Checking Back Into The Solar Motel :: Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel Band, Sunwatchers + Nick Millevoi


Chris Forsyth’s Solar Motel adventure continues with The Rarity of Experience, a double LP that brings plenty of the six-string fireworks that have become the Philadelphia-based guitarist’s signature over the past few years. There’s the opening 1-2 punch of “Anthem,” the rave-up to end all rave-ups “High Castle Rock,” and the cover of Richard Thompson’s classic “Calvary Cross,” which sees Forsyth stepping into some very big shoes and filling them ably. But befitting its expanded length, The Rarity of Experience also features several welcome curveballs: Forsyth steps up to the mic for a vocal on the aforementioned Thompson cover and on the very Verlaine-y two-part title track; he imagines what it would be like if Jerry Garcia circa 1977 joined forces with Tortoise circa 1994 for a groovy “Harmonious Dance;” and most excitingly, on a remake of his own “The First Ten Minutes of Cocksucker Blues,” he lets the frozen, tense funk of the original boil over into a righteous Bitches Brew (complete with Miles-y trumpet and fiery sax) that bubbles well past ten minutes. Awesome.

Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel Band :: The First Ten Minutes of Cocksucker Blues

This kind of spiritual psych-jazz fusion is further explored on  Sunwatchers’ self-titled debut album, featuring Solar Motel Band bassist Peter Kerlin, alongside guitarist/electric phin-ster  Jim McHugh, drummer Jason Robira (both of NYMPH) and alto saxophonist Jeff Tobias. It’s thrilling stuff — kinda like Sun City Girls at their free-jazziest, if you can dig it, all blown out modalities, thumping rhythms and whiplash wah guitar. A fair amount of raw beauty, as well. Sunwatchers might be slotted into the “experimental” rock niche, but this is still pretty accessible music overall, with the band locking in and blasting off. More like ecstatic rock.

Sunwatchers :: Herd of Creeps

Finally, one of the latest additions to Forsyth’s Solar Motel fold, ace guitarist Nick Millevoi has an excellent new album, the dusky  Desertion, coming your way in May. Millevoi’s diverse resume also includes work with John Zorn, so you know the guy has serious chops — but he doesn’t let technical virtuosity overwhelm the proceedings. The opener, “Desertion and the Arsonist’s Match,” offers up a Crazy Horse-meets-Morricone vibe, while the gorgeous “Just For a Moment I Stood There in Silence” features Millevoi playing off of a dramatic string arrangement. The immersive soundtrack to an imaginary spaghetti western, Desertion is well worth getting lost in. words / t wilcox

Nick Millevoi :: Just For a Moment I Stood There in Silence

5 thoughts on “Checking Back Into The Solar Motel :: Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel Band, Sunwatchers + Nick Millevoi

  1. “First Ten Minutes…” was interesting listening. My girl said “is that you? Did you record yourself noodling while you were drunk?” And I was like “duh, that’s not noodling, it’s riffing. And you know I’m not that vain, baby.” She had to agree.

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