Lake Mary & Ranch Family Band

A hushed and tempered new record arrives from Chaz Prymek’s Lake Mary, this time adding in the “Ranch Family Band” to the fold. The record is sun-dappled and full of spring air — a verdant addition to his growing catalog of releases. Rooted in a rambling fingerpick that recalls contemporaries William Tyler and Nathan Salsburg, Sun Dogs‘ prowess lies in deploying buttered slides throughout the entire record that yearn for a perennial peace. The record seamlessly folds in psych-touches on the album’s title track, finding the common crannies between fingerpicked folk and Kosmiche float. The standout track engulfs Prymek’s strings in an early morning fog that bends the light in every direction before burning off into crisp golds and greens that flood the rest of the record. The songs are heavy with the scent of earth, humid in the way that mornings hold onto the last night’s rainfall before stretching into the perfect yawn of midday.

Pinned on the languorous and lingering title track and closer, “Blue Spruce,” which opts for more entrancing and classic vision of fingerpicked fodder, the album is almost gone too soon. It certainly leaves the listener wanting more, hoping to hang forever in between the vibrating air of Lake Mary’s strings. The album is a gorgeous, late 2019 addition, so don’t go tallying up the best of the year just yet. The album is easy to return to time and again as a respite, a rejuvenation, a true gem peeking out from the folk pile at the end of the decade. I’d definitely recommend letting this one sink in and grow roots.




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Hurt Valley’s Brian Collins on Tara Jane O’Neil – Peregrine

Any new Woodsist signing is cause for inquiry, but the debut from Hurt Valley is an amber-hued slice of Cosmic Americana that’s ticking a lot of boxes over here. The album channels the windswept, sea salt sanded vision of West Coast country-psych that permeated the best private press issues. He’s finding common ground with everyone from Jim Sullivan to Rose City Band and I couldn’t be happier to have Brian contribute a pick to the Hidden Gems series. Check out the story by hind how Tara Jane Oneil’s excellent debut became an illicit part of his record collection.

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Omni

As so often happens, the cultivation of culture at smaller labels befits the bigger kids on the playground too. When time knocks a band up the rungs and into the arms of broader reach, there’s always worry that expectations will change their sound. Omni may have shifted the logo on their jackets from Trouble in Mind to Sub Pop, but that relationship status change hasn’t affected their output too much. Sure there’s a bit more flash on their third album but its still rooted in the search for the perfect amalgam of the bookend of punk. The band has quiet often been heard chasing the dragon of ’77, rather than ‘81 — not post-punk as most always hang on them— but rather somewhere in that sliver of time when Television and Richard Hell were figuring out how to slice the stigma of soul away from rock n’ roll and let the blood drip into their strings. Those prickly heat guitar lines remain and give the feeling that Omni’s still onto something, but they’ve never been as caustic as Verlaine or Hell at their core. So while they might fashion themselves as Little Johnny Jewels in the rough, there’s a good deal of Wire’s humanism that sneaks in as well and that influence begins to creep ever forward on Networker — pop edges peek, experiments in sound seep, and the album is littered with jazz scraps and dub tags without homes.

There are synth strains that filter through the vents on “Skeleton Key” and “Present Tense,” and dare I say strums under those sunburned strings on “Genuine Person.” On “Moat” they sound less like their favored punk encampments and more like the ‘90s thrashers that found those ’77 tapes through friends and zines, giving their Sonic Youth nods where appropriate. Hell, on the album’s title track they’re downright smooth, a cool slap of water on the flash fry irritant that creeps under the skin of their sound. It works though, most notably because they’re following that rabbit hole of mid-period Wire and their willingness to adapt, experiment, and absorb new sounds while making them their own. Omni feel like they’re following similar threads, making this journey their own even if they have a guiding light to show them where the paths lead. The band’s sound still feels immediate, urgent in a way that won’t let the listener shove it to the background. Three albums on and the Atlanta trio are still worth the price of admission, elevated, but untarnished by a newfound fame.




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Scott & Charlene’s Wedding – “Back In The Corner”

Very nice to see Aussies Scott & Charlene’s Wedding back on the release schedule this year. After a three year break the band is back with a new EP, When in Rome, Carpe Diem and the first cut has them hip-swinging and pouting through their very best Velvets take. “Back in the Corner” is loose and strummin’, bringing out that Lou flair and swagger that they’ve hinted at prior and leaning into it wholesale this time around. Making songs feel like an effortless pop gem is what the band does best, but there’s some thing more malleable about their sound this time around. They’d always had a mussed hair quality to their songs, but this one feels like its got the coif greased and the leathers on. It’s a bit sinewier than their last couple of records. A real stunner that begs for the listener hear more of this EP. The record lands November 29th (so you don’t have to wait long) on Bedroom Suck.





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En Attendant Ana – “Words”

France’s En Attendant Ana swoon into the first single from their upcoming album Juillet, expanding on the pop sparkle from last year’s Lost & Found. Atop a pulsing beat, cut through with tensile synths, a cacophony of horns and thick guitar clouds, Margaux Bouchaudon’s voice saunters through a dream haze. The song recalls Stereolab at their most feverish, less serene noise flutter, and more brass-scratched belter. The band’s sound has come into focus, more polished than they sounded previously but no less biting. The new record was mastered with notable French engineer Dominique Blanc-Francard and is headed out January 24th, 2020 on Trouble in Mind.




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Xylouris White

Jim White and George Xylouris have made a potent pair in the past, churning traditional Greek songwriting into something more mercurial for the past five or so years. In that time, they’ve put together three albums of dizzying sun salutations that seem rooted in the hills, wound tight with roots and rocks. Each song dug from the fresh cut earth like a bulb waiting to burst is treated with care by the veteran musicians. It’s clear that these two have been forging their respective talents for years in the fires of improvisation and their fourth album cements their bond as fluid players completely in tune with one another. White’s drums tumble and shudder, sending an unusual amount of emotion quivering between sticks and skins. Likewise, Xylouris seems to divine something elemental in his songs. His playing brings to mind the trance of exhumations of Native American folk song and the meditative float of ragas, but contained in something that is wholly and intrinsically linked to his Greek homeland.

After completing their trilogy – Goats, Black Peak, Mother – the duo focuses their gaze this time on the myth of Sisyphus and his duty to drag that boulder up the hill for all eternity. It seems a parable of rut, the idea that one is condemned to forever complete the same task thanklessly over the course of life. It’s the ultimate parallel to the cubical bound cruisers. Xylouris didn’t see it that way, though, instead preferring to think of Sisyphus as completing the same task but finding different tessellations to complete it. He may have the same start and the same end but that’s not to say the points between have to remain static. They saw a bit of themselves in Sisyphus, which makes sense for musicians. While not condemned, they are set to play the same songs live night after night.

No one said they have to be the same versions, though. Each new approach warrants a new take on something familiar. Each new set births a new journey and that in itself is beautiful. While that setup would lead me to expect the record might work on a series of motifs, its not that rigid. The pair fleshes out another record that takes the listener on a journey, bringing life to the rock and elevating Sisyphus from warning to artist. Odds are if you were on board with the last three, this is going to hit the spot. If this is your first dip into Xylouris White, it’s a good place to start as well.




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Rose City Band Signs to Thrill Jockey, Reissues Debut

One of the greatest surprises of 2019 was the debut from Rose City Band, the mysteriously shrouded band (with a strangely familiar voice and guitar sound) on Ripley Johnson and Sanae Yamada’s Jean Sandwich Records. As I mentioned in a review previously, “Rose City Band slides in on an autumnal glow of golden shivers, slow-motion choogle, honeyed hues, and cedar swoons. “Rip City” plays right into the hands of the Cosmic American cavalcade that’s building steam in all the best nooks and nodes across the tattered tableau of 2018-2019.” If you missed out on the initial pressing, now’s the time to right some wrongs. The original Jean City pressing in green is long gone, but, Thrill Jockey’s got a limited red version of the LP up on their site for sale now. It’s one of 2019’s essentials for sure! Here’s hoping the signing bodes well for a sequel. We can always use more RCB in our lives.




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Dire Wolves – “(Brother Lee) Womblife Blues”

Exciting news today as Dire Wolves announce another crusher for 2019. The band’s Grow Towards The Light is already a staple of the turntable around here, but they’re never ones to shy away from prolific output. Centripetal Force is putting the band’s I Just Wasn’t Made For These Set Times tape on LP. Not familiar? I don’t blame you. The release was previously only available as part of a 50-cassette run at the merch table on their last European tour, released by French label Ruralfaune. The release comes from the same fertile sessions that birthed Grow and Paradisiacal Mind and it’s rooted in much of the same meditative/explosive sensibilities that anchor their recent work.

On “(Brother Lee) Womblife Blues,” Georgia Carbone’s vocals transport the listener away from the physical world, leaving language bound to the Earth in favor of something more ephemeral. Like many of the Wolves’ compositions, Arjun Mendiratta’s violin elevates the track, sawing at the mind in sinewy swaths, while the battle between guitars and drums reaches a fevered pitch. There’s never a good reason to pass up on Dire Wolves vinyl, and this one’s probably not sticking to the shelves too long. The label’s putting out a run of 300, with 100 on sky blue. The pressing lands February 2020.


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RSTB Radio WGXC: November

Another show hits the airwaves this week in anticipation of the 13th Anniversary show on Friday. Check out tons of new music including a just introduced cut from BBadge Époque Ensemble, and new music from Veiver, Simon Joyner, Donovan Quinn and more. A few classics squeezed in as well from Ivory, Fifty Foot Hose, and Jim Sullivan as well. Full playlist is below. Remember to check back to WGXC ever second Tuesday of the month. Check out the tracklist below and listen/download the show HERE.

::Playlist::

Moon Duo – Fever Night /// Badge Époque Ensemble – Zealous Child /// Wax Machine – Mind Palace /// Fifty Foot Hose – Rose /// Ivory – I, Of The Garden /// J.R. Bohannon – The Sorcerer’s Hand /// Owen Tromans – A Dialogue /// Itasca – Traveler /// Hurt Valley – Apartment Houses /// Half Stack – Goner /// Donovan Quinn – Satanic Summer Nights /// Vetiver – To Who Knows Where /// Bill Orcutt – Already Old /// Simon Joyner – Morning Sun, Slow Down /// Gabriel Birnbaum – Not Alone /// Jim Sullivan – Roll Back The Time /// Friends – Lonely Road /// The Kiwi Animal – Ever Word Is A Prayer /// Mikal Cronin – Caravan /// The Hussy – Sorry /// Woolen Men – Mexico City Blues /// Alex Macfarland – Event Y /// The Catenary Wires – Tie Me To The Rails /// McCarthy – Monetaries /// Failed Flowers – Faces /// Basic Plumbing – Constant Attention /// Ex-Void – Only One /// Uranium Club – Two Things at Once (Part 1) /// David Nance Group – Ham Sandwich /// Frankie and the Witch Fingers – Realization

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Hôpital De La Conception feat. Junk Nurse

A head-scratcher of a platter from a triumvirate of labels (Feeding Tube/Cardinal Fuzz/Opaque Dynamo) births the mysterious debut and sole artifact from France’s Hôpital De La Conception. The record is swift to note that it features Junk Nurse, but he seems to be the only avatar piloting this thing through the blooze swamp foot stomp anyhow. The record is ripped and ragged – zeroed in on an Earth’s core riff that drills down to the very kernel of psychic consciousness. There’s a dogged locomotive rhythm to the record, constantly chuggin’ through the smoke curls and feedback flutter. That hypnotic heave anchors “The Electric Rockin’ Chair” to the concrete so that it doesn’t get flayed clean by the storm swirling about it. The Junk Nurse doesn’t relent, plowing this one through a “Sister Ray” / Don Van Vliet vortex caked with noise and cursed to rumble for all days.

The album’s just the one song – flip it and it starts chuggin’ all over again like a lost soul condemned to scream sonic fury for all time. If this is Dante’s soundtrack to scuzz, then when the fury kicks up, the Nurse has you hitting your head on every wrung of the inferno before laying limp on the floor and begging for no more volume. The Hôpital and Junk Nurse hear your plea and turn the thumb down. The riff will rage and you will be inflamed with the body buzz of chooglin’ fury once more. Into the abyss, let it lock down and linger. That’s what I say. Now as for all the mystery, shadows and riddles about who’s behind this opus of guitar offal. I don’t know about you, but the possibility that the only other record to come out on France’s Opaque Dynamo is from GR (aka Gunslingers’ Gregory Raimo) makes this one a very good bet. Who knows who the Nurse serves but if its outta that camp, I’d put my money on it being a necessary pickup.




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