Posts Tagged ‘Post Rock’


June 1974 are an Italian project from underground poet and writer Federico Romano, and their newest record ‘Earth is Not Place for Lovers’ is out now through Visionaire Records. June 1974 have been experimental and genre defying over their last few releases, but have settled into a more post rock/alternative world for this record.

The opener has a lot going on; electronica elements play off glacial clean guitar, while the drums do a little bit of everything, pinning the band down to this earth. There’s a little Minus the Bear in the driving second track ‘School Days’, and that style of glacial indie rock plays a large part here. Entirely instrumental, this is a record designed to showcase the music, and it mostly speaks for itself. From the quietly introspective ‘Black Mirror’, to the lively and fragile beauty of ‘No More Human Race’, June 1974 is an avantgarde, post rock artist to be recognised for variety, and possessing a skilled palette with which to paint. The driving riffs of ‘You’re My Shining Grief’ contrast to the gloriously ethereal ‘Nulla e Verita’ beautifully, and there’s always a chance for a little dancey funkiness, like in ‘Avantgarde’.

There’s a simple purity to ‘Earth is Not Place for Lovers’, different from what we normally cover here but no less important to me. Electronica and alternative/indie have played their part in my musical life, and June 1974 are another band I will look to in the future when I need that itch scratched. Excellent.

Voix cover art

French experimentalists Aluk Tolodo dropped their latest release, ‘Voix’, in February this year on Norma Evangelium Diaboli in Europe, and it is one of those albums that explores metal as a concept of sound. Fully instrumental, enigmatic song titles merely telling you their length: it comes across immediately that this isn’t going to be an instant fix.

The opener ‘8:18’ is an urgent piece of almost post rock, with a menacing undertone to it. It is building to something, something you can never quite reach, with insistent melodies reaching, grasping upward. The second part shimmers with a glacial, black metal tremolo riff  before descending into a rumbling, tribal place. ‘Voix’ (ironically French for voices) is a flowing piece, split into six tracks but essentially one long 43 minute track. This helps the music a lot because it feels like one long journey.

It is a trance inducing experience, each listen revealing new sounds, notes, tones behind the octopian drumming performance and malevolent drone. There are quieter moments (two minutes into ‘7:01’), moments of obtuse noise intervals, and no small amount of progressive, psychedelic influence. ‘Voix’ is a record that would be ruined with vocals, as the purely instrumental methods allows you to embrace every sound, every texture. Aluk Tolodo have created a piece of musical art here; difficult to process at first but infinitely rewarding with patience.

Kylesa are a band who I’ve followed with great interest since I first heard the sludgy groove of ‘Time Will Fuse its Worth’. After the stunning ‘Static Tensions’, Kylesa has moved further from the sludge template that still underpins their sound, and moved into psychedelic rock territory. It isn’t quite as cathartic as it used to be, but it has revolutionised the band’s sound so that they are now becoming something rather special.

‘Spiral Shadow’ couples all of the swaggering rock and thunderous prog of their previous work, meshing it with an increasingly accessible sound. The band has grown greatly in songwriting, creating an album where the songs are all easy to tell apart; quite a challenge in modern metal. The dual drummers add a martial, tribal thunder behind guitarist Phillip Cope’s strong lead vocals, interspersed by Laura Pleasant’s beautiful melodious voice. The dual vocals are done well, neither overriding the other, merely interlinking as one solid whole. Riffs are still bread and butter to these guys, but the album’s highlights come from the slower, clean sections, such as the reverby intro to the title track.

The album is pretty streamlined, never dragging out a song longer than needed, and contains a good mix of stomping Baroness-isms and more introspective pieces. It’s something that the South-Eastern United States seems to be very good at: producing high quality sludge that is never afraid to mix in other elements to make themselves more unique, and therefore more important. Mastodon did it with ‘Crack the Skye’, an album that veered dangerously closed to being simply rock rather than metal, and Kylesa do the same with ‘Spiral Shadow’. The album is a triumph of songwriting and overcoming adversity; a loose theme that hangs around each track, and the band’s willingness not to do the obvious and rely on blood and thunder riffing is to their credit, especially on brilliant closer ‘Dust’. But it is album centrepiece ‘Don’t Look Back’ that is the definitive highlight,  a powerful and heartfelt piece that lodges itself in your brain until you finally accept that this is the album Kylesa were born to make.

‘Spiral Shadow’ was one of the my favourite albums of 2010. It showed that being Southern sludge meant nothing to Kylesa, and that they were happy to blaze a trail of thundering, psychedelic Sonic Youth worship with neither care nor abandon. It led them to make the staggering ‘Ultraviolet’ last year, and who knows where they will go from here. But the evolution was most evident here. ‘Spiral Shadow’ was the sound of a band finally finding exactly who they are.