NEW MUSIC: Alaskan Tapes – The Sky Sings Its Chorus (For Us Alone) [Pt. 1]

Ambient / post-rock / drone / soundtrack / soundscape

There’s a beautifully ponderous lumber and sway to this new post-rock track from the Toronto, Canada artist Alaskan Tapes (Brady Kendall). The lulls and gentle washing peaks are perfectly paced and giving a sense of movement that carries the listener through an emotionally melancholic six minutes. What I like is that the piece never gets heavy for heavy sake. Like Dirty Three, Kendall balances free-form explorations with repeating themes and motifs that foster familiarity and a cyclical swell to the music as the crashing drums and aching, soaring strings dance in unison.

“It is my attempt at creating a track that’s contrasted with the other tracks in the context of the album. When it’s compared to my other tracks it’s very heavy and I think you can hear the ‘Metal’ side of my writing coming out.”

Alaskan Tapes’ music has features in a variety of short films, including “Birth Pangs”, “Childhood Trauma” and “Mag Sein” by Director Eliot Rausch, “ABADDON” by Director Rogerio Silva, and “Harvest Season”, a new documentary by Bernardo Ruiz.

The new Alaskan Tapes album For Us Alone, will be released on April 16, 2021.

NEW MUSIC: Mt. Mountain – Peregrination (Official Video)

Perth, WA quintet Mt. Mountain released their new album Centre last week and earlier this year this great clip for the record’s second single ‘Peregrination’ was posted on YouTube. It shows the slow-build mastery of dynamics and interplay that the band have built into their music. Elements of post-rock, stoner, psych, Krautrock and more. They all intertwine and combine to form a wonderfully immersive and hypnotic listening experience where the power comes from the metronomic groove, not needing to hit a multi-pedal crescendo – but knowing they can if they want.

They say of the song: “‘Peregrination’ is a classic example of how we write together. Songs like this one generally start off as a ‘jam song’ that evolves slowly over months of playing with no real direction in place until it finds its own structure. At the end of recording, the path to get there has been stretched so long that there is barely any recollection of how the song came into existence in the first place.”

Mt. Mountain is Stephen Bailey (vocals/organ/flute), Thomas Cahill (drums), Glenn Palmer (guitar/synth), Brendan Shanley (bass), and Derrick Treatch (guitar). Centre is the band’s fourth album.

Centre is out now via Fuzz Club Records

NEW MUSIC: The Notwist – Sans Soleil

photo by Gerald Von Foris

We’ve always been partial to the music of The Notwist, the way they blend those beautiful sad-eyed vocal melodies with post-rock intricacy and krautrock rhythms. They exist in that sweet spot between song craft and experimental composition, always inventive and beguiling in their art-pop explorations.

‘Sans Soleil’ comes from the band’s first album in seven years, Vertigo Days, out January 29th on Morr Music.

NEW MUSIC: A Burial At Sea – Nice From Afar, Far From Nice

There hasn’t been a lot of heavy music this year that has moved us and it was a refreshing surprise when we came across this track from instrumental Irish group A Burial At Sea. It’s post rock at the metallic end of the spectrum where changes happen in an instant amid the guitar crunch and clever drumming.

What makes these guys standout from many other exponents of the same kind of thing is that they have a two-piece horn section. When they enter for a defining mid-song interlude, the pummelling metropolitan chug is replaced with desert vistas under wide open skies, like Calexico jamming with Isis. It all collides in the final third where the sound billows and blossoms in an eruptive, cascading coterie of guitar notes.

The track comes from A Burial At Sea’s sea-titled album that came out last month. Check it out on Bandcamp.

NEW MUSIC: Champion Motorist – Dear Liars

‘Dear Liars’ is a new track from Melbourne post-rock duo Champion Motorist. Andrew McLaughlin (guitar & synths) and Paul Shea (drums) are clearly at the atmospheric post-metal end of the post-rock spectrum and this track, from their new EP Slight Return, travels a magnificent arc from the scene-setting tension and slow build dynamics through to the four minute mark, where that dissipates into the aether before returning with even more crunch and muscular intent.

McLaughlin spent a decade treading the boards with Melbourne group Radiant City after having played in band with Shea when they were younger. Reconnecting after twenty years, these songs apparently came quickly. You can hear it too, in the way they favour simplicity and a steady sense of order and control in their compositions.

Bands such as Smashing Pumpkins, Mogwai and Russian Circles come to mind when listening to Champion Motorist. Check out the full EP over on their Bandcamp page.

NEW MUSIC: Pascal Schumacher – Prelude To Robert M

Pascal Schumacher is a Luxembourgan composer and vibraphone player who’s built up an impressive resume playing with quartets through to orchestras.

This new release comes from an EP Tropismes (The Mudam Session) where he performed at Mudam, the contemporary art museum in Luxembourg, and you get a real sense of how he operates at the nexus of classical and minimal electronic composition. The lightness and beauty of his playing is hypnotic, like a dreamstate transmission. Heavy-lidded yet full of life and verve, fragile yet full fully-formed. Beautiful stuff indeed.

Check out his full-length 2020 release SOL for a full and immersive deep dive into his work.

NEW MUSIC: Empasse – Ultraviolet

Let’s kick off the new week with some really nice post-rock sounds out of Kirikiriroa (Hamilton) in New Zealand. If you dig the type of music created by Mogwai and Jakob then this will be your kind of thing. ‘Ultraviolet’ is moody, dark and ominous even when it’s not heavy. It’s cinematic too, but still operates in a compositional rock format.

Empasse is the work of Nick Johnston, a local government bureaucrat by day and musician by night. Some of Nick’s previous bands include post-rock band Sora Shima, and indie pop bands The Changing Same and Dynamo Go.  

Nick describes the Ultraviolet EP as a “soundtrack to a story that is not well known in New Zealand outside the Waikato Region where I live” – the story of the town of Rotowaro, a former mining village that was entirely removed in the 1980s to make way for an opencast coal mine. The mine fuelled the Huntly Power Station, the largest thermal power station in New Zealand which has been identified as responsible for over half of New Zealand’s carbon emissions from electricity generation. 

“Ultraviolet is about the damage and wounds that we cannot see – in this case, it is the rural communities that have battered over many generations to grow and power our larger cities, as well as the carbon emissions damaging the health of our planet.” 

NEW MUSIC: Sunny Disposition – Rain On Your Parade

Melbourne band Sunny Disposition have that certain Australian indie rock of the 00s sound in their veins. That mix of jangly guitars, angular shapes on the fretboard, jerky, curious rhythm section explorations and a fine balance between raw emotion and intellectual musings in the lyrics and vocal delivery. ‘Rain On Your Parade‘ twists and sonically wrestles with itself quite wonderfully and brings to mind Antipodean bands such as Purplene, Jebediah and elements of Something For Kate.

Sunny Disposition formed in the early-2000s and actively played regular live shows in Melbourne and Sydney. They released their debut EP ‘Drifting by a Scene” in 2005 and have now reconvened to release their new EP Full Of Reasons, recorded over a decade ago.