Giles Corey – Hinterkaifeck

Giles Corey - Hinterkaifeck

After the indefinite hiatus of the genre-defying two-man band, Have A Nice Life, member Dan Barrett began releasing music as Giles Corey, a singer-songwriter / folk project that, with the first release, diverged from Barrett’s previous endeavors, focusing less on genre hopping and more on remaining consistent in one area, that being Barrett’s craft for applying this dark, atmospheric presence to his work, in this case folk music. With Giles Corey Barrett binds together lyrical topics on suicide, history, and the supernatural into a tale that is irresistibly enveloping.

While Giles Corey could be thrown into the category of folk music without much thought, Barret’s idea of folk is a bit different than the sound the genre has become synonymous with. Barrett’s style of music, much like his endeavors in past projects has this huge sense of depth to the recordings. Throughout, there is a gloomy melancholic aura that is often accompanied  by nihilistic lyrics, vocals ranging from longing howls to the abrasive, processed drums, and resonant droning chords that seem to echo on forever; a polarizing combination that made the first installment in Giles Corey’s discography a must have for fans of folk and even the extremes of black metal alike. Although different from Have A Nice Life and Nahvalr, in many ways, the project still retained some traits found within those previous projects, namely Barrett’s soft spot for the reverb and delay drenched aspects of shoegaze music and the sprawling influence of drone music, a trait that was revisited, this time wholly as the project moved toward the long-form minimalist drone and binaural experiments of last year’s ‘Deconstructionist’ album.

It’s no secret that Giles Corey’s first album wore it’s experimental tendencies on it’s sleeves but the project’s next album, ‘Deconstructionist’, a release consisting of three songs, each passing the twenty minute mark, was a piece of music that did away with any kind musical structure, this time fully embracing experimentation which, as a result would isolate the fans of the more folky tracks from the project’s debut. Luckily for those who didn’t enjoy Barret’s plummet into the conceptual mood piece that was the ‘Deconstructionist’ this new EP, ‘Hinterkaifeck’ is a return to the haunting style that gained the project it’s attention in the first place.

One thing that made Giles Corey so appealing was Barrett’s story telling. With each release Barrett has offered a backstory to accompany the music; it was a decision that called for participation, allowing the listener to immerse one’s self within the music as oppose to simply listening along. As with these previous releases, the title of the EP, ‘Hinterkaifeck’ offers some pretext to the music, referring to an unsolved event that transpired on a small farm in which, on the evening of 1922 six people were brutally and curiously murdered with a pickaxe. It is a minor piece of information that without knowing does nothing in terms of adding to the mythos that Barrett has built around this project but when looked into gave me something to chew on, offering another perspective into what Giles Corey is about thematically.

On this new EP Barrett’s dishearteningly somber vocals and lo-fi production techniques are ever present. Where the last release was a three track sprawling epic these three shorter tracks on this EP still manage to leave plenty of room for some explosive and epic moments. Thick acoustic guitar chords and distant vocals make up the beginning of ‘Guilt Is My Boyfriend’ before exploding into a fuzz-drenched mess, essentially summing up what Giles Corey is at it’s most basic, pop with a wash of melancholia. The songs on ‘Hinterkaifeck’ show Giles Corey progressing in very much the same fashion as was heard on the self titled album. It isn’t nearly as groundbreaking but being what it is, a decent set of new tracks, it should tide you over until the next full length release.

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Overall Rating: 6.8

Favorite Track: ‘Guilt Is My Boyfriend’

Recommended: Visit Enemies List Home Recordings website for similar artists.

Released: 21 February 2013

Links: Check out this live set of tracks from a recent tour here.

-Tyler Thompson

Studying – Sophomoronic

On Sophmoronic the now seven piece band continues to explore the post-rock influenced sound that was first heard on their 2011 EP ‘Songs About Leaving Home’ and most obviously so on their more recent split release with local friends, Carved Our In Snow. ‘Sophomoronic’ is the bands first full length and also their final release which features some guest appearances including the addition of trumpet and cello.

Although identifying mostly with mid-western emo, within the past few years the genre has developed and maintain strong ties to bordering genres such as math rock and in Studying’s case, post-rock. On the song “The Passing of 34 Days” from their split release with Carved Our Names In Snow the band showcased their most obvious transition toward a post-rock sound. The bands taste for anthemic songwriting laden with the twinkly tremolos and the lush crescendos found in post-rock combined with the vocal aspects of mid-western emo make for a combination that couldn’t be more fitting. The album starts off with an apparent post-rock influence featuring reverb heavy guitars that chime along with rolling drums leading to a chorus featuring an ocean of smooth rising tremolos and horns which carries over to other songs on the album in various forms.

The whole album brings a refreshingly new youthful and energetic take to the genre, a presence that Studying did well on their debut EP, a sound that has developed and translated quite well throughout their short time as a band. It hasn’t been until now that this sound has been able to see a fully realized form and thankfully it has worked out quite well in the case of ‘Sophomoronic’. The album maintains a certain consistency; each song flowing together while still carrying enough variation to set themselves apart from one another. There are more straightforward moments on the album such as the song “Where Bluestone Meets Carrier” which is something of a ballad. The title track and ‘Goodbye, I Guess’ shows the band expressing a more agressive side featuring a transition to shouted / half screamed vocals. All in all each song continues the breathy sound that runs throughout entire album while offering something different calling for repeated listens.

Although consistent there are times where the songs do mesh together. The extensive use of reverb and cresendo-based song structure, as crucial as it was to the bands transition to a more post-rock sound, a sound that has set them apart from the bands they share the genre with is at the same time the culprit for the repetitiousness of the sounds here. While at times I do feel like this genre has been plundered of diversity I still feel like Studying has managed to not simply find a “niche” for themselves within it but has instead carved a name for themselves.

From the opening tracks glisteningly wintery guitar work to the albums dirgy wholly instrumental end this final album is a solid last release from a group of friends who know how to write something that is both catchy and relatable in such a way that it doesn’t sacrifice any of it’s artistic merits in the process. Although I’m sad to see this group split up I do think they are leaving on a good note with this release.

Overall Rating: 8.1

Recommended: Associated acts: Caust, Solomon Solomon, Carved Our Names In Snow.

Favorite Track: ‘Because What Has Hardened Will Never Win’, ‘Nothing But Figures’, ‘Goodbye I Guess’,

Released: 17 August 2012

Links:

Listen to the band’s final release here.

Tyler Thompson

Mark Przybylowski – Lonely House

Recorded in Philadelphia, PA, Lonely House is the latest tape from multi-instrumentalist Mark Przybylowski, released on Galtta Media.

At the foundation of Lonely House are a collection of seven quiet and simplistic instrumental pieces that rely on it’s ambience, not in a textural sense but more so this overall stripped down nature of the music allowing the listener to focus in on one or two prominent instruments at a time putting Przybylowski’s tender and moody playing style at the forefront of Lonely House. There is never really a whole lot going on and all of the songs stay at a similar pace, each track taking it’s time, which isn’t a bad thing at all, it actually adds a good deal of consistency to the album which is necessary for something as skeletal as this is.

The songs here are primarily made up of cold acoustic guitar, serene cello, and the warm hum of the double bass. There are also a few occasions where vocals are used, albeit, they are used sparingly and expressively in the sense of another instrument as opposed to their traditional use in singing lyrics, which being an instrumental release their are none of.

Everything sounds very nice, each instrument is played delicately, never breaking free from the somber steady pacing. The sound quality has a very upfront home recorded sound about it; the shrill screeching of fingers sliding up the neck of an acoustic guitar, the natural room reverb, minimalist song structure; it all carries a sincere message, something that says: “Hey, this is some sad sounding instrumental stuff and this is what you’re going to get, I hope you like it but if you don’t that’s ok too.” In general I feel like this album would be suitable for a nice autumn night’s listen or a winter’s evening by the fire place. The tranquil gloom that is presented here evokes memories of watching the trees lose their leaves, oranges and reds raining down, painting the earth as it prepares to renew itself, to briefly die for the winter. Its a very emotive piece of music, something like a poetry of the senses, an album that doesn’t try to sound sad but just is and even so, this sadness isn’t necessarily overt; like a long sigh, the music just breathily moves, carrying itself from one note to the next, passively moving along until the album’s end.

Although I enjoy the low-key feeling of Lonely House its biggest flaw is exactly what it succeeds in doing. For some, the lines between consistency and repetitiveness will be marred; the seemingly purposeful restrained nature of every track can feel monotonous. It isn’t a huge problem seeing as this is kind of the appeal of the album but it does hold it back from what I think could have the potential to be even more emotive and touching than it already is. Lonely house is definitely a moody set of tracks, it’s all kind of cold sounding, like the first chilly winds of fall, or the cold bite of winter but at the same time, it’s just as warm, touching on the senses with every slow moving stroke of the bow or pluck of the strings and better yet, it’s just in time for the summer’s end.

Rating: 7.2

Favorite Tracks: ‘Slow Winter’, ‘Sunday’

Recommended: Prime Winter / Fall listening.

Released: 15 July 2012

Links:

Lonely House via Bandcamp

Visit Galtta Media

Crywank – Narcissist on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

http://www.mediafire.com/?03yoqg056ejd8dl

Crywank is the depressing folk/anti-folk/folk punk project of James Clayton from Manchester, UK. His description of this album is as follows

“My new album ‘Narcissist On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown’ is a collection of paranoid songs mostly about me trying to understand my own sadness along with the concept of sadness as a whole. It was fueled by self help books and pot.

I recorded this album in my parents dining room. Most of the songs on this album are the first take of me trying to record them (some needed a few more takes as I messed up my first attempts) and so it’s riddled with mistakes, but hopefully you can forgive that. Where my first album was tied to the topic of dealing with a breakup, this album has less of a definite focus. Most of the songs are about coping with and deconstructing my sadness, some are about odd things that happened in my past, and others are just about people and scenes. They where mostly fueled by stupid dark thoughts, and through songwriting I’ve tried to get past them.”

I listened to this awhile ago when it first came out because James posted it on /mu/. I didn’t think much of it at first because I’m not usually into this kind of music, but re-listening to it again now I realize that this album is actually really great. It gives off such a personal and honest feeling that I personally wish I could pull off with my own music. This is probably one of the most emotional and hard-hitting albums I’ve heard so far this year and if you are going to listen you better be prepared for some damn emotional music. Despite the sloppy guitar playing (sorry James), this album doesn’t lose any atmosphere or impact from it. In fact I believe the mistakes and bad technique add a lot to the massive personality of this record, something which a lot of bands/artists try to achieve and fail at.

In conclusion, have some tissues handy if you’re gonna listen to this album because you’ll probably need them.

Rating: 8/10

Favorite Track(s): “Now I’m Sad (Boo Hoo)”, “It’s OK, I Wouldn’t Remember Me Either”, “You Couldn’t Teach Me Integrity”

Studying / Carved Our Names in Snow split

Studying and Carved Our Names in Snow, two bands from Annandale, VA recently released a split together and if you’ve been reading you’ll know that I enjoyed Studying’s EP, “Songs About Leaving Home” a good deal. As far as Carved Our Names In Snow goes, this is my first introduction to their music.

Carved Our Names In Snow:

Carved our Names In Snow’s side of the split showcases the band exhibiting their energetic and powerful playing style, especially so on the drummers behalf who seems to have an affinity for beating the shit out of his cymbals and sounding great while doing it. The vocalist is nice and loud although fairly standard; from half singing to shouting which is expected for the style of music they play which gets the job done. “Facebank” is a mostly instrumental track aside from the end which features the band as well as members of Studying on gang vocals. Everything sounds clear, with the drums again being a standout piece of musicianship on this release. Although at times the output on their side of the split sounds live none of the instruments get lost, not even in the bombastically drumming on some of the more intense parts of these two songs, which in itself has it’s own appeal. It is obvious that their ability to create enjoyable tunes lies not in an attempt to write something structurally perfect but to belt out great jams, sloppy or otherwise. However, Where Carved Our Names in Snow fails to impress is the fact that so many bands out there are doing something similar to these guys; it’s not like it makes the music any less “authentic” or heartfelt but where the band stands is at an intersection of many others who are all pursuing a similar style to the point where it is necessary for a change in content not only in terms of Carved Our Names in Snow but within the scene itself in order to progress. In other words, the songs these guys produce are enjoyable and fun but it would be interesting to see the band branch out while they are still putting out short releases like these.

Studying:

“The Passing of 34 Days” starts off with a post-rockish kind of vibe. Clean shimmering guitars and builds. It all ends with a gang vocals sing-a-long as the song comes to a close. The song is pretty much everything I enjoyed about their EP, “Songs About Leaving Home” with more of a post-rock flavor that I can only describe as early Mogwai and EITS meeting up to record an emo album. For some, that previous sentence may be an immediate turn off but once it quickly sinks it’s teeth it becomes apparent that this couldn’t be a more welcomed change in sound. Studying attempts to merge these two styles of music together and where they succeed is being able to do this seamlessly. The sound quality is top notch which on compliments the dramatic builds and tender guitar swells allowing the band to be as loud as they can be without sacrificing the short but lulls and quieter moments to poor production. Studying’s side of the split is only one track at just over 8 minutes long that displays this 7 piece band at their most dynamic and climactic making for a great song that I can definitely see being a hallmark of this band’s performance.

The release is a fairly short one being that it is a split but the content of these three songs makes up for the initial feeling of the abruptness of the split. Carved Our Names In Snow was a nice surprise given that this is my first time listening to any of their material and Studying delivers with a solid post-rock inspired song that sees the band moving into new territory.

Overall Rating: (Carved Our Names In Snow): 7.5

Overall Rating (Studying): 8.3

Recommended: Mogwai and EITS vs. Punk.

Released: 7 February 2012

Links:

Carved Our Names In Snow

Studying

-Redntoothnclaw