This Saturday and next, I’m going to introduce you to a couple of under the radar projects which are both related to Song, by Toad Records bands. In both cases I don’t really know what the future of the respective projects might be, because I don’t know how far either is going to be pushed, but they are both very good and I thought they needed sharing.
Firstly we have The Douglas Firs. This is a side project of Jesus H, Foxx drummer Neil Insh, and has been bubbling under for years. He’s been working on this album for ages, but his work hasn’t really seen the light of day outside a small circle of his friends, in part because of “technical difficulties, which are still ongoing“.
It sounds, on the face of it, like quite experimental music. You might call it math-folk if you wanted a bodged mental shortcut for getting a picture of it. You can hear a lot of the bursting harmonies and repetitive percussion of Jesus H. Foxx’s music, but the sounds are not really all that similar.
This has more of an atmosphere of experimental, almost ambient electronica a lot of the time, but there are surprisingly traditional Scottish folk influences in the fiddle and some of the rhythms which I wouldn’t expect from a leather-jacket-sporting drummer who batters the shite out of his drums in quite the way Neil does.
The nice thing about both the use of vocal harmonies and the more traditonal folk influences is that they are really beautifully used to bring the songs into focus. The more experimental aspects drift and rumble along, and can become quite meandering until these details emerge, sometimes quite suddenly, to bring everything into relief.
It’s no pop album though, but if you have patience for your music and like to sit down and absorb it then this all looks like it could be very good indeed.
More at www.myspace.com/thedouglasfirs