Album Review of Hold True by KZSU Stanford Radio 90.1 FM

Here’s the full July 24, 2011 review of the Vertical Squirrels’ Hold True album release by KZSU Stanford Radio 90.1 FM:


Reviewed 2011-07-24 VERTICAL SQUIRRELS: Hold True (Accroche-toi)


Ambiances Magnetiques, 2010


FREE IMPROV – Highly creative and sometimes noisy, this excellent quartet from Canada brings humor, mystery, vision and restless energy to a widely varied set. Lots of krautrock influence here (check out #3), some Zappa, a little Fripp, just a hint of world music. The use of piano in an otherwise electric group adds a nice touch. Very fine stuff.


Fo’s Picks: 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, 10


1. 2:56 – guitar wails over lopsided thumping rhythm


2. 6:13 – tinkly piano & percussion with exotic flute; falls into mysterious swirl


3. 9:20 – very cool creeping groove sounds like a Can track, builds up steam


4. 4:12 – clattering prepared piano & percussion: ominous start, then goofy


5. 1:42 – ambient percussion, fragile piano, slow fade


6. 10:07 – ambient noises (like an aviary) drift in, French spoken word mixed in with lonely guitar/piano improvisation, percussion rises & falls


7. 7:32 – bright piano/percussion & cool-toned guitar: glides forward, heats up


8. 9:57 – from gurgling improv to folksy-dreamy to insistent minimalist drive


9. 2:51 – cluttered improv starts spare but quickly piles up


10. 5:56 – pipe organ intro, bright upbeat sound drifts in a lazy spiral. Nice!


KZSU is Stanford University’s FM Station. In early September 2011 the Vertical Squirrels were charting number 15 on the Top 100 playlist at KZSU.