I’m in the midwest, where there are no mountains. The tornado sirens just went off in my neighborhood, and my basement is beginning to leak water through the foundation. Split the screen. Paw Paw is on the coast, where they’ve moved the mountains out of sight in favor for the beach. The sun’s gleaming with only a few clouds in the sky, and the waves are washing back towards them.
Somehow these two are congruent. I feel like there’s an ocean in my backyard and that the wind will tear down everything in its path. Paw Paw probably feels like there isn’t enough water in their backyard and that the breeze could pick up just a bit. Maybe, I dunno know? It’s hard to really see what you’re seeing once you’re in it. It’s even harder to see what you aren’t seeing once removed from it. And what is it? Anything and everything. Placidity isn’t always a cry for help, so much so as it is a helpful cry. Same goes for panic.
Check out Paw Paw’s new two-track digital release out now on Fire Talk.
TMT friend and consistent provider, M. Sage released another group of stretching melodies from his Patient Sounds imprint. The Heaven House tape is from Salt Lake City resident Braeyden Jae who just released a separate tape on Oakland label Inner Islands seventeen days prior, under the leaf-covered moniker softest. The June 7 release Music for Rain, in Braeyden’s words, produced “sound reflections for a rainy day, or a day when you want some rain” and plays out like the illuminated small span time at storms end when clouds clear and the water warms.
Heaven House is the cloudy predecessor, where Braeyden was inside before the storm cleared. The blinds were half drawn and his room was barely lit from outside, reading or messing with something else that doesn’t glow. The tape wanders in and out, barely able to keep it’s head up and I’m going to go walk around and listen to this.
Heaven House is out on Patient Sounds [Editor’s Note: Check out the boss-ass link address when you get there too, for LAWLZ’s sake].
“She Is Young, She Is Beautiful, She Is Next”
Peep this new music video from Parisian synth artist Perturbator, which synthesizes a lot of current trends in a neat, glossy package; in an awesome way. Maybe you will disagree, but go along with me here:
– Retro-futuristic graphics? Check.
– Unmistakably cyberpunk imagery (crumbling dystopian cityscape, rad future-utility wear, badass hover cycle?) Check.
– Occult elements (pentagrams galore, triangles, skulls, ankh hanging from rearview mirror?) Check for sure.
– Giallo / horror worship (festering corpses, undead skelton-bots, Lovecraftian squid monster?) Check.
– Cyborg lazer panther? Oh, you better believe that’s a big fat check.
Regarding those graphics, they most resemble classic early 90s Atari and PC games. The music on accompanying new album Dangerous Days follows suit. Will anything that’s “retro” ever stop being cool? Probably not. So flip down that virtual visor, jack in, and enjoy these giddy thrills.
I first stumbled upon Ruth Garbus’ music last fall when attempting to listen to every single Vermont pop weirdo I could find. Garbus’ Rendezvous with Rama album for Autumn was one of the first records I found from this scene and I was instantly struck by the power of its ultra minimal instrumentation (just guitar and voice) in conjunction with Garbus’ lush harmonic/melodic sensibilities and bittersweetly wry lyrics. Garbus is one of the rare songwriters whose distinct style comes directly from the raw structural material of her songs as opposed to any sort of additional arrangement/production. There’s often so much going on between the lyrics and the melodic, and harmonic material of Garbus’ work that any additional instrumentation could ultimately cloud the subtle ideas present in the bare elements of her songwriting. It’s obvious that a significant amount of composition goes into each one of Garbus’ songs and perhaps her desire to achieve such formal structural clarity is why she isn’t as prolific as some of the other artists in the Brattleboro/Burlington scene. However, every single release of Garbus’ is always excellently crafted and the Joule EP is another wonderful entry in her canon.
All of Garbus’ music has an interesting implicit fascination with the recording space that her songs occupy. Where Rendezvous with Rama was full of open space and natural reverb and Ruthie’s Requests contained various bits of tape detritus, Joule EP works with a far more compressed landscape that is highlighted by the doubling of Garbus’ guitar/voice on most tracks. In some ways, this condensing of sound makes the EP seem a bit more straightforward at first but like other Vermont songwriters Chris Weisman and Zach Phillips, Garbus’ music hides complexity behind easy hooks and simple accompaniment. On Joule EP, it takes many listens to realize how truly crazy some of the chords are and similarly, Garbus’ lyrics on Joule EP contain surprisingly political messages that only begin to reveal themselves over time. Joule EP is another great example of how Garbus is creating some of the most forward looking singer-songwriter music around.
• Ruth Garbus: http://www.ruthgarbus.bandcamp.com
Evan A. James
Evan A. James’ self-titled cassette is economical. It is economical in that it induces rich image through sound. We feel as though Mr. James is sharing snapshots of an abandoned hotel. He may have discovered the snapshots while panning for fake pearls. Dusting off the surface, he realizes their remarkable beauty. He arranges them to emphasize their luster, even though they’ve plainly dulled.
There are no snapshots of the majestic lobby, only pictures of its offspring, the unkempt rooms. Transients haunted the rooms; rooms that are now filled with their floating sounds, sounds on photographs, romantic and weary.
Perhaps, in “Gallery Waltz,” the photographer frames a picture of a well-worn couple, mechanically starting and stopping their intimacies in the oblivion of a nondescript room. In “Sunrise,” perhaps, an agoraphobe, in apprehensive awe, watches the day transpire through a silted-up window pane. In “Chord,” a family member leans in closer to hear the bubble-mouthed telekinetic’s last gurgles, indecipherable over the medical drones. Perhaps.