Of Blessed Feathers’ 2012 EP Peaceful Beast in an Ocean of Weeds, PopMatters’ Matthew Fiander wrote that the Wisconsin duo’s “hazy sounds can still be awfully substantial”. That description definitely applies to the group’s new full-length Order of the Arrow, as the ascendant melodies conjured up by Donivan Berube and Jacquelyn Beaupre are anchored by pithy folk structures.
There’s an organic feel to the whole affair that comes through in the resonant, rootsy boy-girl vocals and the earthy percussion. Working with Real Estate and Widowspeak producer Kevin McMahon and Sharon Van Etten guitarist Doug Keith on Order of the Arrow, Blessed Feathers’ intimate vibe opens up just enough, covering more ground than you might expect.X
1.Ahbinreedis (Free) 2. Speaking Portuguese 3. Wide World ~ 4. Real Song For Emily 5. Salvation Army 6.Pickin' Strawberries 7. Leedo Creedo 8. Pinecones & Children's Gold 9. Hey! Mother Nature 10. From The End Of August Till the Start of May 11. Everyone I Love Is You
Damien Dubrovnik are Loke Rahbek (Lust For Youth, Var, Croatian Amor) and Christian Stadsgaard, two Copenhagen residents who are known for running the highly respected and prolific Posh Isolation label. ‘Patterns of Penetration’ is a new EP which comes relatively hot off the heels of a USA and UK tour with Helm and their first new material since last year’s Alter debut, the ‘First Burning Attraction’ LP. Lead track and recent live staple ‘Penis Corset’ is the most potent and pointed piece the duo have penned yet – the main body of the track is driven by a crude and primative rhythm made from an electronic bass pulse and blown out synth noise, punctuated by feedback and guttural vocals.
The result is probably the closest the duo has ever come to creating something that fits the traditional ‘song’ format yet fully retaining an industrial atmosphere that is consistent with previous DD releases. On the flip, title track ‘Patterns of Penetration’ presents a calmer side of the duos work yet also find them at their most complex and rich, sonically speaking, with a two note synth lead, spoken vocals and washes of analog tape noise. Edition of 400 copies with artwork by Danish artist Martin Erik Andersen.
The Lay Llamas consist of the Sicilian-born and raised but now Rome-based duo of Gioele Valenti and Nicola Giunta, who are now set to release their debut album 'Ostro' this May on Rocket. Recorded in an old-house in the Segesta countryside of Sicily, Valenti and Giunta soaked up the history-imbued environment. The makeshift studio was located alongside the great Temple of Hera that dates all the way back to 6th century BC “We’ve been so influenced by the place’s mood, with that ancient presence in the air” says Valenti. These recording sessions have resulted in a heavily layered album, filled (but not clogged) with various instrumentation from the expected guitars, bass, synth and drums to the more unexpected sounds of Tibetan Bells and Ukulele.
Whilst the duo work from a shared vision that places keen focus on stream-of-consciousness approaches or, as Valenti puts it “A prismatic panorama, or well, a BRAINMATIC PANORAMA!” there really is an ambiguity, an uncertainness and a sense of the unknown, the otherworldly and the mystical when traversing through the vast spheres of the record. The pair’s own descriptions of some of the album’s tracks are testament to the sprawling, shifting, mass of it all “Suicide and Oneida dancing together around a big campfire” – “Pagan post-punk!” – “a slow march for psychedelic warriors on the unknown planet” – “gospel-dub” – “A bad trip”. And a “trip” it certainly is, some records aim to exist by not coming from a particular place but to exist in the transitions and journeys in-between them. Be them real, mystical or imaginary, present or past, the focus is on the movement rather than the end destination and the Lay Llamas’ debut album 'Ostro' is most certainly one such record.