Saturday, October 12, 2013

Yard Duty - Mixed Business


Recently I was listening to a nice Hand Games mixtape of recent music and one of the standout tracks was "Vierboom's Room" by the Sydney trio Yard Duty.  I said to myself "someone should be telling people about these guys.  Someone like a music writer."  Then, I remembered that I pretend to be a music writer.  So here I am, writing about Yard Duty.

The band is comprised of John, Zacc and Max, and was formed in 2012.  They released their first album, Mixed Business, last month.  The drums and bass provide a rock-solid structure for the punk/garage guitars.  Depending on the requirements of the song, the vocals vary among singing, shout/sing, and a talk/sing.  The topics covered are not paying taxes, inept attempts at yoga in the name of love, talk radio, and losing virginity to a girl wearing ninja turtle underwear.  The overall effect is raw, familiar and endearing.  It's guys from the suburbs describing their lives (OK, there may be some artistic license), and many of us wish we could do it as well.

But to ease any feelings of envy, Yard Duty is offering the album for "name your price".  You can stream it here, and don't miss track six -- the aforementioned"Vierboom's Room".  I would embed it separately, but their is a fault in the Bandcamp load that prevents it.  If you like the album, hit the Bandcamp link and find a happy ending.



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NEW SONG: "No Excalibur" from Tele Novella (former Agent Ribbons/Voxtrot members)


Tele Novella is a psych/pop group composed of former members of Agent Ribbons (WYMA post here) and Voxtrot. Based in Austin, they have just released an advance track, "No Excalibur" in anticipation of a 7" due out in November.



It's got the surfy, faintly retro, semi-operatic sound that made the super-artsy approach of Agent Ribbons so compelling to me. Stay tuned for more, including opportunity to pre-order the 7". It is said that each one will have its own, one-of-a-kind cover.

Here are a couple of performance videos from earlier this year:





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Introducing: Turtle



Jon Cooper composes and performs as Turtle.  You won't find a wealth of information about Jon, or this kind of turtle, on the internet.  But based on his impeccably constructed track "Who Knows", I think the Glasgow-based artist is going to make a bit splash.  The song reveals itself slowly, beginning with expressive vocals and keys.  Layers of percussion and organ are added as the emotion builds.  Eventually piano and vocals dance over a layer of beats and organ, then terminates unexpectedly.  I find it both haunting and beautiful.  You may stream it here -



For another taste of Turtle's talent, here is a free download of his remix of Maxine Ashley's "Glory Box" is a free download --



Turtle will be releasing an EP named Who Knows soon.

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Friday, October 11, 2013

Circles - Are You Watching the Masters? Because the Masters Are Watching You


Hey, this music is made specifically for some of you. It says so on the band's Facebook page: "Pop music for educated, upper -middle class, pretentious white people".  Our response here at WYMA is -- Yesssss! We finally have a house band!  Are there any cucumber sandwiches left?

But to be serious, for a moment, Chicago's Circles is a band worth getting to know.  I think so, and the band thinks so as well. In fact, they have made their six-track EP Are You Watching the Masters? Because the Masters Are Watching You available for "name your price" on their Bandcamp page.  Here is the opening track, "Constant Party" --


Srini Radhakrishna, Melissa Elias and Ken Coulman formed the band.  Then they recruited Christen Thomas and Anthony Cozzi.  Former projects of the members include Ponys, Radar Eyes, Gulty Pleasures, the White Outs, and Football.  As Circles they play a melodic, crunchy, jangling and reverb-soaked brand of garage pop.  And I would have to struggle to not like a band that performs an excellent cover of Toy Love's "Photographs of Naked Ladies".

If you like what you've heard and read so far, you can stream the entire EP below.  But you might as well own it; it has our garage pop seal of approval.


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NEW VIDEO: Cheatahs - "Cut the Grass"


The Cheatahs' album is due out in early 2014, and they're showcasing their gloriously grunge-soaked, Swervedriver-inspired guitar attack on this advance track, "Cut the Grass" - we shared the track previously, here's the video:



You can buy the digital single now (B side is "Kenworth") at iTunes. You can also pre-order a physical 7" at their website. And they're supporting Metz on a European tour this fall. Dates and more information at website/Facebook below.

The Cheatahs website
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Wichita Recordings

Friday Nuggets: The Remains "Why Do I Cry"




Inspired by the Beatles, Rolling Stones and Kinks, garage bands were popping up all over America in the mid-1960's. Barry Tashian was a sophomore at Boston University when he and some friends formed a band and immediately got a deal with Epic Records. They opened for the Beatles and appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show.

The Remains first single, "Why Do I Cry" came out in 1965:



While The Remains were short lived, Tashian's career was not. Barry and Holly Tashian have been making music since 1972, recorded 7 albums, and written songs for various artists, including Solomon Burke and Kenny Rogers.  Barry Tashian spent the 1980's as a member of Emmylou Harris' Hot Band.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Fabergettes - Big Bruiser


The element of fun is strong in this one.  The Big Bruiser EP is four tracks of retro, garagey pop-punk with female lead vocals and male/female backing vocals.  The subjects are lighthearted and the delivery enthusiastic.  All of this is courtesy of Sydney's The Fabergettes.  The timing means that the Southern Hemisphere fans get a summer album in the springtime, and the Northern Hemisphere fans get a summer album in the fall.  But with infectious tunes such as these offered for "name your price", I don't want to hear any complaints from those heading for winter.  Try The Fabergettes out on track two, "Little White Lie".  If you like it, stream all four tracks below, and then hit the download link.  Buy some summer at a low, low price.





The Fabergettes are Nat (vocals/guitar), Bec (bass/back up vocals), Brendan (guitar/back up vocals), and Nick (drums).

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REVIEW: The Pure Conjecture - Gendres


The music of The Pure Conjecture conjures soul stylings of Philadelphia soul, '70s soft rock, surf rock, show tunes and various other influences between then and now.  It is a musical canvas painted in bright colors.  Yes, it is a trip back in time, albeit with some updated lyrical touches.  But it was thoroughly enjoyable on their 2012 record Courgettes, and the joy is reignited for the current release Gendres.  Proceedings kick off with the jangling guitar pop of "Roadworks On Memory Lane".  Following tracks include a surf instrumental, a '50s pop tune performed through a dream pop filter ("I Just Want You to Love Me"), a song featuring Latin rhythms and tinkling piano keys ("Mr. Tong"), a funky R&B track ("Midnight Dancing") and a soulful soft rock song ("I Thought I'd Get Along With You").  The songs are adeptly constructed -- they make their point and don't overstay their welcome.  You can stream the entire album at the Bandcamp link below, and I suggest you sample any and all of the aforementioned tracks.

The backstory of the project is interesting.  The Pure Conjecture is fronted by UK vintner Matt Eaton, and consists of ten musicians from other bands such as British Sea Power and Electric Soft Parade (a more complete listing of the cast is provided below).  It is pop music for grown-ups with a sense of humor and an appreciation for various styles of musical expression.  Try it below.







The additional musicians are Martin Noble (British Sea Power), Thomas and Alex White (Electric Soft Parade / Brakes), Johny Lamb (Thirty Pounds Of Bone), Marc Beatty (Brakes / The Tenderfoot), Darren Moon (The Tenderfoot), Steve Grainger (nada / Elevator Suite), Julian Baker (Notable Saxophonist) and rogue Scotsman Andrew Mitchell (The Hazey Janes).

Gendres is out now via Armellodie Records.

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

NEW SONG: Globelamp - "Controversial/Confrontational"


Out of the insanely creative Foxygen collective comes another artist - Elizabeth le Fey, aka Globelamp. That's her in the video they made for "San Francisco" from We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic. She's released one album, 2011's self-titled debut, and is working on a new one with Sam France. Like her former band, le Fey's music is lo-fi, faintly psychedelic, easygoing and features plenty of reverb. She's got a clear, pretty voice. Here's a track she released in July, "Controversial/Confrontational":



Here's the video for "Gypsies Lost":





The first album is available for "name your price" from Bandcamp, and you can buy the new single for a buck. Do it. Looking forward to hearing more from her... and credit to reader Rita for bringing this to my attention.

Elizabeth le Fey website
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"I'm A Peach" / "Feathers" from Early Woman


Early Woman was formed by Ben Montero (whose solo album was covered here last week) and Hannah Brooks (of Young Professionals, St Helens and Spider Vomit), and they are joined by Bobby Bravington and Caitlin Perry.  As you can determine from the band picture on the park bench below, the foursome is getting along well in the early stages of their business partnership.  And that is a good thing for us, because their new two-track single "I'm A Peach" / "Feathers" is very good.  "I'm A Peach" is on the rawer garage side of pop, while "Feathers" is a fully adorned pop tune with sprinkles of '70s glam.  Which is best? Both, and that's my final answer.





The single will be released by Mistletone on October 18, and will be available in vinyl and digital formats.  The record's artwork is by Mr. Montero.

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New Beachwood Sparks song "Make It Together" from upcoming release Desert Skies


Beachwood Sparks, formed in 1997 in Southern California, was a sweet reminder of the beauty of good California psychedelic country rock and their self-titled album set them up as heirs to the grand traditions of the Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers. Unknown to me until now was that the self-titled album was not their first. Their first album was Desert Skies.

It was recorded by the original six piece line up of Brent Rademaker (bass/vocals), Chris Gunst (guitar/vocals), "Farmer Dave" Scher (lap steel/organ/vocals), Josh Schwartz (guitar/vocals), Pete "Sleigher" Kinne (percussion/vocals) and Tom Sanford (drums/vocals). Untitled at the time, the record was made at Josh's studio "The Space Shed", in Sierra Madre. It was originally intended for release on the Christmas/xmAs label run by Brent out of his house, but that never worked out.

Fortunately for us, this is now being remedied, with Desert Skies set for a release date of November 26. Right now, you can check out an advance track, "Make It Together":



It's actually fantastic, and it's on Alive/Naturalsound - home of some of WYMA's absolute favorites (Swamp Dogg, Lee Bains III, John the Conqueror) - you can learn more, and pre-order the limited edition colored vinyl at the links below.

Alive/Naturalsound Records
Beachwood Sparks website (Calming Seas)

Detective Agency - Detectius Privats


We first checked in with Seattle's Detective Agency early in 2012 (here).  I have no idea whether the four members have acquired experience in finding your lost cat or identifying your lover's lover, but they continue to make highly addictive garage pop.  And that's the important thing after all.  You can always find another lover, perhaps even one who already has a cat.

Detective Agency has just released Detectius Privats, a five-track fuzzy, buzzing adrenaline rush that may not earn the group high marks in Latin class, but earns full credit and honors from the music faculty.  There is no filler, and there are no ballads.  This one is a racing machine ready for your favorite music player.  You can stream the entire EP below, and obtain it at the Bandcamp link below.  This one is highly recommended to beat the fall blahs.



Detective Agency is Ulrika Larsson (drums), Nate Kruz (guitar/vocals), Amy Jean (guitar/vocals/tambourine), and Katie Martin (bass).

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Introducing: Kathryn Sawers

Kathryn Sawers recently relocated from Aberdeen, in northeast, Scotland, where she had been playing shows for more than a decade years, to Glasgow.  She is justifiably well-respected for her piano-driven folk songs, featuring her beautiful and distinctive voice.  On January 11, 2014, Sawers will release a three-song EP titled Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I've Spilled.  You can stream all three tracks below.  "The Good" is available as a free download.







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"December Ice" (The Bats) / "Widow Maker" (Boomgates) split 7"

Australian labels Mistletone and Bedroom Suck are making my fall much, much better.  As part of Melbourne Music Week (11/25 - 11/24) they are releasing a two track split single featuring songs from one of my all-time favorite bands, The Bats, and one of my favorite finds of the last few years, Boomgates.  The vinyl version will be available November 1 and can be pre-ordered from either of the labels.  And if you want the vinyl, you are best advised to pre-order because I think it very unlikely that any copies of this limited run will be available by November.  The digital versions of each song are available now, and rumor is that the Bedroom Suck server crashed when business opened for the digital of "Widow Maker".

"December Ice" was recorded in the sessions for The Bats most recent LP, Free All The Monsters.  "Widow Maker" is the first release from Boomgates since 2012's Double Natural.





Mistletone page for split 7"
Bedroom Suck Records page for split 7"
Website for Melbourne Music Week

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

REVIEW: La Luz - It's Alive


One must be careful about assumptions.  If I were to tell a hypothetical music fan - let's call him Dudley - that this review concerns a debut LP by an all female Seattle band featuring a guitar, bass, organ and drum kit, Dudley might be tempted to think that the discussion would concern fuzzy, jangling guitar, earnest strumming and a twee lyrical approach.  That would not only be wrong (and a bit narrow-minded - bad boy, Dudley, bad boy!), but it would suggest that Dudley hasn't regularly been reading these pages [author pauses to wipe away a tear].  Regular readers know that La Luz is not fuzz pop, and definitely is not twee.  What La Luz most definitely is, is one of the most promising young bands in a city known for promising young bands.

La Luz's winning groove is a combination of surf pop and retro girl group.  And with respect to surf pop, we're not talking about a few touches thrown in here and there.  From the opening of the album's first track, "Sure As Spring" and continuing throughout the album, La Luz delivers the surging drums, authoritative bass and unmistakable organ flourishes that characterize the surf genre.  But first and foremost, there is Shana Cleveland's guitar.  Ms Cleveland is a strikingly good guitarist, and as for her ability in the surf rock space, it wouldn't have surprised me to discover that she spent her formative years with Dick Dale.  The girl group aspect of the sound is a direct result of having a female lead singer with three other females singing back up, or simply delivering the sweetest "ooohs" you've heard in a long time.  Of course, given the stylistic choices La Luz has made, you will here influences - the surf rock forerunners, the dark twang of Link Wray, the Chiffons, and recent San Francisco garage rock.  The the art is in the melding of the influences to make an album distinctive to La Luz.

You can sample It's Alive via the three tracks below.  "Sure As Spring" is the supercharged opener.  The eminently seductive "Call Me In The Day" is a beautifully crafted and executed track that is on my 'songs of the year' playlist.  "Big Big Blood is a great tune, and a free download.



La Luz - Call Me in the Day from Bobby McHugh on Vimeo.



La Luz is Shana Cleveland (guitar), Marian Li Pino (drums), Abbey Blackwell (bass), and Alice Sandahl (keyboard).  Shana is the principal songwriter and vocalist.  It's Alive is out now via Seattle's Hardly Art label.

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Hardly Art page for La Luz

REVIEW: His Clancyness - Vicious


His Clancyness is Jonathan Clancy.  A native Canadian and current resident of Bologna, he was raised in both Canada and Italy.  His past recordings have been solo affairs, but Vicious, his current release, was recorded with accompanying musicians Paul Pieretto and Jacopo Borazzo.  I've given the release more than a few spins, and my verdict is that all involved should be proud of their work.  The general category probably is psychedelic pop (with a decided nod to the Nuggets series), but Clancy ably adds elements from glam, classic rock and California guitar pop.  There is plenty of hooks and jangle, and it is invariably melodic.  But from time to time the band flexes true rock muscle, and some the song structures allow for a bit of an extended jam.  Thematically, there is a toughness, even viciousness.  Apparently, that attitude doesn't reflect Clancy's approach to life so much as his need to work through his inability to be that hard in his life.  So the songs work as catharsis for the author, while the fans can bask in the warmth of the music.  That is a compromise I'll gladly take when the music is this enjoyable.

You can test drive Vicious via tracks "Progress" and "Zenith Diamond" below.





Vicious is out today via FatCat Records.  Clancy is touring this fall with a full band - Clancy plus Giulia Mazza (synths / keyboards / noise boxes / vocals / percussion), Emanuela Drei (bass, sampler, vocals) and Jacopo Borazzo (drums / percussion).  The remaining tour dates are as follows:
10/10 – Astoria, Turin, IT
10/12 – Ligera, Milan, IT
10/17 – Circolo Degli Artisti, Rome, IT
10/18 – Always Never again @ B-Side, Cosenza, IT
11/6 – BBC Introducing presents @ Oakford Social, Reading, UK
11/7 – Clwb Ifor Bac, Cardiff, UK
11/9 – Start The Bus, Bristol, UK (supporting No Joy)
11/10 – Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, Brighton, UK
11/12 – Fallow, Manchester, UK
11/14 – Broadcast, Glasgow, UK
11/15 – Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds, UK
11/16 – Hare and Hounds, Birmingham, UK
11/22 – The Lexington, London, UK
11/26 – Espace B, Paris, FR



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FatCat (US)

Monday, October 7, 2013

REVIEW: Darren Sylvester - Off By Heart


Stylish '80s pop seems to be the "new black" for bands.  But anyone tempted to dismiss the result as easy mimicry should remember that for every soaring top of the charts single by a new wave band, there was .... well ... the rest of that band's output.  It is that knowledge (and that memory, if the truth be told, because even though the blog is young, we aren't) that causes us to appreciate the intelligent, high quality Off By Heart from Darren Sylvester.  The album is melodic, dramatic, well-written, hook-filled, bright, smooth, and undeniably sensuous.  But it also boasts big, attention-grabbing drums and pronounced, thick bass lines.  And it reflects the tasteful attention to detail that one would expect from a musician who also is an artist, sculptor, videographer, and photographer.

Melbourne resident Sylvester played all of the instruments on Off By Heart, and is the primary vocalist.  Back up vocals are provided by Jojo Petrina and Biddy Connor from the group Magic Silver White).  Sylvester doesn't hide his influences.  The templates provided by Avalon-era Roxy Music and some of David Bowie's late '70s work are honored.  But Sylvester makes it all his own with his lyrical contributions.  And the end result is a delightful evocation of a style, rather than a mere replication.  This album exists to make your late nights better.  Consider it a public service from the kind Mr. Sylvester.






Off By Heart is out now via Chapter Music.

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Bandcamp for Off By Heart
Bandcamp (Darren's debut album)
Chapter Music

Trick Mammoth - "Delphine (With A Purpose) / Pinker Sea", free download


One album release that we have been eagerly anticipating is Floristry, the debut from Dunedin, New Zealand's Trick Mammoth.  News from Fishrider Records is that the production is at the "test pressing" stage, and the wait will be over in late November.  Moreover, the band has taken pity on its fans, and released the first single from the album as a free double A-side.  What is the music like? Perfect guitar pop, that's what.  But you don't have to take my word for it.  Stream it below and hit the download button.


Trick Mammoth is Adrian Ng (guitar/vocals), Millie Lovelock (guitar/vocals), and Sam Valentine (drums).  All three have additional projects.  Adrian is a skilled songwriter who is developing solo work, Mille also is one of Astro Children and Sam, who also has done the artwork for the album, is with the Dunedin group Males.  The album will be released via Fishrider Records.

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"No Endings But Only the Beginnings", free from Taffy


Tokyo, Japan's fuzz/garage pop band Taffy is offering "No Endings Buy Only The Beginnings", the closing song on their June 2013 LP Lixiviate, as a free download.  Featuring crunchy guitars and Iris' sweet vocals, a Taffy release always is welcome.  UK readers should note that the band is touring in support of The Wedding Present beginning later this month.



If you would like to explore a bit more of the album, here is "Tumbling" --

Taffy is Iris (vocals/guitar), Koichin (bass), Asano (lead guitar), and Ken (drums).

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Tim Kasher - Adult Film


Tim Kasher's thinking about growing up. Well, about the process of growing up, or having grown up. His new solo album Adult Film is a collection of songs full of reflection, angst and anger - about the uselessness of an English Lit degree, the emptiness of a loveless relationship, and rainclouds. Sometimes they're just rainclouds - not to get too deep about it. But then again, he's not afraid to get deep. "I've got a story to tell/I'm not sure what it is/I'm sure it's funny as hell..." is the way he starts out. And if I had to put a theme to it, based merely on the cover art, it might be "growing up is a dirty business."

The hook is that on much of this album, Kasher rocks out. There are acoustic moments, especially in the intros to "A Raincloud Is a Raincloud" and "Where's Your Heart Lie", but even on those songs the sound swells up to include guitar riffs and aggressive keyboards, and the music suits the mood. It's heavy.

Here's "Truly Freaking Out", probably the most aggressive cut, with some cascading synths accompanying Kasher's ruminations on mortality:



And here's "Where's Your Heart Lie" - which, while moody and reflective, in places almost grows into a '70s power ballad:



"You Scare Me to Death" is a witty take on the idea of being scared of a good thing - even the bliss of having found "the one" is ruined by the fear that it could end (well, as with life itself, it will end) and the music features a ghostly zither or theremin (or the synthesized equivalent). The rockingest track is the penultimate "A Looping Distress Signal" - it even features some guitar feedback, and is therefore my favorite on the record.

People who like the music of Ben Folds or Rhett Miller will likely enjoy this record. It's smart, well-played and challenges the listener with some incisive lyrics and unique takes on the usual folk-rock song structures.

Kasher's on tour with Laura Stevenson (who supplied some of the backing vocals here) throughout the fall:

OCT. 6 DENVER, CO LARIMER LOUNGE
OCT. 8 SALT LAKE CITY, UT URBAN LOUNGE
OCT. 9 BOISE, ID NEUROLUX
OCT. 10 PORTLAND, OR DOUG FIR LOUNGE
OCT. 11 VANCOUVER, BC ELECTRIC OWL
OCT. 12 SEATTLE, WA BARBOZA
OCT. 15 SAN FRANCISCO, CA RICKSHAW STOP
OCT. 16 SANTA CRUZ, CA CREPE SHOP
OCT. 17 SANTA ANA, CA CONSTELLATION ROOM
OCT. 18 LOS ANGELES, CA THE ECHO
OCT. 19 LAS VEGAS, NV BACKSTAGE BAR
OCT. 21 SAN DIEGO, CA THE CASBAH
OCT. 22 PHOENIX, AZ CRESCENT BALLROOM
OCT. 23 TUCSON, AZ CLUB CONGRESS
OCT. 25 DALLAS, TX THREE LINKS
OCT. 26 AUSTIN, TX RED 7
OCT. 27 HOUSTON, TX FITZGERALDS
OCT. 29 TALLAHASSEE, FL CLUB DOWNUNDER
OCT. 30 ORLANDO, FL THE SOCIAL
OCT. 31 GAINESVILLE, FL THE FEST 12
NOV. 1 TAMPA, FL CROWBAR
NOV. 2 ATLANTA, GA THE EARL
NOV. 3 RALEIGH, NC KINGS BARCADE
NOV. 4 CHARLOTTE, NC CASBAH @ TREMONT MUSIC HALL
NOV. 5 WASHINGTON, DC ROCK & ROLL HOTEL
NOV. 6 BROOKLYN, NY THE BELL HOUSE
NOV. 7 BOSTON, MA BRIGHTON MUSIC HALL
NOV. 8 PROVIDENCE, RI THE MET
NOV. 9 PHILADELPHIA, PA JOHNNY BRENDA'S
NOV. 11 CLEVELAND, OH GROG SHOP
NOV. 12 DETROIT, MI MAGIC STICK LOUNGE
NOV. 13 CHICAGO, IL THE EMPTY BOTTLE
NOV. 14 ST. LOUIS, MO FIREBIRD
NOV. 15 IOWA CITY, IA THE MILL
NOV. 16 MINNEAPOLIS, MN TRIPLE ROCK

You can learn more, or buy, at the Saddle Creek website.

Tim Kasher website
Tim Kasher at Saddle Creek Records

REISSUES: More Great Classic Jazz from Pablo: Dizzy's Big 4, The Ellington Suites, Skol, Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Zoot Sims And The Gershwin Brothers


The Concord imprint Pablo Records, celebrating the 40th anniversary of its founding, has issued five more classic, somewhat idiosyncratic jazz masterpieces in September. They are all excellent quality remasters of the original albums, and each features bonus tracks, some never before released.

Duke Ellington & His Orchestra: The Ellington Suites

The three Ellington Suites in this release were recorded at different times: The Queen’s Suite in February and April 1959 (written for and dedicated to Queen Elizabeth II, but not widely released until 1970); the Goutelas Suite in April 1971; and the Uwis Suite in October 1972.

“Ellington would record his orchestra at his own expense, and then stockpile the recordings,” says Nick Phillips, Vice President, Catalog and Jazz A&R at Concord and producer of the Original Jazz Classics Remasters series. “These were recordings that were later sold to Norman Granz, who had the good sense in the ’70s to collect these then-unreleased suites on one album.”

And according to Ashley Kahn, who wrote the liner notes for this reissue, “this latest edition of The Ellington Suites adds a studio discovery: the never-before-released ‘The Kiss’ is a track recorded in 1972 at the same session that yielded the Uwis Suite. [It] is included herein as a reminder of how — all the way to the end of his timeline — Ellington was at work at new creations, ever intrepid and ever expansive. Today The Ellington Suites, music he produced to his specifications and at his expense, are as powerful a statement as any to the remarkable consistency that colored the entire, storied career.”

Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Pass, Ray Brown, Mickey Roker: Dizzy’s Big 4

Recorded in September 1974, Dizzy’s Big 4 provides a snapshot of the bebop pioneer still in superb form at age 57. “Joined by a rhythm section of fellow Pablo all-stars, Diz is heard at his bebopping best in a compelling mix of Gillespie classics (‘Be Bop’ and ‘Birks’ Works’), a then-new Gillespie composition (‘Frelimo’), and standards (‘September Song’ and ‘Jitterbug Waltz’),” says Phillips. “The sheer joy of four like-minded musicians spurring each other to new musical heights is palpable throughout this Pablo classic.”

The reissue includes two bonus tracks, previously unreleased alternate takes of “Russian Lullaby” and “Jitterbug Waltz” — both of which are significantly different versions of the same songs that appeared in the original release. Like the Peterson and Sims albums in this reissue series, Joe Pass plays some great guitar, and like the Peterson/Grappelli disc, Mickey Roker is the drummer.

There is a funkiness to these proceedings that reflects the times - proof, it it were needed, that great artists like Gillespie are able to both draw from and rise above the times. This is a delightful set. Check out the interplay between Gillespie's and Pass's solos on "Be Bop":



Oscar Peterson & Stephane Grappelli: Skol

Recorded live at Tivoli Concert Hall in Copenhagen, Denmark, on July 6, 1979, Skol features the six tracks from the album’s original LP release, plus three previously unreleased bonus tracks from the same performance: “Honeysuckle Rose,” “Solitude,” and “I Got Rhythm.” It's an interesting album, and of course Peterson was still on top of his game in 1979 - he continued to make good albums, having produced one of his best as late as 1995. Grappelli is wonderful - spirited, with a light, airy touch. The two play wonderfully off one another, and there's also some great jazz guitar from Joe Pass, and Neils Pedersen and Mickey Roker contribute bass and drums, respectively. It's great to hear pros like Peterson, Grappelli and Pass solo on jazz standards like these. Here's "Makin' Whoopee":



Zoot Sims: Zoot Sims and the Gershwin Brothers

Recorded in June 1975, Zoot Sims and the Gershwin Brothers is a set of ten well-known Gershwin classics. Sims plays it fairly straight, backed by Oscar Peterson on piano, George Mraz on bass, Joe Pass on guitar, and Grady Tate on drums. He has some excellent solos, yet the full set is near perfection - not a note out of place. “It’s arguably the best album Zoot Sims ever made,” says Phillips, “not just on Pablo but in his entire career. It’s that good. He sounds absolutely amazing on this album.”

Art Tatum: The Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Vol. 1

From the notes: The Art Tatum Solo Masterpieces, Vol. 1 got under way with an evening session in December 1953 where Tatum walked into the studios of Radio Recorders in Hollywood with a portable radio. He sat down at the piano bench, opened the first of many bottles of Pabst Blue Ribbon (provided by Granz), listened to about a half hour of UCLA basketball and said, “Let’s go.”

“From there, the music poured forth to produce 69 masters over two days, nearly all on first takes with no playbacks,” says Tad Herschorn in his new liner notes to the reissue. This album contains 16 tracks of Tatum's fluid, adventurous piano, and that's it. Tatum goes where he will, without having to worry about accompaniment, and it's an exhilarating trip.

More information on all the releases available at the links above, or at Concord Music Group's website.

Concord Music Group website

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Colornoise - Polychronic


I suspect that when most of our readers think about Costa Rica they have images of warm beaches, coffee plantations, and vacations.  We here at WYMA also think about noise rock.  But that is because we received an email from the talented Sonya Carmona and Alison Alvarado of Colornoise.  Sonya sings and plays the guitar, and Alison plays the drums.  Already established as a talent in Central America, they are beginning to spread their wings to North and South America with shows in Toronto and Brazil.  You can experience Colornoise via their 8-song Polychronic EP.  And what does it sound like?  It sounds like the ladies have a number of influences, and while a general description could be garage rock, you'll hear dark post-punk, as well as pop and psychedelic sounds.  It seems to me that the band would not be out of place sharing a bill with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

The lead track from their EP is "Button", which you can experience in video form below --


Here is "Pieces" --


If you'd like to stream the entire EP, you can do so below or at the Bandcamp link at the end of this post.



Website
Bandcamp