Friday, December 28, 2018

Dim The Lights

Hang on, 'cause here's the cream of the cosmic crop of 2018, a fine fine year in music. Tough call then so, but now the die is shaken, now the die must fall... Collect 'em all why don't you. Fingerpointing cover art by the one and only Tinca.

1. Garcia Peoples - Cosmic Cash
2. Minami Deutsch - With Dim Light
3. Howlin Rain - The Alligator Bride
4. Kikagaku Moyo - Masana Temples
5. Yo La Tengo - There's A Riot Going On
6. Mythic Sunship - Another Shape Of Psychedelic Music
7. Wooden Shjips - V
8. The Other Years - The Other Years
9. Calexico - The Thread That Keeps Us
10. Mark Lanegan & Duke Garwood - With Animals

Garcia Peoples - Hangin' On

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Blood & Wealth

The famous FTSOTS end of year list will be with you shortly, but let's get the old stuff out of the way first. Here are the reissues and compilations of the year, in all their raging glory. Out of a ton of goodies, and with exclusive fine art by Tinca, I picked the following.

1. John Coltrane - Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album
2. Bob Dylan - More Blood, More Tracks: The Bootleg Series Vol. 14
3. Neil Young - Roxy: Tonight's The Night Live
4. Thelonious Monk - Mønk (Live In Copenhagen '63)
5. Van Morrison - Live In Boston '72
6. Grateful Dead - Pacific Northwest '73-'74: Believe It If You Need It
7. v/a - Basement Beehive: The Girl Group Underground
8. The Louvin Brothers - Love And Wealth: The Lost Recordings
9. Songs: Ohia - Love & Work: The Lioness Sessions
10. v/a - Black Man's Pride 2: Righteous Are The Sons And Daughters Of Jah

John Coltrane - Untitled Original 11386 (Take 1)

Monday, December 24, 2018

Oh Yes

Groovin' with Scott, the guy who used to play with MC Taylor in the Court & Spark and Hiss Golden Messenger, and currently runs a studio in rural California. This one's from his second solo album, out as we speak. Good vibes and a whole lot of soul.

Scott Hirsch - No No

Friday, December 21, 2018

Keep From Crying

Discovered this little nugget thanks to the always interesting end of year parade over at the esteemed Aquarium DrunkardNo One Seems To Notice That It’s Raining covers the small but delicate oeuvre of obscure singer/songwriter Jay Bolotin. Sounding like a cross between Kristofferson and Cohen, Bolotin never quite hit the big time and gave up music in the mid-seventies to become a successful sculptor and woodcutter.

Jay Bolotin - It's Hard To Go Down Easy

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Destination Bassari

The always deep-digging explorers from the Analog Africa label went to Togo and this is what they found. Raw African funk from the early seventies with a wild garage organ as the cream on the cake.

Orchestre Abass - Shamarin Banza

Monday, December 17, 2018

Dreadful Curse

Another epitaph for Jason Molina, still missed dearly. Although you probably own and love Songs: Ohia's mighty Lioness album already, the bonus material on this reissue is really too good to pass up, as the piercing rendition of an old gospel standard below shows with verve. Sing on...

Songs: Ohia - Wonderous Love

Friday, December 14, 2018

Here Comes Johnny

High time for another musical six pack, my amigos da musica, so here we go. Artwork as usual by the mighty Tinca. Johnny come listen... To be continued soon, as there's a lot of Johnnys about...

George Russell and his Smalltet - Round Johnny Rondo
Charlie Feathers - Johnny Come Listen
Terry Callier - Johnny Be Gay If You Can Be
Connie Converse - Johnny's Brother
Ry Cooder - Johnny Porter
Wendy - Bye Bye Johnny

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Pack On My Shoulder

Wooden Wand's James Toth and pals rock out in a jam band stylee. Everything's Better may be retro bordering on pastiche, but a good time was clearly had by all. A big fun record for everyone pining for the Cosmic American good old days of Feat, Crazy Horse and the Dead.

One Eleven Heavy - Valley Bottom Fever

Monday, December 10, 2018

Set The Controls

A pleasant surprise from Copenhagen of all places, where the aptly named Mythic Sunship takes off into psychedelic deep space with an exciting mix of avant-garde jazz and heavy spacerock. Like Albert Ayler jamming with Amon Düül II, or even Sun Ra frolicking with the Sabs, Another Shape Of Psychedelic Music makes for the unexpected trip of the year.

Mythic Sunship - Way Ahead

Friday, December 7, 2018

Look Up To The Sky

Just got the sad news that Pete Shelley has passed away. The Buzzcocks frontman, who more or less singlehandedly invented punkpop, was 63. Miss him.

Buzzcocks - Nostalgia

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Sure Thing

The second subtitle of this steaming Soul Jazz Records sampler says it all really: Afro-Centric Jazz, Street Funk and the Roots of Rap in the Black Power Era 1969-75. Which basically means it's an essential listen of course. The obvious Gil Scott-Heron, Don Cherry, and the Art Ensemble of Chicago all make appearances, with some lesser-known greats adding the cherries to the cake. Take Tribe for instance, an out-there seventies collaboration between Wendell Harrison and Philip Ranelin.

Tribe - Benificent

Monday, December 3, 2018

Don't Say You Lose

And here's the second gem from the Dinosaur Sr. archives this year, following hot on the heels of the triumphant Roxy - Tonight's The Night Live set. Previously known in collector's circles as the Joel Bernstein TapesSongs For Judy is filled to the brim with solo acoustic live tracks from '76. You'll be familiar with all of the 23 songs here I guess, except maybe the bitter No One Seems To Know, which never appeared on an official album so far. So here goes just in case...

Neil Young - No One Seems To Know

Friday, November 30, 2018

Moyo Rising

Going to see the mighty Kikagaku Moyo tonight at Sala Upload here in town. Can't wait to hear what these young psychedelic longhairs from Tokyo will come up with. Would be extremely nice though if they played this fine ditty...

Kikagaku Moyo - Green Sugar

Wednesday, November 28, 2018


Thought you might enjoy a trio of fiery black jazz beauties today, so without further ado...

Joe Henderson - Black Narcissus
Bobby Hutcherson - Black Circle
Eddie Harris - Bold And Black

Monday, November 26, 2018

To The Center

Levon's daughter Amy's new album opens with a composition especially written for her by Hiss Golden Messenger's MC Taylor. Works a treat: this is rich and soulful Americana at its finest. And speaking of Hiss: I didn't buy their Devotion boxset of old albums as I owned 'em already, but had to shell out for the outtakes disc Virgo Fool of course. Some delightful tunes there for the completists among us, like this sweet ode to Karen Dalton. "Long hair, sitting in the sun, you were so young, so full of devastation..."

Amy Helm - This Too Shall Light
Hiss Golden Messenger - Karen's Blues

Friday, November 23, 2018

One Night

And the excellent Studio One reggae compilations on the Soul Jazz label, they just keep on coming. The most recent one is filled to the brim with that smooth and soulful sub-genre called lovers rock. The big names are there of course - Sugar Minott, Horace Andy, the Heptones - but the more obscure acts really make things interesting. Cue the Minstrels, who just can't control their emotions...

The Minstrels - Yours Until Tomorrow

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Keep Me Here

So far I pretty much liked everything Meg Baird came up with a lot, be it her work with neo-folkies Espers, her acoustic solo output, or her role as the singing drummer in Heron Oblivion. Not so sure  about her new collaboration with harpist Mary Lattimore yet though. Too ethereal perhaps? Too vague? Here's hoping it's a grower.

Meg Baird & Mary Lattimore - Painter Of Tygers

Monday, November 19, 2018

Tryin' To Be So Quiet

From the aptly but rather unimaginatively titled Live 1962-1966 - Rare Performances From The Copyright Collections, here's a delicate Visions, recorded live in Belfast back in '66. If this doesn't keep you up past the dawn I don't know what will.

Bob Dylan - Visions Of Johanna (Live Belfast '66)

Friday, November 16, 2018

Little Bit Of Promise

With Joe Ely and Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock was part of the wonderful but commercially disastrous Flatlanders triumvirate in the early seventies. After they broke up all desillusioned, it apparently took the buddhist of the band a couple of years to recover before he finally got around to record his first solo album. The aptly named West Texas Waltzes And Dust-Blown Tractor Tunes, released in 1978, was well worth the wait though. "So I left home to ramble..."

Butch Hancock - I Grew To Be A Stranger

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Good News Indeed

South Africa calling.  It's 1973 and Abdullah 'Dollar Brand' Ibrahim and Johnny Dyani are freshening up a Xhosa traditional. All in fine style of course.

Dollar Brand Duo - Ntsikana's Bell

Monday, November 12, 2018

Can't You Never See

Always was a sucker for ye olde Child Ballads, so this Smithsonian Folkways collection hit the spot just perfectly. To lift but a corner of the veil, here's the mighty E.C. Ball taking on Child Ballad 274. "I've traveled this wide world over, ten thousand miles or more, eyes and nose on a cabbage head I never saw before..."

The Blue Ridge Buddies with E.C. And Orna Ball - Three Nights Drunk

Friday, November 9, 2018

Grey With Years

His recent marriage and the resulting domestic bliss are probably the reason our Will isn't as prolific nowadays as he used to be. And even his new Songs Of Love And Horror isn't really new in a way, as it finds him mainly looking back acoustically on his own oeuvre. It's always nice to hear the bonnie lad though, especially on this lovely a capella cover of an old Richard & Linda Thompson tune. For further reading: here's an interesting recent profile in Rolling Stone magazine.

Will Oldham - Strange Affair

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Rambling Quest

Fiddle, banjo, acoustic guitar and heavenly harmonies: welcome to the world of Anna Krippenstapel and Heather Summers, playing together as The Other Years. Their lovely self-titled first album reminds me of a rootsier version of First Aid Kit, and is one of the debuts of the year for sure. And although their own material is very strong, this inspired cover of a Michael Hurley song, an old favourite of mine, caught my fancy especially. File under folk with a capital F.

The Other Years - Wildegeeses

Monday, November 5, 2018

Recorded Facts

Another Bootleg Series collection, another copious treasure trove. The versions that ended up on Blood On The Tracks may remain the cream of the crop, but it's fascinating to follow how Dylan got there, to be able to track his creative process up close, false starts and all, for what would turn out to be one of his tour de force albums. I haven't even begun to properly digest it all of course, but this delicate, unfinished first stab at Idiot Wind, with just guitar and bass, caught my fancy immediately.

Bob Dylan - Idiot Wind (Take 1)

Friday, November 2, 2018

Silent Shouts

"Reading tea leaves and scanning stars..." Esteemed prophet David Tibet's been busy again, and this choice cut from the new Current 93 album The Light Is Leaving Us All sure sounds nice and spooky all over again. Chirp chirp...

Current 93 - Bright Dead Star

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Matter Of Fact

And we're off to Canada, visiting Colter Wall to enjoy a wistful ditty from his new Songs Of The Plains album. At only 23, he sounds as old as the hills somehow.

Colter Wall - The Trains Are Gone

Monday, October 29, 2018

Up To My Brain

Waiting for the starman? It's 1972, and Ziggy and his Spiders From Mars play homage to the Velvets on auntie Beeb. Pay special attention to the mad guitar work by Mick Ronson on White Light. Down to his toes indeed.

David Bowie - Waiting For The Man
David Bowie - White Light, White Heat

Friday, October 26, 2018

Hear You Howling

Just got the sad news that Tony Joe White no longer walks among us. The man they called the Swamp Fox, writer of immortal songs like Polk Salad Annie and Rainy Night In Georgia, was 75. Miss him.

Tony Joe White - Black Panther Swamps

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

He's King

Yet more Shabaka Hutchings, the sax player and bandleader currently making waves by travelling the London spaceways. With a firm feet in the now, his Sons Of Kemet dig deep into cosmic territory. Your Queen Is A Reptile was released on the legendary Impulse imprint, trademark of quality since Trane, Mingus, and Pharoah strutted their stuff there. Good company.

Sons Of Kemet - My Queen Is Angela Davis

Monday, October 22, 2018

Reason Why

Another pair of interesting voices from the States. First up is erstwhile Black Swans foreman Jerry David DeCicca, who just released a strong second solo album called Burning Daylight. Honest and uplifting heartland rock from Texas with Lou Reed-like vocals, well worth your time. Next comes Israel Nash, who wants us to file his new record under 'hippie spiritual', and why wouldn't we? It's less Americana and more strings and stuff this time around, which takes some getting used to. Lifted is definitely worth a spin though.

Jerry David DeCicca - Cutting Down The Country
Israel Nash - Lucky Ones

Friday, October 19, 2018

Who Do You Love?

Spotlights on two emerging voices from the ole US of A. On Trouble Anyway, Rosali Middleman from Philly proves herself a soulful singer with a slighty retro touch. Sounds good! Jess Williamson, who hails from Texas but recently upped and left for the city of angels, gives us a remarkably mature collection of poignant love songs with the aptly titled Cosmic Wink. Sounds even better!

Rosali - If I Was Your Heart
Jess Williamson - Thunder Song

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Moyo Working

The Moyo boys temporarily left their native Tokyo for Lisbon to record with Portugese jazz musician Bruno Pernadas in the production chair. A wise decision I guess, as the resulting Masana Temples is another mighty, dreamy trip they can be proud of. The odd heavy rock riff notwithstanding, everything meanders pleasantly along here in a right kosmische, and indeed sometimes even slightly jazzy stylee. Makes me look forward even more to their upcoming Euro tour, which includes a date in my fair city.

Kikagaku Moyo - Dripping Sun

Monday, October 15, 2018

Only One Way

Love and wealth? You got it. Never would have thought there was anything left in the vaults by my fave country brother team, so a hearty hallelujah sure is in order here. Ira and Charlie ride again with a double disc set of songwriting demos recorded in the early to mid-fifties and all is well with the world.

The Louvin Brothers - You'll Meet Him In The Clouds

Friday, October 12, 2018

Shot Again

I never was that much enamoured of Belly to be honest, but this Tanya Donelly beauty often pops up into my head all of a sudden. Like it did this fair morning. Just can't leave that dog alone I guess.

Belly - Slow Dog

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Take Me In

"Coming home 'cross Kentucky hills to see you again..." A welcome reisssue of a minor 1970 classic for all you country and/or folk rock enthusiasts out there. The sunsoaked and mellow sounds of guitarist John Parker Compton and violinist Robin Batteau make a fine fine soundtrack for an old fashioned Indian summer.

Compton & Batteau - Homesick Kid

Monday, October 8, 2018

I Am Free

Yet another irie present from the Soul Jazz label: Studio One Freedom Sounds: Studio One In The 1960s comes chock-a-block with reggae and ska from the vaults of Clement ‘Sir Coxsone’ Dodd's mighty Studio One label. Get ready indeed, my brethren, you won't regret it. Exhibit A: a fine fine tune by the somewhat forgotten Jackie Opel, who feels free like the birds in the trees.

Jackie Opel - I Am What I Am

Friday, October 5, 2018

I Swear

Sparse, atmospheric, and slighty sinister: British multi-instrumentalist Duke Garwood knows exactly what suits the mighty voice of Mr. Lanegan, probably because he's also a member of the former Screaming Trees singer's touring band. With Animals is an inspired collection of bleak, autumnal songs I just can't get enough of at the moment.

Mark Lanegan & Duke Garwood - My Shadow Life

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Very Gøød Indeed

Lovingly restored from tapes found in a London dumpster: a 1963 Monk gig in Copenhagen’s Old Fellow Palæet. With more than a little help from trusted sidekicks Charlie Rouse (sax), John Ore (bass) and Frankie Dunlop (drums), this is pure Monk genius at work.

Thelonious Monk - I'm Getting Sentimental Over You

Monday, October 1, 2018

Weeping And Crying

Mourning in the morning... Just got the sad news that Otis Rush has left us. The legendary blues guitarist, key architect of Chicago's West Side Sound, was 84. Miss him.

Otis Rush - Groaning The Blues
Otis Rush - Tore Up

Friday, September 28, 2018

Crazy And Mixed Up

Time to rejoice, as the tireless enthusiasts running the Numero Group emporium deliver the goods again. Basement Beehive, a delicious two-disc compilation of obscure girl groups from the swinging sixties, overflows with danceable minidramas to make you laugh or cry.

Paulette & The Cupids - Teenage Dropout

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Colors Have Faded

Ronnie Lane gets wistful. Which is always a good thing.

Pete Townshend & Ronnie Lane - Annie

Friday, September 21, 2018

From The Deep

Tunng's latest dream letter has arrived, a vital sign of life from an always intriguing bunch of musicians. With founding member Sam Genders finally lured back into the fold, their patented folktronica blend sounds fresh, funky and full of surprises once again. "I know you have a gift for me..."

Tungg - Crow

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Mind Games

Lounge music for deadheads? The strictly instrumental jazzrock of Neil Casal and pals may be impeccably constructed and played, but them cheesy synths really are pushing it. A tad too slick for me alas, my amigos da musica.

Circles Around The Sun - On My Mind

Monday, September 17, 2018

Bells Of Heaven

Hey now, not enough dough or stamina to get lost in that massive new Pacific Northwest ’73-’74 Grateful Dead box set? Solace is found in the form of a handy three disc sampler of highlights called Believe It If You Need It. All aboard? Let's hit the north with Jerry & co.

Grateful Dead - China Doll (live Seattle '74)

Friday, September 14, 2018

In My Circulation

Just got the sad news that Johnny Strike has passed away. The singer of obscure but great San Francisco punk pioneers Crime, real name Gary John Bassett, was 70. The fierce slab of noise called Hot Wire My Heart, Crime's first single from '76, is a bona fide punk classic. Miss him.

Crime - Hot Wire My Heart
Crime - Piss On Your Dog

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Rivers Of My Memory

Staying with miss Gentry a while longer, as her duet with Glen Campbell on John Hartford's stone immortal country classic is very tasty indeed.

Bobbie Gentry & Glen Campbell - Gentle On My Mind

Monday, September 10, 2018

Going Mad

Before the immortal Ode To Billie Joe and a highly succesful showbiz career, Bobbie Gentry sang a couple of duets on a session for Jody Reynolds, he of Endless Sleep fame. When Ode became an unexpected smash, Requiem For Love, a creditable track in Nancy & Lee mode, was reissued, opportunistically with Gentry's name now first on the label. Must have pissed Reynolds off for sure.

Jody Reynolds & Bobbie Gentry - Requiem For Love
Jody Reynolds & Bobbie Gentry - Stranger In The Mirror

Friday, September 7, 2018

Space Place

Back with a beauty. Shabaka Hutchings follows the spaceways of Sun Ra and co here, and it's a pleasure to tag along. Got this from a fine fine sampler called We Out Here, filled to the brim with equally adventurous contemporary London jazz cats. Much recommended, my amigos da musica.

Shabaka Hutchings - Black Skin, Black Masks

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

For A Spell

"Spin it again, ride it out so you can tell..." Finally off on my holidays today, my amigos da musica. Normal business will be resumed after a week or two of sun, sea, and piracy. ¡Hasta luego!

Calexico - Writer's Minor Holiday

Monday, August 20, 2018

What I Am

Punk rock in raw power mode never goes out of style, especially in Australia. The Saints, Radio Birdman and countless others paved the way down under, and here come new kids Civic from Geelong, whose New Vietnam mini album really rips. Search & destroy folks.

Civic - New Vietnam