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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

New Music: Castanets & Mount Eerie

I wanted to give you guys a head's up on two new records that are currently ruling my world. I love music so much, probably more than film, and when something remarkable comes along, that I can't take out of my CD player, I feel compelled to share with you guys.

Castanets: Texas Rose, The Thaw and The Beasts(Asthmatic Kitty): For those not in the know, Castanets is the project of one Ray Raposa. This is his seventh album, and the grandest project that he has done before. I think the best label for what Ray does is "gothic-country", but even that doesn't do him justice. Stylistically, in the past, he has been all over the map, but this record sounds like he has finally honed it down into something cohesive. This is one of the most beautiful records that I have heard in quite sometime. It falls in the folk category, but is prone to noise freakouts, and fat programmed beats. "Rose", the first track, begins as an achingly beautiful folk song, and builds up into another beast, complete with Queen-like backing vocals. "No Trouble" is a blues song with phat beats, that is a lovemaking song if I ever heard one. Every song is a keeper, even the "interlude" type songs, as they add to the entire atmosphere of the record. This is the kind of record that you need to sit down and digest as a whole. Not to be split up on an IPOD, or listened to casually, this record needs your attention! If I had to describe this to a novice, I would say it sounds like Roger Waters(Pink Floyd) and Ennio Morricone(film composer), tripping on Peyote, and covering old blues songs in the desert. If that description tickles your fancy, be sure to pick up a copy, and support independent artists. It is not officially out yet, the street date is late September/early October, do yourself a favor and pick it up, if you don't love this, you are deaf!!
Mount Eerie:Wind's Poem(P.W. Elverum & Sun): Mount Eerie is another one-man band, and the man responsible is Phil Elverum, previously of The Microphones. In the past, Mount Eerie has produced moody, dis harmonic, folk songs that could be played around a campfire. So when I heard that Phil had been listening to a lot of Black Metal(particularly Xasthur), and his next record was going to greatly influenced by said genre, I knew that I had to hear it. Then the next article I read said that besides Black Metal, it was equally influenced by David Lynch's masterful series Twin Peaks, I knew that this record had my name all over it!!
Unlike the Castanets record, Phil's songs do not follow traditional structures very often. That is not a bad thing at all, and lends itself to the atmosphere immensely. I was kind of shocked that it doesn't really contain any actual Black Metal at all, it just takes the cold atmosphere of that genre and mixes it with the head-fuckery of Lynch and produces something altogether new! This is not really a record that I can explain with words, but some adjectives that come to mind are: dark, brooding, atmospheric, and spooky! This one really takes a few listens to actually sink in. After the 3rd or 4th listen, all of the subtle nuances that Elverum creates finally start to stand out, and you realize all of the work that actually went into these songs. If you are a fan, of dark, moody music, I cannot emphasize how much you need this record!! If you dig Xasthur or the Twin Peaks soundtracks, or any of Elverum's past catalog, run out and buy this one. It has already been released on his own label, so once again, support underground and independent music, and keep your money out of the hands of big companies and corporations!!!

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