quinta-feira, 31 de março de 2016

Little Wings - Black Grass 2011

Originally formed in the California seaside town of San Luis Obispo, the music of Little Wings completely imbibes the environment in which it was conceived. With a loosely assembled membership that revolves around Little Wingsfrontman and songwriter Kyle Field and sometimes includes drummer Adam Selzer, keyboardist Rob Kieswetter, and bassist Mark Leece, the band's debut on Walking Records,Discover Worlds of Wonder, was a dreamy, balladic tribute to the surreal aspects of the contemporary Californian landscape. Filled with slightly off-key tales of skateboarding legends, freeway traffic jams, and the hidden beach canyons of the West Coast, Little Wings' 1999 debut fused a postmodern Beach Boys ideology with warm alt-country. After collaborations with many regional artists, including Jason Lytle of GrandaddyKyle Fieldleft his California musical family for the greener pastures of Portland, OR, to let the new chapter of theLittle Wings almanac be influenced by the fresh naturalism of the Pacific Northwest and to continue the bands exploration of non-traditional song structures. With their Internet-exclusive sophomore effort,Wonder CityLittle Wings added to the their loosely conceptual "Wonder Trilogy" in 2000, featuring the efforts of Kyle Field and Whitney Moon. Wonderue completed the trilogy in 2002; later that year, Light Green Leaves arrived. The following year, Harvest Joy appeared, and Field continued his prolific streak with 2004's Magic Wand. A year later, K Records released his next album of abstract bursts, titled Grow, and then he moved toward more traditional pastures with the sleepy Soft Pow'r in 2007. Subsequent full length outings include 2011's pastoral and heartfelt Black Grass, 2013's Last, and 2015's Explains. AMG.

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764-Hero - Nobody Knows This Is Everywhere 2002

764-Hero's fourth album and their first for Tiger Style revealed a band refreshed, broadly revitalized, and more capable than ever of detaching themselves from their reputation as an emotionally pale imitation of the emocore elite. Interestingly, 764-Hero's tastes hadn't exactly budged -- the same hard-strummed arrangements and beaten bits of rock logic were still present, and John Atkins still mourned his way through the same lyrical themes -- but instead of coming across as clunkingly self-absorbed, the band would paint huge expanses of clearly accessible toppling musical confidence to sponsor the complaints. This made for another ragged album, but one that had a deeper, fuller, more satisfying sound than anything the band had released before. AMG.

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Michael Chapman - Americana 2000

Chapman has long had a fascination, not just with American music, but the American South and West. So an album explicitly inspired by the country should come as no surprise. The joy is how much it highlights his fabulous guitar picking. "Sweet Little Friend From Georgia" and "Coming of the Roads" might seem relatively straightforward, but the more epic "Swamp" and "Gaddo's Lake" delve into decidedly complex territory; in fact, the impressionistic "Swamp" is probably the record's centerpiece. As an instrumental portrait of the southern states it's loving, very finely honed, and played in a way that reminds you that Chapman is one of the best, and most undervalued, guitarists around. Even if "Jumping Geordie" has its origins on the other side of the Atlantic, it still fits in. For longtime fans, "Indian Annie's Kitchen" brings back some memories of "Kodak Ghosts," and throughout small touchstones of blues, country, and jazz slip by. A comparison to Ry Cooder -- most especially some of his soundtrack work -- might not be too amiss, except that Chapman is looking in from the outside, and is, possibly, a more gifted player. AMG.

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Sandy Salisbury - Sandy 2000

Sandy Salisbury was the shy romantic of the loose group of musician friends who formed the legendary studio combos Sagittarius and the Millennium. He was also the one to eschew drugs entirely, a distinction that could not necessarily be made based on the evidence of this previously unreleased solo album, originally recorded for Together Records in 1968 and newly unearthed by British label Poptones. Like the music his bandmates made both solo and collectively, Sandy Salisbury is a heady, trippy, captivating concoction. In fact, of the first series of sensational albums that Poptones cobbled together or excavated from the Sagittarius/Millennium vaults, it is the finest, most complete work of the lot, nearly on a par with even the classic albums officially released by the collective. The album is a showcase for a talent who could sometimes get submerged in the shuffle of the group. Salisbury wrote or co-composed most of the songs in collaboration with various of hisMillennium cohorts, and drenches them in one of pop music's most angelic tenors, a voice that is nearly identical in creamy, heavenly grace and elegance to that of Curt Boettcher, who co-produced the album along with future Fleetwood Mac engineer Keith OlsenMusically, the album is luminous, hallucinatory, and full of typically cherubic sweetness. The collective's signature romantic fervor surfaces throughout, most characteristically on the lovely ballad "Cecily" and the marimba-and-vibes peppered island groove of "Once I Knew a Little Dog." But while the album has all of the familiar Boettcher hallmarks, the production diverges in some minor but intriguing ways. Cosmetically, songs such as "Cecily" and "The Hills of Vermont" take on an almost country cast (as driven by Red Rhodes' pedal steel), and make the subtle stylistic shift convincingly. More substantially,Sandy Salisbury is unexpectedly muscular, even soulful at times, on songs such as the breathtaking harmonica-led "I Just Don't Know How to Say Goodbye" and the jubilantly kaleidoscopic "Goody Goodbye." The meaty "Spell on Me" is punctuated by waves of brass, a surprising progression that occurs several times on the album, while garage-punk guitar riffs bring the falsetto vocal hook of "Do Unto Others" back down to earth. The album is simply joyous and celebratory, nowhere more than on the bouyant cover of the Beach Boys' "With Me Tonight" (renamed "On and on She Goes"), reputedly aimed at administering a helping of therapy to Brian Wilson to bolster the sense of diminishing artistic self-worth he was experiencing at the time. Salisbury's performance is just as bouyant and accomplished throughout, and if it threatens to burst the album at its seams, it is also what makes this such a satisfyingly unforeseen delight. AMG.

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Willie Murphy & The Angel Headed Hipsters - Hustlin' Man Blues 1998

Former Bonnie Raitt bandleader and producer (her first album) Willie Murphy sure likes to mug while he's playing and singing his brand of blues. This mugging can consist of outrageous shouting and yelled exhortations or be conversational in tone, but it's always there. While this approach is probably wonderful in the context of a club performance, it does little to extend his rep as a recording artist. It also doesn't help that Murphy has chosen to fill up this album with songs so overrecorded ("My Own Fault," "Built for Comfort," "Spoonful," "300 Pounds of Joy," "Reelin' & Rockin'") that you almost resent their presence on this disc, no matter how much Murphy's versions deviate from the originals. It takes Williealmost half the album to get around to putting an original song or two in the mix, and "What Daddy Wants (Momma Needs)" and the title track feature lyrics strewn with cliché after cliché and vocals so over-the-top and comical you wonder at times whether you're supposed to take any of this seriously. This won the Best Blues Album for 1998 award at the Minnesota Music Awards. But this is largely generic bar-band blues for the yuppie crowd, short on subtleties and long on yahoo-style entertainment. AMG.

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Belly - King 1995

By developing a flair for tight, melodic hooks on StarTanya Donelly unexpectedly achieved the crossover success with Belly that eluded her with the Throwing Muses and the Breeders. Evidently inspired by such success and eager to prove that Belly was a full-fledged band, not just a solo project,Donelly and company made a bid for stardom with their second album, King. Veteran producer Glyn Johns gives the band an appealingly punchy sheen, and with the assistance of Tom Gorman and new bassist Gail GreenwoodDonelly cuts away her remaining arty preciousness, concentrating solely on big pop songs. While some fans will miss the occasional detour into spacy dream pop, Belly's makeover is quite convincing, and the cloaked stardom of "Super-Connected," the quirky hooks of "Now They'll Sleep," and the epic ballad "Judas My Heart" are neglected gems of post-alternative modern rock. Ironically, such shiny hooks didn't make Belly stars -- it lost them their original fan base, and by the time the record was released in 1995, modern rock radio was concentrating solely on harder guitar rock, so King was overlooked and the band broke up shortly afterward. The album and the group deserved a better fate. AMG.

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Carol Kleyn - Return of the Silkie 1983

Issued in 1983, songwriter and harpist Carol Kleyns third recording, Return of the Silkie, takes her full-circle and then some. On 1976's Love Has Made Me Stronger, she accompanied herself on piano and harp. On 1980's Takin' the Time, she and her harp were accompanied by a full rock band. Here, it is only her harp, her voice, the sounds of the ocean, and wounded seals and sea lions, recovering in a big red barn on Laguna Canyon Road (now home to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center) before their return to the wild. Though she wrote only the title track with these creatures and their mythical origins in mind, the rest are loosely tethered by Kleyn's own worldview, which is even now uncompromised in its reverence for the natural world (she currently lives on an island in the Puget Sound amid eagles and sea animals and continues her own humble efforts to provide awareness of the consequences of global warming), the blessings of selfless love, and the quest for inner freedom. This is music that transcends time. Return of the Silkie stands out among Kleyn's records; it is informed by both folk and mythic traditions. Hers is a poetry of innocence informed by the experience of living in the world and moving through it. These songs bridge spirit, flesh, heaven, and earth unpretentiously. The title track delves with wordless vocals and natural sounds into the Scottish tradition of the silkie -- half human, half seal (mermaids). Even without words the legend is conveyed through its minor-key melody and dynamic shifts. Other tracks -- "Sailor in the Sun," "Hello Mr. Drifter, "Iaqua," and "River's Calling" -- directly portray the desire for travel and transcendence; a personal quest for anonymity in the beating heart of the world. The instrumental "Land Voyage" is the sound of that journey in process. "Storm Over Paradise" is a warning; it reflects impending environmental change and the consequences of human folly in trying to dominate the land. This is underscored by the instrumental closer "And Back Again," where the sounds of the ocean and sea animals return; it offers a renewed glimpse of their majesty, recalls the myth of the silkie, and acts as a healing balm. For the listener, Return of the Silkie is both a place of solace from the crawling chaos in everyday life, and also, in the simple grain of its presentation, it reminds us just how fragile the balance of life in the natural world is. Throughout, it carries weight of that message in its sparsely orchestrated, unpretentious, yet abundant beauty. AMG. 

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Sula Bassana - Dreamer 2005

Sula's first solo-album Dreamer was released on Nasoni-Records in 2002. More albums followed. Dave played in several projects, such as Psychedelic Monsterjam, together with Ax Genrich on guitar and Mani Neumeier on drums (both from Guru Guru). Two live-CDs were released on Sunhair-Records. In 2003 he co-founded the psychedelic-postrock-project Südstern 44, together with Ellipopelli (ex Growing Seeds) and Julius K (ex Zone Six). There was one album on Nasoni-Records and one CD-R released by the band.
In late summer 2006 he moved to Austria and founded his label sulatron-records, played guitar in the young local rockband Alice Dog and has started a project called Interkosmos, with Sergio Ceballos (guitar and vocals, from RIP KC, Spain) and Bernhard Fasching (aka Pablo Carneval, drums, from The Blowing Lewinsky). Another short time project was born with the saxophone-wizard Mario Rechtern and spontaneous guests: Das Alte Haus (only one CD-R released on the NY-based Jazz-label Tiger Asylum).
And there is a new band (since late 2009) called Electric Moon with Lulu (Lulu Artwork, bass), and Dave on guitar and organ (and drums), and Marcus Schnitzler of The Spacelords on drums (formerly Pablo Carneval on drums!). Many releases followed. In 2010 he moved back to Germany!
In 2012 Lulu, Modulfix (from Zone Six), Rainer Neeff (The Pancakes, Zone Six), Onkel Kaktus and Sula founded a new project called Krautzone! 3 Vinyl releases followed, and a double CD also!
He also played some gigs as guitar- or bass-player with the Øresund Space Collective in Germany and Norway.
He also jammed on stage with the following bands and musicians: Gas Giant, Circle, Damo Suzuki, Keiji Miashita, Horst Porkert, The Movements, Electric Orange, Niagaragain, Spheric Lounge, Annot Rhül and members of Seid.

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Manassas - Pieces 1971-73 (2007)

Led by Stephen Stills, with Chris Hillman (the ByrdsFlying Burrito Brothers), Paul Harris (session musician for B.B. KingEric Anderson, and many others), Joe Lala (Blues Image), Al Perkins (Flying Burrito Brothers), Calvin "Fuzzy" Samuels (Crosby, Stills, & Nash), and Dallas Taylor (Crosby, Stills, & Nash), Manassas was one of the most talented units in music at the time. Equally at home with Latin jams, rock, blues, country, folk, and bluegrass, they were also one of the most versatile outfits in rock history.
Formed in 1971 from the sessions for what was going to be Stills' third solo album, the chemistry of the musicians he gathered was so intense that before long they were a full-fledged band. With an album completed (at hotspot Criteria Studios in Miami), the group was still without a name. Yet despite this they embarked on a small tour. At a train station in Manassas, VA, a picture of the group standing under a Manassas sign was taken, giving birth to their name and, conveniently, the album cover.
Equally at home on-stage as in the studio, the band's shows often stretched to three hours, usually in the format of an opening rock set, a solo Stills acoustic set, Hillman and Perkins playing bluegrass, another rock and country set by the band, and a closing acoustic set. Manassas' tours took them all over the world and, while in Paris in March 1972, Stills met French singer/songwriter Veronique Sanson. In the next year they would be married, with a son, Chris, born not long after (later to be a recording artist in his own right). Stills and Lala (along with later Manassas member Kenny Passarelli) would also play on her 1974 release Le Maudit. In addition to their hectic touring schedule, studio time was logged, producing another album of songs. Unfortunately, though, the results were not as inspired as their self-titled debut. Drinking and drugs were negatively affecting the quality of their music, and much of the material recorded was unused (including a track with Stevie Wonder on lead vocals). Recording where the first album had been done at Criteria Studios, producer/engineers Ron Albert and Howard Albert eventually quit the project in frustration with the band; it was completed in Colorado and Los Angeles. In the end, Down the Road wasn't a bad album, it just didn't quite stack up to its predecessor.
Another contributing factor to the demise of the group was the ever-present shadow of Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young. Atlantic Records didn't promote the Manassas albums sufficiently, viewing the band as more of a side project to Stills' involvement in CSN&Y. In 1973, in fact, CSN&Y reunited in Hawaii to put together a new album, which eventually fizzled. Stills returned to Colorado with the intent to pick up where he left off with Manassas, yet it was a little too late to put the pieces back together. Taylor was now addicted to heroin and Samuels had other commitments, making him unavailable. Not dissuaded, Stills filled the vacant slot with Kenny Passarelli, bass player with Joe Walsh's Barnstorm, on the short tour the two groups did together. The series of shows was the swan song for Manassas, as each member left to pursue different projects at tour's end. Hillman became part of the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band, while Stills was soon on the road as a solo artist with a touring band featuring Donnie Dacus of Veronique Sanson's band, veteran Russ Kunkel, and keyboardist Jerry Aiello, and would record a solo album soon after. AMG.

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George Clinton - The Cinderella Theory 1989

On his first album for Prince's Paisley Park record label, George Clinton's willingness to experiment with samplers and hip-hop (including guest appearances by such artists as Chuck D and Flavor Flavof Public Enemy) resulted in a slightly inconsistent record, but it has more than enough truly fine songs to make The Cinderella Theory rank among his best solo albums. AMG.

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Mae Moore & Lester Quitzau - Oh, My! 2004

After playing in folk clubs in Southern Ontario, singer/songwriter Mae Moore got her first break when she joined the band Foreign Legion. She crafted her intricate acoustic sound while making a name for herself throughout the mid-'80s. In 1985, she went solo, writing the song "Heaven in Your Eyes."Loverboy went on to make the song a chart smash two years later thanks to its inclusion in the Tom Cruise film Top Gun, but Moore's talent was ignored. A chance meeting with Barney Bentall's guitarist,Colin Nairne, did prove prominent for MooreNairne assisted her in recording her first demo, which later led to a deal with CBS Records. Oceanview Motel, released only in Canada, appeared in 1990; first single "I'll Watch Over You" was a radio hit. Success was slow, however. When it came time to record a second album, CBS paired Moore with the Church's Steven Kilbey. The connection between the two was magnetic, but the sessions for Bohemia weren't as charming. Gavin MacKillop (the Church, Toad the Wet Sprocket) finished the record, for Kilbey's substance and drug abuse prevented him from completing the project. The album was issued on Epic in 1992 and the title track was Moore's brightest career moment up to that point. The dark, earthy feeling of the spoken-word track went Top Ten in Canada and gained attention on American modern rock radio. Dragonfly was released in 1995, but sales didn't fare as well as Bohemia. Prior to winning the SOCAN Award for most played song on the radio for "Genuine," Moore was dropped from her label. She escaped to the peaceful side of Prince Edward Island to sort things out. While on her way, Moore began a search for the daughter she gave up for adoption at age 19. During this time, she was in a near fatal accident when another car hit her head-on at 90 miles an hour. The experience could have been worse, but Moore looked inside herself and found solace. Fellow singer and friend Jann Arden called her. Arden, who had founded her own Big Hip Records, asked Moore to start recording. The result was her 1999 self-titled effort. It's a Funny World followed three years later.  AMG.

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Ghost - Lama Rabi Rabi 1996

The incipient fascination with and appreciation of Tibetan culture by Batoh started to fully emerge with this album, in both title, design (the title is shown on the cover art in the style of the Tibetan alphabet, while art from that culture appears on the back) and similar other signifiers. Not that Lama Rabi Rabi is strictly about that country or its situation -- Ghost would wait some years more for its specific effort on that front -- but it does showcase the sense of depth Batoh brings to his art, evident throughout this strong album. The lengthy, fascinating "Mastillah" starts Lama on a striking high, with a series of percussive instruments meshed with acoustic drones and low, wordless mantras, leading to a steady rhythm pace from Yamazaki through a shimmering combination of the above, mixed with flute and stringed instruments. The immediately following "Rabirabi" makes this sense of religious celebration even stronger, with Batoh's slightly distorted vocals carrying through a rhythm-driven number, at once rock (thanks especially to the bass) and not, punctuated further by a chorus chanting the title. From there on in the majority of Lama addresses the heavier jam side of the band, where acoustic instruments easily have the force of their electric counterparts and often predominate. The banjo/flute/booming drum combination of "Mex Square Blue" and the more conventionally psych-fried "Bad Bone" are two fine examples. The more stripped-down, hushed folk side of Ghost emerges as well. "Into the Alley" is stunningly lovely, Batoh and his acoustic guitar accompanied by a variety of subtle background shadings from other instruments, while the brief "My Hump Is a Shell" combines piano, guitar, and what sounds like a musical saw to rich effect. Most striking of all would be "Agate Scape," an 11-minute piece with both quiet beauty and echo-laden instrumental builds. AMG.

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