Tag Archives: post-rock

The New Folk XV – Winter Sounds

This Lost Shark is moving slowly today… winter sun, lapping between my shoulder blades and the gentlest of breezes prickling my neck. Sunday’s don’t come much better, and today’s soundtrack comes courtesy of two fine Australian bands and one from the windy city of Chicago. Lose your self in these sounds… let your day find its own pace.

E-Song – Nikko

Brisbane band, Nikko have just released their much anticipated debut, The Warm Side. It is a brooding, densely crafted song cycle that seeps further into your consciousness with each listen. The band swings moodily across the nine songs, creating sonic peaks and troughs for singer/guitarist Ryan Potter to climb in and out of with his sparse lyricism. The Warm Side is a mature, intelligent debut, one that combines tension and tenderness, and leaves you with a feeling of discovery. While E-Song is not from the debut, I couldn’t resist posting this collaboration – Killing Time – with filmmaker Oliver Lofgren.

II – Fabulous Diamonds

Reverberated percussion, dubby-synths, isolated vocals, ghostly saxophone, this is the sonic terrain inhabited by Melbourne duo, Fabulous Diamonds. Their recent release II, is nothing short of hypnotic, blending extended, repetitive jams with shorter, surreal pop songs. This clip captures Fabulous Diamonds onstage creating a mesmerising soundscape that takes the boundary of pop music and unrelentingly stretches it.

Red Ants – Sonoi

Hailing from Chicago, sonoi are another band that are challenging the pop stereotype, with their warmly composed instrumentals, ambient collages and off-kilter rock. Red Ants opens their debut album and is one of the tracks that comes close to combining all of their styles. It is dreamlike in its construction, the melodic guitar line, floating keys and pulsing drum rhythms providing the perfect bed for Adam Busch’s heady vocals. Other highlights on the album are the perfectly crafted angular rock of Sherry Fall and the ambitious and album changing Anchor Tattoo.


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Songs To Write To

There has been some talk lately about getting people to post the songs/albums that they listen to while writing, so I thought I would lead off by posting five of my current favourite artists and links to some of the sounds that are currently helping me put pen to paper. Hopefully this inspires a few others to make a similar post (or leave a comment with links to your fave writing music) so that we can all broaden our musical palette and get a sense of the music that makes our writing tick.

Balmorhea – All is Wild, All is Silent

Balmorhea’s third album is a swirling masterpiece. The musical landscape these Texan’s create slowly draws you in and then let’s the fireworks ignite. And importantly there is enough silence to let the words come freely. Here’s links to two songs from the album – Remembrance and Settler (a great live version)

Tortoise – Beacons of Ancestorship

Tortoise’s latest blends scrappy rock, cool jazz and fuzzed out synth-pop… sometimes all in the one track. They are band that never let you get too comfortable… each change in dynamic making your blood surge and hopefully the words along with it. Check out Prepare Your Coffin and album opener High Class Slim Came Floatin’ In.

Because of Ghosts – This Culture of Background Noise

Recorded at the legendary Hotel2Tango in Montreal, the Melbourne 3-piece have taken their spidery melodies and scratchy percussion to new heights. While their crescendos may make your limbs buckle (in the best kind of way), the journey to the top and down again is studded with beauty. Just watch the clips for “…in 2050 when we know we’ll all be dead anyway” and Dreaming is Essential.

Explosions in the Sky – The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place

I saw this band a while ago and they made my ears melt. Their blistering guitar attack and percussive drive is both melodic and angular. This album has been on regular rotation in my house since its release in 2003 and it has lost none of its shine. Get a taste here: First Breath After Coma and The Only Moment We Were Alone (live… where they are at their absolute peak!)


Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven

For me, the band that started it all… I discovered Lift Your Skinny Fists through a review in The Big Issue and it changed the way I listen to music. Their sprawling instrumentals blend rock, chamber music, samples and field recordings to create some of the most cinematic music of our times. My writing would not be the same without them. So to finish, here’s Antennas to Heaven pt 1 and Antennas to Heaven pt 2


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The first sounds of 2010

The new year is unfolding before us… two skys have opened and already my mind is filling with song. There is always much anticipation at this time of year and I too am anticipating great things for 2010. So, whatever you do, wherever you are, may creativity rush through you unbridled… And to colour that rush, here are some of the sounds that I will carry with me throughout the year…

Gregor Samsa – Jeroen Van Aken

Classical glissandos of piano, muted drum rhythms, weeping strings and vibraphone come together with harmonious intensity, while the vocals simmer, whispering their truths. Jeroen Van Aken, taken from Gregor Samsa’s latest album Rest, is the birth name of artist, Hieronymus Bosch, but rather than descending into the at times apocalyptic visions of Bosch, the song takes us to the edge with dazzling restraint. The langorous quality of these songs, welcome you in and hold you dreamlike. This is an album of lasting beauty.

Balmorhea – Remembrance

Balmorhea are one of those rare bands, unafraid of stillness. Their latest longplayer, All Is Wild, All Is Silent, is swirling with folk instrumentals, each song conjuring the majestic atmosphere of Steinbeck’s dustbowl America. Gently picked guitars (and banjo), fleet drums and emphatic piano lines colour the landscape; their sound as vast as the sky, often emptying into silence. This is an album to slow the spin of life. To make you drop anchor and hear the pin drop.

Machine Translations – Oh Ma, The Sea Is Rising

This is taken from the 2009 DVD/CD release, Last Hope, a collection of short films, inspired by the ocean, set to the sounds of artists such as Explosions in the Sky, Smog, The Dirty Three, Holly Throsby and of course, Machine Translations. The collection was put together by Andrew Kidman and takes a collage approach, collecting moments that highlight the intense power and beauty of the ocean. This is so much more than a surfing film, which it is often referred to as… For anyone who has ever lost themselves at the hem of land and sea, this will sweep you away.

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New Music for Lost Sharks

The new music cup is spilling over at the moment, with some very cool releases. Here’s a taste of what’s creating waves in the world of this Lost Shark.



Nick Cave & Warren Ellis

Nick Cave & Warren Ellis – Sorya Market

This track is taken from the film The Girls of Phnom Penh and can be found on their new release White Lunar, which collects much of this duos soundtrack work from the last few years. Since the departure of Blixa Bargeld and more recently Mick Harvey from the Bad Seeds, Ellis has become Cave’s main collaborator. This track is stunning in its simplicity.



Do make Say Think

Do Make Say Think – A Tender History in Rust

Toronto’s Do Make Say Think are set to release their sixth long player Other Truths, and while it may only have four tracks, this is definitely not an EP. Do Make Say Think, create sonic narratives, songs that cast off the compositional anchor and set sail for non-liner waters. Here’s a track from their last album, You, You’re a History in Rust to help you on your way… Other Truths will be released in late October. You can currently listen to a sample here.




Lou Barlow – The Right

Barlow is an indie institution. Whether he be with Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh, Folk Implosion or in solo mode, his songs have always had a clear-eyed pop sensibility. His new album Goodnight Unknown will be released in early October. For those of you who just can’t get enough Lou, you can watch a documentary of the making of Goodnight Unknown here.



Ghostboy with Golden Virtues

Ghostboy with Golden Virtues – Wolfish

This is the first taste from what is sure to be a wildly dynamic debut album. Shot in New Farm Park in the depths of morning, this showcases Ghostboy with Golden Virtues at their dizzying best. It’s Howling meets Breakfast Club, it’s burlesque meets snyth pop, it’s damn good fun!


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Who Listens To The Radio? part 2

Here are three more albums that have got these ears excited in 2008.

Forget the radio!

No One is Holding a Gun to Your Head (Songs To Run To): Bremen Town Musician

Bremen Town Musician are a three-piece experimental folk-blues freak-out. No One is Holding a Gun to Your Head (Songs To Run To) is the second album and charts new sonic territory for the band. This album smoulders, opening with the instrumental tracks Song to Run to and Governor Wren. The introduction of vocals on Steady lifts the intensity again and segues perfectly into Sailor Song; Marissa Allen’s voice bristling above the swirl of violin, drums, guitar/bass. Each song takes on its own character – the ethereal Love; the abrasive Disco Frogs and Shooting Stars Under Midnight; the delicate You Don’t Have To. No One is Holding a Gun to Your Head is one of those rare albums that demands high rotation. Every listen takes you somewhere new, uncharted… so throw away the map; this is an album of discovery.


 Tell Tale Signs (The Bootleg Series vol. 8): Bob Dylan

Well, here is a man who needs no introduction and with 40+ albums already available why buy another bootleg? Well first up, there is never a definitive version of any song for Dylan. Each recording is a time capsule; the song as it was at that moment. Tell Tale Signs captures 27 songs from the period 1989 – 2005, including 5 live tracks, 6 alternate versions, 3 songs previously only available on Soundtracks, demos and other unreleased gems. Red River Shore is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful songs Dylan has ever penned. Possessed by the love that damned him, Dylan spins an old school narrative with his trademark mix of religion and existentialism. Another stand out is the song Mississippi. Three versions are included and it is here that Dylan’s ability as a singer is showcased. By exploring tone and phrasing Dylan uncovers new possibilities for this song with each take.Version #1 a soft-spoken lament, Version #2 dog-tired and raspy and Version #3 a powerful last stand. Tell Tale Signs is not a fan only affair. This is Dylan capturing moments of truth.

This Culture Of Background Noise: Because of Ghosts

This is the second long player from innovative Melbourne 3-piece. Recorded at the legendary Hotel2Tango, This Culture Of Background Noise, is anything but (background noise, that is). Each track (all instrumental) is a soaring mix of inticiate guitar, drums and live sampling. Each creates an atmosphere, somewhat akin to that electric feeling that prickles the skin just before a summer storm cracks open. The drums gather and build the momentum, the guitars stir and tremble. Importantly, this album has space for the mind to create its own narrative. The sound never too busy, never too dark, never too moody. Just the right amount of melancholy and raw noir introspection to hold you entranced.

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