Eternal Fair: Chris Jones, Andrew Vait, Daniel Nash
"What heaven, what hell have we here?" are the lyrics that open The Horse That Carries the Wheel, the latest rock album with a massive, unexpected sound from Seattle jazz-trained trio Eternal Fair. Lead singer and principal songwriter Andrew Vait is a studied vocalist whose music is built on an armature of dreamy folk rock, but whose jazz proclivities, and vocal gifts, push his work to conceptual/rock opera heights. THTCTW lets its freak flag fly by bringing a backline of keys to the forefront which—accompanied by Chris Jones on a thudding bass to match Daniel Nash’s percussion work—makes listening comprable to getting punched in the aural gut after Vait’s got you looking up.
The music hearkens lost prog rock greats like Van Der Graaf Generatoror Caravan in quality—the album is brought to you futuristically static and fuzz free by the production quality of Studio Engineer Chris Mathews Jr., and mastering work ofRick Fisher. There is not a single instrument out of place here, which starts to feel more and more like a colossal feat the deeper you get into the album. Stringy synths back driving guitar between heavy drums and mellotron, and Wurlitzer arc and whir throughout—Vait's vocals stretch past the point of belief, he holds notes at will, and changes his attack like a chameleon to suit the environment of the particular song.
Photo: Bryan Bruchman [video projection by id-M-Theft-Able]
From Herbcraft's MySpace
Herbcraft The Astral Body Electric (Woodsist)
Over the course of six songs, Maine's Herbcraft builds up an atmosphere of beauty and menace on their third full-length.
I couldn't say why I find minor-key music so relaxing, but The Astral Body Electric is a case in point, since there's nothing especially uplifting going on here, but the whispers and chants that ride atop Nicholas Barker's rolling, tabla-inspired rhythms have the quality of lullabies, mantras, or incantations (the title also brings Ray Bradbury's anthology I Sing the Body Electric* to mind).
* Along with Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, Bradbury's episode of The Twilight Zone, etc.
I wonder what would happen If you read the lyrics to this new ICP song, "Where's God?" out loud, at a coffee shop, during a poetry reading?
Evil is here, the boogie man too, You don't own a gun, man, you should plan to, Am I looking at shit negatively, Crib death mom ain't got shit left, How the fuck is shit fair out here, Homeless family froze on the stairs, where's God, bumping his iPod, It's odd, I'll be the lightning rod,
I guess I wasn't paying enough attention to my Suicidal Tendencies Google alert because I had no idea the band not only had a new album in the works, but that it's out today! 13 is the first new material the band has released in 13 years, and it marks the band's 30th anniversary.
Here's the video for the first single, "Cyco Style":
To watch Mike Muir spit lyrics like "We can't be sold out/We can't be fuckin' bought!" from behind pretend prison bars... in 2013... it feels a little... silly.
Grenades, the local riffblasters who've been promising a full-length since last year, are finally coming through! Their debut album, Heaven Is Empty, will be out May 7th on Red Cobra Records and the band gave us the album's opening track, "Emerald," to share with the world.
Here, hear—it'll wake you the fuck up:
Of course my impatient snark above is just a fun jab—in truth, while the Seattle foursome haven't released a full-length, they've clearly been keeping busy. Just last month they released the limited-edition tapeBadmotorboater (which you can hear on bandcamp), and in 2011 they did a split record with another worthy local band, Mercy Ties.
Still, very excited about Heaven Is Empty. I've been bugging them about it for over a year. It is time.
Grenades' record release party is May 3rd at the Comet with Smooth Sailing, Serial Hawk, and Old Iron.
I try not to judge musicians and filmmakers by the careers they've held in the past. And by the past, I'm not referring to their backgrounds as music makers or movie directors, but in fields that tend to garner less respect and pay more handsomely—like modeling and porn. Hence the hostility towards some of these ambitious individuals, i.e. jealousy, on the one hand, and skepticism, on the other, because a career makeover is a difficult thing to pull off, and many have failed.
There will always be exceptions, though, like Jay Baker, who made the documentary Beware of Mr. Baker (yes, he's a former model). Models have been making records for years now, too, and if some are bad, some are not (I'm partial to the work of France's Italian-born First Lady; shame about the husband). Carmen Villain's debut, Sleeper, falls into the latter category. If anything, I was more skeptical because of her Cruella de Vil-like name than her cover-girl past.
I love it when a record, movie, book, or television series gives me what I want along with a few things I didn't know I wanted.
When an artist or group fulfills my expectations right down to the letter, I get bored pretty quickly. It's like eating the same delicious piece of chocolate day after day after day. Within a week, I'm gonna crave something different—even if I don't like it as much—as opposed to the colleague who eats the same microwavable meal for lunch year in and year out. I don't know how she does it.
And that's how I feel about Julian Lynch's third full-length. I found "Carios kelleyi I" entrancing, and hoped the rest of the album would sound like that, but it doesn't. I listened yesterday morning, and felt disappointed, partly due to the muffled singing—and I'm a big believer in the understated vocal—but then I listened again that night, and it clicked, possibly because I expected the mumbling, which ceased to bother me as much. Guess it helps that I used to be into Basehead.
Hold onto your facial hair, local triumphant space-rockers the Quiet Ones are premiering a high-budget music video for "E.K.G." today. Right now. This instant.
This sweet modern riffage can be found on their newest album Molt in Moments, coming down the pike (or should I say, coming down TO Pike! Right? Barboza's address? Ha!) at their not-so-quiet album-release show on April 11.
The Quiet Ones + Marty Marquis, the Young Evils / Barboza, 925 E. Pike / 8pm, $8 ADV
Helado Negro's Roberto Lange reminds me of Keren Ann (born Keren Ann Zeidel) in that he's starting to allow more English words into his discography, but without completely abandoning his outer-American roots.
After moving to New York and signing to Blue Note, it's inevitable that Zeidel wouldn't sing exclusively in French. In Lange's case, he still sings primarily in Spanish, but Invisible Life offers his first English-language songs, including the fine single "Dance Ghost," which I wrote about in this post.
Like Keren Ann, who has lived in France and Israel, the Brooklyn musician and visual artist has lived all over the place, including Florida and Georgia (his parents hail from Ecuador, but he grew up in the States). Consequently, writers tend to focus on the fact that he's spent time in humid climates, but it seems reductive to describe his music as "tropical" or "summery." If anything, there's a cool vibe to his material, since he has a blurred way of singing as if he were reticent to get too close to the mic. In other words, he draws more from abstract Latin traditions like bossa nova and Tropicália than passionate, heart-on-sleeve forms like mariachi.
"Itchy gothic synthcore... Detroit's eeriest, scariest, plain witchiest couple... Compressing the sound of gothic cathedral symphonics into the frame of a stuttering, cobwebbed Casio, Miller ratchets up the disco glitch into a ferociously minimal, hyper-tense techno rush." —NME / Requiem Media
BONUS VIDEO: Check out the trailer for the 28 minute horror film POSSESSION(S). POSSESSION(S) was written, scored and directed by Nicola Kuperus and Adam Lee Miller. The film can not be purchased on DVD. It can only be experienced in person with ADULT. performing the soundtrack live to the film.
I don't know if it's the cello or the way that Julia Kent plays it, but Character, her third full-length, gives off a certain mournful, elegiac glow. I wouldn't describe it as depressing or morose, but it isn't uplifting or celebratory either.
There's just something innately sorrowful about the instrument (Nirvana's MTV Unplugged in New York version of "Something in the Way" with Lori Goldston is one particularly exquisite example). A player would have to struggle to make it sound cheap or cheesy, but I'm not likely to turn to cello music to get me going in the morning or to brighten a dark day.
Unlike Arthur Russell, who sang as he played, Kent opts for an instrumental approach. It may be a lack of imagination on my part—or a lack of familiarity with cello-centered works—but I feel like I'm listening to a film score, even if she didn't intend these 10 tracks for that purpose (to Dummy magazine, she explained, "Character is an exploration of an inner geography; a sort of personal chart").
And yes, this is a blatant promotion of iTunes, but you probably already have it and are at least a bit curious about the record, so, um, go listen to it if you want. It's reportedly streaming through its March 12 release date. People seem to either hate or love this cover. I think it's kind of interesting, like one you'd be stoked to thumb across in the used bins like 20 years from now if you were like 16 years old 20 years from now. I'll be 67, though, so what the hell do I know?
I've been listening to some things. It's what I do. For instance, this band from Pennsylvania called Gay Republicans and their new EP Raw Doggerel. These guys have crunchy riffs and airtight drums, swimming thick against the current and coming-up champion. You may wanna punch someone while/after listening, but please don't. I understand the feeling though. (Hat tip to Styofoam Drone on finding these guys.)
Happy Monday, motherfuckers! Turns out it was worth getting out of bed this morning after all. Akimbo posted two new brutal songs today, finally giving us a peek at their upcoming/post-break-up record Live to Crush due out on Alternative Tentacles later this spring.