Saturday, 02 June 2012 02:41



Daps Records 

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Trying to access experimental music can sometimes be very alienating experience, stemming as it does from the deep recesses of individual creativity. It can run the risk of being a self-indulgent stand offish affair where the distance created between artist and listener is difficult to breach. But at the end of the day, creating experimental music should be a very personal pursuit. Filtering, interpreting, pulling part and putting back together existing influences can only be this way. But when the experimentalism present is covertly accessible for one who possesses a modicum of intelligence, it can be a unifying, uplifting and educative experience. So it is with Canadian trio Phèdre, two thirds the scuffed up retro pop/rock of Hooded Fang members Daniel Lee and April Aliermo and one third, the wild unpredictable electronic music of Airick Woodhead (Doldrums)

The result of this coming together is an ultra-impressive self titled debut record that is nothing short of a triumph. That Phèdre manage to combine a vast array of disparate influences and fashion them into seamless balls of experimental pop at its finest is testament to their songwriting chops and unique imaginations. The album employs a myriad of rock and pop hooks with driving synth, weirded out samples, Lee's sexually charged weirded out croon and Aliermo's effectively dispassionate vocal accompaniments. Try as they might to apply tongue in cheek sabotage to the mix by employing deliberate lags to the execution, the trio cannot undermine a record that sports at least six class pieces of vital electronic pop.

'Aphrodite' begins with a lounge inspired opening before launching into a synth bass intro that its the precursor to a collective of wailing banshees and a digitally inspired catchy beat signature. The track then settles down and rests on a killer harmony and a standout built up chorus. As its title suggests, its a strange lament of sorts for the ancient goddess of love and beauty. The strange mood that surrounds the track is in keeping with an ode for a goddess that was apparently born from the cutting off of Uranus' genitals and throwing them into the sea.

'Cold Sunday' is an example when off kilter driving electronica is combined with the best elements of hip hop. Hip hop is a genre that often out hypes itself and overplays its hand. The contribution from Toronto hip hop artist Rober Bolton, aka Arowbe is perfectly suited to Phèdre's aesthetics, laid back and always appropriate and complements Lee's warbled deadpan vocal.

'Ode To The Swinger' sounds like Lee has enlisted the fog horn of a merchant navy ship to accompany his duelling vocals with Aliermo while 'In Decay' is pure fun, if you can get that out of a song about multiple murders; a mixture of starry pop with an 80s inspired dance beat. Again the complementary nature of Lee's and Aliermo's vocals standout here.

'Dreams' positively canters along with its slow jamming beat, with Lee's nasally vocals and celebratory harmonies in the background of its chorus. The twisted 'Love Ablaze', like 'Ode To The Singer' takes us back a few decades and brings to mind the less than shiny work of Dirty Beaches. Album closer, 'Glitter On Her Face' finishes things off nicely with optimistic synth and a just plain weird vocal contribution from all three band members.
This album has been criticised in some quarters for being featureless and lazy. I for one cannot countenance this for one minute. Repeated listens reveal some incredibly strong ideas flowing throughout the record, ideas that push the boundaries of possibility and sensibility, all the while doing so through a lens of light-heartedness. With all its quirky electronic flourishes and restless arrangements, at times sense is stretched lyrically too which is represented in the wildly flamboyant vocal delivery. All of this suggests that Phèdre aren't taking themselves too seriously and far from being a factor that weakens the album, it's this approach that makes it so vital, so relevant and so now.

James Stocker - June 2, 2010.


Love Ablaze

Phèdre (CAN)
From the album, 'Phèdre', Daps Records.

Phèdre Official Site

Audio Stream


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March 24, 2015


Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress

Godspeed! You Black Emperor Facebook


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1. Peasantry Or 'Light! Inside Of Light'
2. Lambs' Breath
3. Asunder, Sweet
4. Piss Crowns Are Trebled


March 24, 2015


Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit

Courtney Barnett Official

Milk! / Marathon Artists / Mom + Pop

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1. Elevator Operator
2. Pedestrian At Best
3. An Illustration Of Loneliness (Sleepless In NY)
4. Small Poppies
5. Depreston
6. Aqua Profunda!
7. Dead Fox
8. Nobody Really Cares If You Don't Go To The Party
9. Debbie Downer
10. Kim's Caravan
11. Boxing Day Blues


March 17,  2015



Hand Drawn Dracula

Etiquette Facebook

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1. Pleasantries
2. Brown And Blue
3. Attention Seeker
4. Sleep To Wake
5. Twinkling Stars
6. Promises
7. On And On
8. Outside in
9. Island

Stream whole album here


March 10, 2015


Ripe 4 Luv

Slumberland Records

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1. Crushing Sensation - VIDEO
2. Ripe 4 Luv
3. Crawling Back To You
4. Aquarian
5. Kelly, I'm Not A Creep
6. Dear Drew
7. Living The Dream
8. Wrong Crowd (feat. Jef Barbera)


March 3, 2015



P.W. Elverum & Sun Ltd.

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1. Sauna
2. Turmoil
3. Dragon
4. Emptiness
5. (something)
6. Boat
7. Planets
8. Pumpkin
9. Spring
10. Books
11. Youth


February 24, 2015


No Cities To Love

Sub Pop

Sleater-Kinney Official

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1. Price Tag
2. Fangless
3. Surface Envy
4. No Cities To Love
5. A New Wave
6. No Anthems
7. Gimme Love
8. Bury Our Friends
9. Hey Darling
10. Fade


February 17, 2015



Ghost Records

Casa Del Mirto Facebook

Buy here (no vinyl available)

Stream album here

1. Paralyzed
2. Invisible (feat. Avalon Omega)
3. Reflex
4. Where You Stand
5. Pressure
6. Last Blue Wind
7. A Picture Of
8. Butterfly
9. 8 (feat. Aaron Larcher)
10. What I See Inside Of Me
11. Still


February 10, 2015


Natalie Prass


Natalie Prass Official

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1. My Baby Don't Understand Me
2. Bird Of Prey
3. Your Fool
4. Christy
5. Why Don't You Believe In Me
6. Violently
7. Never Over You
8. Reprise
9. It Is You


February 3, 2015


On Your Own Love Again

Drag City

Jessica Pratt Label Page

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1. Wrong Hand
2. Game That I Play
3. Strange Melody
4. Greycedes
5. Moon Dude
6. Jacquelyn In The Background
7. I've Got A Feeling
8. Back, Baby
9. On Your Own Love Again


January 27th, 2015


Viet Cong

Flemish Eye / Jagjaguwar

Viet Cong Bandcamp

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1. Newspaper Spoons
2. Pointless Experience
3. March Of Progress
4. Bunker Buster
5. Continental Shelf
6. Silhouettes
7. Death




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1. My Baby Don't Understand Me
Natalie Prass (USA)
2. Talk Show
Au. Ra (AUS)
3. Find Yourself
Jacco Gardner (NET)
4. Boris
Breakfast (USA)
5. Catastrophe
Yumi Zouma (NZL)
6. Double Talk
Jaakko Eino Kalevi (FIN)
7. Miniskirt
Braids (CAN)
8. Let It Happen
Tame Impala (AUS)
9. Just Yet
For Esmé (CAN)
10. Brown & Blue
Etiquette (CAN)


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