Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Mohn - Walk Among The Scene

Mohn - Walk Among The Scene
2015 / Sunshine Coast, Australia

Though Mohn may fall outside the realm of what I generally listen to, I found myself drawn to the glum, floating feeling created by his music. The slightly lo-fi, hazy production adds to the charm of the relatively minimal beats, often consisting of steady hip-hop drum patterns guided by glossy keyboard strokes, all amidst ambient and dark soundscapes fluttering in the background. These mostly instrumental tunes (there are occasional vocal samples, such as in the first track, but there is no actual vocal performance from Mohn as far as I can tell) are downtempo and unassuming. My favorite moments on a lot of these tracks sound the way laying in bed at night and taking a deep breath feels; unfortunately, many of those tracks flounder under their own lack of direction. Though the faster beats and jazzy chord strokes of tracks such as "13am" prevent me from likening Mohn to muzak or the work of ambient artists such as Brian Eno, Walk Among The Scene is still relaxing and enjoyable as background music. Though it is the longest track on the album, "First to Last" seems to give the best indication of Mohn's sound and aesthetic, as it sounds like the soundtrack to a modern interpretation of what might be playing in Edward Hopper's 1942 painting, Nighthawks. That may simultaneously be the greatest compliment and summation I can give of Mohn's work. Walk Among The Scene is far from perfect and, though it may not be the most engaging or beautifully composed body of music, the gloomy, opiated vibes on tracks such as "First to Last," "Papers," and "Cut & Repose" are enough to warrant a listen, at the very least.

FFO: I'm not especially familiar with producers or similar artists so I can't offer a particularly accurate recommendation list, but I hear similarities (either in relation to production or tone) to Ricky Eat Acid (early works) or a darker, simplified, and instrumental Moby or Aim. 

Mohn on Facebook

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Lil Dowager - Attorney at Law

Lil Dowager - Attorney at Law
2013 / Oakland, CA

Noisy and percussive guitar playing pierced by occasionally modulated, consistently shrieked vocals (think a harsher version of Presents-era Jeromes Dream) delivered in concise albeit jarring songs, most hovering around a minute in length. Interesting rhythms (with an especially nice dance groove midway through the third track) and a solid bass performance keep things rooted amidst swirling distortion and general chaos. That being said, the audio samples used add little to the overall presentation of the music, though they do provide a momentary rest from the otherwise relentless instrumentation. All in all, Lil Dowager is a breath of fresh air in a saturated punk scene plagued by bands that are afraid to be weird.

FFO: Daughters, Jeromes Dream, Usurp Synapse, Scowler

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Youth Funeral / Ittō

Mike and I recently had the pleasure of playing a few shows with Ittõ and Capacities as part of a few day tour with Youth Funeral. I've uploaded some videos and photos from the final show of this jaunt.

Perspective, a Lovely Hand to Hold

Chalk Li

Youth Funeral



Friday, May 2, 2014

Update: Zine Assembly

Listening to the rock radio station (so far I've had blocks of Bad Company, Nirvana, The Eagles, and Led Zep) and putting together some zines. 

Keep yr eyes peeled for some announcements this month. Maybe. xoxo

Friday, April 18, 2014

Band Spotlight: 6:37

(Photo courtesy of user KeithMichael)
6:37 was an instrumental band featuring members of Deer Leap, Early Birds, Call Her Alaska, and Our Last Night. Their sound was far more comparable to the first three of those bands. Their post-rock sound is reminiscent of the more delicate and pretty sections of bands such as Explosions in the Sky, Mogwai, Caspian, etc. The mood never gets too dark or sad, always moving with an uplifting swing, the notes bouncing and melting off the necks of their guitars. You can really hear Keith (guitarist from Deer Leap)'s influence here, as the tone and playing style is very similar to other projects he has been involved in. Sadly, all that remains of their legacy is a six song demo, but thankfully it's excellent, building and twirling until the final eleven-minute epic, "Last Song." 

Here's a Youtube video of the fifth track on the demo, "The Busy World Of Richard Scary."

Demo | Download or Download

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Update: What's in the Works

It's been slow here over at No Guidance HQ, but we're still going -- gasping, but somehow still alive, one might say. We've been slow with the updates due to our involvement with school and other far less interesting endeavors but, rest assured, we are slowly ironing out the details for our next few releases. Long since our initial announcement, we should finally be releasing something nice for Chalk Li, currently planning the packaging and accompanying goodies for the release as they prepare to record some new songs. We've got another cassette that I'm very excited for that we'll be announcing soon and we're also hopefully going to be helping to release a split 7" between Youth Funeral and Scowler (more details soon…it's always "soon, soon, soon").

The first batch of Youth Funeral cassettes are nearly sold out, with just two or three left and in the possession of the band now. The second run (out of a 100) have been ordered, are in, and are available for purchase either online or at the band's shows. In regards to those, here's a brief itinerary of what the band currently has planned, in case you were wondering or would like to help spread word. A number of these dates are with the seminal bands Capacities and Ittō so it's assuredly going to be a really good time.

ATTENTION: CANADIAN AUDIENCES -- We're sending a batch of the Youth Funeral cassettes up to our friend Dave at Zegema Beach Records for distribution. Finally, purchasing one of these will be financially reasonable and there hopefully won't be the issue of the exorbitant costs of shipping a single cassette and zine. I'll post another update when the package goes out and another, with link, for when Dave updates his distro.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Band Spotlight: Magnolia Nelson's Self-Inflicted Cruel Advice

(Photo courtesy of Morgan Williams)

I first heard Magnolia Nelson last August, when they released "Sixteen Holes," the first song on this album, as a single. Immediately drawn to the familiar and comforting dream-pop sound that the band had, I eagerly awaited seeing their live performance. Fortunately, I was able to see them perform twice over the following months, and each time, I saw the band reinvent itself. 

The first live performance was at a college art space and, as the set progressed, the music became an increasingly enveloping wall of fuzz and the musicians flailed with a Sonic Youth-esque reckless abandon. It was less nervous and calculated than the single had led me to believe, even without a live drummer. The band appropriately covered "You Made Me Realise", performed well, and I was comfortable acknowledging them as a reputable upcoming shoegaze band.

The second live performance was in a small basement, as part of a mixed-bill show occurring in the midst of a terrible snowstorm. Here, I saw the band strip away the noisy, immense wall of sound and show that they are delicate. Performing as an acoustic duo, this second set clearly highlighted Kyle Coen's pained but talented vocal abilities; once again, my impression of Magnolia Nelson had changed.

True to form, the band's first proper release surprised me again. In short, Self-Inflicted Cruel Advice is charming. Released on Immolation Records, these five songs continue to reshape what the band is capable of. Rather than creating a harsh wall of noise, Self-Inflicted Cruel Advice drapes a blanket over the listener, tucking them in and allowing them to melt into their surroundings. Shoegaze bands have a remarkable tendency to surprise and immerse listeners by experimenting with the different layers and textures within a song; this album's production, noticeably more lo-fi than the single, gives the band precise control over this. The overall feel is soft and delicate, with the fuzz of the instruments more washed-out than abrasive, but even minor adjustments to the tone of a guitar, such as the middle of "Bone From Wire" or the lead in "In Spurts", can completely change the feel of a section. Although I do personally prefer the huge, brain-ripping noise promised by bands such as My Bloody ValentineSelf-Inflicted Cruel Advice is still powerful in how gentle and intimate it is, establishing itself as a promising debut from one of the more interesting new bands in New England.

EDIT: Unfortunately, I just learned that they actually broke up, leaving this album as their first and likely last venture as a band. For shame, but c'est la vie.

Stream/Download Self-Inflicted Cruel Advice (Bandcamp)
Download Self-Inflicted Cruel Advice (Mediafire)