Posts Tagged ‘Feeding Tube’

Weeping Bong Band – “Pattern of a Platitude”

Pioneer Valley’s cosmic nub Weeping Bong Band don’t throw a lot of confetti as they approach releases. They tend to slip out under the cover of night, content to creep through the mists, solitary and serene. The band’s last LP for Feeding Tube was a shamanistic wander along the outer edge of folk’s reaches and they offer up more of the same for the upcoming, and rather appropriately titled, II. The first track to see the light, via a quietly slipped MP3 on Feeding Tube’s page, is “Pattern of A Platitude.” Again riding the pre-dawn vibes, the track lopes through strings and sonorous drones with a patient pace. The song’s spectral tendrils drag out over fields parched of green, dry and itching for a frost. If you missed out on the previous LP, the label’s done you a solid and repressed that gem. Otherwise, get ready for round two.



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Spiral Wave Nomads

Feeding Tube is often so busy its hard to keep up with the output, and this year has had such a solid roster of releases that it’s a shame to miss any. The debut from Spiral Wave Nomads proves this point nicely. The LP, a co-release with Twin Lakes Records, embraces a shimmering batch of psych-ragas that are burnt to the core. The band snags in two long-time psychedelic spool party regulars – Eric Hardiman (Burnt Hills, Century Plants) and Michael Kiefer (Myty Konkeror, More Klementines) and they continue their search for the bottomless pit of bliss that bubbles just below the acid-fried surface of a distant sun. Ambling and aching, the tracks on their eponymous debut squeeze dropout drones and square-wave boogies through a strainer to serve.

Throwing varying degrees of noise debris the listeners’ way, from cosmic dust to the kind of fuzztone flakes that get stuck in your teeth, the record doesn’t seek to salve the soul entirely, but rather to rumple, reorder, and render it before melting it into a puddle of pulses. The duo skates the edge of oblivion and anguish, feeling like they might topple either way at any time during the record. They build up a good deal of tension through chewed tin transmissions on “Wabi Sabi,” and then shave it to the bone on the languid “Floating on a Distant Haze” and closer “Patterns of Forgotten Flight.” The LP stands up nicely next to much of the Tube’s heady output this year (pairs nicely with Village of Spaces and Maxine Funke, not to mention the Fog Window LP on SFTRI I mentioned last week). If this one melts your core there’s bonus bliss to be found in the More Klementines release that just came out on Twin Lakes as well. I recommend lining those up on the turntable in tandem.




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Fog Window

For those of you paying attention, Fog Window lives in the extended family of Devin, Gary & Ross, the bizarro psych trio who have been frothing in the fringes for the last decade or so. The players themselves have been on the horizon even longer. Gary Panter issued a single with the Residents, did design work for Pee Wee’s Playhouse, contributed comics to RAW and knocked out a Yo La Tengo cover painting and you barely thought to say ‘thanks.’ Panter hooked up with Devin Flynn, also a purveyor of fine comics and illustration (Y’all So Stupid, Adult Swim, Yo Gabba Gabba), as a duo LP on Ecstatic Yod/Feeding Tube in 2011 and eventually they pulled in fellow psychedelic traveler Ross Goldstein to the fold. The partnership set the scene for two LP’s of melatonin-mad psych-folk goo that’ll warp yer wagon if you let ‘em, 2011’s Four Corners and 2014’s Honeycomb of Chakras. They’ve absorbed a couple more campfire cosmonauts into the mix for the lovely sprawl that is Fog Window’s debut – with Lily Rogers and Curtis Godino of the band Worthless rounding out the roster here.

With the deeper bench the band expands the notions of psychedelic drip that and DMT satellite transmissions that DG&R have molded into shape over the last few years. The record is hard to pin down (as might be expected) and the styles shift like colored oils under glass. Rogers adds an ethereal touch with her high register folk fawning, giving Fog Window a dreamy quality on shimmering tracks like “Time in Miles” and “Hippie Girl.” Don’t get your head set on where this is going though, the band won’t sit still for your dream-folk fantasies. The tone shifts to campfire clatter, humble and hummable, and then slides through the silt into spoken word workouts that are half-remembered through the haze of substance, reality, and time.

They drop out of the dream entirely by the time we roll into side three, amping up the ozone past more than a tickle in your throat and knocking a bit of cosmic sense into the listener with a toasted blues shuffle that could take a tête-à-tête with Endless Boogie and come out sauntering. While I appreciate the whole of Fog Window’s mercurial madness, this side hits me just right. “Landing Gear” sets the tone for the second half of the album, which seems to slide further off this crumpled coil and into the wet ink wonderland of the band’s rubberized hallucinations. By the time the fourth and final side is upon you the ground’s gone gummy and started to rise like quicksand, but if feels natural. It feels right. Fog Window are there to hold your hand as you tip off the edge of this shoddy temporal existence. They’re sonic Sherpas for end times shepherding us all into the smoke on the horizon.

Check out a stream of the LP below. Double gatefold comes with a bonus newsprint zine featuring art by the band.



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Elkhorn

While they’ve been fixtures in the NY live scene for a while yet, and have been racking up accolades with releases on Eiderdown, Debacle, and Beyond Beyond is Beyond, this is undoubtedly the year that Elkhorn makes an indelible impact on the psychedelic spectrum. With the release of a tandem pair of albums for Feeding Tube, the duo gives two distinct visions of their doom-slicked folk fallout. On Elk Jam, the band functions as a proper four-piece with acclaimed guitarist Willie Lane and drummer Ryan Jewell giving Drew Gardner and Jesse Sheppard an improvisational backdrop to work against. This LP locks the players into a shaggy trip that weaves an even denser tangle of guitars than the duo usually finds themselves caught in and knocks their rippled runs against Jewell’s expert anchor. It’s an excellent stab at the Six Organs/P.G. Six/Rangda school of psych-folk freeform that would set them apart in any year, but they don’t let things hang on Elk Jam alone.

That leaves Sun Cycle, the dark jewel of the band’s catalog. Opening cold and frost-bitten with the slow creep of “Altun Ha,” the album plunges the band into the dark corners of psych-folk, bubbling under the skin with a high-plains harrow. There’s a heavier sense of danger in the veins of Sun Cycle, feeling like the soundtrack to a dystopic Western, where the stakes are high and hardly anyone’s walking off into the sunset alive. Lane and Jewell are still here, but they’re less foils for Elkhorn than hues in their palette, creating deep oil paint scars of cracked black and saturated blue underneath the brilliant amber runs of Sheppard’s twelve string and Gardner’s electric purple drips of psychedelic sorrow.

To say there hasn’t been an LP of instrumental intensity on this level in quite a few years is no hasty statement. Wiliam Tyler’s coming close this year, but Elkhorn are topping the mount. As a pair of LPs, there aren’t too many instances of someone stormbringing this hard with quality equaling quantity. Sun Cycle in particular knocks the band into the ranks of Rose, Chasney, and the brothers Bishop. If you’ve been holding out for an essential release in the first half of 2019, look no further, this should be turntable bound and locked down for the next couple of months of your life. Let its pain become yours, its briefer moments of joy salve the soul and its sparkling strings ease the mind.



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Elkhorn – “Song of the Son”

I’ve already shared a look into Elkhorn’s gorgeous, Sun Cycle, but one more couldn’t hurt, right? The duo has another simple, yet perfectly spare video of them live in the room, this time playing “Song of the Son,” with Eric Silver and Josh Johnson capturing the performance. This time there’s less of the cinder and smoke than pervades “To See Darkness,” revealing the pair’s ability to bottle joy into nearly nine minutes of pastoral perfection. The lighter mood by no means lessens the intricate complexity of the pair’s playing – a threaded web of strings that comes off effortless but is as dense and delicate as any natural wonder. The track come from their soon to be released double set – Sun Cycle, which sees them playing as a duo, and Elk Jam, which works as a quartet with Ryan Jewell and Willie Lane. Both are out on Feeding Tube next week.



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Elkhorn – “To See Darkness”

For the past couple of years psych-folk duo Elkhorn has been amassing a catalog of burnt-cinder and toasted molasses guitar gems on labels like Beyond Beyond is Beyond, Debacle, and Eiderdown. Now they stand ready to stun with a two LP set on the way from Feeding Tube that’s packed with their best burners yet. I’m happy to premiere the video for one of the set’s absolute standouts, “To See Darkness.” The track’s steeped in soul-scarred smolder, carrying weight of apocalyptic magnitude in its wounded fuzz leads. The duo’s interplay of fingerpicked runs and high-plains sonic pestilence is peaked and prowling on this track. Should the gods of the small screen ever get around to working out a cinematic vision of Jonathan Hickman’s East of West a wise seeker should tap the duo to soundtrack the menace of Death spreading across the salted plain.

The pair rightly accompany the cut with an austere video of them live in the room with just a somber backdrop of blue to buoy the track’s sonic slash. Captured by Eric Silver (photography) and Josh Johnson (sound) the clip shifts the focus to the power of the music without looking to flood the viewer with anything except the awe and menace the song rightly inspires on its own. The album set, Sun Cycle + Elk Jam, recorded by Jason Meagher at Black Dirt, is out April 12th on Feeding Tube, I’d feel inclined to mention how necessary these are, but I feel like that video might have just made my case for me.



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Michael Hurley

For a listener of any age, dipping into the waters of Michael Hurley can seem daunting. Like a pimple-faced kid on the precipice of Dylan and Townes, Cash or Hazlewood – there are so many eras to cover, so many iterations to contend with and, in Hurley’s specific case, so many inside winks to be lost among that it’s easy to feel like you’re on the outside listening in. In that regard Feeding Tube’s latest collection is an excellently inviting, though by no means definitive entry point. The record documents Hurley’s first European jaunt, embarked upon in 1995 between his albums Wolfways and Parsnip Snips. The tour would take Hurley through Germany and on into Slovenia, where Living Ljubljana would be laid to tape at KLUB K4.

Its not an imposing set – its tight, short, and in deference to some of the other greats up there (Van Zandt and Cash) its spartan in its approach to dialogue and banter. The band that Hurley brings with him is spare, but effective. His records were never overly fussy or showy and often found their grace in the kind of warm, “in the room” feeling that makes them seem less like set pieces for songwriting and more like postcards from a friend. The live set captures the same feeling, with Robert Michener and Mickey Bones pushing Hurley along a track of amiable warmth and inclusive vibes.

The tracklist centers on his mid-nineties period primarily, culling from some merchtable specific cassette releases that don’t pop up that often and the just released Wolfways. Though, for the Hurley traveler and neophyte alike, the set reaches a few years earlier into Watertower and even back to classics from his ‘70s days on Raccoon and Rounder. They round the set of hearthwarmers out with a couple of cover tunes that fit snug into the seams of a carefully curated bunch. If this is the twentieth or so Hurley platter to grace your collection, if you’ve got those merchtable cassettes dusted and dangling on the shelf then Ljubljana will hit you right with a feeling of coming home. If, however, you’re not all that familiar. If you’re scratching your head at what praytell a Snock is and scanning through color blasted cover art with a quizzical grin, then this is just as nice a perch to land on. Its that rare live record that doesn’t feel so much like a souvenir, more like an invitation in. Probably no better place to enter the maze than right here.

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State Champion

State Champion have been carving their initials in the bar wood for a few records now and this time around the gouge is getting hard to ignore. I’ll admit I’m guilty of not giving the Louisville band enough credit, credence, or most importantly enough time on the speakers. There are a lot of bands battling for the haggard and hangdog void left behind by The Mats, Uncle Tupelo and Camper Van Beethoven, but few are actually able to capture the effortless ease of any of those record shelf regulars. Ryan Davis belts like the best bar band basement chuggers inhabiting your average college town’s VFW circuit, but elevates himself out of the depression dens with his indefatigable wit and an ear for raw melancholy that’s enviable.

The magic of State Champion is they’re wading through an alt-country ramble that’s been picked clean before but making it work like few of their peers. Davis is without a doubt a big part of that. Much like fellow perennial underdogs James Jackson Toth, Ned Collette or Joseph Childress, he’s one of this generation’s great songwriters, sketching out a vision of the American Midwest that’s self-aware, unpretentious and biting. Full of crumpled last cigarette vignettes and bar rag blues, Send Flowers is without a doubt the best vision of their quarter-draft night aesthetic. While the band’s last couple of records wore down the threads on their flannel resolve, this one breaks through the disguise to reveal State Champion as more than just top-billed Louisville royalty.

Its not simply a vehicle for Davis though. While the touchstones of alt-country and bar rock aren’t revolutionary, the band backing him up are nailing the sound with a subtle grace. There are soft touch slide guitar runs that practically weep, fiddle that dances slowly in the corners, and an uncluttered strum that knows just when to step out of the way. There’s something beautiful in a record that lets the listener crumple in its wake. Send Flowers is that friend that will buy a few rounds when that relationship that stretched past the point of breaking finally does you in. It lifts you up with a few great stories and leaves you to think in the cold, numb embrace of the parking lot’s void staring up at the stars – afterward you’re better, even if you’re not better off.



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Ned Collette

Finding its way out into the world via IT records and Feeding Tube, Ned Collette’s monumental folk opus Old Chestunt is a spare and haunted record feeling its way through the heavy end of the acoustic spectrum. While there are some great players on the album, including long standing percussionist partner Joe Talia, and a cameo from Chris Abrahams of The Necks, the album is essentially a soul bared by an artist alone on his own terms. There’s a grey pallor that hangs about Old Chestunt, somber and soulful, craggy and careful. Collette brings to mind the skill sets of Roy Harper and Bert Jansch put to use with dry calculation of Jim O’Rourke and the steadfast intensity of Leonard Cohen.

At times he even brings to mind the storyteller soul of Lee Hazlewood, but Collette doesn’t share the winking humor or Lee or the aforementioned Roy Harper. Instead the album prefers the curtains drawn and the bath topped and teaming, with a curl of incense and candle flickering along with the strums. Don’t let that paint the album as hopeless, or dour, though, its contemplative, introspective and measured, but its not slipping down the drain with the remains of the bath. Instead he tucks in and revels in detached soul searching like the best half of the Waters penned Floyd years.

Despite being recorded over four years, the album paints a song cycle that’s cohesive and immediate. Collette captures a corner of folk that’s not been wrung dry over the years. The artist isn’t interested in the slightest that a song sticks to the listener through traditionally memorable means, instead he’s working to press it into the skin with the sheer weight of his writing. He has the ability to sparkle in runs of fingerpicking that lean towards the Takoma school, but he’s more tender than technical. He dips into the English tradition of Canterbury classics, but spirals the songs down a well of darkness that’s meatier than the Middle Ages could contain. Towards the end he looses the ties of folk altogether, letting noise and electricity overcome the atmosphere and bury the album in cinder and ash. Its not an album that can be listened to lightly and warrants multiple listens to let Collette’s full vision sink in, but once its under your skin, Old Chestnut is hard to shake.



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New Parents

Out of the verdant and bountiful Pioneer Valley scene, recently a bastion of psych, comes the debut from New Parents. The band, largely the undertaking of Adam Langelloti (formerly of Sore Eros) takes its approach to psych lightly. Rather he keeps a light touch on the gas, not that he doesn’t take his work seriously, I’m sure his songs are his children, etc, etc, but the record proves that restraint fares just as well as dayglo effects and scorched guitars. Langelloti’s psych is ensconced in a peach haze of guitars, ghosts of brass and mournful strings trickle in through the background, and he’s warping everything just slightly at the edges in a way that brings to mind Gary War if he embraced pop in a much more ardent fashion. It seems that’s not such a stretch for comparison, as War himself is a collaborator and shows up on the standout track, “Well,” giving it a soft tweak of backwards vocals.

On tape New Parents are a vastly different beast than live. The stage sees them pull these songs out into a much looser territory, but while that’s fine in the room, its often hard to replicate on the record. To that effect Langelloti’s sun-baked pop does just fine in its compact form. There’s a hazy afternoon light haloing the entire record and over the course of eleven tracks he’s creating a summer sundown effect that’s initially carefree but lets its heart weigh heavy as the album weighs on. It’s a solid debut pulling from the worlds of folk and psych in equal measures with nods to Vetiver and Espers’ takes on the the same straddle. There’s also a shadow of Sore Eros in Langelloti’s work, but since that was largely Robert Robinson at the helm, its mostly a textural holdover.

As the days wax longer Transient Response feels like it might become a constant companion, a balm on the heat that’s as welcome as a cool rag on the back of the neck. In his debut Langelloti’s nailed the hammock swung feeling of idleness without guilt. The least we can do is indulge.



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