This week ranges from throwback country to throwback Compton rap, with some free improvisation, Dylanesque rock, Norwegian jazz, and avant-doom black metal thrown in for good measure.
Kevin Morby “Pearly Gates” (From “City Music”)
It’s only been a little over a year since Morby’s last album, but his rapid-fire prolificacy displays a songwriter in the midst of a fertile peak. His impressionistic, wordy witticism draws easy comparisons to Bob Dylan, or perhaps Father John Misty, but he is warmer than the former and less meta-ironic than the latter. “Pearly Gates” is a bouncy, joyful, but self-searching highlight from his best album yet.
Bill Orcutt “The World Without Me” (From “Bill Orcutt”)
Bill Orcutt was one of the most original guitarists to immerge from the outer realms of abstract American experimentalism in the early 90’s. As the leader of noise rock deconstructionists Harry Pussy, who drew from a diverse well of no wave, hardcore punk, and free jazz, they confounded the audiences of indie heroes and tour mates such as Sonic Youth and Sebadoh in their brief career. His new album showcases a gentler, but no less revolutionary exploration of solo guitar virtuosity and improvisation that is a spiritual cousin to the work of John Fahey and Sir Richard Bishop.
Colter Wall “Motorcycle” (From “Colter Wall”)
The twenty-two year old Saskatchewan Colter Wall has a deep, bourbon-coated voice that sounds at least twice as lived in as it really is. His assured and wonderful debut places him firmly in the camp of a new wave of country songwriters led by John Moreland and Sturgill Simpson who look back to raw, conversational artists like Guy Clarke and Townes Van Zandt (Wall covers the latter on this album). “Motorcycle” balances existential desperation with dark humor on an album that respects a simpler era of country music before the genre was coated by an impenetrable pop gloss.
MC Eiht “Got That” (From “Which Way Iz West”)
It’s been eleven years since his last album and five years since he set fire to Kendrick Lamar’s “M.A.A.D. City”, but MC Eiht’s “Got That” reconfirms him as one of the most underrated products of Compton’s classic era. His workmanlike flow is complimented by the ever-soulful production of Gang Starr’s DJ Premier, uniting East and West Coast into an exciting throwback that sounds fierce and hungry.
Arve Henriksen “Paridae” (From “Towards Language”)
Norwegian trumpeter Arve Henriksen’s distinctive, loose embouchure tone, inspired by the sound of the Japanese shakuhachi flute, creates fragile, filmic, and beguiling jazz. The last song on his latest album, his ninth solo record, features the vocals of Anna Maria Friman of Trio Medieval and it brushes up against the current reemergence of New Age Music as a fertile touchstone of experimentation.
Gravetemple “Athatolhatatlan Felemek” (From “Impassable Fears”)
This certainly won’t be for everyone, but if you are in the mood for some of the most extreme music released this year, Gravetemple deliver a blackened slab of impenetrable doom on the chaotic “Impassable Fears”. Stephen O’Malley, guitar god for decibel punishers Sunn O))), is joined by Attila Csihar, unrivaled vocal torturer for infamous black metal lifers Mayhem, and avant-garde polymath multi-instrumentalist Oren Ambarchi. The music works as an invocation of dark mysticism that Attila has described as an, “aim to break boundaries and to find new horizons via the challenging of our own concepts of existence via the channels of musical trance. To me it is like a contemporary way of Shamanism.”
TIMELY TUNES, VOL. 51
1. Red Red Meat “Gauze”
2. Kevin Morby “Pearly Gates”
3. Bob Dylan “Mozambique”
4. John Fahey “Funeral Song For Mississippi John Hurt”
5. Bill Orcutt “The World Without Me”
6. Jerry Jeff Walker “Gettin’ By”
7. Colter Wall “Motorcycle”
8. Johnny Paycheck “Barstool Mountain”
9. The D.O.C. “Lend Me An Ear”
10. MC Eiht “Got That”
11. Marvin Gaye “Anger”
12. Hans-Joachim Roedelius & Noel Akchote “Piece quinze”
13. Arve Henriksen “Paridae”
14. Phillip Jeck “Saint Pancras (The One That Holds Everything)”
15. Gravetemple “Athatolhatatlan Felelmek”
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