NEW MUSIC FRIDAY coming at you with Folk, Jazz, Electronic, Pop, Hip-Hop, Gospel and even some meditation as well
Oh, and where we can obtain it, you can listen to the FULL release. Or, you can listen to the 25-song playlist to hear the very best that T-BONES has to offer you.
QUAKERS - Supa K: Heavy Tremors [LP](Stones Throw/Redeye)
Billed as a beat tape and an origin story, the latest from Geoff Barrow and his fellow Hip-Hop masterminds Supa K and 7STU7 is a 50-track stunner that brings all styles of music into this dizzying mix. With each cut lasting on average just under two minutes, it is best to just dive in and swim through these deep, funky grooves and wild interstitials. “Supa K: Heavy Tremors” is reminiscent of Dilla and Doom mostly as these three make these disparate backdrops fit together perfectly. Take the leap from the Tangerine Dream-meets-Post Punk synth thunder of “Let’s Get It” to the Hip-Hop funk of “My People” as your first taste of this record - and you will never go back. “Supa K: Heavy Tremors” is as deep as the bench of the classic Chicago Bulls and far more than an origin story.
ELIZABETH KING - Living In The Last Days [LP/CD](Bible & Tire/Fat Possum/The Orchard)
Fresh from her career as D-Vine Spirituals resounding voice, 77-year old Elizabeth King of Memphis lets us know we still have a lot to learn. A Gospel record in the middle of a pandemic sounds like a winner to me. In general, Gospel music has reinvigorated Adult R&B radio where the contemporaries of Gospel occupy most of the lower reaches of the chart. Many even manage to crossover and climb out of it. So why not take an upbeat Memphis wailer and let her bring tradition and wisdom to us all. With an awesome band of Memphis sessioneers too. Leave it to Bruce Watson to put it all together and have King sing some of the old favorites as well. “Living In The Last Days” and its joyous call-and-response richly deserve to crossover to AAA/Americana radio. Call it right wrong or wrong right, just know King sings for all of us.
VALENTINA & THE ELECTRIC POST - The Line [LP](Hidden Track ESP/The Orchard)
ORGANI - Parlez-Vous Francais? [LP](Alien Transistor)
With their Portishead-ish sound, the promising duo Valentina Risi and Ildefonso Alonso mine dark ruminations on their second album that is strangely soothing. As the new synthpop goes, Valentina is at their best when they minimize their song structure and simply build the mood on “October.” Even better is how they use the spaces between their slow-boiling electronics on the haunting “Burn” which could easily breakout if used in a trailer or commercial.
Oakland’s Mike Waiti as Organi creates his own brand of retro-Sixties fused Dream Pop where the lingering effects of “Parlez-Vous Francais?” stay with you for a while after it finishes. Waiti has a real knack for backlit hallucinatory grooves where he makes you feel like you are riding the waves of his music in addition to listening. His female singers, esp. Jessica Bailiff on the sublime “The North Wind Blew South” accentuates the experience as you drift. Snap back into it because Waiti’s drums sound amazing beneath the twinkle of numerous keyboards. “Parlez-Vous Francais” is romantically linked with some Serge Gainsbourg-ish bass and makes a great case that Waiti could be the next Mort Garson or spark a new record out of Lovage. Thank you Notwist.
FOR THOSE I LOVE [LP/CD](September UK/The Orchard)
Coming out of the gate like an Irish Arab Strap, David Balfe makes an astonishing debut. His Electronic-based backgrounds are constructed to bring back uneasy memories (“Birthday/The Pain”) and eerie familiarity (“To Have You” blurts out “this pain is REAL” and then spins up to a chipmunk-velocity quote of Bread’s “Everything I Own.”) However, it is the lyrics of Balfe that shatter everything as his angst-ridden spilling of details matches those in your lifetime. To be half a world away and still completely understand the pain of “You Stayed/To Live” through the ravages of time, the difference in language and culture is a rare accomplishment. Furthermore, Balfe may speak with a lot of speed and vitriol, but this is not out of braggadocio. “For Those I Love” communicates its grief not to prolong the suffering but speed us all to catharsis.
BLACK TWIG PICKERS - Friend’s Piece [LP](VHF)
Sally Ann Morgan (2020’s brilliant “Thread”) and her crew of pickers have managed to completely recreate the atmosphere and energy of a barn dance on “Friend’s Piece.” The intimacy of the recording leaves you feeling like you are lucky enough to be in the middle of the circle of musicians observing the whole event. The Pickers slow “Moonshiner” down to a majestic pace that echoes a hymn and lets all the instruments breathe. Later when they trot out the Appalachian melodies on “Sheets of Rain, Streams of Sun,” they beautifully start slow and methodical before bringing it to that Bluegrass bounce. Then “Friend’s Piece” just keeps on heating up (“Roan Mountain Sally Ann”) until the fiddles bid you goodnight on “Dan Friend’s Piece.” Black Twig Pickers may sound unpolished, but those moments of dissonance are just as much a part of this music as the stories behind them. “Friend’s Piece” is keeping the music and its aesthetic alive.
NO-NO BOY - 1975 [LP/CD](Smithsonian Folkways)
Julian Saporti writes himself into the story with these lyrics and music. “1975” while based solely on the year of the fall of Saigon and the loss of Vietnam, is largely the story about his family and how political unrest and cultural identity made their world awful small and unfamiliar. What is most surprising is the music. “1975” is rarely downcast, most of Saporti’s songs sound like Andrew Bird (the trumpet on “Wyoming.”) This is American Folk music (with samples from his history and life) telling the story of how he managed to live through it all.
EXEK - Biased Advice [LP](Castleface/The Orchard)
This mysterious Australian band brings a Post-Punk (read: PiL-ish) edge to atmospheric Rock on their second LP originally issued in 2016. The five years since “Biased Advice” have been kind to it, as these tracks all age well. The thumping “A Hedonist” is the most exemplary Exek cut with a blistering bass groove governing the evolution of the song. The plate-reverbed guitars have a real sting on the drone-y “Foreign Lesions” where the higher-frequencies no longer sound like anything on Earth. When they return to deep beat, scratchy guitar aesthetics on the Jah Wobble-ish “Replicate,” the ongoing loop building is both tense and subtle in that Joy Division circa-” Unknown Pleasures” manner. For a record that wants to seem so bleak and black & white, Exek show they can create layers of sound that could carry them well beyond Post-Punk.
ARTHUR HNATEK TRIO - Static [LP](Whirlwind Recordings UK)
There is a lot of freedom for percussionist Hnatek and his trio on his debut for Whirlwind. Hnatek’s subtle but brilliant drum patterns make every song on “Static” from the most melodious (“27”) to the most chaotic (“Nine B”) continue to fall into place. Bassist Fabien Iannone has a wonderful physical way of playing bass that involves bend and a few well-placed heavy plucks. Saxophonist Francesco Geminiani plays quietly but finds haunting overtones (“In Three”) and uses the distance of the room to make his trills and repeated patterns blend together. “Static” is not necessarily an Avant-Garde record per se. Hnatek and his trio are composing around these wild time-signatures (“27” is in 27/16”) and precise stops. “Static” is just after a different kind of “mutant swing” where the offbeat is never in the same place twice. Promising debut.
DOPOLARIANS - The Bond [LP](Mahakala/Redeye)
New Orleans has a bold tradition of Free Jazz. If you have ever been to Jazz Fest on a Thursday, you may have seen a troupe of musicians take each other on like bullfighters in a ring. One of the longtime conspirators is Kidd Jordan, a saxophone player capable of making both a joyful noise and some of the wildest sounds you may ever hear. While he remains a Dopolarian, Jordan is not part of the lineup on their newest recording. (Sadly, nor is drummer Alvin Fielder who passed away before their last album “Garden Party” was released.) Jordan and Fielder’s musical presence is all over these three blazing improvisations. Louisianian Brian Blade provides some serious percussion thunder on “The Release.” Chad Fowler makes his sax squeal and sing. Pianist Christopher Parker plays with hints of stride piano and chords that make the instrument resonate. Little Rock’s Parker brings singer Kelley Hurt along (her vocals are a soothing balm in the middle of the 21-minute “The Bond”) and trumpeter Marc Franklin who duels with drummer Blade like they are the last two contenders in the ring. Who wins? Jordan and Fielder do as the Dopolarians officially become the next iteration of Jazz Fest Thursday champions.
ALAN VEGA - Mutator [LP/CD](Sacred Bones/Secretly/AMPED)
As the frontman of Suicide, Alan Vega’s songs were more than just his lyrics. His changes in voice, yowls, grunts, and even stops remain a large part of what makes artists and fans return to those albums with Martin Rev. In the Nineties, without Ric Ocasek as producer, Vega regrouped (so to speak) with keyboardist Liz Lamere and injected his minimalism into the days of Industrial/Electronic clatter. Suicide produced largely artificial music but songs that were real. The set of reissues coming from Sacred Bones clearly looks to add to that legacy. “Mutator” was recorded around 1995-96 where Vega is in stylistic transition. The bleak yet danceable “Nike Soldier” finds a softer militancy on its own than it likely would in the days of Nine Inch Nails “The Downward Spiral.” Vega communicates an uncertain warmth on the unsettling “Fist” that any producer at that time would have forced into a Front 242-ish monotone. So far, “Mutator” has done its job of restoring interest in an artist who too many think was only making music that mattered in Suicide.
CAUSA SUI - Szabodelico [LP](El Paraiso DEN/The Orchard)
El Paraiso’s flagship artist returns with an album of Psychedelic Jazz Rock. Given the use of Gabor Szabo’s name in the title, he would be thrilled with the interstellar grooves these players create. Causa Sui carries themselves with certain ease knowing that they do need to rush to cast their spell on the opener “Echoes of Light/Gabor’s Path,” tackling a mean Raga on the title cut and finding a melodious counterpoint on “Sole Elettrico.” The twang on “Under The Spell” and the uptempo charger “Vibratone” could even appeal to adventurous AAA/Americana types. Causa Sui continues to make trippy Jazz that has the spacious appeal to draw everyone in.
MY EXPANSIVE AWARENESS - Taste of Blood [LP](Hotel ESP)
MYTHIC SUNSHIP - Wildfire [LP](Tee Pee)
This pair of new Psychedelic guitar bands find a great balance between Nineties-era Psychedelic Rock and the hallmarks of today’s Alternative Rock. Spain’s My Expansive Awareness emulates The Boo Radleys (the jangle-meets-wah of the potential single “Flow”) and is willing to blues up The Verve (circa “A Storm In Heaven”) on “God of Sun” which must be their epic set closer. While making the album was disrupted, “Taste of Blood” is surprisingly cohesive as My Expansive Awareness makes a great Stateside debut.
Copenhagen’s Mythic Sunship has that maximal ten-minute Psychedelic freakout jam gene that turns every song into a combination between the uptempo pull of Quicksilver Messenger Service and the overdrive push of Hawkwind (and saxophone too.) The five songs that comprise their first Tee Pee release are all lengthy, winding cuts that seek to maintain their strength as parts are interwoven (check the guitars and sax interplay on “Going Up”) and instruments crossover each other routinely. Like their El Paraiso releases, Mythic Sunship remains a band unafraid to freak out.
DJINN - Transmission [LP](Rocket Recordings/Redeye)
Swedish groups like GOAT continue to prove themselves to the world as a force of nature who need few chord changes or even a single melody to fill listeners’ bodies with the all-consuming feeling of their music. This GOAT and Hills side project does a whole lot with a few subtle changes. Like the Spiritual Jazz that inspires it, Djinn needs only to find a groove as its mantra and then gently lull you into a new state of consciousness. “Creator of Creation” is probably the best example of how Djinn patiently adds and subtracts to maintain that rising feeling. The bass-driven percussion-led jam of “Love Divine” actually comes out sounding exactly like it was pulled from some private-press 1968 album where the band wrote this before the morning began and recorded it as an expression of their joy of watching the sunrise. Djinn finds a way to combine the forces of Freak Folk, Seventies Psychedelia, and the ongoing Jazz undercurrent to make “Transmission” take you to the skies above.
These are the good times. You will see soon enough. Soon we will trade the chill for warmth then shed it all to sit in the sunshine and listen to any of these releases and the others we’ll be pulling out of the barrel just for you.
Twice a week, T-BONES places two playlists of New Releases on Spotify.
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