Posts Tagged ‘Grass Widow’

Raven Mahon on Roland Blinn – Rosebud

When writing up The Green Child this week I mentioned that they’re mining some real fun off-kilter synth pop tendencies, finding blending The Creatures and Strawberry Switchblade with jangled touches. One thing I’ve long learned, though, is that while there may be some scars inherent in a record that by no means dictates an artist’s current obsessions. Raven Mahon might be familiar here from her work in The Green Child, but perhaps more so as a member of Grass Widow. The band was long a favorite from the beginning of the last decade, mining post-punk and jangle pop with a carefree flair. I’d asked Raven for a Hidden Gems pick and she’s found an offbeat chem that certainly meets up to the overlooked part of the equation. Check out her take on Canadian songwriter Roland Blinn’s LP Rosebud.

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The Green Child – “Fashion Light”

The pieces of this new album from The Green Child (Raven Mahon & Mikey Young) are dripping out and their blurred vision of synth pop swims up from the subconscious desires of dreams. The synths defuse through the barrier of sleep on “Fashion Light” with Young adding a restraint swipe of guitar and Raven laying on a glaze of sax. While there are many who are content to simply dig into the past and recycle, The Green Child is creating a sound that could have easily sat between the shelf with Strawberry Switchblade and The Creatures. The band’s truly refined their sound since the first album and that’s in no small part due to this one being put together together in Young’s studio rather than cross continents. The pair don’t play to the expectations of their past bands, creating a gauzy universe within the bounds of these few minutes.

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The Green Child – “Low Desk : High Shelf”

It’s a good week for RSTB faves around here. After a nice entry to the ongoing series over at Looking Glass The Green Child, the duo of Raven Mahon (Grass Widow) and Mikey Young (Total Control, ECSR), are back with a sophomore LP that’s strengthening their sound into something more concrete than their debut. Done trading demos from California to Australia, the pair are now both based in the Aussie seaside town of Rye with access to Mikey’s studio and more time to concentrate on reverse engineering dreampop. “Low Desk : High Shelf” is a propulsive synth-pop cut that’s more than it lets on. With themes cut from Camus’ The Stranger revolving around our ingrained perspective and the absurdity of the angles we find ourselves perched and perceiving the litany of life, its hardly . Raven’s vocals poke through a waft of haze, though the track is decidedly pulsing along on bubbled synth strains and a shimmer of guitar.

The accompanying video attempts to contextualize the themes with a contemporary note from the director, Nemali Hypolite, who sums it up, “When directing this video, I kept one thought in my conceptual orbit; the pursuit of happiness. In the year 2020, it seems irrefutably obvious that racism and its disciples continue to ride on our coattails. An unwelcome guest whose presence rewards only those willing to condemn their brothers and sisters to a life of defeat. If at the root of it all, we’re all sentient beings seeking happiness, who’s to say some of us are less deserved than others? I wanted to experiment with the soft whimsical notes of this song, it’s lyrical depth, and my own indignant interpretation of the insider’s club we call the pursuit of happiness. Thus created a calculated, narrative visual piece. One that employs obvious metaphors, basic colour aesthetics, and tacky gore, but perhaps evokes a more metacognitive reflection.” The LP, Shimmering Basset is out Oct 9th on Upset The Rhythm. Check the video and get this in rotation.



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The Green Child

Sometimes it’s hard to resist a combination of favorite forces, and such is the case for The Green Child, which brings together the long-distance relationship of Raven Mahon (Grass Widow) and Mikey Young (Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Total Control). The duo jumps off from their inspirational namesake, Herbert Read’s 1935 utopian, communist, sci-fi novel for a sound that’s slaloming into the valley of retro-futurist synth, with a dollop of jangle. The two have mostly shed their past personas to find common ground in works that are antiseptic, but with a human heart. They dress up in the veneer of ’80s new wave, synth wave and goth and work the weave of the three into an oddly invigorating set for the dawn of 2018. If a certain measure of numbness is anthemic in the new age of world politics and daily life, then The Green Child is a magnetic beacon – part armor, part intoxicant.

The record feeds off of Young’s recent excursions into instrumental synth and it’s apparent that the same inspirations for his entry to Moniker’s “Your Move” series also fueled the bedrock of The Green Child. Though, here he’s less interested in the Kosmiche serenity than striving to balance Mahon’s distillation of icy detachment with the the proper amount of Teutonic cool. By the end, the record finds an even keel in a subdued slickness that wards off the caustic deluge of modern life. There’s something comforting in the future perfect sounds that the band rouses up out of the weeds. With the year just cracking in, The Green Child’s eponymous debut is a balm for these modern times, taking inspiration from somewhat psychedelic and strange texts, to endure some what strange and unbelievable times.





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David West with Teardrops

Ah goddamnit, just when the term supergroup lost its last shred of meaning, David West had to go and assemble The Teardrops, a backing band that would fit the term if they really needed a set in stone label. Thing is, they don’t. The record plays like a collaboration of friends sketching out the best Aussie pop that’s been hurtled down the belt this year. Featuring Bob Jones of Eaters, Louis Hooper of Rat Columns, Mikey Young of Total Control/Eddy Current Suppression Ring and Raven Mahon of Grass Widow, the friends in particular flesh out a well-oiled pop machine that churns hooks and makes it all just look effortless. It would be impressive on its own if West hadn’t also cobbled together the charming new Rat Columns record earlier in the year, making this his second spotless classic of 2017.

Cherry On Willow is rife with cream-thick basslines that squirm underneath a frothing batch of new wave pop cut high with enough sparkling pleasures to fill out any dream playlist. Taken together, though, the album zigs though the many tessellations that made new wave and post-punk such indefinable genres. He’s dubbing out to blissed atmospheres one minute and cutting us down with knife-edge guitars in the next. West is a master pop chameleon, but his most enduring quality might be his ability to stitch stylistic gaps without making an album sound woefully disjointed.

Cherry On Willow sounds like an arc, a journey mapped out by someone writing a soundtrack rather than an album. He’s put together the highs and lows with precision. West nails down the euphoria and giddy sheen on the title track, then dives into melancholy on “Time To Forget” and the haunting “Swan’s Beat.” There’s plenty to love on his third solo album proper, and for those that are already in David’s corner this album comes as no real surprise, but a pleasure nonetheless.




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David West with Teardrops – “Swan’s Beat”

After already turning in a great releases with his bands Rat Columns and Rank/Xerox earlier this year, David West goes for the triple with a new one from his solo (yet very collaborative) band The Teardrops. The record pulls in members from Eaters, Rat Columns, Total Control, Eddy Current Suppression Ring and Grass Widow. “Swan’s Beat” looks to the big, syncopated drums and outsized guitars of the ’80s that would also serve as fodder for 90s hip-hop samples. Though, as much as he claims a Billy Squire influence here, West tempers the excess with cold n’ humid vocals a la Martin Rev and some flecks of dub that give the track a very modern take with a hot flash of nostalgia rattling around in your ears. This actually doesn’t fall too far from the spooky ambience of his standout from Rat Columns, “Blinded By The Shadow,” and its leaving me very eager to get more of this record on the speakers.




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The Moving Pictures – “Black Car”

Olympia’s Moving Pictues cull together some luminaries of the Northwest scene; Hayes Waring of Perennial Records, Lillian Maring (Grass Widow), and Charles Waring (Milk Music). Their recently released album on Perennial jumps styles from Wire-taut punk, to sparse experimental pop and chugging electro hobble. On the album standout, “Black Car” Maring takes the the wheel over a propulsive beat and midnight streaks of guitar. Its a dour anthem, but one that’s streaked with a pre-dawn coolness that can’t be shaken. The track’s infectious slink drops out just a bit too soon, with the band pulling it out from underneath the listener just when it seems to get pulsing. The accompanying video is appropriately off-putting and and queasy. This one seems to have been a bit slept on last year. No time like the present to get acquainted.

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