Modern Folk Trio Band / Steve Palmer


Steve Palmer’s 2020 album Useful Histories was always a favorite around here. Put out on the sadly shuttered Sunrise Ocean Bender (RIP Kevin McFadin), the record bent the notion of an instrumental guitar record around a new horizon. Now Palmer’s returned with another group of favorites in tow, Portland’s Modern Folk Trio. On their collaborative record MFTB/SP, the two parties bring together their exploratory styles, adding a bit of knotted riff to the MFT’s psych-folk expanse. Over the course of four longform jams, the outfit weaves through twang, pluck, ’n strum, playing off of one another with a loose and limber saunter.

The album opens with a bit of a lock-step beat, feeling indebted to hip-hop and prime made for loops to be cut out of the opening minute alone. Reverse passages loosen the track into something far removed from either outfit’s past. They come closer to the loose choogle and winding passages of their respective oeuvre on “Long Nights” before dipping through jazz tension and low-slung Western wanderings on the second side. The record certainly makes a case for the power of the pairings collaboration, ferreting out new sounds with Moss and Palmer pushing each other in excellent ways.

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