Listen: Syndicate – Demo

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Entertain the thought of a proto-punk band from California. Namely: Oakland. There, now you’ve got some imagination and a brain to think with. Join the Syndicate now. Syndicate is a trio from Oakland, California—an American band with roots deep into both punk, post-punk and proto-punk. Rats are running rampant through the city while these cyber-surfers make the best of a minimalist sound-scape, overwhelmingly punk and they actually make good use of the obligatory post-punk baseline—trying to make it even more melodic. Most of their music seem to heed to infrastructure, technology and the likes of it but is contrasted by their atmosphere of minimalist chaos. An explanation to this is written in the words that stake out “Demo“, although a romantic thought would be to not refine it further, more than make the vocals more audible and the sound less shaky. James Bond would have an awfully good time with this band, considering his choice of drink is a Martini that’s shaken—not stirred. Exactly how they’re portrayed by me when listening to them.

This whirlpool of different influences are mangled into a punk-sized knock in the face, with more afterthought instead of primitive rage. There’s an intellectual vein running through; a rather ambitiously chiseled, type of music. Frankly, they sound like a non-electronic homage to all the minimal synth and minimal wave, slash cold-wave acts operating out there. Stretch it to an even more plausible theory—and you might end up with synth-punk without a synth. Somewhere and somehow we would like to put them into a melodic punk category, or rogue surf-punk—surfing on nails, bolts and steel through a decaying post-industrial society. Feel the hopelessness but be uplifted and rooted in the sense that they’re playing just for you and your needs, even though your attitude says: “It’s completely different”! Stream and listen closely to their first release, their “Demo“.

Premiere: Maskinåldern – Avsnitt 3 – Gustav Jansson (Sturm Café)

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Det här är ett avsnitt som jag velat göra sedan jag startade denna podcastserie. Egentligen fanns där inga stora förhoppningar om att lyckas med det, men efter mycket om och men så blev en intervjutid bokat för avsnittet med Gustav Jansson från duon Sturm Café. En grupp som inspirerat många andra inom den “nya” svenska bodyscenen som långsamt började växa fram under tidigt 2000-tal – där Sturm Café var mer prominenta nu i efterhand – än vad de visste där och då.

Men egentligen är det helt egalt i sammanhanget. Fokuset låg på hur bra musiken var och vad som varit upphovet till deras musik, inte bara i studion men också i dynamiken hos duon och deras liveframträdanden – egentligen hela det kit som gjorde att denna duo på ett rätt så framgångsrikt vis kunde göra ett avtryck inom elektronisk kroppsmusik – både här, i Tyskland, men också i resten av världen. För att inte glömma att nämna de otaliga sidoprojekten, varav Kommando XY och Working Puppets utgör de mest prominenta – och kanske egentligen de man intresserat sig mest för.

Nu har man gått och väntat länge på att få släppa detta avsnitt, som är mer än två timmar långt och innehåller en djupintervju med Gustav Jansson. Här får man reda på en mängd saker som inte kommit fram i tidigare intervjuer, kanske för att frågorna inte formulerats på detta vis eller att intresset inte funnits. Förutom att avsnittet är så långt så finns där även tre exklusiva och osläppta låtar, som “1632” från det färdiga (men osläppta) albumet “Europa!” av Sturm Café, demoversionen med en annan sångare på låten “Kyss Mig” av KROPP, och en tidig demo av låten “Mozart-Ideal” som förmodligen är en av de mer populära alstren Sturm Café levererat.

Mycket mer kan egentligen sägas och man skulle kunna täppa till så många andra luckor, men jag låter någon annan göra det. Det finns alltid något av intresse. Det är bara så skönt att äntligen kunna leverera det tredje avsnittet av Maskinåldern. Nu tycker jag att vi kör igång maskineriet för fullt.

Innan ni börjar lyssna så vill jag tacka Minmiart för konstverket till avsnittet. Ni kan titta på annat som hon haft för sig genom att besöka: http://minmiart.tumblr.com/

Låtlista:

1. Spartak – Tiden
2. Position Parallele – Silence et grésillement
3. PTP – Show Me Your Spine
4. Sturm Café – Koka Kola Freiheit (Thomas P. Heckmann Remix)
5. Jäger 90 – Immer Dümmer
6. Sturm Café – 1632 (Unreleased)
7. DAF – Ich Will
8. Kommando XY – Manlig Gemenskap
9. Portion Control – Karateka
10. Keine Ahnung – Plastik
11. a;GRUMH… – M.D.A.
12. Kommando XY – Norrland
13. Working Puppets – Monopoly
14. Working Puppets – Welcome
15. Rheingold – Distanz
16. Les Visiteurs Du Soir – Je T`ecris D`un Pays
17. KROPP – Kyss Mig (Demo Version / Other Singer) (Unreleased)
18. Sturm Café – Mozart-Ideal (Demo) (Unreleased)

Spotlight: Passion Slaves – Demo 2014

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It’s a nice day for a nip of post-punk. Canada have been boasting with their simmering environment of talents that have been emerging from nothing. One of those seem to be Passion Slaves, which I frankly know nothing about and whose imagery suggest minimalism – to such a degree that I might not even agree. But my weakness for the classic approach to post-punk seem to have tainted me this time around. The only thing which bothers me is the vocal part, but that’s a miniscule objection to their sound as such. They’ve actually recorded their first demo, so that objection might be weak to begin with. One thing I like about the vocalist is her energy when she sings, but there seems to be a show-stopper in their unharnessed energy – because at times it feels like they don’t master it yet. With that in mind, the two demo-tracks “Mortal Coils” and “Shadow Grounds” have an interesting goth rock and post-punk sound. The gloomy melodies resound in my own mind and their boasting sound as a whole give me an impression of them as serious musicians. It feels good to observe that they haven’t submitted themselves to every cliche possible when handling such an environment of genres. The fast riffing, great drumming and overall performance of this group makes me want to hear more of them. It seems like they’ve given much thought to these two songs so I wouldn’t really be hopeful for more in the near future, but who knows. I feel like there’s a mystery within their imagery and the visuals that are put into my head when listening to them. I just hope that the one ingredient, e.g. the vocalist and the lyrics, don’t steep too far down into the unlisteneable fold. Stream their whole release down below and give them some money if you like it.

NO! Spotlight: Dry Socket / Ray Creature! [Part I]

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I found a rather anonymous label which is situated in Terre Haute, Indiana. The American label that I found is called NO! Record Label and is hosting itself on Tumblr, giving off a rather secluded interior for me to find mysterious. All the better, because it leaves much to my own imagination. This mysterious label have released two releases before those that I am going to cover in this spotlight. One of the releases are of Drekka and Assimilation – a kind of live re-work of each others live performances – but also a late introductory for me to Michael Andersons brainchild Drekka. This was actually the first release to be put out on this label. The second release was a compilation featuring the artists Drekka, NOON, John Flannelly, Canid, Assimilation and Agakus. Featured musicians working in the Bloomington, Indiana area, described by the label: “a collection of tracks that represents the loose circle of musicians that play weird electronic music together in basements, coffee houses, and bars“. But the two releases that I’m going to cover here are Dry Socket and in the second part; Ray Creature. The aforementioned a collaboration between Michael Anderson and Dylan Ettinger. I hope you’ll enjoy this write-up.

a0823392091_10Dry Socket. Having recorded a demo back in 2011 that never got released, this release titled “Violator EP” is a re-worked version of that recording. What strikes me at first is that it sounds like some kind of lounge version of industrial, together with the experimental tendencies that a mixture of their spaced out sound together with Michael Andersons vocals. The rhythm is slow-paced and steady, serving as a point of reference when listening, as the synthesizer sounds morph into differentiating sounds all over the place at the same time. When still being caught adrift by the first track, it feels like a combination of the expertise that Dylan Ettinger showed on his split-release with Goldendust on DKA Records and the gruesome experimentalism with his ambient touches. Even though a lot of the ambient heard in Drekka cannot be heard here, it feels like when they’ve joined forces, nothing is impossible. But I must say that when the song is about to end in the last three to four minutes, the windy atmosphere of what Michael Anderson can and have produced makes a turn back into ambient territory. Flaunting the beauty that can be heard through both synthesizers and other instrumentation. Next up is a sense of immediate urgency with the other track, with the outdrawn and melodramatic synthesizers that take each of their turn to whip you into the wonderful atmosphere of the track. Giving it even more of the old-school industrial sound together with screeching and violent vocals that make turbulence a must. The different passages in this song makes it even less vague than the first one, albeit the organic sounds and the synthesizers bounce on each other in a fist full of fury, it is easy to feel when it turns into something else – changing the pathway of the song. But just before the song is about to end, in the three to four minutes as usual, things get out of hand and a stormier landscape of sound can be heard before it dies out completely. The limited cassette of fifty copies can be bought from NO! Record Label. You’re also able to stream the release in full down below.

Listen: The Hammer – Demo 2014

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I’ve been covering some great hardcore the recent years, but there’s been both great hardcore coming out recently and not so great hardcore, but nothing quite like this. At least not when you’re at your demo-stage. The Hammer is a hardcore-band from Gothenburg that released their first demo today, titled “Demo 2014“. We have no idea about the origins of this band or who is behind it, but it sounds very great even though it’s their first demo. That much can’t be said about a lot of bands. It sounds like a crossover in between hardcore, punk and metal, but it’s mainly hardcore and punk. Gothenburg seems to be a stronghold when it comes to certain mind-altering, in a good way, sounds from that particular sphere of genres. What makes it even more interesting is that this crossover blend makes it sound a lot like fastcore and powerviolence, with the fast rhythm, the fast riffs and everything that makes those genres great. The vocalist in particular is absolutely stunning, when you hear his rage and anger between the lines that are riddled with fast-paced hardcore almost all the way. This is certainly one of those demos that you should pay more attention to. You can download this three-tracked release free from their Bandcamp. But I think you should support them with some money if you like what you’re hearing. It was recorded at Fvck Life Studios in Trollhättan, mastered by Fred Hunger. We’re certainly looking forward to future releases by this band.

Free Download: Zoo Books – Why Not Scorpion?

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Getting interesting e-mails is a part of what being a blog-zine is all about. Sometimes you get so many that you can’t sort everything out, and sometimes you get a few of them. Even though I believe this is the fact for many blog-zines, I don’t think that bigger magazines and so-called “alternative” websites take the most interesting out of the bunch. We aim to take both the interesting, and also those that might interest the audience. It’s not always about personal taste, even though it makes up a bit of what you’re doing. You try to stay objective, or at least as those conservative label-guys in the 1960’s, that according to Frank Zappa, said: “…now look at who the executives were in those companies at those times. Not hip young guys. These were cigar-chomping old guys, who looked at the product that came and said: I don’t know, who knows what it is, record it, stick it out – if it sells; alright. We were better off with those guys then we are now with the supposedly ‘hip’, ‘young’ executives, you know, who are making the decisions of what people should see and hear in the marketplace“. I thoroughly agree with that philosophy, and it can also be applied to the “art” of writing about music. I am by no means an artist, but I get the perspective.

Anyway, enough with my babbling. The people whom call themselves Zoo Books, sent me an e-mail in regards to their newly released demo. This trio are playing something in between post-rock and math rock, or so it appears when listening to it. This is also what they categorize themselves as. Don’t worry, their music is way more interesting to listen to than it is repeating their name in my head. The trio is comprised of Matthew Mawhinney on guitar and back-up vocals, Jeremy Link on bass, and Ruben Veguilla on drums and vocals. Their sound is a weird metamorphosis of what was already said, but it also ranges into post-hardcore territory – a genre that I have a hard time grasping, or understanding, the dynamics of. But I know what it sounds like, and there are more then hints of it in this demo. We consulted them ourselves and got them to lend us a hand when it comes to their music, by letting us put up a free download of the last track on this release, namely “Why Not Scorpion?” – a track I think symbolizes what their demo is, as a whole, but also where they might be heading afterwards. You can listen to their demo in its entirety if you wish, down below, but lend them a hand and spread the word. I think they deserve it. Download the track for free and listen to it wherever you please. The artwork for this release was created by Alicia Link.

Some questions for Xiu!

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Xiu is the Russian-born Estonian, but now Milan-based minimal synth artist, whose real name is Oksana Rodinova. Whilst harkening to her dark landscapes and magnificent voice, it gives you a palette of emotions to experience. Hearing her luminescent voice clash within a dark sound-scape of minimalism, is probably one of the most enjoyable things to hear. Since she started her solo-project back in 2010, with the self-released “Dancing Voodoo“, she’s been gaining momentum. Appearing on the German visionary label aufnahme + wiedergabe in 2012, with the self-titled cassette “Xiu“, which sold out very fast. To her collaboration with the interesting act Cold Colors, and their joint release “Loneliness“, where she lent her voice to four unimaginably solid tracks, in 2013. A little bit earlier, she also released the cassette “Possessions” on the increasingly larger (Swedish) Beläten etiquette. Since she’s been interviewed by different outlets, I decided to ask her a bunch of new questions. Mostly about the coming release, but also what her music means to herself, rather than the audience. Therefore, this will be a short Q&A-like “interview”, if you’d like. Hope you enjoy it.

Right now, you’re occupied in making your own debut-album become a reality. You’re also busy filming your first music-video for that particular release. What label have you teamed up with and where does the story begin?

– I would keep the label name in the secret for now.

Since you’ve released a lot of different songs here and there, how does it feel to work with your first “real” release?

– I don’t feel any difference. I mean, its always my own produced songs, it’s just a next step that comes naturally after two EP tapes, different compilations and collaborations.

You’ve also got two demo-tracks which you put up on your own bandcamp. Are these coming to good use in your forthcoming release?

– Well, yes. These tracks will be released but not on the LP. it will be as bonus tracks + some others on forthcoming CD release. Russian label Other Voices Records will release my two tapes (s/t by aufnahme and Possesion by Belaten) and bonus tracks this fall.

Is this album going to be any different from your earlier material in any way? What kind of theme will it have?

– It will be a kind of different but in the same time it will always be an analogue sound. I keep using the same gear that I used before, including some new synths and effects. I can say that debut LP will be more mature and confident.

Your latest release was together with Cold Colors, which was a  collaboration between the two of you. How did it came to be and what could you say about the making of “Loneliness”?

– This might sound weird, but I’ve never met Fred (Cold Colors) in real life. All our collaboration have been “online” through chat on Facebook and Skype. I’m very happy about this work, I’m really in love with that what Fred is doing. Nobody before this have produced music especially for my voice, specifically for me.

What do you think about aufnahme + wiedergabe and Beläten? Since you’ve released stuff on both those labels, how did that came to be in the first place, since your first release “Dancing Voodoo”?

– I tenderly love both labels! I’m proud to be their artist and thankful, especially because I was taking my first steps into the musical “scene” and they’re helped me a lot. Working with them was very enjoyable.

There seems to be a lot of hype surrounding you, and have been since you began to be noticed, it seems. What kind of response have  you gotten through the years?

– Really? I haven’t noticed any hype. I started to produce music two years ago, and less than year ago my debut tape came out, so I don’t think it’s time to speak about any “hype”. Everything have been flowing smoothly.

You’re also going to be featured on a split together with Spatial Relation, which is coming out pretty soon. What can you tell us about this?

– It will be a new song I produced specifically for this release. It will be coming out in September on Peripheral Minimal Records, I’m very excited about it and can’t wait, really! It will be the first Xiu 7” vinyl release.

How would you describe your own music?

– Looking for harmony inside of yourself.

When it comes to the general aesthetics of your own albums, they seem to revolve around yourself. Is there any thought behind – and if there is – then why is that so?

– Do you mean the visual part? Well, that might be because my music is autobiographical. I don’t speak about global problems, politic things, social troubles. I don’t want to change or save a planet, I try to save and understand myself, in my own world. I’m interested in creating something beautiful, fragile, delicate, something about feelings, sensations, sensuality.

Alright, seems like the time’s up. What kind of artists/groups/bands would you recommend here in the end and when will your full-length be out?

– I highly recommend you to pay attention to the small new label based in Italy named Minimal Trend Records. They’re soon releasing their first album on vinyl, a compilation with only Milan-based contemporary electronic artists. So, stay tuned!

Also, the one-woman-project Froe Char going to release her 3rd album, she’s awesome. Again, an Italian project which is unfairly underrated is Spettro Family. They’re soon going to release a new  album. As well, records from Beläten and aufnahme + wiedergabe are always brilliant. Don’t miss out on new releases!

You can find Xiu over at Facebook, Soundcloud, Bandcamp and YouTube. Do also check out her music-video for the track “Possessions” from the Beläten-release. You can also play two demo-tracks from her bandcamp down below. Her much anticipated full-length album will be released in the beginning of 2014. Do also listen to her latest remix of TSTI’s track “Pull The Animal’s Teeth Out“.

Beastiality släpper sin demokassett idag!

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Om ni har längtat efter lite tyngre, men ändock vrålbra dödsmetal – så behöver ni inte längta längre. Det svenska dödsmetal-bandet Beastiality släpper sin demokassett idag, vid namn “Ancient Bell Chimes“, den 30:e April.  Eftersom att Situation Skitstörd redan har täckt alla väsentligheter, så är det överflödigt med mer ord, men de ristas ändå in i sten. Förmodligen en av de bättre släppen inom den genren på senare tid, då de med sin kompromisslöshet och blodtörst sakta intar ens medvetande och fullkomligt annihilerar det. För att inte tala om den vackra konst som uppstått i dessa underjordiska knektars närvaro, där det ockulta fått en större plats, givetvis. Förutsägbarheten kan vara en sak rent estetiskt, men den saknar mått som är mätbara – och ger inte precis ett tidstypiskt intryck. Så, nu är de förevigade på denna plats och ni kan köpa deras kassett, som det sades i det första inlägget – nämligen genom att maila hit och sedan betala fyra euro (exklusive frakt). Kassetten är begränsad till 100 exemplar.

Dödsljus: Beastiality – Ancient Bell Chimes

För er som inte hört talas om Situation Skitstörd, så kan jag meddela er om att det är en jävligt välorienterad hembas för den grymmaste metal- och hårdrocksmusiken. Eftersom att man jämt och ständigt infinner sig på deras sida, så kan jag passa på att nämna en sak; de har prickat helt rätt denna gång. Inte för att de inte gör det annars, men Sverige har lyckats prångla ut ett band vid namn Beastiality. Givetvis så täckte Situation Skitstörd det, där de tog upp bandets demokassett på tapeten och hade en liten diskussion sinsemellan. Kassetten går under namnet “Ancient Bell Chimes“, eller det är åtminstone vad jag fått för mig. Fick höra låten “Witches’ Conjuration” och blev fysiskt illamående av hur pass bra dessa begeistrade människovarelser är. Helt sinnessjukt perfekt döds- och thrash i ett och samma sammanhang. Riffen är enastående, ljudlandskapet är frånvarande men hårdhänt – vilket i sin tur ställer sammanhanget på sin spets. Rent musikaliskt är det fantastiskt, och de har lyckats bryta sig ur det konventionella tugget som man hört tusen gånger om. Det verkar som att Sverige är överjävligt bra på det här som kallas för metal, åtminstone av det jag hört. Men detta är några snäpp över det. Ni kan köpa kassetten för fyra euros, exklusive frakt, genom att vända er till den här mailadressen.

Thee Showcase [#8.5]: lié, Joanne Pollock, Wildlife and The Systemaddicts!

1775541042-1Hey, hey, hey! We’re at it again. You’re getting used to the presence of Thee Showcase. If you’re not, I’ll have to hypnotize you into thinking about it. Well, first up this time is the band lié which consists of three people from Vancouver, Canada. I actually chose to cover their “Demo” this time around, since I like it more then their self-released and self-titled cassette on Function Operate. This is the kind of punk we all want, the one that goes by the predecessors whip and conjures a post-punk feeling. Calling it “dark punk“, as it is called may be an apt description. It feels like cold wave and post-punk morphed into a crazy whirlwind of teargassed punk. It’s punk you really can’t have your eyes open to see, it is punk you simply must hear. Dwelling in the concrete dungeons of larger cities, symptomatic of that particular angst. It feels like they’re trying to convey the feeling of aridity. In general, their music is much more gritty, since its from their demo-sessions of the same tracks. At times it also feels like punk has left the building to get to know its replacement. Or, could it simply be a new form of punk? Might just be the aforementioned. Everything isn’t tight as it should be, it’s at times sloppy and draggy, which has a charm in itself. Vocally, outspoken and dangerously cold-hearted, is a new punk formula that might not be a replacement, as said before, but an understatement of the same. Pressurizing, tenderizing and materializing. Three words that can be describable, but might not actually be it. Well, fuck it, this is hard. But it is a great listen all-in-all. The three demo-tracks featured are “Muse“, “Pressure” and “Fossoyear“, released on the 29th of January by lié themselves.

4291335105-1As usual, I almost always miss great things. That’s why my blog sucks so much. Or, yeah, it might not suck – but I’m not always up to date. Time to feature the artist Joanne Pollock from Toronto. She’s released a smaller album with four tracks, which goes by the name of “December“. It is quirky, IDM-driven splendor which fuels my mind with a colorful entrapment. You’re drawn into it by the interesting use of everyday objects, or so it seems, when you listen to it. I might not even know if it is, but it surely sounds like it. This could’ve been featured in a Japanese anime, in any scene that involved a large-eyed youngster seeing his or her first carnival or the likes of it. One thing that is good, is that you simply cannot categorize it, even though you need to at times. It’s a slab of IDM here, a brick of ambient there and an experimental vein that never seems to stop its own flow. Nevertheless, every detail must be remembered and is remembered. That’s the fascinating thing about Pollock and her music, or at least this release. No tone goes unnoticed. It can go from simply minimalistic, to bombastic and grandiose in seconds. The rhythmic and arrhythmic sense of belonging fuels the grace of her music and puts it in a cup for you to drink up. Think of a sensational meal you had, but make it transgress into music and I can assure you that this is what it sounds like. It provokes an emotional reaction that is hard to stray away from, since you bob your head to the music and think: “Ah, that’s where she put it!” when suddenly, out of nowhere, a sound comes out and grazes you with its virtual appearance. Four tracks are featured on this release, ranging from “Home“, “First Night In“, “Quiet Places” and the last track “How Fortunate“. It seems like she released this herself.

1004747893-1Quickly, we must move out of this, right now! It’s time for something completely different. This time the menu features Wildlife, which is a relatively stable and mainstream indie band, also from Canada. Four guys from the land in the north of the US of A. They’ve released a twelve-tracked, full-fledged album, which goes by the name of “…On The Heart“. A pretty fascinating release, since the depth of the music is uncompromising and not on the stick of the indie-elite. Nothing here is underproduced nor lo-fi. It also sounds like it could be featured in a film or something like it, since the width of space they have their chessboard on is so wide. Also, the sincerity of the vocalist is very tell-tale, as he includes you into their story with the first track. Therefore, you’re stuck on a journey now, trying to delve into the most uptight of indie-rock. I don’t mean uptight as in anything negative, simply that they live and thrive of simplicity, where love-songs and the positive humorist approach is dominating. Which re-assures you of a world that isn’t that dark after all, with the colliding drums, the spectrum of different riffs and solos at hand. Something a little bit unconventional, after all, even though it sounds pretty mainstream. This will hopefully take the crown and make sure that they’re ruling hereafter. But, hey, I like it a lot. It is nostalgic at heart, at least for me, since it reminds me of a lot of the earlier posturing of indie-pop and rock – but also bands in that particular genre that sought out the middle. Featuring songs ranging from “If It Breaks” to “Two Hearts Race“, released on the 5th of March on Wax Records.

2095041751-1Last but not least, we feature another even more interesting band. This time, breaking the streak that Canada has had, since this band – called The Systemaddicts, are from Australia. One of the surprises when hunting for music is when you return to the point you’ve been at all the time. Simply not realizing that a new album has been released, which was titled: “Do You Really Want My Love?“. It came out now in the month of March. A strength that you can give them is that they’re a larger group of people making music, which means a lot of instruments are included that are not normally used. An organ, some trumpets and an unconventional approach. Too bad that the singer sounds like he’s off-key with the rest of the band, but I like this voice. That isn’t the focus though, since the music is hell of a lot tighter. Which is what my brain automatically focuses on. It’s melodic, somewhat upbeat and you can’t even think it’s garage-rock, but it is. One thing that is punk, however, is the singer. Because he is breaking the rules and when you hear the pipe he’s got, you’d be surprised. At times it just feels like he’s completely defiant. Somehow he manages to add another color to the sound-scape with his outrageous behavior! Or, yeah, maybe not outrageous – but punk! I like what I’m hearing even though it might not be my favorite thing about them. Though it reminds me a lot of the older bands within the same genre, but maybe a step further away from garage-punk and rock. Yeah, you should simply check it out. Featuring tracks like “Hill and Sea” and “Jam (Secret Track)“, released by themselves, I suppose.