Warm Graves – Ships Will Come

warm-graves-ships-will-come

Occasionally you stumble across a record that you can’t put down. Occasionally you find a record that rewards you with each listen. Occasionally you discover a record that strikes an emotional chord; a record that becomes part of your narrative and the tapestry of your life. Ships Will Come by Warm Graves is one such record for me.

The 7 pieces of music that make up Ships Will Come are intricate soundscapes that drift in and out of consciousness, intermittently enveloping the head or piercing the heart. Warm Graves describe their music as “sci-fi-delic”, and an ethereal mysticism flows through each track. But there is a lot more to Ships Will Come: It is a film-score of a record that flickers like a vintage masterpiece as analogue burns and scratches combine with flashes of melodic light to tell an ever-changing story both beguiling and uplifting.

Ships Will Come oozes cinematographic atmosphere from every pore. The recording process involved a youth choir performing in a graveyard, and it works perfectly – a sober gravity cradles youthful fervour throughout, with vocals that conjure images of Benedictine monks reciting Gregorian chants in grand and imposing chambers. There is a wonderful depth and communal, almost transcendental feel to the experience. Gentle lapping waves of ambient drone are punctured by bursts of drug-induced euphoria that last long into the night. Each listen is an experience, an affirmation, a lesson.

I can’t recommend this enough.

The Week That Was #14

Ring, Ring the bells, for 2014 has arrived in a flurry of songs and a hailstorm of new music, threatening to overwhelm our flooded ears. Thankfully it’s winter, and sitting inside as the rain pounds down outside is pretty inviting. Here are 7 songs we have been listening to, and we promise to spare you from any more damp puns.

Monday saw the release of a number of highly anticipated new records, which have been spinning around our ears ever since. Halls Love to Give is a draw-dropping affair, both intensely personal and almost religiously communal. There is a transcendent potency in the delivery that cradles a profound truth. Album closer Body Eraser / Avalanche is charged with gravitas; haunting choral interludes intersperse lofty vocals like a beacon of light shining a spotlight through a dust-swirled atmosphere. 3 minutes in and the ground gives way, seemingly calling in the rapture. It is not easy to listen to, but then it’s not supposed to be. The thunderous post-rock esoteric builds like Vesuvius before raining feedback on your ears.

Brighton’s Rose Keeler-Schäffeler’s, or Keel Her to you and I, debut album has felt like a long time coming, if only because of her prolificacy of song writing. The self-titled album has been whittled down to 18 songs, some old, some new, some borrowed (from her own back catalogue), a few even blue. It’s an eclectic mix and a fascinating listen, as though she has personally made us all a mix tape, the type you’d receive from a friend, stick in your car, and play to death. Keeler-Schäffeler shows a deft hand working across genres and Riot Grrrl is, well, a case in point: slacker rock, surf pop and jangly west coast tones are all there in an uninhibited mash-up that passes in a blur of adrenaline and endorphins.

I’m constantly intrigued in how ones environment affects their art. And Maica Mia’s debut LP, Des Era seems to be bled into Canada’s northern soul. Sparse arrangements announce post-apocalpyse blues as different shades of grey are splashed over a barren fabric. It’s as if winter’s door is slowly closed on our souls. neH2ble is the highlight, a film score passing through the clouds to search over the decaying landscape below. It’s tender and haunting, and genuinely affecting. When the world ends, they should play this.

I’m not sure what the environs of Pesaro, Italy, are like, but with bands like Be Forest coming from there, I’d like to find out. Last week they released their sophomore effort, Earthbeat. By measure both dreamy and punchy it carries an irresistible air of mysticism grounded in fertile soil. On Airwaves angular guitars sear through the seams as the vocals float on a cloud of hazy indifference.

Nicely tagged as industrial pop there is something very personal about the vocals and lyrics to Londoners Joey Fourr‘s Born Slippery, taken from the soon to be released Art is Hard and Reeks of Effort uber compilation Art Reeks. This raw emotion contrasts and compliments the chugging guitars and coarse hook and sinks straight into the heart: Heartfelt and stirring Born Slippery is the moment butterflies flitter in the stomach, the moment the heart swoons and the moment when life stands still for a second.

Playlounge dropped Zero yesterday, the first track from their upcoming debut album, Pilot. And judging by this taster pencil in April 14th as Playlounge day. Zero contains the kind of disorientating fuzz you can usually only achieve by closing your eyes and spinning yourself around 10 times. On one leg. This 3 minutes is a lot more enjoyable and a lot less dangerous.

She’s Gone by PyPy is relentlessly boundless. A psychedelic scuzzy mess that spins your head round on the fast cycle complete with atmospheric yelps and vocals that have all the magnetic aura of Le Tigre. It’s addictive, as all the best things are.

7Tracks #9 (Christmas Special)

Christmas Special

”All I want for Christmas is you”

Len

Of all the times of the a year when I get corny and emotional, Christmas might be the number 1. Nothing brings back more memories than the Christmas tree set up in our family room, heavy with memorabilia of a pleasant and cheerful childhood – my favourite being little mailboxes made of plastic canvas that my sister and I would pack with wishes on pieces of paper. I look forward to spending time with my family, playing trivia games, eating all kinds of vegetarian Christmas food my mummy makes me and above all, singing songs. I grew up listening to The Carpenters An Old-Fashioned Christmas Album as well as Billie Holiday, Jean-Pierre Ferland, etc..

In an effort to give something new and exciting to my folks to listen to, I have put together this mixtape: some of my favourite artists sharing their take of classic carols – Summer Camp would have had my Granpa share a dance with me. Hot Club De Paris, because I am ridiculously in love and so fucking thankful for it. White Poppy with dreamy vocals served on a savoury bass line and She & Him country sound topped with Zooey’s old-timer voice, to comfort me. In early December, Will Currie & the Country French‘s Christmas in Berlin made my heart swoon with their mention of Victoria Station which I like to imagine is the one in London, where so many times over the summer, I took the train to Brighton. Bright Eyes sings the sorrow of being apart over fuzzy guitar notes and The XX create eletronical magic out of my all time favourite.

It’s a mix of joyful and sad, a little bit like my cute self – excited for the parties, dances and cocktails but with my mind drifting away, one continent over, to the bearded man I love.

7tracks #1(Anxiety balm)

This week, I have been listening to music capable of soothing the overpowering feeling that there isn’t enough time…That uncomfortable feeling when the grip you have is slightly loosening until you lose it. All uncomfortable stress aside, the week has been of great musical discoveries which help with the coping. Enter this summery anxiety balm.

While U.S. Girls gives her take on dealing with Ol’ Aunt Flow on 28 days, Pure Bathing Culture blissfuly sings a vocally majestic sad song. The kind that pinches your heart while making you smile. Badass all-female lo-fi pop punk ensemble The Courtneys are paying tribute to beautiful Beverly Hills. Kisses and Young Galaxy both made me forget the rest with an impromptu dance session, filled with dreamy pop notes. EONS(my review here) and London Grammar(Hey Now)  show honesty and that is all that matters.

All this beautiful music did not magically create more time for me, but it certainly is worth an attentive listening.