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When a cover works. In this case, Mudie’s All-Stars Jamaican rendering of Idris Muhammad’s “Loran’s Dance.” I’m scribbling this on a train back to Tokyo after three nights haunting an array of Kyoto hi-fi kissas — mostly jazz, but not all. It was one of the latter, Rub A Dub, that turned me on to the below recording.

A tiny subterranean dub and reggae bar, dimly illuminated by a haze of smoke and candy-colored Christmas lights, the bar’s owner/selector doled out an offering of 45s from a canvas bag while pouring an array of rum and tequilas behind the bar. Enjoy, it’s almost my next stop…

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Nestled at the end of a recent installment of Deerhunter’s weekly, and highly recommended, “Sunday Night Radio Hour” Spotify mix, was Bola Sete’s “Falling Stars.” Previously unknown to us, the expectations were for a pleasant strum of acoustic guitar. We love Sete’s guitar playing here, whether it be the jazzy bossa nova sway that he mastered with a classical touch, or the immaculate, serene sounds of openness and atmosphere found on his John Fahey-produced masterpiece, Ocean.

“Falling Stars” brought neither. Rather, it was an abrupt plunge into deeply resounding and cascading piano chords. Bola Sete played piano? On record at least, perhaps just this once. Search “bola sete piano” and the first two results are him accompanying pianist Vince Guaraldi on guitar. Nevertheless, the initial shock of the song transformed into a more profound and lasting revelation: the eccentric mastery of his playing. Dark, Hitchcockian ramblings run across the keys, a moody gothic tone running at a manic modal pace. One doesn’t need to suspend their disbelief that much to imagine Sete, having never played before, sitting down at the piano, and channeling pure expression through an unknown virtuosity. The mystery is far too beautiful to unravel. words/c depasquale

Bola Sete :: Falling Stars

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Michael Rault’s new album, New Day Tonight, lends itself to repeated listens. It’s not just that the Canadian musician continues to build on his distinctively retro-but-not-old sound, but the complexity and layering accomplished on the LP reveals something new with each listen. We caught up with Rault from his home in Montreal and got the lowdown on working hand-in-hand with Daptone and Wick Records, the long-but-fruitful gap between releases, and the fortuitous walk he took with producer Wayne Gordon to a Brooklyn music shop that ended up giving the record one of its signature sounds.

Aquarium Drunkard: Not to start too on-the-nose, but at times the record seems preoccupied with the dichotomy of night and day, and sleep in particular. Both in the title, some of the song titles, and the lyrics – and it’s even coming out on Sleepless Records in Canada… so to be frank, how do you sleep at night?

Michael Rault: Nothing particularly unusual happens to me when I sleep, I used to sleepwalk sometimes, I guess that’s unusual, but I don’t do that much anymore. I’ve always had this subconscious approach to writing music and writing songs – not to sound pretentious or like I’ve got any special method that I use, cause I don’t really. I tend to try to play things and come up with ideas and see what sticks without thinking about it too much. And then listening to what I sing, when I’m not really thinking about it, I start to see patterns and themes. Then I start to think more consciously and make sense of it without, maybe, making too much sense of it. I don’t want to kill it by organizing it too much.

I wrote “Sleep With Me” without really thinking about it at all. And it came together in a more cohesive way than most songs do. I think I sang the first verse and chorus and maybe second verse in pretty quick order. I didn’t think I was gonna make an album themed around sleeping, but the idea kept popping up in songs I was writing. As I started getting closer to finishing the album, I was coming up with a list of songs to concentrate on – I realized that sleep was a theme. I wrote a couple of more, consciously, about sleeping and dreaming to fill out the album. “Dream Song” was consciously written about it.

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Forcing someone to read a lengthy explication of the music found in the second installment of the Gospel Jubilee would only delay the experience of hearing — feeling — these heavenly, heavenly sounds. Over an hour of unbelievable falsettos, palpable bass lines, smoking–even Hazel-esque–guitars, fervid singing voices, chunky synthesizers, perfect drums, and much more. All handpicked from a recurring program of the same name which airs Sundays at 12pm CST on Acme Radio. Let this goodness shine upon you.

Gospel Jubilee Vol. 2

Tracklist after the jump.

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Cool Maritime is the work of Sean Hellfritsch. A modular synth composer, he is the spouse of fellow modern electronic pioneer Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, and shares her sense of ambient adventure in crafting exploratory soundscapes that reach beyond the tangible and into unseen worlds. His latest outing, Sharing Waves, due out June 1 via Leaving Records, is brought to life with shimmering ripples of aqua tones and a misty rainforest timbre. But the record expands beyond elemental atmospheric textures, embracing moments of analog arcade jubilance and casting beautiful passages of Vangelis-informed drone and beacons of glacial futurism.

The album’s first offering. “Climbing Up,” is a percussive ceremonial, bouncing across its economical terrain with minimalistic rhythms, a mossy high altitude breathiness, and the romantic transience of a lush, noir saxophone, all rushing together into a brilliant crescendo.

Cool Maritime :: Climbing Up

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Sam Gendel’s alto sax explorations are striking exercises in restraint. His new record, Pass If Music, also released on Leaving Records, finds him using silence as an accompanist. An instrument of mysterious intentions, it slips through a woozy, late night cocktail of warped, resonant hushes, industrial drives, and, on tracks like “East LA Haze Dream,” bleary glances of a sunset mirage; all pinks and oranges like watercolors pooling into one. As the record submerges further into deep space undulations and warping echo chambers, we find Gendel expanding the horizon of the horn into a greater latitude, bringing together the collective power of sound, space, and silence. words / c depasquale

Sam Gendel :: East LA Haze Dream

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“The fictional concept of death rears its head in so many of my songs, always on the periphery, or as a side note, or a reminder, a punchline or the bottom line, always sniffing around like a death dog. For once I wanted to try to put it in my center vision. In order to talk about death, I armed myself with the only antidote I know: writing. Is this a record about death or a record about writing? Hard to tell in the end. I began to think of poetry as time travel. I tried to write messages to the future.” – Jennifer Castle

Jennifer Castle’s path has always been a patient one. Whether covering Bob Dylan or channeling the energy of Laurel Canyon on her album Pink City, an elliptical air defines her work. But she’s never been more potent than on her new album, Angels of Death, a work that may well stand the test of time as a masterpiece.

Following a series of familial losses, Castle stares down mortality. It’s no small feat addressing the end, but what other choice does one have? The notion of grief – the shapeless act of processing and learning to live with loss – is tremendously and overwhelmingly intangible. Because as final as a loss may feel, the question always remains: Is anyone, or anything, ever completely gone? And though mourning brings moments of overwhelming despair, at other times, it opens our eyes to the present in a way they were previously closed to. And then there are the times when all these opposing ideas seem to act in concert. The middleworld, we hear Castle call it. That’s where Angels of Death lives.

Jennifer Castle :: Crying Shame

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On their debut LP Cosmic Cash, New Jersey’s Garcia Peoples funnel the energy of their live shows into a cohesive full-length statement. Originally a quartet featuring Tom Malach and Danny Arakaki on guitars, Cesar Arakaki on drums, and Derek Spaldo on bass, they recently added Pat Gubler (PG Six, Wet Tuna) on keys to fully flesh out the group as a deep groove machine, capable of turning on a dime. Built on dueling twin leads, barrelhouse keys, and bubbly rhythms, their songs recall the melodic glory of NRBQ and Little Feat, approximating AM golden radio at it finest. These songs beg to be blasted with the windows rolled down while you cruise backroads trying to avoid the fuzz and have a good time. On your own terms, man.

We asked the band to tell us a bit about their first single “Show Your Troubles Out” out now in advance of the band’s full album release this summer on Beyond Beyond is Beyond Records.

“The original thought about this song was for it to be super heavy while maintaining a solid groove, à la Steppenwolf — née ‘American Rock n’ Roll’. Since we don’t have the amazing rasp and gusto in our voice like John Kay …[this is] more or so what came out, that dictated the mood of the melody and vocals. Kind of like, how the Band says in an interview that they ‘sang what they could.’ So you can say this song is Canadian-American at its core.