Saturday 8 August 2020

UPDATE #45812

 Just a quick note from now on I'm leaving links in their original blue colour and not changing them to red as, sometimes since blogger updated it's format the red doesn't work! Just so you know. Also got a few posts in the pipeline work and life has been crazy hectic of late so my posting has slowed but got a lot of stuff uploaded and drafts done just need a few write ups so expect a few new posts in the coming weeks!




I have often said that if people make requests if I feel the music is right for the blog I'd honor them so here is the first of two requests I have received recently.

Stars Of The Lid hail from Austin TX. USA and it's members Adam Wiltzie & Brian Mcbride have been very active in both this band and other projects since 1993 mostly centered around the Kranky records label out of Chicago, if you don't know Kranky records they pursue an experimental and often ambient vein of what is known as Post Rock having released albums by such heavyweights as Godspeed You Black Emperor! (See Post HERE) & Labradford (See Post HERE)  And Adam Wiltzie actually collaborated with a member of Labradford in Ax Em Klemm (who you will find in the Labradford post linked) So like all good independent labels and bands there is a spirit of cooperation there.

SO... Stars Of The Lid released a plethora of albums over their 12 year career the band dissolving around 2007 and Adam Wiltzie moving on to do A Winged Victory For The Sullen who blend a touch Stars of The Lid's ambiance with traditional classical music. There's not a great deal to discuss as far as Stars of The Lid's sound goes it is minimalist ambient drone for the most part both instrumental and beatless however whilst that may sound quite boring (unless that's your thing) Stars Of The Lid are a stunning listen I'm led to believe, though I can't confirm this, that they generate their sound through the use of mainly guitar and effects pedals/effects trickery (I'm not a musician I don't have the insight to tell you what they use). Their albums and indeed the pieces of music on them tend to be expansive (2 of their albums are triple vinyl/ double CD) but these lengthy pieces vary from darker sounds that evoke a bleaker atmopsphere to sounds so beautiful they literally want to make you weep at their sheer majesty! That all sounds a bit lofty and highbrow but this is stunning music whilst the elements and sounds are sparse and minimal Stars Of The Lid manage to gently fill the room with sound that is all encompassing, if you listen to this on headphones or even a decent stereo you will be surprised at the kind of space and just all enveloping sound they have and it's exactly this ability that makes this band less ambient noodling and utterly compelling. Whilst there's little to work with, Stars Of The Lid manage to craft songs with palpable textures but also that peak and trough so gently you'll find it hard to ignore this gorgeous sound. As I said some of the pieces are long but because of this the tracks are given the ability to lift you up to lofty heights without resorting to volume which is often the method used by bands that work in this genre.

This is going to be a short write up Stars Of The Lid are a fairly obscure band and whilst have got progressively better and better with each of their releases have remained consistent in their sound. I feel it's pointless to try and describe them any further than I have above, the key to this band is subtlety there's no immediacy to this music,you will either get or you won't I don't think it's something you can just approach casually, enjoyment of this band requires a little investment of your time if you want an instant hit then this is not the place to find it I can assure you you that if you are prepared to make the investment you will find the rewards are plentiful.

Below I have given you their entire discography There's not a lot of explaining needs doing except for "Carte-De-Viste" is a compilation of various unreleased tracks and contains their side of the split 12" with Labradford but if you really want the actual separate release you can find it in the Labradford post linked in the first paragraph in the singles pack. If you are a casual or curious listener and have not heard this band before I recommend their "Tired Sounds Of..." album as a starting point it's easily their most accessible and beautiful sounding album in my opinion. Here's your links please feel free to go and bliss out to one of the most stunningly beautiful bands I have ever heard.









Tuesday 4 August 2020


This is the second of the requests I received from a reader and I decided to honor it despite the fact that I am not a big fan of this band it links to other music I have uploaded and I figured I would go ahead and put it up.

I downloaded these albums out of curiosity as I was/am a big fan of Labradford (see post HERE) however it didn't move me that much I will explain why in a moment but first here is a short band history I have taken from discogs.

"Anjou saw reunion of Mark Nelson (2) and Robert Donne of Labradford in their first work together since 2001, joined by drummer Steven Hess.

Anjou released their debut self-titled album on Kranky in 2014. Collectively the members had already made numerous appearances on the label, namely five albums as Labradford, several releases by Nelson as Pan•American (including collabs with Donne and Hess) and a one-off album as Aix Em Klemm by Donne alongside Adam Wiltzie of Stars Of The Lid. Additionally Hess had previously collaborated with Kranky artist Greg Davis on several works.

For its second album (EpithymĂ­a, released in 2017), Anjou is down to the duo of Nelson and Donne."

Ok so Anjou are NOT a terrible band I find them quite listenable but when I recently discovered them I was initially excited because I loved Labradford and a reuniting of it's core members was something that for me was an unexpected surprise especially since Mark Nelson had been fairly successful in his career with Pan American. However Labradford had, towards the end of their career, progressed to a sound that was more minimalist and ambient and had little of the dark atmosphere that made Labradford so great and this is where my slight problem with Anjou comes in, whilst they do have a darker atmosphere than later Labradford their sound leans more towards the minimalist/ambient there's simply not enough going on there to keep my interest it is in the same territory as Stars Of The Lid but without the stunning beauty of that sound and for me is less compelling I can certainly listen to Anjou and enjoy it to a degree but it's not something I have listened to a lot and become familiar with like Stars of The Lid and Labradford.

Please do not take my personal opinion too much to heart one mans trash is another mans treasure and all that and Anjou are certainly NOT trash. I have given you both albums in one pack their Self Titled debut from 2014 and second album "Epithymia" from 2017 of the 2 I enjoyed the second one more but both albums are in the pack so you can decide for yourself.

Again don't let my negativity put you off as i said this is not terrible or bad in any way it's just not as compelling for me as other bands of this style and there's only so much dark ambience a man can take! That being said hope that you enjoy this.