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.


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