New Videos from The End of the Ocean and Lights & Motion. New song from Bleakblow!

Postrockstar is making your Thursday 900% better with an infusion of audio and video goodness courtesy of Crescendo-core rockers The End of the Ocean, Lights & Motion and  U.K  post-rockers Bleaklow who are the creators of the 24-minute epic The Sunless Country.

First, Bleaklow surprised us all this week by posting their first song in quite a while which just happens to be a cover of Cult of Luna’s “Leave Me Here”. With COL’s ‘Vertikal‘ recently released the timing couldn’t be any better. Check it out below.

Next, Lights & Motion have released a music video for the song “Home” off their latest album ‘Reanimation’ which has seen warm reception all across the web and was subject to our first roundtable review of the year, receiving an excellent rating in the process. This is the first ever time we’ve seen a glimpse of the face of Christoffer Franzen, the mastermind behind Lights & Motion .  Be sure to check it out below, it’s a fantastic video that perfectly compliments the track.

Last but certainly not least The End of the Ocean, who took home the award for Postrockstar’s Best EP of 2012 for ‘In Excelsis’ were recently named one of the top 5 bands to watch in 2013 by Columbus Alive. This is a huge endorsement for the crescendo-core rockers who are off to a great start in 2013 as they gear up for a March tour that includes a FREE mega-show with the likes of If These Trees Could Talk, Gifts From Enola and Sunlight Ascending. Now that you’ve been bombarded with links, we hope you’re still with us to enjoy this video shot by Columbus Alive..

Cult of Luna – Vertikal

Vertikal cover art

Artist Cult of Luna
Album ‘Vertikal’
Genre Post-metal
Buy/DL EU / US
Web Official Website / Facebook
Label Indie Recordings (EU) / Density Records (US)
Release Jan 25 2013 (EU) / Jan 29 2013 (US)
Rating Must Listen

The release of ‘Vertikal’ marks the 15th anniversary for Swedish post-metal heavyweights Cult of Luna. It also marks a departure from their long-time label, Earache Records, with the release being handled by Indie Recordings in Europe, and Density Records in the US. The album itself is a concept, heavily influenced by the 1927 film Metropolis (those familiar with the film will notice an immediate similarity between the album’s cover art and the artwork from the film’s poster). The film is set in the year 2026, in a dystopian society ruled by wealthy industrialists, and focuses greatly on the oppression of the workers, and specifically on the son of the master of the city and his ensuing attempts to overcame the classist separations. Great film, and a wonderful concept for a band like Cult of Luna to tackle.

Upon first listen, one of the biggest thing to strike me is how well Cult of Luna captured the feeling of the film with the interlude segments (essentially, the structure of the album is interlude, song, song, repeat) – these segments do an incredible job of setting a tone that’s perfectly in line with that of the film. While not necessarily as heavy, musically, as ‘Eternal Kingdom’, the stylistic progression here is remarkable, and still makes for one hell of a dark, heavy record. There are a lot of varying influences and methods at work here, showing some growth by the band in the 5 years since their last release. This is not an album that can be full enjoyed casually. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy it when I’m just driving or whatever, but there is a lot to take in here. A lot of layers, and a lot of little details that I’m still uncovering every time I listen to it.

To no great surprise, the band has done an amazing job of creating an album that is at moments serene and beautiful, and at others dark and brooding. It’s not a terribly difficult task for a band as talented as Cult of Luna, but it’s impressive nonetheless. This is all laid out over the course of the record, but “Vicarious Redemption” is an undeniable highlight, where the band lays out all of these elements with great success in one grandiose 19 minute exhibition. Very few bands can pull of a track that long and still have it be highly listenable every single time, but it absolutely works here for Cult of Luna. By the time the drums kick in and the song begins to pick up a little steam, you fail to notice that nearly 7 minutes has already passed. If you’ve seen Metropolis, it’s very easy to see the scenes presented by this song, and the album as a whole.

One of the themes present on the record, as stated by the band, is machinery, and nowhere is this more evident than on “Synchronicity”. The song borders on being industrial with how it plods along, sounding remarkably like a factory assembly line. You can very clearly envision the gears turning, hammers clanging against steel, and general dark atmosphere of such an environment. This scene clashes nicely with the much more melodic and serene intro to the follow-up track, “Mute Departure”, the first track on the album to really feature any clean vocals. The song does pick up some momentum and ends up getting a lot heavier, which makes the intro work that much better when placed between the rest of the track and the preceding song.

One of the album’s most triumphant moments to me is the build-up of “In Awe Of”, and how well it leads into the album closer, “Passing Through”. This final track is one of the most haunting songs I’ve heard in quite some time, and it makes really great use of texture (particularly with the way the vocals are layered in). It’s a dark and beautiful close to an album that will no doubt find it’s way on to several 2013 best of lists (I know it’s only January — it’s that good). Existing fans will certainly be pleased, and will, like me, be more than fine with the 5 years it took to deliver such an excellent release. A huge thank you to Density Records for allowing me to review such a great record.

Microcause – Producing the Universe

Producing The Universe cover art

Artist Microcause
Album Producing The Universe
Genre Post-Rock / Math-Rock / Instrumental
Buy/DL Bandcamp
Web Facebook
Label Independent
Released Jan 09 2013
Rating Solid

Hailing from Madrid, Microcause are a 4-piece post-rock band that combines math-rock influence with doom-metal tones and atmosphere. Their debut album, ‘Producing the Universe’ was released on January 9th and is a 29 minute odyssey through a multitude of different styles and sounds. The band brings all the standard post-rock fixtures to the table, the long drawn out passages, the spiraling crescendos and the use of samples. What sets Microcause apart from other post-rock bands is the way the band also incorporates playful math-rock riffs and segments into their well textured songs. The band also has a propensity for using guitar tones that are seldomly used in straight forward post-rock and are primarily the type of tones you’d expect to find in doom-metal or avante-garde.

Perhaps the best example of this is the first tone heard in “Methaqualone“, the albums opener. To me this down-tuned tone feels extremely reminiscent of the guitar work of a band like Agalloch. The other guitar textures found throughout the song feel more naturally post-rock sounding and although I feel like the band could have eased up on the cymbals a bit (a common complaint of mine in the world post-rock) the drumming is mostly solid. The song is split up with a sample in the middle that runs quite a bit long as the music picks back up where it left off as the track winds down to a math-rock styling finish.

“Zombi Discipli” starts off with heavy drumming and long drawn out atmospheric guitar work of the downtuned variety. Drummer Roberto Deyueh is absolutely on point here and kills it behind the set as the 2-headed monster guitar assault attacks from both the front and back ends of the mix. Just as the song is settling into a groove, it all comes to brief pause before resuming in a much more refined sound. Gone is the dark distortion, replaced by mellow guitar work that could be compared to the style of a band like Maserati or Toe. Quite impressive stuff. Another sample leads us into “Bitbration“, a song that sounds almost nothing like it’s predecessors at first. This track seems to take the formula of the band’s first two songs and reverse it, as this track starts off with a math-rock sound before delving into their much heavier distorted post-rock styling. The big post-rock breakdown featuring spiraling crescendo guitar work at the end of this track is some of the best work found on the album.

While somewhat short, “Diaspasora” is a high energy track with a fast tempo that just never stops. And while again there is noticeably far too much cymbal riding for my taste, I find myself drifting off to this track with each listen and can safely say it’s my favorite track found here. “Chicago Handshake” is the album’s closer and at nearly nine minutes is also the longest track on this album. The song doesn’t stray far from the classic post-rock formula of a slow winding build up that goes through peaks and valleys before hitting it’s stride at around the halfway mark of the track. Near the end of the song we see a finish that involves textured guitar work competing for attention in the left and right channels before coming to something of a soft finish as the album comes to a close.

All in all I feel like ‘Producing the Universe‘ is a solid album that fans of deeply distorted post-rock should enjoy. While I wouldn’t particularly say it’s a bad habit, I think that Microcause are prone to a lot of the same patterns we tend to see a lot of young post-rock band fall into, the overuse of cymbals being the primary concern. Outside of that I have no other issues with ‘Producing the Universe’ and I feel like it’s a solid debut that showcases good talent combined with acceptable production levels. It might not be the most daring debut nor did it particularly blow me away, but I would be a fool to let it slip through the cracks and let it go unnoticed without a proper review on postrockstar.

Weekend Special – Albums we forgot to review in 2012!

It’s always been our intention to review only the newest releases from the calendar year, However as Postrockstar gains popularity and web presence we realize the need to actively uncover and promote all releases that fall under our umbrella regardless of what year they may have been released in. One thing we took away from our “We Always Think That There Will be More Time” series that we ran throughout the end of 2012 was that our readers simply craved music they had never heard before. Even though we didn’t have time to review the nearly 50 albums we posted throughout the series, you guys took to them and checked them out, supporting the artists in the process. Therefor we’ll continue that series with even more great music from years past. Enjoy!

Near Light EP cover art

Artist Near Light
Album Near Light EP
Genre Post-rock / Crescendo-Core
Buy/DL Bandcamp
Web Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

pg.lost / Wang Wen split cover art

Artist P.G. Lost / WangWen
Album Split
Genre Post-rock / Post-Metal
Buy/DL Bandcamp
Web P.G.Lost | WangWen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Autoficción cover art

Artist Kermit
Album Autoficción
Genre Jazzy Experimental Post-Rock
Buy/DL Bandcamp
Web Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

Small Years cover art

Artist Ana Never
Album Small Years
Genre Epically Long Post-Rock
Buy/DL Bandcamp
Web Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Euphoria... of Flesh, Men and The Great Escape" cover art

Artist Bauda
Album Euphoria​.​.​. of Flesh, Men and The Great Escape
Genre Post-Rock / Post-Metal / Progressive
Buy/DL Bandcamp
Web Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

Floating cover art

Artist Great Counselor
Album Floating
Genre Post-Rock
Buy/DL Bandcamp
Web Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

Songs For Real Life Games cover art

Artist Phone Home
Album Songs for Real Life Games
Genre Ambient / Electronic Post-rock
Buy/DL Bandcamp
Web Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Am Mortal, But Was Fiend cover art

Artist Sioum
Album I am Mortal, But Was Fiend
Genre Post-Rock / Post-Metal
Buy/DL Bandcamp
Web Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

De Ortu Solis cover art

Artist Charun
Album De Ortu Solis
Genre Post-Metal / Ambient
Buy/DL Bandcamp
Web Last.fm

 

 

 

 

 

 

I'll Know to Believe in Sparrows cover art

Artist Immovable Objects
Album I’ll Know to Believe in Sparrows
Genre Post-Rock
Buy/DL Bandcamp
Web Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Meeting Point cover art

Artist Volte Face & Corbeaux
Album The Meeting Point
Genre Post-Rock
Buy/DL Bandcamp
Web VolteFace |Corbeaux

 

 

 

 

 

 

Demos cover art

Artist Imploding Stars
Album Demos
Genre Post-Rock / Post-Metal
Buy/DL Bandcamp
Web Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

Filling The Void cover art

Artist Airplanes Over Johannesburg
Album Singles
Genre Ambient
Buy/DL Bandcamp
Web Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

Artist A Sudden Burst of Colour
Album Singles
Genre Post-Rock
Buy/DL Soundcloud
Web Facebook

This Patch of Sky LIVE at Roadrunner Studios


Oregon based post-rockers This Patch of Sky, who released Newly Risen, How Bright You Shine’  last year took to Roadrunner Studios for a live performance. Luckily that performance as well as the band’s thoughts on the post-rock genre was captured on video for us to listen to and enjoy. This Patch of Sky is currently recording their new record ‘Hero’s and Ghosts’ which will be released through Oxide Tones Germany sometime later this year with a tour will follow.

Roundtable Review: Lights & Motion – ‘Reanimation’

Artist Lights & Motion
Album Reanimation
Genre Post-rock / Ambient
Buy/DL Deep Elm Digital
Web Facebook | Soundcloud
Label Deep Elm Records
Released Jan 16 2013
Rating Very Good / Excellent

    In our first roundtable review of 2013 we are examining Lights & Motion’s debut album, ‘Reanimation‘, released January 16th on Deep Elm Records. Lights & Motion is the brainchild of Swedish musician Christoffer Franzén and tends to walk among the lighter side of the genre. Without further ado let’s get to our panel of reviewers —

    “I tend to prefer vocal music to instrumental music. I like stories and words and the emotion and nuance that can be communicated vocally. Furthermore, instrumental music has to try a little harder to sound unique; usually a singer has his own delivery, word choice, enunciation and timbre that sets songs apart. All of that said, Lights & Motion’ s latest, ‘Reanimation‘, is a good example of an instrumental album done well. It sounds like a mixture of Sigur Ros and The End of the Ocean but with acoustic guitar, dedicated string section and a piano holding the melody. Highlights include “Victory Rose” – mellow, pretty track, perfect for a night drive; “Fractured” with a cool piano melody, “Texas” a track that starts with crickets, acoustic and slide guitar, then builds and adds a xylophone; and finally “Dream Away” , which I was pleasantly surprised when the final track had vocals, and a pretty good singer to boot. It serves as a great bookend to the album. The acoustic guitar and prominent piano help to separate this from other post-rock bands I listen to, so I’d rate it as “Excellent“. Well done!” – Tim

    “Let me get this out if the way first and foremost – the debut album from Lights & Motion is a good album. It has all of the crescendos you could hope for, all of the cinematic sounds, and all of the classic post-rock elements. To me, though, that’s part of its downfall. There is literally nothing here that you haven’t heard before – this part sounds like Explosions In The Sky, that part sounds like The Album Leaf, etc. There’s enough of a foundation here to leave me somewhat looking forward to what’s to come, but there just isn’t anything new here. The songs are well executed, they just travel very, very familiar ground.” – Shane

    “I’d heard A LOT of hype around the Lights & Motion release ‘Reanimation.’ Generally I’m pretty wary of anything that’s lavished with excessive praise but I manage to crack this album with an open mind. And you know what? It wasn’t terrible, but I definitely wasn’t blown away. The 13 track-record has its moments. It’s easy to listen to and even edges on greatness, but it just can’t get there. All the songs are catchy in an “I-feel-like-I’ve-heard-this-somewhere-before” kind of way that leaves me wanting to listen to the songs I’m reminded of, not the L&M versions. The perfect example of this is “Aerials.” While arguably one of the better songs on the album, it’s eerily similar to “Your Hand In Mine” by post-rock pros, Explosions In The Sky.
    The production on the album is incredibly clean with all the instrumentation reaching your ears quite clearly but I felt it was lacking in raw passion. Perhaps L&M sacrificed intensity for certain cinematic clarity. I would rate this album as average/solid.  Regardless the album is still pretty enjoyable and worthy of a listen through or two. After that? Who knows.” – Jerome

    “There’s not a lot that i need to say about this album, because if you’re a fan instrumental rock post-Explosions In The Sky then you already know what this sounds like. It’s beautiful, dramatic, powerful, to-the-point, explosive and uplifting. The culmination of everything that post-rock (or a certain school of post-rock) has been trying to achieve for the past decade. It picks your spirits up where all else has failed. It inspires feelings of awe and wonder. It’s music for stargazers. It’s the sound of your first crush and your last love. It’s crescendo-core through and through, but crescendo-core at its finest. A polished and perfected homage to everything that came before it. Is it derivative? Yes. Repetitive? A little. Contrived? Probably. But for any other band to revisit this style of music now would be futile — ‘Reanimation‘ just wont be topped. A must-listen to album.” – Shooter

    “After being bombarded by hype (thanks Deep Elm, bang up job again), I spun ‘Reanimation‘ a few times to get a feel for this ‘breathtaking’ and ‘magical’ release by EITS, GIAA, Lowercase Noises, Dorena, The Best Pessimist, Aerials, I mean Lights & Motion. Does changing your band name, as a solo musician, still allow you to use ‘debut release’ in marketing? Odd. Well, each listen left me unimpressed. I’m more of a fan of energetic, progressive, guitar-based instrumentals over the more emotive, piano-driven offerings but even so, this album provided nothing I haven’t heard on at least twelve other albums over the past seven years. Sure, it’s pretty, well produced and inoffensive – but it isn’t innovative or even noticeable in anything other than the fact it is a new release.  I must have heard that same marching, building drum beat thousands of times over the past few years. You know the one, EITS uses it on every other track. It failed to meet my number one criteria: “Can I recognize the band by the music, without looking?” I’m sure this album will end up on years’ end best of lists, because Deep Elm has excellent marketing skills and a choke hold on mid-major ‘post-rock’ releases. For me, I’ve rated it as a Solid Release – it’s OK, but don’t get your hopes up too high.” – Bothra

    “The first grievance I can see anyone listening to this album having will be that it’s formulaic and derivative. I can’t argue with that point. The first few times I listened to the album, I was ready to walk away calling it an unabashed homage to Explosions in the Sky, M83, and Sigur Ros. But I kept at it because the music has an undertone that deserves recognition. While almost every track is the formula of slow build to giant explosion, this album seems to almost perfect it. Over the course of thirteen tracks, this wears thin, but it still managed to captivate. The songs take hold when the piano is given more time to shine and the thumping drum beats stand off to the side instead of slapping you in the face. Two great examples of how this formula is done so well are “Drift” and “Reanimation“. This is a debut album and I can see this act evolving well over the next few years. Hopefully our next outing with Lights and Motions is more refined and less capable of being slapped on a movie trailer.” – Bryan

    “Deep Elm’s lineup of post-rock talent never ceases to amaze me. The label just seems to have a knack for finding some of the best talent around and ‘Reanimation‘ by Lights & Motion is just further proof of that. ‘Reanimation‘ is chalked full of cinematic flair, ripe with over the top emotion and has those captivating indescribable elements that carry it to its place among the higher echelons of post-rock releases. With top-notch production qualities and fine tuned craftsmanship, I can safely say this is the first truly brilliant post-rock release of 2013 and I think that it sets the bar high insanely high for in that regard. It’s crazy to think that at just three weeks into the new year there is already an album that will undoubtedly be found on many year-end lists and for good reason. ‘Reanimation‘ is an hour plus long magical journey that explores the depths of the soul by seamlessly transitioning between moments of glory, triumph and heartbreak. After dozens of listens I still find myself impressed at the musical mind of Christoffer Franzén (Lights & Motion). That no one particular instrument stands out as clearly being dominant or “better” than the rest speaks volumes to Franzén’s talent.
Prior to the release of this Roundtable Review, I’ve read early rumblings and criticism from those who were quick to dismiss this album as simply another third wave crescendo-core ripoff and I just don’t hear it honestly. There is a difference to me between common similarities and straight up reproducing another band’s style. Sure, there are inspirations found on ‘Reanimation‘ from EITS, and probably more so from Dorena than any other band, but they are just that, inspirations. What sets Lights & Motion apart is the fact that they’ve taken a successful formula and mastered it to include their own artistic interpretation and flair. Obviously there is going to be a little overlap in sound amongst instrumental artists of a specific style within a genre, but I think it’s far too easy to get swept up in trying to point to specific similarities than it is to simply enjoy an album for what it is. Sure “Reanimation” might not tread upon much new ground, but sometimes that’s ok and it shouldn’t detract from the fact that simply put this is an excellent album that needs to be a part of any post-rock fan’s collection.”  – IamHop

Sigur Ros Participating in Reddit AMA tomorrow + change to lineup?

Sigur Rós, winners of Postrockstar’s Best album of 2012, will participate in a Reddit Ask Me Anything live q&a session with fans at 3pm est (noon pst, 8pm gmt) tomorrow, Jan 24th. According to their website , “The now three-piece band will be live online talking direct to you from the recording studio in Los Angeles where they are presently working on new material, for around an hour. they are also planning a brief glimpse into their near future with a video clip of new material scheduled to go live simultaneously.”

Interesting enough, this little bit of information may have tipped off a change in the band’s roster and many are speculating that keyboardist Kjartan Sveinsson has left the band. This speculation is further fueled by Kjartan’s absence during the band’s recent live shows. Hopefully this question and many more will be answered by the band tomorrow during their AMA!