Mini-Reviews and Recent Discoveries #3

Well, almost a whole season has gone by since I did one of these, so I thought I’d get back on track today. Summer is winding down, but despite that I seem to be stuck in a sunshine-music groove. So here are a few quick tracks from bands that I think will serve well to keep you warm during this rainy weekend.

Collider – Amarind Sashes off Stobos EP

Collider are a band from San Francisco that I found just trolling around bandcamp‘s tag section randomly looking for new music. One of the things I like most about Collider is that they don’t really fit in one particular genre. Sure, they sound very much like a lot of bands doing that lo-fi sound, and they have shoe-gaze elements like those bands too. But they keep things melodic, and they do play with their sound a little over the course of the EP. Some of the songs on Strobos are actually super catchy too (like Take Off). Amarind Sashes is one of the slower songs from the record, but it serves as a good introduction to their sound. Dreamy yet fuzzy, but it rocks too. This one might not be as sunny as the rest I’ve got up here, but it’s a good fit for today. The entire record — as well as some of their past releases if you do enjoy the band — are up on bandcamp to stream or download for free.

Sea Oleena – Island Cottage off Sea Oleena

Sea Oleena is a Montreal based musician (Charlotte Oleena) that a friend of mine turned me on to a few days ago. He told me he had purchased a really great record and then linked me to her bandcamp.  Island Cottage (and her album in general) is an awesome mix of very relaxed acoustic folk with distant and lush vocal melodies punctuated by drums, piano, organic sounding electronic beats and glitches. Listening to Sea Oleena is like floating through a very hazy summer cloud. Just look at that cover art, and you’ll get an idea of what this sounds like. She’s seriously talented, and I’m loving her beautiful vocals which almost remind me of Emiliana Torrini sometimes. One listen through her self-titled album and I knew I needed to purchase the download (there is no minimum price set so even if you only have a toonie or loonie in your bank account, there’s no excuse!). She also has a handful of the songs from this record up as rough-demos called Smudges (which you can download for free).

Star Slinger – May I Walk With You? off the forthcoming Volume 2.

I’m not the biggest fan of the name Star Slinger, but I’m a huge fan of this track. I also don’t know much about who Star Slinger is. What I do know is that he’s an electronic artist who has been making the rounds in the mash-up and remix scenes, doing work with tracks by people like Small Black, Rollerskaters, Alpine and more. When this MP3 landed on my desktop I could not stop listening to it. Here’s your end-of-summer jam right here. Chopped up vocal samples — not unlike something you might hear on the first Go! Team record — skitter over a pretty banging beat while the synths and piano samples layer and layer and layer and… you get it. I think I listened to this song on repeat for a good half hour when I downloaded it. If I had a car, this is what I would crank right now. Star Slinger has an album of older songs called Volume 1 available now with another coming soon.

Solar Bears – Trans Waterfall off Inner Sunshine EP

Speaking of band names I don’t like: Solar Bears. They’re an irish duo (John and Rian) who met while attending sound engineering school. Yeah, quite the match if you ask me. What they’ve put to tape here is an EP of very chilled out electronic, but with a lot of acoustic instrumentation as well. Take the track Trans Waterfall for example, which features a live-sounding drumbeat and unprocessed bass line over keyboards and feedback. Those first two aren’t things we come to associate with most electro music. Then later, we get a breakdown featuring acoustic guitars interplaying with more synth. It’s the juxtaposition of analogue-meets-acoustic that makes Inner Sunshine an enjoyable listen. Am I going to come running back every day to listen to this? No. But it’s a quick listen and makes for a spaced out 20 minutes. I’m down with that.

Dan Gorman


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