It has been extraordinary to witness the tremendous output of independent artists in support of causes they are passionate about amid the Trump administration. Particularly inspiring are the very small artists and projects that have been able to leverage their art to create a real impact, such as participating in Bandcamp's ACLU Fundraiser Day. Glassine is the recording project of Baltimore-based artist Danny Greenwald, and he created the piece "Day 1" as a sonic journal of his experience at the Women's March, D.C., weaving in field recordings with some light looping and embellishments. The result is a humble, direct, and evocative translation of his experience. All proceeds benefit Greenwald's local Planned Parenthood and he has raised over $700 so far.
Reflecting on his inspiration and process to AdHoc, Greenwald said: "The march was the most inspiring happening that I have ever been a part of. I went alone and felt totally surrounded by love in a time of absolute disaster. I am generally always recording when I am out living my life—so that is what I did. Protest music, chants, hymns, children, adults, Spanish, Arabic—there was so much aural stimulation... and there was this rhythm, like a tremolo. I am trying to describe an almost ambient cadence—like how when you hear crickets chirping but you don't hear the individual chirps unless you listen really hard. Or a really windy drum roll. Cricket chirps and snare hits are generally singular and sudden, but if you get enough of them together at the right speed it creates this angelic noise that you could sleep to because it is so peaceful. On the train home I decided that I wanted to create a piece of sonic journalism out of the whole thing that reflected that idea while also recognizing that the march was a response to our country spiraling into peril. And I decided that if I was going to share it with the world then I should try to do my local Planned Parenthood in Baltimore some good."
Listen to the single, which features artwork by San Francisco graphic journalist Wendy MacNaughton that was drawn on-site, below, and donate via Glassine's Bandcamp.
Chicago-based harmonium and synthesizer maestro Jaime Fennelly, a.k.a. Mind Over Mirrors, enlisted an ensemble of musicians including Janet Beveridge Bean (Eleventh Dream Day), Jim Becker (Califone), Haley Fohr (Circuit des Yeux), and Jon Mueller (Death Blues) for Undying Color, likely his mostassured statement—among many qualified others—yet. Undying Color is out February 17 via Paradise of Bachelors. To mark the release, Fennelly made AdHoc a mix of music he's been spinning lately entitled Punch Drunk & Euphoric Sustains Vol. 2; read what he had to say about the collection below and check out the tracklist after the jump.
From whirling dervish ceremony opener “Taksim," by Turkish Ney-master Hayri Tümer, to Willie Dunn’s vision inducing “Peruvian Dream,” from Midori Takdada’s patient organ-like shakuhachi to the recently reissued multi-voiced Casio jam by Yishak Banjaw, and everything between and beyond, this is a collection of music that has been on regular rotation over the last few months, maybe even years. Each of these records has served me personally as a temporary balm from the day-to-day onslaught of America’s new “presidential” face, which more resembles a half-PT Barnum, half-Mussolini (I must credit writer Mike Davis for that accurate comparison) megalomaniac. Let’s take a moment or two when we need it for ourselves, and then move back to being engaged and supporting our fellow humans, non-humans and environment any which way we can.
Belgian composer Dominique Lawalrée is responsible for some of last century’s most criminally overlooked minimalist pieces, and some of the most candidly beautiful, too. If you don’t trust me, ask Gavin Bryars: he has deemed them “a quiet, understated music that is both touching and elegant.” The highlights from four of Lawalrée’s albums, originally released on the composer’s own Editions Walrus label between 1978-1982, have been compiled by Catch Wave/Ergot Records and will soon be released as First Meeting. The upcoming record’s centerpiece, “La Maison Des 5 Elements,” is a synth-addled study of piano counterpoint and found sounds that starts not unlike a children’s lullaby, yet gradually develops into a deep-seated, immersive meditation, somewhat comparable in tone to David Bowie’s “Warszawa.” It is a supple, streamlined piece, almost bashful but marked with exceptional emotional directness.
First Meeting is out February 24 on Catch Wave Ltd. and Ergot Records. You can pre-order the compilation here.
When George Xylouris, a Cretan lute player descended from Greek music royalty, and his long time friend Jim White, an Australian drummer famous for his work with Dirty Three and PJ Harvey, first began collaborating, they likened themselves to goats. Their music, Xylouris argues, is “like goats walking in the mountain.” They may not have a concept of where they are as they navigate rocky territory treacherous to ordinary bipeds, but they are remarkably confidant walking up sheer cliff walls. The goat lent its name to Xylouris White’s first record, which they released in 2014. But the peak of the mountain, Black Peak, is the focus of their sophomore release. WNYC has recently shared a great live recording of a track from that record, “Forging.” Seeing the the duo perform together somehow clarifies what is otherwise a hard-to-pin down sound. Between the particular sound of Xylouris’ lauoto, White’s thunderous, melodic drumming and the prog-folk vocal melody, you get a sense of their uncanny, unspoken musical communication—the same powerful glue that ties together these similarly droning, psychedelic live jams of brother duo Tonstartssbandht.
Chief Strategist of the Trump administration Stephen Bannon recently urged the New York Times to quote his declaration that the "media" is an "opposition party." Both he and President Trump have repeatedly characterized non-Breitbart or Trump-sanctioned outlets as sources of deceit and "fake news," and Bannon has even gone so far as to instruct the media to "keep its mouth shut" and listen to Donald Trump's "big voice." We at AdHoc recognize these announcements as grotesque attempts to erode the free press, a stronghold of American democracy.
Naturally, we decided to make a hat. We've reclaimed and stylishly embroidered "Opposition Party" on a small run of black strapbacks, which we're making available via preorder until February 20th. Stand in solidarity with the free press—or, if it tickles your fancy, with the idea of partying as a form of opposition in itself— by sporting a kickass cap. For every order, we'll go ahead and donate $5 to the ACLU. In the spirit of unity, "Opposition Party" hats come in one size only.
"Endless Night," the newest single from Philadelphia-based psych outfit Shadow Band's upcoming record, Wilderness of Love, seems to blossom out of the fertile annals of a folk era long since buried. Almost immediately, moist harmonies, laced by tambourine and guitar jangles, emanate from the song's verdant core. But Shadow Band doesn't sound like staid or stodgy 60's formalists: "Endless Night" feels mossily organic, finally finished germanating. The fuzzily chromatic video testifies to a certain newness that the band maintains despite its revivalism, as vivid flowers inject, like the band themselves, a floral vigor into an old sound. On "Endless Night," Shadow band brush off the cobwebs of an antiquated style but retain, elegantly, their gossamer shimmer.
On “Utopia,” Boston-based duo Pucker Up play as if they were a wind-up toy, which is to say they let loose to deliver a kinetic and nervous performance. The rawness and repetition align with that of no wave-leaning contemporaries like Palberta, Palm, and DOG, yet Pucker Up’s rhythms and overblown tones resemble something more robotic. In this sense, James Patrick Meyer's (of Red Sea and Hellier Ulysses) video is a perfect accompaniment for “Utopia” the song: it pictures a bizarre deconstruction of the human body set in an uncanny valley of digital trickery and manipulated forms. When the track’s groove temporarily breaks down, so does the humanoid figure on screen, multiplying into an unsettling army of distorted bodies. The video thus creates an alternate reality of sorts—what this song would look like if it were blasted to the outer reaches of the internet. Pucker Up’s achievement is grounding the listener in our own world through the sheer physicality of their composition. Truly refreshing and galvanizing.
You can listen to the Utopia EP, out now on Designer Medium, here.
Dominic Angelella has worn many costumes: co-songwriter in Philadelphia rock outfit Lithuania, session musician for rap juggernaut Kendrick Lamar, and even producer for iconoclast Lil B. On Goodnight, Doggies., his debut album under his own name, Dominic looks to have finally settled down in plain clothes. From the lilting bass and drum pulses of "Basilisk" to the classically charming balladry of "Birthday Song," Dominic effortlessly situates himself in a singer-songwriter tradition of spare instrumentation, pop sensibility, and smiling earnestness. That isn't to say that Goodnight, Doggies. rings insubstantial or flits by forgettably—Dominic wrestles with loneliness on closer "Anxiety Coma" and goads "venture capitalists in a safety net" on fuzzy highlight "Emotional Business" ("do you despise yourself? he taunts). But he always spit-shines the record's underlying turbulences and traumas with a defiant smile. Despite the brevity of Goodbye, Doggies., Dominic sounds unhurried, at ease. He appears to fit comfortably in this newest, most genuine outift. And it looks great on him, too.
The past three years have seen a prolific and uncannily conscious pop output from Zach Phillips and Christina Schneider—longtime overseers of beloved and recently-shuttered OSR Tapes—as CE Schneider Topical. Recently, they've brought in Derek Baron of Causings and Mega Bog on drums and Quentin Moore of Big French on guitar for a new fuller-band incarnation, Jepeto Solutions. While the arrangements on Jepeto’s self-titled “semi-debut” 7" are as supple and the lyrics as alarmingly clever as in the duo’s last full-length, Antifree, these new songs push an even bigger, clearer sound (with some help from Tom Csatari's slide, wah, and whammy). After Schneider’s opening call to action for women—“You can write the books!”—Jepeto shuttles us into a wobbling, wah-infused side-eye at the “anti-truth exercise” being imposed on us all. Then it’s into the manic pound of “Buzzard On The Cover,” where lunatic voices weave between the squeal and crush of guitars and electronics to deliver reminders like, “You wouldn’t tell your mother how to eat flesh." Even with the tempo wound down for a sweetly sung "Silver Bells" (which first appeared on Schneider’s solo debut), we're gifted all too real and sobering intimations of a Christmas hellscape. This record in particular seems to be a response to the storm of bad news we’ve seen in the past few months, and it's fighting fire with fire effectively.
You can stream Jepeto Solutions in full below. The 7" is out today on Nicey Music, a new LA-based not-for-profit label "believing in the power of music to create actual joy and positive change."
Noveller is the moniker for LA-based guitar wizard and score composer Sarah Lipstate. Fresh off a tour supporting Iggy Pop, Lipstate is prepping for the release of her new album, A Pink Sunset For No One. “Deep Shelter” is the first single and opening track from the record. The piece is based around a looping two-bar chord sequence. For all the ambient trappings of Lipstate’s processed, layered guitar work, her music is highly melodic and has a linear, teleological structure. Synth-soaked guitar motifs are introduced and developed, soaring to astral heights.The song’s swelling, movie-magic warmth recalls the strange, otherwordly optimism of Neu!. In the last minute, a piano enters the mix, pushing the song towards a minor key and a waltzing cadence, evoking the sensation of falling gently, like a feather, back to earth.
Listen to "Deep Shelter" below. A Pink Sunset for No One is due out February 10 via Fire Records. Noveller will be performing at St. Vitus on March 11 with Egyptrixx and Eartheater.