Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Couple of new items

So, I'm getting crazy hits on my Damien Jurado post, so I thought I'd just milk it for all it's worth. I also reviewed his live show at Blurt. Check it out here.

Also, we have been scrambling to fill space at the Dusted tumblr, and I think we're getting almost to the point where there's enough momentum to stop pushing so hard already. But I've still be writing a ton of reviews for the site, most recently of one by a New Zealand freakfest (and I mean this in the nicest way) called Orchestra of Spheres, which you can read here.

You know how much I like good percussion, right?

The other main news is that we are going to Chicago tomorrow, mostly to see Sean's freshman acting showcase, but we will also be hitting one of the final shows of Steppenwolf's "Tribes, and a Rempis Trio show at the Hideout. I'm very excited about it, and I really hope that the travel part goes smoothly. (We built in a couple of days so that if we were delayed, we might still make the showcase.)

I'm not sure I'll have very consistent internet, though, so this may be it for a while.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Damien Jurado

Once again, I have fallen hard and early...I would be surprised if Damien Jurado's Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son is not in my top five at the end of 2014. (It's right behind the new Protomartyr now at #2, but Jurado records have, in the past, been growers.)

I need to hack through my live review today, but meanwhile, here's what I wrote about the new record for Dusted.

"Ever since he began working with producer Richard Swift, Damien Jurado’s music has become progressively trippier and more psychedelic, slipping whatever folk-strumming bonds he might once have been tied by and vaulting into surreal, ineffable spirituality. He has also, since about Maraqopa, been experimenting again with 1960s rock sounds, infusing dream-fogged ambiguities with Richard Farina-ish guitar heat. Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son takes it all one step further, opening brightly lit portals to other realities, layering aching, longing, rock-slanting melodies with glittery, silver-toned transcendence."


I also had a hand in Zachary Cale's Listed, which, for the first time, includes a Spotify playlist at the end, so you can hear as well as read.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Courtney Marie Andrews

As I mentioned yesterday, we went to see Damien Jurado last night, and it was really great and I will write more about it later. Right now, I want to tell you all about his opening act, Courtney Marie Andrews, a really wonderful guitar player with a voice straight out of classic sixties folk, high and pure and fluttery with vibrato like Joan Collins, just enough grit to remind you, intermittently, of Joan Baez. Jurado called her "my favorite living artist," strong words and further than I would go, personally, but she was very, very good. She's also sort of adorable with her long bangs and her fumble-y small talk as she retunes between almost every song (big fan of alternate tunings apparently). She seems about 15 until she opens her mouth and then she could be any age at all.

Here's the bandcamp. Check it out.

If you like Sharon Van Etten, Angel Olsen, people like that, you should definitely give this a try.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tim Cohen pulls another rabbit from hat

My review of the new-ish Magic Trick album, River of Souls is up today at the Dusted Tumblr, which just passed its 100th post.

I said, "Both in his Fresh & Onlys project and here in the solo-thing-that-grew called Magic Trick, Tim Cohen has been moving gradually towards clarity, shrugging off the iridescent fuzz of Grey Eyed Girls and the home-taped indefiniteness of his first solo album to move into focus. Here in the follow up to 2012’s Ruler of the Night, Cohen continues to make his sound more legible than ever, while retaining the easy-going, transcendental mysticism that has always made his songs so charming.

"Cohen recorded River of Souls at his own Tree House studio with Phil Manley. Manley is a master of clean, uncluttered recording. His own band, The Fucking Champs, makes albums so sharply accurate you could cut your finger on them; they’re like metal albums sterilized for the operating theater. Yet while the two of them have cleared pretty much all the fuzz, allowing you to hear and separate layers of sound, Cohen maintains a certain soft and gentle feel. River of Souls is a precise rendering of laid-back ideas, one where you can hear every background vocal, every bass line, every slap and shiver of tambourine, without losing the general sense of hippie well-being."


This is the one that reminds me of Sam & Dave.

The snow mostly missed us this time (sorry NYC), but damn, it's cold. I got out about a quarter of a mile to the main road this morning and decided that I would get frost-bite if I did my normal run. So I headed the other way, which goes through more woods and less open fields, and actually, it was pretty stunning, bright sun, white snow, blue sky and the sound of trees shifting in the wind. I had that wind at my back all the way back, up the big hill, and it was like a physical presence pushing from behind. Anyway, beautiful run, glad I did it, no sign of lingering damage. (From the wind or the big hill, which I've been avoiding because of my hip.) Bill and I used to always call that run the "Ireland run" because it's got some very pretty, wild looking hills where cows graze and in the summer it gets very green...haven't done it in probably a year.

Also, we're seeing Damien Jurado tonight. More about that later.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

My fall 2013 playlist is getting kind of unwieldy...

....so I thought I would just dump it out on you. 

Enjoy.  Notable lacunae, as always, where Drag City artists would go.  With all due respect for their decision not to be on Spotify. 

Time to start another one. 

It's shoegaze cos Neil Halstead sings

My review of the new not-very-metallic but still quite beautiful new Alcest album runs today at the Dusted Tumblr.  It's causing all kinds of problems for people who like their black-gaze straight....

I said:

"A gorgeous swirl of diffusive sound, Alcest’s Shelter falls pretty far from frontman Neige’s black metal past, or even black-gaze, the metal-shoegaze hybrid that he did so much to define in the ’00s. Shelter’s weightless textures, its pretty, folk-derived guitar figures and its gleaming edifices of shimmering, amp-altered sound all argue for post-rock (Explosions in the Sky), space rock (Sigur Rós) or even avant experimenters like Ghost. Its sweeping, swooning scope gives it a fog-bound 1990s shoegaze feel, augmented, no doubt, by Neil Halstead’s English language cameo.  Metal? Hah. This is an album that could pass unmolested through a TSA screener — and that’s intentional. "


Nice vid, though. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

I just love this song

It came up on random as we were driving to the YMCA, and I remembered how much I liked it.  (It was on Blacklist weirdly, such a gentle, pretty song, such a brutal show...) 

Also spent some more time on the $3 rack at Turn It Up and picked up Dungen's Ta Det Lungt

Also the Hidden Cameras' Smell of Our Own

I think I'm going to like them both.  Anybody else buy music this snowy Saturday?  Get anything good?

Friday, January 17, 2014

I finally saw the Big Star documentary

What, was there no live footage?

Did they not have rights to the music?

I mean, come on.

Anyway, great band. Great story (we all thought Big Star was Alex Chilton, but turns out it was Chris Bell the whole time, doh!)

We also saw Dallas Buyers Club last night, which was phenomenal, excellent, beautiful -- and also maybe 20 minutes too long? Those Oscar nominations are well deserved, though. McConnaughy had to get old before they would let him really act...why don't they do that for women?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

I like Animal Collective better when it's really them

My review of the new Painted Palms album, Forever went up yesterday at the Dusted Tumblr.

"You never believe it until it happens, but stick around long enough and bands that once seemed impossible to copy will attract a swarm of also-rans. Back in 2002, no one sounded like Liars (though Liars sounded, for a brief interval in 'Tumbling Walls' exactly like ESG). A few years later, weaker tinctures from Franz Ferdinand, Maximo Park and the Futureheads pounded those same jerky, abrasive sounds into oblivion. Devendra Banhart was goddam weird in 2003, then in just a couple of years a tribe of moonchild, freak folkers came to surround him, all bleating the same slyly innocent hippie nonsense.

It’s happened, too, with Animal Collective, whose tribal beats, yelps and sunny, ether-vaulting melodies made for one of the weirdest aesthetics ever to go mega. How could you copy that kind of insanity, we might have asked, back in 2001 or 2002? And yet, here we are with Au and Nurses and Braids and Le Loup and – let’s just get it out of the way – Painted Palms. All are vaguely reminiscent, none nearly as good. The inimitable is beset on every side by imitators, and if the sonics are similar, the energy is lacking. There is nothing quite so disappointing as giddiness that falls flat.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

New single from Allah Las

Yes, yes, yes, I am liking this a lot, even if it does make me wonder what year (who am I kidding, what decade) it is.

The backstory is that these guys all worked at Amoeba in SF, so they have clearly been dipping into the vintage vinyl, but also giving it a good bit of breath and spit and fire...I just love that slanty, major-minor guitar thing, don't you?

If you live in NYC, you might know that they were supposed to play at the Rough Trade store, but had to postpone while RT sorted their noise/neighborhood relations issues out. That show is back on the calendar now for 3/27th, and if I were in NYC, I'd go.

Did I mention I was in NYC last week? Awesome time. Got the biggest project (by $s anyway) of my life, saw the Glass Menagerie (which was radiant, perfect, brilliant, unbelievable), ran in my park three separate times and ate pretty damned well. We still have a bunch of cheese and smoked salmon from Zabar's, so we're still eating well. Looking forward to not being poor for at least six months, too (though there are some pretty big credit card bills on the way). And that's that.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Absolutely natural...and absolutely strange

My review of the really quite good Rickolus album from late last year runs today at Blurt. It reminded me quite a lot of Neutral Milk Hotel, but I didn't mind at all...as you can see from the first two paragraphs:

Rickolus, otherwise known as Richard Colado, has a way of filling out fragile folk melodies with bittersweet bravado, so that verses murmur and harmonica-and-accordion-stuffed choruses soar. His “9th Street to San Pablo” expands from a plaintive acoustic guitar song, into a marching band’s bluster, then flowers into vocal profusion at its extremity, sounding very much like Neutral Milk Hotel’s “King of Carrot Flowers, Pt. 1”

Indeed the shadow of Jeff Magnum hangs over Troubadour: Roads, in the jaunty surreality of its lyrics, as well as the major-to-minor-shaded melodies. There is even a burst into lo-fi rock exuberance a la “Holland, 1945” late in the album with “We Paint the Rocks Gold.” Both NMH and Rickolus have the trick of sounding absolutely natural — and also absolutely strange — at the same moment.

You can read the whole thing here.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Japanese prog pop from Eiko Ishibashi

From my Dusted review, published over the weekend:

"Eiko Ishibashi wraps rhythmic complexity in the frothy ease of pop, making brief nods to acoustic folk, prog-rock, jazz and sunny Stereolab-ish drone. A drummer first, she paces her tunes with the gentlest syncopations, not the hip-jutting starts and stops of say, James Brown, but rather a dreamy, skip-skittering bounce.

There is a whimsical quality to these compositions. However artful and difficult the musicianship, you get a sense of bubbly, effervescent play.
Imitation of Life came out last year in Japan, where Eiko is a well-known improv hand, with four solo albums to her credit. This one, like the previous Carapace, was produced by Jim O’Rourke, who has been living in Japan since he left Sonic Youth in the mid-aughts. It was likely through O’Rourke that Eiko made the connection with Drag City which resulted in this first American release.

Both Eiko and O’Rourke are active in Japan’s improv and jazz scenes, where the rest of Ishibashi To Mou Shinda Hitotachi (which translates as “the People Who are Already Dead”) come from. In addition to Eiko and O’Rourke, the band includes sometime Melt Banana collaborator Toshiaki Sudo, jazz percussionist Tatsuhisa Yamamoto and string player Atsuko Hatano (who has worked with OIOIO). With that sort of background, it’s no surprise that they push the fluid boundaries between jam and composition, playful experiment and structured melody."

More http://dustedmagazine.tumblr.com/post/72319703797/eiko-ishibashi-imitation-of-life-drag-city

Friday, January 3, 2014

Stone Jack Jones

I have a little piece up at Blurt now about a new video from Stone Jack Jones, who is amazing not nearly as well known as he ought to be.

Here's a link to the write-up.

And also the video

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Blurt's top 75

Yet another list to ponder, this one from Blurt which skews a bit older, more song-based and more Americana-tipped than any of my other outlets. Still if my #1 is Blurt's #2, we've got a fair amount in common.

Read it here.