THE ATLANTIC MANOR: Press / Reviews
The World Beneath This World Is Brightening
Miami, Fl-based R. Sell is like the Robert Pollard of the lo-fi, ambient country-folk genre. Following on the heels of 2009's SLOW DRUGS AND OTHER SORROWS and 2008's ON THE WRONG SIDE OF A SATURDAY NIGHT, this is now the prolific songwriters 11th album as The Atlantic Manor since 2001. Recorded quickly with no rehearsals, the LP moves along at a molasses-slow pace, with tenderly affecting tracks such as "Vessels" and "Black River Runs" even surpassing the 10-minute mark. Each composition features Sell's gently-picked guitar with languid, Bob Segar / Neil Young-like draw, with the occasional spare drum, piano, or keyboard drone for accompaniment. But despite the measured, epic tempos, Sell's forlorn and expansive music always inspires thoughtful reflection rather than ennui-much like the sprawling, lonely praries it's meant to evoke.
Rick Sell’s The Atlantic Manor continues to pave the way for DIY indie rock. While the band has always and unfortunately flown under the radar, the group always seems to be masterful when it comes to crafting the perfect pop gem. They have never sacrificed sound or quality despite being a self-avowed lo-fi artist. Now on their eleventh album, The Atlantic Manor has turned the page with a focus on surreal and cerebral music. Occasionally gravelly voiced, Sell (ironic last name much?) paints his canvases with self-portraits that are introspective and curious. A bevy of noises and oddities saturate each tune without being distracting, instead ladling up the pop feel and serving it to the folks fortunate enough to stumble upon them. I am gracious that I have had the pleasure to not only review the band but hear such terrifically built albums like “The World Beneath This World Is Brightening”.
The Atlantic Manor "The World Beneath this World is Brightening
(Do Too) If any music is ever going to prevent suicide it sure ain't gonna be perky -- it should be sublimely hopeful music, shrouded in subtle dreariness. The Atlantic Manor's work -- somewhere between blues, ambient music, California country rock on downers, and -- I dunno --madrigals? - is just such sound to save some lives. Every Helpline should have this as their call-waiting music
The Atlantic Manor
The World Beneath This World Is Brightening
Do Too Records
"These songs were recorded quickly. There were no rehearsals involved. This is lo-fi outsider d.i.y. The American underground is alive and well. Go start your own band and make the world a better place." (R. Sell)
R. Sell is The Atlantic Manor. During the last decade he's put out a number of CDs. The World Beneath This World Is Brightening is his 11th record since 2001 (almost competing Robert Pollard). The Atlantic Manor (TAM) wander the paths of obscurity, but for sure deserves something more. Because this is very, very good stuff. Appealing, touching, reflective songs filled with (comforting) sadness. Lo-fi-psych-folk-ambient-country-drones but within limits. Listening to The World Beneath This World Is Brightening makes me think of The Velvet Underground (or Reed, and/or Cale solo - or both, imagine Songs for Drella's calmest parts), Bedhead and Galaxie 500. Others have mentioned Songs:Ohia/Jason Molina/Magnolia Electric Co., Clem Snide, Hayden, Damien Rice, or a lo-fi Neil Young. His voice (sometimes) even makes me think of Roky Erickson! Yes. And you could probably name-drop many more.
Name-dropping aside, The Atlantic Manor for sure steer clear of copying and plagiarism. The World... holds nine tracks, and even though some editing would have made a stronger album (it's an hour of music), this is most charming and proper record. Sell also pen poetic lyrics (as well as album/song titles; like On the Wrong Side of a Saturday Night, Slow Drugs And Other Sorrows, or The Desperate Vibe Of Emotional Devastation). The opening "Openings"'s little kid singing e-i-e-i-o (from Old MacDonald had...) goes over to the beautifully, slow floating "Vessels", lasting nearly 15 minutes. The track "The Captains Name Was Death" is really a skin-crawler. Imagine Neil Young collaborating with Bedhead. Other favourites are "Deathcrown", the VU-ish "Apple Dreams", and of course the long stretched (a bit too long, maybe) title track. Not to forget the great, epic (yes, another one -- when you think it'll finish it's only halfway through) closing track, "Black River Runs", which ends down by the riverside.
As someone noted on the Atlantic manor: "...some of the greatest songs you have never heard...lo-fi pop drone masterpieces that will break your heart". Or, as R. Sell states on his site: "I hope the record finds a happy home in your collection." So do I.
THESE ARE SAD SONGS… LISTEN ACCORDINGLY
These are the words printed at the top of a press pack that TPM sent me. I considered myself warned while simultaneously coming to the realization that doing this album review was serious business. When thepaintedman announced the opportunity to be a guest reviewer, I jumped at the idea. I figured I could just sit back with a couple of Dead Guy Ales, kick my feet up, and listen to some tunes. But upon opening the package, I was confronted with a Lo-Fi, black and white sticker of a morose figure hunched over in a hospital bed and a document telling me that I must feel sad before listening. It was then that I realized I was definitely in way over my head, but nevertheless, I watched the end of Bambi and ripped off all the heads of my childhood stuffed animals. There, that should do it.
The World Beneath This World is Brightening is a sparse, plodding album dominated by emotional landscapes created by The Atlantic Manor. From the first notes the opening track, which features the unintelligible babbling of a child, to the instrumental soliloquy of the final track, this album is relentless in it’s somber tone. Two 12-plus minute songs book-end this release with droning intensity. What lies in-between does not stray too far from the theme. Due to the static nature of the sonic texture and its relentlessly bleak overtones, I literally felt exhausted after listening this album. I will give the artist the benefit of the doubt and assume that this was intended.
Lyrically, the album is actually quite clever at times. The lyrics create fleeting images that do not reveal so much that the listener can not dwell deep in his own mental devices. The theme of the album is represented in the lyrics as consistently as in the instrumentation. Dark and lonely emotions saturate every stanza. In, perhaps, my favorite song, “Deathcrown”, we hear the lyrics:
A dark cheer for all you did
Deathcrown sickle dance
In your kingdom
This is uttered quite skillfully over a triumphant yet melancholy climax in the heart of the album. R. Sell’s vocal range is never really tested on this album. He deliberately stays with a raspy, narrative style of singing that fits well within the context of album.
I think The World Beneath This World is Brightening is a very imaginative piece. The song composition, although simple in nature, is effective in evoking emotion for those with the patience to sit through it. While the album could definitely benefit from a more polished mastering process, the finished product presents a clear and cohesive theme executed fairly well. I think that the album does not do enough to satisfy my personal itch for technical virtuosity or rhythmic excitement. I also recognize that this album falls on the far end of the spectrum of what I expect music to give back to me. I have always found joy within music and can not grasp why one would use music to enhance or bring themselves to a despondent state. For those hesitant to dive right in to this album, pick up The Eels End Times and give that a listen. I think that End Times was able to achieve what this record was striving for, with a just a little extra to keep the listener engaged.
Overall, I did not enjoy the album, but I’m not going to say it is “bad” either. For one, I know very well that my musical taste is subjective and also I would hate to make this guy even sadder. Cheer up, buddy!
"This Beautiful Sadness" is a web-only album – that I had the pleasure to compile for HLFP – by Miami, Florida-based independent outsider band THE ATLANTIC MANOR.
Rick Sell is THE ATLANTIC MANOR. The prolific songwriter already released his 11th album since 2001 as THE ATLANTIC MANOR this year, titled "The World Beneath This World Is Brightening".
And all that without any support by a record company. He is doing it all by himself in true Do-it-yourself-Spirit!
Listening to this great sad music makes me think of NEIL YOUNG and the third THE VELVET UNDERGROUND lp or even some stuff by THE GUN CLUB, but nevertheless Rick clearly sounds like noone else. He has definitely found his own sound: a mix of dark, dreamy country-folk, indie rock and guitar drone music with occasional feedback outburst. Reflective, slow, poetic songs filled with sadness, vulnerability and humanity.
Great stuff! I admit, I find myself getting addicted to his music...
The Atlantic Manor
THE WORLD BENEATH THE WORLD IS BRIGHTENING-(DO IT TOO)- Wow, this guy is going to be catching up with Jandek pretty soon. This guy is Rick Sell, a Floridian who records under the name The Atlantic Manor. I believe this is his 11th record in the last decade (his debut came out tin 2000). And actually the Jandek tag isn’t so far off, Sell records, what he calls, outsider music. This is spare folk and not the kind of stuff that will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside though at times Sell’s haunting sonic portraits are beautiful. The songs are languid and in addition to Jandek reminded me a bit of Neil Young’s more spare material and even Smog (now recording under his name, Bill Callahan). On “Falling by the Second”, the 3rd song, you finally get to hear Sell’s vocals and he sings in a whispered drawl while the drums (by Ariel Herrera) and the occasional piano/keyboards (by Bob Platt) add some life to the proceedings. “DeathCrown’ perks things up a bit while the lovely “Apple Dreams” weaves a beautiful tapestry of voice and guitar to tape. For Sell to continue to release these records on his own dime shows the mind and heart of a true artist.
DAGGER (Sep 13, 2010)
For those unfamiliar with The Atlantic Manor, here’s a brief crash-course. The band consists of one Rick Sell, who records and releases his own music without a label or any promotion outside of whatever Sell himself does. He’s done it this way for years, and it seems to be working alright. His music, under The Atlantic Manor, is a dreamy country-tinged folk that sometimes nears the rock level, but typically maintains tranquility.
The latest by The Atlantic Manor is The World Beneath This World Is Brightening. Outside the odd kid-vocal opener “Openings”, the album begins with the epic near-15 minute “Vessels”, which emphasizes Sell’s predilection toward dreamy folk songs. The entire song maintains a calmness that is both invigorating and interesting, as Sell chimes in with vocals masked by subtle volume levels and a penchant for being modest yet vividly insightful. In fact, despite reviewing at least four of The Atlantic Manor’s albums, we have yet to come across an image of Sell himself.
The World Beneath This World Is Brightening continues The Atlantic Manor down the path of creative obscurity. “Failing By The Second” goes through nearly two minutes of folk-y acoustic strums and laid-back percussion mixed with a powerful electric guitar drone before Sell comes in with his country-tinged vocals. This blend is his signature, and it makes for a very original sound; a sound that he has mastered over and over again through countless albums. And I’m sure I say this each time I acquire a new album by The Atlantic Manor, but I’ll say it again — this is my favorite one yet.
THE ATLANTIC MANOR – The World Beneath This World is Beginning
(www.theatlanticmanor.com) Brace yourself for some heavy-duty gloom and
despair, because the always morose, yet still potent and captivating
Do-It-Yourself indie music auteur R. Sell is at it again. Everything that
makes this guy’s music so singularly moody, compelling, and, most of all,
extremely poignant is present and accounted for. Dour mumbled vocals?
Check. Spare, but eloquent songwriting? Ditto. Slow trudging tempos and
equally gradual unhurried beats. Yep, they’re both here as well.
Tight’n’tuneful arrangements that are cut right to the bone and eschew
needless flashy show-off pyrotechnics in favor of a more admirably
restrained and understated approach? Oh boy, do we ever get this stuff
done with astounding skill and remorseless precision. The songs alternate
between short and to the point and remarkably drawn-out sonic excursions
that buzz and hover in the air like some kind of beautifully ominous aural
storm cloud. There’s something very haunting about R. Sell’s patented
sadness, a certain profoundly moving sense of fragile humanity and basic
vulnerability, that makes his dark and depressing albums powerful
experiences to listen to. If we lived in a more fair world, R. Sell would
be a household name with multiple awards and plaudits to his credit. Alas,
we don’t. But fortunately R. Sell still plugs away and keeps on doing his
distinctly sorrowful thing with impressive grace and persistence. - Joe
Atlantic Manor’s new one is another collection of silky, lengthy lullabies (the opener is 15 minutes long), and, again, they are serene instead of insipid. Their dreamy, leisurely pace lowers blood pressure and slows down heart rates without boring one to tears. As a busy New Yorker on the go, I find it remarkable how suddenly a stroll with Atlantic Manor mesmerizes me.
Their warm brew can be described as a gentle puree of lo-fi, dream-pop, and twangy singer-songwriterdom, but there are no hipster theatrics here – the music is simple and effortless. With just enough drone and fuzz to offer some relative dissonance, “The World” is melodically narcotic. It’s chicken soup, or perhaps codeine, for the indie rock soul. Bottom Line: Ask your doctor if Atlantic Manor is right for you.
THE ATLANTIC MANOR ‘The World Beneath This World is Brightening’ (Do Too)
SOUNDS LIKE? Have you ever been sitting around a campfire, maybe at a festival, and you are chatting, high on booze and the smell of trees, a merry bunch of friends and strangers all getting along in a way that would make Jesus proud, when a natural lull in the conversation leaves nothing but the sound of a lone guitar and a lonesome voice singing softly? You know what I’m on about, that moment where the music that has always been there is heard by everyone, and no one says a word, they just listen and- I don’t know if it’s the power of the moonlight, the smell of damp wood burning, the sparks that shoot into the sky like falling stars in reverse, or the booze- everyone finds they are sharing a living breathing moment. The music comes to a slow halt and the guy with the guitar looks up and he’s surprised to find everyone is listening, and not only listening, but feeling the music. He makes a slight remark, everyone laughs and the conversation carries on like nothing happened. That’s what this album sounds like, every single song. It took a while. But the more I listened, the more I had to listen. Normally I listen to an album a few times and I’m ready to start giving my opinion, but with ‘TWBTWIB’ (sorry, it’s a long title, it’s up there if you need reminding) I’m still not sure if I'm ready, and I’ve listened to it well into the double figures. There’s just something within the music that I can’t pin down, and I don’t think I ever will. It’s a presence that intrigues and comforts at the same time. This is music that sounds like it is being released rather than played, a natural sound, as if the voice and fingers of R.Sell are themselves instruments being played directly by the great muse. This is also the 11th release by The Atlantic Manor, which gives me hope for the human race. The Atlantic Manor (AKA R.Sell) has found exactly what he was put on this planet to do, and he is doing it. All we have to do is sit back and listen. I can’t ask for more than that.
For your consideration: Florida's the Atlantic Manor. Though the prolific group have already released an impressive eleven albums, they somehow remain hidden from the mainstream music scene. According to what I've sampled from their catalogue, though, the Atlantic Manor serve as proof of what is so often true: quality music usually is absent from the mainstream.
In their pursuit to "keep the underground alive one record at a time," the Atlantic Manor create music that is massively appealing for its blending of endearing genres but is conventionally less accessible in its insistence on unpredictable and unique arrangements. That is, the band produces psych, folk, and drone country dirges, much in the same vein as Lambchop, Deer Tick, or Bonnie "Prince" Billy, that would be out of place on local radio but seem destined for vinyl on summer nights among friends. If their latest release, "The World Beneath This World is Brightening," isn't immediately appealing, don't disregard the Atlantic Manor; after all, a twelfth record is probably already in the works.
Posted by THINGS AS THEY ARE at 8:37 PM 0 comments
The Atlantic Manor – The World Beneath This World is Brightening
According to the band, this is The Atlantic Manor’s 11th album. Their entire career they’ve been a DIY style band, so that’s one heck of an accomplishment, if for no other reason than for sticking with creating music for so long. As for the band themselves, you can imagine them as something of a low-fi Pink Floyd, I guess. Or maybe you can think of them as a psychedelic-tinged doom-folk band. It’s interesting to hear a band so gloomy and somber, yet utilizing pieces of genres that are not necessarily of that mood. There’s an overwhelming sense of spiritual contemplation to accompany the otherwise darkly moody music, which makes for a compelling listen.
The main man behind the band The Atlantic Manor is R. Sell who really believes in the DIY Indie music spirit and The World Beneath This World is Bright is his 11th release. Rounding out the group is, Ariel Herrera on drums and Bob Platt on piano & keyboard. Having heard other releases from the band before this one I had a pretty good idea what to expect and I wasn’t disappointed. The band’s music goes against any formula for so called, ‘music industry success’. The songs found on The World Beneath This World is Bright are overloaded with instrumentation with the vocal part not starting until the song has run up to a minute or two. Also the songs long running times of up to 12-15 minutes almost guarantee little of no mainstream radio airplay. But you know what that’s alright with this band because their music is done for the sake of art and their not looking to line their walls with framed gold and platinum selling records or a star on some walk of fame sidewalk. The band’s motto of, ‘go start your own band and make the world a better place,’ probably best describes their true Indie spirit.
The best way that I could describe the music found on The World Beneath This World is Bright is for those of you old enough to remember record players to take a 45 rpm record of some Neil Young music and run it at the slower 33-1/3 speed that will add in a melodic droning element.
This release gets started with the appropriately titled track, “Openings,” that features a small child talking set against a simple guitar part. The song is short lasting for only 1-minute before rolling into track-2, “Vessels,” that goes to the other end of the spectrum with a running time of just under 15-minutes with the vocals not even starting until the 2-minute mark of the song.
My favorite track happens to also be the album’s title track, “The World Beneath This World is Bright,” which offers up one of the more hopeful and up mood style of song lyrics that are found on this release.
The band’s song lyrics are filled with somewhat cryptic meanings, that depending on your personal viewpoint could mean one of several different things, but I did keep hearing this underlying spiritual/higher power vibe in many of the album’s songs.
The Atlantic Manor’s music isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea but for those that do like it you’re in for a musical feast of meaty goodness. If you’re in an up mood and looking for some music to rock out to then definitely avoid this release but if you’re more in a reflective mood then The Atlantic Manor’s The World Beneath This World is Bright will give you a lot of good music to chomp on.
Rating: 8 out of 10
“I am proud to be lo-fi. I know of no other way.”
The above sentiment offered by R. Sell, the Miami based singer-song writer known as The Atlantic Manor, has so much heart it inspires. He rightly suggests that no matter your resources, you can find a way to record and circulate your music amongst a community of listeners. Over the last decade R. Sell has released 11 diy, lo-fi records under the The Atlantic Manor moniker and from the looks of it, this dude has no intention of stopping anytime soon. Sell strongly identifies with the American underground music scene whose beauty and authority comes from the pure motives and raw energy of those artists that dare to do something out of the ordinary. With complete disregard for the monotonous expectations of the cacophonous clamor of the music industry’s crony-capitalist regime, Sell envisions the American underground as a community and a movement that is required in order to maintain any semblance of genuine and authentic artistry within America’s broader music economy. Simply said the shear volume of work and the grit and guts with which this project has been engaged is awesome. But it must also be said to be problematic. Any record from one moment to the next can be said to have varying degrees of relevance, but I am unsure if this can be said of The Atlantic Manor’s 11th release The World Beneath This World is Brightening.
The record opens with lackadaisical strumming and a twisted child like voice singing what seems to be a satanic version of Old McDonald Had a Farm. The second track Vessels somewhat resembles Joy Division’s Atmosphere. It is a 14 minute long cyclical and meandering progression with muted and indistinct lyrics. The strategy of the track is the same as Velvet underground’s Heroine, a simple structure with vocals littering the staccato guitar notes, though the track never builds, it does not crescendo, and it does not really move a muscle from the first note until the last. The next song, Failing By the Second, begins with a muted strum subtly sounding in the background, and a metronomic back beat that is upfront and unwavering, save the occasional fill. The song is minor and brooding; it is haunted by guitar distortion that mimics the sound of a depressed whale song or the moan of steel beams as shift back and forth in some post-apocalyptic wind.
Like the majority of The Atlantic Manor’s music, The Captains Name Was Death is structured by the cyclical pattern of a few strummed chords. R. Sell’s voice is bloodshot with humility. The track just rolls along as tremolo accents and an inartful clean tone guitar solo dance with the synthesized sound of a wood saw song. The drums for DeathCrown, the epitome of diy recording, have Stephen Morris all over them, but it is at this very moment that R. Sell’s formulations become tired. The songs run into to each other, making it difficult to decipher one from the other. While Apple Dreams definitely has wistful qualities, these qualities are mere replications of what was heard for 14 minutes in Vessels. The songs may not be exactly the same, but some might say that one’s existence makes the other obsolete.
The World Beneath This One is Brightening, like the record itself, is out of sync and out of tune; it is a mélange of minor chords and baritone mud sack sadness that never really translates into anything. At this point it becomes clear that the record is limited in its depth. The transition from The World Beneath to The Good Son is astounding in its sameness. The closer is a 12 minute depressant that perhaps encapsulates Sell’s best effort. Black River Runs’ attempt to infuse various unorthodox sounds into the haphazardly strummed guitar backed by a syth drone is quite appealing. I have received much of Atlantic Manor’s back catalog and am eager to peruse the collection of songs. Like a second-hand store, The Atlantic Manor conceals the occasional diamond in the rough, but that gem is all too often embedded in throw away tracks. I understand that The Atlantic Manor wants to be profoundly productive—11 albums in 10 years—but I would say that the band/the song-writer would be very well served if they or he or whomever was more selective of the parts of themselves that they choose to exhibit; that is if they would like their community of listeners to grow.
Slow Drugs and Other Sorrows (2009)
On the Wrong Side of Saturday Night (2008)
All the Best Girls Have Winter Hearts (2007)
Sneaking Up on the Death Scene (2006)
The Trouble that You Left (2006)
Special is Dead (2005)
Failing by the Second (2004)
The Desperate Vibe of Emotional Devastation (2002)
The Hate We Get Going (2001)
When I am a Viking (2001)
Posted in 2010, 4 Points, Americana, DIY, Format, Frederick Foxtrott, Genre, Indie, Indie Media, LP, Miami, Miscellaneous, Music, Music Review, Places, Psychedelia, Rating, The Atlantic Manor, Year | Tagged Music Review, Bands, Music, Frederick Foxtrott, 4 Points, Americana, Artists, Miami, Florida, 2010, The World Beneath This One Is Brightening, The Atlantic Manor, DIY, Do Too Records, R. Sell |
The Atlantic Manor is a Florida based band with a singular purpose, to be your auditory backdrop for your bad days. With there 11th album The World Beneath This World Is Brightening you get the immediate impression that almost every track on this album is an exercise in the art of ambient drone. But don’t worry this is not one of the purely instrumental albums that seem to constantly be popping up from so many indie bands. This album dips into the extended instrumental portions but eventually leads into a somber set of lyrics that can best be compared to a subdued version of Neil Young in style if Young had a lower voice.
The dark nature of this album would attract anyone, in the mood for an evening of solitary reflection. The World Beneath This World Is Brightening should probably come with a warning label though, stating that it should not be mixed with alcohol or other medications and doing so might be a danger to the listeners health. But that is the thing about this album it’s an emotional piece of work and should be given credit for its ability to keep from being tedious, given all of the extended ambient instrumental portions. Right when you think you can’t take anymore of an extended psychedelic progression, Rick Sell the band’s lead singer delivers a strong vocal performance, which brings the listener right back into the fold. The key tracks on this album are Failing By The Second, Death Crown and The World Beneath This Word.
Note: Other bands that have had impressively dark and emotionally charged albums that come to mind are The Antlers with their 2009 effort Hospice and the band Timbre Timbre’s last self titled album. The former revolves around the pains of losing someone to an illness while the latter about the internal darkness of the soul made manifest through Brothers Grimm-esc lyrictry. You can count The Atlantic Manor among these dreadnoughts of the subdued sounds.
The Atlantic Manor: The World Beneath This World Is Brightening
Posted on Friday, March 19, 2010 1:03 PM
R. Sell, the Miami DIY musician operating as The Atlantic Manor, has done it again. His new album The World Beneath This World Is Brightening has some traces of optimism when compared to his 2009 album Slow Drugs and Other Sorrows. After kicking with kids voice singing Old McDonalds Had a Farm Sell goes in at the deep end for the fourteen minutes plus Vessels, a dreamy acoustic guitar driven dirge punctuated by wandering keyboard touches. Sell has adopted a story telling voice for this one, half way between Mark E. Smith and Henry Rollins.
Sell's main themes are sadness and loss, making music that hurts. Failing By The Second, the title track of his 2004 album, sits well with the new songs and he takes the bleakness of Nick Cave to the next level. For Sell The Good Son is a blur that might be real . No Hollywood endings, but there is a glimmer of hope shimmering through the cracks of a fucked up world in the title track The World Beneath This World Is Brightening and maybe, just maybe there will be no more war. A snippet of the gospel song Down By The Riverside turns up ate the end of Black River Runs.
The Atlantic Manor – The World Beneath This World Is Brightening (Do Too Records)
Having reviewed the 2009 album, Slow Drugs And Other Sorrows, here quite recently (and loved it straightaways), I was expecting, and hoping, for more of the same. I was not disappointed, for R. Sell and his associates deliver another hour of gentle slowcore, where the music has been basted with a sombre brew, but this time with an added marinade that takes the music past melancholy to the edge of menace on occasion – and it is the better for it.
After the first track “Openings” (a toddler talking / singing with guitar accompaniment), the levity is submerged with quiet blasts of darkness. “Vessels” gives us “Black Sky Day… Feeling ok… Lost in the grey… And cold as a trench”.
“The Captain’s Name Was Death” is another case in point with lines like “Black scrapes the starless sky”, and is followed by “Deathcrown” (“Spies in your head… Had you swallow your heart”); sombre stuff indeed.
More upbeat (lyrically if not in tempo) are the two closing numbers, “The Good Son” and “Black River Runs”, both delivering their message with a ‘blue sky’ lightness when compared to the previous darkly riveting tracks.
So, quite a forlorn meal you may think, but there is a sheer beauty that runs through all of this music that makes it so palatable. These songs may be deep, dark and even forbidding on occasion, but they have an absolute allure that sustains and rewards the listener. You might need more than one bite at this cherry, but it will be this second bite that rewards all those who found the flavour a little too bitter the first time around.
Some artists are keeping the underground world of music alive by perpetuating the lo-fi/DIY culture. Some due to financial limitations, others because they are aiming for an "honest aesthetic" and Atlantic Manor is one of them
Behind this name is R. Sell who has kept writing, recording and producing his own music for about ten years now. A month ago R. Sell proposed to send me a copy of its 11th release, The World Beneath This World Is Brightening. Three weeks later I had received a parcel with two CDs, a t-shirt (now my nightgown, it's an XL you see...) and other goodies
And R.Sell is not only a nice man who likes to give free stuff away he also makes utterly beautiful and sad music. The World Beneath This World Is Brightening is a 9-track lo-fi pop-drone masterpiece. I can't help picturing myself listening to the album in a meadow or on a beach at sunset. Hypnotizing. Recommended if you like Neil Young, My Bloody Valentine, The Antlers and music in general. Enjoy
SLOW DRUGS AND OTHER SORROWS
The Atlantic Manor – Slow Drugs and Other Sorrows (Do Too Records)
If you know nothing about this band then I know more than you, even though I know very, very little. What I do know is that I love this album from start to finish. This duo is like Idaho with the ability to really wig out, but without the treacle trowel. (They don’t need it, and, to be honest, nobody does it as well as Idaho anyway).
Eight self-penned ditties that range from the twelve minute slow-core “Bad News For The News Scene” to the very sprightly (and just as off-the–wall and lyrically dense) “A Clear Day For Love” which would derail you coming right at the end of the album if it wasn’t for the earlier rock-out “A Silent Moment” (which it most certainly isn’t).
As the album title suggests, it’s mainly a sad, slow journey, and it doesn’t get any better than “Fire In The Sky”, a very sad and gentle musing on insecurity, wanting to ask THAT girl to dance with you: “I sit in my car And I stare at the sky. I get the nerve to go inside And I don’t have the moves But I’m still going to try”. I haven’t heard a song tug at my heart this way, taking me back to my own place in my youth, since The Weakerthans “East Kildonan”. Yep, it’s that good. Pass the big hanky, please; I’m playing it again.
Nothing gets me down better and faster than the latest album by determinedly obscure Florida-based low-fi Do-It-Yourself underground indie singer/songwriter supreme R. Sell. This guy rarely, if ever, comes across like a happy camper. Instead R. Sell frequently seems to be in a very deep and heavy morose funk from which there is no easy escape. I mean this all in a positive way. Nobody trudges through basic human feelings of regret, sorrow, sadness, and plain ol’ negative emotions with the same arresting anguish or beautifully laconic eloquence that R. Sell brings to one hauntingly gloomy song after another. The tempos usually crawl along at a gradual clip. The beats are likewise pretty slow and subdued. The arrangements are tight, yet still tuneful and effective. Some of the songs, like the brief, yet touching “Do You Still Have a Heart,” are extremely short and to the point. Other tracks such as “Bad News for the New Scene” are impressively lengthy and extensive sonic work-outs. Each and every last song hits the poignant bull’s eye with often striking results. Granted, this sure ain’t the type of music to lift your spirits up when you’re down, but damn does it have a way of ringing around in your mind for hours after you finish listening to it. - Joe Wawzryniak
With Slow Drugs And Other Sorrows, The Atlantic Manor quietly have released their 10th album of slow and propulsive noise folk that is eager for you to tune in. This record has an undercurrent of energy that is always on the edge of erupting with several intense instrumentals along side climbing tracks like the over seven minute "The Fire In The Sky". Slow Drugs And Other Sorrows finds The Atlantic Manor really zeroing in on what they do best, which is to isolate R. Sell's vocals, while never losing focus on instrumentation. The songs are also full of surprises like how the twelve minute and mostly instrumental "Bad News For The New Scene" can hold your attention with perfectly placed piano or the revved up electric two minute untitled closing track. Clearly if you are looking for a band still swimming under the radar that is worth checking out then look no further then Florida's Atlantic Manor - you also better hurry because I am sure album number 11 is on its way!
Key Track: "Truant Heart"
Band With Similar Fire: Magnolia Electric Co.
Vocalist and guitarsmith R. Sell, mastermind behind The Atlantic Manor, has probably heard the expression “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it” more than the rest of us. This only seems logical since his music bleeds this theory at a slow drip upon the dusty, unkempt floors of indie rock. There isn’t a much better example of a man’s strive for artistic freedom over commercial success than with this guy. And with his 10th (yes, 10th!) DIY release Slow Drugs and Other Sorrows, we get another look at the dark exploitations of the imaginary freedoms we tend to treat as all to real. This is maddening. This is strange. This is cool.
Every song on Slow Drugs and Other Sorrows has it’s own personality and sense of well being. The creepy yet catchy track “Truant Heart” is reminiscent of Zepplin at their storytelling best (void of all the LOTR bullshit of course). And, quick but sweetly deafening “Do You Still Have A Heart” sounds fresh from the end credits of a Jim Jarmusch film with it’s taunting and happy piano groans.
It may be hard to rid your mind of Anton Newcombe theories when you hear of The Atlantic Manor’s crazy work ethic and avoidance of the mainstream media and labels. But, The Atlantic Manor, unlike BJM, seems to be a project truly based on a continuous love for the art of music and storytelling. On his website, he proudly dotes, “go start your own band and make the world a better place.” If that isn’t proof enough, the splendid operative means of what is his 10th album in 9 years should do. Yes, the strings of heartache have washed out upon the bay of The Atlantic Manor. And R. Sell is still fishing for them through beautiful songs; he is surely never going to quit.
Miami songwriter R. Lee, mastermind of The Atlantic Manor is firmly rooted in the underground. releasing DIY albums since 2001. His new one is called Slow Drugs and Other Sorrows, a musical journey through the horrors of addiction. It's so lo-fi that it actually might hurt you ears a times, overwhelming you like a tidal wave and it will get you hooked but in a good way.
R. Sell plays guitar and sings, with J. Bjel taking care of the drums and keyboards. Recorded quickly without overdubs the nine songs on this album take you on a trip to the back alleys of the scene, the part that's not about the bliss of the rush, but about scoring and coping wit the every day angst ghat comes with it. Slow Drugs and Other Sorrows is a sparse album that is harse and tender. R. Sell obviously cares about his subject matter and he needs only a few words to tell a story. Recommended if you can handle the bleak stuff of Nico
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Another slow, inconsequential album from these unpretentious sadsacks. Turtle-paced, looping instrumentation, minimal vocals, and some seriously long durations make this a very hard album to slog through.
If you’re in the right mood, though, its hypnotic repetitiveness will put you in a bittersweet mood. A tall glass of bourbon and contemplation on beloved, deceased pets may also help.
Bottom Line: The perfect musical accompaniment to an existential sigh.
Notable Tracks: I like the semi-upbeat one midway through the album that didn’t make me want to slit my wrists.