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releases


Clouds Forming Crowns

CLOUDS FORMING CROWNS
"Race To The Blackout" CD

 

$9.98 - Buy CD

 

Clouds Forming Crowns - Race to the Blackout



Clouds Forming Crowns is the collective brainchild of Todd and Tim Tobias, two indie rock apostles whose extensive contributions to the legacy of Guided By Voices still shine years afterward – as essentials at the core of Robert Pollard’s creations. Tim, who recorded and performed with Guided By Voices during their last five years as a band, shares production and songwriting credits with his talented brother Todd, who produced GBV’s last three albums and solo work for Robert Pollard. The formula is simple: Tim writes the outlines of the songs, and Todd fills in the blanks. Race to the Blackout is the follow-up to their critically acclaimed self-titled 2004 release and a continuation of the collaborative energies that fueled the spark of that first release.

While the album picks up right where the band left off, they quickly plunges stylistically into vastly new territories, including Who Sings My Generation–style rockers, lyrical creep-outs and mind-trips a la Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie, and stoney trips reminiscent of GBV’s deepest 60’s influences, such as “Floating,” with its spacey time-shifts and cryptic vocals. But there is more here than expected. Aided in part by unsettlingly thick fuzzed-out bass riffs, CFC rips out several tracks that are balls-out desert-rock monsters, akin to Blue Oyster Cult melted into the abrasive sonics of Bleach-era Nirvana. And while there is nothing “safe” about this record, there is a thematic cohesion throughout the entire album that goes well beyond what one might expect from their sophomore effort.

As before, CFC remains an evolved concept project of this team of brothers, whose talent for instinctive songwriting and enigmatic subject matter builds on their pedigree as gifted veteran musician and genius producer team. And while the result here can be compared favorably side-by-side with the best of GBV’s discography – as so many reviewers did with their debut release – this album stands on its own as a very unique and worthwhile alchemy.

 

Songs:

1. Phantom Dog Black Water
2. Animal Drunk
3. Ghost Looms
4. Waiting for a Drain
5. Floating
6. Matter of Choice
7. Have a Dream
8. Satellite Ingestion
9. Electric Fools
10. Seat of New Elation
11. Race to the Blackout
12. Sea Witch #19

 

Other Releases by Clouds Forming Crowns:

Clouds Forming Crowns
"Clouds Forming Crowns" CD

 

Audio Samples:

- MP3

 

Reviews:

It’s common knowledge to never mix business with family. The combination usually results in broken hearts, hurt pride, and bankruptcy. Yet while most people take heed to precedence and avoid working with their family like Kansas City Royals home games, brothers Todd and Tim Tobias relish in it, creating some truly amazing music, both with the legendary Guided By Voices and with their pet project, Clouds Forming Crowns. The latter’s most recent album, Race to the Blackout, is, quite simply, excellent. It’s pure rock and roll pulled straight out of the 1960s, complete with everything I love about the genre: hypnotic and heavy guitars, fuzzy, growling bass, and surreal lyrics, tied together in a concise, no frills package. Mars Volta, listen up. There’s not a filler track or interminable noodling jam to be found on this album. No, Race to the Blackout has nary an ounce of fat on it, as the brothers Tobias choose instead to cut the crap and stuff the record full with some of the dirtiest, meatiest blues riffs this side of the Mason-Dixon Line. Within the first five seconds of album-opener “Phantom Dog Black Water,” you’re hit with ball-breaking distortion and grimey cymbal decay. The song segues into the second track, “Animal Drunk,” without skipping a beat, shifting into an ingenious variation on the main riff of “Phantom Dog.” Throughout the album, Todd and Tim play around with their gritty tone, altering it just enough to keep it from getting boring. On one of my favorite songs, “Matter of Choice,” grungy guitars and psychedelic moans stutter and collide with breakneck intensity. The following tracks, “Have a Dream” and “Satellite Ingestion,” are vastly subdued, airy pieces, like Bob Dylan’s songs after he went electric. And “Floating” features an utterly brilliant, floating chorus that just elegantly drops the bottom out when the up-tempo, bobbing verse and bridge screeches to a halt. One after another, Race to the Blackout fires off incredibly breathtaking songs, each one memorable and unique in its own right. I have literally been unable to stop playing it, and on each listen, I marvel at the Tobias brothers’ knack for writing swampy melodies and hooks that rival quicksand in their ability to grab hold on someone. Savor this album, as it’s one of the best of the year so far. — Delusions Of Adequacy


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