"Aurora" by A Grave With No Name // Whirlpool (Out 7.15.13 via Lefse Records)
For the past few years, Alexander Shields has been releasing minimalist lo-fi beauties under the name, A Grave With No Name. Both albums that he has released so far (09’s "Mountain Debris" and 11’s "Lower") contained haunting, bedroom confessionals that were built around melodic guitars and whispered vocals. Now, Shields is back with his third album, “Whirlpool”, and with it, a new found sense of grandeur and exploration. The new album is his first recorded in a full on studio with a group of musicians, and the expanded roster has given Shields the confidence to aim for the stars. “Aurora” is a perfect place to start to get a feel for what awaits on “Whirlpool”. A distorted post punk rhythm launches the song as Shields’ voice (no longer sung in hushed tones) delivers a dreamy melody that melts into the shimmering guitar line and ambient synth textures. Suddenly, A Grave With No Name is a full fledged band swimming through the melancholic and sometimes eerie waters of autumnal dream pop and ethereal shoegaze. “Whirlpool” is one of the best albums of the year and with a little luck, Alexander Shields will soon be getting the credit he deserves for crafting this beautifully haunting music that lives inside of “Whirlpool”. Stunning and highly recommended.
A Grave With No Name - The Outdoor Type (The Lemonheads Cover)
"The Outdoor Type" by A Grave With No Name // The Outdoor Type (2013)
Having always had a soft spot for The Lemonheads, I will always check out when someone drops a cover of the band’s work. This time around, I’m pleased to hear the cover coming from UK based lo-fi artist Alex Shields' band, A Grave With No Name. If you’re unfamiliar with AGWNN, they released the gorgeous, sparse 2011 album, "Lower", which was released on Daniel Blumberg’s (Yuck) label, Boiled Egg. Here, on this pretty, jangly cover of “The Outdoor Type”, you finally get the sense of what Shields’ work will sound like with a full fleshed out band, and it’s something pretty wonderful. Calling back to the alternative era of the original’s release, you get a worn-in, warm alt-country sound that feels like a fresh idea after all of these years away. Highly recommended. Click on over to AGWNN’s Soundcloud page for a download of the track.
"Origami" by A Grave With No Name // OnlineB-Sides (2012)
Last year, A Grave With No Name released a hushed and fragile album of lo-fi beauties, called “Lower”. It was a fantastic listen. Now, the man behind the band, Alexander Shields is prepping his next album and taking to his Soundcloud page to drop some tracks that won’t be making the cut. “Origami” is one of those tracks and it finds the artist shifting things up a bit and stepping out of the hushed tones of the last record to create something loose and loud and fun. Sounding something like a cross between Yuck (who’s lead singer Daniel Blumberg released “Lower” on his cassette label) and Guided by Voices, the track is a lo-fi stomper with a killer harmony and tons of charm. Highest recommendation!
Taking a cue from Danceyrselfclean and also returning to the days when I did it myself, I thought I’d start putting together a collection of my favorite songs from the week and posting them as an easy catch-all for anyone looking for a crib sheet on the fun stuff that might have slipped through the cracks. This has been the first week in a long time that I’ve managed to squeeze in enough time to actually (sorta) keep up with the releases that caught my ear.
Click on the title to bring up the original post with audio and description and do what you can to support the artists who tickle your fancy. Happy listening and have a wonderful weekend!
There you have it. Six (nay, seven) wonderful songs to help usher in a cool Autumn weekend. These are by no means intended to be some end-all list of everything worth hearing, but simply some of the tracks that I really loved this week that I hope you enjoy as well!
Take care, get lost in the Halloween spirit, and be safe. Have a great weekend!