September 3, 2011

Today's Hotness: Fighting Kites/Broken Shoulder, Moody Gowns

Fighting Kites/Broken Shoulder -- Split
>> London-based record label dynamo Audio Antihero ("...we are the best at records.") has a big autumn on tap, not the least of which is the forthcoming full-length from Benjamin Shaw, which will be released in November. But devotees need not wait so long for new music: Audio Antihero's latest money-burning scheme is to release Oct. 10 a split EP featuring tasteful post-rock instrumentalists Fighting Kites and ambient waver Broken Shoulder (which, incidentally, is the solo vehicle of Fighting Kites founder Neil Debenham). Fans may recall the latter act's sublime sorta self-titled effort Broken Shoulderrr from early this year, an undulating box of tone and light to which we listened often while regularly commuting by plane across time zones. Broken Shoulder's half of Split is a bit more tense: while the collection is no less hypnotic, the push and pull of melody and dissonance offers less resolution in the first two songs. "Exciting Times" is cinematically creepy, rhythmically wheezing and drags drones like heavy links of chain. "Organomegaly" is similarly uneasy, but more subdued. The eight-minute reverie "Shark Island" is more of a piece with the music from Broken Shoulderrr, and relies on a determined cycle of guitar notes charting a more optimistic melody across a series of shuddering ripples.

For its part, Fighting Kites defies post-rock convention by not making heavy dynamics the focal point of its compositions (an observation also contained in the press materials for the release; validation!). The North London-based quartet, which formed in 2009, makes music that very well could have lyrics tacked on, but it doesn't lack for their absence either. Fighting Kites has self-released two previous demos, making this split the band's first official release: welcome to the machine, lads! Stream and pre-order the entire EP -- which is being released in a limited edition of 200 -- via the Bandcamp embed below; Fighting Kites' "Wojtek The Bear" and Broken Shoulder's "Organomegaly" are avails for free download should you be inspired to engage in some minimal clicking of the mouse. Fighting Kites will be in session for Resonance FM on Sept. 17. Broken Shoulder will be opening Audio Antihero's Birthday/Benjamin Shaw's album launch on November 25th at The Miller in London Bridge.

>> Sometimes in our doddering dotage we simply lose sight of the email. Which is why we're only now getting around to telling you about Leeds-based indie pop quintet Moody Gowns and their cracking single "Nelson Skills," which was issued July 18. The song, as best as we can tell, has something to do with a cat and a vacation; more importantly, it's got a prickly groove, sweet melodies, murmured verses, shiny guitar chunks and cozy xylophone or something that sounds like xylophone. The sum total communicates like some magical mean of Talking Heads and Style Council, which we think you will agree is a victory for everyone. "Nelson Skills" was released as a free digital download and on a very limited edition CD along with two additional demos, "Warringtonian Heroes" and "Treat Me As You Treat Your Wife," available for two pounds including home delivery to local patrons. Beat that, AmazAppleHMVBestBuy! Moody Gowns was formed in 2008 and its discography also includes two EPs Snakes And Horses and Sincerely Yours, as well as a single "Mr. Money." If Moody Gowns has more like this sitting about, we are quite eager to hear it.

Nelson Skills by MoodyGowns

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