July 11, 2013
Today's Hotness: Cloud, Polvo
>> The catalog of imaginatively inept London-based indie label Audio Antihero has held many wonders over the years, but never before has it included an American act, let alone one with significant Boston roots. That all changed with the label's recent signing of the now-LA-based noise-pop act Cloud. We first stumbled upon Cloud about a year ago due to his contributions to a lo-fi release from Boston slowcore concern Marblemouth. Both Cloud and Marblemouth are satellites orbiting the Practice Room Records collective, a nebulous entity that also counts among its number Clicky Clicky faves Winter; indeed, Winter's namesake Samira Winter contributes vocals to two tunes on Cloud's new record and also appeared on Cloud's 2011 set, Rocket. Right, Cloud's new record, that's what we were talking about... the project is the brainchild of Tyler Taormina, and Audio Antihero will re-issue on Aug. 5 Comfort Songs, Cloud's third release originally issued in Sept. 2012 as a download. The 11-track collection is available from Audio Antihero in a limited edition of 140 compact discs as well as, of course, digital download, and the lead single for the Audio Antihero edition is the stormy and densely layered strummer "Mother Sea." There's something of Conor Oberst's general agitation and gift for description in Taormina's delivery and songwriting respectively, but Mr. Oberst has to our knowledge never arranged as noisy a bed to lie in as the churning instrumental to "Mother Sea." A conventional rhythm guitar track is buried amid rich reverb, spiraling and droning piano chords, slowly arcing feedback, and sundry unidentified aural embellishments, all of which conspire in the song's final two-and-a-half minutes to create a hypnotic ebb and flow, not unlike the cycling of crashing waves. Which, given the title of the song, either makes Mr. Taormina brilliant or extremely lucky. Readers who took a closer look at the recent Audio Antihero charity compilation Regal Vs. Steamboat that we wrote about last month likely saw that there is also a song from Cloud among the comp's 31 tracks, the tune "A Song Of What Stays" (originally released on Cloud's Elephant Era full-length from 2010) which you can stream right here. Stream "Mother Sea" via the Bandcamp embed below, and then click through to pre-order all of Comfort Songs from Audio Antihero. It's something you'll be glad you did.
>> Maybe our social networks were just skewed weirdly today, or maybe the lack of any preview music didn't elicit the typical Pavlovian "!OMG Firsties!" response from the blogosphere, but whatever the reason, we were surprised by the lack of widespread enthusiasm at today's news that post-rock legends Polvo will release their sixth LP Oct. 1. The set is called Siberia and it will be released by the highly esteemed Merge label, who among other things also did the honors for Polvo's 2009 comeback record In Prism and the 2011 single "Heavy Detour," which, curiously, was described as being "taken from Polvo's upcoming album." We say curious because the eight-song track list for Siberia does not contain a song called "Heavy Detour." Was the title changed for the record, or did the band have a change of heart? We suppose we'll find out Oct. 1 when Siberia hits the new release bins (or, we suppose, a week ahead of time when the record is inevitably streaming at Pantsfork Advance or NPR First Listen or whatever is The Thing two months from now). We're not sure how well this opinion will be received, but despite releasing some very great music in the intervening years, we still don't know that any new Polvo record will ever hold our affections as strongly as the band's epic double 10" from 1996, Exploded Drawing. The album has too many highlights to mention, but do yourself a favor and click the YouTube embed below to listen to the 11-minute-plus masterwork "When Will You Die For The Last Time In My Dreams," the song that closed out Exploded Drawing. Siberia can be pre-ordered now from Merge on CD and LP right here, and those who pre-order will also receive a poster along with their order, which will arrive on or around the Oct. 1 release date, Merge promises. For a related and somewhat weirder thrill, check out this video we just stumbled upon of an ice skater named Emily Hughes performing her routine to "When Will You Die For The Last Time In My Dreams," intercut with footage of a Roomba vacuum cleaner doing it's thing. INTERNET FUCK YEAH!