Posts Tagged ‘Trouble in Mind’

Landon Caldwell – ” What Seems Like The End Is Also A Beginning ”

If your Friday is looking for a little comedown, then the new cassette from Landon Caldwell (Crazy Doberman, Creeping Pink, Thee Open Sex) should do the trick. A part of Trouble in Mind’s explorer’s series, the solo set from Caldwell explores an ambient cosmic float, wafting in on synth clouds thick and satisfying. A weary sax turn the album closer, “What Seems Like the End Is Also A Beginning” into a welcome melt into the atmosphere. As Caldwell, aided here by Tom Lageveen, leads the listener into the light the boundaries between molecules begin to dissolve. The album is a tonal reset, a sound bath that does its best to become the door to a nebulous universe. Deep Strand arrives March 12th from Trouble in Mind.




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Nightshift

The sophomore LP from Glasgow’s Nightshift is a study in starkness — a post-punk workout that solders past misfits like Young Marble Giants, Oh-Ok, and Liliput to new outliers like J. McFarlane’s Reality Guest and Sleeper & Snake. The album does a great job of decentralizing the guitar, with rec room echoed vocals and the quiet cry of clarinet playing their way out over loping bass on more than one occasion. There’s a brooding, bedroom dance to the band’s works. Alone and unseen, the walls melt down with a waxen aloofness, but it just masks the vulnerability beneath the surface of the Nightshift’s songs. There are quite a few moments when the smoke curl of distance feels palpable, which is quite apt, considering the album was recorded in individual parts as the band members were segregated from one another over the past year. The isolation doesn’t necessarily get a direct reference, but the feeling of space underscores every minute of Zöe.

The entire album anchors around the seven-minute centerpiece “Power Cut,” a buzzing, undulating piece that untethers from the terra firma to dance in the clouds, high on synth singe and woodwind scuttle. Only the tumbling beat brings the listener back down near land before sucking the humidity out of the room once again for the second side. Here Nightshift let just a little light into their solitude, but we’re once again left scratching cries for comfort in the furniture until the collapse of the closer, “Receipts,” which softens into a sigh as the album pops the light and walks away for good. Perhaps folks aren’t looking for a reminder of how alone we’ve become in the span of 365 days, but for those that always carry a slight air of distance in their hearts, Zöe will feel just right.

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Writhing Squares – “Rogue Moon”

Brutal new kicker out this week from Writhing Squares. The duo announces their next album with the 11+ minute chug n’ skronk fever scream of “Roque Moon.” The Philly pair have hinted at something this gnashed and gashed in the past, but it seems with the third LP on the horizon they’ve decided to dig into the wound and let the blood be their guide. The song jumps out of the speakers with an instant edge to it, grappling with a Suicide influence that’s sweating through the seams, but they don’t let things just lie in the shadows of Vega for too long, stretching into the midsection with a spaced float that jettison’s the early angst and watches it burn away in the atmosphere below. The mix of progressive burble, No Wave scratch, and Kosmiche weightlessness make this one a nice pitch for the need to get Chart The Solution on your radar. The new LP arrives via Trouble in Mind on March 22nd.



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Nightshift – “Make Kin”

Got a new wafer of post-punk goodness out of the Trouble in Mind camp today and as usual the label is scouring all the best scenes for ya. Nabbing Nightshift out of the always fertile Glasgow pool, the band offers up a new track that’s navigating the brittle and damaged end of the genre’s spectrum. I’m always a sucker for a track that’s coiled and cool, and Nightshift doesn’t disappoint. While they’ve got some similarities with post-punk forebears like The Raincoats, Marine Girls, or Young Marble Giants, there’s an uneasiness to “Make Kin” that has me reaching for a few Aussie exports like Ostraaly or J. McFarlane’s Reality Guest, especially with the lacing of woodwinds over the top. The track’s more bracing than anything out of those camps, though, and it bodes well for what’s to come from the band. Guitars rumble over a loping beat, but the whole thing’s about vocals — measured and driving, Eothen Stern takes the temperature down in the room about 20 degrees with every passage she unfurls. Really looking forward to this one. Zoe is out February 26th.



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Mac Blackout

A slightly unexpected shift from Chicago’s Mac Blackout on his latest solo release, his first for hometown label Trouble in Mind. When Blackout last left the sphere seven years ago, he was caked in the crust of lo-fi punk, glam runoff, and twitching post-punk tremors. After a few years off to focus on visual art he’s come back with a shifted sensibility, throwing himself into the arms of free jazz and creeping synth. Love Profess bears no hallmarks of his time deluged in garage sweat — a calmer, yet still oddly fraught record that throws out the rock impulses completely. Out of the gate Blackout is squalling and tossed into the digital froth, splitting his time between the new wave of Out players over at Astral Spirits and the fragile synth landscapes at Ghost Box. The record toes those lines well, injecting a sense of wounded wonder into the mix that reverberates through to the last moments.

Wide and wandering one moment and lost and swirling the next, Blackout reacts to a current sense of frustration and bewilderment. His sax does its best to tie up the neurons without burning the ends. There’s a creeping mania to the runs but nothing that truly melts the plastic coating. That’s not to say that this album is playing safe. There’s hope and fear in Blackout’s compositions, and the uncertainty about which pole should dominate resonates quite rightly with any listener having spent the better part of 2020 conscious and crumbling. It’s not the record I was expecting from Mac Blackout anytime soon, but it works as a new chapter of aural sweat from the artist.



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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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