Cyborg Philharmonic – Household Compliances

I try really hard not to be biased toward musicians who do the same kind of stuff I do in this coverage, but it’s hard! I obviously like what I do, so I am going to be a bit biased toward similar material. And this album, a soundtrack for an imaginary horror movie, is right up my alley. Noisy drones, weird looping soundscapes and dark atmosphere abounds, and those are all part of my musical DNA. 

Throw in some computer generated voices, some heavily processed human voices, some chaosborn rhythmic structures… you’re just getting deeper and deeper into what I love! If you like it weird, dark, scary, dense, chaotic and experimental, you need to check this out. Will it be your particular cup of (dark) tea? Hard to say, but it pushed nearly every button I have in a very good way.

(Listened to the whole album)

sknob – Spiral

Loopy alt-pop from France that tackles some of the big issues of life, from the irreplaceability of time to the contradictions of aging. Musically, the tracks range from simple acoustic guitar and voice arrangements to fully produced electro-pop and rock numbers, all leaning toward the light-hearted. 

Puts me in mind of XTC and other acts that lean heavily on clever lyrics and sweet pop hooks, but definitely stakes out its own territory – this doesn’t sound all that much like anything I’ve heard before, while also not sounding too far out in left field. In short, a unique pop voice with some smart ideas.

(Listened to tracks 2, 3, 4, 8 & 9)

The Schoolgirls – Ooh Yeah Martin Yo EP

Noisy, chaotic and fun neo post punk with some vaguely poppy leanings. Deeply indebted to early Wire and Gang of Four, and probably a bunch of other acts from that era that I’ve forgotten, or never knew. Manages to be deeply silly and thoroughly abrasive simultaneously. Probably something the guys in Ween would enjoy.

Lots of distorted guitars shredding away over energetic punk drumbeats, shouted/spoken vocals and bits of electronic flourish, put together with a general lo-fi aesthetic and disdain for “the rules.” I think this is going to be deeply alienating to many, but for a select few it will feel like an absolute revelation. If that’s you, what are you waiting for?

(Listened to the whole EP)

Lynn Avalon – “Dreaming About You” – “Caress”

Two tracks worth of lovely lo-fi ambient textures and gentle soundscapes. “Dreaming About You” really fits its title – it absolutely feels like the music from a gauzy dream about someone you love from that period just before you wake up. It’s all drifting waves of sound that surround you and fill you with a peculiar and entirely pleasant sense of warmth. Would probably also work really well as a cue in an indie film where someone’s lying in bed dreaming about their crush/new beau/whatever.

“Caress” is more solid but still delicate, trading in the slow sweeps of sound for some light percussive chords that repeat in a simple motif throughout. Okay, there’s still plenty of slow, sweeping synth work, but it’s not main attraction here, taking a backseat to the gently insistent main theme. 

Stanley Grill – We Will Not Forget

You don’t hear a lot of new classical music these days, but it’s out there! Case in point, this collection of classical compositions from composer Stanley Grill, which would sit well next to anything you’d hear in a concert hall by any of those old dead European guys. Stately, rich and full of nuance, this is the real deal (to my relatively untrained ears at least). 

For an extra added bonus, it seems to be played entirely by real people (altho I wouldn’t bet my life on it; libraries are very good these days) – or if it isn’t, the care put into the production is even more meticulous. The audience for new compositions this kind of music might be increasingly slim, but that makes the good ones all the more precious. If you’re looking for a new take on those (literally) classic sounds and styles, hurry over and have a listen. 

(Listened to the first two tracks)

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