Ten Mile Stereo
Ela Stiles ‘S/T’ (Bedroom Suck/Fire)
One of the most stunning debuts this year comes from Sydney’s Ela Stiles and her truly breathtaking self-titled LP. Composed entirely of acapella performances throughout, Side A features a string of six vignettes while Side B’s ‘Drone Transitions’ consists of a single vocal drone (looped through tape machine) creating a startlingly hypnotic and beautifully otherworldly feel throughout. Stiles’s name has been synonymous with numerous bands in her native Australia, including Sydney-based Songs and Melbourne’s Bushwalking. Ela Stiles’s debut solo LP is a thing of such rare beauty, recalling the likes of Julianna Barwick and Grouper, where a mesmerizing gamut of emotion is gradually and subtly unveiled by Stiles’s mythical voice.
‘Ela Stiles’ is available now on Bedroom Suck (AUS) and Fire (US/UK/EU).
Steve Gunn & Mike Cooper (RVNG Intl)
Pioneering indie label RVNG Intl continue their magnificent FRKWYS imprint series (an unrestricted series pairing contemporary artists with their influential predecessors) with the release of ‘Cantos de Lisboa’, an inspired collaboration between legendary British musician Mike Cooper and US-songwriter and guitarist — formerly of The Violators — Steve Gunn. The setting for the record is Lisbon, where Gunn and Cooper spent lengthy sessions performing together, drawing inspiration from their surroundings and Portugal’s native Fado music tradition.
FRKWYS Vol. 11: Steve Gunn & Mike Cooper ‘Cantos de Lisboa’ will be released on 24 June on RVNG Intl.
Roll The Dice ‘Until Silence’ (Leaf Label)
Stockholm-based duo Roll The Dice unleash their masterful third album ‘Until Silence’ this month via the Leaf label. The album sees a departure for Peder Mannerfelt and Malcolm Pardon where a string section is added to the piano and synthesizer rhythms that fans have been accustomed to from RTD’s stunning predecessors; their self-titled debut and 2011’s ‘In Dust’. This time around, the album’s conceptual framework draws from World War I (whereas their debut LP focused on a pre-industrial landscape, their second drawing from the Industrial Revolution) creating a soul-stirring, lushly cinematic and highly nuanced set of modern-day electronic classics in the process.
‘Until Silence’ is available now on the Leaf label.
Hiss Tracts ‘Shortwave Nights’ (Constellation)
Hiss Tracts is the collaborative project between David Bryant (Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Set Fire To Flames) and Kevin Doria (Growing, Total Life), who released their latest magnum opus ‘Shortwave Nights’ via the ever-inspiring Montreal-based label Constellation. The resultant collaboration is as magical and intriguing as one would expect from two such hugely talented and unique artists as Bryant and Doria, where a rich world of sonic textures are weaved amidst drone and ambient backdrops obtaining thrillingly new territories in the process.
‘Shortwave Nights’ is available now on Constellation.
Arc Iris ‘S/T’ (Bella Union/-Anti)
Arc Iris is the solo project of the multi-talented artist Jocie Adams, formerly of Rhode Island’s The Low Anthem. A singer, multi-instrumentalist, classical composer and former NASA researcher, Adams formed her new rhythm section with Zach Tenorio-Miller (piano), Ray Belli (drums), Max Johnson (bass), Robin Ryczek (cello) and Mike Irwin (trumpet). To date, Arc Iris has already shared the stage with such artists as Calexico, Coco Rosie, Menomena and Patrick Watson.
Arc Iris’s self-titled debut album is available now on Bella Union (UK/EU) and on -Anti (US).
Scraps ‘Electric Ocean’ (Fire/Bedroom Suck)
Scraps is the alias for Brisbane-based artist Laura Hill, a name long associated with the vibrant Brisbane underground music scene. Hill’s Scraps project draws inspiration from 80’s synth rock and has cited the likes of Kraftwerk, Depeche mode, Gary Numan and Devo as influences. Hill’s set-up is wonderfully minimal; armed by a drum machine, keyboard and synth, Scraps creates modern-day songs of love, loss and regret, recalling the likes of John Maus and Susan Schneider’s The Space Lady. The likes of ‘Electric Ocean’, ‘Flying’ and ‘Gone’ are the kind of songs you feel like you’ve known forever, testament to Hill’s highly impressive talents as both composer and songwriter.
‘Electric Ocean’ is available now on Fire Records (USA/UK/EU) and Bedroom Suck (AUS).
Heldon ‘Allez-Téia’ (Superior Viaduct)
‘Allez-Téia’ is the second album by French guitarist Richard Pinhas via his Heldon moniker from 1975. The album’s sheer timelessness is testament to Pinhas’s singular vision and has now been re-issued by Superior Viaduct. Heldon adopts a network of guitars, Mellotron and analog synthesizers to create blissfully otherworldly textures and repetitive, meditative patterns recalling the German Kosmiche movement (Cluster, Harmonia, Michael Rother), post-rock experimentalists such as Jim O’Rourke and modern-day electronic artists such as James Holden and John Hopkins. The re-release of ‘Allez-Téia’ follows on from last year’s re-issue (also via Superior Viaduct) of Heldon’s 1978 LP ‘Interface’.
‘Allez-Téia’ is available now on Superior Viaduct.
Klara Lewis ‘Ett’ (Editions Mego)
One of the greatest discoveries of 2014 so far has come in the form of the spellbinding ‘Ett’, the debut full-length release by Sweden-based artist Klara Lewis. Astonishingly, the album’s ambitious scope and stunningly assembled sonic textures sound as if they could be composed by an artist with decades worth of experience. The album’s sonic pallets are at times stunningly sparse and minimal — recalling the likes of Loscil, Félicia Atkinson or Grouper — and while elsewhere there’s mixtures of found sounds, field recordings and highly charged electronic sections recalling the likes of Tim Hecker or Ben Frost. The entire album was recorded, sampled, edited, manipulated, mixed, produced and arranged by Klara Lewis; a hugely exciting new talent with such a bright future in store.
‘Ett’ is available now on Editions Mego.
John Murry ‘Califorlornia’ (Ruby Works)
Available this June is the hugely anticipated new record by the Oakland, California-based songwriter John Murry. The four-song EP (comprising three new songs plus a stunning rendition of Warren Zevon’s ‘Genius’) is the first release since Murry’s modern-day classic, the truly life-affirming ‘The Graceless Age’ (originally released in 2012 on Bucketful of Brains, it has since been re-issued on various labels worldwide). The EP’s first two songs, ‘Glass Slipper’ and ‘Golden State’ were co-written by longtime friend Chuck Prophet, who also plays guitar on the EP (Joe Doyle of The Frames and The Swell Season and Colin Berwick of Big Country also contribute). Recorded in Australia, ‘Califorlornia’ (named by Murry’s wife) concludes with the moving ‘Timmy’, the song Murry wrote for and played at Tim Mooney (American Music Club)’s memorial service.
‘Califorlornia’ is available on 13 June via Rubyworks (UK/EU) and June 17 via Evangeline Records (US).
The Brothers And Sisters ‘Dylan’s Gospel’ (Light In The Attic)
The Brothers and Sisters were a choir of Los Angeles session singers who sung in a gospel style. This collection of much sought-after Dylan covers was originally released in 1969 on Ode Records, produced by Lou Adler, soon to work his magic on Carole King’s seminal LP ‘Tapestry’, and arranged by Gene Page, noted for his work for Motown, the performers were largely unknown, but many went on to find great acclaim. Features such legendary singers as Merry Clayton (best known as Jagger’s sidekick on ‘Gimme Shelter’), Edna Wright of The Honeycones and Gloria Jones who recorded the original version of ‘Tainted Love’ in 1965. Yet another indispensable record from the flawless, visionary label Light In The Attic.
‘Dylan’s Gospel’ is available now on Light In The Attic.