prana crafter and the modern folk live sets from the projection museum

earlier this month, i had the opportunity to play a very special show, opening up for new york shredders elkhorn and olympic peninsula guitar wizard prana crafter at a unique venue here in portland, oregon called the projection museum.

it was a wonderful evening. i took the chance to record the performances, although in my frenzy to get it right i messed up the settings on one microphone, losing a channel in the process. i think it still turned out alright. check out sets by me and prana crafter below.

the modern folk live at the projection museum

prana crafter live at the projection museum

thanks for listening!

midwestern medicine - the winking badge

midwestern medicine is a portland, maine power trio fronted by brock ginther, who i have featured here before in his solo incarnation.

with a capable rhythm section, he is able to let his more stripped down,  frenetic tendencies shine on the three manic indie rock jams that make up 'the winking badge', spewing some caustic wit in the form of heavy freakouts, country rock pastiche and power-pop melodies. highly recommended.

get it here.

bill mackay - esker

bill mackay is a chicago guitarist who has been active for years on the experimental music scene. his new record 'esker' is due out may 5th on drag city records. the album is a deep dive into the possibilities of the guitar, an instrumental voyage through various styles, from spacey psychedelia to blues and ragtime.

most of these compositions are built from layers of guitars that weave in and out of harmony, offering various tones and textures. a few songs celebrate the lone guitar and traditional fingerpicking, such as the intricate but laid-back 'candy'. there is also an expansive range at play with the frequent use of the slide, from a delta blues sound to a more tripped out moan. bits of percussion liven up some jams, a touch that reminds me of sandy bull. all the guitar work on 'esker' is languid and deliberate, it feels effortless. highly recommended. check out the first two tracks below.

pre-order it here.

ohr / sergey kostyrko & alexander zaitsev - split

the split tape between russian ambient noise musicians ohr (side A) and sergey kostyrko and alexander zaitsev (side B) is the latest release from experimental label spina!rec out of st. petersburg, russia.

the tape consists of a couple long-form modular synth drones, full of layered textures, crackling and humming like living things, at times coalescing into subtle, glitchy rhythms. classic meditative drones.

get it here.

tapes & tubes - halloween parade b/w sun:moon:stars

delaware musician tapes & tubes (AKA austin potter) has a side business cutting DIY lathe records for various underground musicians, many of which i have featured here on MFOA, such as pulco, tremolo ghosts, the sioux trails guys, and myself.

his latest release is a lathe-cut 7" of his own, featuring a trio of his atmospheric song/story/poems that invoke a haunted and lonely vision of americana.

the thing about handmade 7" records is, you can't make a lot, so these are already sold out. you can still grab this great music digitally right here.

monte burrows - skua

monte burrows is a los angeles based sound artist. his latest release is called 'skua', out now on french tape label falt. 'skua' is a collection of sound art compositions made from looped and sampled field recordings.

what intrigues me most about this music is the way rhythm can be extracted from the sounds of everyday life. while rhythm is not the only focus on 'skua', which also revels in diverse sonic textures and subtle overtones, the looping technique gives voice to repetitions. i love the interaction between title and content on side B ('false beach'), where a lazy beat of looped noise imitates waves.

get it here.

gregory talbot - recordings on an empty stomach

gregory talbot is a ambient/noise/drone artist based in norway who has released many albums over the past couple decades under various names. his latest album, 'recordings on an empty stomach', is his first under his full name and his first since 2006. it is available now on hand-dubbed cassette from german tape label midnight circles (highly recommended label for lofi drone heads).

'recordings on an empty stomach' was composed using modular synth gear and pitch scrambled field recordings. these are patient, hazy drones that build build to heavy densities, manipulating the sounds of the actual world to create a simulacra of ambient sound. the noise of happenstance by design. accomplished drone.

get it here.

maija sofia - persephone

maija sofia is an irish singer/songwriter. her latest track is 'persephone', a re-recording of a song she wrote in her youth. it features her whispery vocal performance hovering above acoustic guitar, and touches of percussion and synth.

the use of synth bass and some samples of a sylvia plath reading give the song a modern, experimental edge. haunting.

get it here.

elkhorn - the black river

elkhorn is a new york based guitar duo that combines acoustic, american primitive, takoma school style picking with electric, pastoral psych drones and freakouts for a mind warping effect. their new record, 'the black river', is due out in mid april from seattle experimental label debacle records.

the title track, which is currently available as a preview, demonstrates elkhorn's unique guitar alchemy. it begins leaning heavily on a fahey-esque acoustic ramble, with the electric guitar floating like a haze in the background, rounding out the edges of the sound. as the song grows, the acoustic guitar locks in to a repetitive pattern allowing the electric guitar to enter into outer space. at each turn, the tones and riffs, crisp and organic on one hand, warm, electric and psyched out on the other, compliment each other. it sounds like a magic mushroom growing from a hardwood stump. highly recommended.

pre-order it here.

christopher cannon - three days before the shooting

christopher cannon is a cleveland based musician who worked in hip-hop before switching to a more folk-like style. his latest album is called 'three days before the shooting', a beautiful, sad and angry work that showcases christopher's masterful singing and ultramodern sound.

the music is minimal, the guitar and voice expected from a folk singer, but subtle effects used with the guitar give it a raw dynamic edge, matching the edge of protest in the singing. there is a cover of sam cooke's 'a change is gonna come', a test of any singer's ability, that christopher easily passes. highly recommended.

download it for free here.

candidate demo - been human

candidate demo is a harrisonburg, virginia based punk/thrash duo featuring the drum machine and vocal talents of billy brett from buck gooter. the songs are generally uptempo and stripped down, with the guitar work ranging from psychedelic swirls to punk buzzsaws to lofi approximations of hair-metal theatrics (occasional overdubbed guitar harmonies are a treat when you catch them).

the vocals are in chant/yell/sing style of hardcore, but the song structures hew towards traditional rock'n'roll in a way you can trace back to the very roots. protean rock'n'roll cooked up from minimal ingredients. i recommend this whole album but the space-out in the middle of 'been human 2' is a highlight.

get it here digital. tape is on the way.

pulco - o'r tu allen

i am always happy to post about a new pulco album. this one 'o'r tu allen', highly experimental and noisy ('born out of a desperate need to play guitar with a whisk ') and done mostly in welsh, is actually the last pulco album...not that that is any loss, because i cannot imagine the guy behind pulco, ultra-prolific DIY multimedia artist ash cooke, is going to stop making music anytime soon.

we'll just have to find his new identity and catch up with him there, meanwhile, check out 'o'r tu allen' (one of my fav pulco albums yet, i like it when he gets weird) and his massive back catalog...there will be more, even if it is not called pulco.

name your price for it here. fare thee well pulco, hello, next thing.

west texas revival group - half an hour of sitting in a chair

west texas revival group is the recording name of an otherwise unknown ohio singer/songwriter. his latest release, 'half an hour of sitting in a chair', is pretty much what it sounds like.

it's an uninterrupted 30-ish minute track composed of several different songs recorded all at once. mystical, stream of consciousness lyrics over loose, country-blues picking. i recommend giving it a spin.

check out some more stuff on the soundcloud.

francis mckeys - living inside the dome

if you follow MFOA, you might know that some of our true fellow travelers are the members of pennsylvania musical collective sioux trails records. this group of friends is dedicated to making and releasing (for free) relentlessly experimental and beautiful music under the auspices of their own personal mythology. the latest release from STR is 'living under the dome' by guitarist francis mckeys.

'living under the dome' seems to be the story of environmental collapse and slow-creeping apocalypse told with and electric guitar and an amp. i'd venture that this is classic 'guitar soli', just a version that is less noted than the acoustic finger style stuff that phrase generally makes you think of. this is taking a guitar and wrenching from it scenes of destruction, feelings of loss and despair, moments of ecstasy. musically, this is a celebration of a lone guitar, philosophically, i think it is a funeral song for the earth. i hope it is premature.

name your price for it here.

noll griffin - temperance

noll griffin is a singer/songwriter from berlin, germany. his latest album is called 'temperance'. noll specializes in quiet, melancholic folk, accompanying himself on nylon string guitar, with occasional vocal overdubs. his voice is clear and starkly beautiful, making the impact of his intimate lyrical confessions deeper.

this is minimalism at its best, because the singing and playing are so well executed in respect to the material. sad songs for cloudy days, extremely well done. recommended for a listen. best bandcamp bio award contender: 'the body at the bottom of the haunted lake says hello.'

get it here.

mr. marmalade and the heavy functions - redeys

mr. marmalade and the heavy functions are a group of psych/funk jammers from chicago. their new album is called 'redeys'.

these are loose, gauzy rock band jams with vocals here and there, but the most ear-catching element is the interplay between the wild, psychedelic guitar noodling and the melodic, jazzy drumming. there is a solid, musical, freedom to their playing. spaced out, but recommended.

get it here.

satan - little baby satan

this artist, satan, is a classic kind of contributor for MFOA. the soundcloud profile picture is just a blur. no information. a twitter account with one post ("Kill Bill"). aggressively lofi recording with uncomfortable, intimate vocal performances. singing and ranting that sounds like it is being done by a person in some form of distress. minimal, repetitive music...plunked, out of tune strings or keening synths that never change notes. gets darker as it goes along. just the kind of weird shit i am here to listen to. the email he sent just said "yo tit" and gave the soundcloud link.

check out more on the soundcloud.

sawak - s/t

sawak is an experimental rock quartet based in poland. their new self titled album is available on slovakian label resonating wood recordings. sawak combines an advanced ability to groove with a thirst for far out sounds and eclectic instrumentation, making for an exciting listen.

if i had to call it something, i'd call it punk jazz. their songs are mostly strange instrumental excursions, ornamented by noise and anchored by limber rhythms, with occasional vocals.

get it here.

seth martin - this mountain

seth martin is a singer/songwriter from oregon who is currently living in south korea. his latest album is called 'this mountain'. seth's music has deep roots in the american folk tradition, a heart full of strong political convictions, and a head in the clouds of sonic experimentation.

there is some beautiful playing on 'this mountain', and some heartbreaking balladry. 'the ballad of eric garner' particularly brought a tear to my eye, reminding me a lot of bob dylan's ballad of injustice, 'the lonesome death of hattie carroll'. there are also some imaginative takes on traditional songs that add new links to the chain. it is interesting to note that some of these songs are very cleanly produced, while some seem to have been recorded informally with just one microphone, allowing in the incidental clicks and bumps from the room. i appreciate this subtle variation. i recommend this one.

get it here.

bill foreman - the bliss chasers

san diego singer/songwriter bill foreman has been recording music in a DIY mode for 30 years. his latest album is called 'the bliss chasers'. it's a collection of wry, world weary folk rock jams that float in a nice lofi haze.

classic home-produced four track tape music with a solid rhythmic shuffle to it. available on cassette and digital.

get it here.

layla frankel - tame the fox

layla frankel is a singer/songwriter from chicago. her debut album as a solo artist is called 'tame the fox'. it's nicely produced in a contemporary folk/pop style, which allows layla's soulful voice to take center stage.

she has a classical touch for songwriting, which combined with the production, reminds me a bit of 70's songwriters in the mold of carol king and james taylor.

get it here.

brian johannesen - northern town

brian johannesen is a nashville based singer/songwriter. you can hear the nashville twang in the contemporary country ballads and rockers that make up his latest album 'northern town'.

despite the sound, there are geographical references in these songs to places all over the USA, from oregon to north carolina. roots music with roots in various locales. the production is neat, but not too slick. straight up country.

get it here.

adam balbo - a little bit ludicrous

adam balbo is a bay area singer/songwriter working in a folk/punk vein. his latest album is called 'a little bit ludicrous'. it's folksy but upbeat, with a sloppy swing to the rhythm and an angry slur to the singing. the band is a basic four piece rock band, enhanced at times with some tenor sax riffs.

the lyrics are topical but not too self-serious. i like this line in the second track, 'there's a fine line between prudence and something really dumb'... i appreciate the amount of joyful cursing that is involved.

get it here.

tough old bird - gambling days

tough old bird is an upstate new york folk/roots-rock duo made up of brothers matthew and nathan corrigan.

for their latest album 'gambling days' they added a rhythm section to their band, which livens up their harmony laden ballad-based alt-country and makes it swing and move. nathan's harmonica playing is a big presence on many of the songs, and matthew's accordion adds a wistful atmosphere to some of the slower numbers.

get it here.

bodhi mountain - songs from the mountain mist

'songs from the mountain mist' is the latest album from new york singer/songwriter bodhi mountain. the songs are simply produced in a guitar and vocals troubadour configuration.

the vibes are laid back, although some of the songs do enter into topical thematic territory. there is some nice fingerstyle playing on display throughout the album.

get it here.

ralph waldo - norman

ralph waldo is indie folk type band from boston, massachusetts. their latest album is called 'norman'. the vibes are very dreamy, with a lot of variety to instrumentation and bedroom beach boys harmonies filling in the glossy choruses.

there is a spirit of playful weirdness and eclecticism mixed in with the ability to make effortless, pretty sounds.

get it here.

chris capaldi - painted skyline

'painted skyline' is the latest release from rhode island singer/songwriter chris capaldi. the production has a contemporary alternative folk style, with some slight country vibes provided by a pedal steel guitar.

chris delivers his personal, romantic songs in an intimate, whispery style. each song is colored in with his fingerstyle guitar flourishes.

get it here.

todd fausnacht - sketchbook

todd fausnacht is a blues guitarist and singer/songwriter from philadelphia. his latest album is called 'sketchbook', a short collection of country-blues and folk jams.

the songs range from traditional styled to personal to topical, but the constant factor is the clean fingerstyle guitar playing and todd's high, expressive singing voice. there is a nice, subtle shine of reverb on top of the whole thing.

get it here.

wes john cichosz - the moon threads a needle

wes john cichosz is a singer/songwriter and saxophonist from chicago. his latest album, 'the moon threads a needle', is a blend of blues rock, jazz fusion, and personal song craft.

the musicianship is impressive, but hooks and pop structures are still given the time of day. all things in moderation.

get it here.

elisa money - the seed

elisa money is a philadelphia based singer/songwriter. her solo debut is called 'the seed'. it's an intimate collection of personal folk songs that come straight from her heart.

the tasteful contemporary folk/pop production allows the songs to shine. i especially appreciate the use of accordian as a bass element. in the past, elisa spent time singing for punk bands, and some of that edge can be heard in the melodies of her more upbeat jams. a solid debut.

check it out on soundcloud.

the city of light - through the heartland

the city of light is a texas based indie/americana band. their latest album is called 'through the heartland'.

it's a laid-back, shuffling brand of alt-country that seems perfect for the texas heat, with slow burning guitar riffs, mellow singing and chilled-out brushwork on the drums.

get it here.

zachary carroll - solofi

'solofi' is the new live EP from california singer/songwriter zachary carroll. it does have a very lofi sound, but beneath the haze are revealed four solid songs in a folk/rock singer/songwriter style. on the final jam, 'postcard', zachary employs a loop pedal to keep the rhythm going for a psychedelic, emotionally expressive guitar solo.

get it here.

todd pierce - no sign of bigfoot (day 57)

todd pierce is a singer/songwriter from australia. his latest song is called 'no sign of bigfoot (day 57)'. it's the tale of a sad man who has staked his dreams of success on finding a bigfoot and cashing in on the inevitable publicity that discovery would lead to.

musically, it's an eclectic folk jam with production touches from a tuba bass line, a melodica riff, and ukelele (or tenor guitar?). a surprisingly emotional song about bigfoot. if you follow me on twitter, you know i get it.

check out more here.

simon baum - bridges

simon baum is a london based singer/songwriter. his latest featured song is called 'bridges'. it's a beautifully restrained folk song, with subtle guitar and e-piano, that hides an eloquent social message beneath it's calm surface.

the refrain of 'one day we'll build bridges over walls, until that day, let's be bridges, cause they can't stop us all' sounds like heartfelt , human statement against the rampant xenophobia and bigotry that seems to be behind so many of today's unfortunately successful political movements. that's a sentiment i can get behind.

check out more on the soundcloud.

cynthia diamonds - the time traveler

'the time traveler' by cynthia diamonds is a collection of stream of consciousness solo piano/synth pieces. the music is atmospheric and emotional, a kind of sonic diary of what i think is a fictional life. it comes with this paragraph on the pinkbox teleport netlabel bandcamp page:

'my husband knows no boundaries, he lives in a constant cycle of repeating his own mistakes. he complains and yells and drinks himself to sleep every night. he reminds me of his past while i can only think of the future. my husband, steel loves me with all his heart, but his heart is stuck in the past. i can not leave him for i have never received this kind of broken detached paranoid love before that i have come to cherish and understand. this work is the part of me that wishes it could go back. i am a prisoner of time and i can not leave my dear sweet but alas the time traveler is unable to go back in time. i will sit here and hold my husbands
head in silence. waiting....'

so, listen to the music and make of that what you will. recommended experimentation.

get it here.

steven sherrill w/ harold taddy - cluck old bull

'cluck old bull' is the latest album by multi-discipline pennsylvania artist steven sherrill, out now on orb tapes. it borders the territory between world/folk and sound collage/noise, and tells the story of down on his luck minotaur, drawing from and mixing together legends and folktales (and musical styles) from all over the world.

'cluck old bull' is a strange and eclectic musical journey. steven is an accomplished novelist and poet, and his literary bent is evident throughout the album.

get it here on limited edition cassette.

uncle hoss - rough cut sessions

uncle hoss is the singing/songwriting name of an old friend of mine, ryan cramer, hailing from points west of harrisonburg, virginia. he has been writing country type songs for years and just recently released a full 20 of them as the 'rough cut sessions' on bandcamp.

the songs are simply produced, just guitar and voice, highlighting the rich, story driven songwriting that recalls traditional folk music and classic country. many of these songs have a deep sense of place, rooted in the shenandoah valley where ryan grew up. i would love to play along with some of these jams on a porch with too many friends joining in.

name your price for the collection here.

bare pale - be where i am

bare pale is a lofi rock group from the UK. their latest release is a four track thing called 'be where i am'. echoes of 90's indie rock from creation to merge to subpop can be heard here in the slacker drumming, buried, distant vocals, and jangly, slurred, whammy bar guitars.

the songwriting sensibility is strong, the fine line between pop melodies and the oblivion of abstract sound is walked without slipping. recommended.

get it here.

the pinkerton raid - tolerance ends, love begins

the pinkerton raid is an indie/alt-country band from durham, NC. their new album is called 'tolerance ends, love begins'. the pinkerton raid uses their big, bright sound to tackle issues both personal and political on this album.

the production is characterized by big choruses with lots of vocal harmonies and horn blasts that bring out the pop from a core folk-rock rhythm section. 'tolerance ends, love begins' is full of earnest songwriting layered with deep, thoughtful arrangements.

get it here.

slate dump - you take the trash out

slate dump is a one-man-band hailing from west virginia (now located in texas) in the tradition of jesse fuller and abner jay. this means he rigs up a variety of percussion and wind instruments to various pulleys and racks allowing him to play them simultaneously with the guitar.

he takes his performance name from the ubiquitous piles of coal mining waste that litter his home state. the recording is lofi, and the melodies are nice. recommended.

get some here.

prana crafter - mindstreamblessing

prana crafter is the performance name of olympic peninsula based guitarist and songwriter william sol. his latest album, 'mindstreamblessing' is available now on limited edition cassette from eiderdown records. 'mindstreamblessing' features six instrumental compositions with drums and organ here and there, but mostly featuring william's subtle guitar.

the trend of american primitive style in instrumental guitar records is bucked here in favor of a more a rock'n'roll sensibility, although a strong sense of chill is maintained. the delicate, gossamer fret board touch and easy melodic sense of jerry garcia can be heard in much of the playing, as can the patient execution of david gilmour. my first impression of this was 'if 'hired hands' was about buddhist cowboys from outer space, this would be the soundtrack'. if you love guitars and music you can zone out to, i cannot recommend this album enough.

grab a tape here while you still can!

c.strøm - kόρη

i am always excited when i receive an email from one of my favorite MFOA contributors, norwegian folk singer c.strøm. recently he hit me up with his latest work, a three song release called 'kόρη', which, if google is doing right by me, is greek for 'daughter'.

despite residing in the scandinavian hinterlands, c.strøm is a gifted interpreter of traditional american folk songs; but on 'kόρη' we are treated to what i believe are three original compositions. stark, stunning tunes featuring c.strøm's signature rhythmic strumming, deep voice and the heavy warble of his tape recorder. beautiful and highly recommended. c.strøm often removes his releases after a period of time, so get it while you can.

get it here.

cobra priorat - THE SCHISM

'THE SCHISM' is the latest work by ambient/drone artist cobra priorat, out now on the pinkbox teleport netlabel out of new orleans. 'THE SCHISM' is a 50 minute drone journey improvised from tow initial guitar samples into a final destination of oblivion and sonic nirvana. i feel compelled to include the bandcamp liner notes:

'whence do you come slayer of men, or where are you going, conqueror of space?
what binds me has been slain, and what turns me about has been overcome,

and my desire has been ended, and ignorance has died.

in a aeon i was released from a world, and in a type from a type, and from the fetter of oblivion which is transient.

from this time on will i attain to the rest of the time, of the season, of the aeon, in silence.'

lose yourself in the spiritual transports of this improvised drone. fall into the cleft created by 'THE SCHISM'

name your price for it here.

jesse & the revelator - jenna

'jenna', the latest album by jesse & the revelator, is a concept album that tells the story of a contemporary tragedy through the old-time american folk form of the murder ballad. the subject is the death of a young sex worker at the hands of a violent murderer, and it is told over a nine song cycle of lofi folk/rock compositions that twist in the wind of the american folk tradition.

i think it is beautiful to dedicate nine songs to telling the story of someone who lived a life of suffering that was ended too soon in a swirl of systemic violence and quickly forgotten, but it's a heavy thing to listen to...which means jesse & the revelator did a good job with it.

get it here.

daniel yafalian - naturaleza muerta

daniel yafalian is a uruguayan musician. his most recent release is called 'paraisos artificiales'. daniel creates living, breathing soundscapes with the use of analog instruments and electronic sound manipulation techniques.

'paraisos artificiales' is a perfect, natural title for the album, because it sounds like the noises of a series of imaginary landscapes or geographies, beautiful and calm, but unknown, and with menace at their edges.

get it here.

ghost guest - s/t

ghost guest is an indie rock/post-punk band from worcester, massachusetts. their newest album is self-titled and was recorded live. my favorite things here are the back-and-forth, anxious, fraught vocal arrangements between the two singers, holding it together above the angular, groove-based indie rock produced by the band.

there is a bit of an emo vibe, which is always welcome to my ears, especially when accompanied by rhythms this tight. it's impressive to know music that sounds like this was recorded live, a testament to ghost guest's work ethic and tour schedule.

get it here.

morningblind - the spring

morningblind is a collaboration between a spanish guitarist/singer and a british writer to create an album of intimate, immediate, personal folk songs. alternate tunings, fingerstyle playing, unexpected structures and emotive singing (all kind of in the joni mitchell line) help these stripped down compositions to hit you in the chest and draw your attention to the rich, image-laden lyrics.

there is always a special spark when an artist dedicated to words teams up with one dedicated to music. the history of pop is full of these pairings: elton john and bernie taupin, jerry garcia and robert hunter, brian wilson and van dyke parks, to name a few. morningblind has been able to get a bit of that kind of alchemy between words and music out of their creative relationship. the result is their album 'the spring'. i recommend it.

get it here.

the chairman dances - time without measure

'time without measure' is the latest album by philadelphia power-pop band the chairman dances. there seems to be a vague concept to this album upon which the their stately indie rock is hung on, at least in that each song on the album is named after a person, some more notable than others.

the songs are mostly short and sweet, with memorable melodies and catchy touches such as claps and tambourines on the choruses. the singer has a bit of a dead-pan lou reed thing going on (though things can get sweeter, check the chamber-pop styled 'thérèse'), and when combined with the high-pop backing vocals (sounding a bit sparks-esque at times), it works perfectly. text-book power-pop with its own flavor. recommended.

get it here.

geist & the sacred ensemble - within

geist & the sacred ensemble is a seattle pysch/folk band with gothic leanings. their latest album is called 'within'. i hear a lot of grunge influence mixed in with eastern psychedelia and damp pacific northwest backwoods gloom in these lengthy, dirgey jams.

the ensemble has their meditative moments at well, taking time out to feature mellow guitars, feedback drones, shamanistic chanting and rippling percussion for trance-like passages.

get it here.

jazznoize - obra sintética

jazznoize is one of two performing/recording names for spanish noisemaker sergio sanchez, who i have covered here before in his red kite manifestation. his latest album under this name is called 'obra sintética' (translation: synthetic work). despite that title, this piece seems to me to have a more organic feel than the last red kite release I listened to.

'obra sintética' is a long form ambient soundscape that seems to be crafted from electronic tones, manipulated field recordings and voices. it seems to me to be a play on the idea of the synthetic, asking the listener to imagine the degree of synthesis that is at play at any given point, and to muse on how much a field recording can sound like a synthesized tone, and how much a tone can be made to mimic the sounds of the world, and then to blend them until it no longer matters, if it ever did. the suggestion is, it didn't.

get it here for free from pan y rosas discos netlabel.

dadala - the executive suite

dadala is an amorphous experimental jazz collective that blends techniques of improvisation and collage to create inscrutable compositions, free from the constraints of time and space.

'the executive suite' is their second release on the pan y rosas discos netlabel, but one of many over their 13 year career as collaborators. the traditional instruments of jazz and rock are mixed with electronic tones, called forth from various time periods, super-imposed upon each other, and put through various manipulations to arrive at the sounds heard on 'the executive suite'.

get it for free here.

david quinn - low down

david quinn is a chicago based singer/songwriter, but his sound is from south of the mason dixon line. the songs on his latest release 'low down' are deeply country fried. there are true honky-tonk vibes, complete with shuffling drums and twanging telecaster riffs.

the subject matter is right in line with the sound: whiskey, good times, ramblin', bad times, etc. for the centerpiece 'let me die with my boots on', it's almost as if david quinn followed the songwriting advice david allan coe gave to steve goodman to the letter.

get it here.

the rivergods - state of the union

the rivergods are a long running alt-country band from connecticut that feature a husband and wife songwriting team. they have a mature roots rock sound, with gritty vocals and guitar riffs that are sweetened up by lilting fiddle, pedal steel, and catchy keyboards.

the action up front is held in place by a tight rhythm section. the choruses to these heartland rock style jams feature vocal harmonies from the husband/wife team at the center of the band. their latest album is called 'state of the union'.

get it here.

the james badfellows - curiosity and spite EP

the james badfellows are a virginia based garage/punk/soul band with a dark aesthetic. not unlike if the cramps were more under the influence of stax records. their latest EP is called 'curiosity and spite', and they went full self-produced on this one, putting their heads together to come up with some doomy, swinging tones.

the interplay between the two guitars is kind of like a goth 'some girls' era kieth richards/ron wood situation. the rhythm section and some organ blasts lock the rest of it in for the titular james to deliver his low, swaggering howl over. back-up vocals here and there, especially on the sweet opening track 'warden', give me some 60's girl group vibes. it's a dank stew. recommended.

name your price for it here. i believe a 7" is in the works as well.

gaston urioste - ultimos soles del verano

'ultimos soles del verano' is the latest album by argentinian composer/multi-instumentalist gaston urioste. here is how he describes the sources of the music: 'this music draws equidistantly from diverse experiences and influences: contemporary writing, songs, jazz and south american folklore'.

the album flows together beautifully, combining jazz and latin rhythms with perfect fluidity. the drumming is impeccable. the woodwinds and strings are subtly arranged. the spanish guitar dances in and out of the compositions. there are surprising moments of nashville expressed in an amazing electric guitar solo during 'vals a emilia'. the songs sound experimental and familiar at once. i am having a hard time describing this album but i am giving it my highest recommendation.

get it here.

you're jovian - they were selected and divided

'they were selected and divided' is the latest album from norfolk, virginia based shoegaze/indie band you're jovian. it's available now for pre-order from funny/not funny records (release date 4/6). the single, 'pieces', is a jangling shoegaze/pop jammer, upbeat but hazy with the slow whammy bar warping of the guitars and gauzy distant vocals that are key elements of shoegaze.

for me, YJ hits a middle ground between two sounds of the 80's/90's british underground...gothic post-punk (like the cure and joy division) blended with heavy shoegaze (like my bloody valentine and loop). check out another track from the album, 'revelations', at YJ's bandcamp page.

pre-order the tape here.

adaya - the other side

adaya is a swiss musician. her latest album is called 'the other side'. adaya's music has celtic folk roots and psychedelic ambitions. fiddles, drones, sitar and electric guitars swirl like a storm above the driving rhythms established by the drums, bass and percussive banjo.

the air of mysticism is fully established by adaya's soaring vocals. you could definitely invoke some ancient deities to this music.

get it here.

restaurnaut - and out of the darkness wolves came whispering

'and out of the darkness wolves came whispering' is the latest release from california lofi artist restaurnaut, out now on pittsburgh label unread records and tapes. on this collection, restaurnaut's experimental bedroom folk/pop seems to be becoming even more atmospheric and strange.

various unidentified instruments and noises plunk and wheeze alongside more recognizable guitars and synths as vocals weave in and out, forming a dark but whimsical introspective journey. personal psychedelic confessions are interspersed with instrumental moods and excursions. 'quicksand' is a standout track.

get it here, cassette or digital.

empty stable - s/t

empty stable is a folk/roots music project from philadelphia. they have a subtle approach that i appreciate, going after the material with understated guitar playing and vocals that alternate between tight, high-lonesome harmonies and a deeper, reverb laden drawl.

the sparse production reinforces the restrained, melancholy country vibes of these songs. four leaves me wanting more. i love the closing track, a relaxed country blues jam called 'john henry brown', but the short and sweet opener, 'whiskey & water', is what drew me in to the EP the deepest.

name your price for it here.

brad fielder - vernacular songs

brad fielder is an oklahoman singer/songwriter who works in a down home, old-timey tradition. his latest release 'vernacular songs', finds him fired up over current american politics. from its very inception, folk music like the kind brad plays has been a way for common people to express their dissatisfaction with their leaders...and to unite each other in that dissatisfaction.

with 'vernacular songs', brad welds himself in as a link in that honorable chain. i especially like 'invoke his name', a barn burning topical variation on the blind lemon jefferson song 'see that my grave is kept clean'.

get it here.

c. scott and the beltones - adam raised a clone

c. scott and the belltones is a recording project of pennsylvanian musician christopher s. bell, who is also a member of the prolific collective netlabel my idea of fun (worth looking into what they have going on).

the belltone's latest album 'adam raised a clone' is a vibrant collection of maximalist bedroom pop songs, big ideas made real with a pots and pans aesthetic. it's lofi, clangy, yelpy, noisy and good. like a landfill phil spector, and that is a big compliment. the ambitious songs shine in the clamor. recommended.

name your price for it here.

bradley palermo - deep valley blues

bradley palermo is an LA based singer/songwriter who has followed the classic creative arc from punk/emo/hardcore music to alt-country and americana. his latest song 'deep valley blues', has full on outlaw vibes, with an easy going honky-tonk rhythm section (all bradley), hard luck lyrics and a high-lonesome pedal steel guitar.

the vocals are gritty but i think i can still hear a bit of screamo/hardcore singer in bradley's voice, which works fine. this would be a good song to drink well tequila shots to as the sun goes down in a dive bar deep inside the inland empire.

get it here.

tin boat - s/t

tin boat describes themselves as a 'heavy folk' project, which is a description i have never heard before, but it works well for this band. they have a driving, rhythmic sound, laid down by a deep and eclectic percussion section, an up-front mandolin, metal/grunge type melodies, and gang-style vocals.

they seem to have absorbed global folk influences and combined that with heavy rock to put together the unexpected sounds on their two song self titled debut. check it out below:

nothing available for download at this point, but keep an eye on the soundcloud for more songs.

magichour - all rivers flow to the ocean

magichour is the stage name of UK singer/songwriter ross king. the few songs he has available on his bandcamp page are craftsmanlike, simply produced but beautiful.

clean fingerstyle guitar structures are fleshed out with melodies rendered in lush vocal layers. dreamy folk in the british tradition, with a modern indie edge. 'all rivers flow to the ocean' is his latest release.

check out a few more songs here.

pc worship - buried wish

if you check in to MFOA regularly, you might know that i have been a longtime fan of new york experimental art/punk band pc worship. i have always appreciated band leader justin frye's ability to stretch the bounds of free-form jazz-damaged jamming and noise-destruction within the confines of concise, fully realized rock'n'roll songs. with their latest LP 'buried wish', they have hewn their particular type of blade to a microscopic sharpness, producing an incredible record, my favorite of the year so far, one that sounds timeless but also nails down what it feels like to live right now. the album begins with a bank of dissonant woodwinds and voices going through a woozy melody, 'lifeless rain on an empty moon', a song that feels to me like it could be the intro to a straight jazz record, like a minute snatched out of a chill part of 'black saint and the sinner lady'. this is followed by the pounding sludge of the single 'blank touch', a rocker which includes an insane backwards guitar solo (despite the artsiness of pc worship i often hear references to the most normal of classic rock in some of the guitar solos, projected through a broken lens. pc worship can have fun/a sense of humor with rock, just check the stoner-metalish jam 'back of my $$$'). the next song, 'river running sideways', brings in my favorite mood of the album, a kind of urban-decayed, trashy neil young shuffle with low-pitched slacker vocals, and those twisted classic rock guitars. i have things to say about every song on this record, but you don't really need to hear them, you probably just need to hear the record. the music feels like now, as i said before...the droning tony conrad/VU violins in 'help' couldn't sound more fresh for these sick times, and while i have often found pc worship's lyrics to be interesting, on this record i find some to be *touching*, as in the high-anxiety anthem 'perched on the wall': 'keep teaching the only written language and keep beating the heat/keep getting shit to eat and keep avoiding defeat'...fuck, isn't that the best any of us can try to do?

my favorite section of 'buried wish' is the final two songs, 'torched' and 'tranquil pain'. apparently 'torched' was inspired by the seminal lofi/punk record 'torch of the mystics' by sun city girls, but with the virtuosic drumming of greg fox (who worked with milford graves), the psychedelic guitar journeys sound more like early sonny sharrock to me. this ecstatic, heaven-reaching clamor of guitar and drums bursts and settles into 'tranquil pain', another baked out folk/rock song with a beautiful melody and again, extremely honest words that speak to me and to now: 'i'll sit outside again and wait for it to rain/i'll make it wash away everything that caused you pain/i'm going through the trash trying to find anything you might have thrown away/ because you thought it caused you pain'. shit. the song fades out into more warped violins and washy drones until it slams back in with another explosion of shattered guitar solos and screams. then the final line: 'i'll go outside again and wait for the sun to hit/make all the prayers come true and try to swallow it'. a perfect ending thought to a perfect record. when you think of a new york art rock band maybe you think of irony and detachment, but the lyrics throughout 'buried wish' feel incredibly, refreshingly sincere. if there is any detachment here, it is not a hipster pose but a self conscious defense mechanism against what the world seems to have become. this is way long for an MFOA post, but i can't recommend this album enough.

get it here, vinyl or digital.

jordan perry - s/t

jordan perry is a virginia based musician involved in multiple projects. most recently i have featured him here in his capacity as guitarist and singer for the excellent glam/power pop band new boss. jordan is also accomplished in the realm of classical guitar, and has recently released a self-titled album of his own compositions.

jordan's songs are not as flowery as what you might think of when you think of classical guitar music; they tend towards a starker, more contemporary style, playing with the spaces between the notes, the diminishing sustain, the fluid rumble of a repetitive fingerpicking pattern on nylon strings, the interplay of dissonance and harmony in groups of notes, and perfect execution. most of the songs are short sketches that seem to flow seamlessly into one another, with the exception of the roughly seven minute excursions at the front and back of the album. this is an easy album to get lost in, each time i have listened to the LP i am surprised as if woken from a daydream when the side ends, especially at the end of the lengthy and mesmerizing final track, 'whydah flats'. i highly recommend getting a copy of this limited edition LP.

download it digital here, email goodcryrecords at gmail for the LP (small operation).

ryan clark - nothing to prove

ryan clark is an MC and DJ based in harrisonburg, virginia. he often makes beats for other artists and performs as a DJ, but the self produced 'nothing to prove' marks his debut as a rapper. the album begins with a few a capella bars referencing previous personal struggles overcome. ryan's flow is laid back but has an emotional rawness and seems to draw a lot on classic early conscious hip-hop as well as the 21st century giants like kanye west and jay-z.

production wise, the influences seem to be more completely on the old-school side, with sparse, soul-heavy crate-dug beats that are very reminiscent of a tribe called quest. to quote kanye, i'm guessing ryan clark has 'so many records in his basement'. there is a sense of humble workmanship about this EP that makes me think of that song (kanye's 'spaceship') minus the high levels of ego.

name your price for it here.

peter mitchell james - sacred harpoon

oakland, california based experimental musician peter mitchell james (AKA east oakland athletics) did not send me his music out of the blue, i asked him to send it to me, because he interacts with me on twitter and often seems to grasp what i am trying to say, something that i really value in a space where despite the fact you can put a lot out there, there is no guarantee anyone will care or understand.

peter's music takes the form of ecstatic, psychedelic guitar expressions and industrial laments that seem to reference charismatic spiritual experience and the blur of everyday drudgery as much as lysergic departures. considering that our lived experience might be able to be reduced to a series of chemical and electrical reactions, what is the difference anyway? there are some more staid and standard type songs on peter's lone release 'sacred harpoon', but there is always an intensity and swirling energy ready to burst from between the cracks, as when a heavy textured drone of distortion bursts forth during the chorus of the otherwise ethereal 'merchants opens at 7:00'. i am glad i finally got to hear peter's songs, and i recommend you listen to them too.

get it for free here.


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