Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Rough Times


Alright alright, we're finally ready: presenting FTSOTS's best trappmusik of annus horribilis 2020. Fifteen highlights no amigo da musica should be without. From elder statesmen to postpunk heroes, from spiritual jazzcats to Americana masters, with masked freaks making a surprise appearance... Be prepared: we're travellin' from Texas to Stockholm to Taiwan and all the way back again, and boarding starts now. Voluminous artwork (what, no eleven?) by that mysterious shawoman called Tinca. A musical wish for 2021: the return of live music. Pretty please?

  • Ak'chamel, The Giver Of Illness - The Totemist
  • Bob Dylan - Rough And Rowdy Ways
  • Bob Mould - Blue Hearts
  • Bonny Light Horseman - s/t
  • Coriky - s/t
  • Gillian Welch & David Rawlings - All The Good Times
  • Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids - Shaman!
  • Jason Isbell - Reunions
  • Jerry David DeCicca - The Unlikely Optimist
  • Jerry Joseph - The Beautiful Madness
  • Kungens Män - Trappmusik
  • Mong Tong - Mystery
  • Rose City Band - Summerlong
  • The Third Mind - s/t
  • Wire - Mind Hive
Bob Dylan - Key West (Philosopher Pirate)
Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids - Eternity
Kungens Män - Senvägen

Monday, December 28, 2020

It's Love

Not long now until the FTSOTS end-of-year list will see the light of day, but first things first, amigos... Which means it's time for the flamenco album of 2020. Easy, just has to be the impeccable Amor by fiery singer Israel Fernández, pride of Toledo. Fine voice, never too smooth. His sidekick on guitar: Diego Del Morao, trusted virtuoso from Jerez flamenco city. ¡Agua, rapido!

Israel Fernández & Diego Del Morao - El Anhelo (bulerías)

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Just Cool It


The famous FTSOTS end of year list will be upon us shortly, but let's take a look at the reissues and archival albums first. In that respect, it was a very good year. With maximum artwork by our artist in residence Tinca, here are the ten strumming and thrumming trips of 2020. Superdeluxe with first place ribbons all of them, so roll your burdens away & turn it up some.

  • Gillian Welch - Boots No. 2: The Lost Songs Vols 1-3
  • Neil Young - Homegrown
  • Brother Theotis Taylor - s/t
  • v/a - The Last Shall Be First: The JCR Records Story, Volume One
  • v/a - Spiritual Jazz Vol. 11: SteepleChase
  • v/a - Thrum & Strum: The American Jangle Underground 1983-1987
  • Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers - Just Coolin'
  • Prince - Sign O' The Times Superdeluxe
  • v/a - When Jah Shall Come
  • Pylon - Pylon Box
Gillian Welch - First Place Ribbon
Brother Theotis Taylor - Burden Away

Friday, December 25, 2020

Years Of Pain


Seasonal schmaltz? Nice try, but alas, even the esteemed señores Burns & Convertino can't really escape the sugarcoated trappings of the X-mas album. Ho ho ho hum. The track below sure is a moving one though.

Calexico - Heart Of Downtown

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Sun Trappers


Make way for psychedelic weirdos with masks. Not that much is known about Ak'chamel, the Giver of Illness (a.k.a. the Ecstatic Brotherhood of Nux Vomica), and I guess these Texans would like to keep it that way. Muffled chants, zithers, Tibetan flutes and found sounds color The Totemist fantastic. Strange things are a-happening all over the place. If a tribal Sun City Girls on peyote sounds like a cult you'd gladly join, give these far-out freaks a chance.

Ak'chamel, The Giver Of Illness - The Funeral Of A Woman Whose Soul Is Trapped In The Sun

Monday, December 21, 2020

Doesn't Really Matter


Here's a Waylon-tastic taste from Dave Alvin's recent From An Old Guitar: Rare And Unreleased Recordings. "It's a measure of people who don't understand, the pleasures of life in a rock & roll band..." Indeed.

Dave Alvin - Amanda

Earlier this year, Alvin was clearly pining for the days when the Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service and the Allmans ruled the roost. With his Third Mind project he didn't mind going retro all the way with five covers from the psychedelic sixties and one original. Below, he takes on Bonnie Dobson's immortal post-apocalyptic lament Morning Dew, featuring Jesse Sykes on vocals. For some cool anecdotes from the master Blaster himself, disappear here.

The Third Mind - Morning Dew

Saturday, December 19, 2020

No Cheatin'


We're in the Motor City, the year is 1956 and the elusive One String Sam plays My Babe on a one-string 'diddley bow', with an empty baby food jar for a slide. Words fail me.

One String Sam - My Baby Oooh

Friday, December 18, 2020

Grab It


Feeling giddy yet? Let the Bingo's amaze you. For here are the lo-fi survivors from Amsterdam once more, with their umpteenth release since starting out in the year of 1995 with More Soul on the legendary Shrimper label. Older and wiser they may be, but their understated and warm pop gems sound just as good today as they did way back when. I mean, try not singing along with the charming earworm below... The vinyl edition (Europe here, US here) is quite limited, so don't sleep on it, you magpies you.

Bingo Trappers - Amazer Amazer

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Secret Chord


Traveling back in time to seventies Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and its exciting form of afrorock called chimurenga. Eternal contenders in the coolest-bandname-ever title race, Rhodesia's hypnotic Hallelujah Chicken Run Band were the real deal alright. In gloriously remastered quality, their Take One was recently re-released by - who else? - the esteemed Analog Africa label.

Hallelujah Chicken Run Band - Tamba Zimba Navashe

Monday, December 14, 2020

Keep Me Straight


Smells like an indie supertrio? Muzz features guys from Interpol, Bonnie Light Horseman (yup, the great Josh Kaufman) and The Walkmen. And these three manage to sound promising indeed, in a dreamy, modern take on the seventies kinda way. Check 'em out if you haven't done so already.

Muzz - Patchouli

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Don't Go Yet


Neil's Tonight's The Night-era backing band the Santa Monica Flyers, fronted by Joni Mitchell? It's only one out of many treasures on Neil's second Archives box... And talking abour archival releases, sweet Joni's own Early Years Archives set ain't too shabby either. If you were wondering what to put on your X-mas list, both are no-brainers of course.

Joni Mitchell & The Santa Monica Flyers - Raised On Robbery
Joni Mitchell - Little Green (live '67)

Friday, December 11, 2020

Stars Are Stars


Number one in Niger. If you dig that hypnotic Tuareg sound of Tinariwen, Bombino or the Filles De Illighadad, lend these guys your ear, too.

Etran De L'Aïr - Agrim Agadez

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Would You?


Don't know about you, but I hardly follow HipHop anymore. Used to groove to the innovative sounds of Public Enemy, Gang Starr or Nas back in the days, but slowly but surely lost interest for some reason or other. Always kept following the path of New Yorker Kaseem Ryan, better knows as Ka, though. If you intend to check out at least one rap record this year, make it his new Descendants Of Cain. Clever raps, innovative beats, great flow.

Ka - Patron Saints

Monday, December 7, 2020

Side By Side


Say hi to a couple of fresh female folk voices from the US and Canaduh. We fondly recall Sally Anne Morgan from the lovely duo House and Land, and the droney psychfolk on her striking solo debut Thread is not to be missed either. Get it on Bandcamp right here. Meanwhile, Jennifer Castle plays all the instruments herself on what's already her third record, just released on the always outstanding Paradise of Bachelors imprint. File the beguiling Monarch Season somewhere between Joni and Sandy and take it from there.

Sally Anne Morgan - Wintersong
Jennifer Castle - NYC

Saturday, December 5, 2020

To The Levee


A decidedly more acoustic take of Friend Of The Devil? I'm game of course. Classic song. Hey now, that landmark album called American Beauty is 50 years old, and you can find this demo and more on the fascinating new companion American Beauty - The Angel's Share.

Grateful Dead - Friend Of The Devil (demo)

Friday, December 4, 2020

Sometimes We May


New ensemble Silver Scrolls caught my eye because Polvo founder Dave Brylawski's involved, and I always had a weak spot for these so-called math rock pioneers from Chapell Hill. And although their sonic palette is quite different, the Scrolls don't disappoint. Their meandering compositions never really reach a catharsis somehow, but hey, that's cool. It's probably why the album's called Music For Walks. Try it on if you're allowed outdoors.

Silver Scrolls - Walk One (II - Q Scrolls)

Like some vintage Polvo, too? Thought so.

Polvo - Can I Ride
Polvo - Batradar

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Destination Underworld


In these Covid times, my fave electro-freakfolkers fittingly take a trip down Hades way. Which means a dive into the dark stuff alright, but there's no reason to be afraid that things may get a little too morbid here. Tunng whistles past the graveyard, remaining faithful to its trademark sound. What's more: Dead Club is even wickedly funny at times. Just check out the catchy track below to hear what I mean.

Tunng - Death Is The New Sex