Personally, it reads like the live equivalent of an end-of-year best albums list:
The Decemberists - Colin Meloy's band of literate merry minstrels in their first trip to our shores, prog-folk ahoy!
The Temper Trap - back from slaying the UK, Sweet Disposition live: case closed!
Karnivool - always a great live act, but now with Sound Awake tunes!
and the incredible triple assault of the sci-fi prog titans:
Mastodon, The Mars Volta and of course headlining, Muse.
These names alone have my proverbial musical tastebuds well and truly whetted.
BDO tix go on sale at midnight tonight (if you're from Melbourne), so don't miss out.
What better way to calm yourself from the excitement than with a lovely review, enjoy:
Volcano Choir – Unmap (Jagjaguwar)
In 2008 Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago was an inescapable part of the musical landscape and easily one of the year’s best. A minor coup considering that the album was actually a reissue of an independent recording from Bon Iver aka Justin Vernon, a relatively unknown singer-songwriter. It’s almost mandatory at this point to mention the accompanying myth regarding the album, so let’s get that one out of the way now shall we? Man encounters emotional turmoil. Man isolates himself in wood cabin. Man emerges with powerful songs and hit-making album that catapults him to the forefront of music industry.
It’s almost an understatement to call For Emma a career-defining album that set a very high benchmark, as such it would have been easy for
Deliberate career move or not, it’s a simple way for
And now, there’s Volcano Choir, a collaboration between
There’s no real Skinny Love or Re: Stacks to be found here, but there was another moment on Emma that best indicates the direction taken here, the unsung Team. It’s no surprise that an instrumental segue should go unnoticed, but it’s this cut that best indicates the direction that
Every composition seems to lure the listener in with its intriguing mix of organic and artificial sounds. Sometimes these instruments are identifiable - ringing guitars and softly pattered drums, at others they are totally unrecognisable, the sonic equivalents of skittering wires or yawning bells. As far as
From here the album never dips in quality and at only nine tracks, it never feels like a stretch. As such, each track is given full emphasis to show off its individual moods. Dote is a shot of breathy ambience, And Gather uses cut-and-paste guitars, hand-claps, and non-sensical vocal harmonies to lilting effect. Mbira In The Morass is as unapologetically avant garde as it’s title would suggest, with
Closing Unmap out is Youlogy, featuring a beautiful gospel-tinged melody nearly completely undermined by a high-pitched dissonant drone, the tension rising until it is slowly calmed by a wash of vocal harmonies.
Volcano Choir proves an interesting diversion for both parties involved, and while it is an obvious sonic equation of the two artists’ efforts, it doesn’t take away from eithers abilities. Collection of Colonies of Bees have brought plenty to the table in terms of dishing out folk-tinged but unmistakably minimalist compositions that enrapture and engage over multiple listens, but the album proves positive particularly for Justin Vernon. Those worried that For Emma was a fluke, a one-off moment of serendipity, needn’t worry. Unmap proves that there are plenty of artistic curiosities and yearnings to
check it out:
YouTube clip for Island, IS
and a video for Still via my buddy Dan's blog (one good plug deserves another).