Wet Tuna – “When I Get Home”

Keeping the Bandcamp manna rolling this morning with another couple of new tracks from Wet Tuna. Long a favorite around here, Matt and Pat lay down two extended covers that get to the core of what Wet Tuna are all about. “When I Get Home” is a golden, mellowed nug from the pair. It’s built on the kind of natural balance that the band have, but its also one of the most verdant tracks that the pair has laid to tape yet. Usually there’s a humidity to their works, but this one seems like its outside in the elements — a summertime salve that wanders off into the high grass. They do right by Pentangle with the extended version. Michael Hurley’s “Water Train,” by comparison, summons a caustic burn from the outset. Heatsick guitars search for solace, parched and aching until the band douses the song with that familiar stickiness. A humid hideaway of liquid licks and skittering percussion ensues. If you’ve seen Tuna in the wild on stage then there is a familiar feeling emanating off of this one. Its as necessary as any of their records, and its rejuvenating to let this one pour down on the heat of July.




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Chris Forsyth / Dave Harrington / Ryan Jewell / Spencer Zahn – “Nublu Jam”

As its the first Friday of the month, that means that artists are bringing out some great new offerings so that you, the listener, can help support music during a time of unstable touring incomes. First of a couple recommendations here today. If you’re missing out on the live experience, then Chris Forsyth has you covered. Back when the live room was still a good idea he got together a residency at NYC’s Nublu with a rotating cast of players each week. While stints with Garcia Peoples yielded great takes on Forsyth’s already stunning catalog, this set from the residency was the most exploratory. It puts players who have played together for years together with players just meeting that night, with Chris and longtime drummer Ryan Jewell joining up with Dave Harrington (Darkside) and Spencer Zahn. With no pre-conceived notions of where the night would take them, they present a set that’s untethered from any of their pasts yet clearly informed by the collective skill on the stage. Pick the LP up now, this is an essential one.



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Pop Filter – “Big Yellow Van”

The Ocean Party spent quite a bit of time on the turntable here, but after the tragic passing of member Zac Denton, the band has dissolved and reformed under the name Pop Filter. The same breezy bounce is in place here, through Zac’s songwriting is missed among the stars that have cropped up in pre-album singles. “Big Yellow Van” is rife with nostalgia for the road, the past, and another time that’s been lost forever. With bittersweet harmonies, a crackerjack bounce of drums, and chipper keys, the band nails this wistful tune to the wall for all time. There’s quite a bit of heartache in between the bars, but I’m smiling through the tears over here. The Aussie band’s debut record Banksia is out August 21st through Spain’s Bobo Integral.





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The Cool Greenhouse

Been kinda waiting on this one to reach U.S. shores and it just so happens that yesterday a crop of shops have this UK treat in stock. So have at it, and here’s a few reason’s why. The band’s chewing on the burnt ends of post-punk in a most satisfying way. The Cool Greenhouse locks onto repetition like a life preserver and paddles further out to sea and away from the stench of the masses of civilization they clearly can’t stand. The band shucks the concepts of hooks, chorus, and musical structure in general – snatching the sneers of The Fall and hot gluing them to the acid attack of Pere Ubu ‘round about their Dub Housing heyday. Even then, the band isn’t really tied onto influences so much as they’re just focusing the force of disgust and aiming it at a microphone with an intent to let the listener itch for three to five minutes.

The bass hammers at the temples, guitars floss the ripples of grey matter with a haphazard hand. Synth strains jump and twitch like they were stuck in a socket and it all weaves together into the kind of record that rumples in the perfect way. Atop the din and damage the band lays into the everyday drip of banality and atrocity that surrounds them at every turn. The delivery of singer (term used loosely) Tom Greenhouse is slouched but levied squarely on his victims. The disdain and exhaustion drips off their debut with the dead-eyed delivery of a spoken word take down with the victim sweating under the spotlight for everyone in the room to see. There’s been a good ol’ fashioned return to the ravages of post-punk of late, from the rubber snap of Lithics, to the acerbic insistence of Native Cats, and fried-wire infections of The Uranium Club. The Cool Greenhouse slots right in with the discomfort set. There’s no keeping the band’s eponymous LP in the background, it fights its way to the front and melts the smile from your face in a wonderful way.



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J. Zunz – “Y”

A new solo album from Lorena Quintanilla comes packed with a harrowing video for first song “Y.” Quintanilla is better known as the Lorelle half of Lorelle Meets The Obsolete, the shoegaze outfit that she’s maintained with Alberto González for the better part of the last decade. Under the name J. Zunz she’s exploring some similar atmospherics but carving well away from the some of the German Progressive and shoegaze territory that she’s been exploring over the past few years with The Obsolete. “Y” creeps in slow and menacing, building to an industrial blast of synth that’s corroded and cruel. In the same manner the clip grows from sparse images of Quintanilla to a violent end that’s as harsh as the music’s escalation. This skews much darker than her last solo outing under the J. Zunz name and seems poised to push her solo work further into the flickering floodlights. Loved what Lorena has long been laying down with LMTO, and this next chapter seems like a welcome evolution and departure. The LP, Hibiscus arrives August 21st from Rocket Recordings.



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Brigid Dawson & The Mothers Network – “Is The Season For New Incantations”

Among the picks on my Best of 2020 (so far) list last week was the smoldering debut from Brigid Dawson & The Mothers Network. The LP showcases the Oh Sees member front and center, crafting a hybrid of lounge, darkened shadow caster psych, and jazz scars with the help of Sunwatchers, Mikey Young, Shayde Sartin, Mike Donovan, and a few other friends with likeminded leanings. The album opener is a dark patch of sky that heralds ominous clouds and turbulent waters ahead. She’s paired the track here with a prog-tipped video that’s flipping through Roger Dean landscapes and etched with runic signatures of unfathomable meaning. Though perhaps director Arturo Baston can better surmise. He cites inspiration “from alchemist transmutation circles to meditative sacred geometry. Mystic, occult, and spiritual graphic devices adapted and mixed all together to illustrate the relation between the forces of nature and the stupid human lust for power.” If you’ve yet to let this one grace your ears, I’d recommend setting that right soon. The vinyl arrives mid-July.

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The Reds, Pinks & Purples – “I’d Rather Astral Project”

I can’t resist a chance to post The Reds, Pinks & Purples and while the band’s upcoming new LP for Slumberland is still a ways off, they’ve worked up a nice animated vid for one of the myriad singles that have packed their Bandcamp over the last few months. The message in “I’d Rather Astral Project” seems a bit more prescient now with physical shows in indefinite hiatus it would seem more convenient to take up the astral plane as the new venue. As usual the band wraps their wry thoughts in the jangled melancholia that’s made them so steady on the speakers over here. Check out the Jem Fanvu directed vid above.



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Laraaji – “Lifting Me”

Despite being a constant in new age circles, Laaraji has made a heavy impact in psychedelic and kosmiche circles in the last few years. While the artist has become synonymous with the zither, on his latest LP he’s focusing on circular, meditative piano compositions and they radiate a kind of calm centeredness that’s quite appreciated in times of shifting realities. The latest piece of the puzzle from the upcoming Sun Piano is “Lifting Me,” a sparkling composition that reverberates through the speakers with the promise of a clear dawn. Recorded in a Brooklyn Church by Jeff Zeigler (known for work with Kurt Vile, The War On Drugs and Mary Lattimore), this is a new direction for the artist, but one with a familiar feel.

While it doesn’t quite hit on his often sublime rippling that he’s created with his signature instrument, its clear that Laraaji is just as at home behind the piano as the strings. Tensions melt, time stands still, and the canvas is reset as the notes of “Lifting Me” float out of the windows to commune with the crisp summer air. Any fans of his past works will certainly be rewarded, but newcomers looking for a way into the minimal world of the artist might do well to crossover from the meditative fare of say, Recital or 130701. The record is out July 17th on All Saints.



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Luke Schneider

This week’s been on a mercurial kick and I say why bump the tiller now. This record from Luke Schneider reinvents the Pedal Steel as force for ambient float and it’s an absolutely stunning take on the instrument. While the steel has long been the secret weapon among the cosmic country fare cropping up here, and even found its way into the minimal stretch of the Ezra Feinberg release from yesterday, Schneider elevates the form. He gives the instrument its due as a focal point while all but rendering the sounds unrecognizable as they’re refracted through the psychedelic and new age prisms at either end of his spectrum. Solo pedal steel can often be showy, and can flirt with melancholia and comedy, but Scheider pushes the past aside.

While the instrument has a grace and some might say its the heavy heart that adds a mournful edge to country, its also a virtuoso’s tool. Luke’s had a history of unconventional use, but a breakthrough into sobriety and a steady diet of ambient in the headphones lead to an unconventional, yet stunning record that’s more indebted to Laraaji than Herb Remington. There’s a fragile ebullience to Schneider’s work and he’s made a record that’s as complex in temperament as it is stark in aproach. The sounds here resonate with the humors of the soul, stirring euphoria in the same way his instrument typically divines sorrow. Peace and calm radiate from Luke’s compositions as if the balance of the universe rested on his slide.

When he’s not crafting crystalline tones, Schneider has been a constant in alt-country circles playing with Natural Child and Black Lips before a change in life direction and higher profile stints backing Margo Price, Orville Peck and William Tyler. He continues to work as one of country’s leading sidemen — never the most technical player, but a unique force that allows him to continually put his stamp on his recordings. Here he proves that he’s more than a key element in an ensemble and that pedal steel can float as far as the synths into the edge of the cosmos. This one’s a 2020 essential.




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Chloe Alison Escott – “Stranger Than Death”

Been a fan over here of Tasmania’s Native Cats for a bit, so anything out of that camp is always highly anticipated. News came down earlier this month about Chapter Music’s upcoming compilation Midnight Meditations, designed to help listeners through long dark nights of the soul. The comp focuses on the downbeat visions of artists with a goal of providing some comfort during troubled days and nights, and this latest addition cinches its necessity. Typically Native Cats have found their niche in abrasive post-punk, so its interesting to hear another side of Chloe’s output here. Gone are the insistent rhythms and thickly muscled bass of the Cats and in place is a rainy afternoon course of quiet contemplation. Just Chloe and a piano, the track leaves little room to hide. Its a spare, open, and raw track that never hides its hurt. This song falls more in line with Chloe’s solo work and is in fact a nice precursor to an upcoming solo LP, Stars Under Contract due on Chapter later in the year.

Giving some context to the song, Escott explains, “I started writing this song when I saw heavy rain evaporating instantly on halogen lights along the Hobart Rivulet, and the rest of the lyric rolled out from there. Most of all it’s about gender transition – there’s even a quick reference to an infamous, long-discredited online test for transsexuality – but if you want to interpret it as a prediction of pandemic isolation life I won’t stand in your way.” The comp is due out this Friday, July 3rd, and features several Chapter alum/adjacent offerings from The Green Child (feat Mikey Young from Total Control and Raven Mahon from Grass Widow), Sarah Mary Chadwick, Dick Diver’s Rupert Edwards, Alex Macfarlane of Twerps/The Stevens, and Chapter’s own Guy Blackman.



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