"This new Russian Circles album is their best one yet," I said last month for the fourth time in my life to the clerk at Sonic Boom Records. She stared back at me blankly as I gleefully clutched my new copy of Empros and ran...

This black and white for Reigns' "The Diagram" is a classy one. For the single from their upcoming album, The Widow Blades, they expertly bathe the entire video in blacks using minimalistic compositions and heavy strobing. Given the careful planning that no doubt went...

In Japan, Aokigahara is a forest at the base of Mount Fuji. Both a tourist destination of natural bounty and one of the top suicide sites in the world, it is simultaneously so lush it has been nicknamed Sea Of Trees and so mythologically curious that it has become associated with demonic presences. Exemplifying the region's conflicting connotations is The Nocturne's latest album. Aokigahara stirs up feelings from vague spaces -- akin, perhaps, to what the morbidly curious feel when stumbling unexpectedly upon death. In circumstances when one can gain enough distance to view decay in its true artistic form, one can find in death the same sense of elation one finds in anything strange and novel.

With a singular reverbed inhalation from vocalist Emma Ruth Rundle, Aokigahara oozes dreamily into existence. It follows with the haunting line, "Life steals up my breath" -- but contrary to instinct, the mortality captured by these lyrics is not sad. Sonically speaking, it might even be construed as hopeful. With ethereal textures framing the aery vocals, blacks and whites blur into hues of grey, evading definite emotions, like manifestations of dark dreams while one lies in the radiance of morning light.

Listen to "The Road" - DOWNLOAD MP3

The genius of Fuck Buttons has always been the duo's ability to put sounds on loop -- of creating and finding the nuances of that loop, while at the same time redlining the amplifiers into a moving wall of distortion. So when Benjamin John Power, one half of Fuck Buttons, decided to try his hand at a solo electronic effort under the moniker of Blanck Mass, the results were expected to be relatively the same. Less blatant dance music, more deep thoughts.

Going in with that mentality isn't doing Power any favors. The self-titled release is less Fuck Buttons noise and more a focus on the atmospheric qualities of his original group. The album opens with "Sifted Gold", a song that has waves of slight distorted electronics fading in and out, ebbing like the tide, with the actual sound of the tide in the background. Blanck Mass is harkening back to the originals of the ambient wave, more Eno than recent forays into distortion-driven music. While some songs like "Sundowner" and "Land Disasters" rely on distortion, the peak of the song never comes at the drop of a grand crescendo. Like most ambient songs, most of the songs never really peak on Blanck Mass, but that isn't to say that they are boring at all.

Listen to "Land Disasters" - DOWNLOAD MP3


I enjoy this video to no end, and it alone puts Low up 20,000 points in my book. For starters, IT HAS JOHN STAMOS!!!!!!, looking as fine as ever. The video itself is a throw-back to the days of black and white pictures. A romantic scene...

Glasgow, Scotland's Errors roam through all landscapes -- terrestrial, aquatic, otherworldly, rave-y -- in this video for "Magna Encarta", sometimes with a chicken as their prime focus, and sometimes not. All landscapes become intertwined with one another throughout the course of the video, however, with...

In a feat of pure wonder, Brooklyn-based quartet Screens have managed to evade the magnetic lure of musical stagnation with their latest album, Dead House. Without adhering too closely to any one genre tag, they pull bits and pieces of influence from "pop," "psychedelic," "noise,"...