Junior Kimbrough You Better Run (The Essential Junior Kimbrough) (Fat Possum/Epitaph)
Just what you¹d want to hear if you walked into any Mississippi backwoods juke joint in the 1990¹sŠnew blues the old ways, old men broke, versa, a busted make-shift stage wobbling defiantly and without care into the night.
Ralph Stanley Ralph Stanley (Sony/DMZ)
Like it’s his first album post-mortem; the songs of bluegrass spiritual heaven. Time has made this voice that of the reaper, always on the verge of shredding, instead rips the spine right out of me. These songs never had it so good to have this man breathe them into this world. Even better still was staring up his nostrils at the Bottom Line show in June; hear it on WFUV.org, archives.
Henry Flynt Back Porch Hillbilly Blues Vol. 1 & 2 (Locust Music & Service Corp.)
Flynt, philosopher and concept (sic) artist, made sounds as if P .Glass or S. Reich spent their years in W. Virginia on a porch with fiddle and guitar. Swirling repetitive riffs on lonely instruments. Intellectual country blues. Dock Boggs LSD.
The Boggs We Are The Boggs We Are (Arena Rock Recording Co.)
Rollicking Saturday night, anything will happen, fight, score, crash. Worn floorboards get a beating. As do strings and drums. Lyrics take rumble seat to tones. What contemporary group of kids has the balls to make such horribly beautifully fucked folk? The Boggs.
Bob Dylan Live 75 (Columbia/Legacy)
Hear The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll converted to a barroom sing-along, each line shouted in celebration. The pitiful Just Like A Woman becomes rejuvinated, a country rock spiritual, and all songs here, new and old, are a refreshing rebirth of American songwriting. All the more creepy for the slow-strummed chords and Scarlet Rivera¹s jaw-drop inspiring violin weaving through fictional gypsy arenas.
Ugly Casanova Sharpen Your Teeth (Subpop)
Slow tense and lovely harmonies over continuous mellow punch. Where the Flaming Lips start to create a new contemporary form of folk music, these boys turn it up with a sense/nosense nod to the Coo Coo and a reverb pedal, taking Modest Mouse to the moonshiner¹s swamp.
The Shins Oh, Inverted World (Subpop)
Feeling like that ringing in the head and churning of the stomach from too much caffeine, The Shins¹ stripped-down orchestral pop is Pet Sounds 21st century style. Its slow public acceptance had it enter my player in 2002 and didn¹t come off repeat cycle for three days. Made by aliens studying our most ethereal obscure pop music and feeding it back. From what era is this masterpiece.
Crooked Fingers Red Devil Dawn (Merge Records)
In Praise of the American Loser, Eric Bachman continues to churn us celebrations of the spurned and most slowly self-destructive, channeling Steinbeck in singalongs. His lonely banjo-driven and simple version of When U Were Mine from 2001 brings tears Prince may have never imagined. As pretty as shattered green glass in the lowly light of dawn and like it or not you are still here; and she is still gone.
Jack Nitzsche Three Piece Suite (Warner/Rhino Handmade)
Barring the first 6 tracks, which are trying pieces for the London Symphony Orchestra, this release captures the mellow insistence (& insistent mellowness), pianos, and sax, stories of the girl, of 70¹s Cali Rock. He is bastard cousin (a.k.a. producer) and reason for much of the slow madness of that sound Robert Altman wanted so badly to capture. Sounds like memories of endless lines of coke with a fringe-topped and mysterious woman in teardrop sunglasses. Warm wind. Innocent taint. Alan Price is in the next room without a bottle opener.
Kante Zweilicht (Kitty-Yo)
These are Germans; they make very precise music. But it is acoustic, and has soul. Especially grabbing is Best Of Both Worlds, tying in a Count Ossie-spoken poem with a great Tuxedomoon riff, piano and percussion, 10 minutes. Imagine driving in autumn rain and your thoughts are guided by the swipe of the windshield wiper and you can¹t escape the reality. Their pretty dirges won¹t stop and you don¹t want them to.
V/A – Cherrystone¹s Rocks (LCD)
Hungarian, Swedish, Austrian, American psych prog R&B free-jazz. Wawa organ solos with heavy bass, Jr. Walker leading early Soft Machine away. Fuck the other freakoutsŠthis is it.
The Action Rolled Gold (Reaction Recordings)
Finally released after single collections have taunted us for several years, this, their George Martin-produced full-length, is Œ67 Britain, beautifully nihilistically pop-tinged, touching on the tip of psychedelia. Real drugs and whole love in odd hooks. “Love is in the night sky breathing”. Grab yer maracas. Bodies are imperfect but this music is bliss.
Clinic Walking With Thee (Domino Recording Co.)
Broken dreams, mellotron and synth, insistent clapping of wood, echoes, and lonely harmonies make me want to hole up in a hallway with burning tinfoil. These guys would walk over me in their doctor¹s masks, leaving the remaining sounds of their footsteps to mingle with memories of Aftermath to bounce around my skull until madness.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs Yeah Yeah Yeahs (Wichita Records)
Tough angular rock and an art-school tart you¹d be proud not to take home to mother. 5 songs only of rock music that creates the sparkle and danger of forbidden pleasure that¹ll wear you out before you do it. Also check out www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/alt/stevelamacq/interviews/index.shtml for their unreleased shining “Rich”, rock hedonism with purring femaleness. Bang Bang Baby indeed.