Unouomedude (pronounced “You Know You Owe Me Dude”) is a dude from Florida and I’m willing to forgive his debt in exchange for the solid lo-fi, dream-poppy chillwave music he makes. You can download his Marsh EP and recent Frequency 7″ off his bandcamp page linked to above. Both pretty cool. (Via Pitchfork)
I’m a big fan of Snailhouse, and I’ve been waiting a long time for the follow up to his 2007 album Lies On The Pries, a classic in my book. It’s finally here and it’s called Sentimental Gentleman. I gave it a good listen today, and though it might not be quite as tuneful as its predecessor, it is the kind of wordy, heady, sentimental stuff we’ve come to expect of the sentimental gentleman himself, the incredible Mike Feurstack.
There are two knockout songs on the album, “Airwaves” and the title track, both posted below. But I do recommend checking out the entire album, and digesting it as the heartfelt whole it is.
Snailhouse – Airwaves
Snailhouse – Sentimental Gentleman
You can also listen to every track off the album (though not in correct sequence) over at his soundcloud.
The Internet: Great music is never more than a couple clicks away. I think it took me maybe five or six this morning to find this great, heartbreaking song by Swiss-born, New York-based intimacy-unafraid pop artist Birdie Hilltop. (Via No Fear Of Pop)
Is it de rigeur at this point to make a video with cheap VHS-special effects for experimental-leaning indie rock bands? It definitely seems like it at this point. But whatever, John Maus and his crew make lovely, pretty musics with vocals that sound like an alien singing through a cavern of reverb effects. I’m cool with it. Their album comes out June 28th on Ribbon Music. (Via Pitchfork)
This week’s artist of the week is a singer/songwriter who has been putting out quality, folk-y records since the 90s. And his name is…
As Pitchfork writer Mike Powell recently posited in his review of Callahan’s latest release Apocalypse – and I agree with him – Bill Callahan (formerly Smog) has probably been at the peak of his powers these last couple years. His albums with Smog were great, the kind of downbeat stuff that moody teens who later grow into moody young adults soak up and become obsessed with. But his work under his own name has been different. It’s not longer something you’d file under ‘mumblecore’ (even though that’s a movie sub-genre, not really a music genre) or with the moody shit. It’s folky, and Callahan’s sturdy baritone vocals seem almost detached from the words he sings, and yet those words stand on their own amazingly well without any emotive delivery needed to make them work, or perhaps working better for lack of one. When he sings, “Love is the king of the beasts/And when it gets hungry it must kill to eat” in “Eid Ma Clackshaw”, he could be a really awesome Discovery Channel voiceover guy just describing the eating habits of another animal. On the Apocalypse track “America”, he sings “America/America/You are so grand and golden/Oh I wish I was deep in America tonight“, but the aloofness of his voice and the consistent, stuttered upstroke of a dirty, distorted guitar makes it clear there’s some kind of uncomfortable irony going on here.
Bill Callahan’s last album, the lush, beautiful Sometimes I Was I Were An Eagle is probably my favourite of all Callahan’s records. It’s just a gorgeous album with pretty, slow drifters like “Jim Cain” and “Roccoco Zephyr”, pseudo-goofy thoughtful/meaningless songs like “Eid Ma Clack Shaw”, and just plain damn good numbers with phenomenal orchestration like “Too Many Birds” and “All Thoughts Are Prey To Some Beast”. And as one would expect of Callahan, it felt meditative, but in a way that perhaps can’t adequately be understood in words, but rather in concepts and ideas surrounding nature, freedom, and ideas that humans typically associate with birds (e.g. freedom, benevolence, natural sources of beauty).
Apocalypse feels in a way very similar to Sometimes… in terms of the general aesthetics and signatures of Callahan’s music, but in another way, it’s a totally different album. Apocalypse – as it’s title should imply – is a darker album, gone are the orchestras, replaced by electric guitars used in a number of interesting ways. Sometimes dirty, distorted guitars are used to shade tracks and give them an edgier, darker vibe; a wah-wah adds a feeling of uneasiness to “Baby’s Breath” and “Universal Applicant”. These and other, sometimes jazz-y or psychedelic touches give the album of very Vietnam-era (68-71) feel to the album. And when it doesn’t feel subtly dark, it feels sad, mournful, such as in the lovely “Riding For The Feeling“.
Most importantly, about these two albums and Callahan’s discography – he’s an artist you need to spend a little time with. Not to say his stuff is hard to get into – it’s not. If anything, it demands you repeated attention, and it rewards it. So if you’re unfamiliar with his music or what he’s been doing the last couple years, consider this your little call to check it out.