Posts Tagged ‘shoegaze’

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I think Joe used to like this band (R.I.P., buddy).

All right, so this was one of those albums that got lost in the shuffle. And by lost in the shuffle, I mean they gave me the download for free, I lost it, and then proceeded to listen to it on loop on Spotify. Hopefully they got at least a little bit of money. Anyway, Battlestations is this super-cool post-rock band from Brussels, Belgium. Before you say, “Ben, you always say something’s super-cool and never back it up”, I’ll give you this: In A Cold Embrace gives me this incredible feeling that I hated, therefore I loved. What I mean is that I don’t think I’ve heard an album that’s made me feel this alone since the first time I listened to Boards of Canada (try Geogaddi). Granted, the album artwork and the song titles (“You Are Not Welcome Here”) didn’t help, but it was much more than that. The songs constantly feature sounds going in reverse, which ALWAYS freaks me out, and really deep voices saying things that I don’t even want to decipher.

Between being scared half to death and suppressing the urge to turn on the lights, there was really something to love about this album. Their inspirations are all over the place, and I swear, they have some of the most impressive and eclectic layering  their songs. On their first track, they go from this cLOUDDEAD trip-hop beat to featuring a flamenco-style Spanish guitar, all the while over this guttural SunnO))) drone. The combination seems out there, but it blew my mind with how awesome it sounded together.

Track 2, “Comrade/ The Way We Grieve”, gave me the chills. Again with the layering, the entire song was like one big, fantastic game of “We Love Katamari“. The bass line was outrageous, and the fact that build-up broke all of a sudden after 5 minutes was a little bit disappointing. However, that’s part of the reason why I love this band and this album: they constantly keep you on your toes. You never know what you’re getting next, and it’s beautiful.

Rating: I literally could rant and rave for a paragraph for almost every song, but that would take entirely too long for the point I’m trying to get across: buy this album. It’s for fans for those who enjoy off-the-beaten-path instrumental music. If you’re the kind of person who likes their music one part experimental, one part heavy, one part haunting, and one part beautiful, Battlestations is your band. 4/5 kegs. [P.S.- Totally wins the “Creepiest Album Art Ever” award. By far.]

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Good, I was in the mood for something different tonight.

[Streaming at the bottom of the page]

Okay, I seem to have a thing for Latin American post-rock. I don’t know, maybe it’s the spirit of it all, but I firmly stand behind the idea that Latin America has their own brand of post-rock, which I adore. It’s so soul-driven; the bass lines are incredible, and the sound is more like rock, but without vocals, which is a sharp contrast to much of the ambient style that’s being produced today. Claro de Luna, however, take the idea of post-rock right from the middle of the road.

One part shoegaze, one part of that ol’ Latino heart and soul and you’ve got Claro de Luna, the one-piece project of a one Mr. Jose Acuña. Yes, I emphasized one piece because the sound is so complex that I thought Well, it must be, like, a million-piece band. I was so wrong. Just one man can make one of the most brilliant pieces of art this year. The trick with this band is to not go into it expecting Nino Koi, fast-paced post-rock. Instead, it fused that fun sound core with an ambient, beautiful exterior to make something, I feel, is truly revolutionary. Take “Perpetulo” for example; it’s reminiscent of Giants with it’s guitar, but it seriously has a God Is An Astronaut ambiance that I feel is unmatched by any band I’ve heard from that area. Seriously, this album is a bunch of the best movie-ending sequence soundtracks ever established, but that’s not the only appeal. Want the most mystical, spiritually intense hour of your life? Pop this in while just staring up at the stars, and you’ll swear you’ve seen the universe. In addition, this also makes the best nighttime cruising music. Ever.

Rating: Well, I must say, this was quite an experience. Not what I was expecting from Costa Rican post-rock band, but also not what I was expecting from a one-person project. I’ll settle it down at a 4.5 out of 5. It was beautiful and powerful, yet not overwhelming. “Luces del Cielo”, with the incredible female accent vocals, completely takes the cake as the best track on the album. Pick this one up, for absolutely free, and feel inspired.


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*Author’s note: Mr. Acuña, if you’re reading this, don’t stop doing this. Seriously, I’m ready for another album.