Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Not so dark, definitely not mean.

An album four years in the making!

A band recording in seclusion in the woods!

Insert other cryptic pull-quotes that merit exclamation points (!!!!) and italics.

Ultimately, Dark Mean's debut LP is just really good. Period.

A trio from Steel Town, Canada (aka Hamilton, Ontario), Dark Mean began work on a full-length in 2007 and released two EPs in the interim (Frankencottage and Music Box) which built steam, and interest in this, their self-titled debut. And just like it took a while to make, it takes a while to digest. It's a slow-burner, but ultimately those are the fires that provide the most warmth and last the longest. Dark Mean play a brand of indie-folk that bands like The Wilderness of Manitoba and The Deep Dark Woods also perform (though not as symphonic as the former nor as 70's AM radio as the latter). It's a music where you can hear the notes breathe on the quiet parts, but isn't afraid to shout like it's lost in the woods now and then (see: "Lullaby"). The song that ultimately won me over was "Finland," with its gorgeous trumpet line - I'm a sucker for horns and handclaps - but there are many entry points and reasons to love this little album.

The video for "Happy Banjo" is below, and is available as a free MP3 if you provide your email address over at the band's website.

Happy Banjo from Dark Mean on Vimeo.

You can purchase Dark Mean via Bandcamp.

Thanks for reading, now start listening...

Friday, June 17, 2011

Sunny future for A.M. Overcast

I'm quickly coming to the conclusion that Alexander Litinsky is a genius. Or at least a musical savant.

In a little over half a year, he's recorded two phenomenal albums of angular pop that hearken back to Pinback and run their course so quickly you're left exhausted and eager for more. December of last year saw the release of Eyes Up, and one week ago Shepherd Moon dropped onto an unsuspecting public, unprepared to be pummeled like Sugar Ray Leonard working the ring; quickly and efficiently. There are no wasted moments and no slackening of the pace from opening salvo "Valentine's Night Out on the Town" (59 seconds!) to the "Cannonball" that leaves no survivors in its wake (at 2:26 it's 9 seconds shy of being the longest track on the album).

One unexpected benefit of an album this brief is that wanting to listen to it over and over doesn't require a giant time commitment. My bus-ride to the station takes less time than Shepherd Moon - I nearly made it twice through thanks to traffic.

Check A.M. Overcast out on Facebook, and grab the album via Bandcamp. And keep an eye on my show blog since I'm trying to get A.M. Overcast to come appear on my show (and I'm definitely hoping Alex will rope in the Catherine, Kevin, and Andrew he mentions on Facebook contributed to this album to play with him as they sound like a very tight unit on highlight "Haystacks Northbound").

Thanks for reading, now start listening...