Xeno & Oaklander – Par Avion

Xeno & Oaklander’s 4th full-length album Par Avion was released earlier this week, and it’s been getting heavy rotation in my house since then. The band members Sean McBride and Liz Wendelbo themselves describe the album as “Postcards of love for a cold age – shimmering moments from the present, romantic messages from the past, and love mementos for the future”. Truly with this album more than any of their other releases, I can hear strong nostalgia for times past and equally powerful yearning for what is to come.

The songs on Par Avion are both classic Xeno and a continuing evolution of their sound. ‘Interface’ was released as a single and gives a bouncy beginning to the album. I’ve listened to the album quite a few times now and still can’t sort out my favourites – the songs are arranged so well it seems to flow as many smaller stories merging to create a bigger tale, so it’s hard to pull out just one or two to single out. ‘Sheen’ has been getting stuck in my head more than some of the others – Liz’s voice and the gorgeous melody combined with a lively beat is a fantastic combo.

Check out Xeno & Oaklander’s official website for more information and how to purchase their new album. As a side note – Liz Wendelbo has created a Xeno & Oaklander themed perfume which you can find out more about here, and this fragrance will be used to scent the inserts of a limited edition pressing of Par Avion vinyls. As someone who finds scent, memory and music to be forever linked, I think this is an amazing idea and definitely have my eye on Eau de Xeno!

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New Electric Voice compilation – Cliff Dwellings

Some seriously interesting stuff on the new Electric Voice Records compilation – feel like some new Soft Metals? A new (rare instrumental) track from Vancouver’s own Cosmetics? If I were to neglect to mention that the compilation also contains a really fun new song from Automelodi, you would know this blog has been hijacked. But most interestingly of all, a track by Martial Canterel that features ONLY GUITARS. My mind is blown – true to form, it’s a great and atmospheric track. The whole release is fantastic mood music, listen to/buy it here.

Nouvelle Phénomène

 

I found out about Nouvelle Phénomène from a friend on Last.fm, and now they’re one of my top Summer 2014 bands! The songs are new wave/minimal synth, and many of them have a brilliant dance vibe like the above track. This band gets the dark vocals and vintage synth sound of the 80s just right.

 

Their slower tracks are also super catchy and very worth listening to, but their faster-paced ones like ‘Cruel Game’ are some of my favourites. Regarding the band itself, I couldn’t dig up much information besides that the members of Nouvelle Phénomène hail from Budapest. I’m keeping my eye out for their future releases, because I’ve loved all I’ve heard so far!

As far as I can tell, the best way to keep tabs on Nouvelle Phénomène is to follow their Soundcloud and Facebook. I’ve been discovering other bands I enjoy through their Facebook as they tend to frequently post links to other music there.

MiniBrute

MiniBrute

Picked up this beauty from Arturia a few days ago and have had fun beginning the (long!) journey to figuring out how to manipulate it. It’s incredible how many sounds this machine can make! Cristine from Police des Moeurs (who you should check out if you haven’t heard their music – great minimal wave from Montréal) recommended this synth when I asked for her opinion, and said it was comparable to the Roland SH-101 which I’d had my eye on. The MiniBrute is much cheaper though, and is tiny enough to be quite portable too which is a big bonus. I’m very excited 🙂

Noyade

 

I first heard this band when a friend in Montréal played their tape and was immediately charmed. I want to call this band adorable but I think that sounds a little too diminutive – however, I can’t help but think ‘sweet post-punk’ when I try to describe their sound. I have a big weakness for this awesome combo of drum machine, guitar, bass and lovely female vocals! ‘XXX Cachets’ is my favourite faster-paced tune off of their demo release, but it’s a hard choice – I’ve enjoyed listening to each song multiple times.

 

 

For a slower tempo, ‘Vaudou’ is a relaxing and beautiful listen – I find that the lo-fi quality of the demo recording really adds to the laid-back feeling in this song. I’d love to see this trio perform live songs from their demo and Sans Intérêts EP they had lined up to release, but alas it sounds as if they’ve already disbanded. You can enjoy the demo that they have up on Bandcamp here.