Album of the Year? NAO’s “Grappling Hooks”

I know it’s early into 2010, but I received North Atlantic Oscillations debut album, Grappling Hooks,  a few days ago direct from the UK (what did we do before the web?). It has taken complete possession of my cd player, iPod, and car stereo. It begins with a two-minute track (Marrow) that sounds like it’s going to be a boring, drawn-out intro until some heavy drums kick in, and suddenly everything is blasting at once – drums, bass, guitar, synths, and an irresistible vocal hook. Just when you think it can’t get any better, it’s over. What follows are 10 songs that alternate between soft, Floyd-like passages, and full-bore synth & guitar aggression. The final track (Ritual) is a 7-minute epic that begins with chaotic mishmash of noise that gradually takes shape until it settles into a beautiful piano & vocal melody that inexorably builds into a pounding crescendo. There is a hidden 45-second track to close that is reminiscent of Brian Eno and Harold Budd’s mid-80’s work. All in all, a near-perfect album.

 

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New K-Scope Podcast

One of my favorite labels, K Scope , has started a new podcast. Steven Wilson, Riverside, and Pineapple Thief are all artists connected with K Scope. The label has found a nice niche in the music world by focusing on what it calls “Post Progressive” music.

This first podcast features an interview with Steven Wilson regarding his solo album Insurgentes (and my favorite album of 2009), some music from Pineapple Thief, North Atlantic Oscillation (whose upcoming album, Grappling Hooks, sounds very promising) and Anathema. All in all, an auspicious beginning.

You can listen to it here: