Odds and Ends is a segment where I do brief reviews of albums I either didn’t prioritize for longer-form reviews, or ones for which I don’t have that much to say.
Band: Boltzmann Brain | Album: Spacesquid Brain | Genre: Krautrock, Noise rock | Bandcamp
I wanted to like this album a lot more than I did, largely because of its super-cool album art. However, the dissonance is simply too much for me on this release, and the songs often feel unfocused and meandering. If the band were to tone down some of the more shrieking noises, this would be enjoyable, jammy krautrock. I’m sure the dissonance is intentional, but it more often than not comes off as amateurish, rather than daring and deliberate.
Band: Branch of Yore | Album: Kingdom of the First Time | Genre: Progressive rock | Bandcamp
This is a nice, gentle album. Lush synths are the primary instrument on this release, and the vocals are sung delicately and treated with ample reverb. That approach gives this whole release a floating feeling. While I wouldn’t call this album particularly jazzy, many of the keyboard tones are reminiscent of jazz acts. By the end of the album, it does begin to sound a bit same-y, but it’s a nice release overall.
Band: Dreams of the Drowned | Album: Dreams of the Drowned I | Genre: Black metal, Avant-garde metal | Bandcamp
This is really cool, daring release. Despite being black metal, I get a lot of Voivod vibes here, mostly from the thick layers of effects on the guitars and the strange, slightly dissonant chord choices. The vocals are clean and treated with cavernous echo, which adds another distinct flavor. With the swirling guitars and chaotic drumming, however, the atmosphere remains close and oppressive.
Band: An Isolated Mind | Album: I’m Losing Myself | Genre: Death metal, Progressive metal, Noise | Bandcamp
I’m Losing Myself is a spooky, grim piece of music. The guitar playing is striking and evocative, giving this album an ethereal feel. The distortion and harsh vocals are deftly contrasted against gentler moments, and the integration of synthesizers and woodwinds on some tracks is striking. The last two tracks are ambient soundscapes. These don’t do anything for me; I think something more abbreviated could have been good, especially as a palette cleanser in the middle of the album. I would have scored this much better, had it not been for the 26 minutes of ambience.
Band: L’Ombra | Album: L’Ombra | Genre: Progressive rock, Art pop | Bandcamp
Had this been a longer release, I would have loved to have done a full review, but as it stands, this is a fun, sunny 25-minute EP. Despite hailing from France, this band channels the classic Italian sound (including singing in Italian on two tracks; this release is trilingual, featuring French and English as well) into their music with their bouncing, folky melodies and generous jazz flourishes. They also blend in ample French sounds for a truly unique release. The closing song includes a daring integration of more experimental, avant-garde tones and textures.
Band: SEIMS | Album: 3.1 | Genre: Math rock | Bandcamp
The brand of math rock SEIMS play is not the flashy, high-octane stuff of bands like Giraffes? Giraffes! and You Slut!. What they play is closer to post-rock, working with slow builds and inventive textures. These three songs work perfectly together, and the incorporation of trumpets and strings adds a dimension of richness rarely heard in math rock.