Friday, February 24, 2017

All of This Will Disappear: Impermanence by Peter Silberman

"I'm disassembling...piece by piece..."

Impermanence opens with a crisis. The creative process that led Peter Silberman to write and record this album was triggered a few years ago by an injury that left the Antlers frontman temporarily deaf in one ear and agonisingly sensitive to sounds that he scarcely even noticed before. This devastating setback - and I'm sure that having your hearing wrecked is horrible even when you don't make music for a living - drove home to Silberman the fact that everything is subject to change, and that everything ends eventually. As he himself puts it, Impermanence is the result of being forced to "consider the finite".

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Hurray for the Riff Raff: Small Town Heroes Revisited

With both the UK and the USA seemingly becoming more insular and inward-looking with each new day, now would be a good time to revisit Hurray for the Riff Raff's Small Town Heroes even were it not for the fact that its successor is due out next month. Originally released in February 2014, this album may just be the reminder we all need right now of the importance of open-mindedness and progressive, compassionate thinking.

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Antlers: Why Has Peter Silberman Gone Solo?

Later this week, Antlers frontman Peter Silberman will be releasing his debut solo album Impermanence. I always find it interesting when a band's chief songwriting force goes solo (what's the point, I often wonder, when you already have creative control?), and it's particularly intriguing in this case because The Antlers themselves started life as a Peter Silberman solo project. It was only eight or nine years ago that they assumed the form of a proper band with an established core lineup: drummer Michael Lerner and multi-instrumentalist Darby Cicci didn't get involved until Silberman already had a couple of albums in the bag, and even the most recent Antlers record - 2014's superb Familiars - still credited Peter Silberman as the sole writer for every track.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Memories of Mansun's Attack of the Grey Lantern

This is my copy of Attack of the Grey Lantern by Mansun. The album came out on the 17th of February, 1997 - exactly twenty years ago today - but I was only five years old back then, and I didn't get my hands on this CD until roughly a decade later.

It all started when I heard Wide Open Space on a compilation CD that came free with a 2006 issue of Uncut magazine (Legacy: The Best of Mansun was among the new releases reviewed in the mag that month). I had never listened to Mansun before that, but there was something intriguingly out of the ordinary about Wide Open Space that I just couldn't brush off. I loved the nervous two-note guitar riff, I loved the cartoonish yet vaguely nightmarish touches going on in the background, and I loved the song's circular structure - the claustrophobic way it went around and around, sounding (ironically, given the title) like it was gradually closing in on you.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

EP Corner: Oui EP by American Anymen & Lise

The Oui EP. a four-track collaboration between New York collective American Anymen and French artist Lise, has two basic settings: yearning for the past, and trying to cope with the present. The tension between then and now is reflected in the album's sonic landscape - somehow or other, it sounds like a fuzzy DIY bedroom recording and a sumptuous soul classic at the same time. It's as if The Moldy Peaches had a baby with If You Leave Me Now by Chicago.