FatCat Records label special

FatCat Records made a name as a 'hip British IDM label'. Some of their most succesful acts are more in the field of post-rock though: Múm, Sigur Rós, Animal Collective. Recent FatCat releases were often dominated by folky acoustic sounds: the come-back of Vashti Bunyan, new bands like Amandine and Songs Of Green Pheasant. But FatCat has some sleazy rock outings as well. In this article you find short reviews of some recent productions of the eclectic label.

Drowsy – Snow on moss on stone (FATCD42)
The second cd by Drowsy from Finland contains ten tracks which sound quite poppy, but never too melodic, being a bit deliberately out-of-tune, with a lo-fi campfire atmosphere. It has elements of folk, but also of late 60’s psychedelica. The vocals of Mauri Heikkinen are a bit whispery, often sounding somewhat distant. Strummed guitars are a prominent element, but you can also find bits of piano, organ, accordion and more, like on the nice, more richly orchestrated ‘Good old odd gold’.
Most songs are quite downtempo, but lighter touches occur for instance in ‘Treehouse’. It’s a decent, intimate creation, which will be appreciated by people who love singer-songwriter folk music which is just a bit different.

Tom Brosseau – Empty Houses Are Lonely (FATCD41)
Tom Brosseau from the USA offers us 10 songs of intimate singer-songwriter folk. Subtle acoustic music in which the peculiar high voice and personal lyrics of Brosseau have a central position. He sings in rather a high, dramatic voice, making me think of Jeff Buckley or even a bit of Antony. I have to be in the right mood to appreciate his sound. “Empty Houses Are Lonely” is a moody, laidback cd which will fit a lazy Sunday listening session in between Leonard Cohen and Nick Drake.

Vetiver – To Find Me Gone (FATCD43)
Another new name for me, though this is the second album by Vetiver. The band is run by Andy Cabic, whose name I came across as a member of Devendra Banhart’s band. I read that “To Find Me Gone” has less of a minimalistic folk approach than Vetiver’s debut. The new album has richer arrangements and more varied instrumentation. Vetiver certainly has created an attractive album, with plenty of references to 60’s/70’s folk-pop-rock. In general it has a pleasant ‘on the road – wind through your hair – summer in the city’ feel. Uptempo songs like ‘You May be Blue’ make you tap your feet, while slower songs as ‘Maureen’ are rather moving. A nice summer record!

The Mutts – I Us We You (CDFAT054)
No folk here, but classic rock by this four piece band from Brighton. They sound bluesy and raw, bringing to mind all kinds of energetic rock ‘n roll from the 60’s and 70’s. The Mutts deliver straight from the garage and play 9 songs in under half an hour, which is the right spirit for this kind of stuff. A dirty guitar sound, driving drums and a cool singer are all you can ask for. Nothing wrong with some fresh old-fashioned rock ‘n roll now and then.

Blood On The Wall – Awesomer (FATCD48)
This band comes from Brooklyn and offers their second album here. “Awesomer” contains some fine alternative rock which could well fit in with contemporary fashions. The vocals have a somewhat bored sound on purpose, the guitars are pretty nervous at times. The sound of Blood On The Wall is then upbeat and funky, then cool and sensual, then raw and trashy. Often the band reminds me of Sonic Youth and early Pixies, not in the least through the alternate male and female vocals of brother and sister Shanks. But these references are not bad at all, since Blood On The Wall has created some exciting songs. This dynamic album, with a lenght of 32 minutes which is just right, which will appeal to all fans of early nineties indie-rock.

Our Brother The Native – Tooth And Claw (FAT-SP12)
Apparently Our Brother The Native consists of three American teenagers. Their music sounds pleasantly chaotic. They use a wide array of acoustic & electronic instruments, toys & tools and samples sources. The songs don’t follow conventional patterns either. Pieces of structured chaos full of strange voices & noises are alternated with nice harmonic melodies. The bad thing is that their ‘freaky folk’ music is very difficult to describe. Some references: Animal Collective, Liars, Cocorosie, Devendra Banhart. The good thing is that “Tooth And Claw” is an imaginative record with new things to discover at each listening turn. Not all songs are completely succeeded, but it’s certainly a good debut.

artist: Drowsy
label: FatCat Records