February’s EMusic Downloads

I go on and on about shoegazer music on my blog, I know, but Denver, CO’s [A Shoreline Dream](http://ashorelinedream.com are a cut above. They fuse psychedelic rock and shoegaze in equal parts to generate something entirely new yet intimately familiar.

One of my favourite podcasts is the [Regen Radio](http://www.razorgrrl.com/regen_radio podcast hosted by Toronto’s own DJ RaZoRGrrL. She’s continually introducing me to new music by bands I’ve never even heard of. Diaphane is one such band - they make beat-driven but moody and atmospheric electronica that you can totally lose yourself in.

Klangstabil is another band I first heard on [Regen Radio](http://www.razrogrrl.com/regen_radio. Klangstabil does not make music you can lose yourself in. They make music that grabs you by the throat and shakes you ‘til your head rings. Pounding beats and droning vocals absolutely command your attention.

Many moons ago, when the earth was young and the sun rose twice in a day I went to see one of my favourite bands, a short-lived Toronto goth band called Thrive. They were the first opener, ahead of Trance to the Sun, for Lycia. I’d never heard of either Trance to the Sun nor Lycia, but I loved Thrive well enough that I went to the show, figuring I might discover somebody I’d like. Turns out I loved everyone on the bill that night. Cold is an early Lycia album - cold, haunting, an absolute standard-bearer for what came to known as Darkwave.

This is an odd one for me. I heard a track by Minuit whilst flipping channels one night, bored out of my skull. The song was intriguing so I grabbed the old iPhone and fired up Soundhound, and discovered the song was Aotearoa. I downloaded this album on the strength of that song because I’m an obsessive compulsive completist, and can’t bear to have the odd song floating in my library. This album is a mixed bag - it starts off pretty weak, with quirky folky songs, often happy or bouncy but with pleasingly bleak lyrics, but then takes a turn for the dark around the midway point. It slips a bit again, but finishes off with a couple of dark, heavy, brooding gems that pull in breakbeats to stellar effect.

I’ve been a Praxis fan forever - Bill Laswell, Buckethead, Bootsy Collins and Bernie Worrell all in the room is enough to shift the axis of the earth, but having them make music together? It’s plate tectonics in action! Sadly, Profanation doesn’t feature the bass stylings of the Mighty Bootsy, but attempts to make up for it with the craziest gathering of guest vocalists ever - Doctor Israel, Iggy Pop, Serj Tankian, Killah Priest and Mike Patton all take the mike for a song each. The album is, as you might expect from such an eclectic group, totally scattershot. It’s uneven and incoherent and ridiculously awesome.

A four-track EP from San Francisco’s greatest export, Stripmall Architecture. There are times on this EP where I swear singer Rebecca Coseboom has been possessed by Siouxsie Sioux. The Cosebooms have never been content to rehash their old material, and that’s certainly true of Albino Peacock. It’s the quirkiest thing the band has done, and I hope it’s a sign of things to come.

Stars of the Lid make gorgeous, flowing, drone-based ambient music. Carte-de-Visite is a collection of outtakes spanning 1997-2007, but you’d never guess it. Part of that’s because they’re so minimalist it’s hard to tell songs from one another - they don’t leave a lasting impression. But SotL’s music is like the waves of calm ocean gently lapping at the beach. Barring geologic time, it won’t leave an impression at all, but while you’re there you just enjoy it.

Wire keeps getting better and better. Red Barked Tree is my favourite Wire album since at least The Ideal Copy, maybe even since the seminal Pink Flag. Their press release claims it features songs that [range from the hymnal ‘Adapt’ to the barking sledgehammer art-punk of ‘Two Minutes’” and [encompasses the full palette of style and nuance that has always endeared Wire to pastel-tinged pop afficionados and bleeding-edge avant-rockers alike.” [ [last.fm](http://www.last.fm/music/Wire/Red+Barked+Tree ] Well, press releases can say anything, and are always self-aggrandizing, aren’t they? Except that this is exactly what Red Barked Tree feels like. It’s a fantastic summation of Wire. Brilliant.

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