Jennifer Castle: Castlemusic
In Toronto, Jennifer Castle possesses a sought after voice, singing on albums by Fucked Up, The Constantines and Doug Paisley. Castlemusic is her debut under her own name (she previously performed as Castlemusic). It’s full of rambles, waltzes and ballads. It wanders with equal parts feedback and quiet, through dark melodies, wistful, and straight out of a hazed dream or some offbeat 70’s AM station. The songs have that type of familiarity, as if they were always there. Castle is backed by an assortment of musicians: pedal steel, percussion, vibraphone. She handles guitar and piano herself, but it’s her voice which is ultimately the guide. Like “cold smoke”, as one writer puts it: it’s enveloping and unmistakably present.
Nathan Salsburg: Affirmed
Louisville, Kentucky's Nathan Salsburg is a folklorist, producer, and presenter of vernacular music for East Village Radio, the Drag City imprint Twos & Fews, and the Alan Lomax Archive, among other outlets. With his first solo record as a performer ? entitled Affirmed, after the 1978 winner of horse racing's Triple Crown ? he enters a wholly new interaction with the corpus of American (and British) musical folklore. The album, seven original instrumentals and one trad arrangement, is a startlingly diverse synthesis of guitar traditions ? from Gary Davis to Sam McGee; Peter Lang to Nic Jones ? refracted through a compositional sensibility long on melodic adventurousness and short on repetition and drone, those shibboleths of the American Primitives. Affirmed is a remarkably confident, emotional debut by one of the most original and gifted young guitarists playing today.
Old Calf: Borrow A Horse
Old Calf formed as a duo in the small, but musically vibrant town of Charlottesville, VA by Ned Oldham (The Anomoanon, Palace Music) and accordionist Marty Metcalfe, slowly accruing members on route to recording their debut album. Deeply influenced by traditional American music, and touching on ground most groups do not know exist, Borrow A Horse is rich with melody and instrumentation, it?s simple songs rooted in folk and bluegrass, and presented in a swirl of psychedelia. It?s an album forged in history, and despite existing in the present, its sound is timeless.
The Psychic Paramount: II
As rock bands go, The Psychic Paramount is a rigorously all-in proposition. They make impact a state of being rather than a discrete event. As single-minded as the music may seem at first strike, it exists at higher elevations ? of decibel, intensity, motion, color, temperature ? and spills freely over the walls of genre, magma into new land. It is punk in its fury, noise in its rash extremity, and progressive in form. II is their 2nd studio album.
Doug Paisley: Constant Companion
?the purest voice to come down the pike in ages.? ? Time Out NY?Songs of poetry, harmony and sweetness and the honeyed, craggy voice of the classic American country singer... Paisley's perspective is that of the Canadian outsider, seeing America anew whilst being fully immersed in its history and myths. Like The Band he re-presents American music history without the trappings of fashion and, like the Young of After The Goldrush uses his outsider status to ruminate on America's fate" - Mojo
Endless Boogie: Full House Head
Deep, heady grooves anchor the second album by New York?s Endless Boogie. Once a hobby, now becoming the powerhouse they were meant to be. Is the world ready? Led by Top Dollar, the egoless frontman and master of his instrument, the Boogie cut seven glorious tracks at Rare Book Room studios in Brooklyn, tacked on a goddamn epic rehearsal jam and called it Full House Head. We?re not one to speak hyperboles, but it could be the first masterpiece of the new decade.
Burning Star Core: Papercuts Theater
Ah, the live album: often a tool for bands looking to wiggle out of contracts or perhaps, squeeze a few more pennies from a loyal fanbase. Rare is it a work of art. Inspired by these singular instances (Grayfolded, The Grateful Dead; Sonic Death, Sonic Youth; In Search of Spaces, Flying Saucer Attack) C. Spencer Yeh, the lone constant of the long-running Burning Star Core project, conceptualized Papercuts Theater: one long piece (broken into four movements) culled from over sixty live performances, spanning years and continents. These formerly disparate relics of time and space now exist as one: a sonic document of the present.
Words that come to mind while listening to Coconuts debut album: ugliness, despair, un-marketability. Theirs is a sound rooted in inherent darkness, influenced by early-80’s post-punk, no wave (fellow Australians The Birthday Party come to mind) and the bleakest of world-views. It’s an almost disorienting experience, created by homemade guitars that seem to leak feedback, built by founding members Tim Evans and Jordan Redaelli (the aforementioned Australians). The duo met up with pacific-northwesterner Daniel Mitha in New York City, whose primitive drumming completed the group. We should also mention: the record has killer harmonies.