Saturday, 02 June 2012 02:41



Daps Records 

Buy here

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



April 15, 2014


Hard Boiled, Soft Boiled

Buzz Records

Odonis Odonis Official Site

Buy here

1. Tension
2. Are We Friends
3. Order In The Court
4. New Obsession
5. Breathing Hard
6. Mr Smith
7. Release
8. Angus Mountain
9. Office Sluts
10. Highnote
11. Transmission From The Moon
12. Alexa Wait

April 15, 2014


Under Color Of Official Right

Hardly Art

Protomartyr Facebook

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1. Maidenhead
2. Ain't So Simple
3. Want Remover
4. Trust Me Billy
5. Pagans
6. What The Wall Said
7. Tarpeian Rock
8. Bad Advice
9. Son Of Dis
10. Scum, Rise!
11. I Stare At Floors
12. Come & See
13. Violent
14. I'll Take That Applause

April 1, 2014




Future Islands Official Site

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1. Seasons (Wating On You)
2. Spirit
3. Sun In the Morning
4. Doves
5. Back In The Tall Grass
6. A Song For Our Grandfathers
7. Light House
8. Like The Moon
9. Fall From Grace
10. A Dream Of You And Me


March 25, 2014


Lost In The Dream

Secretly Canadian

The War On Drugs Official Site

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1. Under The Pressure
2. Red Eyes
3. Suffering
4. An Ocean In Between The Waves
5. Disappearing
6. Eyes To The Wind
7. The Haunting Idle
8. Burning
9. Lost In The Dream
10. In Reverse


March 18, 2014




Real Estate Official Site

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1. Had To Hear
2. Past Lives
3. Talking Backwards
4. April's Song
5. The Bend
6. Crime
7. Primitive
8. How Might I Live
9. Horizon
10. Navigator


March 11, 2014


Present Tense


Wild Beasts Official Site

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1. Wanderlust
2. Nature Boy
3. Mecca
4. Sweet Spot
5. Daughters
6. A Pregnant Pause
7. A Simple Beautiful Truth
8. A Dog's Life
9. Past Perfect
10. New Life
11. Palace


March 4, 2014


Burn Your Fire For No Witness


Angel Olsen Official Site

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1. Unfucktheworld
2. Forgiven/Forgotten
3. Hi-Five
4. White Fire
5. High & Wild
6. Lights Out
7. Stars
8. Iota
9. Dance  Slow Decades
10. Enemy
11. Windows


February 25, 2014



Caldo Verde

Sun Kil Moon Official Site

Buy here (CD Only - no vinyl release)

1. Carissa
2. I Can't Live Without My Mother's Love
3. Truck Driver
4. Dogs
5. Pray For Newtown
6. Jim Wise
7. I Love My Dad
8. I Watched The Film The Song Remains The Same
9. Richard Ramirez Died Today Of Natural Causes
10. Micheline
11. Ben's My Friend


February 18, 2014


Three Love Songs

Orchid Tapes

Ricky Eat Acid Facebook

Buy limited edition vinyl here

Download free digital version here

1. There Is Only You In The Light & Nothing Else
2. Driving Alone Past Roadwork At Night
3. Inside My House; Some Place I Keep Dreaming About
4. Big Man's Last Trip Outside
5. In Rural Virginia; Watching Glowing Lights Crawl From The Dark Corners Of The Room
6. Inside Your House; It Will Swallow Us Too
7. It Will Draw Me Over To It Like It Always Does
8. In My Dreams We're Almost Touching
9. God Puts Us All In The Swimming Pool
10. Outside Your House; The Lights Went Out & There Was Nothing
11. I Can Hear The Heart Breaking As One
12. Starting Over


February 11, 2014



We Were Never Being Boring

Be Forest Facebook

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1. Totem
2. Captured Heart
3. Lost Boy
4. Ghost Dance
5. Airwaves
6. Totem II
7. Colours
8. Sparkle
9. Hideaway


February 4, 2014


The Age Of Fracture

Tough Love Records

Cymbals Facebook

Buy here

1. Winter '98
2. The Natural World
3. You Are
4. Empty Space
5. The 5%
6. The Fracture Of Age
7. Like An Animal
8. Erosion
9. This City
10. The End
11. Call Me




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1. Beautiful Criminal
2. Psychic Trauma
Cloud Nothings (USA)
3. Seasons (Waiting On You)
Future Islands (USA)
4. No Romance
Tirzah (ENG)
5. Copper Thief
Case Conrad (SWE)
6. Interference Fits
Perfect Pussy (USA)
7. The Space Between Us
+/- (USA)
8. Battles
9. Come & See
Protomartyr (USA)
10. Carmine
Cloud Boat (ENG)





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