July [album teaser]
Yuuuup. Marissa Nadler. Bringing that serious folk back in action 2014-style. Yeah, sure, she’s worked with Xasthur, as Jeff reminded me. But recording at Avast Studio with producer Randall Dunn (Earth, Sunn O))), Wolves in the Throne Room)… mmmmdamn. July hitting reality next month via Sacred Bones should be dark. No doubt. First single here and the rest of her work here.
What an insane juxtaposition, though. I mean, it’s totally Sacred Bones’ brooding style: releasing a bare-ass folk [Editor/Writer’s note: listened to the album entirely yesterday and it’s not so bare-ass folk as it is abundant in sorrow; hi!] album entitled July in mid-winter, produced by a dark-ass dude, and written by the sweetest of sadness. Let’s be real, Marissa Nadler can swoon armies to death. She could’ve probably sung down the Berlin wall. Dimensions will open up when July hits record players. Follow that rabbit hole. Become infinity! Pre-order the gateway that is July by Marissa Nadler here.
The day my stomach turned into a bass drum I awoke in agony. You’d think the heart would take a key roll to provide some kind of beat in such a situation, but actually it just carried on with its own rhythm, selfishly out of time, each sodden squelch of life seeming to say “Don’t look at me BRO, I’m just a pump for you’re weird-tasting juice of life.” None of my trousers would fit around the large rim of my stomach-drum, which rattled with the late night pitta-bread and fried egg snack I’d digested, drunk, a few hours beforehand. Consequently, I was forced to fashion a toga from an old bed sheet in my washing pile.
As I stood to attach my new attire the drum in my tummy began a steady THUMP THUMP THUMP, not painful at all, but loud. I felt behind me to find that my spine and coccyx bone had morphed into an impressive wooden beater, which swung like an erect tail at the taut skin of my stomach drum, keeping a perfect beat to some invisible song in the sky. I tried to hold this beater still, to stop it’s swinging and pounding for just a second, but it proved stronger than my feeble hands. The eggs and bread rattled impressively behind the translucent skin of my tummy-drum. I watched in awe as they steadily broke down into smaller and smaller pieces, until the food finally turned into a small pile of digested dust, the beater slowed to a stop, and I felt overcome with hunger.
But enough about me, lets talk about Nope, a band from Bradford/Leeds (depending who you ask, I argue for the former), who play classic rock with two drum kits and rock harder than any one man band could ever dream. “Walker” was, “written and performed by Nope as part of a film/music collaboration with Eoin Shea [who also did the excellent artwork for their last album Revision.] for RECON 2013,” an ace festival of experimental art in Yorkshire, UK, that will be happening again this year.
Steve Gunn & Mike Gangloff
Tong a few logs onto the fire and switch on the turntable. If either of the names GUNN or GANG(-LOFF) on the album art above strike a gong in your musical memory, you know what to expect from the very first note of their collaborative recordings: pristine phrases plucked from an acoustic guitar, bowed from a fiddle, and pounded out of percussion; “songs” that wind through the underbrush, achieve moments of meditation, and double back to return home; a holy amalgam of performance strategies culled from the American Primitive, Indian classical, and contemporary drone/minimalist traditions. Steve Gunn and Mike Gangloff deepened their already bottomless catalogs in 2013 with the solo full-lengths Time Off and Poplar Hollow, funneling ideas and tones they’ve explored in Kurt Vile’s live band and Pelt, respectively, into more concise compositions. As much as these albums testify to their strengths as songwriters and bandleaders, both men perform as comfortably outside of set rhythms and chord structures as within them, with results no less sublime.
Melodies for a Savage Fix finds the duo stranding themselves in a secluded cabin sanctuary and making music to strand oneself in a secluded cabin sanctuary to. The album’s five sessions range from a country-fried raga exploration led by Gangloff’s sighing fiddle, to a banjo/guitar bluegrass jugalbandi, to a slide guitar in conversation with cavernous gong hits. But the seventeen minutes of “Topeka AM,” streaming below, fill most of the B-side with the LP’s most expansive improvisation, exuding enough heat to stay warm through the subzero season(s). Snow gathers in the windowsills while Gunn’s right hand conjures a busy stream of twelve-string sixteenth notes that treads the tonal line between ecstasy and reverence. Panes frost over as Gangloff responds to Gunn’s shifting harmonies with whatever instrument he deems appropriate at the moment (harmonium, bells, shakers, drums). The few rays of sunlight cast across the floorboards recede as the tempo picks up before the climax.
Melodies for a Savage Fix is available now from Important Records.
Jeff Barsky is getting into a really bad [Editor note: ….or good? ;)] habit of putting stuff out under the INSECT FACTORY moniker with no information attached. Even getting a physical copy of his work might not yield much in the way of specifically who was involved, what was involved, when or why was involved. On Lights all we got was a little, “some tracks from 2013 - happy holidays…” message on Facebook. But hey, this is our job or something, right?
Here’s the information, from what I can gather: Jeff Barsky makes music in a crazy heavy-psych/noise band called The Plums and also blows my mind with his guitar, pedals and amp as INSECT FACTORY. He’s from the DC area and Lights seems to represent itself as an extras reel of disjointed tracks he produced during the 2013 calendar year. But the collection manages to shine just about as bright as anything I’ve heard from him before – densely layered loops, planes of static standing tall like a gigantic back-scratcher of audio, improvised melodies clamoring over drones like they’re peaks in a mountain range… It’s lovely, monolithic, moving, fluid and entirely lovely. And it costs whatever you want. Happy holidays indeed… this was the gift that’s just kept on giving. And now, dear readers, we re-gift it unto you. Got to (UH!UH!) pass it on!
• Insect Factory: http://www.insectfields.org/home.html
There are 14 albums posted on the PARTY TRASH Bandcamp page between the last thing I heard, roses back in August of 2012, and this new one, entitled scrapped. This one is collection number four of previously unreleased beats, and the tracklist runs 30 deep, which is to say, 30 formed ideas that didn’t fit among the 170 other tracks comprising those 14 albums between August of 2012 and now.
Our very own Birkut, in opening the review for last year’s excellent Deep Magic release Reflections of Most Forgotten Love, raised the question: “At a time when musicians can work just as productively in the comfort of their kitchen as they can in the studio, why might some listeners find prolificacy objectionable?”
Am I more likely to listen to a band whose Bandcamp release list only runs two or three deep, than one who has averaged a release a month for the past couple of years? And how do I compare the unspoken release of a beat tape to Bandcamp after enduring the hype of an otherwise “bigger” album, to find a physical copy in some record store somewhere, likely listening to it less than a name-your-price Bandcamp release, considering the limitations of records that don’t come stuffed with a download code.
All that aside, I’d be hard-pressed to find one beat on scrapped that doesn’t stand up to the nearly canonized style of cosmic shredding built up by PARTY TRASH throughout the last couple of years.
• PARTY TRASH: http://partytrash.bandcamp.com