For me it's been an odd year for music, with plenty of 'big names' in indie, rock etc releasing albums that weren't *bad*, but just... middling, treading water. This thread pretty much sums it up:
We've also seen some well known has-beens unleashing upon the world a hilariously misjudged attempt at 'art-rock', so it's not all been dull. And I'm not talking about R****h*** there.
In any case the point is I've not heard much from this year that's been better than average, so it feels good to uncover a hidden gem close to end-of-year-polling season, and it's not even out yet.
The band is Nooumena, they're French, and they have a brilliant album coming out on Antithetic at, er some point, which in the meantime is available to listen to here:
...along with a demo made back in 2006. Apart from this I don't really know anything, they have a homepage which isn't really active yet and the article where I first of this band - http://www.lurkerspath.com/2011/10/21/nooumena-argument-with-eagerness/ - Is quite rambling and light on info. Like this post.
You'll probably need a tolerance for prog for this, but the best thing is that they don't *really* fit into any kind of arbitrary subgenre. The band meet half way between modern jazz and gloomy rock, perhaps in the same vein as the latest Kayo Dot albums. The moods are mostly downbeat with some great arrangements for brass/strings, and some pretty happenin' Sax solos. They're in right now, yeah?
Ugh. I'm probably not really selling this, but it is a really good listen, pretty varied with lots of dynamic/tempo shifts that don't feel forced or clumsy; perhaps this is one for people who like their music both melancholy and surreal.
It's not perfect, there are some slightly dodgy moments (especially with the vocals) and occasionally the band/collective(?) can over-egg it with the layers.
It's rare that I hear a band with a first album that sounds so full of promise. I really think that they're capable of creating a masterpiece, an album that immediately forces it's way into my top ten. But not yet. For now, I'm more than happy with Argument With Eagerness.
So yeah, I'm going to buy it when it's out. The cover's pretty ugly, mind.