July 17, 2014

Today's Hotness: Noveller, Thisquietarmy, Ultimate Painting

Noveller and Thisquietarmy -- Reveries (detail)

>> Just as we were in danger of wearing out our Auburn Lull Hiber cassette with an umpteenth zoned-out play, we were pleased to discover the similarly zone-worthy Reveries. The four-song set is the latest release from the international and experimentally inclined duo comprised by experimental guitar musicians Noveller (a/k/a Brooklyn's Sarah Lipstate) and Thisquietarmy (a Montrealer whose given name is Eric Quach). The pair's collaborative effort presents masterful exercises in guitar pedal drone, as evidenced by two sublime preview tracks. "Reverie 1" commences with a sustained sullenness before incrementally building steam via the application of layer upon layer of guitar signal treatments. Like some moments on the aforementioned Hiber, which we wrote about here in June, Reveries captures textures and sounds that simply do not sound like guitars, and in very compelling ways. Subtle and long-form melodies fill the first three minutes of "Reverie 1," and then -- at 3:22 -- something quite special transpires. Here a snappy, chiming melody manifests and dances atop the piece. Whatever the source instrument is, its tone is rich and soothing, leading one to wonder just how Noveller and Thisquietarmy -- whose press materials claim that they are a guitar duo -- are able to conjure such a sound. We may never know, but the effect is entrancing and psychedelic and comforts this reviewer with the knowledge that there are still artists out there driving the traditional six-string to new heights and into exciting sonic terrain. And like Hiber again, Reveries comes in a gorgeous package -- all stark white architecture against a PVC sleeve which houses a thick slab of 160g white vinyl. Shelter Press released Reveries July 1. Buy the vinyl, which is pressed in a limited edition of 500 pieces, right here, or snatch the digital download from Noveller's Bandcamp page right here. Then turn the lights out, will ya? -- Edward Charlton

>> Chicago label Trouble In Mind made news last month that we didn't want to let slip by, namely that it will issue in August a single from Ultimate Painting. The relatively new act, if you don't know, features James Hoare of the stellar London indie pop outfit Veronica Falls alongside Jack Cooper of Mazes. An eponymous preview track is as good a mission statement as the pair could hope for, and evidences that Ultimate Painting is in part a vehicle for Mssrs. Hoare and Cooper's classic rock leanings. Indeed, "Ultimate Painting" grooves in a rare and tasteful way, capturing the spirit of New York circa 1969. The tune touts a chin-out strut that evokes the Velvet Underground around the time of its self-titled third record, when clean electric guitars and a Mo Tucker beat were all that was required to spark youthful transcendence. A simple bass line chugs along to a steady snare cadence, keeping the pace but making room for dual guitars that trade in spare, bent licks. Plaintive, unadorned vocals enter, all quick lines and wordless repeats. A brief chorus separates the verses, but otherwise the vocals get over with the typical pop structure quickly, knowing full well that the real hero of "Ultimate Painting" is the warm, natural production and feel-good chord progression. The seeming ease with which Ultimate Painting evokes a breezy, classic spirit calls to mind New Zealand greats The Clean or even Stereolab. We can't wait to hear the b-side, and for that matter the duo's inevitable full-length, which is said to contain five songs each from Hoare and Cooper and is slated for release by Trouble In Mind this fall. Keep an eye out for pre-order information regarding the single and album right here, and in the meantime you can stream "Ultimate Painting" via the embed below. Bostonians and psych-pop aficionadoes will recall Trouble In Mind previously released Doug Tuttle's solo set. -- Edward Charlton

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