Saturday, 15 October 2016

Genre Wander: The Orb - Blondfire - Escapists - Muuy Biien

The Orb - First, Consider The Lillys.

Background promo - The duo known for their genre-bending curiosity and surprising sonic detours, that explore experimental soundscapes as well as club-friendly beats, legendary and celebrated ambient kingpins, The Orb, premiere their 16th album, "COW / Chill Out, World!" this week via The Vinyl Factory, and on Kompakt from Friday, October 14.

In support of the LP release, The Orb kick off the first leg of their North American tour on October 19, which sees them bringing their critically aclaimed live shows to both the east and west coasts. A performance The Times gives a four star review saying, "Less a 'gig', more of a happening with a sense of vast sonic irreverence."

The duo comprised of accomplished soundsmiths Alex Paterson and Thomas Fehlmann are also celebrating the 25th Anniversary of their seiminal debut album 'Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld." US audiences are in for a rare treat as they'll perform their greatest hits and select songs from the forthcoming "Chill Out, World!'

Featuring only the occasional presence of buoyant, gently rhythmic pulses and loops, Alex Paterson describes COW as “Our most ambient album yet”. Sounds bubble, flutter and float through various atmospheres and moods, from bucolic and picturesque, childlike wonderment, the texture of bygone memories, to the universe’s infinite depth. Facebook here.

The Orb North American Tour Dates (More Dates TBA):
Dates     State     Venue    

10/20     NEW YORK, NY     WEBSTER HALL    
10/21     CARRBORO, NC     CAT'S CRADLE    
10/26     SEATTLE, WA     NEUMOS    
10/27     PORTLAND, OR     STAR THEATER    

Our second featured track from the brand new album (and what an album it is!). 'First, Consider The Lillys' is a lush ambient piece of gorgeous musical textures. Orb fans are in for a massive treat, everyone else should check it out, and maybe join the party..


Blondfire - Heathens.

Background - blondfire is pure emotion. blondfire is confidence. Truth. Fantasy. It’s a sense of coming into one’s own, a freedom to explore, to break free from the constraints of the day-to-day world.

blondfire is Erica Driscoll. Her ethereal yet confident vocals and ineffable style brought the band great acclaim and a worldwide fan base with the 2014 breakout album “Young Heart” (featuring the alternative hit “Where the Kids Are”).  blondfire’s more recent music bursts forth with a potent sense of purpose, more guitars, and more bite, both sonically and lyrically.  The single “Pleasure” was “inspired by the crazy Manchester drug scene aftermath and how seeking that ultimate euphoria and pleasure can come with a dark side,” Erica says. “It was fun while it lasted.” 

The lyrics – “Set fire to the house, burning through the pleasure with you. Get up, get up, get out of your head. Get up, get up, get up, feel alive” – reflect that hedonistic duality.  Plus, it’s just relentlessly catchy. “Pleasure” – produced and co-written by Wally Gagel (Best Coast, Zella Day, Family of the Year, Escondido). Expect more brand new material anytime now. Facebook here.

It was good to hear from Erica who simply asked, I’d love for you to check out my dark, dreamy cover of the Twenty One Pilot's song 'Heathens'. So I did, and if anything her description understates what a fine song this is, add, atmospheric and gorgeous to dark and dreamy.


Escapists - Silence.

Background - About 'Silence’ Lyrically it’s about the familiar pockets of silence that build in modern relationships when someone stares unflinchingly into a phone screen. By employing a wall of sound and some noise rock dynamics, the group shatter the very thing they write about and assert themselves and their desire to connect with people with stunning audacity. ‘Silence’ sees the group move away from the jagged dance rock sound of before and into something closer to adult contemporary music. With a unique ear for texture Escapists employ tinkling piano lines and searing synths before concluding with a mesmerising psych wig-out.

About Escapists When Escapists’ vocalist Simon Glancy moved to London to concentrate on his songwriting, he asked the only musical friend he knew to help record his ideas. Enter Oli Court, future Escapists guitarist. Oli drafted in his friend, composer Max Perryment, to play bass and the trio spent a week of intensive sessions finalising Glancy’s ideas before deciding their musical camaraderie was worth pursuing. Oli’s former schoolmate Andy Walsh was enlisted to round off the lineup on drums and before long they were recording indie rock inspired by Simon and Oli’s university listening habits: Arcade Fire, The National and Broken Social Scene.

Escapists’ debut single was picked up and broadcast by XFM’s John Kennedy and within the year they toured with Imagine Dragons and made their festival debut at Reading and Leeds. Their debut album ‘Only Bodies’ was written in the first half of 2013 and released in 2014 to general appraisal from the blogosphere. Towards the end of last year they followed it up with the standalone single ‘Faraday Cage’, packaged with a striking update of the Talking Heads classic ‘This Must Be The Place’ – it was a fitting homage to a band who, like Escapists, were bent on pushing the parameters of new wave. After releasing the all-killer five track EP ‘Eat You Alive’ last year, Escapists shed their jagged post punk skins, went back to the drawing board and re-emerged with their new AA single ‘Silence/Animals’. Ostensibly it’s Escapists at their most pop: the melodies are immediate and the structures are exhilarating. The truth is, like the bands that brought them together, they’re now making pop music for the thinking person. This year sees Escapists arrive at their most thought-provoking work yet: ‘Silence/Animals’ is the sound of bigger things still to come. Website here.

'Silence' is an expansive and extremely well produced song. The power is there, however it's so well layered that everything has it's place in the mix, without dominating or crowding out the rest, its melodic, rocky and bristling with hooks.


Muuy Biien - Bitter Blessings.

Background - Muuy Biien is a band from Athens Georgia. Originally an ambient project of singer Joshua Evans, the inclusion of a full band has allowed the project to evolve into an intense and raucous live act. In four years, they have released 2 albums and 3 EPs containing punk, post-punk, darkwave, ambient and krautrock influences. On October 28th 2016, the band will release their first true studio album (and third album overall) on Autumn Tone. The new full length, recorded by David Barbe at Chase Park Transduction, finds the band continuing to experiment with new sounds and territories. Muuy Biien are poised to spend most of 2016 and 2017 on the road supporting the record.

Tour Dates:
10/13 – New York, NY – Rough Trade (Aquarium Drunkard Party)
10/19 – Augusta, GA – Soul Bar
10/20 – Asheville, NC – House Show
11/02 – Athens, GA – Georgia Theatre (album release show)
11/03 – Atlanta, GA – Drunken Unicorn (album release show)
11/30 – Jackson, MS – Martin’s
12/01 – Houston, TX – The Nightingale Room
12/02 – San Antonio, TX – The Mix
12/03 – Austin, TX – The Sidewinder
12/04 – Fort Worth, TX – Lola’s
12/06 – Tucson, AZ – The Flycatcher
12/07 – San Diego, CA – Soda Bar
12/08 – Los Angeles, CA – Satellite
12/09 – San Francisco, CA – Hemlock Tavern
12/11 – Portland, OR – Bunk Bar
12/12 – Seattle, WA – The Vera Project
12/13 – Boise, ID – Neurolux
12/15 – Denver, CO – Lost Lake Lounge
12/17 – St. Louis, MO – Firebird

Forth track out of twelve on the new album and 'Bitter Blessings' gives a flavour of whats in store, on this uncompromising collection. Sometimes the experimentation is at the fore, the edgy rock'n'roll is never far off, and overall the bands individual identity keeps the whole thing together.


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