The new Isakov album is out today…
And I haven’t listened to it yet because I’m writing this piece on a Wednesday. But it’s spawned enough singles to be recommended to me on Spotify anyhow as an EP, “Dark, Dark, Dark,” after the lead single on the album. And boy howdy, isn’t he dreamy?
Isakov has produced virtually nothing but classics in his fifteen-year career. He’s a man of many talents, from the sparseness on “Rust-Colored Stones” to the jangly marches of “This Empty Northern Hemisphere,” featuring langorous fiddles and a profound sense of peace and tranquility.
In between, there’s been all sorts - splashy piano, warm bass hums, and glorious noise-walls, distorted, looming, carrying the melody in the background while the mandolin in the foreground holds a pick pattern. For a guy with such a distinctive sound, he really goes all over.
These new singles are pretty great. There’s a hint of Bon Iver in the falsetto reprise on “Chemicals”; “Dark, Dark, Dark” recalls Old Crow Medicine Show-style country with a lurching, cadence, and “Caves” has an absolutely delightful indie lo-fi vibe - this vibe gives way to a delightful climax with the reprise “Let’s put all these words away.” The right notes of wist, melancholy, and nostalgia are hit.
So, to sum up: Isakov hasn’t missed before, and there’s no indication that he’ll miss this time. Cop the album.
Thee Oh Sees goes prog-metal with Smote Reverser, claims Pitchfork. Thee Oh Sheesh.
First: Wikipedia lists them as Oh Sees, and Spotify as Thee Oh Sees. Take your pick, my dudes. I can’t believe I missed this album last week. Thee Oh Sees is an experimental garage-rock outfit well familiar to Music Section adherents with a flair for the grungy and atmospheric.
Their old stuff is very desert/stoner rock; as Pitchfork says, after the rough patches they hit in 2013 or so as a band, John Dwyer took the chance to reform, and the new double-drummer ensemble is definitely distinct in sound from their older stuff.
There are lots of great drum patterns on here, and lots of nice jams that zig-zag around in feel with glee.
While it’s true that the’re generally stepping on the toes of the prog metal fanbase a bit more with this album, this album might not appreciate people looking for stuff in the vein of djent or whatever you kids are calling prog nowadays If you’re a fan of letting atmospheric rock ride, you’ll like this album.
I stuck my headphones on Charlie’s head (shoutout to the Comment Section) for a second opinion and he thinks they sound grand. So cop this too.
Tim Hecker’s triumphant return with Konoyo.
Tim Hecker is probably best known for his masterpiece work Harmony in Ultraviolet, which has topped many a list of the best ambient albums of all time. Others might know Ravedeath, 1972; yet another classic.
His palette has shifted slightly; most of the instrumentation on this album is old-style Japanese stuff, with the samples recorded over a week in a Buddhist temple in Tokyo.
There are harsh starts and stops, wonderful grating drones, and an ominous robotic madness to the entire piece. This is nothing less than a return to form for one of the greatest living ambient artists.
Par for the course, Hecker builds staggering, spacious landscapes, allows them to decay into discordant noise, and revitalizes them - pulling back out into fresh surges of harmonic peace.
And that, lads, is your weekly listening.