Review: Hontatedori – “Konata Kanata”

If the vitriol and raw energy of punk rock is like a fever dream, then the Tokyo trio Hontatedori — which premiered its U.S. debut, Konata Kanata, two days ago via David Grubb’s Blue Chopsticks imprint – is a wonderful antithesis: absinthe-soaked, doe-eyed, dreamy, and lined with enough crystalline guitars to fill the lonely sea….

Review: Grouper – “Grid of Points”

Grouper’s new LP – Grid of Points, out tomorrow via Kranky – is no Ruins, but its sparse pairing of multifaceted, ghostly voices with borderline-skeletal piano is nonetheless pretty engaging. Working, surprisingly, from a palette that’s more stripped down and gray than that aforementioned 2014 gem, solo performer Liz Harris taps into a well of…

Review: Randall Holt – “Inside The Kingdom of Splendor and Madness”

The cello weeps and sows and soars, and so it goes with Randall Holt and his Inside The Kingdom of Splendor and Madness, which gets the CD/cassette re-release treatment April 20 from Self Sabotage Records. Holt, an accomplished cellist, traffics in the kind of moody, cinematic, classical soundscapes that oft define Godspeed You! Black Emperor, which…

REVIEW: Demen – “Nektyr”

The opening track – fragile and damaged, haunted and haunting – is so, so, so good, all lulling, breathy vocals, skittering drums and imprecise synth sounds. But Nektyr, Demen’s debut on Kranky, out Friday, is pretty much downhill from there. It isn’t that the music oblique that songwriter Irma Orm conjures is flawed. Sometimes, the…