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.

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.

noll griffin - temperance

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.


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