A couple weeks back, Sacramento trio Tera Melos released their new album, X’ed Out, via Sargent House. “Weird Circles” inaugurates the work with a twitchy guitar that proceeds to a wash of seemingly oceanic dynamics. This sets the trajectory for X’ed Out as many of the songs move from the often beautifully sedate to switched on animation, and back and forth. Songs like “Sunburn” standout while delivering a propulsive momentum contained and carried on with what comes across as ornate movements within movements. All in all, X’ed Out is a compelling listen packed with elsewhere tones and emotions seen through well thought out departures, vignettes, and psychic gasps.
Back last November Big Dipper returned for a new album titled Big Dipper Crashes on the Platinum Planet. The record features cover art by Guided By Voices’ Bob Pollard, and includes a song titled the same. The line-up of players on this one is guitarist/vocalist Bill Goffrier, drummer/vocalist Jeff Oliphant, Tom Brewitt on bass and vocalist/multi-instrumentalist/producer Gary Waleik. Overall the result is fine work with the twelve songs serving as a welcomed treat for fans of old, and surely some new.
Having been hard at work on several projects the last few years, Charlotte (NC by way of Oxford, UK) singer/songwriter/guitarist extraordinaire Mark Crozer has resurfaced with a brand new self-titled 14 track collection from his new band Mark Crozer & The Rels (Pepperidge Road Records). Following his recent time with the legendary Jesus & Mary Chain – which included an appearance on the band’s only new studio track -“All Things Must Pass”(“Upside Down: The Best Of The Jesus And Mary Chain), Crozer quickly followed up with his own Oxford super group – International Jetsetters and their critically acclaimed EP “Heart Is Black” (Planting Seeds Records) before putting the band on indefinite hiatus. On the heels of 2011’s solo release, “There Is No Love” (Digital EP) – Crozer now debuts his latest effort, which was recorded over the course of a couple of years and is destined to catch many ears along the way.
From the opening energetic pulsations of “War Drum” – Mark Crozer & The Rels takes you on a ride of riff driven, 60’s influenced hooks, and pure melodic bliss. “Give Me A Vaccination” kicks the LP into another gear with its surf-y/power pop /Automatic era Mary Chain fuzz guitars and its instantly memorable “c’mon / c’mon / give me a drug” refrain. Crozer & The Rels continue to take off with the sugary-sweet pop of “Killed By Karma” and “Sunshine” – both ready-made chart toppers and easily the album’s spotlight pieces. Crozer’s love of 60’s pop is also felt throughout – most notably on “Brand New World” (the track’s lead guitar brings to mind The Beatles “I Want to To Tell You”); The Monkees-like romp of “Just Another Day; “Waiting For June” with its subtle hints of psychedelia, and the whispery tuneful beauty of “Deep Caroline”. Mark Crozer also showcases the softer/ introspective side with the heartfelt/apologetic pleading of “What A Fool I’ve Been” which carries over to the classic acoustic folk brilliance of “You Are The Light. The music world needs more albums like Mark Crozer & the Rels – a complete collection of perpetual well crafted timeless pop perfection that will no doubt leave you reaching for the repeat button. written by Neil Delparto
doing The Cure’s “A Night Like This” (Non LP B-side)
Joshua McCormack’s new album, The Phantom King, came out early last month. While a multitude of releases have come and passed these ears in the relative meantime, this work of compelling dramatics and impressed movement has kept my attention. To paraphrase, The Phantom King goes somewhere, isn’t boring, and the songs don’t all sound the same.
Back in FebruaryKevn Kinney & The Golden Palominos released a good country mile. The album marks Kinney’s first solo work since 2004’s Sun Tangled Angel Revival and the first time Anton Fier has lent out the Golden Palominos name since 1996’s Dead Inside.
A good country mile opens with an altered take on Jason Isbell’s “Never Gonna Change”, incorporating a slower draw and burn than the original done up over resonating strings and the howl of harmonica. Down the line comes the raucous back and forth of “Got to Move on (Again)”, the more balladesque “Challenge”, and “Wild Dog Moon Pt. 2”, which evokes the phrasing and musical gesturing of Neil Young. With that all in mind, undoubtedly, the finest and longest piece on this album is the reflective and bit more country title track. Overall, a good country mile invites with its southern wrappings, warm recording, and song selections. There’s also a very nice revisit upon Seven Mary Three’s “Southwestern State” for the closer, marking the album’s second best effort.
Steven Hefter aka St. Even released a fine new album last month by the title of Spirit Animal. With an orientation quite ripe to serve as the sound for your seasonal change Spirit Animal moves under the instruction of strong folk song, good movement, plucked string and other sonics, and an innate reason to be. The record was recorded with Jake Kelly (Kimya Dawson) at Materials To Outlet Studios in Portland, Oregon.
A while back Melbourne, Australia two-piece Big Scary released four EPs dedicated to the seasons, and now they’ve been compiled under the title of Four Seasons. All in all this is a moving work with the premier episodes showcasing vibrant acoustic frames, especially on tracks such as “Hamilton” that are sure to have many recalling Jeff Buckley’s stirring vocals. At a few stops Big Scary shake up the momentum by opting for electric trouncing rock runs and punchy vocals. Both charming and engaging throughout, Four Seasons is bound to exact an emotional connection on any listener who falls victim at all to this fine release.
On the subject of instrumental rock bands I’m a hard sell as I generally gravitate towards classical and jazz if I wish to go sans vocals. Furthermore, I’ve been bored one too many times by multiple guitarists playing the same riff in to submission as if they were somehow nearing the philosopher’s stone. Having said all that, and I could say more, I’ve played this Adebisi Shank album many many times and am always entertained by the aural distance it travels. From chaotic and maniacal to reprieves of out-there tropical and elsewhere, there’s always a sense of something going on here. Nice.
Following up their nice working EP, Good Old Horse, Gwyneth + Monko returned last month with further strains of folk and a new self-titled full length. Gwyneth Moreland’s home grown accents come by way of song and singing and are paired well to the end with Michael Monko’s accompaniments on guitar, mandolin, and fiddle. See if this your destination with a listen to two tracks from the album situated below.
Fans of guitar rock, subsequent jams, talk of town & country, Black Crowes, Hendrix, and what occurs between, should find themselves at home with the new Stockholm Syndrome album Apollo. The band includes Widespread Panic bassist Dave Schools and singer/songwriter Jerry Joseph and this is their first release since 2004.
Sounding more like a band and less of bedroom introspection, Seattle based singer/songwriter Eric Elbogen recently released his latest album as Say Hi. Um, Uh Oh is suffused with the personal meditations we’ve become accustomed to on past releases, only this time the stance is far less withdrawn. In plain speak the album is a solid listen that neither bores or wastes time. Listen to “Devils”or stream the album here to get your own vision.
By far one of my favorite January new releases is Destroyer’s Kaputt, out now on Merge Records. On this latest outing Dan Bejar bakes an after dark city romance enlightened by brass injections, certain underlining groove, and a lyrical flow that completes the album as his best work yet. The proof is in the playing, so get a sense with the title track video and a dose of “Chinatown”. Enter through the exit and exit through the entrance when you can.