Porcelain Raft

Porcelain Raft

With all this chat about Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen elsewhere today we thought we were going to OD on testosterone. So much manliness. Of course, there is another male rock'n'roll archetype, and that is the lost boy – Syd Barrett, Nick Drake, characters who were barely there, who made their music then drifted away. Their careers weren't played out, as per Young and Springsteen, as titanic struggles against the forces of oppression, they weren't grizzled survivors, they quietly wrote some songs, found it all too much, and left.

Porcelain Raft is more of a lost boy than a rock man. That word "rock" says it all – you wouldn't necessarily cling to him in a crisis, unless it was an emotional one. Maybe that's why he calls himself that; he might crack, but then again, he might just save your life. His voice is soft, listless, not a roar of defiance but a whisper of regret. He's more in the tradition of the fey indie boy who emerged, at a guess, circa punk or just after, with Buzzcocks' Pete Shelley as the Godfather of this whole new way for male performers to present themselves, Edwyn Collins as the Son, and Morrissey as the Holy Ghost. What those three projected wasn't Bowie-esque glam camp but a sort of sexual indifference, a subversive disdain for all inclinations and orientations. With his placeless wispy lisp, Mauro Remiddi, an Italian living in London who used to be in a band called Sunny Day Sets Fire, sounds too weary and distracted, too enervated and dislocated, to think about anything as earthy as sex. It's a wonder his keyboard gets played or his computer programmed. His focus appears to be trying to stay focused.

His songs, we perhaps should have said earlier, are gorgeous, bleary and blissed-out. They're post-glitch and in the realm of the hauntological, by which we mean they acknowledge developments in technology and production technique since 2000, and have a similar sense of being haunted by pop past as Ariel Pink et al. We could pinpoint any number of tracks (he's only been doing this since the start of the year and already has amassed several EPs worth of material), and suffice to say that fans of dreamy pop ballads with heartbreaking chord changes, given experimental electronic and/or psychedelic treatments learned from everyone from Kevin Shields to Aphex Twin to Vladislav Delay to Fennesz, will love Remiddi and what he does as Porcelain Raft. Just don't expect him to wear a bandana. -- The Guardian


Over the past several years The American South has been teeming with innovative music and Charlotte North Carolina's own Flagship are poised to be the next to carve their name in the bark. Without flinching at the independent music world's overwrought penchant for novelty, Flagship harnesses the un-teachable quality of transparent emotional depth.

Flagship is a musical force that approaches a ...wide spectrum of musical landscapes with natural fluidity. Steering the ship at the helm, Drake Margolnick's chameleon like ability to alter his vocal approach to jive with a particular song's mood is key to the group's tendency to make songs with severe emotional depth. Whether offering a fearsome, throat shredding, angst ridden scream in the western romp, "Native on The Run" or a warm heartbreaking falsetto over shimmering guitars and swirling organs on "Older," Margolnick gets were he needs to go vocally without difficulty or showmanship. Assuredly, this effortless ability to match the feeling his band mates conjure has everything to do with his poignancy at the lyrical plate. When Margolnick mourns, "I lost my baby" you feel it, because he feels it, and his band feels it.

Fresh off his impressive solo effort "Taylorsville" that saw Drake wearing every hat on the stand from drummer, and guitar player, to producer and arranger. Margolnick's newer material is truly a warp speed maturation from his debut, wherein Drake hands-off the musical reigns to his new band. This musical freedom pays off beautifully finding the band comfortably traversing varying musical territories ranging from the alternative folk tendencies of Grizzly Bear's 'Yellow House' or the beautifully atmospheric swells of Sleeping At Last, and even to the frenzied passion of fellow southerners Colour Revolt.

Drake says he feels at home when he's writing songs even though his concept of home was fairly amorphous as a kid living in a family stretched across the country. His songs clearly reflect the pain, doubts, and love of a young modern struggling with the world – but they also offer a sense of contentment with these sometimes fear-ridden aspects of living. Margolnick remains hopeful without losing grip on reality and it's contagious. In the Dylan-esque "Henry Esmond," he asks, "In the light, in the light can you see it?" Here, (as in most of his songs) Drake refuses to dabble with lofty concept-abstractions that too often collapse into meaningless, instead opting to lyrically draw from the spiritual well of his youth to ask questions, dream, and wrestle with life.

By K.R.Williams

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