* * * * * Idaho * * * * *

2012-04-30 12:10:31 UTC

One of the most prolific, consistent, and unsung acts of the slowcore movement, California’s Idaho centers itself around four-string guitarist and vocalist Jeff Martin, a talented songwriter who has gained comparisons to Mark Eitzel (American Music Club), Mark Kozelek (Red House Painters), and Neil Young from the few journalists who have paid attention.

Despite the lack of recognition from the press and a low profile, Idaho has gained a decent-sized underground following through a steady release schedule and sporadic touring. Martin and high school friend John Berry began writing songs together in the ’80s, meeting up occasionally throughout the years as something to do without a great deal of seriousness to it.

They gave a tape of their work to an acquaintance who knew someone at Caroline, and soon enough, the duo found themselves with a recording contract. The duo actually debuted with the “Skyscrape” single on Ringer’s Lactate in 1992 and released their first EP, Palms, on Caroline the following year. The full-length Year After Year was released by the end of 1993, with Mark Lewis and Unsane’s Vincent Signorelli providing help on drums. Berry exited for 1994’s improved This Way Out, leaving Martin to himself. Receiving assistance from another batch of guest drummers (including frequent aide Joey Waronker), he played every instrument, including piano (Martin is classically trained).

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With a 6-year breather between full-lengths, Idaho frontman Jeff Martin is finally fine-tuning his grasp on accomplishing more with less. The quasi-slowcore outfit’s latest album consists of 14 hushed, melancholy tracks that play their cards closer to the vest than ever before — an emphasis on mood is pronounced throughout shimmery instrumental ‘Impaler’ and the haunted bare bones of ‘Weigh It Down’, ghostly susurrations creeping out from behind the band’s core arrangements, our gaze fixed upon the moving shadows rather than the figures casting them.

2005′s The Lone Gunman may well have been the act’s gentlest, most intimate outing at the time, so it’s no surprise that ‘You Were A Dick’ favors a subdued lament over jagged jibes. “I hope you don’t take it personally”, Martin sings in the opening seconds. Amid twinkly, cinematic backdrops, his newfound vocal composure cultivates pathos through minimal movement on ‘Reminder’ and ‘Structure’. On the flip side, the languorous translates to limp on ‘Someone To Relate To’, a sleepy and formless cut that drags its feet in setting a course.

Martin’s bandmates then drop the same ball on ‘The Serpent & The Shadow’, a muted wordless interlude that expresses nothing in particular during its 67 seconds. Jarred by the disquieting lull, Idaho goes on to reinstate its gait on ‘The Space Between’ and A Million Reasons’, the former pulling out some pure 90s angst whereas the latter’s eager drums find themselves strewn across the canvas haphazardly, disrupting Martin’s steady progress, wholly unwilling to abide by his cadence. We’re never too old to learn, and for You Were A Dick‘s 40 minutes, Idaho is audibly feeling out the confines of its pocket, occasionally pushing with too much force or pulling away with too little of it. Paring back its songs has largely done the band a world of good though, as on the gorgeous twang of ‘The Setting Sun’ and skeletal, spacey lullaby ‘The Happiest Girl’. When that electric guitar slinks in atop the dusky expanse, its strums illuminate our everyday with the most tender and touching sparks, reverberating from bedroom windows to the furthest constellations in the furthest reaches of the cosmos. These days, a little is going a long way. [ __Vinh Cao ].

Recorded and peformed by Jeff Martin at his home in haunted Laurel Canyon in Hollywood.CA. Bill Sanke mixed and also engineered. Background vocals on #2 by Eleni Mandell. Cello on #'s 2 and 13 by Jessica Catron. Cover art by Jeff Martin and Jennifer Parsons of Tiny Pine Press. Mastered by Eddy Schreyer at Oasis. Produced by Jeff Martin an Bill Sanke. Talitres version includes 5 bonus songs to download:

1. Waited For You 2. Rocket 3. Your Loss 4. Scrawny (live in Forli Italy 2004) 5. Late Sun

Eupoean bonus only available at Talitres's web store

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Artist - Idaho Album - You Were A Dick [ * * * * * ] X 10 Release Date - 2011 Genre - Indie, Alternative, Lo-core/Medio-core, Sadcore, Mod-folk [ AWESOME AS USUAL ] Tracklist 01 You Were A Dick 02 Weigh It Down 03 Reminder 04 Impaler 05 Structure 06 The Serpent And The Shadow 07 The Happiest Girl 08 The Space Between 09 Someone To Relate To 10 Up The Hill 11 A Million Reasons 12 The Setting Sun 13 Flames 14 What Was That ? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- BANDCAMP ~ Idaho - You Were A Dick FILEFACTORY ~ Idaho - You Were A Dick -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Artist - Idaho Album - The Lone Gunman Release Date - 2008 Genre - Indie, Alternative, Lo-core/Medio-core, Sad-core, Mod-folk Tracklist 01. The Orange Cliffs 1:27 $0.89 02. Eschelon 3:06 $0.89 03. The Mystery 2:44 $0.89 04. Live Today Again 4:24 $0.89 05. When Sunday Comes 3:42 $0.89 06. Have to Be 2:32 $0.89 07. Just Might Run 2:49 $0.89 08. You Flew 3:24 $0.89 09. Kite 2:52 $0.89 10. Cherry Wine 2:31 $0.89 11. Grown in California 3:41 $0.89 12. U Got That Gunman Thang 1:12 $0.89 13. Wet Work 1:42 $0.89 14. Cactus Man Rides Again 1:49 $0.89 15. Where the Canyon Meets the Stars 1:37 $0.89 16. The Last Days of Petrol -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Idaho - The Lone Gunman Password - SirensSound.blogspot.com -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Artist - Idaho Album - Levitate Release Date - 2001 Genre - Indie, Alternative, Lo-core/Medio-core, Sad-core, Mod-folk Tracklist 01. wandering the fields 3:50 $0.89 02. 20 years 3:41 $0.89 03. for granted 4:52 $0.89 04. on the shore 3:38 $0.89 05. levitate pt. 2 4:22 $0.89 06. santa claus is weierd 3:35 $0.89 07. orange 5:23 $0.89 08. come back home 3:36 $0.89 09. carousel 1:43 $0.89 10. casa mia 2:53 $0.89 11. levitate -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Idaho - Levitate Password - SirensSound.blogspot.com -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Artist - Idaho Album - Hearts Of Palm Release Date - 2000 Genre - Indie, Alternative, Lo-core/Medio-core, Sad-core, Mod-folk Tracklist 01. To Be the One 3:38 $0.89 02. Hearts of Palm 3:55 $0.89 03. Down in Waves 4:09 $0.89 04. This Cloud We're On 3:02 $0.89 05. Happy Times 4:08 $0.89 06. Dum Dum 3:32 $0.89 07. Astrida 3:09 $0.89 08. Evolution Is Cold 3:08 $0.89 09. Alta Dena 3:55 $0.89 10. Before You Go 3:37 $0.89 11. Under -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Idaho - Hearts Of Palm Password - SirensSound.blogspot.com -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Alas Artist - Idaho Album - Alas Release Date - 1998 Genre - Indie, Alternative, Lo-core/Medio-core, Sad-core, Mod-folk Tracklist 01. Jump Up Listen 02. Tensile Listen 03. You'll Get to the Bottom of This Listen 04. Scrawny Listen 05. Only in the Desert Listen 06. Run But You Ran Listen 07. Clouded Listen 08. Yesterday's Unwinding Listen 09. Leaves Upon the Water Listen -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Idaho - Alas Password - SirensSound.blogspot.com -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Artist - Idaho Album - Three Sheets to the Wind Release Date - 1996 Genre - Indie, Alternative, Lo-core/Medio-core, Sad-core, Mod-folk Tracklist 01. If You Dare 02. Catapult 03. Pomegranate Bleeding 04. Shame 05. Stare at the Sky 06. No Ones Watching 07. Alive Again 08. Sound Awake 09. Glass Bottom 10. Get You Back -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Idaho - Three Sheets to the Wind Password - SirensSound.blogspot.com -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Year After Year Artist - Idaho Album - Year After Year Release Date - 1993 Genre - Indie, Alternative, Lo-core/Medio-core, Sad-core, Mod-folk Tracklist 01. God's Green Earth Listen 02. Skyscrape Listen 03. Gone Listen 04. Here to Go Listen 05. Sundown Listen 06. Memorial Day Listen 07. One Sunday Listen 08. Only Road Listen 09. Let's Cheat Death Listen 10. Save Listen 11. Year After Year Listen 12. Endgame Listen -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Idaho - Year After Year Password - SirensSound.blogspot.com -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Recommendations: Goodnight, Sleep Well | Constantina | The Spheres | Crippled Black Phoenix | Miasma & The Carousel Of Headless Horses -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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