Instrumental Post Rock
Self-Released – January 9th, 2016
Sea Hero is a Louisville five-piece that released this album just in time to call it quits as a band. Though the group has been playing and producing music since before 2012, Graustark is the first album of theirs that I’ve heard, and a really nice one at that. Made up of six songs, the album plays in under thirty-five minutes, but in no way does it feel short or rushed – most of the songs are mid-tempo, texturally oriented tracks that take a calculated time to flesh themselves out before reaching their next point of arrival. Without words (although “Pride Comes Before the Fall” features a vocal sample), Sea Hero is fully capable of conveying emotion and some narrative with guitars, a bass, and drums. Most effective are those tracks that fully explore the band’s capacity for range – the album’s first track, “Like Beasts,” begins with a quiet intro, patiently rumbles into a full-out wash of guitars, and exits softly with a reprise of the intro. In much the same way, “A Spoonful of Dirt,” closes the album with even more a patient build, reaching multiple climaxes throughout its playtime – the final three minutes of the song are totally gorgeous, well-orchestrated noise. Between these two tracks are heavier, grungier pieces of music – “They Will Fall, They Always Do” has the distortion and reverb turned up on the guitars, the bass pumping with a more devious intensity, and an even more dramatic presence from the drums. As a whole, Graustark is well-paced, intricate, and explores a full range of textures, atmospheres, and emotions. For those who like post-rock – Explosions in the Sky, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, or even Sigur Rós – this should be a very enjoyable and repeatable listen.
Tracks I Liked: Like Beasts!!, Pride Comes Before the Fall!, They Will Fall, They Always Do, A Spoonful of Dirt!!!
Ben Southworth – January 13th, 2016 – Kenwick Place
Poppy Instrumental Electronica
October 2nd, 2015 – auralgami SOUNDS
The Evaporated Life is described on the one-sheet as “relentlessly optimistic,” and I doubt there’s much better a way to describe it. ATOMO is the project of a singular Louisvillian (whose name is omitted from all online materials I could find), and a seemingly new project at that. All the tracks on this album are lengthy enough for them to flesh themselves out pretty well – the shortest of them still spills over the 4:30 mark. Throughout these six works, it’s tough to place when the music is originating from, and I think that’s a good thing – there’s a refreshing mix of aged timbres (buzzing saw synths, sampled drums, and electronic organ) placed within more modern-and-constantly-evolving arrangements, none of which take themselves too seriously. This is definitely stuff you could dance to – perhaps not in the sense of Todd Terje’s driving disco displays (although track three gets close) – but it possesses the same lighthearted mood and nearly romantic atmosphere. I’m happy to see a Kentucky label putting out stuff with such diversity in sound – auralgamiSOUNDS has released garage rock, world-influenced jazz-electronica, improvised noise, and now this – all within the last twelve months, and they’ve all been quality. The Evaporated Life is fun, light, and decidedly enjoyable – I can’t imagine anybody finding it anything less than pleasant and refreshing.
Tracks I Liked: Mirrors!, Dr Waycroft’s upsidedown namepiece!!, its 2015 and i drive a computer!, Ice cream truck paranoid!!
Ben Southworth – October 3rd, 2015 – Mount Horeb