Thursday, March 27, 2008

Reviews 3/28

With my co-Suppositor Denman leaving the country in a couple days, I realize I'm going to have to step up the posting. So let's start with a couple of reviews before I hit the hay. Just got both of these today:

RELIGIOUS KNIVES - Live at Bigjar (Archive)

Yet another live release courtesy of the superlative Archive label, recorded by label-dude Scott Slimm in Philly last August. I've been a fan of RK for a while now, and though I wish they had kept tapping into the weird droney vein that was manifested on most of their past releases, I'm pleased to say that I dig the psych-rock thing they're doing now too. I saw them in DC on the same tour within days of the Bigjar gig, and I noticed they were having some communication issues on the improv tip - drummer wanted to end a song, guitarist didn't, or vice versa - but they put on a good show nonetheless. Maybe there were evil looks passing between the band members at the Bigjar show as well, but you can't tell on the recording. They laid down their set smoothly. Four tracks, all "new" stuff. Excellent recording. 600 copies. Vinyl version of their first full-length should be dropping on TMU any day now.

OREN AMBARCHI - In the Pendulum's Embrace 2xLP (Touch/Southern Lord)

Ambarchi is one of my favorite minimalist artists, and this is his first full-length since 2005's Grapes From the Estate. (Actually, he had some help here: two of the four tracks are collaborations.) The first two sides of the LP are reminiscent of that record, featuring his trademark lonesome electric guitar tones that start with a recognizable "click." But Ambarchi's approach on Pendulum is not the stringently minimalist exercise that Grapes was. It's warmer, with some additional instrumentation - most present on the C-side track "Trailing Moss in Mystic Glow." Flurries of acoustic guitar notes, sounding like an aimless James Blackshaw, support the drones. Side D is a vinyl-only bonus track called "The Intimidator," which is, not surprisingly, darker and more menacing than anything else on the album. 1500 copies pressed; order direct from the Lord and you will get one of the 500 on gorgeous marbled aqua vinyl. I can't recommend Ambarchi enough, and this album is a good place to start for the uninitiated.

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