Rainbows in the Dark: Hail Spirit Noir — “Mannequins”

Again we have another band gracing the halls of this non-metal column (although pretty loosely so), one that certainly we on staff here cannot seem to get enough of and statistically speaking, quite a number of you all out there in Reader Land probably feel the same way.  Hail Spirit Noir are no strangers to boldly and unabashedly pushing the boundaries of their sound and the world of metal in general, but on Mannequins, the outfit abandon all pretense of metal entirely and deliver something quite unexpected, definitely a little out there, but no less of a success than anyone would expect.

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Rainbows in the Dark: Wingtips — “Cutting Room Floor”

Speaking of record labels I should be checking in on more often, we come back around to another Artoffact Records release.  Artoffact have been a mainstay of this column by virtue of the sheer volume of quality synthpop and experimental music they’ve been steadily pumping out, and I don’t think I’ve ever been less than impressed with anything I’ve picked up from them, least of all this week’s feature Cutting Room Floor, the sophomore release from Wingtips.  Not only have they been steadily fine-tuning their brand of retro-meets-modern synth music, they also happen to be hometown heroes, which you should know I always get down with.

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Rainbows in the Dark: Osi and the Jupiter — “Stave”

I don’t think I will ever quite forget the first time I heard Appalachia.  It was not my first exposure to Osi and the Jupiter, but it was definitely the moment where everything clicked.  That moment specifically was “They Ride Through the Sky on Horse Drawn Chariots,” where I finally realized just how incredibly special their music could be, and just how deeply transcendent of an experience listening to it is.  Even though it was only three songs, I did wonder how the next release from the duo would fare in terms of keeping that momentum going.  Wonder no more: Stave provides a sturdy bridge that connects the band’s past to the bright future ahead of them.

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Rainbows in the Dark: Smiling — “Devour”

There are some people who are described as having “music in their blood,” being “born to play.”  Nobody lives that aphorism better than San Diego by way of San Francisco by way of Denver’s Annie Shaw, the leader and mastermind of the psychedelic pop outfit Smiling.  Shaw began playing piano at the age of three and guitar at the age of ten and started her first band (of many, more on that later) when she was only in second grade.  It’s all been uphill from there, and while Devour is nowhere near her first release, it does a great job of showcasing a different side of her talents.

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Rainbows in the Dark: A Sea of Dead Trees — “Garmonbozia”

THAT GUM YOU LIKE IS GOING TO COME BACK IN STYLE.  I guess by “that gum,” I mean the Glasgow based shoegaze project A Sea of Dead Trees, and by “back in style,” I mean “release a new album called Garmonbozia.”  In case you haven’t figured it out by now, a lot of this album, and this review subsequently, are going to be loosely themed around the David Lynch masterpiece Twin Peaks, but that’s certainly far from the only surprise awaiting those who dive into Garmonbozia, nor is the whole album a tongue-in-cheek media reference.  There is a lot of honest emotional depth waiting deep beyond those beautiful metaphorical Douglas firs.

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