NEW MUSIC FRIDAY brings forth a blue plate special of magical music for your epicurean pleasure.
and we serve up the newly released RSD LIST for dessert!
THE BLIPS - Inside Out [LP](Cornelius Chapel)
Like a gathering of lost-long friends and an alignment of the planets, Birmingham's AL fearsome fivesome The Blips have come together to serve up a slice of Punky Power Pop that trades the sneer for a wide grin. The Blips are comprised of members of Dexateens, Glory Fires, Terry Ohms, Holy Youth .. and there's Will Stewart. You would think this many talented instrumentalists and singers would just step all over each other on the way to the mic. "Inside Out" actually finds ease in rockin' out (think Nude Beach) and hones their garage-y edges to produce some serious hooks. "Inside Out," "Same Do" and "Walking Home" are all unavoidably catchy - but unique in finding familiarity without sounding the least bit derivative.
WHATITDO ARCHIVE GROUP - The Black Stone Affair [LP](Record Kicks ITA)
In the high desert climate of Reno, Nevada, these experienced musicians found themselves enamored with Library music, Soul-Jazz, and classic Seventies Funk. So over the last ten years of playing various shows, seeking out rare Italian soundtracks, and collaborating, Whatitdo created a "lost film project." "The Black Stone Affair" is a cinematic tribute to the Italian film music of the late Sixties and early Seventies. As composers were regularly given the task to create songs that were kinetic enough to power the film and contemporary enough to stand alone, Italian film soundtracks became the standard for action movies, Westerns, and their own horror - Giallo. The quartet behind Whatitdo have gathered all their ideas and instruments to piece this project together and now with the help of an orchestra, their blistering, soulful, world-music-tinged soundtrack has spun to life.
KAIDI TATHAM - An Insight To All Minds [LP](First Word UK)
The boss of the breakbeats expands his horizons with this very Seventies Fusion-oriented record that combines worldly rhythms with wild flights of fancy on keys. Like his recent collaboration with Andrew Ashong (reviewed here 2.11.21,) "An Insight" is a mystifying brand of funk. On "Carry,” Tatham runs the hook until the tension peaks and then takes you out pulling each part down until you hear the subtleties beneath the dense rhythm. While the title cut gets closest to the aforementioned Tatham/Ashong vibe, "An Insight" is really Tatham taking his largest stride yet as an artist.
PORTABLE RADIO [LP](Crimson Crow UK)
Florid, fun, and melodic Paisley-infused Power Pop from a trio of Mancunians who run their Beach Boys-esque writing through a Todd Rundgren-esque haze of classic Pop/Rock. Beautifully bittersweet, tracks like "Darling Hold On," "The Switch" and "Should've Bounced" show real promise as Portable Radio belongs on your Summer playlist.
ORIONS BELTE - Villa Amorini [LP](Jansen NOR)
This new Norwegian (mostly) instrumental band sound most like Khruangbin if they traded their Eastern mystique for African rhythmic blends. Orions Belte (named after a famous Norwegian novel and film, not the constellation) is at their best when they toss in a little Stax ("Bean" and "Lotus") or just air things out (the effervescent "Mouth.") The oscillating guitar playing from Øyvind Blomstrøm is elegant and still has bite. While the rhythm section of Chris Holm on bass and Kim Åge Furuhaug plays very well with the tight/loose/tight scenarios. Orions Belte is definitely one to look out for.
MERK - Infinite Youth [LP](Humblebrag AUS)
New Zealand's Merk finds an interesting way to bridge the worlds of angsty writing and streamlined Electronic Pop. Normally a song like the hypnotic "Laps Around The Sun" would read a little more Emo than most. However, Merk massages the track with warm keyboards and playing with his own multi-tracked voice. As it drifts off into the next track, you quickly realize that his gift is to expand upon the simple (and in the case of "Laps" subvert the cliche.) These ideas bode well as Merk slips into lilting Eighties synthpop ("Deep Dive,") and then speed up the same approach on the danceable "GOD.") "Infinite Youth" shows promise for Merk on this artful and thought-provoking album.
WHITNEY K - 2 Years [CD](Maple Death UK)
Now that it is officially a genre with a sound and a definite idea that hits the ear when you hear the word, a lot of people forget the roots of Americana are actually in peripatetic travel. Canadian Whitney K takes you on a wild and wooly Kerouac-ian journey where people are firecrackers, parties need a couple of people to spark, and the acoustic guitar is best played with your heartbeat. His shaggy songs read like late-night scribblings where the spate of words is not as important as the action and rhythm of getting them on paper (“Trans-Canada Oil Boom Blues.”) By the time you reach “Last Night #2,” you are slipping in a glass of water to prevent feeling hungover tomorrow. “2 Years” is as real and audio verite as its title. “Me And The Party #165” smacks of Hank Williams, “Cowboy City Rockers” feels like a shared song sung while driving into the night (“they went searching without choice for reason.”) You too will clap along.
BILL MACKAY & NATHAN BOWLES - Keys [LP](Drag City/Redeye)
As guitarists return to the “American Primitive” sound of Fahey, Basho and so many others, their recording style and interplay continue to vault in importance. Listen to “Keys” and you get the most vivid illustration yet of two musicians not only working together to lift their melodic music up high - but working to lock into each other’s train of thought. Mackay is already a highly inventive guitarist, but with the banjo and accompaniment work of Bowles - you can feel his energy rise in this music from an outside force. Like Bluegrass, the pair play off of each other intertwining ("the breathtaking “Joyride”) and as counterparts (“Dowsing” which floats on a reverent organ part.) When they finally sing together (“I See God,”) you truly know the joy that Mackay and Bowles have shared in writing and playing together.
ÅRABROT - Norwegian Gothic [LP/CD](Pelagic GER)
When Metal stretches beyond its subgenre it finds a way to transpose one subgenre or the other. This Norwegian duo writes brutal songs that could easily be crushing Doom-y wonders. However, given their tough outer shell, "Norwegian Gothic" is as dark as Black Metal and as well-thought as Symphonic Metal only more spartan and brooding. "Hailstones For Rain/The Moon Is Dead" takes its time to build toward its incantation-like chorus - but what a payoff. The incessant (but not pounding) drums, the throbbing basslines, and the all-encompassing production at times make this record into another grim, frightening environment. "Norwegian Gothic" is commercial, but never sacrificing its influences to get there.
MAXWELL FARRINGTON & LE SUPERHOMARD - Once [LP](Talitres FRA)
This dynamic duo has a bead on a style of dance music-meets-Pop music that could be huge. The electronic backdrops of Le SuperHomard are already pretty spellbinding on their own. The strings and lounge-y Lee Hazlewood mood are intoxicating. Each song has its own distinct swell and method of mixing the myriad of instruments in and out to constantly keep you focused. Then you add the deep, warm Scott Walker-ish bellow of Australian Maxwell Farrington and "We, As The Pharaohs" approaches mythos. Between Le SuperHomard's epic sweep and Farrington's inviting voice, "Once" is more like one for the ages. (For a bonus, listen to their amazing covers where they clearly worked to achieve just the right formula.)
dvr- tape_01/thru the city [LP](XL/Redeye)
dvr is just 17. From his bedroom in Scotland, he did like so many aspiring artists do now - put it up for the world to sample. Kenny Beats found it and now the two are collaborating. There is something either very lonely or very warm about "bedroom Pop." dvr finds a way to mesh both feelings together. "Muscles" is his standout. All throbbing bass, driving drums, and that attitude that keeps all of us going on a daily basis. When he expands his palette on the sad "am sleep" with guitar and his slowed voice, dvr morphs into a sort of R&B-driven Car Seat Headrest, and how he lifts the mood on "Turpentine" is also inventive. As this is his debut from 2020, dvr has already released another EP and has more loaded and on the way. Still, when you find an artist who can do all this on his own, you really have to start from the beginning.
BILLY NOMATES - Emergency Telephone [LP](Invada UK)
One of the best new voices to emerge in 2020 was Billy Nomates. Her appearance on the Sleaford Mods ("Mork N' Mindy") album was an earthy, rootsy surprise. So these five tracks cut with Tor Maries and mixed by Geoff Barrow come from almost the same production school. Nomates double-tracked with herself on "Heels" is all grit and attitude. However, it is the deep Drum N'Bass meets guitar of the title cut where Nomates really shows off her voice, phrasing, and ability to control her songs. Nomates is definitely one to watch.
THE MIRRORS - The Lost 3rd Album [LP](Cardinal Fuzz Shop/Feeding Tube)
Greg Ashley of Leeds, AL leads his band The Mirrors through a twisted web of garage organ, space guitar twang, and tribal Post-Punk drums. The pained yowl of the former member of The Gris Gris has its roots in early Sixties psychedelia and the Seventies Shockabilly of The Cramps. His drone-y Gothic interstellar Blues can be a haunting as Dead Moon ("Medication #1") or as elegantly woozy as 13th Floor Elevators. So many artists try Psychedelia as a style, Ashley wears it as an experience. Witness the vision of pastiche like "How Is My Skin" placed precariously next to the howlin' reverb-drenched rave-up of "Gracie's Pink Pussy Cat," and you can see how The Mirrors acidic trip mirrors the reality of true Psychedelia as a means of traveling everywhere at once.
PATTO - And That’s Jazz (1971-1973)[CD/DVD](Beyond Before/Think Like a Key)
To really study the music of the Seventies, one has to examine the bands who were lost in the shuffle. In the slipstream of styles and subgenres, bands like Patto that did not immediately fit in were sadly looked over. While they only existed for three years, their brand of Prog/Blues/Jazz remains of interest. This collection of videos and tracks from their two years after leaving Vertigo and working to become more commercially acceptable is worth more than a passing glance. The torrid Torrington show from 1973 shows how their fiery live shows established them with the audience as someone different than the “next Traffic.” While the videos (esp. “The Man” and “San Antone” from 1971) shape them as a band and showcase the guitar (and vibraphone) skills of Ollie Halsall.
VALENTINA MAGALETTI AND MARLENE RIBEIRO - Due Matte [LP](Horn of Plenty UK)
PLAGUE ORGAN - Orphan [LP](Sentient Ruin Laboratories)
As we venture far off the beaten path, this pair of records stand more as listening experiences than most. Valentina Magaletti (Vanishing Twin) made several phone recordings with Ribeiro holding percussion workshops. The compressed drums and beats leave so much room for the myriad of instruments they choose to overlay. Horns bleat and bellow, metal strings rattle and their central narrative to wind up tension in these lengthy tracks holds true. Still, it’s the foreignness of some sounds and the close miking of others on these two lengthy improvisations-turned-into-compositions that give it all dimension. There are moments on "Due Matte" where it feels as if Magaletti and Ribeiro are playing around you. That is an experience that is uncommon today.
The single 38-minute piece by Plague Organ is a bludgeoning, uncomfortable track that swells your brain. The oscillating pitch shift feels a little like Godspeed You! Black Emperor playing on an airplane. Behind this dense wall of truly frightening sound, voices ooze in and out like your nightmares coming to life in the daytime hours. As the cycles of repetition change, an inhuman beast enters and a droning ritual begins. The effect of these two separate events moving in and out of your consciousness is eerily reminiscent of Diamanda Galas without the shrieking. Here is music made at an extreme volume to sound sort of Black Metal but with a single-minded goal to scare you to the point of catatonia and the inability to stop listening. Did I say it was 38 minutes?
On a final note, T-BONES would like you to know that Record Store Day is coming in two drops - June 12th and July 17th. This list of exclusives, reissues, and just awesome product will be invading our time shared here for the next few weeks. However, it is just another guest at the party. There’s no slowing us down. Tell your friends about us.
Enjoy. Share. And check out the entire RSD list and even WISHLIST us if you like. RSD 21 with TBONES
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