Wacky Southern Current – [2011] In a Realm of Uncertain Summer

Cinematic instrumental post rock. Like an alternative soundtrack to Magnolia, this slow-paced exercise in wackyness.

The inspiration taken from Air cannot be overheard, and is clearly stated in the album’s release notes. So if you like the alternative sound of the French pop duo, give this album a try on a train ride. Continue reading “Wacky Southern Current – [2011] In a Realm of Uncertain Summer”

Still Pluto – [2014] Songs To Mend The Heart Once Been Torn Apart

Solid soft hard rock. Very well recorded and produced vocal rock music; hard to place on the spectrum between soft and hard rock.

Still Pluto do very conventional, very solid rock in North West Russia (Petrozavodsk, to be precise). From there, their music reached me through the catalogue indie rock netlabel Southern City Lab. So if you are tired of the umpteenth minimal techno release, give this source a try. But back to this week’s offer: Continue reading “Still Pluto – [2014] Songs To Mend The Heart Once Been Torn Apart”

jasmin – [2005] EP02

Jazzy postrock. A modern classic, surfing hard on genre boundaries.

This gem of a EP, released at now inactive Berlin netlabel 12rec is surprisingly hard to classify. Although it ticks all the boxes of instrumental postrock, the songs touch everything from pop music and jazz harmonics. Jazz in disguise, so to speak. Continue reading “jasmin – [2005] EP02”

Emerald Park – [2011] Reality Bites EP

Radio-compatible guitar pop rock. Three relaxed songs from Sweden.

The guitar chords come easily with this release, as well as the snares and drums. The arrangements don’t win prizes for originality, yet are crafted with such care that you can even forgive them with opening with the played-to-death four-chord progression. But judge for yourself whether this is for you. Continue reading “Emerald Park – [2011] Reality Bites EP”

The Nuri – [2009] Masquerade

Excellent progressive hard rock with strong female vocals. This is one of the early prominent examples of professionally produced, Creative Commons licensed albums out there.

Early listeners on Jamendo equivocally praised it to be one of the best submissions on the platform. While the free music scene has exploded with thousands of artists, this release for me has stood the test of time. The title track made into one of the early Free Music Contest 2010 compilation conducted by Musikpiraten, an association dedicated to making known high quality Creative Commons music. But back to this album: Continue reading “The Nuri – [2009] Masquerade”

Lorenzo’s Music – [2017] Cool ships and heat exchangers

(Un)conventional alternative rock. With netlabel blocSonic, it’s hard to not be impressed. I adore how they keep publishing consistently solid to exceptional albums and compilations year after year. The word conventional is meant as a compliment. Although it is not strictly correct: the use of brass instruments and synth sounds clearly is an exception to the rock band formula. Continue reading “Lorenzo’s Music – [2017] Cool ships and heat exchangers”

Antethic – [2017] Ghost Shirt Society

Electronic post rock greatness. We probably all have heard those drawn-out, long, boring post rock extravaganzas with minutes of continuous distorted guitar sound carpets without sense or measure. This not one of those…

Instead, the genre is enriched by upbeat tracks, careful addition of electronic effects and ornamentation. In short: it sounds pretty fresh! Read on for my two representative picks: Continue reading “Antethic – [2017] Ghost Shirt Society”

Mr. Bitterness And The Guilty Pleasures – [2017] Songs From The Surveillance Age

Coming to save alternative rock. Wow, what an excellent production. It’s rare to be blown away by so “little” happening on the surface, while so much falls all into the right place in the background. Electronic effects left and right, used in subtle ways for great effect make this a well crafted release. Continue reading “Mr. Bitterness And The Guilty Pleasures – [2017] Songs From The Surveillance Age”

Dream Mechanics – [2009] Screensaver

Casual ambient soft rock. This oldie (i.e. published last decade) is a perfect mental “screen saver”. According to the release notes on Bandcamp, the artists were called a “Russian Massive Attack” for their psychedelic, trance-inducing sound. Judge for yourself what you make of it.. Continue reading “Dream Mechanics – [2009] Screensaver”

Hermelin – [2008] Hermelin

Straightforward post rock. Hermelin is 4 guys from Hanover in Northern Germany, performing at least since 2008. On April 1 this year they have released their newest album called Tüdeltüt. While their newest work certainly has increased in terms of production (sound quality, mixing), their first full-length release has its charm, too. Continue reading “Hermelin – [2008] Hermelin”

JT Bruce – [2005] Anomalous Material

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Instrumental progressive rock at its best. This over 10 year old album by JT Bruce contains just over one hour of meticulously produced music. No lyrics, but attention to detail throughout the 16 tracks. If you like this classic, you might also enjoy his 2015 release Vandal of Fortune (Jamendo). Continue reading “JT Bruce – [2005] Anomalous Material”

Various Artists – [2012] Braaahhlitz Compilation

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This excellent compilation is a product of the well-developed German netlabel aaahh-records. Well-developed means that while they still release free music under Creative Commons licenses (aaahhwoo!) the label self-identifies as a “festival curators” nowadays. For me, they are one of the longest-standing publishers of consistent high-quality “analogue” music out in the net. This album features 8 partly folky, acoustic recordings of an artistic weekend in Bralitz. Continue reading “Various Artists – [2012] Braaahhlitz Compilation”

Nicolas Falcon – [2011] Nicolas Falcon

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Folky post indie rock. This acoustic guitar vocal gem is the debut album by Italian artist Nicolas Falcon. Voice, guitar, piano (in that order) are all it takes him to write thoughtful, entertaining songs. The (apparent) love ballad I Promise features the following lines:

But I promise you baby
I’ll never let your heart break
I promise to break all the promises I make

The album contains 9 similarly ironic tracks, from ballad to pop rock. My two picks are: Continue reading “Nicolas Falcon – [2011] Nicolas Falcon”

Nic Bommarito – [2009] Harp Fragments

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Melancholia shoegaze in beautiful cinemascope. Think Ennio Morricone’s classical movie soundtracks, but in today’s style. The same deserted emotions, but mixed with modern post rock. 7 tracks, released at netlabel 12rec, brilliantly show that post rock can be so much more than guitar effect avalanches. Continue reading “Nic Bommarito – [2009] Harp Fragments”

Sasha Raskin – [2011] Only Music

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Electronic soft rock. Jerusalem-based artist Sasha Raskin makes us a great present by releasing his debut album for free at the netlabel diym. To cite French reviewer @adiffuser:

Do not rely on the efficiency and the energy of the first title to automatically store the music of Sasha Raskin in the category electro-pop mainstream.

Continue reading “Sasha Raskin – [2011] Only Music”

Spit Rusty – [2011] Underwhelmed

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Punchy hard rock from Denmark. Loud, very loud. And fast. And LOUD. Erm… what else? Oh yeah, they have cool guitar riffs, excellent drum patterns, transitions. Head-shake-inducing chorus lines. Cannot. Write. Long. Sentences. Must. Move… Read on for my two favourite tracks and the obligatory release link…
Continue reading “Spit Rusty – [2011] Underwhelmed”

Lockerbie – [2010] Lockerbie

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Icy post rock from Iceland. Lockerbie know the recipe for a delicious post rock album: interesting sound effects, lots of guitars from calm to loud. Long, really long intros and endless repeating of the same chords over and over again. The result makes for some epic background music with punch. Continue reading “Lockerbie – [2010] Lockerbie”

JT Bruce – [2006] The Dreamer’s Paradox

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Powerful instrumental progressive rock. And quite versatile. The 11 tracks of Dreamer’s Paradox contain both epic and silent pieces. All instruments are produces with much attention to detail. The album packed with great guitar riffs, bass lines and drum patterns. Continue reading “JT Bruce – [2006] The Dreamer’s Paradox”