Browsing Category Tracks

Savoy Motel – “Mouth To Ear Music”

The runup to this new Savoy Motel seems to be a bit low key, but the band’s turning out some strong tracks in anticipation of Love Your Face. While the last track kept a bit of the swing in tact, Savoy seems to have jettisoned quite a bit of their funk and warped disco bounce on “Mouth To Ear Music,” with more of an emphasis on ‘70s roots bleeding into some of the Cosmic Americana sound. A bit of twang in the guitar, a ripple of piano and that flute soaring high up in the clouds, this is the band painted in sunset orange giving a roadworn version of their evergreen influences. I’m not mad at it, the comedown cool of the track fits the band well. The new record is out later in the year, no set date yet.




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Chloe Alison Escott – “Back Behind The Eyes Again”

The last time I had mention of Chloe Alison Escott, it was with an entry to Chapter Music’s healing Midnight Meditations compilation. The song was a far cry from Chloe’s work with The Native Cats. While the spare delivery remained, she’d traded propulsive post-punk for a midnight sigh of piano. There was mention of a full album in the same light and now further pieces of that album, Stars Under Contract fall into place. “Back Behind The Eyes” is just as worn, weary, and smudged with rain as her last single and it precedes an album of worn resolve, self-acceptance, and growing into the person you’re trying to be as an adult.

While it seems this one has been bubbling under the skin — a part of Escott’s live repertoire in flux for several years — the feelings finally fit into the emotional puzzle that’s laid out on Stars Under Contract. Escott mentions “I wrote “Back Behind the Eyes Again” 12 years ago. Sometimes it takes a while for me to get around to recording a song, and the lyric and the structure will evolve over that time; in this song I changed one word (“another” to “better”) and it’s otherwise exactly as I played it at shows in my 20s. It’s about drifting in and out of yourself, and about dramatising life with music.”

While the nervous energy of The Cats has been burnt off of these songs, the scars that Chloe brings to light are still there, acting as a thread tying the new album to her past. The song seems like a moment of healing, a reminder not to pick at the wounds, but to be mindful of them to let them heal. The album is out October 16th from Chapter Music.




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Ethan Daniel Davidson – “Leaving Cheyenne”

I played this one on last month’s radio show, but the more I listen, the deeper it digs. The new LP by songwriter Ethan Daniel Davidson is a wonderfully woolly affair that pulls up close like a knit sweater on cold nights. The LP explores Americana with covers of Blind Reverend Gary Davis, Mississippi John Hurt, Bob Dylan, and Cowboy Joe Babcock alongside some of his own works that spread out just as comfortably under the stars. One of the best moments on the LP is this cover of the traditional cowboy song “Goodbye Old Paint (I’m Leaving Cheyenne).” Davidson keeps the wistful, rambling delivery but compliments the sentiment with a sing-along chorus that feel wonderfully campfire ready and an undercurrent of drone that sounds like it might be didgeridoo or throat singing or some digital approximation of either. Its a nice song to hunker down on the porch as the light dips over the horizon and a damn good argument for Davidson’s LP in general. This is one I haven’t been able to shake. Here’s hoping the same for you.




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Mac Blackout – “Wandering Spheres”

Last time I left Chicago’s Mac Blackout he was burning a pound or so of ozone through the garage-punk stratosphere round about 2017 but in the interim it seems that Mark McKenzie had swapped out the monicker for a new nombre, Armageddon Experimental Band and began dabbling in free jazz and cacophonic float along the same lay lines. Now he’s back with the name Blackout but the garage has been cleared of the grit but packed full of what Armageddon left behind. The new Blackout blends the experimental bent of AEB’s past few years with a bit more heft on the hammer. The first cut from the upcoming Love Profess blasts out of the barrel with McKenzie swapping his guitatr for sax and letting a sinister swelter take over in place of guitar fury. “Wandering Spheres” sees Blackout piping in a low rumble of synth growl and delicate electric piano to McKenzie’s aching sax workout. This certainly isn’t the Blackout you were expecting, but in a year when the ground shifts on an hourly basis, perhaps its the Blackout we need. The record is out November 27th on Trouble in Mind.



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Population II – “Introspection”

Castleface’s international contingent has a strong showing, though mostly from Australia with entires from Total Control, King Gizz, and ORB, but they’ve picked up some swingers from Quebec who are pushing a French-tipped, prog-rifled model that’s as heavy and heady as any in their stable. The band lets some air into the chamber as the album progresses, but opener “Introspection” barrels into the record with a noxious guitar growl, psych-blooze stomp, and some sax scorch just for good measure. The song’s very core is built on the need to let the kernel of rock blossom in the brains of those infected with its ferocity. The band sums it perhaps better, noting that “Introspection is an immersion in the mind of one who feels the energy of raw Rock n ‘Roll running through its veins for the first time. Instantly, comes the need to transmit and amplify it.” The song’s built on the the molten core of ’70 experimentation, melting Amon Düül II and Embryo into a furious export from another time. À La Ô Terre is out October 30th from the West Coast psych stable.




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Kelley Stoltz – “The Quiet Ones”

For those of us who’ve found the entryway into Stoltz’ disorienting alternate history of pop, each new record is a tumble down a new unseen corridor in his secret world. The last record pulled on a crooked tie and a cocked smile for a power pop pub crawl that came and went with only the lucky to nab it for their shelves and the rest to pine. Stoltz is a wily one, though, and he’s not through with 2020 just yet. Another LP looms, with the SF songwriter returning this time to his roots at Agitated Records, stewards of his ’01 kicker Antique Glow. The first taste of Ah-etc packs the power pop back in the suitcase and returns to the lacquered Formica lilt of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Tiptoeing a guitar slink through hallways of chromed keys, the song turns up the voyeurism and eavesdrops on the neighbors, lurking with a queasy charm. Stoltz, ever the Echo & The Bunnymen fan, spent time as a touring member and his bandmate Will Sergeant returns the favor and lends guitar to “The Quiet Ones.” There’s something of a lost afternoon feeling to the track, swirling around the listener and feeding the internal monologue that turns neighbors into puzzles that populate the mind. The loneliness is palpable and the fluorescent flicker just seeps into those synths harder on each listen. The LP is out November 20th from Agitated.

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SUSS – “Echo Lake”

There’s been no shortage of Cosmic Country in 2020 and for that I’m grateful. The genre’s been slowly creeping into the crevices of the year to create a billow, sigh-heavy buffer against the indignity of daily life in this fraught year. With that in mind SUSS’ latest scrawl through the ambient arm of that particular Cosmic headspace is a perfect gift this week. The band’s last LP, High Line was a quivering sluice through the slipstreams of the mind and with another dose of earthen ache in the bones of “Echo Lake,” the band looks to be extending their stay in the calm waters of our minds. This one wafts in on echoed pedal steel and nebulous dust clouds of synth just in time for the weather to cool off the scorch of summer. The single’s out now, sounds like an album’s on the horizon soon.




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Pearl Charles – “What I Need”

There was an inkling of change that snuck into the subtle EP that slipped out from Pearl Charles earlier this summer. The reworking of “Night Tides” from a disco romp into a country cool down was an unexpected treat this year. Charles’ new LP for Kanine follows suit in the best ways, trading off the ‘70s sweat of a dancefloor hangover for a quiet twilight in the bungalow alone, spinning the euphoria of the night into a melancholy melt that tugs at the suede center of the soul. Hung on a slouched organ line and sundown slides, the first single “What I Need” sums up the album nicely — a lone saunter down the strip with a chill in the air, smoke and sweat escaping into the atmosphere. The buzz of the night is coursing through the veins right up until the moment when a bittersweet lump forms in the throat. While it’s quite naturally about how this feeling might arise in the end of a relationship, the analogy works the same as any whirlwind night. There’s a knowing feeling that washes over you, an ache that enters, knowing that its over before you hit the sheets, stuck between bliss and the emptiness of a lonesome morning. Her last album waded into several pop waters, but this one dives into the deep end with a confidence that’s hard to shake. The record arrives January 15th on Kanine.



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Lavender Flu – “Rake The Face”

One Lavender Flu LP has already hit the shelves this year but it seems there’s another on the way from the Chris Gunn lead group. This time the fidelity’s crumbling like an accurate reflection of society in 2020, but the gutpunch grit of The Flu remains. Gunn’s songwriting has always straddled psych and the noisier end of the indie spectrum and this LP seems bound to let the lines blur even further. Lead single “Rake The Face” churns a bright buzz within its tape hiss hovel of sound. Pushing against the walls of redline in all direction the song has a clammy sweat groove that’s more cold turkey desperation than turbulent dance. There was some tenderness in the last Lav Flu, but this one seems to be packed with panic, pain, and a wash of noise. Tomorrow Cleaners lands in late October from MEDS.



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Barry Walker Jr. – “Up the Fan, Into the Keyhole”

Already populating one of 2020’s highly anticipated releases, the just announced North Americans record for Third Man, pedal steel player Barry Walker Jr. is helming his own follow-up to 2018’s excellent Diaspora Urkontinent as well. Like his compatriot McDermott, Walker is expanding the boundaries of his genre in all directions, trading the American Primitive of North Americans for a brand of psychedelic country that’s more indebted to Göttsching and Fripp than it its to the traditional straits of Cosmic Country or even the pedal steel virtuosity of Herb Remington. While his last album might have sat nicely alongside Luke Schneider’s latest (also for Third Man), this is no solo saunter. Walker bends the lonesome tears of his instrument through the black rainbow, but he brings along a shuffling back section as well, tumbling the first inklings of the record through a brokedown valley that’s littered with rusted arcticture that’s either junkyard or sculpture garden. Its up to the listener to parse it out against the squint of the low-hung sun. This marks a welcome return to the game for Holy Mountain Records, who’ve long been a favorite of RSTB. Glad to have ‘em back. The record is out October 30th.





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