NEW.MUSIC.FRIDAY for your holiday weekend needs.
Aural fireworks ahead! Plenty of releases to light up your Fourth!
YNDI - Noir Bresil [LP](Nascimento/Grand Musique Management)
Given her whisper of a voice, Yndi Da Silva should not stand out as much as her music. "Noir Bresil" is a dark gem of a World music album. First, a full-on exploration of the worlds of rhythm in South America. However, Yndi mixes the natural pull of those patterns with a colorful blend of Electronic sounds and strings. "Novo Mundo" is lush and dark, like danceable David Lynch. "Amazona" reaches for an American Pop beat, but it is the layers of her voices that make it so alluring. Most singers who do this much trickery can exhaust you, but Yndi finds a way to make her Sade-ian voice always welcoming.
QUIVERS - Golden Doubt [LP/CD](Ba Da Bing/The Orchard)
Tasmania-via-Melbourne Indie Rock/Pop group could easily be lumped in with those other jangly awesome Aussies. However, Quivers have such a gift of melody and use their ethereal harmonies so well. The opening 1-2-3 punch of their clever effervescence (the Flying Nun bang of “Gutters of Love”, the shimmer of “When It Breaks” and the heart-raising “Hold You Back.”) “Nostalgia Will Kill You” entertains their 1950’s guitar/harmony mix, while the awesome “Chinese Medicine” and the almost New Wave pump of “You’re Not On My Mind” and still Quivers have more arrows to fire. “Videostores” introduces synths and “Overthinking” brings vocalist Bella Quinlan upfront for a pair of evocative mid-tempo love songs. After that respite, Sam Nicholson returns to close the albums with a pair of tracks similar to their last record. As Nicholson changes his perspective on the loss of his brother, “Golden Doubt” quickly vaults into a maturation for the band. Beautifully written, elegantly produced, and with more hooks than a tackle box, “Golden” is truly that.
EOMAC - Cracks [LP](Planet Mu/Redeye)
There is something about the insistence of the beat in IDM (and EDM too.) That driving beat makes or breaks so many songs and artists. Irish producer Ian McDonnell can make that stomping four-on-the-floor beat morph into something completely alien. His synth lines can be almost lysergic ("Falling Through The Cracks,") and his mixes ("What Does Your Heart Tell You?) build to near drug-like peaks. "Cracks" starts out like the usual IDM album, but as you keep falling into "Cracks," McDonnell finds more and more ways to layer Industrial-strength sounds and textures that lead to clinging to the insistence of the beat for familiarity.
TAPE WAVES - Bright [LP](Emotional Response)
Kim and Jarod Weldin clearly communicate through their wispy shoegazer music. Much like early Slowdive, Tape Waves songs depend solely on the chorus-y jangle of the guitar and the reverb-drowned vocals from Kim. "Waiting For The Night" is gauzy Pop with a neat tacet melody. "Get Back" and "Invisible Lines" are Tape Waves at their most Lush, creating Pop whose melodies are hidden in their diaphanous mix. "Bright" is full of poppy songs turned into lengthy hazy dreams.
ELLEN ANDREA WANG - Closeness [LP](Ropeadope)
Norwegian double bassist/singer Wang uses the space on her spartan album beautifully. There is an icy beauty to her band guitarist Rob Luft and drummer Jon Fait. Fait holds down the groove on many songs with some splendid fills that are beautifully compensated by rubbery bends and sounds from Wang. Metheny-esque guitarist Luft plays to emphasize his use of effects (think John Scofield,) while finding the most perfect chords to just ring out. Wang plays and sings on Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman" like it was her own - a stunning performance. You will be hearing a lot more about her soon.
ALASTOR - Onwards and Downwards [LP](Riding Easy)
After a pair of EPs and their 2018 debut “Slave To The Grave,” Swedish Doom/Stoner slammers Alastor return with an album that achieves just the right balance of Olde and New Metal while mixing Doom, Stoner, and Sludge into their very low-end jams.
The lengthy “Dead Things In Jars” plays with Sabbath-ian riffage before stopping and giving you a jazzy, effect-laden solo that renews the thunderous Iommi-an central riff. Vocalist Robyn Arnryd has that Uncle Acid-esque menace down. Like the ringmaster at the circus, Arnryd knows just when to drop the reins and let the band run rampant (the stomping “Death Cult”) and when to draw a narrative over their buzzsaw soundtrack.
A pair of cool new collections from Cherry Red!
THE SORROWS - Pink, Purple, Yellow and Red [4CD](Grapefruit)
Various Artists - BANQUET - UNDERGROUND SOUNDS OF 1969 [3CD](Grapefruit)
Coventry’s The Sorrows are one of those British bands who are too often overlooked in the move from R&B/Blues-based Pop to pre-Freakbeat British Invasion Rock. Their best-known song “Take A Heart” was their only chart success (stalling at #21 in 1965.) Somewhere between The Pretty Things and The Kinks, The Sorrows start out with that swishy Mersey beat (“I Don’t Want To Free”) but taken to the garage or stretched out with tinny guitars to R&B-ish bliss (“Come With Me.”) Their first true masterstroke single was “Teenage Letter” in 1965 where they fused the ramrod 50’s Rock sound with the uptempo R&B on the radio. By the mid-Sixties with the help of producer Shel Talmy, The Sorrows would become huge drums and the pained howl of Don Fardon. However, when Fardon leaves in 1966, The Sorrows change their sound.
Lineup #2 is led by former lead guitarist now-singer Pip Whitcher. Shuffling the band actually made The Sorrows a band of the times - for a moment. This is where “Pink, Purple, Yellow, and Red” really dives into the unknown music from the group. You get the band moving to Italy to pursue success (“Take A Heart” went to #8 there as “Mi Si Spezza Il Cuore”) and made the psychedelic “Old Songs, New Songs.” “Hey, Mr. Policeman” has sinuous beats and a sonorous vocal, while “Hey Hey” gives them that Mod sound. The collection is a treasure trove. There are four cuts recorded in 1964 by Joe Meek, an acetate of an unreleased album and cuts made with Ennio Morricone. After diving in, it still remains hard to believe The Sorrows never squeaked out at least one hit. They remain one of those bands Anglophiles desperately need to know.
After the tumultuous year of 1968, British Rock began to subdivide and lay the roots for Prog Rock and its Prog Pop offshoot. From the foundation of British Folk, most of the songs on this scintillating collection have a story to tell. Beyond that with the “Progressive” tag in tow what blossomed in the perfumed garden of Pirate Radio moves to the BBC bearing hints of classical, jazz, blues, and even Hard Rock. Furthermore what is not played there has now found an audience via the alternative press (International Times and Oz) and word-of-mouth between small communal groups of friends.
The music of “Banquet” seeks to be an exploration. Songs are written for effect and stylistic purposes, but generally always sincere. Early Van Der Graaf Generator finds a dreamy, folky groove where you can hear the jingling acoustic guitar and a Beatlesque tack piano part. Welsh Prog Rockers Man enters the world with the moody almost Hard Rock of “The Future Hides Its Face” which climaxes in bits of Apollo transmissions. Barclay James Harvest on only their second single form their Prog ideas into a Bee Gees-esque Mellotron-driven cut (“the B-side “Poor Wages”) that sounds like King Crimson. Even Deep Purple Mk. I sounds like Pink Floyd here on ‘The Shield.”
“Banquet,” like most of Grapefruit/Cherry Red’s collection cuts a wide swath, especially in finding B-sides and undiscovered gems. (Honestly, the most fun activity to do with a Sixties/Seventies collection from the label is to just listen without knowing who it is and being totally surprised when you discover who it was.) Some tracks are all about immediate recognition. Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh Well” - totally uncharacteristic for the band in 1969 resulted in a #2 hit. Spooky Tooth’s “Better By You, Better By Me” - one of the tracks that nearly pushed their album “Spooky Two” into the US Top 40 and its appearance as a single in 1970 could be an early example of crowdsourcing. The list goes on touching US AOR favorites like Free, Jeff Beck, and of course that ur-Prog band Procol Harum (“A Salty Dog.”)
Three CDs give you a world of opportunity to venture from the familiar to the adventurous. Jazz/Rock Colosseum pound out “The Kettle” like they are Soft Machine. High Tide mixes Jim Morrison-esque vocals and supremely overdriven guitar for a dark Hard Rock sound. Psychedelia, Blues, and Rock join forces in Mighty Baby who are far tougher than their flower power counterparts. “Banquet” is a real feast for both the curious musical psychonaut looking for unheard gems and the neophyte who just wants to experience the haze around the late Sixties.
AND AS A BONUS TRACK…
JONI MITCHELL - The Reprise Albums (1968-1971) [LP BOX/CD BOX]
There is a moment on the post-Woodstock Dick Cavett Show that lives on. After she helicoptered in from Max Yasgur's Farm with Jefferson Airplane, Stephen Stills, and David Crosby, Mitchell was in the group of willing participants to the victory lap. However, Mitchell does not say much except about how it took three years for her fellow Canadians to decide on a flag, and then they all hated it. She exudes humility and strange grace. Then she sits down at a piano and is transformed while she sings "Willy" and "For Free." After the thunderous applause, she delivers a sweet, blushing "Thank you" and tells a brief bit about her next song.
There have been dozens of Folkies turned singer/songwriters. And hundreds of female troubadours airing their confessions out to all that would hear. No one could emulate and be as honest as Joni. Her 1968 debut "Song To A Seagull" (produced by David Crosby) shows Mitchell leaving her beanpole aw-shucks Folkiness behind to write songs that burst at the seams with love ("Michael From Mountains.") However, it is 1969's underrated "Clouds" that sets the stage for Joni, the artist. You realize that the people she writes songs about move her. With just her guitar (mostly,) "Clouds" are Polaroids of her existence among those struggling with mental illness, anxiety, and the dreaded War. For all the politics in the air, Joni chooses not to tell her story-but theirs.
The Seventies begin and Mitchell's Laurel Canyon tales presage years of female performers and writers (Lana Del Rey, just one example) on "Ladies of the Canyon." The subtleties of Jazz begin to show up in her instrumental passages, her command over songs like "Woodstock" (covered by CSNY) and cleverness on "Big Yellow Taxi" finally brings her radio play. Mitchell won a Grammy and found herself in need of a creative change. A year of just drawing and painting gave her time and energy to collect her power again.
If Mitchell's career stopped here, we would still be talking about her. However, she finally wrote songs about herself. Turning the microscope on her own life, uncertainty, loneliness and, emotions provided singer/songwriters with all the fuel they would ever need on "Blue." Armed with piano, guitar, and hammer dulcimer, "Blue" is the first Mitchell album made with no need for a single. In total control, Mitchell's rawness and honesty still communicate with listeners today. Salvaged from the ruins of three relationships (all covered in the entirety of this box set) "Blue" is Mitchell communicating the feelings of love and loss without losing herself in the process. It still stands as one of the bravest albums in all of Rock and a touchstone for everyone who picks up a guitar to find solace and release in playing it. Again, there she is that green dress on Cavett, looking out of place yet not completely uncomfortable - all because, even then, she knew she had more to say with her instrument - than without it.
Well, another week, another list of suggested music for you. Thank you. Share. Comment. Enjoy. From all of us to all of you - have a happy and safe Fourth of July!
On a final note, T-BONES would like you to know that Record Store Day is coming back for DROP 2 on July 17th. This list of exclusives, reissues, and just awesome products 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 T-BONES
A mix of the NEW RELEASES and some fantastic import collections from Cherry Red and Ace all out this week!
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