Knifeplay / Audiotree Live

Knifeplay / <em>Audiotree Live</em>

If I haven’t said it in as many words in the past, for all the talk about the new wave of American shoegaze, not a lot of it does much for me. A lot of them have their roots in genres that do nothing for me – metal, hardcore, emo, etc – and adding chorus and delay pedals on top of it isn’t enough to hold my interest.

Philadelphia’s Knifeplay is a standout exception to that rule, however. Follow their roots and you’ll find a place of confessional folk songwriting but they orchestrate acoustic as well as heavily electrified instrumentation overtop to build walls of wood, stone, and noise. It shouldn’t be a unique recipe but with frontman TJ Strohmer’s high, keening vocals and confessional songwriting at its centre, it’s striking and often outstanding.

Their second album Animal Drowning came out last Fall but being something of a slow burn, it’s only getting a vinyl release and supporting tour this Fall; there’s no Toronto date on that page, but they will be here at Dock Ellis on October 5. And as great as Animal Drowning is, I’m going to point you at the Audiotree Live EP which was released digitally last December and the sessions for which can also be watched in its entirety. Why? Because the sessions for it can be watched in its entirety.

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