Friday, March 30, 2012

Ravens & Chimes

I'm not sure why I'm getting this now, since apparently at least some of the songs have been circulating for years, but I'm enjoying Holiday Life from the Brooklyn band Ravens & Chimes.

Let's see, in terms of kudos, Ravens & Chimes won NY Deli's reader's poll in 2011 -- and the magazine called them "NY's answer to Arcade Fire". (They don't, to my ears, sound a bit like Arcade Fire, but whatever.) One of their songs, "Carousel," was licensed to MTV's Skins.

The opening cut, which got featured on Large Hearted Boy in 2009, is one of those songs that starts out melancholy but ends in cautious's a bit more syncopated and off-kilter than the standard run of indie pop, but not enough to put you off. Anyway, here's "Division Street"

In other news, I've finished writing features on Royal Baths and Here We Go Magic this week, read a really fascinating book about Alan Lomax and, like everyone else but especially like most mothers of 17-year-old boys, am just sick about Trayvon
Martin...what is wrong with our country, where we have no money for health care or college, but guns for everyone all the time?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

I like Marissa Nadler's Sister better

A companion to last year's self-titled album, this new eight-track CD called "Sister" is, at least to my ears, much prettier and more evocative than its predecessor. It's out next month on Nadler's own Box of Cedar label.

Here's the opening track, "Wrecking Ball Company," on Soundcloud, though if pressed for a favorite, I'd probably pick "Constantine"

Jennifer Castle

Interesting artist, Jennifer Castle, a mostly acoustic Canadian singer/songwriter who has guested with Fucked Up and the Constantines. I'm thinking now that I used the word, "warm" at least once too many times in the first paragraph of this review, which ran today at Dusted.

Jennifer Castle
No Quarter

Jennifer Castle has a soft, caressing voice, working in a sort of altered country idiom, prone to eerie mountain vibratos and giddy octave-length jumps, accompanied by picked guitar and the occasional twang of pedal steel. Though there are elements of traditional country in her songs — especially slide-twanging “Way of the Crow” and brightly picked “Neverride” — Castle layers her work in a very modern-sounding penumbra of atmospheres. There is a diffuse-ness in the hovering guitar tones, the lingering organ drones of Castle’s compositions. A ghostly chill infuses even the warm, inviting “Summer,” which is at odds with Castle’s warm, natural singing. It’s there in the ominous rattle of pick on guitar strings, in the spectral, half-heard harmonies that thread through the melody, in the way that electric keyboard sounds glisten in a haze of overtones.



I'm on kind of an alt.canada jag of Eric Chenaux's Guitar & Voice on the way soon, too.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Jeffrey Lewis is my new cult boyfriend

Loving this song off the album A Turn in the Dream Songs from Jeffrey Lewis, which gives a shout to the Misfits, WFMU, JG Ballard and other overooked luminaries.

"Cult Boyfriend"

There is also a very humorous account of a poetry reading Lewis shared with Genesis P-Orridge, Jonas Mekas and Thurston Moore. Read it here.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Hot Knives

On the theory that anything from the WFMU heavily played list is worth checking out, I offer this video from long-lost SF folk rock band Hot Knives, a band which included two future members of the Flamin' Groovies (Danny Mihm & Tim Lynch). the album, which is also called Hot Knives, disappeared for decades and is now available on the Australian label Grown Up Wrong.

Blurt's Ron Hart reviewed Hot Knives a few weeks ago and gave it a (staggering) ten stars.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Anyone who likes lyrics should find this deeply depressing

John Seabrook's recent New Yorker piece on Stargate and the "song factory" that makes hits for Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Beyonce, Kelly Clarkson, etc. etc. etc.

I know that I'm hopelessly old fashioned and probably a rockist, but jesus christ, why do people care about this mass-produced chicken shit?

Mike Wexler's Dispossession

Liked this one a lot...reviewed today at Blurt.

Mike Wexler
(Mexican Summer)

Mike Wexler's voice drifts out across a mesh of electric piano and guitar like the scent of some exotic flower at night, unhurried, subtly sweet and wreathed in darkness. Little fragments of vocal melody twine in unexpected, chord-shifting patterns, and blossom in soft, sighing crescendos. Wexler's voice is often the last thing you'll hear at the end of a phrase, drifting out over the melody and dissipating finally in the clear space beyond the verse. There is no hurry in Wexler's voice, nor in the billowing drones of organ, synthesizer and string that embellish his phrases. Only the guitar, picked in regular, folk-infused patterns, and the drums move these songs forward, and even so, there is a sense of stillness, of meditation, of quiet at the heart of Wexler's work.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Iain Matthews

I bought another Iain Matthews record a couple of weeks ago, the 1993 Skeleton Keys, which, of course, after Fairport Convention, after Matthews Southern Comfort (where he had a pretty monster hit with "Woodstock") and even after Plainsong. In fact, it's well into the obscure, poorly marketed years, but it's not clear why. Matthews, here as in the more famous parts of his career, has got a really lovely voice, though, and writes some really interesting, complicated, ambiguous little songs...I'm liking "Jumping Off the Roof" and "Back of the Bus" in particular, but it took a good deal of listening to the words before I got into them.

Here he is playing with former Fairport Convention cohort Richard Thompson at the 2007 Cropredy festival.

And here's the only youtube I could find for Skeleton Keys and un-video of "Every Crushing Blow"

I don't like Skeleton Keys as much as If You Could See Through My Eyes which I reviewed for Dusted a while ago, but I do like it.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Metal muzak mania!!

My review of Hellsongs' Long Live Lounge, the oboe-and-string-enhanced interpretation of classic songs by Metallica et. al., ran yesterday at Blurt.

Long Live Lounge

Hellsongs' version of the Metallica song, "Seek and Destroy" is almost comically unlike the original, sprightly where the Kill "Em All juggernaut is brutal, substituting playful fillips on a grand piano for Kirk Hammett's alarm-siren guitar riffs and masses of lush chamber orchestra strings for the chugging turmoil of gear-grinding bass. Welcome to Gothenburg's lite FM re-imagination of heavy metal's most bruising hits - from bands like Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Alice Cooper and Black Sabbath -- all de-amplified, de-amphetaminized and de-constructed into songs your mom might hum along to in the break between NPR segments.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Alexander Tucker

I think I posted, a while back about liking Alexander Tucker's Dorwych and I know I reviewed the first Imbodogon record a year or so ago. Here's his latest the not-quite-folk, not-quite-experimental-drone Third Mouth, which I liked very much....

Alexander Tucker
Third Mouth
Thrill Jockey

Alexander Tucker constructs surreal landscapes out of the most natural materials: shifting major-to-minor key guitar patterns; the throb and drone of cello; a high, supple tenor that moves easily along melancholy, modal paths. Bits of synthesizer, found sound and electronic enhancements lurk in the crevices of these songs, but do not account for their essential strangeness. Tucker, on this sixth solo full-length, has a transcendentalist’s eye for the spiritual within the material. The Third Mouth of this album’s title comes from Tucker’s mother’s occasional tendency to speak in tongues, and the juxtaposition of the homey and familiar (mom) with the inexplicable (religious transport) runs through these nine songs.


There doesn't seem to be anything from the new album on Soundcloud, but they've got a song from Dorwych, which will give you an idea.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

How can I love you if I don't love myself?

I interviewed Jimmy Tamborello last year about the enhanced reissue of his album Life is Possibilities, one of the first really successful attempts to integrate pop and electronic music, and also the launching pad for the Postal Service. Here's the feature, running today at PopMatters.

Don’t Ask Dntel: A Conversation with Jimmy Tamborello
By Jennifer Kelly 22 March 2012

Jimmy Tamborello’s 2001 landmark Life Is Full of Possibilities bridged the worlds of IDM and pop, setting lush melodies atop glitchy electro beats and launching one of the aughts’ most memorable singles in “This Is the Dream of Evan and Chan.” Now, a decade or so on, we asked Tamborello to reflect on the album’s impact – and the new expanded reissue from Sub Pop.

“I had been listening to a lot of indie rock and punk —and also a lot of electronic music,” says Tamborello, thinking about to the early 2000s period when Dntel’s first album Life Is Full of Possibilities took shape. “I was always excited when I heard people mix the two together. I remember liking Piano Magic and some of the Morr music artists at lot. I liked the idea of bringing it together.”


I have always, always loved this song...the first thing I ever heard Mia Doi Todd sing, incidentally

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Steve Barton

I've got this album of sort of aggressive, angsty power pop from Steve Barton, an LA-based songwriter who was apparently involved in Translator and who has four previous solo albums to his credit. A couple of tracks, the ones that I like best, sound kind of like acoustic Ted Leo...that is, played on unamplified instruments about as hard as they'll go, with a great deal of edge and grit.

Here's "Bowie Girl"...what do you think?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Luke Roberts

Another one from Luke Roberts...who lives in that Woodie Guthrie/Bob Dylan/Pete Seeger-ish region of semi-anachronist troubador folk

Luke Roberts
The Iron Gates at Throop and Newport
Thrill Jockey

There was an itinerant air to Luke Roberts’ first album Big Bells and Dime Songs, released first on Ecstatic Peace and later, last year, on Thrill Jockey. It sounded as if he’d arrived carrying a guitar case and not much else, and would, upon finishing the songs, be shuffling off to parts unknown. The songs were rough-hewn and profoundly eccentric, the kinds of tunes a guy might write to himself holed up in someone’s barn between hitches on the road from who knows where to whatever comes.

The Iron Gates at Throop and Newport is an altogether more settled affair, coming out of a still unvarnished, still sparsely furnished but unmistakably more secure environment. Even the name of the album, with its nod to streets in Brooklyn, speaks of a fixed address. He wrote these songs in a place where he could close the door, and where the debut felt, at times, unnervingly exposed, Iron Gates has a sense of center, balance and calm.


Stereogum offers "His Song"

I also reviewed his first album for Blurt late last year.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sex Cult...a band that's fun to google

More garage-psych madness from Memphis' Goner label, a band called Sex Cult...about which I know nothing, because, frankly, looking them up on the internet brings up all kinds of shit I don't want to think about.

But the song is pretty good

Why d'you suppose Goner stopped sending me records? I covered pretty much everything they mailed me.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

fIREHOSE hits the road

fIREHOSE is back together again for a limited, West Coast only tour that will end up at Coachcella...Simultaneously Legacy is reissuing the two Columbia records, Flyin' the Flannel from 1991 and Mr. Machinery Operator from 1993, along with assorted live tracks, outtracks and other extras aimed at encouraging a second purchase. I've been listening to the first disc all week, and it's pretty fantastic...two versions of "Down with the Bass," one with singing, the other instrumental, and a whole string of live covers at the end, Wire's "Mannequin," Superchunk's "Slack Motherfucker" and Public Enemy's "Sophisticated Bitch" ...excellent stuff.

Here are the dates...but don't get excited unless you can see the Pacific Ocean from your window (or live in Arizona). Weirdly, they are opening for M. Ward on several occasions, two in Arizona and one in Santa Cruz.

04-05 Sacramento, CA - Harlow's
04-06 Portland, OR - Doug Fir
04-07 Seattle, WA - Neumos
04-09 Bellingham, WA - Wild Buffalo House of Music
04-10 Eugene, OR - WOW Hall
04-11 San Francisco, CA - Slim's
04-12 Santa Cruz, CA - Historic Coconut Grove Ballroom
04-13 Fresno, CA - Fulton 55
04-14 Indio, CA - Coachella Music Festival
04-17 Phoenix, AZ - Crescent Ballroom
04-18 Flagstaff, AZ - Orpheum Theatre
04-19 Tucson, AZ - Plush
04-21 Indio, CA - Coachella Music Festival

Friday, March 16, 2012


Gerard Love of Teenage Fanclub has a new album coming out under the Lightships name. It's called Electric Cables, and it's a very low-key thing of beauty,exactly the kind of dreamy, strummy, rainbows-through-summer-showers kind of record you'd expect from the guy who wrote, "Star Sign," "Hang On" and "Ain't That Enough."

Here's the first video:

I interviewed Love (and Blake and McGinley) by email for a story on Teenage Fanclub a year or two ago.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Allo Darlin

I've been a little under the weather today, just realized I hadn't posted anything yet...anyway, kind of liking Europe, the second full-length from Allo Darlin, another one of these brash-yet-vulnerable, fresh-voiced, female-fronted, c86 redolent outings in the same general class as Hospitality and Standard Fare. Allo Darlin's main threat is one Elizabeth Morris, an Aussie by birth and Londoner by inclination, who sits on the fence between vulnerability and breezy assurance. "Capricornia" is the first single

... but I find myself favoring ukulele-thrummed "Tallulah," in which Morris muses, "I'm wondering if...I've already heard...all the songs that'll mean something."

Yes, hmm, good question.

Europe is out April 17 on Slumberland.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bishop Morocco

Almost forgot about this one, a six song EP from Toronto post-shoe-gazers Bishop Morocco, whose first single "Old Boys" is a chiming, haze-fuzzed, guitar daydream, stretched to dry overnight on a hard frame of eighth-notes -- an ideal balance of drift and rhythmic tension. One of the principals was in Deadly Snakes, but you'd never know by listening...instead I'd think Swervedriver with a pulse of techno underneath and very, very nice.

The EP is out this week on Arts & Crafts

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Father John Misty

Father John Misty is the cracked 1960s folk alter ego of Joshua Tillman, best known until recently as the drummer for Fleet Foxes. (I am not as crazy about Fleet Foxes as some, but I do like this offshoot.)

Father John's first full-length, which balances the lovely clarity of, say, Ian Matthews, with the giddiness and irreverence of Harry Nilsson, comes out the first of May on Sub Pop. Tillman’s voice is, as many have observed, a remarkable thing, high and chilling but full of ease. Here’s that voice is wrapped around some very eccentric twists and turns, an outsider-ish poetry of tawdry surreality. The album is called Fear Fun, and you should check it out, if only for the “Try not to think so much about/the truly staggering amount/of oil/that it takes to make a record,” opening of “Now I’m Learning to Love the War.”

He’s at SXSW now, but he may be round to see you soon. If it were up to me, I’d catch the one at LA's Natural History Museum, but then, I like dinosaurs.

Red 7 Patio (TX), Austin TX
SXSW Sub Pop Showcase!!
set time: 12AM
• Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Casbah, San Diego CA
All Ages!
• Friday, May 4, 2012
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, Los Angeles CA
All Ages!
• Saturday, May 5, 2012
Bottom of the Hill, San Francisco CA

• Monday, May 7, 2012
Neumos, Seattle WA

• Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Doug Fir Lounge, Portland OR

• Friday, May 11, 2012
7th St Entry, Minneapolis MN
18 & Up!
• Saturday, May 12, 2012
Schubas, Chicago IL

• Monday, May 14, 2012
Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto Canada
19 & up!
• Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Petit Campus, Montreal Canada
19 & up!
• Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Brighton Music Hall, Boston MA
18 & up!

Here’s “Nancy From Now On”

Monday, March 12, 2012

Crushed Stars

This one kind of snuck up on me, a shimmery, guitar-chiming kind of psychedelic pop that reminds me of the Church (in the echoey, dreamy vocals) and the Orange Peels (in the pretty melancholia of the guitars). Crushed Stars is essentially Todd Gautreau, an Austin-based musician who also makes electronic music in Sonogram. With Crushed Stars, he has now released three albums Gossamer Days, Convalescing in Braille and now In the Bright Rain, out last week on Simulacra Records.


"/Brighter Now"

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Radar Eyes

From what I understand, the cool people don't like Hozac, the Chicago garage label for bands like the People's Temple, Reading Rainbow, Fungi Girls. We had a heated exchange a year or so ago on the Dusted board about this label, and you can read some pretty scathing reviews of their bands on Still Single, if you do a search.

I am not one of the cool people because I enjoyed records by all three of these bands and others further down the roster...and I'm really, really liking the new one from Radar Eyes.

Radar Eyes started in Chicago, around 2009 or 2010, releasing their first album on the cassette-only Plustapes label. Their self-titled (not sure whether this is the same as the cassette debut or not, but I think probably not) is loud and fuzzy and undeniably tuneful. Guitarist Anthony Cozzi calls it "psychedelic bubblegum" and points to Jesus & Mary Chain and (fellow Chicago-ans) the Ponys and Cococoma as influences. You can really hear the psych thread in "I Am", below, but I probably like "Disconnection", with its drone-y organ and sleepy, cloudy, tambourine-dragging melancholia, the best.

Friday, March 9, 2012

120 Days back again

Happy Friday...about time, everyone here's exhausted.

Last review of the week is the new one from Norway's 120 Days, back after a hiatus. I think I saw them at CMJ once, though I'm not exactly sure about this.

120 Days

Five years after the self-titled debut, 120 Days returns with synth-pulsing, snare-snapping, endless horizoned grooves. A spate of success after the first album upped the pressure and nearly tore the Norwegian foursome apart, but the principals -- Jonas Dahl, Arne Kvalvik, Kjetil Ovesen, and Ådne Meisfjord - gradually found a way to work together again in an idiom that is almost an engineer's diagram of hedonistic release, most of the time chilly, cerebral and dryly beat-driven but prone to sudden, giddy surges in communal energy.


Stream the whole thing here

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Toure-Raichel Collective

You don't often hear piano in West African blues, probably because they're so hard to haul across the desert on camel back, but The Tel Aviv Session, out now on Cumbancha, makes the case. This is a fascinating collaboration recorded late in 2010 in Israel with Malian guitar hero Vieux Farka Toure joining Israeli pop star Idan Raichel, along with Israeli bassist Yossi Fine and Malian calabash player Souleymane Kane. The piano is sort of shocking the first and second time through, but it makes sense later like the shimmer of mirage pools over the roll and drone of desert blues.

Hard to imagine this being anything but a one-off, so if you want to see it, I'd suggest hitting one of these dates:

April 12 Washington, D.C. The Hamilton
April 13 New York, NY City Winery
April 14 New York, NY City Winery
April 15 Somerville, MA Somerville Theatre
April 16 Minneapolis, MN Dakota Jazz Club
April 17 Platteville, WI UW- Platteville Center for the Arts
April 19 Chicago, IL Old Town School of Folk Music
April 21 Atlanta, GA Rialto Theatre
April 22 Los Angeles, CA Echoplex
April 23 Santa Cruz, CA Kuumbwa Jazz Center
April 26 San Francisco, CA Herbst Theatre
April 28 Seattle, WA The Triple Door
April 29 Vancouver, BC Norman Rothstein Theatre
April 30 Vancouver, BC Norman Rothstein Theatre
May 01 Calgary, AB Temple B'nai Tikvah

Far from the Standard Fare

Really enjoyed this second album from British prickly pop band Standard Fare...reviewed yesterday at Blurt.

Standard Fare
Out of Sight, Out of Town

This second outing from the Sheffield trio is just as bright and brash, just as cockily confessional as The Noyelle Beat, but a good deal better groomed. Singer Emma Kupa (sometimes spelled this way, sometimes as "Cooper") remains a distinctive element, her voice crackling with boisterous energy, as she confides life's triumphs and obstacles in the most detailed way. Yet this time, Danny Howe seems more of a presence, in the gleeful, ska-tinged guitar mayhem of "Half Sister" and "Suitcase," the blaring fuzz of "Kicking Puddles," and in the jaunty, poppy vocals of "Bad Temper." Maybe it's clearer production that shines a brighter spotlight on Howe's playing, as well as the rackety, continuous explosion drumming of bandmate Andy Beswick. In any case, this time the instruments seem less like a foil for Kupa, more like a cohesive element of the whole.



Wednesday, March 7, 2012

GBV back with original line-up

I mentioned a couple of days ago that I was liking Let's Go Eat the FActory, the new GBV (at least until May, when it will be the second-to-newest GBV...hard to keep up with Pollard). Anyway, my review ran today at Dusted, check it out.

Guided by Voices
Let’s Go Eat the Factory
(Guided by Voices Industries)

Let’s Go Eat the Factory is the first Guided by Voices album in 16 years to be recorded by the band’s original line-up: Robert Pollard, of course, but also Mitch Mitchell, Greg Demos and, perhaps most significantly, Tobin Sprout. Indeed, you are not very far into this fuzzy, blustery, Beatles-into-Who enterprise, when you come across a coda to “Spiderfight” that reminds you why Sprout mattered. Tipped in at the end of a distorted rampage, here is a tremulous, delicate, beautifully vulnerable bit that makes you remember how Sprout was soul to Pollard’s muscular mercuriality. Nearly two decades ago, in Bee Thousand, “Awful Bliss” carved a lyrical space between “Gold Star for Robot Boy” and “Mincer Ray.” Now “Spiderfight” (and later “Who Invented the Sun”) provides the same kind of contrast, one that both satisfies on its own account and makes Pollard’s big voiced, buzz-guitared pop sound even rougher and more urgent.


"Doughnut for a Snowman"

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Wymond Miles' solo EP

Also, there's this...a review in Blurt of a side project from the Fresh & Onlys guitar player...quite good, quite different from the main gig.

Wymond Miles
Earth Has Doors
(Sacred Bones)

In a break from sunny, tambourine-shaking psychedelia of his main band, The Fresh & Onlys, guitar player Wymond Miles plumbs deeper, existential questions on this four-song EP. Opening salvo, "Hidden Things Are Asking You To Find Them," is a sweeping, psychotropic anthem, anchored in gently strummed folk, but blown out into grandeur in billowing tones of electric guitar, synthesizer and strings. Miles' voice drifts here through clouds and atmospheres of sound, a half-hidden thread itself in this ode to the not-easily-seen. Later, "Temples of Magick" warps a multi-toned cadence of junkyard percussion into a tilted, shuffling march, the drum-beat's stiff and martial air contradicted by Miles' fluttery, diffident vocals.


Tim Foljahn

Jennifer O'Connor's Kiam label has been doing some very good things lately, providing an outlet for her own material for one, and also releasing this new solo album by Tim Foljahn of Two Dollar Guitar. I wrote a review of Songs for an Age of Extinction for Dusted, and it runs today:

Tim Foljahn
Songs for an Age of Extinction

Tim Foljahn’s voice was made for the dark hours — a hollowed out, worn down, shadow-smudged baritone that seems to speak always from the corner of the room that you can’t see very well. He takes his time with the words, leaving long spaces between his thoughts so that you have time to think about what he’s said or, if you prefer, to forget about it altogether and start afresh with each hallucinatory phrase. He has a way of stretching out content without diluting it, so that the pauses become part of the narrative, the silences integral to the songs. The effect is surreal, yet the lyrics are plain spoken with hardly a three-syllable word among them. Music, too, is pared to essentials. Here on Songs for an Age of Extinction, Foljahn accompanies these ruminations pretty much all by himself, framing them with minimal guitar, silvery electric piano or the wheeze of small town church organ.


"New Light"


Monday, March 5, 2012

Best faves so far, February edition

So picking up where I left off, last month I had:

Shearwater, Animal Joy
Sharon Van Etten, Tramp
Mark Lanegan, Blues Funeral
Twilight Sad, No One Can Ever Know

Best stuff in February included:

Dirty Three, Toward the Low Sun...a wilder, hairier edition of Dirty Three's free-jazz-into-rock-into-folk thing, loving the first two tracks with their spinning-out-of-orbit violin and chaotic, cathartic drums...did a Blurt interview with Warren Ellis (plus little quotes from White and Turner) that will come out sometime later this spring in the print issue.

Kevn Kinney and the Golden Palominos, A Good Country especially the back end of this which turns less overtly country and more country-psychedelic, culminating in "Bird", which is just freaking great. I already posted my interview with Kevn and Anton , but if you missed it, here's the link.

Standard Fare, Out of Sight, Out of Town...abrasive girl-centric pop, second album, liked the first a lot, too. Review in pipe.

Guided by Voices, Let's Go Eat the Factory...first album in forever with Tobin Sprout, got some duds, but mostly super fun. Review in pipe.

Okay, so reshuffling let's say
Dirty Three
Twilight Sad

So far...could change.

Magic Wands

Synthy boy-girl electro-pop, the shimmery transparency of voile curtain melodies blowing around in a warm breeze, the snap of drum machines buried under pillow-y layers of keyboard tones...Magic Wands is dreamy to the point of dissolution in a not unpleasant way, as on wave-washed, synthetically rhumba-beated "Aloha Moon," or spiralling (very Pains of Being Pure-ish) "Kaleidoscope Hearts." But I like this geographically disparate duo (Chris in Nashville, Dexy in LA), best at their most emphatic. That's "Kiss Me Dead" buried late on Magic Wand's debut, which puts edge and defiance under all that sonic reassurance and sounds like a particularly well-adjusted Jesus & Mary Chain tune...or a darker iteration of Teenage Fanclub. More of this and we've got something.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Hey I'm back

Screwing around on my computer right now, reading about Rush Limbaugh's "slut" gaffe (how can any woman vote republican, when they so clearly hate us?), trying to decide whether to stay home and make pancakes or go for a run and not doing either...Anyway, I got back on Friday, had a long meandering, actually not unpleasant drive right through the Berkshires (it had just snowed and all the pine trees were loaded, the lakes crusted with drifts, very pretty)...the funeral was the usual, very sad on its face, but suffused with enough family warmth and togetherness to make it actually kind of a good thing. I got through without a fight with my own family, which is unusual. My aunt and cousins are really such a nice family. I wish I saw them more often...and I got to meet some new second cousins who have been born since the last time I was up north.

But I suppose I should get back to the swing of things, perhaps first reporting on the many hours of music that I got through on the drive to and from Toronto. The stuff I loved:
Alexander Tucker, Third Mouth (Thrill Jockey)
Mike Wexler, Dispossession (Mexican Summer)
Luke Roberts, The Iron Gates at Throop and Newport (Thrill Jockey)

Pretty good
Patrick Watson, Adventures in Your Own Backyard (Domino) Like Jeff Buckley?
Adam Arcuragi, I Am Become Joy (This is an old one from the floor, but he lives in Philly so it might come up at some point.)
Crystal Bright And The Silver Hands, Muses and Bones (Yeah I know "Crystal Bright" yeesh, but the record is sort of appealing, extravagantly instrumented, ethnically tinged freak-ish folk...)
Ernest Gonzales, Natural Traits (Mostly instrumental electro-hip-hop...nice.)

And since I've been sitting here, this song has come up and completely captivated me, enjoy...(or not)