Posts Tagged ‘Cosmic Americana’

Frank & The Hurricanes – “Balsam Babe”

Another one from the Sophomore Lounge stable today and it brings news of a new LP on the way from Frank & The Hurricanes. The band last popped up as The Hurricanes of Love with a release split between Feeding Tube and Crash Symbols, and the worn-in, reclined vibe that Frank was hitting on the lat release remains in tact. Frank’s got a way of translating summertime backyard beers to an entire aural aesthetic, feeling like a half ton of tension-melting good will in every bar. He’s only shored up his grip on the Americana trickle out of classic rock, perpetrating his mud-caked gospel over the sunny tangle of strings on “Balsam Babe” Its good to know that Frank’s out there taking it easy for all of us sinners. The new LP lands November 20th on Sophomore Lounge.



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Matthew ‘Doc’ Dunn – “Last Goodbye”

Canadian songwriter Matthew ‘Doc’ Dunn continues his excellent run of solo LPs for his own Cosmic Range Records. Beginning with the double 2018 run of Lightbourn and Some Horses Run and continuing through last years’ Upper Canada Blues Dunn has tapped into a weathered, country-flecked sound that’s shouldering a heavy load of emotional weight with the feeling that there’s plenty of road left to travel. He brings on fellow psych-country crooner James Matthew VII to add some stringwork to the LP, injecting his own mellowed gold to the sounds. Dunn’s perfected the art of the bittersweet swoon and while there are two solid pre-release singles up today, its “Last Goodbye” that captures the bright dawn sunlight best. The song gallops along with a breeze in its bones — a traveling song that leaves it all behind, but not without a pang that pulls at the soul. Rain, Rain, Rain is out October 26th and is up today for pre-order.



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Sacred Cowboys: Xian Cosmic American Music

Over the past couple of years I’ve been putting together a series of mixtapes that have coupled together some genre faves from one corner of music or another. Some of my favorites have been explorations of new and old Cosmic Country and this mixtape follows suit. After talking with Bobby Lee, who’s tape Shakedown in Slabtown explores the ambient arm of the genre with glowing results, he proposed putting together a mixtape of ’70s Christian Country for the site. Having found some favorites in spiritual jazz, and gospel blues I was interested with the strain that Lee was describing. Check out the first guest mixtape for the site below along with a bit of background from Lee. And since its a Bandcamp Friday, you can head to pickup his latest while you’re at it.

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Silver Synthetic – “Unchain Your Heart”

Another taste of the new Silver Synthetic EP on Third Man comes out with a ‘70s swathed video of the band playing a Top of the Pop style setup. The trappings fit the band who are definitely hitting a low gear choogle on “Unchain Your Heart.” Its an even looser side to the band than on the previous single and they nab the last of the summer breeze and bring it curling down the coast with them. They’ve let go of the motorik sway that infected “Out Of The Darkness” and let this one go full denim stomper with a smooth groove and some subtle handclaps underpinning their sunshine harmonies. The whole record’s a short, but excellent addition to the Cosmic Americana cannon of late and it feels like just the beginning of larger things. The EP is out 10/2 on Third Man.

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Nick Mitchell Maiato

There’s joy and sadness in the new solo LP from Nick Mitchell Maiato. The joy is always inherent in his works — it’s a feeling that bubbles under his songwriting these days and one that explodes into waves of color when he lets fly guitar parts that shift and shimmer as much as they burn incandescently. The sadness comes, as most seems to of late, with the knowledge of what could have been had we all not been set adrift due to disease. The songs on this album were to be the beginning sketches of the lineup for a third One Eleven Heavy album that, at least in this form, will likely never be. The band was set to convene and combine these with works by Toth and Chew that would have carved themselves into their latest love letter to classic rock cyphers and cosmic choogle. That third album will come, but not as it was originally conceived.

Still, the feelings of joy should win out in this struggle of the senses and sentiments, as we cannot lament forever what might have been and instead have to embrace what Pino Carrasco has become. Those sketches were worked into full flight songs that embrace Nick’s half of the Heavies — the buoyant tangle of guitar that’s rooted in Crazy Horse’s grit, Canned Heat’s heartbeat boogie, and Satana’s playful willingness to experiment with rhythm. That Nick’s able to channel the push/pull feeling of testing one another that a full band can attain is impressive to say the least, for an artist alone. While the Heavies have an ecstatic dynamic, Maiato’s able to create his own imaginary ensemble in the studio, adopting amiably the instruments of his peers and creating a whiskey-rubbed Brill Building of one with cosmic ambitions. The dynamic comes to a head on the album’s anchor pieces “Show Yourself” and “Ode To What,” the latter an impressive feat of time-change gymnastics that tumbles the listener through more than a few hairpin highs. Don’t lament the loss, just let Pino Carrasco lift up your heart during the dour months. Its a sunshine-scrubbed delight that keeps the listener on their toes.




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Half Stack

This one’s been on the RSTB radar for a little while and it’s great to finally have it in hand. Oakland’s Half Stack wander the Western deserts well, but there’s a bit more Nashville in their tank than Laurel Canyon lilt. Wings of Love wraps up a familiar alt-country formula of twang-spiked ramble and electric rumble, but the band makes it feel like first love rather than second run territory. The record deals with a certain longing to be away from your own surroundings. For the band the lure of the American heartland seems to pull strong, despite their moorings in the sunny, salt-scrubbed air of California. They play the tumble of twang well and pair it with a wistful spirit that’s as wide and free as skies along an endless highway.

While the band’s Patrick Kegler has had an admitted on and off relationship with country, the full embrace here is pure of heart. While the old school might have taught him guitar, there’s certainly a filter of ‘70s Stones, Burritos, and ‘00s revivalists (The Stands, Beachwood Sparks, etc) at work here. The record wanders through the streets looking for home and harbor, but it mostly just melts into the night air, comfortable in its wanderlust. Kegler found his home with garage and indie before finally admitting that his country roots pulled too strong, but it seems that what the heart wants is inevitably right. The auburn glow of Wings of Love is hard to push aside, and the songs here endear listen after listen with a reverberating joy, bittersweet but ultimately comforting in its own skin.




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Farmer Dave Scher – “Ocean Eyes”

Been a while since ‘Farmer’ Dave Scher popped up on my radar, but for a good swath of time he was a constant around here from Beachwood Sparks and All Night Radio to The Tyde for a stretch. He’s lent instrumentation to a good couple of dozen more than I can count and he’s swept back into view with The Violators and The Skiffle Players lately, but now he’s back with his first solo songwriter works since his ’09 LP and 7” for Kemado/Mex Sum. While the cosmic folk, gauzy psych, and earthen country remains, there’s a renewed focus on breathing life back into a dying planet its all swept into a dizzying whirlwind of reverberating sound on “Ocean Eyes.” The song’s got a heart that has one hand in the glorious cacophony of Akron/Family and another cradled around his compatriots in Mystic Chords of Memory. Though the tethers don’t keep this one locked anywhere for long — a chorus of voices rises and falls, waves crash, and circular piano swims around and around the song with a comforting cadence. The EP features drop-ins from friends Kurt Vile, Cars McCombs and Dan Horne and it arrives October 2nd on Spiritual Pajamas.



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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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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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Garcia Peoples – “Crown of Thought”

Another great peek into the latest Garcia Peoples lands today. “Crown of Thought” delves further into the excellent second side of Nightcap at Wit’s End. Like Agitation Free before them, the band’s worked up a killer flip-side suite that pushes into the heart of the sun — blissful, knotted, and rolling around in the brain with a molten glow that’s hard to shake. The song pushes the Garcia’s model closer to the levitating energy of their live shows. One Step Behind aside, this is one of the most ambitious GP albums to date. It’s hard to follow such a heavy statement as their last LP, as I’m sure they’re aware, but here the band are starting to work their way into the nebulous folds of prog with a one hand laying down the needle deep into Fairport’s ascension out of folk and into the electric ether and the other still feeling along the Help Yourself / Mighty Baby axis. The band’s already set a hook into my heart, but this one’s only sinking the barb deeper and drawing darker blood. If the stage can’t have GP then the turntable ought to suffice for now..



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