Posts Tagged ‘Glenn Donaldson’

Painted Shrines

It’s no secret that this one has been locked on the speakers over here since it reached my hands. With a handful of killer singles already out in the ether, it feels nice to let the full album stretch out this week. It’s, admittedly hard to pass up the meeting of two great psych-pop minds finding solace in their shared obsessions and both halves of the Painted Shrines duo have been longtime RSTB mainstays. Jeremy Earl and Glenn Donaldson have crossed paths many times over the years, with Donaldson releasing records under more than one moniker on Jeremy’s Woodsist label and the two sharing space in the credits of each other’s albums, but this marks the first full-on collaboration between the two. Birthed out of a restless spirit that found Earl heading cross-country from his home here in the Hudson Valley to Glenn’s West Coast studio, the two embarked on a week-long wander through the faded forms of jangle pop — from the high flying air of The Byrds 12-string heartache to the South Hemi hum of The Clean and The Bats.

Glenn’s been skewing away from the psych folk these past few years, ensconcing himself in the better end of the Sarah / Subway section of the 7” pile, and he brings some of that energy here, but certainly lets more of a fuzzed-caked froth filter onto his pop than I’ve heard in quite some time. The record alternates between heartworn pop cuts and instrumentals that lace ‘em up in a way that reminds me of Felt’s The Strange Idols Pattern And Other Short Stories, albeit without such a classical showiness. Where Deebank was looking for critical acclaim for his virtuosity, Glenn and Jeremy simply seek to balance the bittersweet and the brightness with a slight curl of psychedelic fry. Both artists have been masters of making melancholy feel like a comforting friend, filling the air with an incense that triggers feelings of home.

Those muted jangles, rain-soaked organs and oil-dipped effects give the album a woolen feel, bracing for the morning’s chill, but finding the sun peeking over the horizon and latching on. With both artists adding their singular singing styles to Heaven and Holy there are moments when Woods peek out of the corner of the eye, or The Reds, Pinks and Purples flicked on the consciousness, but its a brief flicker. In the end, they melt their styles together into an album that stands high among both their catalogs, an ache all its own.




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The Reds, Pinks and Purples – “The Record Player and the Damage Done”

Another excellent single lands from the upcoming Reds, Pinks and Purples LP. Taking even a cursory look at Glenn Donaldson’s output over the years — from the noise of Thuja to the sun-soaked folk of The Skygreen Leopards and the jangle-pop pervasiveness of Art Museums and RPP — Glenn clearly suffers from the same record addled affliction as many of us. “The Record Player and the Damage Done” is an ode to the spiritually fulfilling act of playing records. There’s something satisfying in pursuing a sound that’s just right, pouring over discographies and dollar bins to find something that’ll make your heart soar or match you in a melt to the floor. With touches of Felt and the Dunedin sound coursing through this song, Glenn’s sending out a beacon to all bin riflers out there, an instant jangle-pop classic. The new LP lands him a debut at Slumberland and a second offering in the UK on Tough Love. Uncommon Weather is out April 9th.

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The Reds, Pinks and Purples – “Don’t Ever Pray In The Church On My Street”

Feels like RPP are just fresh off of the 2020 Favorites list, but Glenn’s already back with news of a new album and from the sounds of first single, “Don’t Ever Pray In The Church On My Street,” his bittersweet jangle-pop is in full effect once more. Pulling from the same well as the title track from the mini album, You Might Be Happy Someday the newest track pits sunburnt guitars against percolating percussion and a somber air. Still some shades of East River Pipe, St. Christopher, and The Sweetest Ache. Though Glenn adds something of a West Coast feel to the jangled genre, letting the heartache ebb more so than his UK coounterparts, his sighs not getting dragged under in the damp English air but rather soaring away with hope in the warm decay of seabreeze and sun. The song will appear on his third LP, Uncommon Weather due out April 9th from Slumberland.
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Painted Shrines – “Gone”

Hard to resist this one, with perennial RSTB faves Jeremy Earl and Glenn Donaldson pairing up for a duo that splits the crux of their current outputs — finding a jangle-pop dipped amalgam of the most pastoral fare that inhabits Woods and the more tightly buttoned ‘90s indie that Glenn’s been mining. Like Felt turning in Byrds covers, the work of Painted Shines hits a lot of pressure points around here. Not surerising that the two would find themselves musically entwined, with Glenn’s releases (Art Museums, Skygreen Leopards) finding a home on Woodsist over the years, and some hits at collaboration on their last couple of records. Glenn finds his way into the credits of Sun & Shade while Jeremy pops up in percussion on Glenn’s last LP You Might Be Happy Someday. Seems the back and forth stuck, and the pair decamped to Glenn’s studio in 2018 to record the songs on Heaven and Holy.

The first single “Gone” is a wistful amble through sunny streets with Earl’s voice lending the song his usual bittersweet textures. The song shares a lot of the same heavy sigh signifiers as Glenn’s last LP, finding the Kiwipop pedigree of The Cean and The Verlaines lingering among their more ‘60s saturated jangles. The full record finds its way out March 5th, on Woodsist, naturally. Gonna want to get this one on the list as soon as possible.


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The Reds, Pinks and Purples

If you’ve spent time around the halls of Raven, then Glenn Donaldson’s bands are a familiar sight and his current fixtures The Reds, Pinks and Purples and Telephone Numbers have been a particular comfort in the past couple of years. RPP embody some of the same space that The Art Museums once occupied, albeit with a much heavier heart and a bleary-eyed autumn air floating about them. Tough Love has put together a mini-LP that rounds up more of the singles that Glenn’s been workshopping through Bandcamp over the past year and the picture that fits together on You Might Be Happy Someday fits the pieces together into a brief, but affecting record that’s hung up on lonely souls, impermanent living conditions, the small details that haunt the memory, and the sunset stains at the end of relationships.

Though he’s wandered through noise and folk quite often, The RPPs pick at the scars of a particular side of jangle-pop that knits together the quiet crouching of The Wake and more often, that of Brighter and St. Christopher from their Sarah years. Mix in some of the college rock fallout form the US around the same time, say The Springfields or The Suncharms and the record begins to take shape. Once under the gaze of Donaldson all these bits swim together into a melancholy melt — the body thrown to a sea of jangles, the mind grasping at the gauzy vocals that billow with a heavy heart and a halo of pink haze around them. This is just a precursor to an LP out soon in The States, but even though this might count as somewhat of a singles collection, it feels like a singular sigh. Those hooked on the early CapTracks era of Wild Nothing and Beach Fossils would do well to turn their ears towards wheat Glenn’s working up. Those were kids with newfound crushes, The Reds, Pinks and Purples have spent their years with the ‘80s sitting in their soul, ably transferring the anguish of the past into today’s heartache.




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The Reds, Pinks and Purples – “Last Summer In A Rented Room”

Very excited that there’s more RP&P news today. While Glenn’s kept the digital coffers quite full over the past few months properly spoiling us all, the band’s physical offerings are still in short supply and heavy on the import fodder. While this news still comes from across the Atlantic, it’s nice to see a 12″ mini-LP entering the fray today via Tough Love. Meant to be an EP, but packed with songs true to the style of The Reds, Pinks and Purples, You Might Be Happy Someday gives a physical space to eight of the tracks that have eked out on Bandcamp over last Winter, acting as a nice companion piece to the “I Should Have Helped You” 7″ that came out around May. Fans of the RPP mixture of swooning melodies and crushing narratives won’t be disappointed with the first offering. “Last Summer In A Rented Room” is an audible lump in the throat, ennui made manifest. The song sits on the listener’s chest like a sob caught between chords. It’s a beautiful piece of somber jangle that slots in nicely alongside the rest of the band’s catalog. Not sure if there’s a US distro picking these up just yet, but you can nab one from Bandcamp on pale pink vinyl straight from the label. The 12″ is out October 2nd and keep an ear perked because there’s still talk of a Slumberland LP on the way as well.




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The Reds, Pinks & Purples – “I’d Rather Astral Project”

I can’t resist a chance to post The Reds, Pinks & Purples and while the band’s upcoming new LP for Slumberland is still a ways off, they’ve worked up a nice animated vid for one of the myriad singles that have packed their Bandcamp over the last few months. The message in “I’d Rather Astral Project” seems a bit more prescient now with physical shows in indefinite hiatus it would seem more convenient to take up the astral plane as the new venue. As usual the band wraps their wry thoughts in the jangled melancholia that’s made them so steady on the speakers over here. Check out the Jem Fanvu directed vid above.



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The Reds, Pinks and Purples – “I Should Have Helped You”

Some subtle news slips out over the long weekend that there’s a new 7” from The Reds, Pinks and Purples coming on EU label Discreet Music. The official follow-up to the band’s last LP, Anxiety Art culls four tracks from Glenn and co.’s prolific Bandcamp run over the last few months. In addition to the title track, “I Should Have Helped You,” the record picks up official version of “Unrequited,” “Keep Your Secrets Close,” and “They Only Wanted Your Soul.” As with the last album the band excels at mining the Sarah Records heyday with songs that tip both jangled and jilted – catchy but with a true melancholy heat. There’s not a cut on here worth missing but check out the autumn sighs that abound on the EP closer below. The song’s got Glenn’s earnest delivery humming and close enough to feel breath in the speakers, but its heard to push down the lump in the throat that forms over these two and a half minutes. Seems there should be some copies stateside soon, but there’s a link below for the import as well. Along with his Telephone Numbers output, these are some of Donaldson’s most intimate, but aching songs and its worth keeping an ear on them to see what’s popping up next.




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The Telephone Numbers – “Pictures of Lee”

As I mentioned Friday was a hectic day with the feeds flying fast, but if you were looking in the right places there were plenty of gems to be had. This new single/digital EP from The Telephone Numbers is just such a gem, so let’s rewind and take a listen. The band’s popped up here before and its a new one from Glenn Donaldson (The Skygreen Leopards, The Reds Pinks and Purples) who’s hooked up with a few more SF janglers to create some pristine and perfect pop in this absolute shit year. Sometimes all you need is a crisp jangle, earnest harmonies, and a good dose of swoon and everything just melts away for 3 minutes or so. The title track off of the single garners this kind of appeal. Its a such a crystal clear moment in sound that everything relaxes for a moment and just soaks in the West Coast sun for a few suspended minutes. The rest of the tracks spar between the melancholy shuffle of “Curtains Close,” the late-afternoon sidle of “It’s Not All About Your Life,” and a cracking cover of Alec Bathgate’s “Run.” Just like their last single, there’s a lot to love here and the band’s poised to be one’s to keep tabs on as these singles sneak out.



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Woods – “Strange To Explain”

News that Woods has an album on the way was among the best reliefs of the year. The band’s been lying low for a little bit, letting themselves ease into their own lives and focus on the label and festival. With the reveal of the first two singles from Strange to Explain, though, they prove that their time to rest has resulted in one of Woods’ deepest, most endearing records. The band revealed the title track this week and it’s a bittersweet, yearning song that tackles strange feelings of familiarity. The band’s sound is fuller than ever, fleshed out from the early days of their psych-folk sojourns into lush orchestrations that nestle into the greenery of their Upstate environs. Woodist fam and RSTB fave Glenn Donaldson (Skygreen Leopards, The Reds, Pinks and Purples) shows up on background vocals and the whole thing sighs into the summer with an ease I hope is just over the horizon. The record is out May 22nd.



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