Montreal’s bedroom crooner and ukelele’r Alexia Avina released her sleepy, delicate debut EP for free less than a month back. It’s a loosely wound and sparse four-track EP that’s perfect for August’s waning summer days.
There is a moment on Vensaire’s self-titled EP where a heretofore background member of the band shines bright as beacon, illuminated in a soft but vibrant spotlight that causes you to think “Who is that and where can I hear more?”
That moment is “They Are Growing” where Vensaire’s unique brand of experimental world/folk inspired chamber pop with occasionally electronic dalliances becomes something totally other. It’s Renata Zeiguer’s moment, her voice like siren song and no doubt aided in its sorcery by creamy, atmospheric textures. Perhaps the most surprising thing about singer/multi-instrumentalist Renata Zeiguer is that while playing with two of the most innovative Brooklyn bands going in Vensaire and Landlady that she has been able to allude notice; contributing majorly to the ensemble sound while drawing very little attention her way. Hopefully that changes with her personal musical project Cantina.
Taking its cues from “They Are Growing”, Cantina relishes the strengths of Zeiguer’s enchanting light vocals in their dreamy arrangements. Zeigeur aims for the tropics but reaches the stars as Cantina manages to transcend the beachy vibe of their tropical inspiration and land somewhere far more striking. Zeiguer’s arrangements are wide and spacious, allowing the vocals full range of moment as they flitter and glide; Birkin-esque in their coquetteish coo and yet, a part of Zeiguer’s distinct textural palette themselves.
Fittingly, many of Landlady’s members (including its mastermind Adam Schatz) had a hand in helping Zeiguer’s vision come to life. Their touch is a light one however, allowing Zeiguer’s resplendent dream pop to stand mostly on her own creative merits. The result is songs that are captivatingly sparse, subtly arranged, and beguiling in its simplicity. It’s a winning combination that should serve Cantina very well. Cantina’s 7 song Horizons EP is out/available for stream/download via Bandcamp.
With the release of their second EP (third if you count the Crossing Colors EP released as Il abanico) rapidly approaching, Brooklyn quartet Salt Cathedral certainly aren’t messing around. While already releasing “Tease” earlier this summer and offering up a remix by Kodak to Graph just two short weeks ago, Salt Cathedral are reveling in every facet of their new electronic focused sound while blowing up any previously conceived notions about their approach to it with each subsequent peek at the OOM VELT EP.
“Holy Soul”, the third taste from the EP that’s due out at the end of this month, is at its very basis one of those female vocals over beats songs that seems to be all the rage right now. There’s no denying that. Much of the complex rhythmic structure and interlocking instrument formations are purged in favor of something a little more pure to highlight what fans of theirs may have already known but a simple fact that it doesn’t hurt to reestablish: Juliana Ronderos’ vocals are the essence of Salt Cathedral down to their core. That’s not surprising – it’s the one unaffected constant in their recent genre shakeup and arguably the most compelling. Years of collaborating has only strengthened Nicolas Losada and Ronderos’ creative bonds and solidified their reliance on Ronderos’ vocal prowess.
Despite its sparse accompaniment, “Holy Soul” is a shining example of subtle producing. As the rest of the band stay well out of the way of Ronderos, it remains an interesting displaying of textural fortitude. The layering is slight but intriguing and absolutely crucial to the mood and even gets its moments of spotlight during vocal breaks. The big drum pad beats are there but the most monumental are the tiny fluttering click beats whose climactic rise actually form Ronderos’ initial jumping off point. With “Holy Soul”, Salt Cathedral display their diversity even going so far as to outdo the nuances of their previous ballad “Good Winds”. With such a multifaceted approach to electronica, you can only imagine what the rest of OOM VELT will sound like. Luckily that anticipation won’t have to wait too much longer.
Salt Cathedral’s OOM VELT EP is out August 25th on limited edition cream 12″ vinyl as well as digitally. You can preorder it here. In case you missed it, here’s Gainesville producer Kodak to Graph’s “Tease” remix:
Good news is New York based artist HANAH seems to work quick. After premiering her debut single “Out of Touch” last month, she’s already reappeared with a music video to share. The video, which just so happens to be directed by Nicolas Pesce (the same man behind the incredibly epic Yellerkin’s “Solar Laws” video) appears to takes its cue from supernatural thrillers/horror films in its visuals while also functioning to encapsulate Hannah Taxman’s listless, dream-referencing vocals. Films like The Exorcist and The Ring spring immediately to mind as the video’s sole character gradually loses her bearings/control culminating in an impressive and artfully shot bit of levitation. Taxman’s herself hovers in the periphery – functioning as a sort of narrating specter for much of the video’s plot.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the video comes from the amped up energy at the song’s climax as Pesce elevates the surreal images to full on phantasmagoria and and the mounting tension is released through the devolution into all out dream logic. Pesce’s talents for short form storytelling are subverted by his adherence to often bewildering unexplainable nature of supernatural phenomena and therein lies the source of the video’s impact. Pesce takes Taxman’s dissociative lyrics to their very extreme – creating an arresting take on the out of body experience.
After releasing their debut single “Make It Quick” last year, New York experimental rock quartet Redfoot have more or less been biding their time. A show every now and then, a music video for the aforementioned single, but news of any impending releases were never anywhere in sight. All of a sudden, the band up and released their premier EP – a five song collection produced by The Antlers’ Darby Cicci that encapsulates their atmospheric yet still somewhat driving brand of cinematic art rock.
“Reversing Falls”, the lead track from the EP, is perhaps the most forward moving of the EP’s tracks aside from “Make It Quick”, it doesn’t rely as much on ambiance and musical place setting as the rest of the EPs tracks and perhaps why it’s the most accessible. “Reversing Falls” contains a wealth of worthwhile musical ideas but deploys them with a sort of restraint and grace that allows the track to maintain an air of simplicity. It’s a testament to what the band can do; uncompromising in their regard for space but still very much a talented rock band. It’s a hard balance to achieve but one that ultimately succeeds on “Reversing Falls”.
Their self-titled EP is out now and available for stream over at Soundcloud.