It might have taken three tries, but Blaze on a Plain is the perfect statement being made by Finland’s Black Twig. They’re songwriting is at the top of their game, with every member contributing greatly to the success of each song. Opener “1998” is such a great track, that you’d expect a little bit of fall back, but its successor “The Swallows” might be equally as good, if not better in a different sense. Still, don’t just think it’s a front-heavy listen; you’ll find some real gems throughout, especially when you come across album closer, “Sunday TV.” The band says they recorded most of the tracks live, with just some small bits of polish, and if that’s the case, we should all schedule a flight to Finland to catch these guys live. Just because the name might not ring a bell, don’t sleep on this excellent bit of pop; it’s available now courtesy of Soliti.
It’s a fresh year, so why not start it off with some fresh tunes from Finland and Black Twig. We’ve enjoyed what this band has had to offer before now, but this might be the best work they’ve completed. There’s a casual approach, just filling the song with these sliding alternative guitar chords that cut through your speakers; it sounds like a modern spin on some of the tunes we got from Teenage Fanclub. Vocals sit perfectly in the mix, providing the perfect emotional draw for listeners…never getting in the way of the instruments. Their third album, Blaze on a Plain, will be released by Soliti in April of this year; sounds like it’s going to be a helluva record.
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You’ve got to keep an eye on things over in Finland, with Soliti Music really putting out some incredible acts. The next slated release from the label is going to be the sophomore LP from Black Twig. Heliogram is the name of the album, which should see a February release; it’s going to be an exciting piece if it contains songs like the one below. I love the guitar playing here…it sort of jangles, but it mostly rings in a melodic, discordant manner. Set it up right next to the softly delivered vocals and we’ve got a gem of a tune on our hands. Looks like we need to head to Finland![audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/02-Pastel-Blue.mp3]
Download: Black Twig – Pastel Blue [MP3]
It’s clear from the recent rise in Finnish music trickling overseas that there’s quite a bit of great music being created in the country; Black Twig is another act determined to share their creativity with the world. Paper Trees is their first proper album for the newly created Soliti Music, and while the label may be small, they’ve got some huge sounds to promote.
There’s definitely a diverse sound when you take your first trip through Paper Trees. For me, the biggest standout track was “Death Scene,” the albums fourth track. It’s got a certain earnestness to fit as much as possible into the song, not unlike recent releases from Cloud Nothings. Yet, you’ll find one large unifying force lurking in this song, and the album itself; the pleasant vocals help maintain a perfect sense of pop sensibility.
Going back to the beginning, you’ll realize that this seemingly effortless bit of cool was present all along. Album opener “Four Notes” has a decently jangling guitar line, but the breathy vocals keep the song steadying in the waters of traditional pop tunes. But, just as you think the band’s settled into traditionalism, they warp up the song with squalls of feedback and noise, though not in an overbearing sense. Such touches are present off and on throughout Paper Trees, demonstrating that Black Twig are definitely working out their sound. And in playing with such sounds, you end up with experimental tracks that seemingly come out of nowhere.
“Kouvala (Slow)” is one such track; it’s a sprawling piece of post rock stretching over seven minutes long. Vocals on this track are practically non-existent, but the restraint the band displays in the songs construction perfectly displays their supposed intentions, leaving listeners with a taste that is more than just your average pop record. It’s also indicative of the second-half of the record, which seems to hold a dark, nosier side of things in place. You’ll just have to listen to album closer “Antichrist” to see that the band can sufficiently produce edgier moments with chords knifing in and out of atmospheric negative space. It will also leave you with the feeling that Robert Pollard just wrote a four minute track, as the vocal stylings and mixture of noise and traditional pop fare both lean towards the aforementioned musician’s work.
Paper Trees seemingly goes all over the place, from screeching post-rock to quieter moments of blissful pop, and yet it’s tied together so well that you’ll hardly notice the change in mood from one point to another. Black Twig surely are a potent songwriting force; it’s clear in the way the songs are written, and the way the record plays out: you’ll find yourself jamming to this one over and over again, grateful that Finland is finally making its musical mark abroad.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/04-Death-Scene.mp3]
Download: Black Twig – Death Scene [MP3]
There’s not a hotter label in my mind right now than Soliti Music, and the killer label has been generous enough to share us this incredible new track from Black Twig. The group will be releasing their album Paper Trees via the label on January 11th, and as of right now, this is one of my most anticipated records for 2012. In this newest single you’ll find jagged guitars jangling, but it’s the vocal that really grips you; it’s calming, which juxtaposes the furiously beautiful noise that bounces through the rest of the song. If you’ve heard anything better this week than this track, then give me a heads up, as I don’t think you will.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/04-Death-Scene.mp3]
Download: Black Twig – Death Scene [MP3]
I’ve been keeping my eye on Soliti Music, the label that released the Big Wave Riders EP earlier this year. Just the other day they unleashed this excellent gem from Black Twig. The group is gearing up for a January release of their album, Paper Trees, and I’ve been pretty impressed with what I’ve heard so far. It reminds me a lot of The Mary Onettes, but just a touch more fog coating the music, yet still maintaining that pop sensibility I adore. If you’re into that sort of shoegaze pop track, you’re going to really enjoy jamming out to this number all day long.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Lake_Song.mp3]
Download: Black Twig – Lake Song [MP3]