Monthly Spins: April 2017

No doubt in bloom, with ambient noise, a polyrhythmic chorus of peepers, we slide into longer days and with it a growing festival of capitol nincompoopery. Milk of amnesia and nesting matryoshkas. How long will it last and where are we headed? ‘It is Spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible black.’

So many astounding new sounds to share and pass on this month. This column does not adhere to a new releases only policy. There is so much music being released that it would be foolhardy to try to keep up only with the newest of the new. Whether it be three or five years old if I’ve just heard it and think it worthy I will write about it here. From time to time I might add in an old chestnut that might be 30 or even 50 years old. I get to listen to music seven hours a day at work using an iphone, Dragonfly DAC and a pair of RHA T10s, not to mention some time at home with my awesome new Audioquest NightOwl Carbons. The point is that I get to sift through a whole lot of music, which you might not have time for.

I’m hoping for comments, suggestions and any hint of a feedback loop. I listen to all suggestions you post.

MJ Guider: Precious Systems
File Under: meditative, ambient, popgaze
Melissa Guion aka MJ Guider now shares label space on Kranky with mates Stars of the Lid and Grouper. She also shares an abiding sense of the ambient goth spaceship inherent in both those bands. The pieces are more successful when they have a propulsive, relentless beat like opener "Lit Negative", "Triple Black", or the no-wavish "Evancycle" with its dirge-like repetition of the phrase "in control, in control, in control." Check out also her EP Green Plastic. Special thanks to reader keithsonic for this recommendation.

Available from Bandcamp

Tinniens: Dub Guns & Tunneler
File Under: loop-based kraut and electronics, gaze
Tinniens is the duo of Landing‘s Aaron Snow and Daron Gardner, who have created a couple of tasty cassettes worth of collaborative komische music for label Geographic North with Dub Guns and Tunneler. There’s a more expansive thrust to these two releases than on the space rock, dreamcore of Landing’s work with layers of percussion, refracted guitar and sometimes melody mixed with word fragments.

Available from Bandcamp: Dub Guns and Tunneler

Landing: Complekt
File Under: dream pop, space rock, kraut
The husband and wife team of Adrienne and Aaron Snow have released ten studio albums. I hadn’t actually listened to them since K-Records 2004 Sphere LP and had no idea they’ve been so prolific and consistently great. Lot’s of stuff up on Tidal and almost a complete listing on Bandcamp. With Complekt they have gone back to the original band and have quite likely refined their beatific, space rhythm sound into an epic realm.

Available from Bandcamp

Seven Feathers Rainwater: New Wig
File Under: expansive neo-psychedelia
There is the attention to detail like that of a Roxy Music with elaborate arrangements, a mixture of acoustic and electronics and nods to incipient Floyd. Even though this is a 2016 record it still keeps a footprint in the late oughts, turn-of-this-decade world forged by Merriweather Post Pavilion--a brilliant legacy benighted by Mr. Brian Wilson and unleashed upon our unsuspecting yet thankful musical world. New Wig stands out from the sometimes overreaching sensibility that the Wilsonesque moniker often implies. Listen especially to the 8 minute long track Dreamin and the track Oysters.

Available from Bandcamp

Gamardah Fungus: Herbs and Potions
File Under: mystical Ukrainian ambient
Comprised of a duo formed in 2009 by sound designer Igor Yalivec and guitarist Sergey Yagoda, the name refers to a non-drug-like, folk potion native to the region made up of various natural herbs and minerals that is thought to expand the parameters of the mind. As they state on Bandcamp: "Not a drug, but an elixer of wisdom," and that’s exactly how I’d describe this subtle and ambient recording.

Available from Bandcamp

Dino Sabatini: Shaman's Path
File Under: darkcore, ambient, electronic
If you told me three months ago that I'd be listening to and reviewing a fair amount of techno-inspired music I'd say you were a big trump. There are two distinct reasons for this. One is that I have gotten significant gear upgrades since taking on this assignment and now I can hear subtleties that I previously could not. The second reason is that once you find a couple of good wizards (Dadub and others at Stroboscopic Artefacts) you tend to find solid recommendations for Other Albums Like This One, which is exactly how I found this dark and resplendent gem. Another reason is that I appreciate music that transports me into expansive realms and this record does that and more.

Available from Bleep

Julie Jacklin: Don’t Let the Kids Win
File Under: singer, songwriter
A strong debut by Australian singer/songwriter Julia Jacklin with shades of wit like fellow country mate Courtney Barnett. Throw in the evocative confessions of van Etten and the musical chops of Angel Olsen. There's not a weak or mediocre song on the whole album. We have lots to look forward to in the future.

Available from Bandcamp

Shaddah Tuum: Merkabah/SunInYourHead (EP)
File Under: wardub, hardcore, techno
In that intensely heavy tradition of Italians in Berlin, Shaddah Tuum is a collaborative effort between Nicolas Lefort and Brandon Rosenbluth aka niko ‘shaddah’ Ifo and xorzyzt. With an excellent Dadub remix of the cut of "Merkabah".

Available from Bandcamp

White Poppy: White Poppy
File Under: hypnagogic, wave, experimental pop
I say spectral and I probably mean nostalgic because these are codified forms long ago carried forth by Faust (yes, I mean Kraut) but there are also cascading guitar overdubs, synthetic drones and snappy new wave gothy bass lines. Does it matter that we've been here before? No, because Crystal Dorval has made the sound all her own. A lot of time and TLC went into this album and it's a pleasure to hear.

Available from Bandcamp

Wild Pink: Wild Pink
File Under: slo-core, indie rock, Brooklyn
Their first full length release puts Brooklyn trio Wild Pink firmly in the slow-core world of indie rock’s stalwarts such as Fleet Foxes. Lead singer and songwriter John Ross’s voice is barely a whisper here and rambles through somewhat dystopian Americana references.

Available from Bandcamp

Luigi Tozzi: Deep Blue
File Under: deep, ambient, techno, experimental
These Italians seem to be a bit ahead of us in understanding and conveying a sense of the dystopian, surfing on a wave we here in America have only now just sited. They be woke. It's a different ethos than the roar of commerce sound that normally seeps out of America. That, no doubt, is changing as you read this. See also, Deep Blue Vol 2.

Available from Bandcamp

Joe Surdna is a practicing artist and writer who has published in Playboy, GQ, Zoetrope and has worked on several alt-weeklies as an entertainment reporter focusing on art, new music, and film reviews.

CrimsonKink's picture

Every one of these sounds (heh) worth checking out. Thanks!