Currently Spinning…Algernon Doll

I must warn you: the following review has an high fangirl level, which in this case was a pretty damn good thing, as Algernon Doll and his sophomore ‘Citalo-Pop’ did fulfill my expectations. Already famous for his unique blend of lo-fi alt-folk and hardcore, Ewan Grant released the debut ‘Camomile’ in 2012, and soon his Algernon Doll awoke the attention of both the audience and the blogosphere.

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The debut ‘Camomile’ was such an emotional and tormented journey, that probably emulating it would have been an insult to its dark fragility. Indeed, ‘Citalo-Pop’ moves forward, and proves a sensible maturation of Algernon Doll as an artists, even if it draws more into Ewan’s punk and hardcore background than the debut. Back to the origins almost to express a sense of liberation and rebellion from the restless interior struggle of ‘Camomile’.  Continue reading

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Algernon Doll

Algernon Doll - Promo 1

Ah, England, you and your light drizzle. You really know how to start a Friday morning with the right foot. If you feel a bit gloomy yourself, you may be in the right state of mind for this raw alt-folk-ish gem. I’d rather not call it folk, as the music itself draws from such a rich spectrum of references.

Camomile is Algernon Doll’s journey through a difficult year dealing with the mentally debilitating toils of extreme anxiety disorder and bipolar. After having experienced with the punk and hardcore scene, Algernon Doll, moniker for Ewan Grant, progressed his sound  to the next level, in order to exorcise his own demons. Camomile leads us to the deep meanders of his own mind, using music as a vehicle of emotions.

The acoustic guitar picking keeps clashing with the tense background made of cello intermissions and and interferences, almost emphasising the power that bipolar disorder exerts on music (I tried…, Son of a Gun, brother to None). Vocals are almost about to crack with emotion, haunted by spooky backing vocals and echoes, stressing on the feeling of paranoia that crawls during the the whole full length (Tender Attention). In a roller-coaster of sensations, the album goes from reveberber-y new wave hints (Strung Between, Feather to Fall), to some minimal acoustic tracks, slightly warmer in the sweet-sour approach (Coast). The gloomy atmosphere will slowly blur, as the subtle feedback crescendos explode from the tension reached, leaving the helpless listener surrounded by a Twilight Singer-esque gothic aura (Styrofoam Eyes). The album slowly leads to a Jeff Buckley-like confession with the closure of the title-track Camomile, in which the frustration is explicated via a barely audible distortion, that will eventually lead to full fireworks.

As you may know by now, I like to challenge myself exploring “difficult” albums, as life is not all made of sunshine pop sugary landscapes and unicorns. As an intimate statement of human suffering and frustration, Camomile is one of a kind.

Cover Album
Camomile
Similar Artist: Jeff Buckley, Twilight Singer
Rating:

Tracklist
1. The Great Western Snowfield
2. Spiral Sounds
3. I Tried…
4. Styrofoam Eyes
5. Coast
6. Feather to a Fall
7. Intermission (Apology #1)
8. Son of a Gun, Brother to None
9. Tender Attention
10. Strung Between
11. My Apologies
12. Camomile

If You Were…Dubious Ceasar

Swinging from tropicana to folk the Brixton-based duo Dubious Ceasar calls itself ‘nuclear folk’, quite an interesting sub-genre after the ‘schizophrenic rock’ on for a bit, releasing Alex Francis Massey, Evan Morgan released a few songs on the bandcamp. There guys are really social networking, therefore  keep up with the latest info and new songs on facebook, or tweet them @dubiouscaesar (see how late Evan is for a gig #HurryUpEv). Really ironic, eclectic and fascinating, Dubious Ceasar are now introducing themselves to us.

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Searching for Alt Folk

Brown Bird

Brown Bird are a duo from Providence, Rhode Island. The band, started as a solo-project by songwriter David Lamb, has released so far the EP ‘the Sound of Ghosts’ and the album Salt for Salt’. The backing vocals of MorganEve Swain add in some gothic vibe to this nomadic folk music, which goes from pure americana to some more Vandaveer-like gypsy-jazz (instrumental track  ‘Shiloh’). We can get the Americana/bluesy influences in tracks like ‘Fingers to the Bone’, winking at Young and Waits.  There is also some spaces for the simpler alt folk of ‘Bilgewater’, a darker and gloomier track: “It don’t matter if the cold wind blows / I’m gonna wind up working in the thick of it / sunshine through the rain and snow / there’s an oily brine bilge water baptism waiting below”. A free download of ‘Fingers to the Bone’ is available from the widget on their website. Continue reading