You may also like: Beach Fossils, the Drums
Finnland is not really known for its bright weather, sunny beaches with endless sand and foamy waves to take a great surf on - the more we have to value the musical work of one of its greatest indie exports: French Films.
Highly anticipated, a few days ago the five lads just came around with a new album. Echoing, retroish sounds, taking a bit of a distance from their slightly post-punk-influenced firstling, White Orchid definitely rather finds its places on top of one of those foamy waves, riding it with joy and enthusiasm - until Into Thousand Years brings in the calm, the time when you’re done with your day of surfing, you’re out of the water, your heart still bumps from the exhausting yet enthusing time in the water - and you watch the last bits of the sun caressing the ocean’s horizon. Too much kitsch? The album isn’t, it just doesn’t take things too serious, it has its bit turns and odds here and there, still having a nicely continuous, constantly wonderful flow. And who would seriously mind to spend a magnificent, peaceful day at the beach? Exactly. Well, here you have your soundtrack.
ps: If you’re in Europe, don’t miss out on the band as they’re touring now. Berlin’s Postbahnhof it is tomorrow on Saturday 11th May, more venues and cities to follow!
You may also like: Beach Fossils, the Drums
You may also like: The xx, James Blake, Astronauts etc.
London-based singer/songwriter and electronic producer William Arcane dropped another quite magnificent song: Want Somebody combines some slight hints of the subtle yet magnetic attraction of James Blake’s tunes with a beat which somehow would perfectly fit in the consortium of the xx. Yet, he adds his quite personal note.
Do you need anything else to be convinced that this man is doing quite excellent music? I wonder if you would.
Keep up your ears as Arcane’s full length album Permanence is dropping on 10th June.
Here it is already: The 3rd round of THE CIRCUMFLEX:INTRODUCING. And also this time, a quite promising assembly of artists enters the stage. Heading from Toronto, the Canadians of Grounders combine Arcade Fire-esque melancholy and barockesque musical grace with the brilliant impulsivity of (then) WU LYF. Definitely a group to be checked out, as otherwise you will miss out on the euphoria Grounders’ sound may give to your acoustic nervous system.
The Circumflex: Tell us some introductory bits and bobs about yourselves. How did Grounders start?
Grounders (Andrew): About three years ago, while I was in my last year of music studies at York University, I made a bunch of instrumental demos on my laptop, pretty weird but catchy stuff. I had already been playing in a band with our drummer Rob, and had also played a bit with Dan and Mike so I knew we would make a good team. We were juggling instruments at that point we brought Evan on board. At first the band was just an excuse to play shows around Toronto, but then we got accepted to play our first POP Montreal in 2010. We got to open for Bear in Heaven, Twin Sister, and The Luyas, and it was the first validating moment for us.
The Circumflex: Your EP ‘Wreck of a Smile’ contains so many good things of last decade’s indie music, bringing along the genius-weirdo attitude of WU LYF but also the almost tragical beauty of the tunes of Arcade Fire. Would those be artists you would’ve liked to cooperate with?
Grounders (Andrew): Truthfully I’d never heard of WU LYF until you suggested the similarity, but Arcade Fire, that’s a very flattering comparison. I really admire how big and cohesive their entire project is in every aspect. There’s definitely a lot that I’d love to learn from them, like how they build and arrange songs.
The Circumflex: Who else would be your dream catch for a musical team-up?
Grounders (Andrew): Randy Newman, he’s an expert arranger. And I’d really love work with Dave Friedman, he’s an amazing producer and has some great sounds. But right now it’s hard to think about collaborating with people hypothetically, because we’re still learning how to work with each other.
The Circumflex: What was, for each of you, the most influential record during the writing process of your EP?
Grounders (Andrew): Honestly it was the first time we were recording properly, and we were mostly just wrapped up in getting a sound that was nuanced and weird and accessible by our own standards. I’m sure we’ll be able to think more about other records when we’re making our full length, which we’re just beginning to do now.
The Circumflex: What were the best and the worst moments of your recording process?
Grounders (Andrew): The first day we saw the studio was really exciting. It’s a small space in downtown Toronto called Boom Box Sound - Born Ruffians just made their new record there. There’s tons of cool new and vintage gear – synths and pedals and guitars - so we really loved playing and recording with those. And the process of recording and layering tons of sounds was really fun.
The hardest part was that we were all rookies, even our producer Marcel was new to the process as well – Wreck of a Smile is the first official release he’s ever produced. So we didn’t have anyone guiding us on where to start or what to do.
The Circumflex: Where in your everyday’s environment do you find inspiration for your songwriting?
Grounders (Andrew): Most of my inspiration comes from listening to music and watching other bands play, and identifying the most compelling aspects of their sound – big sounds, strange sounds. Sounds have always been really important for me, even when I was making the first Grounders demos I was building songs around sounds.
The Circumflex: It often happens that the musical backgrounds of band members totally differ from one to another. Sometimes people who banged their heads heavy to metal during their youth start to write dream pop in their twenties. Does that also accord to you?
You may also like: Dirty Projectors, Grizzly Bear
Deerhunter are back - with their already 5th record, now on pre-stream via NPR. From what I heard until now, Monomania, as they named their new work, sounds much rougher, intense, unexpected and volatile than its predecessors - which may not be too bad, on the contrary: it is a pretty good record! Which is going to be published physically on 7th May.
Listen to Deerhunter’s Monomania on NPR here!
You may also like: Twin Shadow, Real Estate, Future Islands
Wild Nothing has released a new song called A Dancing Shell which is accompanied by a quite fancy,
artsy and well - colourful video. The sound is kept 80-esque and reverberating as usual, nonetheless I have the impression that the amount of ‘eightiness’ has risen even more.
But never releasing a new song without a purpose, Wild Nothing also announced an upcoming 7-track-EP called Empty Estate, to be published on 14th May via Captured Tracks/Bella Union.
After the first INTRODUCING celebrated its upcoming with Wickerbird, the second one strolls around the corner with GRMLN, an artist from the sunny and wavy coasts of California. Whereas the first does spherical, dreamy and distant sounds, GRMLN is an expert of the quite vintage-y, lo-fi surfpop sounds which will accompany you when (imagining) you drive your oldschool car with the surfboard on top to the beach. Yeah, quite cliché. But apparently, GRMLN wants to make a difference with his new record. How he does that, and why even the soap-choice of your next door’s hypermarket can be inspirational when writing music - read about that below. Enjoy!
The Circumflex: Hey Yoodoo, Introduce yourself to us please!
GRMLN: Well, my name is Yoodoo Park, and I am GRMLN.
The Circumflex: How did you start to make music? Was there any..initial event? Thought?
GRMLN: I started playing music during my middle school years but I started recording and messing around with sounds during high school. But it was mostly playing music because I was bored a lot at that time.
The Circumflex: would you thus say that music was kind of an escape from a high school caused boredom?
GRMLN: I guess that in high school, music was more of a hobby for me to do to keep me occupied when I was at home doing nothing. But now playing and writing music for me has a way different meaning for me now than I had back then.
The Circumflex: So what does it mean now? do you do anything besides music or is it your life’s focus point?
GRMLN: I go to college now so just graduating would be nice. But I use writing music as a way of ranting about life I guess.
The Circumflex: Thus your own life experiences the pivot of your songwriting, or is there anything else which is inspiring you?
GRMLN: It honestly depends but I’ve definitely been inspired to write when I’m really amped up from random things like getting ready to go to [huge supermarket, for all those Europeans who do not know it], or something really stupid. But inspiration wise, I feel like my surrounding is the biggest part of what I make.
The Circumflex:…planning to buy some chips, cola and popcorn and cleaning towels is deeply and creativly inspiring?
GRMLN (laughs): Well I mean it was the fact that I would be hyped and stoked on small random things in life I guess, I just really like the vibes at Costco. Not necessarily saying that its the only thing that inspires me though!
The Circumflex: So what else except cleaning towels and salty popcorn is inspiring? What about the place you life? A lot of artists get inspired by their urban environment and California may be quite inspiring i guess.
You may also like: Youth Lagoon, Astronauts etc., Brolin
How beautiful to start a morning with a discovery of a magnificent new artist. Thanks to Alabama-based artist Henry Armbrecht aka Beach Weather, I had the pleasure just a few minutes ago. And it pleased me so much that I could not resist to write about it immediately.
Well, probably already the artists’ ‘line-up’ above at the article’s start tells a very lot about why Beach Weather’s music makes such an impression on me, as it combines at least some of my favourite artists. Once more, it is no impression which ‘wow!’s me away, it is one of a rather gentle, yet so pure and beautiful nature that makes it hard to escape from.
On his 5-track EP Cascadia, Beach Weather manages to form a dulcet musical whole, filled with details which yet are so choiceful arranged that each of them gets its distinctive place, no overload of sound constructions happening here. Even if it seems to be cliché-ful, in this case, the cover art was wisely chosen as indeed, the music sounds as the image its cover is transporting: Fluffy and echoing, but with a certain, yet very flexible structure. The end of Still Life reminds me undoubtly a lot on Youth Lagoon’s first LP, whereas Small Voices definitely brings along the cool, urban yet still dreamy atmosphere of London-based Brolin.
You see, it is quite a grand mix.
Thus: Highly recommended!
You may also like: Rhye, Solange, Kindness
Birmingham-based singer Laura Mvula has just published her debut LP Sing to the Moon these days, and well, her soulful voice is just a gem.
So are many of the remixes which have been made of her music recently, yet the one of She made by Robin Hannibal, one half of our beloved duo Rhye, definitely is of outstanding quality. Thus, enjoy it here!
Since almost a year now, THE CIRCUMFLEX is writing to you about music(ians), discusses songs or just puts up the random yet magnificent bits and bops of musical joy you can stumble upon on the internet.
It is nice to hear and to read about new music and new artists, still: Isn’t it even more interesting to read about the artist’s creative background, where they find their inspiration and how they actually make their music - when they talk about it themselves?
Thus THE CIRCUMFLEX decided to start a new series, called INTRODUCING. A simple name for something which we think of being quite important and essential when wanting to be a good music blog: Letting up and coming artists introduce themselves to their potential listeners and followers, maybe provide them with a bigger audience than they had before - and just because interviews do something which an article can hardly provide: the spontaneous unforeseen, things you cannot google or find on an artist’s bandcamp or homepage.
Thus: Fanfares, confetti and spring-induced joy: Here it is, the first INTRODUCING!
As for the premiere, I did an interview with the quite promising and tremendously talented Black Cowan aka Wickerbird, a Washington-State-based artist who already found his way on the blog once.
But enough talk from my side - enjoy the interview!
The Circumflex: Hey Blake, nice to have you with us. Please, introduce yourself to our readers!
Wickerbird: My name’s Blake Cowan, I’m a 22 year old college student about to graduate at Columbia in NYC. I have absolutely no idea where my life’s going at this point, but for the time-being, I’m playing music under the name Wickerbird.
The Circumflex:Washington state is known for its fascinating nature and its magnificent forests – how much does that influence your music?
Wickerbird:Immensely. It is absolutely one of, if not the largest influence on what Wickerbird is to me and how I’ve gone about crafting songs lately. The whole scope of the project has really just stemmed from this central idea of trying to meticulously whittle my way through the aspects of my life and find some irreducible core of truth. I struggled to find that understanding in society, and even in the simple society of company, so I went to the woods alone to try and find it. It was there, with that ancient nature all around me, that I thought I might piece together something worth piecing. The emotional backlog from that experience—taking long hikes and fishing excursions alone in the hills, ruminating all the time—all of it amounted to what Wickerbird was. It was a release.
“I always felt that lyrics that were too prominent or to obvious robbed the listener of their chance to really get the raw emotion in the melody.”
The Circumflex: What are your other influences when writing new songs?
Wickerbird: It’s hard to say. Musically they’re innumerable. My music is sort of inextricable amalgam of what I’ve grown up listening to my entire life. Obviously, my sound has been chiseled down into the genre I most preferred but I’m influenced by everything I’ve heard, so it’s difficult to spot individual influences. I took classes in high school and some in college that had us listening to Gregorian chant type music and other ancient sort of droning monastic hymnals and it sort of vibed deeply and intrinsically with what I felt music was intended for: providing this unembellished and unguided manifestation of pure emotion allowing man to share and be moved by something as immaterial and elusive as human experiences. I always felt that lyrics that were too prominent or to obvious robbed the listener of their chance to really get the raw emotion in the melody. They’re told what to feel and that inevitably dampens the experience of feeling it.
” A lot of my initial inspiration was drawn from that innocence and naivety of embarking on a sort of fantasized expedition. The catharsis of dreaming about escape.”
The Circumflex: What was your main inspiration when writing the songs of your latest album The Westering? It sounds quite gloomy, secretly, yet so hallow…
You may also like: James Blake, Bon Iver, How to Dress Well, Gang Colours
Back as I started the blog, I thought that a category of “artists you may like as well” can be quite useful. Not only for your own musical orientation, but also for that as a reader, you are able to do a certain pre-selection. There are pro and con’s, sometimes you oversee the most magnificent tunes just because some random snob thinks himself to be able to label music (which is why I avoid to genre-rize, still, you ‘have’ to sometimes).
Nonetheless, I know from myself that sometimes, I neither have the time nor the patience to click through every song and every artist because well, there are so many great blogs out there, but logically none ever perfectly fits your personal taste. Coming from this argument, a pre-selection can indeed be useful.
And somehow, there are artists you name more than others. But our dear wunderkind James Blake belongs to those I rarely name. Still I always thought that if I’d do so, the artist because of whom I would draw this context must be quite magnificent.
But a few days ago, I stumbled over (also) London-originating duo Cloud Boat. And well, if you had looked into my brain, you would have seen a huge “WHOA!”. Because yes, firstly and as probably many, I have some emotional faible for Blake’s way of making music. And somehow, Cloud Boat is just exactly hitting the same button. Totally.
The chants are smooth and subtly alluring at once, forming a disturbingly intensive atmosphere. If you have followed this blog for quite a while now, you may have noticed that I like music which is not to much boom! and effect, I prefer those who are able to make the most magnificent out of the little. Cloud Boat do exactly that, they intensify the few things they use and form such a strong and colourful, yet very clear musical rigour that it is just a pure pleasure for your ears to listen to. Because they’re not overdosed and overstrained. They’re just offered a listening experience where pleasant meets sophisticated and subtle meets musical beauty at its purest.
Their LP Book of Hours is published soon, so keep your ears and eyes open. Until then, enjoy those pieces below.
Cloud Boat - Youthern
Cloud Boat - Dréan