The Edmonton music scene suffered a terrible loss this past Monday. David Finkelman, CJSR DJ, Energetic Action guitarist, local punk scene fixture, was tragically struck by a car on Monday and the shock waves were felt through out the scene. Through his various musical endeavors and his involvement with CJSR there is likely very few in the music scene who’s life was not in someway connected with Dave and will not be affected the loss. We wish all those close to Dave, his friends and his family our deeps condolences.
If you didn’t see Matt or should I now say, Dr. Matt, over the weekend, or on Tuesday here, you’ve missed your chance. He leaves for Toronto on Saturday. He was a fine addition to the Listen family and we’ll miss him. We wish him all the best in Toronto.
We are also pleased to be involved in the Wyrd Distro launch event, taking place on Feb 15th. Wyrd Distro is the mail order/distribution arm of Weird Canada. We will be hosting a launch party/Q&A/live show on the 15th. More info to follow.
…..pick of the week…..
Chrome: The Visitation (Cleopatra) LP
A special deluxe reissue from Cleopatra Records of the debut album – The Visitation – by art rock pioneers Chrome painstakingly restored to its original 1976 glory. Featuring Mike Low (vocals, guitar, bass, synthesizer), John Lambdin (guitar, synthesizer, bass, mandolin, string ensemble, electric violin, vocals), Gary Spain (bass, keyboards, acoustic and electric violin) and Damon Edge (drums, percussion, synthesizers, tape effects, vocals). Packaged in a gatefold jacket with liner notes by Chrome historian Neil Martinson and featuring extensive quotations by some of the founding members of the band. The first Chrome release is particularly collectible due to the many variations of covers, labels, and inserts. The album’s original issue with the spray-painted cover is found here.
File Under: Punk, Art Rock, Glam, Psych
Andrew Bird: I Want To See Pulaski At Night (Grimsey) LP
Beautiful new, mostly instrumental seven-song, 32.5 minute mini-album, that is both poppy & hypnotic at the same time. The only vocals appear on the title track, with Andrew Bird pleading for a departed one to “Come back to Chicago, City of Light.” Bird builds five of the remaining tracks up from simple layered loops in the manner which we’ve all come to take for granted, but each song is really a small wonder of fragile beauty and joy. Aside from the title cut, my highlight is the stretched out 8:15 last track that grows from a tiny, fractured seed into an extended song cycle of pleading, lead violin that seems to float over the almost Krautrock bed tracks like a hummingbird in a field of salvia before dissolving again. Lovely & trippy. LP includes a download.
File Under: Indie, Instrumental
Brimstone Howl: Magic Hour (Certified Pr) LP
“When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for DC Comics zombie supervillain Solomon Grundy to tap into his ((surely)) ample record collection for the sonic manna that will aid him in making it through another rough day of shambling, trudging, and smashing the shit out of Green Lantern, I’m pretty sure the first record he slaps on his Slaughter Swamp turntable is Brimstone Howl’s Magic Hour. Recorded in 2009 with percussion/ production/ Facebook Scrabble legend Jim Diamond at the helm, Magic Hour is the sound of a thermonuclear cadre of doomed Nebraskans trying to fry humanity with one last blast of Soul Radiation In The Dead Of Night before they end it all by throwing themselves bodily into the swamp, only to find that all the good Kryptonite is in Kansas and the closest thing to a swamp they have is Council Bluffs, Iowa. Every song on Magic Hour is a tense, desperate, full-blast marvel ((oops, wrong comic book company)); like the Reigning Sound’s hulking ((oops, wrong company again)) younger brother, like “Born To Run” for zombie supervillains, like the Exploding Hearts dragged behind a pickup truck through four hundred miles of cornfields and Cenex station parking lots. Every song—whether it involve feral cats or copping feels on Ferris wheels—comes with the built-in supposition that the main character will die by the end of the song; even when it’s not explicitly stated that this is the case ((it never actually is)), it’s almost impossible to imagine that each song’s character doesn’t die, off-screen, a minute or two after the song’s conclusion. Magic Hour is an album so desperate and vital that the liner notes are printed on the front cover as a customer service, lest slavering, duck-billed mutants rend the potential buyer asunder before they have the chance to glance at the back cover. To be clear, Magic Hour will not save your life. It will, however, allow you to live out your remaining time on this earth with a modicum of dignity. NONE CAN ASK FAIRER THAN THAT!”—Rev. Norb Rozek.
File Under: Rock, Garage
Morgan Delt: s/t (Trouble in Mind) LP
Morgan Delt cites influences from Curt Boettcher to West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band and rounds it out with golden age sunset strip heavies like The Byrds and Love. It’s all in there; obsessively studied, mastered and then mutated. The drums pound hard & heavy, while the backups “la-la-la” all over your noggin like a Frankenstein version of The Flaming Lips and Thee Oh Sees. Each track worms it’s way into your brain and takes hold. As Morgan so keenly described his notion on the current state of genre bending music “I think we’ve become unstuck in time & everything is going to happen all at once from now on.” LP on mixed black and colored vinyl. Includes a download.
File Under: Psych, Pop, Dreamy
Express Rising: s/t (Express Rising) LP
“Chicago’s estimable digger, scribe and beat-breaker Dante Carfagna revives his cherished Express Rising alias on this sublime sophomore LP. Despite going under the same eponymous title as his 2003 album for Memphix, we assure this is entirely fresh-off-the-block; eleven tracks of sanguine soul strung out with elements of new age, country, and instrumental hip hop in a gauzy post-rock framework. It’s the outcome of a four-year-long recording process where Dante focussed on extracting subtly rich tones from a palette of banjo, steel guitar, Wurlitzer, synths and classic drum machine before applying them to his four track canvas. The results are wonderfully intimate and blessed with a sincerely rare tenderness; everything feels coaxed into place and comfortable within its fragile ecology, from the Bruce Langhorn-like cinematic layers of synth, strummed guitar and low-lying drums in ‘Rooms Between Us’ to the lonely yet positive sway of simplistic drum machine and poetic synth expression in ‘Winter The Heart’, whilst beat-nuts will no doubt get theirs in the crushed boompab of ‘Leland Sprinkle’ and ‘Left Right Behind’, which sounds like a decayed tape left over from DJ Shadow’s ‘Endtroducing’ era. Warmest recommendation to lovers of rustic soul, Tortoise, BoC, Bibio.” – Boomkat
File Under: Instrumental, Electronic
Family Circle: s/t (Numero) LP
Family Circle’s 1973 LP draws a tight ring around the most beguiling soul tropes of its era, with its full house of ambitious players and hook-laden originals. Newark, New Jersey’s Simmons siblings – George, James, Mary, Don, and David – rallied around journeyman arranger George Andrews and business maven/producer Randy Irwin, whose industry ties brought studio luminaries into the Simmons orbit: session guitar giant Cornell Dupree, guitarist/songwriter Billy Vera, and the inimitable Bernard ‘Pretty’ Purdie on drums. Charles Simmons’ ‘Well Runs Dry’ dipped several toes into Jackson 5-saturated waters, while ‘I Hope You Really Love Me’ stayed together with the Al Green ethos. Where the bowling, basketball, and karate-obsessed Simmons fivesome was hitching to – thumbs unfurled and dressed to impress in Central Park on Family Circle’s back cover – is anyone’s guess, but their sparkling, layered sound, gospel-honed vocal chops, and instantly relatable melodies should’ve dropped them off on everybody’s turntable. Give Family Circle a lift, drive ‘em around awhile.
File Under: Soul, Gospel, Funk
Floor: s/t (Robotic Empire) LP
Like the sound of heaven collapsing, Floor ground to a halt in 2003, leaving in their wake a single proper full-length release – a thunderous, soaring doom/sludge/pop/rock hybrid to which nothing before or after can truly be compared. This brilliant monolith is the stuff of legend, laying the bedrock for what would come years later with Torche. Floor’s legacy is not simply founded on this album, but forged with it. With their monumental “bomb string” tuning, the band delivers an unlikely but amazing combination of incredibly deep-tuned doom rock, sing-along harmonized vocals, bombastic rhythms and pop sensibilities that set them far apart from their contemporaries. Thankfully, the legacy that grew around their recordings has revived activity into the band, and Robotic Empire is honored to present this seminal release in an expanded edition. Housed in a beautiful, full-color gatefold LP jacket with silver coverage throughout, the reissue adds a 7-inch with three outtakes from the album’s recording session, first unearthed for the Below & Beyond discography box set. Digital download included.
File Under: Doom Pop, Sludge, Metal
Brigitte Fontaine: Est… Folle (Superior Viaduct) LP
French poet and chameleonic vocalist Brigitte Fontaine’s career spans over four decades. Only a few years before her 1968 debut, Brigitte Fontaine Est…Folle, she moved to Paris to become an actress and took her prodigiously mature voice into the studio. Rich in the drama she brought to theater, Fontaine synthesized chanson (French pop song) and world music, which eventually won her international acclaim as a performer and collaborator with a variety of artists from around the world (Art Ensemble of Chicago, Sonic Youth and Stereolab, to name just a few). On Est…Folle, Fontaine takes flight over conductor Jean Claude Vannier’s brilliant arrangements. Vannier, best known for his work on Serge Gainsbourg’s Histoire De Melody Nelson, is in fine form, using what would become his trademark stylings: lush strings, taut rhythms culled from across the globe and a healthy dose of whimsy. “Il Pleut” swings from understatement to rapturous delight. “Une Fois Mais Pas Deux” is an infectious pop song that could have been culled from a French New Wave soundtrack. Fontaine is adventurous and multi-dimensional with sophisticated lyrics, poignant melodies and enthralling delivery. Such artful handling of meter and rhyme (or lack thereof) is rare in pop song. Far from the era’s yé-yé phenomenon, but never fully removed from its traditions, Est…Folle is an essential link in French pop music, exuberantly pushing the genre into more conceptual and experimental sounds.
File Under: French Pop, Psych, Vannier
Brigitte Fontaine: Comme A La Radio (Superior Viaduct) LP
Featuring Areski Belkacem and Art Ensemble of Chicago, Comme à la Radio is the sophomore album in Brigitte Fontaine’s prolific career. While her debut, Brigitte Fontaine Est…Folle, is a unique take on French chanson, here the Art Ensemble provides the perfect setting for Fontaine’s exploration of free-verse poetry. Often arrhythmic and spoken, her vocals command the same spontaneity and grace that her collaborators applied to their instruments. The album’s eight-minute title track sets the tone: a sparse bass line keeps time as Fontaine dances around stabs of flute and trumpet. On “Tanka II,” named for a form of concise Japanese poetry, Areski (who provides percussion throughout) plays hand-drums atop flurries of bass as Fontaine coos and whispers pensively, gradually uttering controversial phrases. “L’Été L’Été” centers around a repeated motif with individual lines of high-pitched melody on a bed of muted horns. Each track is its own world, with Fontaine’s incredible range, both in style and substance, acting as the glue between the immense talent involved. The overall effect is chilling, and it is no surprise that Comme à la Radio is often cited as Fontaine’s best known work.
File Under: French Pop, Art Ensemble
Glaxo Babies: Put Me On The Guest List (Superior Viaduct) LP
Glaxo Babies are the greatest UK post-punk band you’ve never heard. Formed in Bristol in late 1977 and named after the British pharmaceutical giant who allegedly inoculated thousands with a toxic vaccine, the original lineup included Rob Chapman (vocals), Dan Catsis (guitar), Tom Nichols (bass) and Geoff Alsopp (drums). The band’s pioneering mix of metallic guitar, dubbed-out rhythms and shamanistic chants found its way into the bloodlines of generations on both sides of the pond. Naturally, Glaxo members later joined The Pop Group and Maximum Joy. Originally released on Heartbeat Records in 1980, Put Me on the Guest List collects the band’s propulsive demos, mostly performed live in the studio with no overdubs and not originally intended for release. “This Is Your Life” is a veritable classic, with Chapman’s angst-ridden lyrics soaring low as the band rides tense, sinuous grooves. The skittish “Police State” stands toe-to-toe with the art-punk flag-bearers in the North (Gang of Four, Mekons) and in London (Wire, The Homosexuals). “Stay Awake” is a vitriolic screed as powerful as anything from the newly formed Public Image Limited. By the time England’s post-punk scene was in full bloom, dominating the pop charts in the UK and college radio in the US, Glaxo Babies had unfortunately dissolved. Released domestically for the first time ever courtesy of Superior Viaduct, Put Me on the Guest List is available on vinyl and CD with liner notes by Chapman. The CD version contains three bonus songs including the rare “Christine Keeler” single.
File Under: Post Punk
Jacobites: Robespierre’s Velvet Basement (Numero) LP
The lush second album by Nikki Sudden and Dave Kusworth as Jacobites, 1985’s Robespierre’s Velvet Basement is a decadent and inviting garage, decorated by upfront acoustic guitars and unabashed devotion to Faces, Stones, and the folky young Bolan. Drunk on red wine and shambling through predictions of Brit pop to come, Robespierre’s Velvet Basement, originally planned for four sides of Glass Records vinyl, was pared down to hit a pinnacle of Nikki Sudden’s ‘80s oeuvre, a loose and grandly bedraggled portrait of British rock at the crossroads. In founding Swell Maps, the post-punk prefacing Birmingham art-snots, Nikki Sudden and his drumming brother Epic Soundtracks charted new territory for racket and corrosive guitar. But after folding Swell Maps at the dawn of the ‘80s, Nikki Sudden plowed through another decade’s worth of terrifically fertile ground. Drawing on his devotion to the Rolling Stones and T. Rex – alongside guitarist Dave Kusworth as Jacobites, plus a cheekily named cohort of British sidemen – Nikki Sudden cut a string of raw, inspired rock ‘n’ roll records, etched with double-edged travel melancholia and hard-bitten punk dejection.
File Under: Folk Rock, Psychedelic, Swell Maps
Lemonheads: Lick (Fire) LP
CD bonus tracks includes several never-before-released live tracks from a 1987 radio session, live tracks and an interview from the 1989 European tour, and the 4 tracks of the Lemonheads self-released debut EP, Laughing all the way to the cleaners.
File Under: Indie, Punk
Lemonheads: Hate Your Friends (Fire) LP
Limited 180g Black vinyl edition with free CD. CD bonus tracks include 12 never-before-released live tracks from a 1987 radio session, rare tracks from the early compilation Crawling From Within, and additional tracks not included on the original release of Hate Your Friends (‘Buried Alive’ and ‘Gotta Stop’)
File Under: Indie, Punk
Night Terrors: Back To Zero (Homeless) LP
“The combination of the analogue (drums, bass), the electronic (lots of synths) and the theremin in between puts The Night Terrors in largely unchartered territory for this scribe, although it’s waters I’m more than happy to float in. I guess the only thing I can compare all this to from my experience is the terrifying Italo-prog of Goblin (who, rather handily, these guys have supported) with a light, dramatic smattering of Sigur Ròs drizzled gently over the top as and when taste dictates. I’m probably horribly wrong in this analogy, but hey ho. The only other comparison I can draw is that the intro to Sesquipedalian sounds a lot like Michiru Yamane’s Strange Bloodline from her soundtrack to Castlevania: Symphony of the NightI may well be one of very few people who make that comparison though.” Gatefold jackets, colored vinyl. numbered pressing. Imported from Australia. “Folks you should check out this incredible record by The Night Terrors. It is pretty awesome it’s like Bruno Nicolai meets MBV jamming with a gigantic theremin.” (Death Waltz Recording Company)
File Under: Sci-Fi, Psych, Horror, OST-esque
Paavoharju: Joko Sina Tulet Tanne Alas Tai Mina Nousen Sinne (Svart) LP
Psychedelic music born of cabin fever. Weird pastel electronica. Bizarre cut and paste loops. Hazy, mist-clad experimentalism. Eternal drone theatrics. The music of Finland’s Paavoharju, now preparing for the release of their 3rd album, is difficult to pin down. The Wire dubbed the music as “home-taped experimentation married to pop ecstasy”, and the albums “Yhä hämärää” (2006) and “Laulu laakson kukista” (2008) found the band worldwide cult fame in the indie scene. Paavoharju’s main composer Lauri Ainala’s penchant for progress and experimentation found him at a point where it was necessary for the band to renew itself. The major stylistic change on the new album is the inclusion of hip hop elements, with rap vocals performed by Paperi T (also of the Helsinki hip hop group Ruger Hauer), but the handling of these influences is unconventional. Paavoharju’s brand of hip hop is far removed from its roots, taken off the streets and thrown into the nocturnal forests of Finland. Familiar building blocks from the group’s previous work, such as the array of female voices and troubadour Joose Keskitalo, are still there, but they are distant, often drowned in swathes of electronic haze, sometimes just barely audible as if a faded memory of something that once was. The major theme on the album is alienation – how things familiar turn into things distant and strange. Speaking of the album, Ainala compares it to an old family homestead to which one returns after decades and in whose decayed state there is both horror and beauty.
File Under: Folk, Experimental, Psych
Shine Brothers: Hello Griefbirds! (Cardinal Fuzz) LP
Cardinal Fuzz are proud to present The Shine Brothers debut album Hello Griefbirds! If The Everly Brothers were invited to The Birthday Party, The Shine Brothers-a liberal dose of melodic mayhem-would be the party favour. Waving the ‘psych-my-delic’ banner, The Shine Brothers epitomise the seedier side of music with a mind melting collection of garage psych. But look out as The Shine Brothers achieve an alchemic balance of slanted sunshine pop song structures with howling devilish rhythms, crowned by dirty, weaving vocal harmonies with tracks veering from Beatles like sunshine pop to frenzied fuzz induced E.P.I. freakouts. The Shine Brothers’ ensemble includes Nate Ryan (ex-The Black Angels), Colin Ryan (ex-Woven Bones), Oakley Munson (ex-The Rondelles) and Ryan Rapsys (ex Too Many Bands To Name). LP comes with a download code that also features 3 bonus tracks. Ltd to 500 copies. UK import.
File Under: Rock, Garage, Psych
Shoes This High: Straight To Hell (Siltbreeze) LP
While Shoes This High’s existence was a mere glint in the eye of Father Time (a year or more, tops), they made every second count, stalking the New Zealand post-punk landscape-both North and South islands-with ravenous abandon. For most fans, their legend and reputation rest solely on the strength of one highly formidable (and collectable) self-released 7-inch EP from 1981. And as anyone with ears who’s had the good fortune to come in contact with its jagged, scabrous genius can attest, the cry invariably rings out afterward: “Mein Gott, is this all there is?” In the 30-plus years since its initial release, the answer has been a most unflinching “yes.” That is, until Siltbreeze tapped into the massive tape library of famed New Zealand underground music archivist Bob Sutton, who had in his possession a white-hot live scorcher of the group, culled from a set that went down at the infamous Billy the Club way back when. Straight to Hell showcases a band at the peak of their menacing powers. Guitarist Kevin Hawkins slashes and rips strings from his ax like a mad butcher; the rhythm section of Jessica Walker and Christopher Plummer is par excellence, while the sneering, contemptuous vocals of singer S. Brent Hayward spit like poison darts above the swagger. Expertly sequenced by Jared Phillips (Times New Viking), Straight to Hell is a most welcome and astonishingly great artifact that delivers in buckets a shivering, toxic rain you always knew had fallen. Vinyl comes with a digital download of the complete album plus the four studio tracks from the original 1981 EP. One-time edition of 500-buy now or cry later.
File Under: New Zealand, Post-Punk
Shooting Guns: Brotherhood of the Ram (Easy Rider) LP
Shooting Guns are hard at work fortifying the heavy end of the psychedelic spectrum. Hailing from the subarctic wasteland of Saskatoon, SK, they haunt the foggy moor between Sabbath-styled doom riffery (Electric Wizard, Sleep) and heavy pulse-riding kraut-rock (Neu!, Circle, Wooden Shjips). Centered around elephantine riffs, these delay-soaked songs rumble and hiss with analog synth-conjured monstrosities which surge to devour frequency ranges beyond the upper and lower ranges available to even the heaviest doom outfits. The keystone of the Shooting Guns wall of sound is a savant sculpture of shifting timbres in wailing, layered delay. The sonic decadence is restrained only by structurally minimalist compositions ever driven by savage drumming and finely distilled, groove-locked bass. Dedicated, heavy, and simple hooks work to bring psychedelic rock music down to earth, dragged away from the breathless mountaintops of prog and down toward the fertile swamps of primordial heaviness. Hypnotic patterns evolve over time in mutating timbres and subtly shifted grooves, but the core of the songs remain dead simple, and the spinal cords of the audience nod in accordance. This pentacle of demon conjurers formed in 2008, a band of veteran collaborators in Saskatoon’s prolific music scene, each with over a decade of touring and music production experience. Their debut LP, Born To Deal in Magic: 1952-1976, was nominated for the Polaris Music Prize in 2012 and also released two split 7”s (with Nottingham UK’s The Cult of Dom Keller and Edmonton’s Krang) that year. Having played alongside Bison B.C., The Pack A.D., Mares of Thrace, Quest for Fire, and Black Mastiff, as well as showcasing at the Halifax Pop Explosion, NXNE, and Sled Island Music Festivals, the band is pleasantly surprised to find that their spectacle is rapidly attracting a cult of barbarian metal-heads, indie hipsters, Neanderthals, and nerds.
File Under: Stoner, Metal, Psych, CanCon, Buds
Nikki Sudden: Waiting on Egypt (Numero) LP
For Waiting On Egypt, Nikki Sudden’s 1982 solo debut for Abstract Records, the Birmingham post-punk cut back on the skronk and clatter of his own latter-day Swell Maps. Unused Maps material received Sudden resurrection and pared-down guitar propellant, while Nikki’s new ideas moved confidently in a Bolan direction. Elsewhere, pained homage is paid to early Stones gem ‘I’d Much Rather Be With The Boys’, recast in withdrawn piss and vinegar. In founding Swell Maps, the post-punk prefacing Birmingham art-snots, Nikki Sudden and his drumming brother Epic Soundtracks charted new territory for racket and corrosive guitar. But after folding Swell Maps at the dawn of the ‘80s, Nikki Sudden plowed through another decade’s worth of terrifically fertile ground. Drawing on his devotion to the Rolling Stones and T. Rex – alongside guitarist Dave Kusworth as Jacobites, plus a cheekily named cohort of British sidemen – Nikki Sudden cut a string of raw, inspired rock ‘n’ roll records, etched with double-edged travel melancholia and hard-bitten punk dejection.
File Under: Rock, Swell Maps
Nikki Sudden: Bible Belt (Numero) LP
Nikki Sudden’s second LP, released in 1983 by Flicknife Records, marked his first collaboration with writer/guitarist Dave Kusworth, the alliance destined to bring Jacobites to record buying publics on both Atlantic coasts. On The Bible Belt, a diverse clutch of Sudden songs stands in rock reverence to Sudden saints, from Bowie slink and Dylanesque strum to the mandolin post-punk of ‘Missionary Boy.’ In founding Swell Maps, the post-punk prefacing Birmingham art-snots, Nikki Sudden and his drumming brother Epic Soundtracks charted new territory for racket and corrosive guitar. But after folding Swell Maps at the dawn of the ‘80s, Nikki Sudden plowed through another decade’s worth of terrifically fertile ground. Drawing on his devotion to the Rolling Stones and T. Rex – alongside guitarist Dave Kusworth as Jacobites, plus a cheekily named cohort of British sidemen – Nikki Sudden cut a string of raw, inspired rock ‘n’ roll records, etched with double-edged travel melancholia and hard-bitten punk dejection.
File Under: Rock, Swell Maps
Nikki Sudden & Dave Kusworth: Jacobites (Numero) LP
Dual guitars announce ‘Big Store’ and 1984’s Jacobites, originally on Glass Records, the first official appearance of Nikki Sudden and Dave Kusworth under that imprimatur – and its direct allusion to British royal lineage of yesteryear. The matching LP trafficked in dramatic rock classicism: vital, shambolic, anchored by acoustic strumming and a healthy obsession with plaintive Dylan phrasings. Songwriting swung hard at Stewart/Wood tropes, while Sudden & Kusworth took grim new looks at the same hills Mick and Keith had long since rolled past. In founding Swell Maps, the post-punk prefacing Birmingham art-snots, Nikki Sudden and his drumming brother Epic Soundtracks charted new territory for racket and corrosive guitar. But after folding Swell Maps at the dawn of the ‘80s, Nikki Sudden plowed through another decade’s worth of terrifically fertile ground. Drawing on his devotion to the Rolling Stones and T. Rex – alongside guitarist Dave Kusworth as Jacobites, plus a cheekily named cohort of British sidemen – Nikki Sudden cut a string of raw, inspired rock ‘n’ roll records, etched with double-edged travel melancholia and hard-bitten punk dejection.
File Under: Rock, Swell Maps
Vox Dei: La Biblia (Grafisound) LP
La Biblia (The Bible) is the second studio album by the Argentine rock band Vox Dei, generally regarded as the first Argentinian rock concept album. The album is ranked at #14 in the Argentine version of Rolling Stone’s “Los 100 Mejores Discos del Rock Nacional” (The 100 Greatest Records in Argentine Rock). “La Biblia” is considered by Argentinian rock fans to be Vox Dei’s indisputable masterpiece; it has been called “magnificent for both its music and lyrics”.Guitarist and vocalist Ricardo Soulé did a terrific job summarizing in just a few lines the most important stories of the Christian Holy Book. Musically the band adopted a hard psychedelic direction, with chiming 12-string guitar and overdriven solos alternating with folky acoustic passages and harmony vocals sometimes reminiscent of The Moody Blues. The Argentinian Archbishop, while at first requesting to review the lyrics, ended up recommending that young people purchase and listen to the album.
File Under: Argentina, Psych, Fuzz
Jim Woehrle & Michael Yonkers: Borders of My Mind (Drag City) LP
The album that initially prompted Clint Simonson of Destijl records to track down Michael Yonkers and get this whole legend thing on wheels was 1973’s Borders of My Mind, recorded in the living room of Jim Woehrle, Yonkers’ former bandmate in Michael and the Mumbles and the Michael Yonkers Band. Woehrle had to quit the MYB shortly before Microminiature Love was recorded, because of his school and work schedule, but the two were fortunately able to make this privately-pressed LP a little ways down the line. The songs were recorded at Jim’s apartment using a full-track mono, one quarter-inch reel-to-reel tape recorder, using only one bi-directional ribbon microphone. Mic placement was extremely critical, because only this microphone was used to capture Woehrle’s transcendent piano, Yonkers’ plaintive guitar playing, and the two’s arcing vocal harmonies. Plus, one can hear the very real sounds of the phone ringing and natural reverb, along with the occasional post-production psychedelic flourish-making this an unjustly-unheard classic for lovers of homespun astral folk. Fans of Ed Askew, Fred Neil, Mij, Tim Buckley, and Bill Fay, take note!
File Under: Folk Rock, Psych
Michael Yonkers: Michael Lee Yonkers (Drag City) LP
There’s yet another musical color revealed on the uber-rare private press, Michael Lee Yonkers, which was home-recorded in 1971-72, while Michael Yonkers was working in an unheated, hundred year-old warehouse. He ran the forklift and drove the truck for the company, hauling extremely heavy loads of industrial surplus and scrap metal. His co-workers almost exclusively listened to country and western music, which inspired him to create and perform an oddly countrified set on weekends, when he would play in coffeehouses and at house parties. Yonkers would do an acoustic set of original “country” and “rock” music for the first part, then he would get out an “electronic music machine” that he had built himself and play “electronic music” (quotes all added by Michael himself). Michael Lee Yonkers is a recording of some of the “country” songs he was doing at the time, as well as a few songs he wrote for the children at the house parties (like “Mrs. Jennings Fruit Fly Farm,” recorded live, where you can hear the kids going nuts). The tracks were recorded on a variety of tube-type, reel-to-reel tape machines, which give them a unique analogue sound that begs comparisons to outsider hillbillies like Peter Grudzien, Holy Modal Rounders and The Legendary Stardust Cowboy, as well as outlaws like Townes Van Zandt and Kris Kristofferson.
File Under: Folk Rock
Zoviet France: The Tables Are Turning (Soleilmoon) LP
Somewhere in the rainy, misty forests of the Pacific Northwest of America, three ladies have the unlikely task of sewing together the packaging for a new album by :zoviet*france:. The music was composed as the soundtrack to Designer Body, a dance that toured England from 2008 to 2009. The work explores the transformational relationship between humans and the clothing they wear. Seven dancers, performing on continuously rotating plinths, slowly remove layers of their costumes, revealing the sensuous nude bodies beneath. The music accompanying the dancers is by turns dense and moody, then lyrical and soaring, underlining the mounting vulnerability of the dancers as they undress. The members of :zoviet*france:, who prefer to remain annonymous, write “We’ve known Liv Lorent for a long time. When she started to conceive Designer Body, which she wanted to be a hybrid of contemporary dance and performance art, she decided that an unconventional performance needed an unconventional soundtrack. The composition of the soundtrack and the choreography evolved alongside each other so it became a dialogue between Liv and ourselves. The main inspiration that we took from the production’s concept was rotation; throughout the one hour performance, the dancers are located on turntables that turn continuously, at varying speeds and changing direction. We mirrored this in much of the soundtrack, with circular and rotating sounds.” Presented in a deluxe dual-layer green satin bag with fold-over flap. The letters ‘ZF’ are hand-stitched into the flap in white thread, and a two-sided color insert printed on sturdy cardstock completes the package. There are 400 LPs in the first edition. The LP, with music on three of the four sides of the records, will go out of print when the initial pressing sells out.
File Under: Drone, Ambient, Experimental
Various: 78 Project Volume 1 (78 Project) LP
The 78 Project is a documentary journey across America that records today’s musicians as they perform the songs that inspired a century of music-exactly as those works were originally recorded: instantaneously onto 78 RPM lacquer discs. Inspired by folklorist Alan Lomax, The 78 Project celebrates the artistry and craft that captured America’s musical forms of a century ago, exploring the deep historical significance of American folk songs in the process. With just one microphone, one authentic 1930s Presto recorder, and one blank acetate disc, musicians are given a single, three-minute take to cut a 78 RPM record, finding in that adventure a new connection to our cultural legacy. Each track has a beautiful, cinematic documentary video episode on www.The78Project.com. Includes contributions from Richard Thompson, Roseanne Cash, Loudon Wainwright III, The Wandering, Marshall Crenshaw, Valerie June, Leah Siegel, Rev. John Delore & Kara Suzanne, Amy Lavere, Joe Henry & Lisa Hannigan, Vandaveer, and Dawn Landes. Includes digital download card.
File Under: Comps, 78s, Lomax, Single Takes
Various: Live at the Bootleggers (Sutro Park) LP
Live at the Bootleggers captures a moment in time, and a place in history when community was created around the buying and drinking of illegal liquor…moonshine…white lightening. It was recorded live at a bootlegger’s homebase in Fayette County, Tennessee in 1971 at the behest of Lattie Murrell, whom Bengt Olsson and Bill Barth had tracked down to document. Besides Murrell, Barth and William Floyd Davis, the contributors to this record just happened to be spellin’ with the same bootlegger that evening; they are unknown voices, arising with glory from the soak of moonshine, and then fading back into obscurity.
File Under: Blues
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