Getting back used to doing the blog is hard to get back in the habit of. Here are some relatively recent reviews of Chvad SB & Azalia Snail.
CHVAD SB: STRUCTURE
North Carolina’s ethereal auteurs Silber Records bring us Structures, a hauntingly charming guitar drone from Chvad SB. The album encompasses two 20+ minute pieces of sculptured sonic hegemony, that swirl, glisten, crackle and shout with stunning effect. The album is minimalist and engaging, with lots of edge to tread and spark to admire. Love this one, and an absolute must have.
~ Floorshime Zipper Boots
The US drone creator Chvad SB released the two track single Structure on the 29th of December.
The two track single (available on bandcamp) runs for roughly three quarter of an hour of immersive soundscape.
The opening track Column sits around an extended note from which half-caught inflections almost imperceptibly surface akin to, invisible to the naked eye, imperfections in glass.
Pillar, my pick of the release, is a blurry flow of frequencies which clear to reveal, again, an extended single note, circled by detuned melodics of guitar.
As is usually the case with drone – be in no hurry having hit play as Pillar lasts the better part of twenty two minutes.
~ Tim Whale, Emerging Indie Bands
AZALIA SNAIL: NEON RESISTANCE
There’s no handy one- or two-word modifier to assign to the music of Azalia Snail. A singer, songwriter, and sculptor of sound and notes, she came out of New York in the early 1990s and cut a distinctive figure even by Gotham’s standard of independent-minded visionary rock.
Over the last 25 years, Snail has worked with seemingly contradictory elements. Her music is low-fidelity to the core and, at the same time, deeply ambient. She has perfected a kind of lo-fi total immersion, where each instrument has the tone of something borrowed or found, but in combination the arrangements give a ragged orchestral beauty to her surreal, catchy compositions.
~ Jen Dan, Stereo Embers
It’s been 13 yeas since I last interviewed Azalia Snail and she remains the creative whirlwind she always was. Starting in the late eighties, she moved prolifically through the US underground rock scene of the 1990s (the Queen of Lo-Fi) and collaborated with many of its soon to be stars like Beck, Trumans Water and Sebadoh. She kept up the pace in the 2000s when the music industry went through something of a revolution (when people stopped wanting to pay for music) and has continued right up to today. As she says in the interview below, “I am a lifer.”
She has always written very personal songs and on her new album, Neon Resistance, that is still very much the case. Its lead track, ‘Celeste (Can You Feel It)’ (video below), is huge, an epic Pop song that will ear-worm its way into your life. Let’s hope there really is that parallel universe where Azalia is a star and appreciated for producing songs like this and then lets all go live there! So many of these latest songs really do stay with you, Azalia has managed to capture her personality in them, produced something unique and original to her and they are just plain catchy.
‘Cherry Blossom’ is said to be a ‘calming song about death’ and it really is like a soothing anthem for everyone. The album was produced by Azalia’s husband, Dan West, who plays with her in LoveyDove. He has done an amazing job and given a track like, ‘Made Out Of Honey’, the perfect measure of everything to make it soar and add to the tally of outstanding songs here that will stand the test of time. Another of the highlights is a cover of Tom Petty’s ‘The Wild One, Forever’. This is a song close to Azalia’s heart and she has been singing it since she was a teen. Her version is quite breathtaking and a wonderful tribute.
‘Every Day is your Day” is said to be the anti-birthday song Azalia has always wanted to write. Why can’t every day be your day, she asks. Whimsical and quirky and very and accessible too, another song destined to last much more than a day. There is a more serious side to Azalia’s music as well, which she delivers with just as much passion, ‘Save this Place’ and ‘Weekend Back’ are described as ‘politically charged mantras that speak about the necessity of revolution and resistance.’ We live in a time when these issues need to be addressed as well.
‘The Moral Chemist’ is brilliant with lovely Latin rhythms and there is even a tribute to Alan Vega of Suicide. The closer is perfect too, ‘I am the Night Sky’, is said to be a song of protection and reflection and it sends us off to our own dreams and realities much the better for spending even this short time in the company of Azalia Snail. The theme of the album is stated as, ‘staying true to yourself, your vision, and the ones to whom you surround yourself. The resistance, after all, is irresistible.’ I couldn’t have summed the sentiments of all these songs better than that. If you love great uplifting and honest songs, then you will fall in love with this album.
~ Stephen Rennicks, Abstract Analogue