Thursday, September 28, 2006

Heller Mason: Minimalist & Anchored (Silber)
released: September 2006
styles: country slowly indie rock
similar: Mark Kozelek, Band of Horses, Beachwood Sparks, Pale Horse and Rider
rating: ****

The vocals of Heller Mason's main person, Todd Vandenberg, are tearjerkingly soft and weepy. It leads the way for M & A's thoughtful country-esque slowcore, which measures up to similar artists any day. The cello, piano and trumpet that is scattered over the record fleshes out the mature lyrics and comforting acoustic guitar. Apt for campfires at 1am, or quiet mornings in your kitchen in the country at 5am. -Kenyon

Black Happy Day: In the Garden of Ghostflowers (Silber)
release: September 2006
styles: experimental
similar: Handsome Family, the Liars' They Were Wrong
rating: * 1/2

One of the stranger records of the year. Black Happy Day--members of Stone Breath and dream-gothics Lycia, go from vocal exercises to a medievel version of Beat Happening within the first few minutes, burning with self-indulgence. The third track, called (gasp!) "Whore," features disembodied vocals atop sounds delivered straight from an old sci-fi film, while wierd ones such as "A Lyke Wake Dirge" are just a mystery, with an Asian-music banjo and the many vocal efforts of unusual baritone Timothy Renner. A challenge and a half. -Kenyon

Robin Guthrie: Everlasting EP (Darla)
release: September 18, 2006
styles: instrumental ethereal
similar: early Cocteau Twins, later Slowdive
rating: ****

You can yearn for the Cocteau Twins getting back together or you can immerse yourself in the lastest from visionary member Robin Guthrie, who, on this supplement to his LP released earlier this year, provides us with another work of sheer beauty. His trademark guitars shimmer, sparkle and fade. Dreamy swirlyness is all over the place. -Kenyon

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