New Music Review – The Monk By The Sea – Leave The World Behind

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Artist: The Monk By The Sea
EP: Leave The World Behind
Genre: Ambient, drone
Social-media: Twitter/Bandcamp/Soundcloud

Listen:

And:

The Monk By The Sea is the solo, ambient and guitar based project by a Croatian guitarist, named Ivan Ujevic. Interestingly enough, all of the music is constructed with just a guitar and signal processing, although, sometimes you will be hard pressed to hear any guitar at all – Ujevic creates a very gentle synth sound with his guitar. Recently, this chap has released his third, relatively short, EP on Bandcamp, called Leave The World Behind and it has some pleasing sounds and vibes to it – Is that enough to carry this release? Let’s find out.

What we have in this release, is a minimal, ambient or soundscape release and as such, the use of textures in the music is important. I think that Ujevic has managed to create some truly serene ambience in all of these pieces. There’s a clear distinction between all of the music on here and each tune has a unique sound and mood to that piece.

June for example, sounds like a spring morning – you know when you see those sped up camera shots of the sun-rising on a sunny day? This is the soundtrack to that. On the other hand you have the track, The Monk By The Sea, which sounds much thicker with its use of textures – The synths sound slower and lower, making for a grim mood.

This mood is similarly capture on the track, In November, however, both of these tracks manage to capture a wonderful sense of beauty in their runtime. Thankfully, none of these tunes run for too long and the EP is short, as I said, which means that it doesn’t overstay its welcome. This is also unfortunately Leave The World Behind’s biggest problem, it just doesn’t feel memorable enough – There’s very little staying power.

Yes, the songs on here sound lovely and all very pretty, but there isn’t much to make them stick out from the rest of all the ambient music out there. I honestly feel that, even though it’s all made with guitar, that Ujevic could have furthered this album in terms of its scale. Some heavily effected, but distinguishable, guitar plucking’s would not have gone awry. But hey, considering what genre this is, it wouldn’t be fair to focus on that too much.

Final Notes:

As it stands, The Monk By The Sea and Leave The World Behind has some simple and nice sounding tunes that would suit any art-house movie’s soundtrack. You can pick it up on Bandcamp for $3 or your countries equivalent.

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Owel Release Acoustic Cover Of Mazzy Star Song

New Jersey based indie-poppers play Fade Into You

Here’s just a little something to keep you guys going while I work on a few other posts.

Enjoy this wonderful cover of Mazzy Star’s Fade Into You, listen to the original, here.

Follow and listen out for these guys at all the usual spots:

Facebook
Twitter
Bandcamp
Official Website

New Music Review – Seas Of Years – Drifting Ever Shifting

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Band: Seas Of Years
EP: Drifting Ever Shifting
Genre: Post-rock
Social-media: Facebook/Bandcamp

Listen:

And:

Seas Of Years are a Swedish post-rock/post-metal/instrumental outfit that have recently put out their sophomore EP, Drifting Ever Shifting. The EP was released on the 15th of October through Bandcamp and is available for 49 Swedish Kronas – that’s about £4 to the UK and just as low priced everywhere else.

Their profile says that previous to this musical project, all of the members from Seas Of Years are from metal backgrounds and have never played post-rock, which after a good listen of this EP, is hard to believe. There are many uplifting chords and melodies, lots of delayed guitars, subtle drums and plenty of prominent bass – too often is the bass neglected during post-rock music!

That’s not to say that the influence from metal is entirely devoid on this EP – The first song, Pass Skies, has a dominant and powerful intro and is generally a good opener. I also think that the closer for the EP, Rely On Thermal Winds, also has a slight metal influence, especially in the last two or three minutes with these nice chords and guitar solo work. Guitar solo work does not mean ‘over-the-top’ soloing either, thank you!

Seas Of Years do a fantastic job of creating that a very expressive post-rock sound – tremolo picked guitars are bright and vibrant, while slower sections of the songs give a sense of space and room. For example, the quietest track on here, Stairwell, has moments near the outro where the guitar is just left to slowly exhale with some gentle feedback. When the acoustic comes in at the midway point too? Yeah, that’s really nice.

One of my problems with Seas Of Years, is how post-rock it can be – they do have the technique down for it and that’s great, but I’d like to see much more experimentation. I can understand that they set out to make a post-rock release, but surely they didn’t want it to be too formulaic and sugary sweet? Sea Of Years can feel formulaic at times, but it’s not sugary, I’m just trying to express that I was expecting something else. Considering these guys came from metal backgrounds, I was almost expecting something like USA Out Of Vietnam, Russian Circles or maybe even something a bit mental like You Slut!

Again though, they do do post-rock really fucking well – those melodies at the start of Ledge are to die for and I adore the driving groove behind The Glass Shelter and the View. The instrumentation on all of the songs here are beautifully clear and crisp: from the shiny guitars, to the driving drums, everything here sounds wondrous.

Final Notes:

Drifting Ever Shifting is a decent release that reaffirms that these guys are great at making stellar post-rock music, it’s just a shame that there’s a minimum of anything else here. But hey, that’s expectations I guess. If you like post-rock, give these Sea Of Years some wonga, and enjoy.

The Coathangers Release New Video

Video Premiers Over At Dazed

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The Coathangers are an Atlanta pop-punk band that formed all the way back in 2007 and have since then built up a sizable back-cat of releases ranging from: splits, EPs and full-lengths. The concept behind them is also rather cool, “The story goes that four young women decided to start a band for the sole purpose of being able to hang out and play parties. They weren’t going to let the fact that none of them knew how to play any instruments get in the way of their having a good time.”

Sounds like the very definition of punk if you ask me.

The video premiering over on Dazed is called Drive and is as catchy and fun to listen to as you’d expect from these gals. The instruments are all simple and effective at backing up the infectious singing and while they feel like they could be overly simple, for the style of music that’s being played, it’s easy to accept.

Simple, well-crafted, catchy and a joy to listen to – a few words to describe this new video.

These lasses are also doing a tour of the UK recently, if you just so happen to be knocking around, they’re worth checking out:

11th November – UK,Glasgow, Broadcast
12th November – UK,Edinburgh – The Banshee Labyrinth
13th November – UK,Leeds, Wharf Chambers
14th November – UK, Birmingham – Temple (with The Growlers)
15th November – UK, London – Shacklewell Arms
16th November – UK, Brighton – Prince Albert

Don’t forget, if you’re into to what you’ve heard, support them, or follow them over at the Facebooks.

New Music Review – Frankie Cosmos – Zentropy

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Band: Frankie Cosmos
Album: Zentropy
Genre: Singer-songwriter
Social-Media: Facebook/Tumblr/Bandcamp

Frankie Cosmos is the musical project of Greta Kline and over the years she has amassed a load of EPs on Bandcamp – it almost feels dangerous to jump into her discography. I mean, today, I’ll be listening to her March release Zentropy, but since then she’s released two EPs – Zentropy just so happened to be the first release I heard. Cosmos’ work all feels relatable in its vulnerability and I believe that this is what makes this such an effective album – It reminds me of Weezer’s Pinkerton or Carissa’s Weird in the way it portrays itself as an incredibly personal release.

Like the rest of Kline’s work, that I’ve heard, the songs are almost like diary entries in the life of a coming of age outcast. For example, the albums opener, Art School, talks about the ins and outs of life in art-school and how it sucks, “All your friends drunk and wild/All my friends are dickheads.” It’s immature but loveable in the way the persona that the persona in the song could appeal to anyone that felt like an outcast.

It’s this charming outcast that makes this album so accessible and easy to listen to. The instrumentation is also really quaint, almost nostalgic for a simpler time in music. The laid back guitar in the album does a great job. I wouldn’t say it’s particularly lo-fi, but Zentropy does not have or need all the bells and whistles that some bands think are necessary.

The way that Zentropy sounds feels very similar to 1960s garage-rock bands and Kline’s lyrics do an impressive job of creating some truly memorable songs. The first opening lyrics of Dancing In The Public Eye, are a laugh, “My ass is made of velvet and my hips are made of stone and if you really love me you will leave me alone.” Then it pops into a catchy tune with thick guitar and a nice little vocal hook. It’s this clever use of lyrics and song-writing that put this album out there as a great singer-songwriter release, as opposed to a standard, ‘going through the motions’ acoustic plucker release.

This infectious cleverness also emerges in one of the albums best songs Birthday Song, which, despite its short length (just over a minute) still manages to be witty and catchy. “Just because I’m a certain age, doesn’t mean I’m older than I was yesterday.”

Zentropy is hard to pin down to a single mood, besides awkward-teenage-girl, but that’s fine – The way the songs move around in their tempos and moods fit the style of music that cosmos makes. Sad 2 is as upsetting as you might think and it also pulls the whole album together with the subtle strings behind the guitar and the quivering synth humming constantly.  And for final words from an album “I wish that I could kiss his paws.” I think it’s fitting and effective for this album to end like this.

Frankie Cosmos have created a memorable album of clever vocal hooks, warm instrumentation and relatable songs that will speak to anyone at that certain age of teenagedom. And maybe it’ll speak to a few young adults beyond that, but either way, you cannot resist the charm of Zentropy and Frankie Cosmos.

Gaze Is Ghost Reveals New Video

Accompanies New AA-Side Single

Gaze Is Ghost is a Northen Irish composer-songwriter that has put out her new AA-single side single, (lots of sibilance there) Revolvere / Murmuration. The video for Revolvere was created by a surrealist photographer Karl Dmitri Bishop, so expect some eerie and peculiar imagery.

The video compliments the song magically: the slow black and white images mesh wonderfully with the melodramatic instrumentation and vocals that Gaze Is Ghost mastermind, Laura McGarrigle, provides.

Revolvere is a slow dreary track with some lush sounds that, whilst they do serve their purpose, lack any colour. In this one instant, its fine, but I feel like a whole album of this could grate on my nerves, unless something impressive and not so blank comes along.

Thankfully, the second track, Murmuration, has more vocal melodies on offer and sounds more interesting, to me at least. It’s shorter and more stripped back than Revolvere, but at this length, the song doesn’t over-step its welcome and become boring.

Both tracks are nice, but in terms of a whole album, I’d need more musical sustenance. I mean, there need to be some major moments to counter-act the minor moments. If you like what you’ve heard, you can buy the double a-side from Bandcamp – it’s a name your price release, so have at it.

Updates #11

To whom it may concern,

I am writing to inform you that the music blog, MusicGleaner, is being used for multiple purposes. To specify, it’s founded, owner and sole worker is using it as their final year project at university. Why does said person feel the need to tell you this? Well, it’s simple, because at this stage in the development of MusicGleaner any advice, support or feedback on anything would be greatly appreciated.

The owner would have told you sooner, but didn’t think it was particularly relevant until recently, when it became fact. You may see a few changes occur over the coming weeks; layout changes, different voices and all sorts of shenanigans.

That being said, the owner does not want anyone to feel deceived by this move (even though you are, somewhat, a test subject), they wish you the best and hope that you continue to return to MusicGleaner as often as you’d like. After all, word around the grapevine is that the blog will continue to grow even after the project ends.

Again, I would like to thank whoever visits my site, thank you for your views, your time and most importantly: your interest.

You’re beautiful and your loyalty, whatever form it takes (if it takes it at all) is loved and appreciated.

Keep it real x

Here’s a picture of a guy spitting some mad beats:

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