Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Wet Socks - 2012 - Soaking Wet

<a href="https://wetsocks.bandcamp.com/album/soaking-wet"
  • 5 songs to download
  • You name the price (min 0,-)
  • You get the link if you register your email address
  • Listening recommendations: Asleep With The Tv On
THEY SOUND LIKE THEY’RE PLAYING LIVE. WHAT? LIVE. THEY SOUND LIKE THEY’RE PLAYING LIVE. LIVE? YEAH, LIVE… that’s the pretend conversation I’m having with my friend because WET SOCKS are playing and we’re right in front of the speaker.
That’s the only way to enjoy this garage EP. If you’re not in the right mindset you won’t enjoy it, like punk before punk became sissies whining about their feelings. The lo-fi is subtle but all there: megaphone vocals, slightly revolting drums, and of course chippy quality. It worked because lyrics don’t matter at this point. If I really cared to listen to them I would, but it doesn’t matter. I just know I heard the word “girl” about 15 times. All in all, this is fun, and a 5/5 for me means I can listen to the set over and over again without substantial weak spots. Not only that, but I’m going to keep listening to this one after it goes on up the page.
Having a crappy week? Throw it on the record player, because it certainly sounds like vinyl. And because this twisted puppy only has 5 tracks, I’m going to go ahead and walk you through it:
1st – that’s the live sound I was yelling to my friend about earlier. Even though it’s the weakest track, it’s sort of like, "here, have some sound; I need to throw out anyway. Do whatever you want with that. This is just a thesis."
2nd track – nothing but smiles here. I’m happily angry at my summer. No school, but it was always more… fun than it is right now. My expectations weren’t high and I’m still disappointed. I hate growing up.
3rd – Who has seen Pulp Fiction? This is John Travolta driving in the night when he’s high on heroin. Right turn, left turn, it’s all the same. The guitar solos don’t sell this song short either. Follow them and they take you down a winding, endless road. Honestly, it just sounds really cool.
4th – the most beach sounding track. As it turns out, that narrow road went through a tunnel road, and we emerged at the site of a beach bonfire. As it is, the air feels sweet. Sneakin’ around stood out like a lollipop and it’s a special track for me because of the chorus. It’s so damn swift and a change of pace I wish it was played again… and again. It ends with what sounds like passing out.
5th – we stayed at the beach all night and the sand is starting to get annoying instead of fun to step on. I just wanna crash indoors, could be a couch. I don’t care. Who’s driving? Where are my keys? There they are. Let’s do this again sometime.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Backyard Ghost - 2014 - Descantece

Dark Ambient
<a href="https://sombresoniks.bandcamp.com/album/desc-ntece"
  • 8 songs to download
  • You name the price (min 0,-)
  • You get the link if you register your email address
  • Listening recommendations: Adrift , The Premature Burial
Backyard Ghost's album is definitely not for the faint-hearted. If I didn't experience a "dark" (black metal&co) phase about 10 years ago, I might have hesitated to hit play on certain tracks, and probably considered them blasphemous as my sense of foreboding grew stronger. But Descântece (Romanian term meaning "incantations") is a mild, yet disturbing dark ambient album, having the supernatural as a prevailing theme: ghosts, burials (and premature ones at that), haunted forests, spirits and rituals. Releasing a mere 8 days before Halloween must have been a joy to "ritualists" everywhere.

Interesting enough, the artist is not Romanian. He did use Romanian titles and the album cover features a Transylvanian castle. When asked about his interest in Romania, he confesses: “I Guess I Am Interested In Romania, Eastern Europe And Its Folklore, I Have A Good Friend From Romania As Well And Wish To Honor Her…” 

The album’s second track, The Premature Burial is similar to Negură Bunget's atmospheric track Primul Om, (probably the most famous Romanian black metal band) as far as the bright, symphonic, positive moment of epiphany is concerned; even mentioning these words - epiphany, positive - is blasphemous to Backyard Ghost and to this genre. But I never really understood the meaning nor the need of these bright parts in this context. I assume they're trying to bring some balance to the troubled, abyssal tunes. Nonetheless The Premature Burial's brief epiphany-moment gets altered by the excessive use of the resonance effect of the analog synth. I would have preferred a more extended 4:16 part and less resonance effect (that reminded me too much of Jean Michel Jarre). Apart from that, it is one of the most melodic tracks on the album, along with Adrift. Hoia Baciu refers to a Transylvanian forest famous for its "paranormal activity". If Backyard Ghost used field recordings for this track (and he probably did), they were taken from this forest, to our excitement and terror, while the ending track of the album, Stafie (Romanian term meaning "ghost"), portrays the perfect outro taken from a horror movie. 

The track titles may make your skin crawl, so I will refrain from going deeper into that. After some time I became interested in how much the artist “means” with his work. How serious he seems when he composes something like “You Drew A Star And I Drew A Circle”. A friend of mine (interested in this genre) shared his insights with me: “I see things as a performance, an act. There are some radical bands, too, but they wouldn’t leave prison anytime soon”. Performance it is, then. 
A few more words about the artist: Backyard Ghost really enjoys using ellipses when describing his music, indicating uncertainty, unfinished thoughts and probably mystery. However, the song titles here and in dark ambient as a whole tend to leave subtlety at the door, with titles such as The Premature Burial, Neglected Spirits, First Signs of Infection, trying so hard to evoke a sense of dread, and terror, that they remove any sense of mystery. Even though these titles suit their respective tracks, leaving a little something to your listener's imagination goes a long way. 

On the contrary, Backyard Ghost, when asked to describe the message conveyed by his music, he cites the opposite effect: “I Usually Let My Musical Works Speak For Themselves… And Let The Listener Use Their Imaginations, Like Reading A Good Book… To Conjure Images And Deeper Meanings To The Sounds.

I'm not that type of person who listens to music on max, but for the Backyard Ghost's rich sound texture I made an exception. No one will blame you anyway,as your neighbours might be more inclined to associate the dissonant drones with some bird trapped in their air shaft, rather than the music you listen to.