Monday, December 07, 2009

newmusicmonday #20:: Lightning Dust

Image:: Lightning Dust from MySpace, "At Frank's on Franklin"

Snow has finally made it to Toronto, dusting the streets with cold fluff.  This week's newmusicmonday is another type of dust, Lightning Dust {MySpace} {East Vancouver}, Amber Webber and Joshua Wells' sideproject away from the harder-edged sound of Black Mountain {MySp}.  Lightning Dust's inaugural eponymous album was known for its darkness, while their 2009 "Infinite Light" {Amazon-US, CAN} is "sunnier" {and a bit more accessible}, albeit with mysterious and haunting lyrics.  "Never Seen" from Infinite Light" is a good segue between their two albums.

Here are three tracks from NPR's "Tiny Desk Concert" series, just posted today:

Also check out the Bowerbirds from 16 November.  I love what NPR's Michael Katzis said of Lightning Dust's live performance::

"Lightning Dust should be seen in the smallest possible venue; its music is so spare and raw that its music could easily get drowned out. With singer Amber Webber's quivering vibrato and Joshua Wells' warm piano accompaniment — and filled out with backing vocals from Ashley Webber and the percussion of Ryan Peters — the group specializes in quiet moments, whether in a shared glance or a finely knit harmony."
Lightning Dust is currently on tour in Europe, with upcoming dates in Denmark, Germany, France, and Switzerland.  I read that some of the motivation for the project was to explore Amber's "goth" side.  "Infinite Light" made it on the BestAlbums of 2009 site, which had this to say::
"Infinite Light is a lyrical, gentle and atmospheric album. It's also very sad and dark -- a mood that's punctuated by some spacey sonic elements, and of course, Webber's lyrics and vocals. Indeed, Infinite Light is an acid-folk tour de force for Webber's singing and she clearly takes center stage. Her warbly and somber delivery is an indelible part of the Lightning Dust sound, a style that's reminiscent of a much more subdued Grace Slick.  Another solid release from a very talented and prolific duo."
This is music that's about nuance.  It's not about a wall of sound or overblown production, as it's intimate with layers that keep you engaged as a listener.  Some of the songs have an "urban/blue state folk" sound that seamlessly merges with indie sensibilities {"I Knew"}, which I'm really drawn to::

while "The Times" draws upon a bit of psychedelia::

"Listened On" is another gem, merging haunting lyrics and vocals with an accessible sound, as good "goth" does::

Twitterversion:: #Vancouver's #LightningDust {#BlackMountain} is this week's #newmusicmonday. Goth indie w/folk&psychedelia. Clips avail.  @Prof_K


Officer Mazaltoff said...

Black Mountain and their offshoots are our Broken Social Scene. I managed to catch the tail end of Lightning Dust when they opened for The Constantines and The Weakerthans on my birthday this past year and was upset I wasn't aware of the band at the time. Amanda's voice is one of the most beautiful in the music industry today. I'd also recommend the song "Antonia June" of their latest album. No day is complete without a playing of this great track.

Kenneth M. Kambara said...

I'll definitely check out "Antonia June" & I'm glad you got to see a bit of them live. Sounds like a great show.

Have a great trip! The only "alt" band I know from NZ are Look Blue Go Purple out of Dunedin. They got a write-up in Spin back in '85 or so.

Officer Mazaltoff said...

It was a great show and probably would have been even better had I known in advance that it was Amanda and Josh's band opening. As it was, I discovered the Constantines at that show who are a great band you should check out if you haven't already. I recommend "Trans Canada".

I had another friend tell me about a great ska band out of Kiwiland called Black Seeds, I believe. A bit more recent than '85 :P

Further to my BSS comment, I guess The New Pornographers would be a more apt comparison for this city as that band has more members, though roughly the same number of offshot bands from there. Still, Black Mountain army forever!