If you played bass on both Eric Dolphy’s Out To Lunch and Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks, your legacy is going to be pretty much set. But if you’re Richard Davis, who passed away earlier this month at the age of 93, those are just two high points in a career full of lofty peaks. Davis could go as far out as necessary (he teamed up with fellow upright master Reggie Workman on Pharoah Sanders’ spiritual jazz epic “The Creator Has A Master Plan”) or add a little magic as an ace session player (did you know that he’s on Born To Run and There Goes Rhymin’ Simon?). To celebrate the bassist’s life and work, here are a handful of brilliant moments to check out.
This week, we finish the band’s chronological story then pivot to take in Sunburned’s many artistic collaborators. We hear about the personal impact of the band’s non-stop touring and the eventual burnout that ground things to a halt. Moloney and Thomas then describe how this was followed by several “wilderness years” where the band was just there but they weren’t really doing anything with it.
Ente is the main project of Arthur Bittencourt, one of the most promising names of contemporary Brazilian music. “eternamente sua”, the band’s second ever single (and the first from a debut record scheduled for this year), sounds like Clube da Esquina if they had been heavily into shoegaze. Bittencourt says he was influenced by Popol Vuh and Shostakovich as well as by the landscapes of Minas Gerais.
The seemingly sole disc from a group called Country Spice emerged in 1975 via the short-lived, Milford, Iowa-based Sonic Records and a recent, low-key, digital reissue from Numero Group has newly illuminated this country-rock / psych-pop gem. The ever-reliable B-side is preciously strange – a female voice takes over for a big sky, Mac-inflected cosmopolitan pop, its rural sound upended by baroque harpsichord passages and lyrical, gothic chimera.
The oracular songs that make up Picture of Bunny Rabbit, the latest (and potentially final) posthumous release by minimalist/experimental/mystic composer Arthur Russell were recorded at about the same time as his best-known work, World of Echo. And they share that album’s fragile, evocative, just beyond your fingertips elusiveness.
On May 26, Aquarium Drunkard and Org Music present Jesus People Music Vol. 2. Culled from the BlackForrestry’s AD mixtapes of obscure ’60s and ’70s Jesus People psych, rock, folk, and country. In advance of this collection’s release, we’re presenting its liner notes, written by Jason P. Woodbury.
Known for his inviting and cinematic jazz compositions, Los Angeles-based composer Brendan Eder approached third LP Therapy with a very singular hypothetical. Anchored by a church organ, what if Richard D. James were to lead a chamber ensemble?
A ripping slice of late 60’s psychedelic Texas soul, Sole Inspiration’s “Life” is a Saturday night jam for Sunday morning sorrows. Recently dug up by Numero Group, the track bursts out the gate with a righteous organ that bellows across the holy blood cries of front man & songwriter Juan Gonzalez’s existential despair.
There’s a moment halfway through “Humility,” the opening track on Jairus Sharif’s Water and Tools, that sounds like the skies opening up. Where harsh, metallic ripples of cold electronic synths were rumbling, the renegade, proclamatory exaltation of Sharif’s saxophone suddenly takes on a warmer, less defiant tone. And the backdrop, too—bright, wooly synths and avian chirps—feels like the arrival of spring as Sharif’s horn elevates with undulating keys—the music pure, joyous, and untethered.
“No one medium is fully capable of representing that which we are trying to express.” Loscil (Scott Morgan)
For their third release, Mouth Painter mold their high-lonesome exotica into a different kind Americana altogether, something more Kosimiche than cosmic. It’s the kind of music that might be playing on the jukebox in some Venusian honky-tonk. While the languid haze of Barry Walker’s pedal steel is certainly a touchstone of Mouth Painer’s sound, it’s complemented perfectly by Jason Willmon’s rhythmic drive, and the warm, proggy breeze of Valerie Osterberg’s flute.
The latest from DIY lifer Zach Philips is a dizzying and resplendent work of lysergic cool-jazz, deconstructed art-pop, and library exotica. Billed as Exit From the Ultra-World by Perfect Angels, the record was pieced together on tape in Brussels with transmitted vocals from French singer Olia Eichenbaum, and additional contributions from psych-pop pioneer Chris Cohen, jazz saxophonist Shoko Igrashi, and a cast of like-minded multi-instrumentalists from around the globe.
Peruvian yacht-rock gold, circa 1977. The Alessi Brothers cover is a DIY bedroom relic, coasting off the sunset of a downbeat synth groove with an eerie harmony tunnel like some bizarro Beach Boys outtake.
In 2016, David Lerner of Trummors began an email correspondence with songwriter Allan Wachs. What follows is a reconstruction of a conversation they had earlier this summer, paired with selections from their long back-and-forth. Trummors’ latest, Dropout City, is available now wherever you get out-there tunes.
Conor Oberst has never shied away from the apocalyptic, but on the new Bright Eyes album Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was he sings about the end of the world like an eye witness reporter. “I think we all, to some degree, are dreaming the same dreams and we’re fighting the same internal battles in our minds and hearts.”