Posted by: worthyplug | October 21, 2010

Weekly free download round-up

Each week I will bring you 3 songs available for free download (not necessarily released this week), so you don’t have to trawl the web looking for them.

This week has a Japanese theme to it, as I have just discovered the wonderful world of Japanese music I have been missing out on! I found a whole host of awesome artists on Virgin Babylon Records site today, and I just had to share them.

Track One

Les Enfants du Paradis by World’s End Girlfriend

When I discovered this project of Katsuhiko Maeda a few hours ago (via a 65daysofstatic thread on musicbanter), my first thought were that it was a “quirky” project with far too many sounds trying to be too complicated and do too much all at once. But I left it playing. By the time the song finished, I was hooked. I really have no idea how to define his sound. Wikipedia says

“blends elements of electronica, classical music, and post-rock to create his own style”

Personally, I’d throw pop, and about a thousand other genres in the mix too. I guess the craziness of it brings it back to post-rock, but I have never heard post-rock as uplifting and cheerful as this… It really strays from what you expect to hear in post-rock. It is truly astonishing. Yes, I do realise I have become one of those bloggers who over-hypes stuff,but, in all honesty, it’s been about 6 months since I was blown away this much.

A picture of Katsuhiko Maeda playing live

Katsuhiko Maeda playing live

Anyway, to the free download, courtesy of Virgin Babylon Records. Quite frankly, I haven’t been this addicted to a song since my mainstream radio listening days! Just look at my last.fm page…

My last.fm page, showing mu addiction to the song...

My last.fm page, showing my addiction to the song...

Direct download

The very poorly, and hideously designed myspace

I’ll definitely be investigating this guy further.


Track Two

 

Song of the Bird (dig ver) by about tess (yes, there are no proper nouns in the name, apparently)

The way I discovered this song was purely a mistake. When I was on the Virgin Babylon records, getting the free download from World’s End Girlfriend, I accidentally downloaded this song. I thought I understood why World’s End Girlfriend had been labelled as post rock. It was so different to the other stuff I’d heard, but I was still thinking “wow, this is still pretty damn awesome”. Then I realised it was some completely different artist. Silly me.

A picture of about tess managing to make post-rock look like J-pop...

about tess manage to make post-rock look like J-pop...

about tess are more of your traditional post-rock/Math rock band, except they have 2 guitarists, 2 bassists and 2 drummers. Their music is full of fury, and aggression. It feels experimental, and improvised, but manages to remain structured and crafted at the same time. I sincerely enjoyed this piece. Here is a free download, courtesy once again of Virgin Babylon Records.

Direct Download (right click -> Save link as)

Myspace


Track 3
Monotonous Purgatory by Matryoshka

 

An artsy black & white shot of the duo

An artsy black & white shot of the duo

Wow. What a beautiful song. Seriously, the vocals, the violin and the piano will pull at your heart strings. It doesn’t matter that it is in a foreign language, it is just really pretty. For something other than post-rock I had to include this song (I could’ve included anything I found on Virgin Bayblon Record’s site). Matryoshka is made up of track maker Sen, and vocalist Calu. Described as Modern Classical, IDM (although I don’t hear that in this song) and Ambient, Matryoshka are an awe-inspiring duo, who make some really pretty experimental work. Calu’s vocals remind me somewhat of the vocals of finish folk band Paavoharju, and it is really haunting stuff.

Free song;

Direct Link

Myspace


Honestly, I loved everything I head from Virgin Babylon Record’s artists. But, I only have space for 3. So, if you like what you’ve heard, head over to their artist page!

 

Posted by: worthyplug | October 20, 2010

Plug #1: Battle Circus

Because I’m pretentious enough to feel I should have this, I will. Basically, I will plug any albums/bands that I feel are left far too “undiscovered” by the general public. I’m not talking about your Porcupine Tree’s, or your Boards of Canada’s, I’m referring to truly “underground” (fuck, I hate that word) bands, that have small followings. They will most likely work multiple jobs, and will struggle to survive as musicians, but manage make fantastic music.

Anyhoo, without further ado, I will plug my first band; Battle Circus.
Battle Circus are a fantastic, young prog-influenced band, hailing from Auckland, New Zealand. They have toured New Zealand extensively, and have just finished playing at FILTER Magazine’s Culture Collide Festival (at a huge number of venues in LA) along with such acts as White Lies, and their Australian based friends City Riots. They are probably best known in the US for having parts of The Half-Light Symphony used in HBO series “True Blood”. The group comprises of; Marcel Belve (vocals, guitar), Yvonne Wu (piano, keyboards), Ryan Marshall (Bass), Daniel Boosher (drums) and they are all awesome at what they do.

Battle Circus trying their hardest to do a generic pose

Battle Circus trying their hardest to do a generic pose

Their singer, Marcel Bellve, has striking similarities in vocal style to Thom Yorke (and, subsequently, Matthew Bellamy of Muse) and oddly enough, even Brandon Flowers at one point. I described his voice to a Muse fan as “It’s like he heard the Matthew Bellamy/Thom Yorke comparisons, and said ‘Oh yeah, I bet I can do it better!’ and then did”. Do NOT let that put you off, because, of course, that’s an exaggeration; and surprisingly, Marcel’s vocals are stunningly good (surprising, as I often find these “underground” bands are lacking vocals/vocal production department).

Their début EP, The Half-Light Symphony, is a beautifully crafted piece of work. Whilst the concept itself isn’t that original (apocalyptic in its theme), the delivery is fantastic. Their combination of beautiful Piano and Violin with heavy guitar riffs comes together to create a bombastic, face-melting 42 minute extravaganza, which leaves a powerful impression upon you.  Oh, and did I mention the occasional ecstasy-filled pure electronic moments?

The Half-Light Symphony album artwor

The Half-Light Symphony album artwork

I love things about all four songs, and it’s hard to find criticism. If I’m pushed I can think of two things;

  1. The beginning of Mossman’s Epoch is too loud (I am getting old, aren’t I?), which I can forgive, as the middle section of this song is one of my favourite instrumentals from any band (I almost wish Marcel hadn’t started to sing).
  2. The production is a little poor. I don’t notice it when I’m listening to it, because it sounds so bloody fantastic, but when I play something like Porcupine Tree right after, the production on that seems a lot “cleaner” and “crisper”. But, it is hard, and somewhat unfair, to criticize this when 1) The music is so good, and 2) they are hardly a well established band, who have access to world class producers and technology.

The band do not do anything half-heartedly, either. They have invested the time and money into creating full-length and truly cinematic music videos, and they have also been known to put on a extravagant live shows.

A picture of their "Halloween gig" from 2009

"A shot of their Halloween gig" from 2009

The bottom line

The Half-Light Symphony is a stunning piece of work that you should all at least take a listen to (stream it on their website). At pretty much the length of a full album, I can see no reason why you wouldn’t want to download it for $5 in lossless form. I have only mentioned their EP (they also have a few singles from before it was released back in 2007), because you can get all their tracks as part of the digital bundle, available on itunes and bandcamp. I would recommend getting it from bandcamp because it is cheaper, more profit goes to the band and you can chose which type of file you prefer. Alternatively, you could purchase the lavish digipak from their website.

You bitches need to get on this shit.

(PS, they just finished the mastering on their full length!)

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