Posts Tagged ‘whisperin and hollerin’

High Violets at Whisperin and Hollerin

I know this album’s title is a bit like Michael Monroe’s recent release Horns and Haloes but trust me it sounds nothing like that one. Instead of high octane rock and roll this proffers downbeat, shoegazing dream pop from Portland Oregon.

The album opens with How I Love, a nicely enveloping song with cool repeating guitar parts and vocals reminiscent of Jenny Homer. Dum Dum is almost like Stevie Nicks if she’d tried to go shoegaze and doesn’t quite pull it off. It’s not bad but I find the chorus rather annoying.

Long Last Night has a slightly annoying snare drum that taps out the beat throughout as the guitars go off a bit and Kaitlyn Ni Donovan’s vocals stretch higher and higher and sound lonelier and lonelier as they do.

Break A Heart sounds like it ought to be a country heartbreak song rather than a dream pop one. It’s OK but I have to say I have heard far better break up songs. It’s due for release almost at the same time as this album. Bells is okay and kind of keeps with the impression I get of this album being what used to be described as a one away record.

Heroes and Halos has some good reverb-y guitars and high Lush-style vocals but has nothing to make it more memorable and it kind of needs to be. Thankfully, Longitude has an insistent bass to anchor things to and keep me more interested as that sneaking suspicion that the songwriters really want to be making country music raises its head again. Indeed, this would sound far better as a country song than the dreamy shoegazer it is here.

Strangely, Ease On is about the best thing on the album and it’s the first song with male vocals. Consequently, it sounds much more like Downy Mildew crossed with Slowdive and it’s a really cool song and one of the only ones to really soar on this album. Ease On opens like a Magic Hour outtake and is a great opening that sort of dissipates as the vocals come in and go all dreamy on us. I really like this track musically.

Hearts In Our Throats is a very slow almost acoustic number to finish with as if they are ready to put us all to sleep. A calm conclusion to a not quite there one away album.

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deardarkhead at Whisperin and Hollerin

Apparently Deardarkhead having been going since 1988 and have somehow totally passed me by until I was sent the band’s latest album Strange Weather to review. How did that happen?

Oh well, let’s start at the beginning It appears that this is a band who decided that after their original singer left it was better to not replace him and become an instrumental shoegaze band instead which is at least a novel approach as to how to deal with such a predicament.

This also means that to this listener the album’s 6 tracks over 26 minutes becomes pretty much one suite of music; a kind of aural backwash that reminds me in places of one of the only other instrumental shoegaze bands that spring to mind which is Atlases. Only Deardarkhead seem to play a little bit quicker than the aforementioned combo and they also remind me in places of the instrumental passages that Amusement Parks On Fire often have in their songs.

The opening piece may be called Falling Upward but it feels to me like we are descending slowly down a long spiral staircase into a dark room in which all sorts of odd things might be happening. Like seeing the Sunshine Through The Rain, meanwhile, seems to have sped up an old Magic Hour tune and taken some of the acid drenching out of it almost like it’s been rinsed in the rain. Is That A Nightmare, asks the next song. Well of course not, as Juxta Mare unfolds across the widescreen of the listeners mind enveloping them in the soundscape.


Then about halfway through March Hares they bring in the sort of repeating motif you might find on some of Band Of Susans’ instrumentals. But either way this is an album of well-constructed sonic architecture and soundscapes of the sort that you sometimes hear in the closing five minutes or so of any number of American procedural TV series as they finally find out who did the murder on Cold Case or as the killer looks back on what might have been on CSI as if This is The Real Ice Age: a tune that owes a small debt to the Joy Division song it shares a name with but only a very small debt as this conjures up feelings of longing for what’s been lost.

The Album closer Thinking Back seems perfect for driving late at night through a forest in the pouring rain hoping for some respite and that you won’t have to drive much longer, but wherever it sends you, it’s a fine finish to an intriguing album.

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Halfsour at Whisperin and Hollerin

Half Sour are a faux-naive indie-pop outfit, straight outta Boston and from the sound of it. They are more North end rather than Southies it seems. When the opening blast of What Your Waiting jumps out of the speakers at you, it suggests this album is full of rather urgent sounding songs. Grump, the second track, even manages to sound like the guitars are mimicking a siren at the end of the song which is pretty neat

Chartreuse Rec Room almost sounds like they want to walk over Boston Common on the wrong day as instead of the normal assorted drug dealers and hippes etc they find some real straight folks to have a go at them. But then this real fuzzy guitar comes in to take my mind off imagined scenarios for the song.

i.k. is probably the song that most hints at the band’s roots, starting out sounding like a Guided By Voices covers band as it’s a cool indie power-pop, catchy as all hell song with a great guitar bit that twists at the right parts of your brain in time for everyone to scream “Whoa Oh!” a few times. Sensitive Rugby? They must be mistaken as I never played in a sensitive rugby match growing up and this song isn’t that sensitive either with its clattering guitars and almost J Mascis-style lazy vocals in places.

Pleasantly Whelmed has some great backing vocals to lift the song from being another indie blank and reminds me a bit of being a bit slanted but not too enchanted. Porch Sittin’ does remind me a bit of sitting in Newton Highlands on a porch reading Nietszche back in 1986. I’m back wondering what I’m doing in this big old house as the singer goes on about a supernova that I could have seen at night from the window.

Employees Must Wash Hands is the sort of song that might make you reach for the hibi scrub and get clean in a hail of guitars. Pop Art Pop Tart is a great song title and the poppy indie that goes with it is almost like Lush. It’s a cool song for sure. Topsider thankfully has nothing to do with the band of that name but instead sound like, well, Girls Against Boys.

Adult Friday just seemed to breeze past a bit too easily. Mood Monster, meanwhile, seems to be a rant at someone’s parents for not letting them wear black. Ha, as if any of us have ever had that argument! The album then closes with Fake Sandwich which is a noisy rant about a sandwich that lacks enough filling to be a real sandwich, if y’follow my drift.

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Animal Daydream at Whisperin and Hollerin

This is the latest single from Animal Daydream is the sort of single you’d expect to be released in early summer as it is so bright and breezy it can’t be about the dark winters of the bands Gothenburg home.

The 7″ single plays at 33 RPM but thankfully I spotted that before dropping the needle on it to hear Citrus burst out of the speakers as a Breezy neo-Psychedelic pop song for a summers day to take you down to the cool waters of one of the many lakes surrounding Gothenburg that has a very laid back instrumental interlude like the pine trees are rustling in the hills above you.

Sun (Turnaround) probably has more meaning in a city where you may only see it for a couple of hours a day and this slice of Byrdsian summer psych pop should put a smile on your face as you dream of all sorts of Aquavit cocktails to make with the fruits and spices on the single sleeve.

The B-side of the ep starts with All That You Can Give the sort of song that sounds like fellow Gothenburgers Hillman Lighthouse fused and refracted through a cracked Kaleidoscope of The Association crossed with Super Furry animals it’s ripe to be heard on a hot summers day while eating Lingonberry ice cream.

The ep closes with the almost chamber psych pop of In My Room that has a very cool vibe that is like the High Llamas without the metronome playing in the background a really nice song.

This single is well worth finding and should be a big summer hit find out more at www.jigsaw-records.com

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Postal Blue at Whisperin and Hollerin

This is the second Postal Blue album in a mere 18 year existence and so must signal a revival of shoegazing dream pop in their home country of Brazil. Yes, Brazilian shoegazers will be all over the airwaves next year at the Olympics I’m sure. Anyway, this album is out on the super cool Jigsaw Records.

It opens with gentle jangler Bitterness Is Sweet which sort of reminds me of early Belle and Sebastian and a bit of Josef K. I Always Knew is a continuance of that sort of style with a good dollop of Sarah Records thrown in. It’s carefully layered and the vocals seems to remain in a cool monotone as they tell the story of love betrayed again.

Still Blue seems to uses some wonderful background vocals to interweave with an organ that really is very Belle and Sebastian trying to be the Pastels; cool, laid back and very intricate musically. Isn’t It Funny opens with almost a military two step being beaten out on the drums before the brass and guitars all come in and take us on a cool journey of the sort Sean O’Hagan likes to take. It’s all very sophisticated and laid back.

Shape Of Your Life is the closest they come to a samba beat and it’s miles away from that really, but it has a more urgent feel to it with some cool jangly guitars. On and On has nothing whatsoever to do with Ariston but keeps the jangles coming, sweeping through like they have been listening to Broomtree by Downy Mildew and Belle and Sebastian’s debut and tried to fuse them together. It also seems to add layer upon layer of sound and all sorts of things going on that repeated listening will start to unfurl.

Does It Really Matter? Well does it? I guess it does as this is back in High Llamas-type territory with a cool jangly undertow. If You’re So Different isn’t that different to the rest of this album: sort of Pastels meets High Llamas with great jangly bits in it and loads of layers to the sound.

One Day is the most mournful track. It’s stripped back with Violins and egg shakers and it’s a lovely song. The album then closes with The Last Goodbye which, every time, leaves me singing a Downy Mildew song in my head which kind of says it might be a bit close in places but is no straight rip off: just another great shoegazing song.

This is a cool album and anyone who likes the bands referenced in this review will like this album and, let’s face it, we all need some Brazilian shoe gazing in our lives, don’t we? A perfect alternative soundtrack to next year’s Olympics.

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Antlered Aunt Lord at Whisperin and Hollerin

Yes the album title and band name are both mouthfuls and kind of give you an idea of where this is coming from, the outer fringes of Athens Georgia and the outre mind of Jesse Stinnard who is apparently an Athens legend in someone else’s lunch time just not his own.

Side 1 of the vinyl I’m listening to it on opens with Events Of The Future it’s full of odd noises and almost buried vocals and is really short. It gives way to Questions From Our Publicist that has a very cool chorus about unmarked packages it’s cool and trippy and a bit like Pavement at their best.

Abandoned Car should really be called entombed in odd weird music car like Daniel Johnston on the wrong meds. Mono Pilot is sort of skewed 60’s power pop gone awry and is pretty cool with it. An Impersonal Appeal is a shout in the dark dystopia of a brain that has become a bit 1/2 Japanese meets R.Stevie Moore and got confused.

The Beeswax is like Eugene Chadbourne on Re-fried beans!! Munsonfly is a twisted march to another Dimension just not this one. EPA is a folk song for the Boom Chuka Boom generation and well they need it.

Evil Dream Too Slow is a Shockabilly Japanese style pop drama gone too slow but not static or stoic. Pray For Glam goes all Kraftwerk meets Tuxedomoon in a closet where they dance and try to put on make-up at the same time. Side one closes with Yr Right a full on thrashing scream of acquiescence clatter fest.

Side two opens with I Don’t Ever Have To Wait for the vacuum cleaner in my head to abate and this song doesn’t either not even when the whistling begins. Sigil To Noise has some very cool stereo effects that work better on Vinyl than download don’t know why but they sound better on 2 speakers than 5.1 speakers and it sounds like Wire meets the Pixies and has a great false ending perfect for catching DJ’s out.


Never Sleep Again might bleed you dry as the insomnia sets in. Classic Nu New Uncomfortable Bumblebee Dub is naive dub exploration that crams a lot of ideas into a track like all good dub tunes ought to it also tips a small nod towards Pylon.

Sciatica is more accurately Schizoid brain pummeler for late night driving through a bad neighbourhood vibe to it. Throwback Bikes starts slow and quiet asking what you have to do to qualify for social security and as the song builds the interview unfolds and mania increases.

Hi-Beam Hi-Priest (Blinker Fluid) is caught in the headlights sparse electronica like Telex with buried vocals that break out into manicured noise and back again like it was recorded through the walls rather than in the room. Side two and the album close with Save The Very Best which is like Miss Murgatroid on acid with some very odd parping noises.

Antlered Auntlord might just about break out of Athens if Jesse Stinnard can be bothered to spread his legend far and wide. Find out more at www.hhbtm.com

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Mark Van Hoen at Whisperin and Hollerin

This is the latest album by electronica legend Mark Van Hoen who has previously worked with or been a part of among others SeeFeel, Black Hearted Brother, Locust and Children of The Stones.

Time to put some candles on open a nice bottle of red wine and just sit back and relax and allow the music to wash over you; with the gentle ambient opener All For You slowly unfolding and relaxing you with soothing strings and piano. Aah!

We then get Froese Requiem I and II as a fitting tribute to the late great ambient master Edgar Froese. This adds some glitch-y percussion to the otherwise laid back keys and so you aren’t quite as relaxed as you were. I actually started to wonder if it was two records playing at the same time as the percussion is a real juxtaposition to the rest of the music, part II is far more like Tangerine Dream than part I to my ears at least. It is also the first track that is almost danceable.

Socrates Books opens with what sounds like a church organ over skittery beats. It has enough of a pervading sense of doom to be perfect for a Halloween horror soundtrack. Bring It Back is the strangest thing on the album so far; sort of odd noises with some muttered vocals and deep bass wails set to disturb your senses.

The Night Sky is music to accompany lying on your back on a rooftop and staring at the sky; looking at meteor showers or just trying to figure out the constellations. Kojiki has what sound like backwards Japanese vocals with odd organ playing a quite simple tune. It’s somehow off-centre and a little perturbing as the bass drum comes in to shake the room a little bit.

I Love To Fly is, in parts, a bit like Kraftwerk but strained through layers of opaque digitalia. It tries to be like The Orb’s Little Fluffy Clouds in places; the sort of tune that with the right re-mix could be an unlikely hit.

A Wish has disembodied vocals with jarring beats and weird keyboards to make sure you haven’t fallen asleep and are still drinking your red wine. As the vocals move around the speakers and you sit there puzzled as to whether there are any real words being sung or is it just noises.

The album closes with Sensing The Close that sounds like the outro to a 1970’s Italian horror film, as you watch someone like Claudia Cardinale walking away from the scene and the credits start to roll.

If you like laid back ambient weirdness then this album will be right up your street. Find out more at Mark Van Hoen at Saint Marie Records

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Knowlton Bourne at Whisperin and Hollerin

I can’t ever remember getting sent anything from Cheyenne, Wyoming before so it was a pleasant surprise when this CD arrived and it turns out to be by a guy from Oxford, Mississippi.

It comes with a cover that I assume is from a room at the same Motel 43 which titles the LP. The opening Summer Sun kind of reminds me of No Easy Way Down by The Rain Parade if they had gone a bit country and a bit electronica at the same time. It certainly draws you in to a world highly alien the one I inhabit in London.

Hangin’ Around has more of a chunky, slightly fuzzed guitar riff over which Knowlton sings about Hangin’ Around like he’s suffering from the sort of ennui that can only come from being in the middle of nowhere with nothing much to do. Then just as you might be giving up hope, the weird noises come in and take us off someplace else. It’s like an early Pram record and it’s a fleeting glimpse before he keeps on Hangin’ Around hoping he doesn’t get accused of sounding like the Dandy Warhols.

I Can’t Tell/Run is a nicely strummed laid-back, countrified indie tune with some good echo-y vocals and it’s more of a jog than a run. I was sort of waiting for it to break out when in fact it breaks down for the end coda when it goes all ambient mood music at the quietest end of Anathema’s catalogue. It’s a rather eerie end to the song.

Done Moving on has a nice twangy feel to it and is in similar territory to Sturgill Simpson but with a subtle undertow of slide guitar and some odd noises that sort of grow as the track continues in rather an effective way. Greyhound is a song about the bus rather than the canine or reggae kind and is a gentle ride through the countryside.

The title track is next and has a late night feel to it as the song’s protagonist asks his partner to go out on the town over some simple but effective percussion and some long sustained notes on…is it a guitar or a moog or something else? Either way a cool whooshing sound takes over as if you’ve ended up in a very very laid back chill out room.

Gallup, New Mexico is a real one horse town of a song that opens with some carefully placed and strummed guitars that almost sound like harps and sort of drift off before the song bleeds into The River (For Nels). This one is a bit more conventional and, no, I don’t know if it’s for Nels Cline or some other Nels. It does, however, seem to be a love letter to the Motel 43 and is gently engaging on its own terms.

The album closes with the gentle laid back feel of Glow; almost like you are looking up at the sky and the stars are glowing above you as he sings about an ocean all around you so it could be you’re on a raft floating somewhere nice.

This is a cool album of countrified indie with an undertow of electronica and it’s very easy to listen to indeed.

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Moon Types at Whisperin and Hollerin

This is, as far as I know, the debut 7″ single by Moon Types: a cool Swedish jangle pop band. Opening the A-side is the titular song: a very cool indie-pop song with some neat muted trumpet. In the lyric, the singer tells his ex that he knows the reason why he’s been dumped. It’s worth hearing for the trumpet playing alone.

The second song is Nothing’s Holy: a very gentle song about trying to make up. It’s very restrained and reminds me of The Lilac Time and The Pastels’ style of fey pop.

Once you flip the single over for Do It All Over Again, you get another slice of break up indie pop as if they want to be the new Greg Kihn Band if they had been signed to Postcard Records rather than Beserkeley while ignoring all the records their parents own on Silence Records.

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Presents for Sally at Whisperin and Hollerin

Well hasn’t Sally been good? She must have been to deserve all these musical presents from this band from the West Country, so it must have been something extremely good.

The band’s second album opens with We Fought Lucifer (and Won) a title that might make you think they are a doom or battle metal band. The track does feature doom-laden guitars but you’d be wrong about the metal as they are noisy dream popsters: the feedback static giving way to a nice wash of guitars and a cool tune before the static and feedback return, rather like Wharton Tiers on an angry day.

Wishawaytoday (yes all one word) is sort of Galaxie 500 speeded up a little. It builds nicely to the point when all the squiggly analogue synths come in before the guitars take back over and the vocals soar and soar. Anything Anymore is a nice duet that has a very cool feel to it. A very Lush song in more ways than one.

Things slow down for The Sun Dehydrates like Crystallized Movements on Valium. You can almost feel the sun stroke coming on as the song progresses. Sleep Tight has a similar laid back indie vibe to it: a nicely washed out feel.

Everything I Said has some good distorted guitars at the start before the laid back vocals that sound like they are recorded in a bathroom somewhere while the drum pattern is a little bit odd but somehow it all works together quite well. I also love the spaceship sounds at the end.

Sing is almost like The Vaselines only a bit dreamier. Colours and Changes is rather gentle and has some cool changes in it as well as some backwards guitar bits as it ebbs and flows through my mind. Floor Faller opens with some bird sounds like you’re lying on the floor looking up at the birds in the sky and the gentle sounds and harmonies that then float by you as you’re glued to the floor keep you staring up at the sky.

Softly Spoken/Outside Honey amps thing back up again with good reverb-heavy guitars and harmonic vocals in a sort of Luna meets Slowdive kinda way. It’s rather laid back but not remotely horizontal as it builds and builds towards its maelstrom of distortion at the end. The album closes with NSIC that is a barely there song gently strummed and laden with echo. It’s a real Vaselines type song and it provides a cool end to a pretty cool album.

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