Posts Tagged ‘Matt Sweeney’

Endless Boogie

Since the crack of the aughts, one of the most consistent sources of primal rock pummel has been between the runouts of an Endless Boogie LP. While all around them rose up the ghost of garage rock gone graceless, the Boogie felt the heat of the beast emanating from basements and cracked practice spaces they’d hollowed out into homes. There was never an element of style playing against substance, the Boogie is substance, pure and plain. They will any notion of style to life out of the sweat vapors and tube filament char left lingering in the caked atmosphere of the room they’re punishing at the moment. While the recordings post-Focus Level began to use the studio to their advantage, Volume 1 and Volume 2 were the raw reek of the concrete wall captured to tape. Thankfully, for any who missed out on crusted copies of their early days got a crack at these bound up by No Quarter in 2019.

Last year the label did one better and unsealed the long amassing vaults of practice space tapes, presenting them here as a 4LP set of sternum disrupting floor shakers that contained unheard and unreleased treasures. Though some may have slipped out on march table CD-rs, more often than not these recordings were privy only to the band as they shaved these basement rituals into fodder for studio thunder to come. As much as the band lives on the stage — a coordinated animal attack of ferocious Zone X boogie — their true habitat may well be the practice space. There, during 3 AM exhumations of demon sweat, the band brings forth the pure and unadulterated form of the Boogie. It’s a fair question to ask; “Do I need 4 LPs of Endless Boogie thunder?” You do, my fried, I assure you, you do more than you could ever know. The band will always continue to evolve into the next stage of rock’s soul — the elemental sound that we all need, presented in pure throb, the first time it slips from your speakers. Yet here, with two Sweeneys in tow and no expectations on them, no audience intended, the band is absolute heat and light. That’s a thing you need to experience in your own living room. There are still some of these boxes left at the label and I wouldn’t wait too long to scrape together the scratch for this one. Hell, don’t eat for a week, there’s no gnawing hunger that might be more mighty than the hunger for insistent churn between the grooves of these four platters.


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Matt Sweeney & Will Oldham – “Hall of Death”

Following a few hints this past summer and fall, the return of Matt Sweeney and Will Oldham is now official with a new LP announced for Drag City in April entitled Superwolves (naturally). The album includes the dark, harrowing “Make Worry For Me” alongside the more celebratory new single “Hall of Death.” The new cut was produced with Tuareg guitarist Ahmoudou Madassane (Les Filles de Illighadad) and is backed by Mdou Moctar and his ensemble. The song roils along on Moctar’s sunburnt guitar lines, slicing the air in tandem with Sweeney’s own insistent choogle. The song’s got a supreme summertime glaze to it and, while we’re all stuck in the greyed doldrum of February, its nice to let the track open up a little warmth whenever you you might need it. From the first pair of singles, its clear that the duo has never lost their ability to twist between sorrow and joy and this one should likely jump up the list of anticipated LPs for 2021. With Malkmus mining the blues and Superwolves going Tuareg, its a good couple of years for the fried guitar streak in ya. Superwolves is out April 30th from Drag City/Palace Records and Domino

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Matt Sweeney & Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – “Make Worry For Me”

Drag City’s really been bringing it with the news on resurrected duos of late. After yesterday’s announcement of a new record on the way from New Bums, today sees a video from the now and forever Superwolves Matt Sweeney & Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy. “Make Worry For Me” follows on from their springtime gift of “You’ll Get Eaten Too” and the song scrapes through the more sinister, hunger-bitten side of the pair’s work. On their evergreen 2005 album the pair balanced menace and yearning, but here the wistfulness seems to singe away, replaced by a gaunt, rumbling sweep that swells to anxious palpitations and bared teeth. Sweeney burns off the bile with a fuzz-quenched solo ramping up expectations for what the duo is ramping up for. The video makes excellent use of Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe’s bunker installation ‘A Cell in the Smile’ adding to the nervous tension of the track. Check out the vid above.

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Stephen Malkmus – Xian Man

Not that this track needs my input (if you escaped it yesterday, you probably weren’t paying attention), but this wasn’t what I’d been expecting from a new Malkmus LP and it’s certainly a pleasant surprise. The last record seemed like exactly what someone of Stephen’s stature has (and should have) the freedom to make. It was a left turn that didn’t always lead down clear streets but the journey was scenic nonetheless. The first cut from the upcoming Traditional Techniques seems like another left, albeit this time right into my wheelhouse. Along with Matt Sweeney in tow and Chris Funk arranging, Malkmus burns through a set of dessert blues that feel like Matt and Steve have been spending some time picking through the Subliminal Frequencies catalog and attending a Tinariwen set or two. There’s a feeling of blues, but its smoke-smeared and winding down the paths that usually have Ben Chasny and Sir Richard Bishop lurking in the shadows at the end. Feels like a good mood on Malkmus, as there’s no need to perfect the untucked aleternatives he’s already helped foster. This too feels like a whim. They might not all stick, but take the chances, bring along a few ringers on guitar and I’ll be there waiting, that’s for sure.




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Weak Signal

Those already familiar with the works of Mike Bones have probably already perked their ears at his mention. His solo albums for aughts enclave The Social Registry brought a gnarled sense of indie grandeur, while his album with Soldiers of Fortune (Mexican Summer) produced a supergroup that should have gone down in history, bringing members of Endless Boogie and Oneida together with Matt Sweeney (a wise move if you ask me). Its hard to keep a good slinger down and as proof Mike’s quietly slipping out a 2019 gem that deserves a few louder shouts. Weak Signal is his most compact vision yet, and appropriately the music is a skin-flayed, no pussyfootin’ vision of indie tumble that’s got teeth in the flesh and smoke in the air. Bones picks at the same carrion carnage in which his contemporaries Sweeney and Chris Forsyth often find themselves embroiled. There’s a sense of timeless tension — every bit the early ‘90s major label gamble and early aughts classicists in one. The trio can wire-strip the soul (“Tell Me How You Like It”) and still seed the clouds for a bare fist melancholy melt (“Lyin”).

The touchstones on Bones’ syllabus feel more than familiar but he’s spinning it anew, lighting a new fire into the indie rock pyre that’s been smoldering to the coals on the back of 2019. Along with a propulsive thunder from rhythm section Sasha Vine and Tran Huynh, and a bevy of complimentary harmonies as well, Weak Signal is proving to be a record that’s hard to shake and harder to evict from the turntable. The album eeked out last year from NYC tape label Reality Delay, but finds a welcomed new life on LP from Jacuzzi Boys’ label Mag Mag this year. It’s highly recommended that you put this ring-spun sizzler on the table and let it drip over your soul a few times. Let it burrow under the skin and itch with delicious discomfort.



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