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Prana Crafter Split for Robert Hunter on Baked Tapes

A surprise release snuck out over the weekend from Baked Tapes. In the wake of Robert Hunter’s death this year both Will from PC and ragenap wound up processing their feelings on the matter through the only medium that seems appropriate, turning their sorrow to song with a split tape that cracks open like a call to heaven. For his side Will invokes the “Beggar’s Tomb,” churning grief into a miasmic haunt that’s fried through to the bone by guitar exorcisms on the back half. The tape serves as a nice cap on Prana Crafter’s already stellar year and a celebration of a poet and songwriter whose imprint will be felt long after his mortal years.



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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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Little Wings Wonderue Reissue

Moone Records are helping Kyle Fields bring his long-loved, but also long out of print 2002 album Wonderue back to the turntable. The record capped off his “Wonder” trilogy of albums that started with 1999’s Discover Worlds of Wonder. It would mark the beginning of his relationship with Olympia’s K Records that would mark some of his most acclaimed work and introduce him to a wider audience. The quality and scope of Fields early records is impressive, given how many he released in such a short span between 2002 and 2003. The year also laid claim to his K Records breakout Light Green Leaves along with fellow Wonder Trilogy entry, Wonder City.

Fields has since gone on to produce a staggering catalog of work that dots labels like Woodisist, Rad, K, and People in a Position to Know alongside his work with Phoenix’ Moone Records. If this one eluded you when it was released, check out the somber, serene tones of “Tread It Kind” below. The album has been repackaged with updated artwork that features reshoots of the same cover location from the original. Essential now as it was then.




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Mosses Release Microdose Cassette for Black Dirt

More psychedelic goodness out of the eternal wellspring of Black Dirt Studios this month. Aside from the Natch studio sessions, which have given us great works from Wednesday Knudsen & Willie Lane and Hans Chew with Garcia Peoples, the studio’s Microdose tape series has been killing it lately. First Sunburned Hand of the Man released a scant edition for Intentions, of one of their best to date, and now we’re all being treated to the first new music from Ryan Jewell’s Mosses in quite some time. Chances are if you’ve seen a psych band in the last couple of years you’ve seen Ryan on the drums. He’s just finished up a run with Chris Forsyth at Nublu in NYC and is barely taking a breath before he heads out with Olden Yolk on a tour with Luna next month.

With this cassette, though, his duo Mosses offers up a hell of an entry to Microdose called Speaking Mountain. The set, like all in the series, seems to move between poles. The band eases in with electric ripples and organ swells. The tablas set in and the tone goes drone as they get deeper into the verdant hills of “Herbal Wash.” The set pits Danette Bordenkircher’s keys against the groove of his drums, moonlit flutes filter in against fingerpicked purity. Bordenkircher’s haunting synths permeate the release setting it aloft on the ether, and she stuns wit the aching 12 string ripples on standout “Fever Dream Vacation.” For those who only know Jewell behind the beat of the psychedelic pantheon, Mosses is an opportunity to see him shine in a different light – full spectrum sound and glowing with a crystalline shimmer that’s a joy to behold. As with the rest of Black Dirt’s doses, the physical copies of these are in short supply, but you’re gonna want to get this in whatever format you can.



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Slumberland To Release The Springfields Singles Compilation

If you were an American indie pop fan in 1988, chances are you may have felt a little alone. While the C86 movement and sound took hold in the UK, here the prescription was likely grunge and lots of it, with the more aloof arms of College Rock and general “Alternative” not quite swooning at the idea of ’60 indebted sounds. Out west The Paisley Undergound had given way to some purchase for the same sounds, but even among those ranks the twee sounds of Sarah, Sha La La, Postcard, and Creation weren’t making the same impact here as at home. Thankfully there were a few homegrown outposts like Bus Stop and Picturebook that were giving the twee hearts of US bands a place to hang and, of course, just a year later Slumberland themselves would enter the fray and give a home to bands like Honeybunch, Velocity Girl, and Black Tambourine.

The label never released a Springfields release during the band’s original run, but now they’re gathering up the essential singles from the band’s short run and giving them a much-needed compilation and overview of this American indie-pop band’s impact on the sound. The band, notably included Ric Menck and Paul Chastain who would go on to work with Velvet Crush, Bag O’ Shells, Choo Choo Train and The Big Maybe. Should go without saying, but you need this one. You really do.



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Peter Ivers Anthology on RVNG, Intl.

RVNG Intl. is bringing long overdue attention an ‘80s icon with the release of Becoming Peter Ivers. There are probably a few routes to be familiar with Ivers, the highest profile being his collaboration with David Lynch for Eraserhead. The song “In Heaven” features at a pivotal junction in the film and the scene itself has become somewhat iconic. However, I was more familiar with Ivers from his work with New Wave Theater, which can be found floating around Youtube these days, but was a lifeline to night owls in my youth. Ivers served as the host of the show, starting in 1982, broadcast on LA UHF channel 18. Though it would eventually be rerun on USA late at night (that’s where I found it). It brought some well needed attention to punk and New Wave bands, mostly originating around the Los Angeles area. Ivers served as the nasal-voiced host and his skewed delivery and Dadaist sense of humor gave the show a direction that helped make it a cult classic. The show’s success was cut short when Ivers was murdered in his apartment in 1983, in a crime that was tragically never solved.

The collection gathers up the most complete account of Ivers’ recordings, many of them rough, but still full of the artists’ winking humor and engaging personality. The double disc set is out November 8th and includes a massive clutch of photos and liner notes by close friends. The first 300 also have a bonus 7” of additional demos. There are a lot of anthologies and reissues that come and go but I’ve got a feeling that few are going to be as idiosyncratic or vital as this one this year.



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My Body ‘Tis of Thee Comp – Centripetal Force Records

Nashville psych outpost Centripetal Force has a new benefit compilation out this month, with funds going to support NARAL Pro-Choice America in the wake of abortion legislation in Alabama, Ohio, and Missouri. Aside from the good cause, it’s got a pretty killer lineup of psych warriors in tow. The compilation features tracks from RSTB faves Vive La Void, Dire Wolves, Big Blood, Marisa Anderson, and Village of Spaces alongside several other greats. The comp is available digitally and on cassette. Check out the hypnotic “Desert Sky” from Sanae Yamada’s Vive La Void and a killer live cut, “Lion’s Mouth” from Dire Wolves below.



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Wooden Wand – The Thump Sessions

Well I suppose the sad news first. James Toth is putting up the possibility that these may be the final Wooden Wand recordings. I suppose everything comes to an end and over fifteen years we’ve all gotten a good fill of great music from Toth’s alter ego. Though its hard to think of a guiding light of the site going dim. This year’s hard enough. The good news is that these final recordings were made with Jarvis Taveniere at Thump Studios and feature a backing band that included Jeremy Earl, Kyle Forester, and John Andrews of Woods, and singer Katie Von Schleicher. So, in a way this is Woods(en) Wand and that’s, quite honestly something I fully support.

The four songs on offer are sweeping and lush, probably on par with James’ work during the Ecstatic Peace to Ryko transition – tender melodies that streak the windows in just the right ways. There’s a reworking of his song “Don’t Let Love Make A Liar Out of You,” that first appeared on the one-off Carlos The Second, a song he recorded with Langhorne Slim originally. Here he’s alone here, but no less bittersweet. The set is essential for any longtime fans of WW and up now on his Bandcamp. Stop by and say a heartfelt goodbye to an old friend.



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Ryley Walker Presents Imaginational Anthem, Vol. 9

When acoustic guitar haven Thompkins Square first came to the fore in 2005, they began with a series called Imaginational Anthem which sought to shed some light on overlooked entries to the fingerpicked oeuvre. They’ve cycled through a few (or 9 to be exact) and as of 2010 the series began to look into more contemporary players with one artist doing the curating. This time around its generational mouthpiece and all-around jack of all genres Ryley Walker doing the picking. He’s gone deep into his bench of contemporaries for a set that includes faves like Mosses, Fire-Toolz, and new BBiB signing Kendra Amelie, who shares the first track from the comp. Check out “Boat Ride,” a decidedly more acoustic affair than her upcoming longplayer, but no less captivating or technically astounding. The comp is out September 20th.





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75 Dollar Bill – I Was Real

If you missed out on 2016’s highly underrated Wood/Metal/Plastic/Pattern/Rhythm/Rock from 75 Dollar Bill, then this seems like the perfect time to jump onto the band’s sound. Melding the current free-jam inclinations of improv live sets with a guitar sound that picks at the kind of Haino/Akiyama boogie blended with West African blues, the band has long been a singular entity on the scene. They’ve just announced a new ripper for Thin Wrists / Black Editions and prefaced it with a live recording of a portion of the album’s title track, “I Was Real”. This time around the duo of Che Chen and Rick Brown are joined by a larger ensemble that wrangles in eight additional players, adding to the desert blues vibes of communal playing for social spaces. Check the trance lockdown into burner blues vibes in the video below and look out for the new LP June 28th.



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