Outside of his work with Major Stars, Crystalized Movements and Magic Hour, Wayne Rogers has had a prolific run of records under his own name. These range from acoustic comedowns to toasted cone blues, psych burnouts, and downer rock wallows that feel particularly Northeastern in their approach to the Alt-rock ripple (think Fort Apache and Feeding Tube vibes). While the Stars will always overshadow these, to discount the Rogers’ solo records is to make a major misstep. The Air Below falls squarely into that East Coast downer detour I mentioned previously and comes swinging close to early inklings that Rogers laid down on Ego River and Seven Arms of the Sun, which were both later bound up in the easier to cop CD release Absent Sounds. There’s the same sundried scorch to the guitars with just a touch of wandering shuffle that melts into a jangled haze. The noise is still working its way around, but as a tool, rather than the focus here.
This is Roger’s first solo work since 2008’s Infinite For Now and while it, like most Twisted Village releases, appears out of thin air without its share of the deserved PR fanfare, the record is a great addition to his longstanding stable. His experimental releases are always foaming in the right ways, but these vocal strummers seem to scratch a particular itch. The blast of air from “Bad Idea” is among his best – high octane guitar burn coupled with Rogers’ amiably nasal croon make it feel like the perfect mix of ‘90s record labels reaching further into the underground than was advisable. It echoes the kind of noise-flecked burners that found their way to the airwaves despite themselves and we all wound up better for their hubris. Not so long ago Twisted Village folded without an expectant return date, but with this release, both Rogers and the label come bounding back, reminding us all why they were so vital in the first place.
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