What is a Slobberknocker? It’s a song that gets you off your ass, bopping up and down, and possible singing at the top of your lungs. It’s a song that sets you in a frenzy on the dance floor for no apparent reason. It’s fun, it’s high energy and these are some of my favorite Slobberknockers.
Pure Phase Ensemble 4 is amazing. This project oozes with enough jangle and harmony to keep every listener within the fringes of Shoegaze and Dreampop happy, and there’s enough credit to make it a draw to those who enjoy that style of music, even without ever hearing a sample of the project. Mark Gardener from Ride, Ray Dickaty, an ex member of Spiritualized, and Karol Schwarz (KSAS), who manages Poland’s Nasiono Records front this version of the ever evolving Pure Phase Ensemble project, that pulls acts from various stellar indie bands with each new incarnation.
Manic, the latest single from Toronto’s Prince Innocence, may have just heralded the end of synthy summer jam season. The deep, bassy intro hearkens back to late 90’s Triphop. The song itself has a dark and ominous feel throughout. The lyrical content does nothing to brighten the mood, with its reference to ‘dark hallways and wasted days’.
The Julia/Spring 7″ from Melbourne’s Lowtide will appeal to fans of the 80’s UK Post-Punk sound made popular by Chameleons UK, Echo and The Bunnymen and The Sound. The 2 track single melds the Post-Punk sound with 90’s Shoegaze a la Kitchens Of Distinction and Slowdive.
A very low-fi jangle of Post Punk guitars gives way to a fuller, dreamier song about 12 seconds in. However, the magic really happens when the ethereal vocals of Rebekkah Castellanos wash over the track. As things evolve, Cocteau Twins are the first band that comes to mind.
INTENT:OUTTAKE’s darkly gorgeous “Der Letzte Tanz” (in English, “The Last Dance”) is a song with which I have been slowly acquainting myself, sinking into its melancholy throb and surging sadness to relish the sympathetic salve of its despair. It tells its story with an arrhythmic heartbeat, an appeal for a frozen soul’s final dance before oblivion.
I’ve often felt that Feeding Fingers’ music has had a tendency toward quiet desperation, and, at times, a sense of holding itself back from its own full potential. But “Your Candied Laughter Crawls”, the debut single from their upcoming fifth album, is almost triumphant, musically. There is an entire metamorphosis occurring in the microcosm of this particular song, one that opens itself up to the listener like a blooming flower as it progresses from its sleepy opening notes to their book-end, with its entire story laid out in between.
This is a song that changes sonic tactics throughout, and it works really well. Echoing the confusion and frustration of its narration, it vacillates between peace and discord. It builds its story around the lyrics, but challenges itself to tell that story with its audial composition. It warms from sparsity into intricacy, then plays with an almost noodling sound – evoking moments in waiting rooms; anticipatory, anxious.
For those of you eagerly awaiting a new Slowdive record, this release may just tide you over! Pure Phase Ensemble is a collective of musicians including Ride frontman Mark Gardener (how refreshing to not have to say FORMER), Raymond Dickaty (a member of Spiritualized from 1997-2002), Jacek Rezner (Wilga), Kamil Hordyniec (Wilga), Michał Pydo (Hatifnats), Michał ‘Kostek’ Stolc (Cisza nocna) and Karol Schwarz (KSAS).
Lush arrangement and poetic, but not horribly cumbersome, lyrics make this a song for movement – this is a track to drive to, to walk to, to dance to – but it is also a song for mental movement. It is a track to think to, as well. I actually found myself reminded of bands like The Railway Children; there is an element of that sumptuous mid-eighties New Wave sound represented here – a bit darker, but quite handsomely dressed in the same sort of brilliant guitar melodies and steady, up-tempo undercurrents.