Wilderness: "Living Through" / "Part Ways"
Living Through / Part Ways, the first 7-inch released by Wilderness, contains two previously unreleased songs done at Silver Sonya Studios, the same studio as where their first two full-lengths were recorded and mixed. On "Living Through", thundering bass and dangerous shards of guitar splatter before James Johnson as he walks his plank, while on "Part Ways" Will Goode channels his pummelling drums through the gates.
Drunk: "The Round Couple" / "St. Theresa"
Cinematically speaking, Drunk is a band that ought to be approached not as a static film, but rather as an ever unfurling serial. Indeed, their many public episodes run like connect-the-dots that express a full range of human discourse all embodied in one unified corpus. There are the manic moments of ferocity and tension release ("Miscellany" from RAISED TOWARD), the beautiful moments of melodic playfulness ("Dorothea" from TABLESIDE MANNERS), the brief stops of satire along the way (their footstomping rendition of "Martyr To The People" from their split 7" with the Young Pioneers), and then there are the rare glimpses into the more contemplative and routine -- and, dare we say, serene -- as found on "The Round Couple", which is the A-side and crown jewel of this new single. And such magic does not go unnoticed. Jagjaguwar artist Patrick Phelan heard an early demo of this Rick Alverson-penned song and quickly recorded it for his debut solo album SONGS OF PATRICK PHELAN, therein beating Alverson to the punch, releasing it before the Drunk-founder could release the song on one of his own records (by either Drunk or his own "more solo" project Spokane). That song can now be heard through its writer's voice, in its writer's house. And thank goodness for that. The B-side is an older Alverson song entitled "St. Theresa" which was recorded in 1995, a very pretty song which shows Drunk at its earliest roots.
Wilderness's third full-length album entitled "(k)no(w)here" was conceived as one musical piece, and the impetus for this composition came from an invitation to collaborate with renowned visual artist Charles Long at Long's exhibit at the Whitney Biennial in Spring of 2008. The eight identifiable parts of "(k)no(w)here" are not readily separated from each other, such is the flow from and into each part. Created in ways different than the previous Wilderness self-titled album (2005) and the Wilderness "Vessel States" album (2006), "(k)no(w)here" still retains the Wilderness sound, with some evolution. On the new album, James Johnson is sometimes joined vocally by Colin McCann (aka The Lord Dog Bird, whose self-titled debut was released by Jagjaguwar in the Summer of 2008). And, as on previous albums, McCann performs on guitar, Brian Gossman on bass, and William Goode on drums, but the resulting community of all these parts comes across as more dynamic, and the perceived space they inhabit seems more vast.
Eau Claire Memorial Jazz I, Featuring Justin Vernon: A Decade With Duke
Drunk: a derby spiritual
Celebratory, contemplative, melancholic: a quick description of Drunk's stunning debut, A DERBY SPIRITUAL. This is the album that established both Drunk as an important musical entity. According to one writer, "Drunk, all arpeggios and sentiment, are a cross between slow Sparklehorse, the Band singing about Dixie, and Russian dirges -- true smart rock for smart people (and really, really beautiful to boot)." According to Jennifer Nine, writer for Melody Maker, "Drunk, whose no-bones name could scarcely do justice to their graceful sweetness, know just what bones hold you together... [they] move with the drowsy precision of music-box figurines. They sound like a sleepy chamber orchestra in threadbare clothes..."
Oneida: A List of the Burning Mountains
A List of the Burning Mountains is the latest studio album by Brooklyn psych/noise/kraut godfathers Oneida. It was recorded at the Ocropolis, the band?s longtime studio, and is a powerful, sweeping gesture that evokes the storied history of that space and Oneida?s dedication to a diehard independent music and art community.
Burning Mountains is less a traditional album than a tiny sip from an endlessly roiling sea. Oneida is known for long-form improvisatory performances and collaborations; this release serves as a concentrated blast from a wholly unique band known for 12-hour live, improvised performances and multi-day recording sessions.
Spokane: Able Bodies
Able Bodies is Spokane's fourth release in the brief space of 2 years. The most accomplished, varied and haunted of their recordings to date, it is a darker, more dynamically textured departure from the subtle arrangements of 2001's The Proud Graduates, all the while retaining the signature stillness that pervades the band's work. Bringing to mind the resonant and brittle ambience of the 4AD label in its heyday, these intricate and deliberate compositions accumulate an impression of what the London Sunday Times calls Spokane's "uniquely sinister beauty".
One night, midway through the production of the record, the band's car lost control and twice overturned on the interstate mid-way between Richmond, Virginia and Indiana. The members of Spokane narrowly escaped serious injury. However, the incident left an indelible effect on the band and their recording. The album title and the title track were conceived and written the following week, exploring a sentiment of displaced vitality, the seeming unpredictability of fortune and misfortune, and the close link between fate and dislocation.
Spokane is composed of songwriter/singer/guitarist Rick Alverson, drummer/vocalist Courtney Bowles and violinist Karl Runge. Able Bodies was recorded by Dan Burton (of Early Day Miners and Ativin) in Bloomington, Indiana in December of 2001. Cellist Molly Kien and violinist Maggie Polk, who contribute to Spokane's string section for this record, also play with Papa M.
Released May 7, 2002.
Oneida: Absolute II
Absolute II is the final piece in Oneida's Thank Your Parents triptych of releases, begun in 2008 with Preteen Weaponry and followed by 2009's acclaimed triple disc Rated O. With this release, the Brooklyn group concludes a challenging and profound long-term project. The Thank Your Parents triptych, totaling around 200 minutes, is intended to be listened to as a whole or in its component parts. Absolute II stands on its own, in addition to serving as a chapter in an immense whole.
Richard Youngs: Advent (reissue)
Jagjaguwar is excited to reissue Richard Youngs' Advent, Youngs' very first record originally released in 1990 in the vinyl format on Youngs' own No Fans label. Only 300 LPs were released initially. It was then later released on the Table Of The Elements label and quickly went out of print. It became a true underground success story, a critical darling, with Alan Licht, for example, putting it on his "minimal top ten list" in the publication Halana. Simply put, it is an essential work in the body of work of one of the most important modern day progressive minimalists. Includes a new essay by Richard Youngs. "A three-part composition for piano, voice, and ultra-nasty oboe and electric guitar, Advent indicated signs of life in a genre long dormant in the 80s 'experimental' scene. It continues the tradition from [Terry Riley's] Reed Streams on down with gusto."?Alan Licht's "Minimal Top Ten List", Halana
Richard Youngs: Airs of the Ear
Richard Youngs' impressive body of work continues to mount. It resembles, unwittingly for sure, a slow zig zag march towards some Hegelian musical ideal in the distant horizon. Youngs, the leading wizard of droney and minimal psychedelic folk, has unleashed Airs of the Ear, his new opus invoking new magic looking for new ears to ensnare. Building on his esteemed recordings Advent (1990), Sapphie (1998), Making Paper (2001) and May (2002), Airs of the Ear goes beyond merely residing in what is the essential ecology of Richard Youngs ? the spiritual nexus between the oft disparate realms of traditional folk and the avant-garde; it now embodies this ecology. Acoustic instruments coexist perfectly with electric ones, while neither class of instrumentation is ever trumped by the other contraptions on the record, namely ring modulation, the square wave or the theremin. Perfect balance is almost achieved. There is harmony, true emotional resonance, even on what is Youngs' most captivating work on the record, "Fire Horse Rising". Despite the ever-escalating nature of this song, where Youngs powerfully and repeatedly invokes "...and I don't understand, ...and I don't want to know...", the listener is never allowed to feel overwhelmed or be pushed out of that special meditative and trance-like space. The spell is never broken.English born and bred, but residing in Glasgow, Scotland (where Airs of the Ear was recorded), Richard Youngs has remained busy over the last two years. In addition to his recent Jagjaguwar offerings, Youngs has remained a very active collaborator (releasing albums with Makoto Kawabata of Acid Mothers Temple, Simon Wickham-Smith, Neil Campbell, Sunroof!, Vibracathedral Orchestra, as well as being featured on the latest Damon & Naomi live album Song to the Siren on the bonus DVD).
The Besnard Lakes: Albatross b/w Four Long Lines
A standout track and the first single from Montreal's The Besnard Lakes' upcoming longplayer, The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night, "Albatross" has all the swagger of a Stevie Nicks-led Fleetwood Mac classic or Roy Orbison reimagined as a rollicking, snakeskin-booted Mazzy Star -- dousing it all in gas and throwing the match as we hear its tale of Vancouver's skid row and its inhabitants.
On the flip we find "Four Long Lines," a non-album cut that not so much exists within the dark grooves of the vinyl as it does float just above the stereo, embodying the extraterrestrial encounter the song cryptically details. "Saw an alien/On the street/At dawn...Saw Aliens/In the sky/Called out to them, " breathes Jace Lasek's otherworldly falsetto, which stays just beyond definition skating on top of what could be a basement-tape lost cut from Eno's Another Green World.