ArcTanGent Festival 2014 Clash Guide Pt. 1

ArcTanGent Festival is only in its second year, but is already becoming one of the biggest events for post-rock, math-rock and other experimental genres. It is the first festival that I have been to where I’m guaranteed to miss some incredible bands just because they clash with other incredible bands. So in an attempt to plan my weekend to minimise disappointment I’ve been brushing up on all the bands. Sad? Probably. Here is part 1 which looks at the clashes on the YOHKAI and BIXLER stages on Friday 29th. Here is the clash finder.

We have also created a Spotify playlist that has most of the acts included. That is 14 hours of music for you to engross yourself in!


 

Clash 1

YOHKAI STAGE

SUFFER LIKE G DID –  jazz | funk | instrumental | math-rock

VS

BIXLER STAGE

FLIES ARE SPIES FROM HELL – rock | ambient | instrumental | post-rock

The first clash of the weekend and also one of the most difficult decisions. Luckily if you prefer math-rock over post-rock (or visa-versa) you won’t have a problem. It is going to be a last minute decision, but I am currently pulled towards FLIES ARE SPIES FROM HELL for their epic post-rock stylings. We’ll see what my hangover tells me to do!

NOTE: There is a very slight overlap with ALPHA MALE TEA PARTY and MONSTERS BUILD MEAN ROBOTS who will be playing on the ARC stage.


 

Clash 2

YOHKAI STAGE

WE ARE KNUCKLE DRAGGER – alternative | metal | punk-rock | alternative-rock | groove-rock | math-rock | mathcore

VS

BIXLER STAGE

BIG JOAN – alternative | noise-rock | post-rock | punk | synth-rock

This going to come down to how heavy you like your music. I will be in the YOHKAI stage having my ears bludgeoned by the disgustingly sludgy WE ARE KNUCKLE DRAGGER. That pit is likely to make or break the rest of my weekend!

NOTE: There is a very slight overlap with MONSTERS BUILD MEAN ROBOTS and RUMOUR CUBES who will be playing on the ARC stage.


Clash 3

YOHKAI STAGE

LOST IN THE RIOTS –  rock | instrumental-rock | post-metal | post-rock

VS

BIXLER STAGE

OLYMPIANS – rock | drone | folk | indie | math-rock | pop

If you read my review of LOST IN THE RIOTS’ latest album you will be heading towards the YOHKAI stage to check them out. I should be going to see OLYMPIANS as I’ve not seen them and they are pretty damn cool, but LITR are so good that I am really tempted just to go and see them again, especially to hear some of the new material.

NOTE: There is a very slight overlap with RUMOUR CUBES who will be playing on the ARC stage. DIAGONAL start immediately after these sets end, so you might need to run!


Clash 4

YOHKAI STAGE

BATS – metal | rock | dance

VS

BIXLER STAGE

MEMORY OF ELEPHANTS – eclectic noise

Real easy decision for me. MEMORY OF ELEPHANTS are not to be missed and I’ll have seen BATS a few days before at The Flapper in Birmingham. If you prefer your music instrumental then you’ll be with me in the BIXLER stage, but BATS live show is guaranteed to be energetic, loud and in your face.


Clash 5

YOHKAI STAGE

PURSON – psychedelic-rock

VS

BIXLER STAGE

100 ONCES –  experimental | experimental-rock | instrumental-rock | math-rock | metal | progressive-rock | rock

I’ve been waiting to see 100 ONCES tear shit up for ages so I will be there watching and throwing myself around to their noisy math. I cannot say that I know much about PURSON, but if you want trippy you ought to get down to YOHKAI.


Clash 6

YOHKAI STAGE

ENEMIES –  rock | pop-rock | post-rock

VS

BIXLER STAGE

TELLISON – alternative | indie-rock | rock

Post-rock or Indie. It is an easy decision for me and I’ll be checking out ENEMIES, but if you lean more towards math than post you may want to check TELLISON out. They are just not for me.


Clash 7

YOHKAI STAGE

TERA MELOS – alternative | experimental | indie | math-rock | progressive | punk

VS

BIXLER STAGE

CLEFT – 2-piece | instrumental | math-rock | rock | post-rock

Ohhh, this clash hurts. If you like TERA MELOS then I am pretty sure you like CLEFT. I’ve managed to miss both bands live so I got a decision to make. As CLEFT are from the UK I am taking the chance to see TERA MELOS (and I am a gear nut so really need to see guitarist Nick Reinhart tap dance over all of his lovely pedals!)


Clash 8

YOHKAI STAGE

MAYBESHEWILL – alternative | instrumental | post-rock | rock

VS

BIXLER STAGE

EL TEN ELEVEN – rock | electronic | experimental | indie-rock | instrumental | post-rock

Originally nobody was clashing with MAYBESHEWILL, supposedly nobody wanted to clash with them. I am glad that has changed. Don’t get me wrong, they are incredible live. However they are far from my favourite band. If everyone was right about not wanting to clash with them then I’ll be the only person watching EL TEN ELEVEN. MAYBESHEWILL are touring their new album extensively though, so I recommend missing them at ArcTanGent and catching them elsewhere if you need to see them.


 

Next Wednesday: Part 2 looks at the clashes on the ARC and PX3 stage on Friday 29th.

By popular demand: Postrockstar 50-two #2 – A spotify playlist series!

Because we had such a warm response to our first playlist, James has gone ahead and created a follow-up playlist in what will now be a likely ongoing series entitled Postrockstar 50-Two. This playlist features two songs from 50 different post-rock artists and is over an hour of excellent musical goodness. This time around we’ve gone with a heavier theme, crossing into the boundaries of post-metal. Next month our third incarnation of 50-Two will be a much more ambient group of artists. So sit back, put on some good headphones, click the banner above and enjoy!

Postrockstar 50-Two: A Spotify Playlist

Today we have a very special treat for our readers. James has finished work on a playlist entitled “50-Two”, which contains 100 tracks from 50 of his personal favorite Post-rock & Ambient artists. If you are unfamiliar with Spotify it is completely free to try. If you are familiar with it, simply click the banner at the top to start enjoying this excellent compilation featuring a well rounded selection of artists.

New project ‘Release The Long Ships’ debut first song “Snow”

Kapiller Ferenc, who you may know as the mastermind behind the solo project Rain Catalogue, has released the first song entitled “Snow” from a new project called ‘Release The Long Ships’ . Ferenc, a friend of the site, has also graciously agreed to and begun working on the artwork for the upcoming Postrockstar site redesign which will be completed later this year. You can be sure that we’ll be keeping an eye on ‘Release The Long Ships’ as well as Rain Catalogue and keeping you up to date with all of the happenings from this Hungarian musician/artist.

Be sure to check out some of Kapiller Ferenc’s amazing artwork here

Those Among Us Are Wolves’ latest album “This State is Conscious” releasing Monday April 28th + album release show

Those Amongst Us Are Wolves are releasing their new album This State Is Conscious, on April 28th, 2014. The album will be available via the band’s bandcamp page found here. Postrockstar will have full review of ‘This State of Conscious’ in the coming weeks.

Recorded at Flipside Studios, Coventry, the band have teamed up for a second time with producer Matthew Cotterill, who collaborated on their debut 2013 ep ‘Chaotic Love Stories and Irrational Behaviour’. Responses to the latter were exceptional. ‘Prog rock bliss…Those Amongst Us Are Wolves are required listening” – Echoes and Dust

Since 2011, band members Mark Oliver, Tom Brill, Chris O’Connell and Joshua Neal Bate have established Those Amongst Us Are Wolves as an emerging force on the UK’s post rock scene, securing high profile supports for bands such as Nordic Giants, UpCDownC, Iran Iran and Lost In The Riots.

Consisting of just four tracks, but clocking in at a mesmerizing 40 minutes, the release of This State Is Conscious sees the band merging influences from across electronica, trip hop and space rock, to deliver a uniquely blended sound.

And for those of you reading this from the U.K be sure to check out the band’s facebook event and if possible head on over to their album release show this Saturday.

Larkahl – Journal

Journal cover art James – “Our buddies Larkahl recently sent along their press package to us and while we might have time to review this album in the future, we are so back loaded with albums that we wouldn’t be able to get to it in a timely manner. Instead we offer you the press package that was sent to us because quite frankly it’s just a damn good read (the Long and Pretentious version of course. If you’re willing to listen to 12 minute post-rock songs you should be willing to read 4 paragraphs right? “

=====

The short and to-the-point version

Larkahl is a four-piece instrumental band based in Eskilstuna, Sweden, made up of four friends who first met back in our school days. An early incarnation of the band released a few recordings as a three-piece back in 2009, but since 2012 we’ve been recording and playing live with the current line-up:

Martin Hellström – drums
Tomas Johansson – guitar
Emil Wallman – bass
Oskar Westerlund – guitar

Listen to and download our music (for free!) on Bandcamp or Soundcloud, or follow us on Facebook for up-to-date news about recordings, live shows and whatever else we’re up to at the moment.

The long and pretentious version

Linguistically speaking, Larkahl doesn’t mean anything. At least that was the intention – to find a name that sounded beatiful but had no particular meaning in any language, although of course we can’t be sure we haven’t missed some more obscure language that’s out there. A cynic might point out how it’s convenient for a band to choose a name like that because it’s easier to find on Google or stick out among the band names on a show poster. But isn’t there enough cynicism in the world already, anyway?

What Larkahl means to us members of the band, is music that isn’t afraid of mixing the swirling soundscapes of shoegaze or ambient music with the trance-inducing monotony of heavy, doomy metal, or with the odd meters and effect pedal trickery of progressive or noise rock, sometimes within the confines of a single song. It means always to choose risking being perceived as pretentious rather than boring. What we hope that Larkahl will come to mean to our listeners, is music that isn’t afraid of being neither poppy and catchy, nor weird and surprising, but that after all still sounds unmistakably, well… Larkahl. We don’t have any lofty aspirations of giving birth to a brand new genre, but neither do we bother ourselves with trying to just remake the same old songs we’ve all heard a hundred times before. (Seriously, we enjoy Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky and Godspeed You! Black Emperor as much as the next guy with a flannel shirt and hipster beard, but there are already WAY more than enough almost interchangeable bands that do the whole instrumental post-rock-crescendo-core-call-it-what-you-will thing!) We sincerely believe that it’s possible to create music that speaks loud and clear without lyrics and vocals, and enjoy the challenge of trying to do that within the confines of a traditional four piece rock band setting. (Also, neither of us are particularly good singers, but that’ll be our little secret, OK?)

At the time of writing (March 2014), we’ve just recently released our first album. It’s made up of songs from our first several years as a band, both old and new pieces. But since we appreciate the traditional album format, we’ve tried our best to make it a coherent and thought through work rather than just throwing together a bunch of songs. Since we apparently enjoy not only nerding out about pedalboards, but also contradicting ourselves, it’s actually not strictly instrumental but does contain a few spoken word contributions. Not being anywhere close to being able to make a living from our music, this debut album is a work of endless hours of writing, rehearsing, arguing and struggling to find out what we want our music to sound like. So despite recording it with quite a portion of DIY spirit, with zero budget in a free studio, we’ve achieved a recording that we’re immensely proud of. It’s available as a free digital download through our Bandcamp site, or to stream on Soundcloud.

So what’s next in the world of Larkahl? Having forced ourselves to put the finishing touches on our older songs for the debut album, we’ve been inspired to work on completely new material which is already rapidly taking shape for a future release. Judging from the progress so far, it will probably be a little bit shorter and more to-the-point than “Journal”, maybe an EP or mini-album, and will probably also show more post-metal and progressive/mathy influences. We’re making good progress and are aiming for a release sometime in the later half of 2014, but no promises. Only having played a couple of small shows so far, we also really look forward to hopefully getting the chance to present our music to more live audiences.

With the warmest of greetings from the dark Swedish winter,

Tomas (and the other three members of Larkahl)

   

tags: 5/4 time experimental ambient debut album instrumental post-metal post-rock progressive psychedelic spoken word Sweden

Deep Elm Records Offers Name Your Price (No Minimum) Downloads On Entire Catalog of 200+ Albums (Press Release)

Attention, People of Earth:

Deep Elm Records is pleased to announce that we are now offering downloads of every album in our catalog (200+) on a Name Your Price (no minimum) basis. Fan support of our artists is a key element in the creation of music that inspires, excites and consoles. It’s all about bands and fans coming together as one and experiencing music’s awesome ability to move the soul. So if you have the means, please show your love by Naming Your Price for a download. If you sincerely do not have any means, in exchange for each download we politely request that you post, share, tag and tweet to tell your friends about the album. Our bands and label depend on your word of mouth. Even if it’s a small act of kindness you perform for a complete stranger (the world could really use more selfless acts of kindness), do something…pay it forward. Be pono.

I once had a dream to inspire people with music. Since I’m not a musician myself, I thought I could achieve this by starting a record label. Armed with zero knowledge of the music business, I decided to follow my dream. That was 19 years ago. Last month, Deep Elm released our 200th album…the incredible Save Your Heart by LIGHTS & MOTION. We’ve gone from consigning vinyl 45s via bicycle / backpack to mom and pop record shops in NYC to providing music for Hollywood films…even The Oscars. Minds = blown. We have made our share of mistakes, but when we fell down we got back up. That’s the more important part. We fought for fairness in an industry swimming with sharks. We fought for what we believed in. We found a way to make it work. And when there was no way, we invented one.

I know so many people (including many of you reading this message) that have such incredible talents, ideas and visions for a better tomorrow. I encourage you to keep fighting the good fight. With sincere intention, purity of heart, hard work and sacrifice, you can achieve anything. Everything is possible. Dreams do come true. Love what you do.

You may be surprised to learn that Deep Elm’s current artist roster has been built solely by bands submitting their music to the label. And we don’t require multi-album agreements. Our bands call Deep Elm home because they want to, not because they have to. We release albums that move our hearts and for no other reason at all. We continue to build a better label – one that operates for glory, not gold. Fairness to the artist and undying integrity in all that we do have been guiding principles at Deep Elm since day one.

Deep Elm is part of a threatened breed of true independents that exist for the love of music. Most so-called “indie” labels are, in fact, funded and / or distributed by major record labels and their affiliates. Not Deep Elm. On a completely self-sufficient basis and without any outside support, Deep Elm competes in an industry dominated by corporate giants. We are proud to be 100% independent. It has always been Deep Elm’s intention to get the music of our family of artists into the hands (and ears) of as many people as possible. This announcement is a big step towards that goal. So if you like what you hear, spread the word. And we’ll make sure these bands are there when you need them.

We’re not just making music together, we’re making history.

Love and Aloha,

John @ Deep Elm

P.S. Get your download on here: http://www.deepelm.com/music

2013 Year End Awards

It has been a whirlwind year here at Postrockstar as we put the finishing touches on our first full calendar year reviewing and promoting all things relevant to the world of Post-Rock and instrumental music. This year we were able review 73 albums and promoted 150 other albums, constantly offering our readers fresh new music to feast their ears upon. As you might imagine dissecting and breaking down the ins & outs of 200+ albums for these year end awards was no easy task. The team has been hard at work researching, discussing and sometimes even arguing their picks for these awards right up to the last very weekend before they went live. At the end of it all, we stand firmly behind our picks and believe these are the very best offerings of the year from some of the most talented bands in their respective subgenres. Without further Ado…

Winner : Ef – Ceremonies

“The craftsmanship and attention to detail found on this album was the first thing that grabbed my attention. ‘Ceremonies’ has so many incredibly vibrant moments that picking a favorite song is nearly impossible. There is no filler here, each of the eight tracks are all the same caliber of material that I’ve come to expect from Ef.” – James

Click here to read our full review of ‘Ceremonies’

Runner Up: Lights & Motion – Reanimation

“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.”Shooter

Click here to read our roundtable review of ‘Reanimation’

 Winner: Deafheaven – Sunbather

“Deafheaven does their thing very, very well, and with “Sunbather“, have undoubtedly released one of the greatest albums of the year. I know, it came out in June with a full 7 months of music yet to be released, but I can say with great certainty that I’ll stand by that statement.”ShaneXedge

Click here to read our review of ‘Sunbather’

Runner Up: Light Bearer – Silver Tongue

“Silver Tongue’, as an album, is not something that is easily digested (nor are any other Light Bearer recordings, really). To me, that makes the mark of a truly great album. It’s not something that’s just going to be blurred background music – it demands your attention, and rewards you greatly for focusing on it.” – ShaneXedge

Click here to read our review of ‘Silver Tongue’

Winner: And So I Watch You From Afar – All Hail Bright Futures

“‘All Hail Bright Futures’ is like a dream pop album on a sugar-high. Aggressive metal elements that were once a distraction are now left by the wayside in the aid of a cohesive pop sound. I feel like this band has finally found its identity.”Shooter

Click here to read our roundtable review of ‘All Hail Bright Futures’

Runner up: Jardin De La Croix – 187 Steps To Cross The Universe

“Fasten your seat belts and secure your headphones tightly to your head because you are in for a hell of a ride. An excellent must-listen to release that is not to be taken lightly. Bands looking to melt faces in 2013 be warned: The bar has been set high.”James

Click here to read our full review of ‘187 Steps To Cross The Universe’

Winner: My Bloody Valentine – M B V

“It’s impossible to have any sort of discussion about shoegaze, as a genre, without talking about My Bloody Valentine, and as such, there were very high expectations and hopes surrounding this album. In my opinion, ‘M B V‘ lives up to the hopes..”ShanexEdge

Click here to read our full review of ‘M B V ‘

Runner up: The Fauns – Lights

“This British five piece take the best inspirational elements from all of the 90s shoegaze/dream pop giants, and churn out a masterpiece of an album (helped in no small part by Alison Garner’s incredible vocals). Though there were other huge, notable shoegaze releases this year, how many other bands released a single mixed by Clint Mansell?!” – ShaneXedge

Click here to download ‘Lights’ on bandcamp

Winner: Caspian – Hymn For The Greatest Generation

The post-rock world’s collective hearts sank for Caspian this past August with the sudden passing of bassist Chris Friedrich. In the wake of tragedy this talented collective of musicians pressed forward, touring and releasing ‘Hymn For The Greatest Generation’ , an EP that simply stood head and shoulders above the rest of the EP’s released in 2013. The acoustic styling of ‘CMF’ won our hearts as a touching tribute to their fallen brother, while the title track is simply Caspian reinventing their sound yet again.

“They never cease to amaze me because they never waver or falter, they don’t even misstep on occasion. Caspian’s career trajectory has been a clear path upward since 2009 and the band has transformed themselves into a pioneer at the forefront of a genre that desperately needs leaders. I never know what to expect from a Caspian release, but you can bet I’m going to listen to it the moment it’s released. ‘Hymn For The Greatest Generation’ is as emotionally charged as they come. You shouldn’t need any convincing why this EP is a must own.” – James

Click here to download ‘Hymn For the Greatest Generation’ on bandcamp

Runner up: Lavinia – Take Shelter EP

“The beginning seduces you, then proceeds to kick you in the balls, and you’re not even halfway through the first song. Lavinia’s EP is just too short, I wish it were an hour long.”Foofer

Click here to download ‘Take Shelter EP’ on bandcamp

Winner: Hammock – Oblivion Hymns

“..Hammock is a band that’s only true descriptor is unique. Of course, words like beautiful, ethereal, majestic, can all be used, but they fail in the most magnificent of ways. They fall short because they are just words. The music, the layers, the use of every instrument is what brings life to those hollow words.  Hammock is what people think of when they desire a soundtrack to their lives.” – TenaciousListening

Click here to read our review of ‘Oblivion Hymns’

Runner up: North Atlantic Drift – Monuments

“North Atlantic Drift’s Monuments is a powerful record that is both spacious, as ambient music is prone to being, and melodious. What wins it for me is you can drift off to this music, but you are compelled to do so with ears pricked lest you miss some of the bigger moments that almost nudge you to make sure you are still listening. The duo has blended beautifully elements of post-rock and electronica to create one of my favourite albums of 2013 and it is easily placed as runner up for the best ambient release this year.” – Bryan

Click here to download ‘Monuments’ on bandcamp

Winner: J.R. Alexander – Moments

“‘Moments‘ in many ways treads upon Alexander’s previous musical ideology except with an added presence of electronica, glitch and downtempo influence. By combining gorgeous string instrument arrangements, elegant piano work and rusticly smooth acoustic guitar work with electronic-inspired beats Alexander has created a downtempo sound that quite frankly has me struggling to find the proper way to describe it.  – James

Click here to read our review of ‘Moments’

Runner up: The Watermark High – Murmurs EP

“While ‘Slow Motion Clarity’ could be considered a more ambient, instrument focused album, ‘Murmurs’ flips the script, giving us a much more glitchy, aggressive side of Watermark High. Straight-forward post-rock fans will likely hate this pick and think that this EP has no place being anywhere near the site. Maybe they’re right, who knows, but if you can’t see the influence or parallels between post-rock and The Watermark High, your missing the entire point of what we’re trying to accomplish with Postrockstar” – James

Click here to download ‘Murmurs’ on bandcamp

Winner: Lights & Motion – Reanimation

“‘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.”James

Click here to read our roundtable review of ‘Reanimation’

Runner up: set & setting – Equanimity

“Warmth and delicacy permeate the production values of “Equanimity.” In fact it’s almost sort of intimidating. Nothing is fragile, but everything is very delicate of spirit, like a special memory from a long time ago. Even when set and setting kick into the heavier sections they leave room for breath, which keeps the whole album sounding imbued with life.”Erich

Click here to read our review of ‘Equanimity’

Winner: This Patch of Sky – Heroes & Ghosts

This category is always difficult because there are usually several bands well deserving of this spot and this year was no different. Although proper and well thought out cases were made for those other bands, This Patch of Sky was the voting council’s collective top pick. With ‘Heroes & Ghosts’ we witnessed a transformation through maturity and comfort of a band no longer interested in simply blowing away the listener away with raw power, but rather reward the listener through complex build ups, ranges of emotions and storytelling. The leap in quality from their 2012 effort ‘Newly Risen, How Bright You Shine’ and ‘Heroes & Ghosts’ is unmistakable and the band’s new found direction only excites us for what’s to come from this young Oregon band.

“‘Heroes and Ghosts’ is an impressive step forward for a band who could have chosen to play it safe and continued to carve themselves a nice little niche in the post-rock world. For them to willingly go out of their way to reinvent their sound and further themselves as musicians is a noble undertaking that has earned the band much respect in my book.” – James

Click here to read our review of ‘Heroes & Ghosts’

Winner: EF – Ceremonies

“To say that we’ve been ultra critical of vocals in post-rock on this site would be an understatement. Vocals have the ability to ruin even the best of albums when they don’t fit in and are overbearing or they have the ability to accentuate everything around them and add an incredible amount of depth when used properly and sparingly. The vocals in Ceremonies take the latter route and are absolutely adorable, heartfelt and shine in their limited role. While much of the staff agreed there wasn’t a vocal-centric release quite like Alcest’s ‘Les Voyages de l’Âme’ which took the award this year, the vocals harmonized well enough with the rest of ‘Ceremonies’ that we felt no other album was more deserving.” James

Click here to read our review of ‘Ceremonies’

Runner up: Jesu – Everyday I Get Closer To The Light From Which I Came

“Again this is just another great example of when vocals can bring out the best in everything else around them. No one understands that better than Justin Broadrick and the vocals found within ‘Everyday I Get Closer To The Light From Which I Came’ are very much what we’ve come to love and expect from him. Downtrodden, static-laced and optimistically bleak, Broadrick’s vocals are by no means nothing you haven’t experienced before, but than again, there’s probably nobody else who could do them any better either.” – James

Click here to download ‘Everyday I Get Closer To The Light From Which I came’ on bandcamp

(Despite our best efforts we simply couldn’t pick a winner in this category and after lengthy discussion, it was agreed there would be dual winners for this category. The violin work found on ‘Ascendere’ offers the album an enormous range of depth and is really what sets it apart from the rest of the field by giving it an identity. ‘Ascendere’ is the quintessential example of how just one instrument can drastically alter a band’s entire sound. While on the other hand Ólafur Arnalds’ “For Now I Am Winter” is a testament of true classical beauty and simply in a class of its own)

Winner: Ólafur Arnalds – For Now I Am Winter

“It would have been a grave injustice for us not to give this award to Arnalds as well, who’s latest ‘For Now I Am Winter’ embodies the very essence of this category. At just 27 years of age Arnalds has classical compositions perfected, each one of his works dripping with heartfelt passages, powerful emotion and an array of sounds that just blend perfectly with one another. ‘For Now I Am Winter’ is an important album in the career of the young icelandic virtuoso, showing he capable of much more than neo-classical and ambient pieces by incorporating looping electronics, hypnotic beats and offering a slightly more aggressive side to his work. This album is gorgeous.” – James

Click here to visit Ólafur Arnalds’ website and download ‘For Now I Am Winter’

Winner: Aesthesys – Ascendere

“I tend to think of post-rock with neoclassical influence and/or string instruments as noble and place it on a pedestal much higher than the more modern third-wave stylings of big guitar crescendo and distortion driven tracks. Whenever I review an album like ‘Ascendere’ I expect so much more out of them than a standard album. In that aspect, I think Aesthesys has shined at incorporating these elements into a more traditional post-rock sound. In another light, I feel like their best work is ahead of them and that this album is just a taste of what’s to come from a band who’s potential is as bright as sun on the album cover.”James

Click here to read our review of ‘Ascendere’

Winner: God Is An Astronaut – Origins

“It is unfortunate when a band releases an album that just doesn’t connect with  their fan base and in that respect we have to give this award to God Is An Astronaut for their ‘Origins’ album. Three years removed from ‘Age of the Fifth Sun’, the band opted to leave their dreamy atmospheric sound in the past, pursuing a much different and far less appealing distortion heavy dream pop hybrid sound that left us scratching our heads. GIAA’s contributions to the post-rock realm cannot be ignored and we believe that they are band that deserves the respect and attention from the post-rock fans, but we would like to see them get back to their roots in the future.”James

Click here to download ‘Origins’ on bandcamp

Winner: Arbor Lights – Hatherton Lake

In a new addition to the year end awards we wanted to recognize the artists who’s album covers are as unique and/or beautiful as the music they create. This year there was a whole slew of potential suitors for this award but the Postrockstar staff agreed it was Arbor Lights’ “Hatherton Lake” that appealed most to our liking. The artwork comes to us from Renée Sylvestre, who captures the album’s theme and focus all too well. From the messy water colors, the finely detailed diving suite and the elegant script font, the whole package feels perfect.

“Hatherton Lake is a lake in Walsall (UK). Named after Lord Hathertonits, lore includes a story of a diver, who died in a search for the body of the Mayor of Walsall; who had drowned. With that in mind I can tell you that this track, “The Mayor and the Diver” (an extended version of “Coda” from the band’s self-titled EP) conjures the panic you could associate with seeing the light fade through the ever stilling surface of the lake as you sink, seemingly peacefully, to your death.” – TenaciousListening

Click here to read our review of ‘Hatherton Lake’

https://i0.wp.com/i.imgur.com/jkcqYx7.jpg

Runner up: EF – Ceremonies

“Ef has once again teamed up with Staffan Larsson to create the album artwork for Ceremonies. Larsson manages to capture the emotional highs and lows of Efs sound through his artwork. The interconnectedness of this artwork to the sound is what makes this stand out to us as the album artwork of the year.” – Bryan

Click here to read our review of ‘Ceremonies’

Winner: set & setting – “Essence of Paradox”

Post-Rock is a genre built on slow build ups, grand finales and tracks that routinely push the 10 minute mark. Not all ‘epic’ songs have to push the double digits mark nor do they have to be a brooding masterpiece of layered crescendos and false finishes. Truth is there are probably close to 50 songs that could easily contend for this award but “Essence of Paradox” by set & setting stood just taller than the rest. This song is a near 14 minute marathon of a track that packs an enormous punch, never slows down, never gives an inch, and continually builds to a finale that is well worth the wait. A true masterpiece.

“The band’s final song was “Essence of Paradox“, their  13 minute long magnum opus that felt like it was never going to end. And none of us wanted it to end either. Louder, faster, harder. Louder, faster, harder. The build up continued as a crowd in awe witnessed a band playing endlessly like the world was crumbling around them. There are few things in this life that are true and pure. Being in the band’s presence as they performed “Essence of Paradox” felt like an honor and a privilege. If set and setting was a drug, I would have overdosed and died with no regrets.”James (on “Essence of Paradox” performed live in Seattle)

Click here to read our review of ‘Equanamity’

Runner up: Cloudkicker – “A weather front was stalled out in the Pacific–like a lonely person, lost in thought, oblivious of time.”

Better known as Cloudkicker, Ben Sharp has consistently reinvented his sound with each new release to his catalog, offering his faithful following new glimpses into the mind of possibly the most complete sounding solo project on the planet. But with 2013’s ‘Subsume’ came something I don’t think any of us could have imagined: a 16 minute destroyer of worlds that completely changes everything the way we view Sharp as a musician. While 2012’s ‘Fade’ did give us one 10+ minute track, “A Weather Front…” just goes to show that Sharp’s Djentbased prog-metal (Post-Djent?) is more than capable of standing toe to toe with epics from the likes of GY!BE, EITS, Sigur Ros, etc.

“Sharp has outdone himself. After looking into Cloudkicker’s back catalogue, it seems he makes a habit of this. This time, however, He’s gone to the pinnacle of this post-metal mountain and basically established post-“djent” as not only a viable subgenre, but something so refined yet spirited that I don’t think Subsume’s legacy will ever be in question.” – Erich

Click here to read our review of ‘Subsume’

Spotify Playlist of EVERY album featured on Postrockstar in 2013

We have a New Years treat for all you spotify users out there. We’ve gone ahead and compiled a playlist featuring EVERY available on spotify album & EP that was featured on Postrockstar in 2013. This massive 855 track playlist spans over 87 hours of music. This playlist is our way of saying thanks by giving you the gift of music all in one place for you to discover, listen and enjoy.

Click the image above or go to the playlist here at Postrockstar 2013 . Be sure to come back on Friday for our 2013 Year End Awards!

Our 2013 Year End Awards are coming!

Just a quick note letting everyone know that our 2013 Year End Awards will be posted on FRIDAY!  After much internal debate and discussion, the winners have been decided and we are putting the finishing touches on our presentation of the awards. This year we are giving away 14 awards to the very best and deserving albums of 2013. Be sure check back Friday for our massive feature on the absolute must listen to albums of 2013!