Browsing Category Bits & Pieces

Jim Jupp on Caravan – The Land of Grey and Pink

One of the more consistent labels that’s popped up around RSTB over the years has been UK house Ghost Box. The label’s approach to gorgeously layered psychedelic electronic combined with a design sense driven by the legendary Julian House makes each new entry an essential piece of a larger puzzle. The label is headed by Jim Jupp, but he’s not only the driving force behind the label, he’s also one of their stable of artists. Combining a whimsical nostalgia with deep synth atmospherics, he crops up in the guise of The Belbury Poly and The Belbury Circle. Jim’s definitely the kind of deep shelf record listener that the Hidden Gems series was made for, so I couldn’t resist asking for a pick when the latest Belbury Poly album came ‘round this year. He’s landed on a key Canterbury prog classic from Caravan — the expansive The Land of Grey and Pink. Check out how this album came into his life and the impact it’s made.

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Larry Schemel on Opal – Happy Nightmare Baby

L.A. musician Larry Schemel’s almost over qualified for the Hidden Gems column, having created a few of them himself. The guitarist has held down time in ‘90s underground faves Kill Sybil/Sybil and Midnight Movies, contributed to The Flesh Eaters repertoire and has been anchoring Death Valley Girls for the last few years. Larry certainly seems like a source of some deep shelf picks for this column so I reached out to see what he might recommend. He picked a favorite that I share as well, opting for the sole LP proper from Opal. Hear how this pre-Mazzy Star nugget came into his life and the impact it has had on him over the years.

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Dylan Sizemore on Bruce Haack – The Electric Lucifer

I’ve had the new Frankie and the Witch Fingers on the deck for a while now and it only gets better and deeper with each spin. The record is an interconnected odyssey of psychedelic excess that lifts the listener from this temporal plane and into a parallel dimension of glowing psychosis and psilocybin-induced evolution. The colors in the mind match the visual barrage of Will Sweeney’s saturated cover art and the band has never sounded hungry to cross the time-space rift than now. I snagged Witch Fingers’ driving force Dylan Sizemore to dig deep for a pick in the Hidden Gems series and he obliged with a psychedelic odyssey of his own. Check out Dylan’s take on Bruce Haack’s electronic epic The Electric Lucifer below.

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The Silence – “Electric Meditations”

Masaki Batoh isn’t wasting any time these days, cranking out excellent solo records and new material from The Silence at a dazzling clip. The latter is back on the heels of their heavy hitter from last year and from the sounds of the nearly eight minute title track, “Electric Meditations,” it’s going to be just as ferocious. The song crawls in on a stomping riff before the band lays in with fat bleats of sax and Batoh laying down a faraway lyric over the top. It burns straight through — growling, groaning, and letting the listener get a nice sear on ‘em between the grit on that guitar and the bulbous sax blasts that permeate the song. The Silence has proven to be some of the ex-Ghost songwriter’s most intense material over the years and from the sounds of this one, that reputation isn’t going anywhere soon. The new record is out November 6th from Drag City.



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R. AGGS – “Exuberance”

I’ve been a fan of Rachel Aggs’ work in quite a few capacities over the years. Her songwriting with Shopping, Sacred Paws, and Trash Kit has injected a unique sensibility into UK post-punk and DIY of late, so it’s nice to see her stepping out on her own for a low-key tape release under the name R.AGGS. Mixing some of the same instincts that drive her other projects while leaving plenty of room to play around with new influences, the songs here pick at a more subdued vision of post-punk and pop. Often roping in less brittle atmospheres, with nods to Soweto guitar lines and slow creeping synths, this isn’t the breathless pogo that I’ve come to expect from her.

Sure, her infectious, rubbery licks still occasionally creep in, but it’s the space she gives these songs that really shines. While there are a dozen moments that could easily warrant picking out, she makes a refreshing shift on “Exuberance.” Docking in with a soft pad of drum kick and hooked on alternating spirals of synth and guitar with a lope of bass pushing us all along, the song is a hazy sunrise peeking out of the dimness. Aggs is grasping quiet contemplation that stands in contrast to some of her more forceful moments and she proves just as adept with restraint as she is with brittle bite. The self-released /TAPE 1// is out now along with a digital version as well.


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David Nance – “My Love, The Dark and I”

This week sees another raw blues tangle from David Nance’s upcoming LP on Trouble in Mind. The latest, “My Love, the Dark and I” is delivered with a grit-teethed grimace. Nance’s stripped things back to the bones and it suits him. While the last album brought a storm front that was hard to ignore, Nance’s forte has long existed in shaking a good dose of grit out of a more paired down setup. The guitars wrestle into a tumult of twang and charcoal-crushed smolder. Nance is appropriately weary here, run ragged by the road and love and the endless stretch of night. The new album, Staunch Honey is out November 13th.


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Raven Mahon on Roland Blinn – Rosebud

When writing up The Green Child this week I mentioned that they’re mining some real fun off-kilter synth pop tendencies, finding blending The Creatures and Strawberry Switchblade with jangled touches. One thing I’ve long learned, though, is that while there may be some scars inherent in a record that by no means dictates an artist’s current obsessions. Raven Mahon might be familiar here from her work in The Green Child, but perhaps more so as a member of Grass Widow. The band was long a favorite from the beginning of the last decade, mining post-punk and jangle pop with a carefree flair. I’d asked Raven for a Hidden Gems pick and she’s found an offbeat chem that certainly meets up to the overlooked part of the equation. Check out her take on Canadian songwriter Roland Blinn’s LP Rosebud.

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RSTB Radio WGXC: October

It’s been a year now since the show first started and I think it just may be getting in order. This time there’s plenty of new cuts to keep you enthralled, with new music from North Americans, Woods, Matthew ‘Doc’ Dunn, Pearl Charles, Kelley Stoltz, Garcia Peoples, Magik Markers and a whole lot more. Of course, I can never resist slippign a few classic cuts in to sew the seams as well. Check out the full set over at WGXC and see the tracklist below.

::Tracklist::

North Americans – American Dipper /// Kurt Vile with John Prine – How Lucky /// Daughter of Swords – Easy Is Hard /// Hans Chew – Turn Around /// Nick Mitchell Maiato – City of Grit /// Woods – Midnight Moment /// Matthew ‘Doc’ Dunn – Last Goodbye /// Silver Synthetic – Unchain Your Heart /// Frank & The Hurricanes – Balsam Babe /// Little Gold – Rear House /// Half Stack – Morning Rain /// Pearl Charles – What I Need /// Kelley Stoltz – The Quiet Ones /// Empire – Hot Seat /// Nikki Sudden – Death Is Hanging Over Me /// Royal Baths – Darling Divine /// Garcia Peoples – Wasted Time /// Agitation Free – Laila pt 1 & 2 /// Population II – Introspection /// Frankie and the Witch Fingers – Where’s Your Reality /// Fuzz – Spit /// Smiles – I Don’t Want To Remember You /// Primtons – All My Friends /// Savoy Motel – Mouth To Mouth /// Smarts – Cling Wrap /// TV EYE – Citizen /// The Scientists – Frantic Romantic /// The Green Child – Fashion Light /// The Telephone Numbers – Leviathan /// Flowertown – RCP /// Order of the Toad – Brintons Marrakech /// Trees – Black Widow /// Magik Makers – Born Dead

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Mike Wexler – “After”

Songwriter Mike Wexler assembles a crack backing band versed in jazz, though they find footing between their improvisational past and his autumnal shades and verdant verse. Its a subtle shift, but the players, including David Lackner, Adrian Knight, Max Zuckerman, and Mike Advensky, give Mike’s work a scrubbed up sheen. the The first taste fro the upcoming Mike Wexler with Synthetic Love Dream is the loping, gently swirling “After.” The band here is restrained — a touch of bass thudding like a rudder, a patter of percussion and the driving wheel ramble of guitar pushing against a swell of organ. Wexler is as assured as ever, delivering a song that hangs on the air like breath in December. The new album comes out via his old hangout at three:four records this week and this track is just a small peek into the band’s well-oiled simmer.


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Pearl Charles – “Take Your Time”

Today finds us left with another tender single from the upcoming Pearl Charles LP. The record pushes her away from some of the disco skip of her last record and into the full sway of the sunset stretches of ‘70s Canyon nights with a light scent of Cosmic Country on the breeze. “Take Your Time” is more at peace than “What I Need” — laced with the soft twang of guitars, a tumble of last call piano, and Charles’ heart-stung vocals. The song’s a reminder to slow down and drink in the moment, which is perhaps a helpful reminder while we’re all preoccupied with the crumble of Western Civilization. Yet it still bears some weight that a comfortable autumn afternoon with the right kind of air and a ripple of wind through the leaves can let most anything wait for an hour or so. The new album is out January 15th from Kanine.




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