Whether creating visionary psychedelia under the Six Organs of Admittance moniker, kicking up a raucous racket with Rangda or Comets On Fire, or putting out a lovely duet record with Magik Markers’ Elisa Ambroglio as 200 Years, Ben Chasny has spent close to 15 years making the rest of us look lazy. Virtually everything he’s done is of extremely high quality, but given how prolific the guy is, you’d be forgiven if you missed one or two of his various musical projects. Don’t miss out on New Bums.
An equal partnership with singer-songwriter Donovan Quinn (formerly of Skygreen Leopards and whose 2012 solo LP, Honky Tonk Medusa, is very much worth discovering), New Bums’ debut full-length is an instant psych-folk classic, filled with woozy balladry, wicked humor and skeletal melodies. The opener, “Black Bough,” conjures up memories of Nikki Sudden and Dave Kusworth’s excellent mid-80s albums, while “Sometimes You Crash” comes dangerously close to matching the most devastating moments of Big Star’s Third. Instrumentation is spare, mostly acoustic, but Chasny and Quinn fill out the sound with lonesome piano lines, shaggy vocal harmonies and elegantly wasted guitar work. Voices in a Rented Room is loose and unfussy, but there’s plenty of craft and attention to detail happening here. These Bums are beautiful. words / t wilcox