Posts Tagged ‘Trouble in Mind’

Jen Powers on Jan Dukes de Grey – Sorcerers

Over the last couple of years Jen, along with her partner Matthew Rolin, have garnered acclaim for their live sets, issued to cassettes, culminating in an excellent album for Feeding Tube earlier in the year. The pair have also issued a limited run cassette as a trio with Jason Gerycz (Cloud Nothings) that expands into a noisier nook than they hang in on their own. With another tape just released in Trouble In Mind’s new experimental series, its shaping up to be quite a year for the duo. Jen’s hammered dulcimer adds a touch of crystalline beauty to their works and she’s long been a self-professed folk nerd on social media, giving me every reason to reach out and see what gems she has hiding in her collection. Jen’s picked a record that’s long found its way into the hands of obsessive collectors, but has been finally getting a bit of its own due this year. Find out how the debut from Jan Dukes de Grey made its way into her collection.

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David Nance

November just keeps giving musically and the new release from David Nance is hard proof. The Omaha artist switched his setup towards full band and knocked the gears to heavy on his last LP, but he’s back to basics for Staunch Honey and while I miss the UV burn of Peaced and Slightly Pulverized I appreciate the unfettered and unfiltered version of Nance all the more this time around. A ragged county blues that’s ripped out of some alt-American version of a national songbook, the record is the sound of dust storms whipping through vacant cul-de-sacs abandoned after the housing crisis hollowed them out. It’s the sound of scarred lots in Detroit built with blight but hosting an outdoor noise show. Its the sound of catharsis, sweet and simple — the rumble of mufflers over the horizon harmonizing with the amplifiers to create a grit-ground vision of Americana if there were no longer pretensions attached to the term.

Nance has tapped down deep into something singular, secular, and universal. The dust in his veins is pure, and it’s beat down into every note of Staunch Honey. The shift between Peaced and this record is palpable. Everything has slowed to an amber glow that gives the titular substance weight on the record. The riffs are run through finest local batch, then countrified and clarified until they’re something ragged, raw, and unmistakable. If we were in need of a cleanse in 2020, Nance has stepped up to the challenge and brought the blacklight backbeat that douses the masses in a deluge of blues — enough to buff out the buildup from a half decade of bad vibes. Nance brings the lights low, lets the bar crowd die down and then lays out the 2AM shakes like an old aficionado. Make no mistake, Staunch Honey is rarefied air and you’d do well to breath it in deep.




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David Nance – “My Love, The Dark and I”

This week sees another raw blues tangle from David Nance’s upcoming LP on Trouble in Mind. The latest, “My Love, the Dark and I” is delivered with a grit-teethed grimace. Nance’s stripped things back to the bones and it suits him. While the last album brought a storm front that was hard to ignore, Nance’s forte has long existed in shaking a good dose of grit out of a more paired down setup. The guitars wrestle into a tumult of twang and charcoal-crushed smolder. Nance is appropriately weary here, run ragged by the road and love and the endless stretch of night. The new album, Staunch Honey is out November 13th.


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Mac Blackout – “Wandering Spheres”

Last time I left Chicago’s Mac Blackout he was burning a pound or so of ozone through the garage-punk stratosphere round about 2017 but in the interim it seems that Mark McKenzie had swapped out the monicker for a new nombre, Armageddon Experimental Band and began dabbling in free jazz and cacophonic float along the same lay lines. Now he’s back with the name Blackout but the garage has been cleared of the grit but packed full of what Armageddon left behind. The new Blackout blends the experimental bent of AEB’s past few years with a bit more heft on the hammer. The first cut from the upcoming Love Profess blasts out of the barrel with McKenzie swapping his guitatr for sax and letting a sinister swelter take over in place of guitar fury. “Wandering Spheres” sees Blackout piping in a low rumble of synth growl and delicate electric piano to McKenzie’s aching sax workout. This certainly isn’t the Blackout you were expecting, but in a year when the ground shifts on an hourly basis, perhaps its the Blackout we need. The record is out November 27th on Trouble in Mind.



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Matt Lajoie

This year’s already been a pretty great year for Northeast outpost Flower Room, with new releases from Ash & Herb, Starbirthed, rootless, Ash Brooks, and Matt Lajoie but they can’t keep all that goodness to themselves. While Matt and Ash tend to keep their releases close to home, Matt’s solo tapes can often wander far afield. With a companion piece to his excellent Everlasting Spring popping up on Aural Canyon just a couple of months ago, it would seem that he couldn’t possibly have more on the dock for 2020. Yet here we are with the second entry to Trouble in Mind’s new experimental tape run, “Explorers Series,” and Matt’s got more goodness on the spools. The first entry found its way out in June from Chicago duo Jamie Levinson & Donny Mahlmeister and this second installment from LaJoie captures nothing less than the shimmering beauty I’ve come to expect from him in recent years.

At two tracks, one to a side, the tape doesn’t linger long, but the 30 or so minutes that it graces the speakers brighten up any room within reach. The opener “Light Vortex” is a percolating beam bounced off of the morning waters. It rotates with a crystal kaleidoscope of patterns built in sunlight gold and deep azure blues. The flip goes a bit darker in hue, though it remains jubilant, submerging the listener in the aquamarine underworld like Sven Libaek gone glimmer. LaJoie’s catalog is a life buoy in a turbulent tempest of a year, and this one feels like a absolute capper of a trilogy that begs to be enmeshed into your daily life. Can’t wait to see what the “Explorers Series” holds next, but this one is a keeper.




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Naked Roommate

I was always a fan of Oakland post-punks The World, and was ultimately saddened that along with the announcement of the debut from Naked Roommate came the news that they’d ceased to exist. Amber Sermeńo & Andy Jordan of the band continue their exploration of past impulses, however, with their new endeavor. Still teetering on the edge of post-punk and the void, still tethered to the Earth by a rubber-bound ballast of bass, the new band isn’t worlds away from what they’d set to explore in their previous pursuits. Yet, where The World burned hot and insistent, Naked Roommate exists their reclined and refined sibling. It’s easy to see the slide from one to the other. The World triggered their tension via blasts of sax and shards of guitar that were set to slice, let slip a few years further down the post-punk pike and like the punks before them they pick up dub, gutter-spliced dance, and the hangover of pre-public acceptability disco.

With members of Bad Bad, Preening, and Blues Lawyer in tow, the duo create a record that feels reckless in its pursuit of repose. With their credentials it would have been easy to pick at the scabs of punk once again, but the band shows a fascination with ESG’s bare bones debt to dance, Northwest slow-simmer unit C.O.C.O. and the tape-hiss pile-up from the early aughts that was packed with bands like Vibes, Psychic Reality, and LA Vampires. It works together into a record that feels reverent to the past, but not precious enough not to get caught up in recreating anything with any air of accuracy. More than anything, Do The Duvet feels like a few friends having fun and working out a kind of crash-house soundtrack that’s fun and frivolous. It’s not aspiring to knock the moorings out of the world, but sometimes just bringing people together and vibing is a political act.




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David Nance – “When The Covers Come Off”

I definitely felt the heft of Nance’s Peaced and Slightly Pulverized when it landed couple of years back. The album thickened Nance’s stew to a stiff porridge and then lit the whole pot on fire. It seemed like the next move could only come in the form of another torched trip to the studio, but Nance isn’t one to live by expectations. That Third Man follow-up single might have given us all an inkling, but hell that’s a one-off, right? What was next? With the first cut from his upcoming Staunch Honey he answers the question neatly — a slide into the country sweat that shines under the Omaha sun and a return of sorts to his loose-laced countenance. Though, while it’s a rekindling of the scrap that sutured his early albums — playing into the hip-strung blues with a Teac crunch on ‘em — he’s still brought a touch of the toughness with him from Peaced. The pace is reclined but there’s power in those amp-fried licks. The thunder has passed and now its time to get people out and movin’. “When The Covers Come Off” requires volume to vibe, so don’t keep this one under the headphones long. Staunch Honey is out November 13th on Trouble In Mind.



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Naked Roommate – “Mad Love”

The exciting news of the new single from Naked Roommate is balanced by the equally sad news that it’s officially over for The World. The beloved Oakland post-punk outfit only had a handful of records, but they lit a disjointed fire on each one. The band’s Amber Sermeńo & Andy Jordan carry on the torch, but strip things back further than the sax-scratched sounds of The World. Alongside mems of Bad Bad, Preening, and Blues Lawyer, the pair embrace a skeletal beat that recalls ESG, C.O.C.O., or the disjointed funk of Lizzy Mercier Descloux. “Mad Love” bubbles in on beats inflated with recycled air, a loping bass and rubberized ripples of guitar. Ringlets of synth dart across the room with laser-guided glee and the whole song is held fast by the icy delivery of Sermeńo, who’s giving this a delightfully more lived-in approach than on The World’s output. The record’s a joint venture between Trouble in Mind in the US and Upset The Rhythm in the UK. The record is out September 4th and notably, the band & the labels will be donating any proceeds from the sale of the digital single for “Mad Love” thru the end of July to the Anti-Police Terror Project.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE (US) or HERE (UK).

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Lithics

Post-punk in the new age has a pretty wide berth. While many feel free to ascribe the tag, their brand of the brew certainly feels welcoming, eschewing some of the raised hackles tendencies that made uncomfortable seem so appealing. Lithics have spent their tenure embracing the itch of post-punk — the brittle guitar gasp, the rubber-legged rhythms, and the leaden vocals that aim to knock you off your perch. The band’s been building steam through an ace run of labels, hopping from Water Wing to Kill Rock Stars, with a stop at Thrilling Living before they land their barbed attacks at Trouble in Mind for Tower of Age.

The qualities that endeared the band to the curdled masses the first (and second) time around remain in tact. The band still wields a hook with intent to maim and the rhythm is infectious in a clinical sense. While they often conjure up the bare-bulb flicker of minimalist austerity they employ a subversive strain like the best of their forbears. Where Au Pairs and Pere Ubu let discomfort crack the glass on the comfortable life, Lithics pick up the shattered shards and twist them into the wounds their influences left behind. The album festers but somehow you’re drawn in closer. The woolen weight of Lithics cannot be ignored and eventually it gets under the skin to stay.

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Melenas

Pair a new release Friday with the madness of these Bandcamp waiver days and things wind up getting lost among the flurry of tweets and shouted recommendations across the wires. In amongst the clamor Spain’s Melenas released their latest for Trouble in Mind and its worth sinking your teeth into now that some of the dust has settled. The Pamplona quartet picks up shades and shards of indie pop along the twisted trail from kiwi-pop (The Bats and Look Blue Go Purple) to UK favorites, digging into the prim charms of The Pastels, The Primitives, and The Clouds. They shake out all the sounds on the table and reassemble them primed for hooks, but somehow completely unfussed by the idea of pop. The record sounds so lived in and natural, like the band rolled out of bed each day and laid down a rumpled and ripped pop track then popped off for day shifts as if its no big deal.

Blending a mixed bag of jangles with the buzzing bliss of synths, they dip their toes on both sides of the indie pop line finding friends with the Sarah twee-tones and the Creation haze merchants alike. With hushed harmonies that don’t overplay their hand, the group turns pensive pining into a delicate artform. They catch more than a few ears with pastel-dipped hooks, yet the album’s sublimely balanced by songs that hang in the air buoyed by a soft grey fog. The group knows the value of not always being ‘on,’ and when they pull back into an ethereal slouch it ties the album’s more ecstatic tracks together into a patchwork pattern that’s pleasing as hell. If Melenas had dropped into the jangle jungle in the mid-80s there’d have definitely been some tug-o-war to get them into the ranks of Sha La La, Postcard, and 53rd & 3rd – if not one of the aforementioned outposts of pop. No reason not to be that excited now. Dias Raros feels like the kind of future collector’s fodder that you’d want to nab before everyone wakes up to it.



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