The Slip — Eisenhower
The Slip started out in the late 90’s and quickly became attached to the Jam Band scene, often opening for the likes of moe. and running the festival circuit of that time. Don’t let that turn you off if you not a fan of poorly written songs and endless guitar noodling. Throughout the early and mid 2000’s, their music took a turn toward the more contemplative, feeling like Post-Rock at times, and Folk at others.
Eisenhower, is The Slip’s most recent album… though hardly recent, it was released in 2006. The song, “Even Rats,” a riff-heavy, anthemic rock track, gained a bit of notoriety when it was included on the first ever Guitar Hero game for Playstation 2.
However, the entire album, as a whole, remains one of the greatest records that few know about. I’m not a fan of labeling anything “Indie Rock,” but it’s fitting in this case. The reformed Jam Band from Boston managed to make a fantastic little Indie Rock album that is cohesive and deliberate from beginning to end.
As a contrast to some of the heavier rock songs on the album, tracks like “If One Of Us Should Fall” and “Suffocation Keep”, offer a much softer and melodic departure and highlight Brad Barr’s vocal ability.
If you enjoy Fleet Foxes, Lord Huron or Mew, don’t sleep on this album.
Anathallo — Canopy Glow
Anathallo, based out of my home town of Chicago, IL, split officially in 2010. They were a large band with over 10 members throughout their run. Canopy Glow is the last of their studio albums before their break.
The best way to describe Anathallo’s sound on this album is big. Yes, there’s plenty of instrumentation and layered melodies. But what’s almost immediately noticeable is the vast space allowed between each instrument and vocal. It’s astounding how easy it is to single out and listen to any one instrument and that’s exactly what you’ll want to do, as Anathallo is comprised of some extremely talented musicians.
Canopy Glow boasts big orchestral arrangements and many, many vocalists. The band rehearsed the album’s tracks in a church… and it seems as if they successfully captured that sound and ambience in the recordings, even though the album was recorded in a studio in Chicago.
Highlights of the album include Noni’s Field, All The First Pages, and John J. Audubon — showing off Anathallo’s unique Baroque Pop sound. Overall, however, this album has a fantastic flow and cadence that makes it a great listen from top to bottom.
Nitemoves — Themes
Themes is the sophomore album of electronic music producer, Rory O’Connor.
Right off the bat, I’ll say that Nitemoves travels in the same circles as Tycho and Com Truise and it shows in the music. Needless to say, if you’re a fan of either of those producers, then you’ll find Nitemoves might scratch your itch if you’ve blown out the discographies of the other two.
What might set Themes apart from your typical chillwave, ambient album is the variation of sounds and moods on the album. Whereas Tycho and Com Truise rarely deviate from their proven formulas, Nitemoves explores several genres throughout the album. For example, the opening track, Polypel, would fit just fine on any Com Truise album — it’s just synthy and dancy as hell with large swells and rushing breaks. And then there are very ambient tracks like Audity, harrowing and beautiful. Clairity sounds like a Brian Eno track that was put through the washing machine and played 10 years later. Then, the album closes with the glitchy, Bit Parity, reminscent of Star Slinger or Baths.
This album plays well, both as background music and as an engaged, active listen. There’s a lot going on this album, but not too much that it would cause consternation while performing other tasks. Rather, there’s a great deal subtlety that can be appreciated with repeated listenings.