Saturday, 26 March 2011

Sonic Router x Hivemind x Xpldr Session // 27.03.11 @ 10-12pm GMT

This Sunday 10-12pm GMT I’m back on Hivemind FM for Sonic Router lock in to hear a load of fresh wax on the Xpldr Session. Big up Oli for the last show which you can find in the archives on our mixcloud along with our other shows. Scribble it down: every second and fourth Sunday of the month, lock in, and end your week with SR. Join our facebook group for updates and listen to our track of the day while you’re at it.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Esben & The Witch – Violet Cries [Matador]

Brooding post-rock addled haunted indie soundscapes are what Brighton trio Esben & The Witch deal in. They’ve been on my radar since the very promising EP ‘33’ appeared a year ago, meanwhile they’ve been honing their skills at gigs and in the studio. Only to get picked up by indie big guns Matador, they even landed a spot on the BBC sound of poll and unleash this, their debut album. It’s an assured slow burning long player that shows a young band with plenty of vision and a load of potential. To my ears at least they can sound like If Zola Jesus had a slightly more epic, atmospheric hazy sound and binged on post-rock then you’d get somewhere close, there is a haunted disconcerting beauty to them both. If you took Warpaint out of their garage and recorded them having a near death experience through blown amplifiers in a bigger garage with more plug sockets for drum machines and effects units, you wouldn’t be far off either. They even stand quite well with Laurel Halo’s off-kilter lo-fi pop too. It cold even be said there’s a hint of Portishead in there somewhere but that’s enough comparisons: on with the album.

They build soundscapes that slowly unveil: opener ‘Argyria’ melts into view before teasing a more song like structure then seeping into the next track ‘Marching Song’ which makss a welcome re-appearance from the ‘33’ EP and its sounding better than ever its all high drama and pent up tension. The melancholy, delicate beauty of ‘Marine Fields Grow’ is one to really sink into. We’re really rolling with the one two punch of ‘Chorea’ and ‘Warpath’ slap bang in the middle of the record. They both have a bit of drive and intensity its where the album starts to burst into energy, emerging out of the hazy unsettling dreamscapes into something more sinister. ‘Chorea’ has some seriously luscious shimmering guitars, machine drums and sweeping vocal melodies. While ‘Warpath’ runs with a different kind of energy, there is a melodic, other-worldly spiky almost HEALTH-like post-punk shimmer to the guitar lines before it all drops into a spaced out state of bliss.

We get all tender again with ‘Eumendies’ hushed tones, layers of sound and bubbling building electronics that flow out of the quite before getting a bit twisted and upping the energy and fragmenting into bursts of noise and haunted melody and back again then right when you least expect it, an indie disco thump... The final track ‘Swans’ chimes, drones and rings into effect and ushers Violet Cries out in fine off centre style that goes from haunting dissonant passages of shimmering melody it’s a sweet low key ending. Esben & The Witch are a young band that have really found their feet with the debut album, they’re still growing and mutating but they’ve got confidence in their sound and it shows. The song writing, vocals and soundscapes all come together beautifully. Violet Cries is an interesting listen and a solid record, they’re ones to keep an eye on, they’ll be one of the best new bands around for a while.

Video: Esben & The Witch - Warpath

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