Monthly Archives: July 2012

Friends – Manifest!

January 01, 1970

(Fat Possum)

 

www.fatpossum.com

 

A group of 20-somethings living together in a New York apartment,
musing on relationships? Yep, we’ve seen that before. Yet, the band Friends doesn’t feature any of
those nerdy Gellers; these five-member Brooklyn
co-eds are all Phoebes on high. Lust is the subtext of the anonymous “Friend
Crush” the band grows doe-eyed about on the lead track off their debut album. “I
wanna ask your advice on a weekday/I wanna plan something nice for the
weekend,” singer Sammi Urbani pleads, as innocently as if she rehearsed her
lines in a mirror while soldiered drum beats and radio controlled guitar lines
zoom in the clouds above her.

 

Urbani is glitter and guts, so effervescently cool yet calm
she can carry the swagger of Karen O, CSS’s Lovefoxxx, and Corin Tucker all in
the same breath. So when she teases, “I want you to come over to my house” on track
“Sorry,” there’s no apologies and no delay. Queen bee lady aside, Friends is a
band that no doubt plays well together with a multi-instrumental A-team (Lesley
Hann, Matthew Molnar, Nikki Shapiro, and drummer Oliver Duncan) who have no
shortage of mood enhancing talent.

 

The Hypercolors on this album blend Scarface heat on “A thing Like This,” Tom Tom Club digitalism on
“I’m His Girl,” riot grrrl grit on “Ruins,” and a familiar Yeah Yeah Yeahs
tribal howl on “Mind Control.” Sure, influences run wild on the album but each
three-minute zinger is an aptly
kilned piece so crossly pollinated, it should be studied. The band’s airiness
makes it ripe for the summer, but we’ll see if the blog buzz can carry past
this season’s trends or die they way of the coiffed “Rachel.”

 

DOWNLOAD: “Friend
Crush,” “Mind Control” SELENA FRAGASSI

Langhorne Slim & The Law – The Way We Move

January 01, 1970

(Ramseur Records)

 

www.ramseurrecords.com

 

Though it’s not
obvious from the themes covered, The Way
We Move
is a road album. Thanks to the building popularity from his last
two efforts, Langhorne Slim and his band have spent the better part of the past
few years trekking the globe, playing small clubs and massive festival stages,
leaving little downtime away from van to write music. So many of ideas that
make it onto The Way We Move were
picked up in parking lots, back stage green rooms and long stretches of highway
over the past two years. The result is more satisfying than anything this
suburban Philly native has put on wax to date (and that takes into account how
great his last record was).

 

A bit more sober
and introspective than 2009’s Be Set Free,
Slim tackles the death of his grandfather in the moving “Song for Sid” and the
demise of a five-year relationship (popping up in several tracks on the album).
Though the record is not all heartbreak and mourning; The slow build “Found My
Heart,” for example, may just be the band’s first ever arena rocker and
“Someday,” clocking in at just over a minute, sounds like a great long lost Cat
Stevens track that was never recorded.    

 

Langhorne Slim and
the boys have clearly written a career-defining record. It’ll be interesting to
see how they manage to top this one the next time out.

 

DOWNLOAD: “The Way We Move,” “On the Attack” and “Past
Lives”  JOHN B. MOORE

 

Nirvana ’69 – Cult

January 01, 1970

(Global
Recording Artists)

 

www.gragroup.com

 

Way back,
in the pre-grunge mists of Merry Ole England, there was a band called Nirvana. No,
not that Nirvana – years before Kurt
Cobain was born, and while he was still in diapers, this British outfit was wowing
critics with a unique musical vision that mixed folk-influenced rock ‘n’ roll
with elements of psychedelic pop, jazz, classical, and even baroque chamber
music. Comprised of Irish musician Patrick Campbell-Lyons and Greek composer
Alex Spyropoulos, Nirvana turned quite a few heads, wowed a handful of British
music critics, and sold a bucketload of records – literally, however many
records could fit into a large-sized bucket. Yeah, that few…

 

The buzz
around Campbell-Lyons and Spyropoulos caused Island Records founder Chris
Blackwell to sign the pair, and with a bevy of professional studio musicians
and a small orchestra, Nirvana recorded 1967’s The Story of Simon Simopath, what is widely considered to be the
first bona fide “concept
album,” the odd couple beating such world-renown acts as the Who, the
Kinks, and the Pretty Things to the punch. Although the band’s music was exceptionally difficult to perform live, Campbell-Lyons
and Spyropoulos pieced together a touring band nonetheless, opening for bands
like Traffic and Spooky Tooth, resulting in a subsequent minor U.K. hit single
in “Rainbow Chaser.”

 

Campbell-Lyons
and Spyropoulos would record two more albums together, 1968’s All Of Us, which was similar in sound
and scope to their debut, and Black
Flower
, an allegedly difficult recording which Blackwell refused to
release. That problematic third Nirvana album finally saw limited release in
1970, but by 1971 the pairing had run its course, with Campbell-Lyons and
Spyropoulos splitting amicably. Campbell-Lyons would release two more albums
under the Nirvana name before launching a solo career that fizzled out in the
mid-1980s, when he reunited with Spyropoulos and re-launched Nirvana, the pair
making new music well into the 1990s.     

 

Imagine
young Master Cobain’s surprise when Campbell-Lyons and Spyropoulos filed a
lawsuit against him and Geffen Records in 1992 for the appropriation of their
band’s name. A rumored large cash pay-off allowed Cobain’s crew to continue
using the Nirvana name, while Campbell-Lyons and Spyropoulos kept on trucking, virtually unknown in the United
States, but evidently keeping a sense of humor about the whole affair, even
recording a version of Cobain’s “Lithium” at one point.

 

By the
time of the Seattle Nirvana’s commercial ascent to the peaks of stardom, the
British Nirvana’s first two original albums had become a sort of Holy Grail of
1960s psych-rock collectors, fetching handsome prices on eBay and elsewhere,
leading to a rash of CD reissues, some legitimate and some questionable, that
only spread the band’s myth even further. Since many of these CD reissues of
Nirvana’s The Story of Simon Simopath and All Of Us were import discs, the
band still remains a bit of an obscurity here in the U.S., notable mostly to
the sort of hardcore collector type that will spend hours digging through
crates to find that one album by Gandalf, the Millennium, the Left Banke, or
Kaleidoscope to add to their teetering stacks o’ wax. Credited to Nirvana ’69,
the newly-released Cult (Global Recording
Artists) is a long-overdue CD compilation of early material from the British
Nirvana, offered on these shores for what may be the first time.

 

Enquiring
minds want to know, does this 1960s-era Nirvana live up to the hype spread
around by the collectors’ community for the past three decades? Well, the short
answer is, yes and no. Only the simple-minded and/or clueless would really
believe that Nirvana ’69 sounds anything like Cobain’s world-beating trio, so those of you expecting some sort of
earth-shaking, proto-grunge cheap thrills can dash off to Pitchfork and see
what new band you’re supposed to download this week. As for the rest of you,
throw out any preconceived ideas you may have about psych-pop, British
folk-rock, or any of that because, the truth is, Nirvana sounds both like
nothing you’ve ever heard before and, curiously, like a lot of what you already
love. If you’re a fan of such 1960s-era fellow travelers as the Zombies, Love,
or the Left Banke, you’ll probably dig Cult nearly as much as any album by those folks.

 

To say
that Campbell-Lyons and Spyropoulos had a grandiose musical vision is to put it
mildly, and as shown by the nearly two-dozen tracks collected on Cult, the only limitations on the pair’s
immense musical ambition seemed to be the restrictions of the studio itself. Cult includes seven of the ten tracks
from The Story of Simon Simopath and
nine of twelve from All Of Us (the
album’s actual title is too long for even me to recount here), as well as a
handful of single B-sides, and even a new song in “Our Love Is The
Sea.” While the bulk of Cult is
pleasant enough psychedelic pop – a mind-bending musical garden that the
Reverend only walks through a couple times a year – there are rare flashes of
brilliance here that certainly justify the band’s legend.

 

Island
Records definitely missed the boat by only issuing a pair of singles from the
first Nirvana album, as I count four red-hot slabs from The Story of Simon Simopath that had a puncher’s chance to hit the U.K. charts
hard circa 1967. In an era where singles were the currency of commercial pop
music, it was almost malpractice to throw only one single into the marketplace.
The band’s album-opening “Wings of Love” is a wistful little romantic
number chock-full of poetic imagery, sweeping orchestration, a lovely melody,
and odd little instrumental rumblings here and there which raise it about your
normal “Summer of Love” fare. “Lonely Boy” would have made
another rad single, the melancholy vocals clad in baroque-pop trappings with a
dash of background harmonies, and an overall whimsical vibe.

 

“Satellite
Jockey” is simply brilliant, reminding of both the Kinks and the Move, but
pre-dating the Electric Light Orchestra with a complex pop melody welded to a
classical construct. The album’s actual single, “Pentacost Hotel,” is
a charming, elfish song with the sort of soft/loud dynamic that Cobain would
later use to sell millions of records. This Nirvana slaps cascading instrumentation and orchestral finery onto a psych-pop
framework with great results. The band’s only charting single, 1968’s
“Rainbow Chaser,” would later be included on their sophomore album,
and while it shows slight artistic growth over the aforementioned material from
their debut, it doesn’t stray far from the classical-pop hybrid blueprint they
used on that album. With swirls of orchestral instrumentation, the melody here
is somewhat more syncopated, with wan vocals lost amidst the washes of violin
and cacophonic percussion.

 

Curiously
enough, “Tiny Goddess” was actually the band’s first single, but
wasn’t included on the first album. I’m not sure why, because the song’ s
ethereal arrangement, thundering percussion, flowery lyrics and vocals, and
dazzling instrumentation fit like a glove with that album. Perhaps with a stronger
melody “Tiny Goddess” might have delivered the band’s first hit.
There are a couple of other high points from All Of Us included on Cult,
including the up-tempo “Girl In The Park,” a spry pastiche of late
1960s pop/rock and sunshine pop that hides its symphonic foundation beneath
lively vocals and a strong melodic hook. “The St. Johns Wood Affair”
is a catchy little number that blends jazzy flourishes with an unusual
arrangement, sparse instrumentation, and a few surprising musical twists and
turns before it’s all over.

 

Of the
B-sides, etc to be found on Cult,
they don’t detour much from the material from the main albums, although both
“Life Ain’t Easy” and “Darling Darlane” both stand out, the
former a hauntingly beautiful ballad with a lush orchestral background and
melancholy vocals, the latter a mid-tempo romantic pop song that melds scraps
of 1950s-era rock (think Gene Pitney) with a 1960s psychedelic sensibility
(more like the Bee Gees than the Beatles). As for the “bonus tracks”
on Cult, “Requiem for John
Coltrane” is an unexpected outlier, mixing lonesome jazzy hornplay with
odd noises and overall sonic chaos unlike anything the band had previously
recorded. “Our Love Is The Sea” presents the 2012 version of Nirvana;
benefiting from modern production and improved studio tools, the song builds
upon the band’s 1960s legacy to deliver a fantastic bit of musical whimsy.    

 

The
British Nirvana never found the fame and fortune that their later stateside
namesakes did, but they were nonetheless influential far beyond their meager
commercial returns would suggest. The making of the band’s first two albums
involved a number of talents that would benefit from the experience of working
with Campbell-Lyons and Spyropoulos to go on to bigger and better things. This
list includes producers Tony Visconti (David Bowie, Marc Bolan); Jimmy Miller
(The Rolling Stones); and Guy Stevens (Mott the Hoople, The Clash) as well as
studio engineer Brian Humphries (Traffic, Pink Floyd), plus musicians like
Billy Bremner (Rockpile).

 

All in
all, if you’re a fan of 1960s-era psychedelic pop, you’re going to love
Nirvana, and Cult is a fine
introduction to, if not a substitute for, the band’s near-mythical original
albums.

 

DOWNLOAD: “Rainbow Chaser,” “Wings Of
Love,” “Satellite Jockey,” ” – REV. KEITH A. GORDON

               

English Beat – The Complete Beat + Keep the Beat: The Very Best of the English Beat

January 01, 1970

(Shout! Factory)

 

www.shoutfactory.com

 

The English Beat were
a band in and of its time, the late ‘70s to be precise, when British rock was
beginning to shake off the final vestiges of Punk and find a form of lasting
duration to bring the nation’s youth into a new decade. With Margaret Thatcher
and economic woes plaguing the populace, New Wave and Power Pop became escapist
pleasures as the ‘70s segued into the ‘80s, but within those confines, a new
working class style began to emerge in the working class environs of England’s
industrial inner cities. Birmingham in particular harbored a sizable immigrant
and inner-racial community, and it was that the English Beat was birthed
(“English” due not only to national pride, but because there was already an
American band that claimed the Beat handle). Along with other outfits like
Madness, the Specials and the Selecter, they integrated their music with
Jamaican ska and reggae, while providing a multiethnic counterpoint to the
white rebellious rock ‘n’ roll that had dominated the hearts and minds of
British youth in the decades before.

 

Thanks to the eager
and adventurous mentorship of the fledgling 2 Tone label, these bands were
given full creative incentive, in which the English Beat found hit making
possibilities. Their reign lasted over the course of three well selling albums
and a series of signature songs that still retain their infectious enthusiasm
some 30 years later. It’s appropriate then that they find reintroduction
courtesy of Shout Factory’s thorough five disc box set, in that it collects
every track the band committed to vinyl, as well as two sides wholly devoted to
live recordings, BBC sessions and extended versions. In retrospect, the three
original albums — I
Just Can’t Stop It, Wha’ppen? and Special Beat Service, from ’80, ’81 and ’82 respectively, still hold together
well, and together with the bonus add-ons, the box set provides a full overview
of the band’s relatively brief tenure. Together with a forthcoming live album,
due this fall, The
Complete Beat offers
completists an ideal opportunity to ditch that well-worn vinyl and get in the
groove with a compendium that puts all the music in one place.

 

On the other hand,
the novice may choose to settle for the 16-song Keep the Beat,
in that it gathers the hits and outstanding album cuts while still retaining
the infectious intents that the band brought to the fore. It’s not the first
hits collection ever compiled, but released in tandem with the box set, it
provides a compact alternative for those that realize their dance designs can
be captured in the context of hits like “Mirror in the Bathroom,” “I Confess,”
their beat-worthy redo of “Tears if a Clown” and the song that brought the
closest to a crossover, the effusively engaging “Save It For Later.”
Nevertheless, there is a chance that those new to the fold will desire more,
allowing The Complete
Beat to seal the deal. Either
way, the beat goes on.

 

DOWNLOAD: “Save It For Later,” “Tears Of A
Clown,” “Mirror In The Bathroom” LEE ZIMMERMAN

 

World Party – Arkeology

January 01, 1970

(Seaview/Piccadilly
Records)

 

 

www.piccadillyrecords.com

 

 

Considering the
fact that World Party’s place in the Rock firmament provided them with modest
standing at best, this imaginatively packaged five disc set of outtakes, live
tracks, radio sessions, demos, unreleased efforts and brand new recordings
seems like some auspicious homage indeed. While their five albums, released
over the course of the past 25 years, seems somewhat sparse by comparison —
this one box effectively bests the sum total of their output so far — Arkeology achieves all it sets out to accomplish,
that is, to put the spotlight squarely where it belongs, on the band’s resident
genius Karl Wallinger and the solid song craft that remains largely
ignored. 

 

 

Here, within the
context of more than five dozen odds and sods, Wallinger’s music not only gets
vetted like never before, but his ambitions are set at full throttle. In many
cases, he’s the sole performer, and even when he isn’t, it’s still clear that
inspiration comes mostly from him. There’s humor, earnest endeavor, talent and
clear tenacity; after all, it takes a certain amount of resilience to persevere
when only a modest fan following bears witness. Given all this evidence,
ignoring him now comes with the risk of missing out entirely, given the
consistent quality that Wallinger and his World Party put forth. It’s almost
ironic that they seem so partial to covers — the Beatles and Bob Dylan are
particular favorites, although a live take on Sly and the Family Stone’s
“Stand” is a special treat — because when grouped with the originals, their
own material’s no worse for wear. If Paul McCartney’s “Man We Was Lonely”
stands up to scrutiny via Wallinger’s rendition, so too, his own songs —
“Photograph,” “She’s The One,” “Waiting Such a Long, Long Time” and “Ship Of
Fools,” to name but a few examples — sound none the worse by comparison.
Likewise, a stoic take on “Like A Rolling Stone” helps spark a Dylan-esque vibe
in the tracks that surround it.

 

If anything here
seems over the top, it’s the packaging itself, a notebook filled with
calendars, photos and a ready-made diary that waits to be filled. Track
listings are adequate, but there’s little in the way of liner notes or
explanation, save the musician credits and Wallinger’s hastily scribbled intro.
But that’s quibbling. With this rich variety of music, Arkeology is a treasure trove waiting to be
unearthed.

 

 

DOWNLOAD: “Photograph,” “She’s the One,” “Ship of
Fools” LEE ZIMMERMAN

Various Artists – Country Funk 1969-1975

Album: Country Funk 1969-1975

Artist: Various Artists

Label: Light In The Attic

Release Date: June 12, 2012

Country Funk 1

(Light In The Attic)

www.lightintheattic.net

BY FRED MILLS

For archival maestro Light In The Attic’s latest excavation, the titular genre country funk gets its due, and while the 16-song collection necessarily overlaps with its swampier sibling – Tony Joe White, the late Bobby Charles (profiled a few years ago at BLURT, in fact) and Bobbie Gentry routinely get hailed by critics as swamp pop icons – there’s no question that Country Funk provides an invaluable service by introducing a key musical time, place and sound to a new generation of acolytes. Some of the names here will already be known by fans, including White, Charles, Gentry, Dale Hawkins, Link Wray and Larry Jon Wilson (who was also the subject of a BLURT interview, conducted a few months before his death in 2010); while others, such as Dennis The Fox, Gritz, Cherokee, Jim Ford and John Randolph Marr, may only be familiar to collectors.

It’s all great, though. Among the highlights are Hawkins’ insistent Stax/Volt-style maneuverings through “L.A. Memphis Tyler Texas”; Mac Davis’ slice-of-Southern-life narrative “Lucas Was a Redneck,” which on first listen will have you swearing it’s actually Tony Joe White; White’s own “Stud Spider,” oozing with White’s slyly lascivious charisma; Wray’s part-acoustic/part-electric “Fire and Brimstone,” a track from the guitar shaman’s notorious self-titled 1971 detour into country and roots music; and a brilliant, swampy oddity called “Hawg Frog” by what appears to have been a one-off summit, billed to “Gray Fox,” among some MGM-contracted studio musicians.

(Worth noting: as welcome as Bobbie Gentry’s “He Made A Woman Out Of Me” is, with Gentry the only female included here, it opens up the compilers to accusations that they should have been more diligent in their search for distaff proponents of the form.)

In the intro to her liner notes to the album, journalist Jessica Hundley poses the question, “What in the hell is country funk?” Frustratingly, it turns out to be a rhetorical query rather the set up for a payoff, as the somewhat rambling liners steer clear, for the most part, of cultural and contextual dissection, relying instead upon track-by-track descriptions bolstered by quotes from some of the musicians (with White getting the lion’s share, at nearly 4 pages of the 32-page booklet, which additionally features reproductions of LP sleeves plus stylized pen-and-ink renderings, courtesy Jess Rotter, of the artists themselves).

But maybe that’s for the best, because when it comes to music like this, feel is everything, analysis secondary. No better example of just that can be heard than on Jim Ford’s “I’m Wanta Make Her Love Me”: against a sinewy, R&B instrumental backdrop of insistent bass, psych-twang guitar and intermittent horn jabs, Ford proclaims his intentions in a voice that’s equal part lusty leer, starry-eyed optimism and gospel-soul genuflection (before the altar of womanhood, natch – or at least her daddy). It’s easily the funkiest, stankiest number on the album, so much so that it could pass for a long-lost Parliament-Funkadelic track rather than the work of a white man from below the Mason-Dixon line, although Ford does emit one telling Southernism when he enthuses, hillbilly-like, “Why, she’s a dilly, Papa, pretty as the Mona Lisa!” In that moment, and at other stray points on this superb collection, you stop wondering about who these folks were and what they were all about, and just soak in the vibe. When the record’s done, you might not necessarily be able to define country funk, but you’ll sure recognize it when you hear it in the future. Get fonky, y’all.

DOWNLOAD: Jim Ford, “I’m Wanta Make Her Love Me”; Tony Joe Spider, “Stud Spider”; Larry Jon Wilson, “Ohoopee River Bottomland,” Gray Fox, “Hawg Frog”

 

Zonder Kennedy & The Scoville Junkies – Zonder Kennedy & The Scoville Junkies

January 01, 1970

(Soul Station)

 

www.zonderkennedy.com

 

Zonder Kennedy &
The Scoville Junkies follow in the tradition of other electric Blues
revisionists… that is, to expand the formula and nudge it ever closer to rockier
realms. Not surprisingly then, the echoes of famous forebears resonate
throughout – Hendrix, Johnny Winter, the Allman Brothers, Jimmie and Stevie Ray
Vaughn being but a few.

 

Then again, Blues is a
well defined medium and anyone who chooses to follow that tack will almost
certainly end up retracing the trail someone’s travelled before. Regardless,
for whatever the group lacks in originality, they make up for in inspiration. Whether
it’s the slash and burn of the Hendrix-like shuffles “Devil Walk” and “Blue Garden,”
their redo of Johnny Winter’s original redo of Bob Dylan’s “Highway 61,” or a
laidback cover of Tom Waits’ “Hold On,” Kennedy and company do their damndest
to gain ground on a trail that’s already well-trod. Catching them in concert
may be the best indication of success, but even on album it’s clear they’re off
to a good start.

 

DOWNLOAD: “Devil
Walk,” “Highway 61,” “Hold On” LEE ZIMMERMAN

 

Unto Ashes – Burials Foretold

January 01, 1970

(Projekt)

 

www.projekt.com

 

It’s been three years since the mysterious medievalists in
Unto Ashes have convened for a new set of hymns. Perhaps as a result of the
band’s absence, Burials Foretold plays
to the group’s strengths: acoustic arrangements, ethereal male and female
vocals, melodies that sound retrieved from centuries-old sources – and lyrics
that sometimes are just that. The lilting “Worms’-Meat” derives from Ambrose Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary, while the brief,
seemingly sweet “Fire + Ice” comes from Robert Frost. The haunted,
pagan-flavored “Spring Magic” illuminates words from fairy-obsessed Anglican
artist Cicely Mary Barker. Composer/main instrumentalist Michael Laird gives
each lyric the setting it deserves, with ghostly tunes that float between past
and present.

 

But it’s not all ancient texts. Artist K. McClain (AKA Silk
and Bone) provides the libretto for several tunes, including the luminous
“Night is Coming Soon” and the traditionalist poem “Young Men Leave For Battles
Unknown.” Laird himself contributes the arpeggiated folk song “Too Late to
Begin” and the downcast ballad “I Remember Happiness” (“Though it’s fading from
my memory”), which are as reminiscent of Brendan Perry’s solo work as they are
of old Celtic folk songs. In what has become a quirky tradition, Unto Ashes ends
the record with a classic rock cover, wholly transforming Van Halen’s “Running
With the Devil” into a gentle, wafting dirge of vocal harmonies, acoustic
guitars and droning pipes.

 

Joy is in short supply in these songs, as might be discerned
from the titles, but the tracks aren’t suicide notes. Quiet and gentle on one
hand and haunting and unsettled on the other, Burials Foretold is a quintessential example of Unto Ashes’
extraordinary ability to construct beauty from darkness.

 

DOWNLOAD: “Night
is Coming Soon,” “I Remember Happiness,” “Running With the Devil” MICHAEL
TOLAND

 

Rebecca Gates & the Consortium – The Float

January 01, 1970

(Parcematone)

 

www.parcematone.com

 

Wow… was the
last Rebecca Gates record really in 2001? Over a decade ago?! Well, that’s what
I’m reading. Apparently after a 2001 tour opening for Stereolab Gates returned
home exhausted and broke and decided it was time for a big change. She curated
art exhibitions, co-founder/edited The
Relay Project
(audio magazine) and did some music for documentaries and
films as well. In 2003 Gates moved to Rhode Island
(after a decade or so in Chicago, moving there
from her previous longtime home in Portland,
Oregon) and in 2004 began record
The Float so, if my math is correct, this record was in the making for 8 years.
There’s plenty of musicians on this record, 17 in all (including members of Mr.
Malkmus’ Jicks, the Decemberists, Wild Flag, the Sea and Cake and plenty more),
which perhaps lead to the name of the band.

 

Gates has always
been a fluid, intuitive songwriter with one of those perfect voices that sounds
feminine yet masculine at the same time and her guitar playing can be described
as the same. “Van Noten 007” opens things up while “Tips on Spines” follows it
up in grittier fashion (as does the equally stunning “Harlesden to Vals”), but
“&&&” ices it off with Gates cool-as-a-cucumber delivery and some
added jazzy structures as does the shuffling “Lighter Than We Go.” Two songs
near the end, “The Curl of the Coast” and “Suite Sails” both spin intriguing
webs that must be heard.

 

For music fans
(and writers) who want part 2’s to always go with the part 1’s (I’m still
waiting for Manos part 2) , Gates can
be a bit thorny. Seemingly never wanting to settle for too long in one place
and for this musicians love her, but the rest of us, wanting to be able to
pigeonhole someone as this or that, get knocked out of our comfort zone.
Sometimes moments (and records) like this can be the most incredible
experiences as we’re either going to fight it or surrender to it. If you
surrender to The Float you may (will) have one of those moments. Give in, but
don’t give up.

 

(Vinyl available
via the 12XU label: www.12xu.net.)

 

DOWNLOAD: “Tips on Spines,” “&&&,”
“”The Curl of the Coast,” “Suite Sails” TIM HINELY

Susanna Hoffs – Someday

January 01, 1970

(Baroque Folk)

 

www.susannahoffs.com

 

As if her stint in
the Bangles and the pair of Under
the Covers albums recorded
with Matthew Sweet weren’t proof enough in themselves, it’s obvious now that
Susanna Hoffs is intrinsically, unapologetically and forever head over heels in
love with the sounds of the ‘60s. Sure enough then, Someday, her third solo sojourn to date,
provides another throwback to yesterday’s idyllic innocence, evoking a strong
patchouli whiff of Laurel Canyon’s wide-eyed wonder from a predictably adoring
point of view. Granted, the attitude can be a bit precious at times, but only
those with a total lack of sentiment will find it easy to resist the
delicately-laden twinkle and spark of “November Sun,” “Always Ending” and
“Picture Me,” or the unceasingly buoyant and bucolic “One Day,” “Raining” and
“This Is the Place.”

 

By turns earnest and
engaging, wistful and winsome, Hoffs has reinvented herself as a folk
chanteuse, one that would likely give Joni Mitchell, Judy Collins and Sandy
Denny ample reason for sharing space beneath their patchwork quilt.

 

DOWNLOAD: “November
Sun,” “This Is The Place” LEE ZIMMERMAN