Heartbreaking Bravery

stevenmps2@gmail.com | @steven_mps | @hbreakbravery

Tag: Aaron Powell

Fog Lake – oh my god (Stream)

There’s pain, understanding, warmth, and empathy couched in all of Fog Lake‘s material, which continues to act like a well-loved worn blanket on a cold night, no matter the length. “oh my god”, the ambient pop project’s latest, is also its most brief, clocking in at a scant 67 seconds. Every one of them counts, suffused with tender meaning and a knowing intention. It’s half-haunting, half-peaceful piano plinking and clean reverb’ed out guitars lift up Aaron Powell’s voice and let it soar into the ether. “oh my god” also has the distinction of kicking off a tremendous, important charity compilation, Running from the Dark, that was released for mental health awareness month, with all proceeds going to National Alliance on Mental Illness. Donate whenever possible.

Listen to “oh my god” below and download a copy of Running from the Dark here.

Fog Lake – Captain (Album Stream, Review)

Over the first week or so of June, there were a lot of quality full streams: Slanted, Elsa Lester, Weekend Lovers, Guts Club, Bleakness, Heart of Snake, Sinister Purpose, Kilcid, and The Foreign Films all played significant roles in that development. Another artist making an entry was site favorite Fog Lake, who has quietly releases some of the most inspired work of the past few years.

The ambient-leaning bedroom pop project of Aaron Powell, Fog Lake has built a measure of success around a heartening mixture of word-of-mouth notoriety and carefully selected collaborators. Captain, easily the most towering of the project’s works, is Fog Lake’s latest and features a mastering credit from Warren Hildebrand (who records as Foxes In Fiction and runs the revered Orchid Tapes label).

From Captain‘s opening salvo, “Dinosaur”, it becomes clear that Powell’s tapped into an intangible, ethereal mode that invokes an equal measure of calmness, solitude, and a very specific, distinct brand of yearning. Lush arrangements somehow only enhance the considerable loneliness that can be heard in everything from Captain‘s gorgeous piano figures to Powell’s vocal delivery, lending significant impact to narratives that seem to continuously dissect internal struggle.

Even when Captain is at it’s most jubilant — the mid-tempo romp that “Seratonin” establishes for the record’s middle stretch almost seems necessary after the unrelenting devastation of “California” — Powell never settles into carefree perspectives, opting instead to continue to pry into the psyche and surgically wounds and the scars they’ve left behind. The cumulative effect of that persistence in shining lights on those cobwebs can become as overwhelming as the music, which remains brilliant throughout the record’s duration, is intoxicating.

When Powell shifts the tempo and atmospherics down for Captain‘s closing run of songs, it’s a decision that feels natural; the process is attuned to the landscape. Ultimately, Captain winds up being Fog Lake’s most staggering work in an already incredible — and far too frequently overlooked — discography. Make no mistake, this is one of the year’s best records by a significant margin and should hopefully play a factor in widening Fog Lake’s name recognition. This is as good a guide as anyone will find all summer.

Listen to Captain below and pick it up here.