Thursday, 31 March 2011

Recommended music: 'Mazes' by Moon Duo

Mazes, released this week on Souterrain Transmissions records, is the second album from this San Franciscan duo. The band was formed in 2009 by Ripley Johnson (of Wooden Shjips) and Sanae Yamada and is, as you might expect, a duo.

For this album they upped-sticks from warm, sunny climes and headed to that standard location for interesting albums, Berlin. But rather than produce the standard grey, depressing album from this location, the end product here is a powerful, concise and ultimately uplifting record. The result of their German jaunt is a deceptively simple but deep album full of quite brilliant guitar work from Ripley. Without a real drummer, the songs are constructed from a simple backdrop of what sounds like a knackered old drum machine and some repetitive and catchy keyboard lines from Sanae. Over these melodies the vocals are sung in an expressive but downbeat manner, leaving plenty of room for the guitar parts to swoop and soar over the top. In some ways the guitar is telling the story more than the vocals, the solos are so expressive and never lose their way as the songs progress.

It's lo-fi surf-psyche-rock of the highest order, and I think it may well turn out to be one of my favourite albums of the year. You can download 'Mazes', the title track from the album, here:
Moon Duo - Mazes by souterraintransmissions

If you're quick and you live in the UK, you can download the whole album from Amazon for the bargain price of £3.99! Or if you prefer the real thing rather than an invisible download, buy it from Rough Trade Shops in person or here and get a free 7 track remix album.

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