Probably curse you out and unplug her phone…

Here’s something that keeps reappearing on my iPod…

Forest Swords

Forest Swords are actually one person, Mike Barnes from Cheshire making slow, atmospheric and always sad music that reminds me of the James Blake record I was writing about last month.

He’s just released Dagger Paths, (that’s a PP “just”, you understand, I think it’s been around for a couple of months on Emusic, at least) on Old English Spelling Bee (the same label that brought us that Julian Lynch record, another fine release in similar vein).

It’s a remarkable EP full of slow tempo rhythms, lots of reverb and stock in trade dub effects (always a winner…). Over this backdrop, harsher elements, such as jarring drum phrases and harsh guitar motifs, are grafted on with a disregard for context that is disconcerting. There are elements of spaghetti western and even surf guitar sounds drifting over the ether.

Over the top of all that, there are vocal samples that are distorted and twisted until they’re hard to recognise. I’m hardly an expert on US street sounds but I’m told that Aaliyah makes a few appearances. Certainly the strongest track on the record is a cover of the late RnB artist’s “If Your Girl Only Knew”, which transforms the easy sleazy appeal of the original into an entirely cheerless affair.

The whole record is full of such transformations and brims with exotic gloom. It’s compelling stuff…

There are a few downloads you can pick up from Pitchfork, amongst others, and OSB have a page on Vimeo that is worth visiting too…

Here’s one of their videos, for the first track from Dagger paths, “Miarches”:

A chill wind…

Just Enough

OK here’s the other absolute belter I downloaded from Emusic on Pitchfork’s recommendation to go to Barcelona.

Julian Lynch is something of a one man enterprise from New Jersey, who specialises in what folk tend to call blissed-out pop. Not sure I really like the term to describe his blend of slower, sixties-leaning, drunken sounding beats. To be honest “blissed-out” suggests clarity, albeit sleepy and dreamlike, which isn’t the right way to describe this record at all. There’s something likeably distorted and out of focus about it. Chords quiver and ripple, words are mumbled or even obscured, strange noises off screen intrude and distract. In spite of all this blurring, there’s nothing unpleasant or difficult about the record – it’s a very lazy, lavish listen; all rather nice for the holidays.

If you go to his bandcamp site you can stream each of his three albums, completely – the one I’ve just bought is his latest one, Mare, which Pitchfork gave an 8.5 here. But why take their word for it (or indeed mine), here’s a couple of freebies knocking round the Internet:

Just Enough

Ears

There’s also a video produced by Lynch himself for my favourite track from the record, A Day at the Racetrack. It’s very cool.

Mare was released in June, and is being distributed by Old English Spelling Bee who are worth keeping an eye out, because once I started looking at their blog, there’s some decent other stuff on there. Have a look at this by a band called Big Troubles, it’s rather fine too…