Stephen J. / Midwest in Mono / Maritime Fist Glee Club Records (ahoy009)
reviewed in The Daily O'Collegian September 24, 2007:
If you are interested more in a spooky, Nick Cave/Frank Black and the Catholics sound, then you should check out Stephen J, www.stephenjmusic.com. This collective band, with not a single member named Stephen J, combines beautiful drumbeats with some great guitar rhythms and low-volume, deeply entrancing vocals. Samples seem to play loosely in the background, though not enough to distract you from the original intent and beauty of the music. Matt Carson, vocals and acoustic guitar, is the founder of the group, though he has had many special guests and collaborators from the area involved. Listen to the song titled “Big Blue House” to get a real taste of what these cats have to offer.
reviewed at Independent Clauses (February 2007):
Close your eyes (figuratively of course). Let's pretend for a moment that you are living in Chicago
and working on a PhD. In your spare time you play guitar for three bands called Bosco and Jorge,
Magic Lanterns and The Slow Planet, as well as working on a side project called Lake Girls. Whoa,
that has to consume a good portion of your life. So what do you do in your free time? That's right;
you create a solo project called Stephen J. and release an album. You may now open your eyes and
breathe a sigh of relief that you are not Matt Carson.
reviewed in Dream #7 (October 2006):
Ghostly Americana evaporating in a dusty trail of moonlight. Desperation glimmers around the edges, but there’s often warmth and reassurance at the core. This is not a person; but matt carson sings in a pleasant resonant voice that gives this a distinctive personality, it’s a quartet, and none of them are named stephen. Gently softspoken folk rock that goes in and out of focus. Some pieces are fairly straightforward and songlike, while others veer off the garden path into the woods and briars.
Dreamt Of By Armadillos / Dreamt Of By Armadillos / Maritime Fist Glee Club Records (ahoy006)
reviewed in Dream #7 (October 2006):
Guitars, synthesizer, bass, drums, samples, phone, and more utilized to improvise these captivating glimpses of a seamless sonic fabric and manifesting manifold mysteries along the way. They play with a unified muscularity many contemporary improv outfits eschew. There are a couple tracks here that feel very much like space rock, but it’s all dreamily captivating.
posted & reviewed online at Aural Innovations (Mar 2004):
I swear that in the four years that I lived in Oklahoma that, with a few notable exceptions, I saw no evidence of any cool local scene - the place was pretty much a cultural wasteland. Perhaps they were just in hiding, waiting for me to leave town? Anyway, this is the first "semi-official" release from this Norman, OK quintet, brought to us courtesy of the fine folk at Maritime Fist Glee Club. DOBA mixes elements of ambient, extendo jam-rock, prog, jazz and even a bit of electronica into a heady brew that while reminding me a bit of contemporaries such as SubSpace and perhaps Escapade really don't sound quite like anything else that I have heard lately. The drumming is diverse, ranging from the straight-ahead time keeping rock of the opening track to a more free and textural approach, as the guitars, keys and sampled + real vocals duel over the top. It's all pretty cleanly with no really harsh edges or massive fuzz attacks or anything like that. Although there is a definite intensity the thing that separates these guys from the others that I mentioned earlier is that when they get in a groove it has a laid back, loping (dare I call it a) vibe that brings to mind really soaked dub, like the OnU Sound stuff or something. I dunno, maybe I'm just f**ked in the head or something. I'm just telling ya what I hear. It really is more of a "feeling" than a sound, maybe I just have to go back and pull out some African Head Charge records and I'll change my mind. At any rate, good stuff, dig.
posted & reviewed online at oklahomarock.com (Jan 2004):
It's funky, it's sparsely electronic, it's spacey; surely it's Dreamt Of By Armadillos. In the
tradition that Maritime Fist Glee Club can't release anything in a simple predictable straight-ahead
format comes the first official release by Dreamt of by Armadillos. What peculiarities does this disc
contain you may be asking? Well aside from the fact that they credit someone performing with a phone
as if it were a commonplace instrument, a quick scan of the credits reveal that the album was recorded
'live in Neilson Hall room a102'. But don't be tricked into thinking this is a glorified bootleg, the
record is well engineered and the band's improvisations seem, for the most part, focused and consistent.
appeared in The Broken Face (issue #17, September 2003):
Our favorite Norman, Oklahoma label Maritime Fist Glee Club continues to explore the outer sound of the Great plains with the self-titled release by Dreamt Of By Armadillos, a sometimes five-piece also hailing from Norman. The 60 minute-long disc offers an intriguing blend of jazz, rock, electronics and various experimental leanings. It's woven into some nice smoky structures of sound that range from sweetly gentle floatation to quietly hypnotic grooves. Soft Machine comes to mind from time to time, but this is decidedly more electronic and spaced out (which I guess means it could be compared to SM's brilliant archival release, Spaced Out) but still stays on the quieter side of things most of the time. there's really no use in pointing out specific tracks, as this sorrowful space exploration very much is an album to enjoy in its entirety. listen to the sounds sink into gravity, try to remember the seamless supernatural dreams it generates, get a glimpse of that wide horizon that comes along with such sonic vision. Let it dissolve time into a languid stupor or simply sit back and relax. I'm not quite sure where to place this album stylistically, but no matter if it's jazz, contemporary electronic music, minimal Krautrock or psychedelic/prog rock, it's a pivotal release that you should get your hands on as soon as you get the chance.