Browsing Category Bits & Pieces

Rose City Band – “Lonely Spaces”

The musical landscape of 2021 just keeps getting better. Having already soundtracked 2020 with the excellent Summerlong from Rose City Band, Ripley Johnson gives us all a new companion to our solitude. The last album was marked by its breezy communal feel — a celebration of the road that got under the skin to spread the warmth of eternal summer. Earth Trip is by turns a much more solitary record, as might be expected of something recorded over the past year. The first song slows his Summerlong pace and simmers in the feeling of space and the ache of loneliness. Though it finds a silver lining in the joys of being alone in nature that might otherwise be spoiled by a crowd.

Still marked by Ripley’s sun-washed cosmic country that merges West Coast psych with private press ‘70s country, but this time the pace is slowed and that sense of ease that was ever-present in the past is tinged with a bittersweet ache. While the record was recorded mostly at home in Johnson’s studio, Rip’s glycerine guitar passages are offset by some excellent pedal steel work by one of 2020’s consistent stunners — Barry Walker Jr. “Lonely Places” practically sighs with Walker’s contributions, helping the listener get lost in the verdant respite of Johnson’s song. The new LP is out May 21st from Thrill Jockey.


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Emily Rodgers – “I Will Be Gone”

There’s palpable sadness at the heart of Emily Rodgers’ new song “I Will Be Gone.” The track ruminates on the loss of Emily’s brother who died fifteen years previous as a casualty of schizophrenia-related suicide. The song vibrates inside a cocoon of grief — feelings of machinations out of one’s control, a lump in the throat that never quite leaves, even though the loved one has left a permanent shadow on life. She ruminates on the phrase “I knew him when he was well,” rolling the memory of the man she knew through the obfuscating mists of memory’s hold. Imprints of sweetness attempting to keep hold over the final scars. The record was produced by Kramer (Galaxie 500, Low) and finds itself landing on the roster of a newly reinvigorated Shimmy-Disc. The album, which shares its title with the track, will be out April 16th.


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Cool Ghouls – “The Way I Made You Cry”

A second peek into the new Cool Ghouls slides this way today, smother than the last. While the band has embraced plenty of ‘60s psych-pop influences and jangled angles in the past, this time they’re finding the buttery pop center of the past and whipping up a record packed with lovely turns. With a Chicago-sized horn section swooning in the background, the band goes full early Rundgren, tugging at the heartstrings and laying out a melancholy plea for forgiveness. The new LP certainly lets the band wade around new corners of their influence and this cut proves just how far they’re willing to reach. The new record, At George’s Zoo is out March 12th from Empty Cellar.




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RSTB Radio Show: February

I’m sure I say this every month, but this month’s episode of Crawl Out From the Fallout is particularly good. The year’s already starting off strong with some excellent new music from John Dwyer, Sunburned Hand of the Man, Mythic Sunship, Rat Columns, Cory Hanson, The Reds, Pinks and Purples, and Yasmin Williams and tons more. The show is packed, starting off with a psych-jazz seep before swapping for pop and a lush folk fold-out. The full tacklist is below and you can stream the show over at WGXC if you missed the broadcast last night.

::Tracklist::

Don Cherry – Brown Rice /// Djinn – Love Divine /// John Dwyer – City Maggot /// Sunburned Hand of the Man – Flex /// Mythic Sunship – Maelstrom /// Cory Hanson – Angeles /// American Culture – Silence /// Cool Sounds – Crimson Mask /// Buffet Lunch – Red Apple Happiness /// Oh-OK – Brother /// Rat Columns – I Can’t Live On Love /// The Reds, Pinks and Purples – Don’t Ever Pray In The Church On My Street /// The Rain Parade – Broken Horse /// Hotels on Mars – Worst Year on Record /// New Bums – Tuned To Graffiti /// The Peacers – Irish Suit /// Yasmin Williams – Sunshowers /// Bill MacKay & Nathan Bowles – Joy Ride /// Russell Hoke – Jesus Understands /// Rob Noyes – Dwelling /// Sachiko Kanenobu – Toki Ni Makasete /// Quilt – Children of Light /// Sunforest – Magician In The Mountain /// Jantar – Bergen op Zoom /// Painted Shrines – Heaven and Holy /// Cool Ghouls – Helpless Circumstance /// The Pink Stones – Blueberry Dream /// Pearl Charles – Magic Mirror /// Sam Burton – Nothing Touches Me /// Michael Hurley – No Home

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Michael Hix on Lino Capra Vaccina’s Antico Adagio

As music falls in waves in ones own life — discoveries of genre, deep dives into labels and self-contained scenes, or just a convergence of like-minded souls finding solace in a similar sound — its hard not to follow the natural patterns. Lately, I’ve taken some comfort in the rise of ambient country as a life raft for modern times. The genre has not only found its way into many of the labels and artists that I’ve naturally gravitated to and already enjoy, but those artists have lead me to seek out more kindred spirits long traveling the haunted highway. The assembled players in Nashville Ambient Ensemble have all found that crossroads at sometime or another, and many have been perfecting it for years. At the head, Michael Hix is orchestrating a group that’s steeped in the last light of dawn as it reflects from the flashing on the pedal steel and their upcoming LP for Centripetal Force is one of the highlights of the new year. Naturally, as the band’s next album approaches, I’d wondered about gems in his own collection that may have laid the ground work and he’s come through with just such a treasure. Read below as he explores the masterwork of Lino Capra Vaccina’s Antico Adagio and the effect the album has made on his own recordings.

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Noise’s Tenno LP reissued for the first time in the US.

The past ten years have been a boon for Japanese reissues — from psychedelic melters in the PSF stable to a wealth of folk and pop that’s been eking out trough various outlets of reissue gold. The folks over at Moone are adding one more lost treasure to the pile. Originally formed as Worst Noise, then shortened to Noise, the duo of Tori and Reiko Kudo released their debut ion 1980 for the legendary ALM records (Somei Satoh, Abe Kaoru). The record was mixed by fellow ALM alum GAP (Taj Mahal Travellers) and bends the psyche with a dose of doomed organ exhumations, minimal trumpet and Reiko’s forlorn vocals that seem to dredge sadness from the very depths of the soul. Just passing its 40 year mark last year, the record hasn’t been back on LP in 23 years, and never outside of its native Japan. Moone seek to right this with a new LP run of 500 that puts the experimental record back in the hands of collectors that have been eluded by this one for years. You can stream the entirety of Tenno below and pick up the vinyl issue when it lands on March 9th.


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Sounds From the Bardo Vol 2.

I introduced the first in a series from Psychelic Sangha a little while back, featuring guided meditaiton and new works from Prana Crafter. The series has a new dose of euphoric float up at their ‘camp today and its equally transportive. This time around the Misfit Seeker crew brings music from Scott Metzger (Joe Russo’s Almost Dead), bassist Jeff Hill (Steve Earle) and drummer Tony Leone (Chris Robinson Brotherhood). The meditaion is lead by cultural producer and healing artist Jessica Angima wth accompanying visuals by light show artist Bubba Ayoub. Tensions have only gotten higher since the last Psycedelic Sangha left the dock, so this comes as much appreciated. Plus, the set includes not only the guided meitation but two longform bonus jams from the trio that were recorded at Judson Memorial Church during soundcheck. Its a set full of wonder, wrapped around nodes of calm. Chances are you need this more than you know.



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Drew Gardner – “Cloud Gate”

The new gems just keep on coming today with another great new batch from Eiderdown led by the news of this Drew Gardener tape. Drew’s often the electric voice in Elkhorn and he continues the bend towards electric guitar tangles on “Cloud Gate.” Aided by the rhythm section of Andy Cush (Garcia Peoples) and Ryan Jewell (Chris Forsyth, Elkhorn, Ryley Walker) Gardner lays down a darkness that comes seeping in through the walls and windows. The new cassette is out March 5th and you can sneak a peek at a couple of tracks over at the ‘camp.



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Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel Band – Rare Dreams: Solar Live 2.27.18

Man, these Bandcamp days are positively spoiling the lot of us with Chris Forsyth live releases. After packing out my list of live highlights from last year, Chris jumps off 2021 quick with another live document pressed deep into the wax that’s proving indispensable. The set here shows a ravenous lineup of his Solar Motel Band, this time in trio formation with Sunwatchers’ Peter Kerlin and Jason Robira holding down the rhythm . The set from Cafe Oto lays waste to a version of “Dreaming In The Non-Dream,” the song that’s quickly becoming the watermark of Forsyth live releases, changing colors in the light with each recording. While the full set was longer than what’s presented here, the pressing offers up another Forsyth catalog cut and then balances the boil with two Neil Young covers, letting the trio map out a fried vision of Young’s most zoned visions. If you snagged any of the live platters from last year, then it seems you’ve got a trifecta to realize with this pickup. Always recommended. Not to be missed.



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Black Twig Pickers – “Roan Mountain Sally Ann”

Really great to see this one coming through today. It’s been since 2015 that we’ve had a release from the great Black Twig Pickers and the band have let loose the news that a new LP is on the way from VHF. In the interim, the profiles of the players have risen, at least in the folk circles that seem the most potent. With Sally Anne Morgan just off an excellent debut LP last year, Bowles constantly surpassing any expectation with his recent releases and Gangloff building out the Spiral Joy Band. With the assembled players back in place they resume their exploration of traditional songs, finding a weather-beaten beauty in the old-time temperament that never seems to truly leave the American consciousness. The impression of these songs is made more apparent with the air of isolation hanging overhead. Made for community and built upon the joy in gathered celebration, the songs here are imbued with a raw emotive quality that’s as hard to pin down and document, but the band lifts these songs up out of the town squares and open-air markets and threads them into tape, making us all a part of the gathered mass.

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