Lake Mary – Lake Mary 7.3

                Lake Mary is a two headed beast of an album: one side lonely, the other side full. Both sides display an obvious affection for the material. For each part Lake Mary is completely aware of the traditions it takes up. Though the same instrument (the guitar) is used the approaches are dramatic. With these different approaches Lake Mary is able to show its ability to branch out, to feel completely free. And no matter what side one chooses to listen to first, there is either the stark to lush sound (done normally) or the lush to stark. In either instance the amount of heart found in the pieces is enough to make them endearing, warm things. 

                ‘Canopy’ starts out with a series of guitar strums. Out of nowhere applause comes forth. This makes little sense as there is otherwise no indication that an audience is watching. Much of the track is lonely, just Lake Mary with the guitar. Gradually a little accompanying drone follows the impassioned playing making it feel a little less alone. The player takes a break as the atmosphere grows murkier. Slowly the electronic effects take over the track itself. On ‘Mardotsha’ things are considerably different. First there’s little hint of a human touch, only of a complete isolationist remix of the previous track. Whether or not this is true is irrelevant. A full sound gives way to an entire atmosphere, more inviting and warm than the previous track. Lake Mary manages to make the electronic drone effects full of life. 

                This is a balanced album: lonely, full, spare, lush, this is the ying and yang of albums. Each part compliments the other perfectly.

You’ll Never Get to Heaven – You’ll Never Get to Heaven 8.3

                The weird never sounded so wonderful. On their debut You’ll Never Get to Heaven create a fuzzy sleepy sound. Effortlessly mixing classical, dub, and vocals the sound is dream pop perfected. Songs manage to nuzzle themselves into the mind. Crackles from the sampled vinyl give it a tactile feel. Alice Hansen’s vocals are reminiscent of a quieter Broadcast. While the sounds hover about, looping somewhat unevenly, the whole thing feels as if it should simply collapse. Yet it manages to continue through these languid atmospheres. The grooves are incredible and made possible thanks to the help of the 70s dub matched up with the treated classical sounds. 

                ‘Drowning Out’ begins with a sampled piano piece. A structure forms from the light dub influences and her easy-going vocal delivery. ‘You’ve got the sun’ possesses one of the stronger rhythms. Here the beat is rather prominent as the classical strings are heavily manipulated. The bass keeps it steady. ‘Wait’ staggers with its swagger. On this song the humidity from the atmosphere can be felt. Alice’s voice is able to cut through the heat of the track. The sampled classical pieces appear to almost evaporate rather than actually play anything. Parts of it are reminiscent of GAS’s approach to classical music. 

                Picking out a favorite in this album is rather difficult. The songs bleed into each other. Many of techniques used are not particularly new. What is different is how You’ll Never Get to Heaven merges these many experimental techniques to create accessible, blissed-out pop songs. One may never get to heaven but these songs suggest it can be a place on Earth.

M83’s New Album: Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
                Album announcement season is in full blast. M83 threw its hat into the ring with the announcement for its upcoming “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming” album. We didn’t know the name of the album before. Now we know better, we know this unusual band shall return, steering into straight-up pop territory. We’re also not going to rush into dreaming without doing some heavy research first. How dare a bunch of Frenchmen tell me when to arrive for dreaming! I’ll take my time, I’m a sloth. 

                M83 has had a wild career. When it first began, it embraced “Boards of Canada” style IDM and synthesizers. Then it moved slowly towards pop, slowly towards dance. Critics lavished praise on their albums, some getting that sweet “Best New Music” status on Pitchfork. Performances fared less well, common complaints included watching guys twiddle knobs on stage. Without being too dance or too emotional, they were stuck in some middle-segment of the market, forever doomed to being popular yet not popular enough, cool yet not cool enough. Someday they dreamed of escaping this relevance purgatory. 

                Chillwave came along. Suddenly this genre brought them freedom. People may continue to argue about whether or not chillwave is a genre, or, if it is, does it apply to M83. For the sake of argument, I’ll accept chillwave is a style, since most names of musical genres are dreadfully painful if not outright stupid. I feel M83 does all those chillwave things: reverb, vintage synthesizers, and generally pointless, stupid lyrics that I tune out. Of course M83 wants to be associated with shoegaze, but they aren’t My Bloody Valentine. They need to be a bit less ambitious. Embrace the lesser, harder-to-define genre of chillwave. Consider the chillwave moniker like being a big fish in a small pond. Using the shoegaze classification, you’re pitting yourself up against real musicians, you know, ones who plays actual instruments instead of dramatically pressing buttons. Aim lower. 

                Your soundcloud has blown up over your song “Midnight City”. People are giving you an outpouring of support. Whenever any artist wants to feel good, they put up a song on soundcloud. Soundcloud attracts compliments like honey attracts flies. That horn solo at the end was written by James Chance, so it’s good to see he’s still in the game, musically speaking. Even your website www.ilovem83.com indicates you need somebody to love. 

                Hopefully you succeed. Considering your past string of successes, I wouldn’t put it past you. Include enough beats and you might even beat Justice at their own game. Think of how sweet that would be. Make music, make money, earn respect, and blog about it. Life could be so good for you.

M83’s New Album: Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

                Album announcement season is in full blast. M83 threw its hat into the ring with the announcement for its upcoming “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming” album. We didn’t know the name of the album before. Now we know better, we know this unusual band shall return, steering into straight-up pop territory. We’re also not going to rush into dreaming without doing some heavy research first. How dare a bunch of Frenchmen tell me when to arrive for dreaming! I’ll take my time, I’m a sloth. 

                M83 has had a wild career. When it first began, it embraced “Boards of Canada” style IDM and synthesizers. Then it moved slowly towards pop, slowly towards dance. Critics lavished praise on their albums, some getting that sweet “Best New Music” status on Pitchfork. Performances fared less well, common complaints included watching guys twiddle knobs on stage. Without being too dance or too emotional, they were stuck in some middle-segment of the market, forever doomed to being popular yet not popular enough, cool yet not cool enough. Someday they dreamed of escaping this relevance purgatory. 

                Chillwave came along. Suddenly this genre brought them freedom. People may continue to argue about whether or not chillwave is a genre, or, if it is, does it apply to M83. For the sake of argument, I’ll accept chillwave is a style, since most names of musical genres are dreadfully painful if not outright stupid. I feel M83 does all those chillwave things: reverb, vintage synthesizers, and generally pointless, stupid lyrics that I tune out. Of course M83 wants to be associated with shoegaze, but they aren’t My Bloody Valentine. They need to be a bit less ambitious. Embrace the lesser, harder-to-define genre of chillwave. Consider the chillwave moniker like being a big fish in a small pond. Using the shoegaze classification, you’re pitting yourself up against real musicians, you know, ones who plays actual instruments instead of dramatically pressing buttons. Aim lower. 

                Your soundcloud has blown up over your song “Midnight City”. People are giving you an outpouring of support. Whenever any artist wants to feel good, they put up a song on soundcloud. Soundcloud attracts compliments like honey attracts flies. That horn solo at the end was written by James Chance, so it’s good to see he’s still in the game, musically speaking. Even your website www.ilovem83.com indicates you need somebody to love. 

                Hopefully you succeed. Considering your past string of successes, I wouldn’t put it past you. Include enough beats and you might even beat Justice at their own game. Think of how sweet that would be. Make music, make money, earn respect, and blog about it. Life could be so good for you.