Friday, September 1st, 2006
Hymn Beneath The Palisades
Offshore, the new album from Bloomington, Indiana’s Early Day Miners, clocks in at a respectable 38 minutes but feels much, much shorter than that. Opener “Land Of Pale Saints” rides an insistent drum pattern for over nine minutes while guitars and feedback dance overtop it. It’s utterly hypnotic in the way its repetition, but subtly warps and mutates so as to never actually be the same thing from one moment to the next.
The record is remarkably unified and cohesive start to finish, which makes sense since it’s based on the the song of the same name from their 2002 album Let Us Garlands Bring – the band calls it, “a director’s cut” of that one composition. This ongoing theme allows one song – or movement, really – to blend seamlessly into the next in creating a warm, dark space-time wormhole that not only eliminates the notion of time elapsing, but does so while passing through the UK music scene circa 1992. There’s an unmistakable shoegazing element to this album – think the ambience of Slowdive with some of the darkness and menace of Catherine Wheel – but funnelled through the lonesome, midwestern soundscapes of Songs: Ohia, in particular the Magnolia Electric Co album.
It’s interesting – even though the ingredients that make up Offshore are all fairly easily identifiable, there’s something quite distinctive and unique about this record. There’s a solidarity of vision, courtesy of bandleader Daniel Burton, that lifts it up into something far greater than the sum of its parts and while that’s evident from the first listen, it’s only with more successive listens that the weight and enormity of what that actually means becomes evident. They are playing September 13 at the Tranzac and I’m actually thinking about passing up Serena Maneesh that night aroudn the corner at Lee’s Palace to see them perform Offshore – presumably in its entirety and ideally without stopping. As deafeningly glam-tacular as the Norwegians are sure to be, something is telling me that the EDM show will be even more special in its way. Hrmmm, I say. Hrmmm.
A band the Evangelicals are often compared to, both because of their state of origin and psychedelic tendancies, is The Flaming Lips. PopMatters, Hour.ca, St Louis Today, Columbus Dispatch and The Montreal Gazette all have interviews with the band, who will be in town to headline day one of the Virgin Festival. The contest for passes to said fest closed last night – I will be drawing winners this weekend. Thanks for entering, if you did so.
Billy Bragg’s new hobby? Taking on social networking sites’ intellectual property policies. Having successfully gotten MySpace to back off of laying claim to music hosted on its pages, The Guardian reports he’s accomplished the same thing with Bebo, which is apparently quite big for the pouty webcam demographic in the UK. Bragg plays the Danforth Music Hall September 24.
John Darnielle of Mountain Goats stands up and testifies about the influence of Souled American to Harp. Parking Lot Cities has a recent KEXP session available to download. Mountain Goats are at Lee’s Palace September 19.
And finally, otherworldy Danish outfit Under Byen (wrote about them a couple weeks ago) will be embarking on a short North American tour in October which will include just one US date to four Canadian ones. The perks of signing to a Canadian label! The US date is Oct 4 in New York City, and from there it’s two Pop Montreal shows, one it Ottawa on the 8th and finally a stop at the Horseshoe on October 9 opening for Giant Sand, with whom they’ve worked before. I’d normally be all over that but I will have just stumbled off a train from Montreal that afternoon so will probably not be in any state for a concert. But I intend to catch at least one of the Montreal shows so all’s good on that front.
And things seem to be running incredibly slowly today, which is annoying but not as bad as the chronically offline as it’s been in the past couple weeks. I’m looking into it.