There is a lot of music to digest these days.
For whatever reason, while we try and listen to everything that gets sent to us, especially those songs from Saskatchewan artists, we don’t always have the time to write about it. We’re trying, we promise.
Here are but a few of the albums from last year that we didn’t get around to writing about when they first came out. And then we are going to stop talking about 2016 forever. We promise.
Country Feedback – “Um, Like, Whatever/See You Tomorrow”
Country Feedback is Chris Smith. It’s also the name of Michael Stipe’s “particular favorite R.E.M. song”, as he had a habit of saying while intro’ing the song live. Country Feedback the band mysteriously popped up on show posters this fall and, not surprisingly considering the name, delivered a series of songs mining that same perfectly blissed out, and slightly messed up era of R.E.M. circa New Adventures in HiFi. On See You Tomorrow, reverb laden guitar sits on a bed of hazy ambience, before Smith’s quietly confident voice comes in, nicely matched with ghostly backing vocals from Jill Laflamme. It’s heavy, and heady stuff, and it’s very good. Halfway between late night terror and the blissed out haze of watching the sun rise. – TM
Jon Vaughn – Impossible Musics Vol. 1
Emerging from the wildly eclectic Jon Vaughn, a visual artist known for bizarro pieces that relay abstractisms and strange pop-culture references, Impossible Musics Vol. 1 is soundtrack extension to the tangible world he inhabits – something especially inherent in that several of the tracks were recorded in a screen printing studio. While a number of the pieces are long-meandering compositions filled with seemingly-randomly-chosen notes and heavily-improvised sound flourishes, the collaged nature of the playing manages to pluck out several moments of hoarse bombast. – CM
Lip Forest – Planing
Amidst a lonely clip-clop beat is the strolling lovely melodies of Lip Forest, a solo-type project that combines acoustic ambience with sparse instrumentation and a sparkle of summer magic. A short, albeit wholesomely sweet, offering, Lip Forest similarly put in a dandy of a live performance alongside a similar cool cadre of artists at PAVED. – CM
Lavagoat – Ladies From Hades
More regular fare from the trustworthy titans of prairie metal, Lavagoat continue to deliver slow satanic riffs. Rife with sound clips and atmospheric organs, this is a slight evolution for the band both in sound and theme. Each song pays tribute to the concept of “the wicked woman,” and guest vocalist Taylor Jade (Little Criminals, Vagiant) adds some welcome femininity to the album. Stay tuned for more from Lavagoat, as I’m sure they’ll continue growing greater and greater. – AS
Ones – Drawn From the Water
Ryan Davidson has really pulled away from performing live, and we’ve been wondering what he’s been doing lately. Since dissolving his popular psych band Feral Children, Davidson has been focusing on his project Ones. Assuming a recent conversion to Christianity took place in Davidson’s life, Drawn From the Water features many allusions to messianic personage and spiritual inspiration. Musically, the compositions are lite pop affairs with hums and swells that hint at a former psychedelia. While at times flat sounding, something that could have turned out grossly evangelical thankfully comes across as ultimately meditative. – AS
Black Thunder – I I I
Amidst the percolation of weird sci-fi pedal murmurs comes Black Thunder, a Regina trio who collectively wield a flaming, galloping clatter of pummeling guitar riffs and a vocal delivery reminiscent of stoner kings Fu Manchu. While the album tends to sound like it is perpetually shrouded in a heavy smoke haze, the songwriting tends to follow an interesting flow, balancing between nimble guitar leads and unrelenting rhythm pummels. And while nearly half the songs eclipse the five-minute-mark, there’s few moments where the album drags or resembles anything less than monumental – for the most part, I I I is downright elephantine. – CM