Tag Archives: gy!be

Best of 2012: Raime – Quarter Turns Over a Living Line

While I waited for The xx’s Coexist to match the minimalist thrills of their debut album, and as I pondered why I still lifted my skinny fists to Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend despite its (glorious) predictableness, I discovered an album that struck a darker and colder atmosphere than the former, with all the devastating inclinations of the latter: Raime’s anticipated debut LP Quarter Turns Over a Living Line is a tense, terrifying excursion of brutal ardour, casting a post-industrial gloom over much of anything I’ve been listening to this year. – Dan. mp3: Raime – Your Cast Will Tire

Quarter Turns Over a Living Line is out now on Blackest Ever Black.


#350 Efrim Manuel Menuck – Our Lady of Parc Extension and Her Munificent Sorrows

The music of Efrim Menuck may be criticized for being simplistic or even naive. Whether delivered in stirring apocalyptic terms in Godspeed You! Black Emperor or channeled through the mournful communal excursions of A Silver Mt Zion, Menuck’s musical vision is a stubbornly straightforward one, an outpouring of emotional force regardless of medium or form. As a self-confessed fan, I’m not embarrassed to admit my willing subjection to this treatment (or might you say manipulation?), or even how much this unadulterated experientialism appeals to me.

But Menuck’s recent solo effort, Efrim Manuel Menuck Plays “High Gospel”, explores a new dimension to the Montreal-based musician and studio engineer’s work. While capable of delivering crushing intensity and overwhelming sorrow like any GY!BE or ASMZ record, High Gospel is decidedly more crafted and varied, and less inhibited to experiment or even detour. In the opening track, for instance, soul-stirring drone is weaved intricately with familiar choral manifestoes, only to be interjected by a dizzying array of electronic signals. Emotions still ride high, reaching even new heights at some points, only this time they seem less raw and perhaps more believable. – Dan.

mp3: Efrim Manuel Menuck – Our Lady of Parc Extension and Her Munificent Sorrows

Efrim Manuel Menuck Plays “High Gospel” is out now on Constellation.

albums of 2008 – 13 blues for thirteen moons


thee silver mt. zion memorial orchestra & tra-la-la band – 13 blues for thirteen moons (constellation)

this is the first asmz album to come with packaged with lyrics (in a nice little hymnal too), perhaps indicative of the unprecedented focus on frontman efrim menuck’s voice, and in general the first time the band has sounded so direct. it was due for a worldwide release on march 25th, but the kind people at constellation mailed it much earlier, just in time for my birthday in fact. for a whole month since that day, i listened to the album every night. for the first few listens, i struggled to get used to the unfamiliar guitar driven sound, but gradually, the entire album became part of my evening routine, with the harsher sounds i associated more with gy!be mingling with the world-weary strings that still feature so distinctly. and every night, i’d fall asleep to album closer blindblindblind, sometimes just after munuck reminds me “we want punks in the palace, cos punks got the loveliest dreams”. for some reason i can’t explain, i’ve bonded with this album like no other this year.

mp3: thee silver mt. zion – blindblindblind

#135 vic chesnutt, elf power and the amorphous strums – stop the horse


of all the great musicians from athens, georgia (r.e.m., the elephant six bands), it’s a complete mystery why i’ve never gotten to listen to vic chesnutt – not even when he’s collaborated with many other bands i love, like lambchop, or even when he released his album north star deserter last year on my favorite record label constellation. and for that matter, that album featured more of my favorite bands, from constellation stalwarts a silver mt zion and gy!be, and also fugazi’s guy picciotto. this time round, on his newest album dark developments, he collaborates with e6 alumni elf power and an outfit i have no idea about, the amorphous strums. but after mentioning all these partnerships, which really do bear testament to the his magnetic appeal, i find chesnutt’s songwriting remaining in the forefront with the rest of the bands respectfully giving it its rightful place. in my many listens to dark developments, i was drawn repeatedly to the slow burning “stop the horse”, each verse delivered in shades of dried bloodstains from the weight of each metaphor tied to chesnutt’s torn sleeves. i must say, it’s never too late to have a new favorite.

mp3: vic chesnutt, elf power and the amorphous strums – stop the horse

dark developments was released this month on orange twin, a label co-owned by members of elf power which is raising funds for land preservation and sustainable development. they are currently working on a 150 acre eco-village in athens, georgia. do support them!

#102 pit er pat – evacuation days

while post-rock has been most noted for its post-shoegaze turn in recent times, with the proliferation of lengthy noise rock bands from mogwai to explosions in the sky and of course the mighty gy!be, the early paths trodden by pioneers like tortoise remain somewhat deserted in comparison. to be fair, there is more to the bands in the former category than full mastery of the loud/soft formula, but honestly it’s the experimentation of the latter that remains closer to the edge of that fringe, where the meaning of rock itself is questioned at its crossroads with jazz and other genres. that’s perhaps the briefest possible context for listening to tortoise’s thrill jockey label-mates, pit er pat, the three-piece band that also hails from chicago. in “evacuation days”, the pre-apocalyptic urgency of the title sees the band pursuing a direction in between the forward-thinking aesthetic of tortoise and the otherworldly mysticism of the fiery furnaces, yet another thrill jockey-er. the result is a dark, brooding track that takes its time to explore new grounds in that direction, and like the studio work of tortoise, leaves you curious and thirsting for a live interpretation.

mp3: pit er pat – evacuation days

pit er pat’s new album high time will be out tomorrow on (you guessed it) thrill jockey.