Music Reviews

Bright, Jeff & The Sunshine Boys -I’m Still Missing You – [Waggletone Records]

Thee Opinataur   9/22/2021   7-inch, Country

Western noir, a twangy blue, countrypolitan/cocktail country vibe.

Both tracks are moody mid-tempo numbers with earthy nuance. 

Catchy simplicity of traditional country and western with the cool, casual euro of a cocktail revival meeting. 

It was the Mid Nineties, San Francisco was in the midst of a Western Swing revival. Jeff Bright and the sunshine boys were part of that. This single pre-dates their full-fledged dive into Swing, instead, it highlights Brights lyrics of love, loss, and yearning, with a band backing of vibrato, slide, and shuffle. – Thee Opinataur

Central African Republic: Gbaya Music – Thinking [coll] – [Ocora | Radio France]

aarbor   9/22/2021   CD, International

The Gbaya are one of the largest ethnic groups in the Central African Republic. This is music of a Gbaya village called Ndongue. Music is performed either solo or in groups. Neighboring villages may have music that sounds quite different. The songs relate to activities: love songs, entertainment songs, lullabies, mourning or hunting songs. These are “Thinking Songs” which are performed by men with rattles and sanzas: thumb pianos: a small wooden resonator with metallic “tongues” as keys. The tongues can even be made with recycled ribs of an umbrella, or spokes of a bicycle wheel. Sanzas can be enhanced with metal rings that extend the resonating time or the instrument can be placed in a gourd (see cover picture) to increase the volume. The music is lovely: fluid, melodious. The audience can enter into the performance if they know the words or if a call/response is desired. The first 3 tracks are ensemble, and the last four are solos. All tracks were recorded in 1977. AArbor

MAP 71 – "Belladonna Sunsets" – [Fool Proof Projects]

aarbor   9/22/2021   A Library, CD

Another spoken word with drums, noises, etc. release from MAP 71. MAP 71 is Andy Pyne (drums, noises) and Lisa Jayne (words, voice, art). They like to push the envelope of what can be achieved with voice, synth and drums. This four-track EP is more dub-ish than the last one we added. The vocals are covered with echo, and the drums tend in a more tribal direction. Nude [1] is lovely with spacey echo and dubby drums, Aces [2] is more echoey with a rumba rhythm on the synth and disorienting drum patterns. Confessions of an Adrenaline Addict [3] is the sparsest track with tribal energy and a siren that seems a bit dystopian. Girlface Occupation [4} is lively and playful and rumba-ish. AArbor

Night Beats/Outlaw R & B

carsonstreet   9/17/2021   A Library, CD

Night Beats is the brain-child of Native Texan Danny Lee Blackwell. The soundtrack of a generation, the band’s R&B inspired Western Psychedelic sound is a reckoning, a shoot-out at dawn, the ear-splitting peel-out that leaves nothing but a cloud of red dust in its wake. They’ve toured around the world and shared the stage with the likes of Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, The Black Angels, Roky Erickson and The Jesus and Mary Chain. Blackwell says of the album: “Outlaw R&B is music for the borderless, the free, the outcasts and the forgotten.” Released June 4, 2021. Very good stuff – play it.

Litter, The/Future of The Past

carsonstreet   9/17/2021   A Library, CD

The hard rock and psychedelic sounds of the Minnesota band The Litter come full circle in the 2019 release Future Of The Past. In the late 1960’s The Litter followed up their punk/garage classic hit “Action Woman” with the LP’s Distortions, $100 Fine and Emerge. Along with Distortions, Emerge has remained one of the most respected and collectible records from the psychedelic era. The Litter toured the nation playing shows with the likes of Led Zeppelin, The Who, Jethro Tull and Cream. For Future Of The Past original member Tom Murray enlisted the help of some talented young players, as well as original Litter guitarist Zippy Caplan.

Gnod/Easy to Build, Hard to Destroy

carsonstreet   9/17/2021   A Library, CD

Gnod are a rock band from England. Formed in 2006, the band was described in a review of its 2011 release Ingnodwetrust as “a collective from Manchester with an ever-rotating list of members.” This is unreleased material from the early days of the band. Paddy Shine of Gnod says of the band: “We just wanted to jam really and see what happened. That led us down the road of constructing a vibe or an atmosphere for playing live. We played a lot of squats, house gigs and parties in the early days. We lived in each others pockets – shared ideas, books, films etc. We just got on one. Some heads came along for the ride. Good times.” Easy To Build, Hard To Destroy is drone, psych and just plain experimental jamming. Some very eerie stuff going on on tracks 7 and 8. Track eight sounds like it was recorded to torture the residents of hell who seemed to be getting too comfortable with their situation (in a good way). Freak out with Gnod.

Dawson, Richard – "Peasant" – [Weird World Record Co]

Thurston Hunger   9/15/2021   A Library, CD

Behold, now you can hob-nob with the hob-jobs. Step into the tent for these 11 unleavened songs from 2017 by way of some Medieval village mill. Dawson is Superman in reverse, unearthly talented while cloaking his powers neath a hair shirt and hairier acoustic guitar plucklings. His guitar work feels like a finger or two might have been caught in
the gears of Derek Bailey, or John Fahey. Check the ripping outro of “Scientist” and then the opening of “Hob.” Dawson’s singing will trace the difficultly strung steps often as well. His phrasing and word-choice stray from expectation, and reward with a completely unbeaten path. A congenital affliction with eyesight seems to have only enhanced his insight. Is this folk, or folck, or fulk? He’s added avant minstrels to this release, including harp-warper Rhodri Davies. Lyric book included as part of vocational historical training for each job, granted the position of “No-One” is filled by a short instrumental on #10 before the towering cautionary tale of being a “Masseuse” to close the album. Richard Dawson may not be for everyone, but I strictly blame everyone. Top notch songsmith. Essential.
-Thurston Hunger

Let The Juices Run Between [coll.]

aarbor   9/15/2021   A Library

Mande Dahl, who lives in Hermosa Beach, is the person behind this collection. It’s the recording of acts that played at a party on Hermosa Beach in the Summer of 2020. “Theatrical Punk rocker” Mande Dahl apparently was in New York during the late-’70s punk/new wave scene but may not have recorded any records since 1979. Two of the tracks here are from her band’s EP (Called MANDE DAHL) from 1979. She also has videos available on YouTube. The other bands/musicians featured here seem to be locals from Hermosa Beach: Funk, The Hollow Legs, Bar Nun and Kevin Sousa. Check out the party. AArbor

Cannell,Laura and Friends – "These Feral Lands – Volume 1" – [Brawl Records]

Thurston Hunger   9/14/2021   A Library, CD

Spoken word strung over strings. Violinista Laura Cannell who leads this project and label had previously recorded violin improvisations, called Buzzard A through H. Other sounds and importantly, recited words are then stretched over the dry bones of those improvs previously left for dead, and like a bog man come alive stepping out of the peat, the resulting movement catches our ears, eyes and breath. The words are steeped in history and lore, monsters stagger forth; men, wolves and professional wrestlers cast shadows over the spoken sections and down the side of the Wrekin (a hill in Shropshire, England). There is more than dirt in that hill, and plenty of fecund soil in These Feral Lands. I am not just talking about “Vessel” and its 20000 year old golem summoning. I was quite be-warlocked by (erstwhile comedian, but here he comes across like a one-eyed gin-soaked prophet/professor!) Stewart Lee, but the tracks with the ladies bewitch as well, often with looped recitations. The sliding strings weave a tense web of active drone to preserve the words. In my mind “Black Shuck” refers to the virus du jour, but apparently it was some dangerous beastie the size of Winston Churchill stalking those unaware in the English countryside.
-Thurston Hunger

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