Joseph Shabason’ debut Aytche is a document of exploration both inward and outward. Every step taken in sound-design mirrors a stride in emotionality, as Shabason employs a variety of effect pedals to coax rich moody textures from his instrument. He explains, "I feel like robbing the sax of the ability to shred by effecting it and turning it into a dense chordal instrument really helps the instrument become something that it’s not usually known for." Aytche deals with themes of degenerative illness and assisted suicide with eloquence that instrumental music rarely achieves regarding any subject, much less such difficult ones.
There’s a calm, disciplined pocket to be felt in everything Art Feynman does; krautrock slink, staccato bounce, and pentatonic bursts of Nigerian Highlife fuzz pour on the temporal canvas with unquestionable ease, never falling in the wrong place. Even more admirable is, that his “canvas” is a four-track tape recorder, and that Blast Off features no loops or drum machines despite its aesthetically faithful motorik and afrobeat underpinnings. There are gentler sides to Blast Off that conjure the spacey tenderness of Arthur Russell inventively and respectfully, without adopting their muse’s palette wholesale. In this regard Blast Off is an endearing collection of songs that capture the ear with warm-yet-clear cassette aesthetics and spot-on musicianship, both of which form an angle that points lovingly to Feynman’s deep and varied influences.
“Feeling Good About Feeling Good”
After ten years in the instrumental ensemble Balmorhea, Rob Lowe is releasing his first R&B-inflected solo LP, Slow Time, under the moniker RG Lowe. The record, while incorporating elements from pop and choral music, largely looks back on the warmth and spiritual ecstasy of early R&B through the disjunctive lens of contemporary life. Lowe, who plays keys, guitar, and provides the vocals on Slow Time, wrote and arranged about forty songs from 2014 to 2015 at his studio in Austin, TX, where he resides. He then headed to Philadelphia to record most of the album with producer Jeff Ziegler, whose raw and energetic production work on albums by Kurt Vile and The War on Drugs had inspired him. Though his wordless vocals appeared occasionally on Balmorhea’s albums, on Slow Time we hear the impressive range and malleability of his voice as he glides from hymnal backing harmonies, to melismatic bridges, to punchy choruses and pained screeches that stretch his voice to its unbelievable limits.;
“Spring The Lock”
Austin-based musician Abram Shook is a remarkable wellspring of ideas when it comes to songwriting. When he sat down to write his third album, he produced two distinct batches of songs, one very personal collection titled Love at Low Speed, and a darker, more detached collection titled Love in the Age of Excess. Due to time and money constraints, he opted to only record the more personal album, which explores themes of love, loss, and connecting with others, all themes he’s been careful to avoid on previous albums. Love at Low Speed proves that Shook has plenty to offer on these topics, and that he's at his best when he digs deep, mining his years of experience for confessional tales peppered with hard-wrought wisdom. Mixed by Noah Georgeson (known for his work with Joanna Newsom, Devendra Banhart, Andy Shauf, et al) the album has a clarity and warmth that focuses your ear on Shook's emotional delivery.
Nightlands, the project of Philadelphia-based Dave Hartley (best known as a core member and longtime bassist of The War On Drugs), will release his third album, I Can Feel the Night Around Me, on May 5th. Immediately following, he and his band will head out on a North American tour. Continuing the tradition of previous Nightlands releases Forget the Mantra (2010) and Oak Island (2013), I Can Feel the Night Around Me showcases Hartley's ability to layer his voice and conjure some of the most beautiful virtual choirs in modern music. Check out lead single “Lost Moon” below. +
On the heels of his much lauded 2016 release Deepak Verbera, we're excited to announced the release of a surprise new Botany album Raw Light II which will coincide with the reissue of Botany's 2015 album Dimming Awe, The Light is Raw on limited-edition falmingo-pink vinyl. Conceived as a separate album forming a parallel to Dimming Awe, Raw Light II confidently stands toe-to-toe with its forerunner in breadth and execution. Where the previous iteration made plenty of room for guests (Milo, Ryat, Matthewdavid) the sequel is a solitary showcase of inebriating instrumentals that connect to the Austin composer's aesthetic main artery despite their stylistic diversity. Consistent with Spencer Stephenson's previous output, there is a playfully adept balance of abstraction and structure on Raw Light II that elevates mere beat-tape sequentiality into something holistic and cinematic. +
Violinist, software engineer, and composer Christopher Tignor has announced his newest album Along a Vanishing Plane, which is set for release on September 16th. Stereogum premiered a video for the song “Shapeshifting,” directed by Sara Kinney, which shows Tignor creating the version of the song that appears on the album live in a former psychiatric ward in Hudson, NY with no overdubs or backing tracks. You can watch it here. Tignor uses tuning forks and software to augment his violin and spare percussion, creating vast sonic landscapes. As he explains, “I developed a performance technique using tuning forks as musical instruments while playing the violin using the custom software I designed. The software allows me to take the sound of the tuning fork, resonating through my bridge, and transform its single tone into various singing melodies. Each gesture begins by striking various percussion with the fork. Once it’s resonating, I place the fork to my bridge where its sound is transformed by my software into these melodies.” +
Picking up where their as their recent full-length Split Stones left off, New Varieties’ upbeat opening track “Opposing Bodies” features the same melody found on “Scientific Romance”, the final song on Split Stones. Exploring darker and more introspective territory, “Differential” features big reverberating snare hits, emulating the crack of a whip often heard in old Spaghetti Westerns. On the album’s anthemic title track “New Varieties,” the band brings back their powerful Clavinet sound paired against Brazilian influenced rhythms and cascading piano lines. The EP closes with Austin-based producer Botany’s remix of "Opposing Bodies," turning Lymbyc’s clean, head-bobbing rhythms and infectious arpeggios into a gauzy, mind-bending soundscape of smeared textures and chaotic rhythms.. +
We’re excited to welcome Chicago’s Moon Bros. to the WV roster! On their WV debut, band leader Matt Schneider channels something somehow simultaneously poetic and mathematical, like Kepler’s “music” of the spheres. Each composition is instantaneous, improvised and launched as if fully formed, making sense only in relation to its own spontaneously formed rules of interaction… Songs aren’t so much finite concepts but endless ragas that he taps in and out of; consequently these pieces can’t be entered mid-stream. Instead the listener must participate in the universe as its created in order to live in it. His reputation is such that top collaborators need not be sought, but are intrinsically curious to participate. On these recordings, he is joined by Dan Bitney (of Tortoise), Matt Lux (Iron & Wine), and Sam Wagster (Cairo Gang). Producer and engineer Brian Sulpizio (Health & Beauty) records and mixes. Check out the title track “These Stars” below. +
Trevor Montgomery is a craftsman. By day he’s a skilled tile setter, a job taxing to both the mind and body. By night he's an equally meticulous and hard working musician, coaxing just the right tones out of his vintage drum machines and synths to carry his tales of love and redemption. As a tile setter and as a musician, his job is the same: assembling things of beauty to fill empty spaces. In 2012 he released Navigated Like the Swan, his first album under the Young Moon moniker. According to The Wall Street Journal “It engulfs the listener—and sometimes even the narrator…”, while Consequence of Sound called it “…powerful and heartfelt…”. Next month Montgomery returns with his latest offering Colt, a collection of songs inspired by his practice of devotional yoga, and his first album with a full band. Check out “Fell on My Face” which premiered on Consequence of Sound below. +