Some Sweet Relief
Inspired by desire and fidelity, Karl Briedrick and Marie-Claire Balabanian of Speck Mountain have been categorized as space-rock, dream-pop, and shoegaze, but these co-leaders like to call their music “ambient soul.” Recently signed to Carrot Top Records for the world, Speck Mountain will release Some Sweet Relief, their second full length album, on March 17th, 2009. An album written about the rapture and consequences of desire will truly relieve the mind with its beautiful simplicity.
Following their debut release of Summer Above, Speck Mountain was labeled by Stereogum as a “Band To Watch,” and stated, “Summer Above’s seven songs never try to out reach the psych-y drones and organ inflected Mazzy Stars that color most of the intro effort -- instead their dream pop revels in reverb, and slowly marches to a tambourine-marked pulse and Marie-Claire Balabanian crystalline vocal beam.” Piccadilly Records named the album as a top ten and said: “Summer Above proves that less really is more. Speck Mountain’s mix... shimmers in a warm and glowing psychedelic haze.” UNCUT also listed the debut on “The 20 Best Americana Albums of 2008.” On the forthcoming, Some Sweet Relief, the songs have been filled out with piano, organ, sax, and vintage effects, the mixes booby-trapped all over with headphone-happy detail. The retro organ and consistent bass line of “Angela,” will broaden the expectations of listeners, and provoke a curious infatuation.
By combining the strength of Balabanian’s lungs with the intuitive, spiky rhythms of Briedrick’s guitar, the two writers have been called “musical soul mates.” Growing up as strangers on opposite sides of the country, the two recall eerily similar childhoods---adrift in uncultured suburban vacuum-lands outside of Detroit and L.A., respectively. Both Briedrick and Balabanian see the inertia and blankness of their formative years as key motivating forces behind the creative urge that got them started in music and continues to fuel them as a band. As Briedrick puts it: “I’ve always prioritized my inner life.”
Influenced by gospel, 60’s soul, and ambient film soundtracks, Speck Mountain often suggest a divine marriage between melody and drone, even as they flirt with the smiling demons of old-school indulgence, and the redemptive angels that stir in their wake.
Briedrick and Balabanian continue to run Burnt Brown Sounds, a record label out of Chicago.
“Speck Mountain’s session...must’ve come with a free flowing stock of valium and warm milk.”--Stereogum\"