking you on a somewhat nostalgic journey through feelings which are most probably negative and upsetting. Yet the way in which Annie Dressner presents these four songs is refreshing, with her approachable style and musically upbeat nature leaves you with a positive feeling in the end.

You can pre-order 'East Twenties through Annie's Pledge Music page and catch her at the EP launch on the 9th April at Slaughtered Lamb in London. // Annie Dressner