Posts Tagged ‘Kristen Hersh’

A0659032060 16

London based trio The Wave Pictures – Jonny Helm (drums), Dave Tattersall (guitar & vocals) and Franic Rozycki (bass) – return with their brand new album ‘Bamboo Diner In The Rain’ on Moshi Moshi Records.

Following on from last year’s Billy Childish collaboration ‘Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon’ and their recent acoustic record ‘A Season In Hull’, ‘Bamboo Diner In The Rain’ sees The Wave Pictures battling against the robot music apocalypse.

The new album is a bluesy, boozy love letter to the guitar, filled with American Primitive instrumentals, John Lee Hooker chugs and Link Wray style minor-key surf music. As songwriter and guitarist Dave Tattersall explains, “This album is set in the Bamboo Diner of my dreams, with rain beating on the windows and a jukebox stocked with blues. This is the most personal album I’ve made so far. In fact, that’s the whole idea of the band, to become more and more authentically ourselves on record. To grow inwards. Like everything on this dark and strange little album. It’s not robot music.”

106801

Martha Wainwright releases a wonderful new studio album, ‘Goodnight City’, on [PIAS]. It’s the follow up to her acclaimed 2012 release ‘Come Home To Mama’.

‘Goodnight City’ features 12 brand new songs produced by Thomas Bartlett (Surfjan Stevens, Glen Hansard) and longtime producer Brad Albetta. It recalls the emotional rawness of her debut album, much of it encapsulated by the captivating lead track ‘Around The Bend’ and her extraordinary voice.

“Making ‘Goodnight City’ was the most fun I’ve had in a long time,” Martha admits. “Thomas (keys), Brad (electric / bass), Phil Melanson (drums) and I would sit in a circle and work out arrangements for these vividly different songs. Recording them live with very few overdubs the focus remains on the integrity of the song and our ability to play together as a band.”

Martha wrote half the songs on the album while the other half were written by friends and relatives: Beth Orton, Glen Hansard, Rufus, Wainwright, Michael Ondaatje and Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs.

“Because these writers know me and because I was able to personalise these songs by changing things here and there, I made them feel as if I wrote them myself,” Martha explains. “Somehow they wonderfully reflect my life and I am so thankful to the other artists for writing them.”

‘Goodnight City’ was recorded in Montreal. Last year Martha and Lucy Wainwright Roche released ‘Songs In The Dark’ as the Wainwright Sisters.

The Early Years 1965-1972

As massive and hefty as a cinder block, Pink Floyd‘s The Early Years 1965-1972 is no conventional box set. It is an archive in miniature, offering 28 discs — 11 CDs with the remaining discs being DVDs and Blu-Rays that offer duplicates of the same audio/visual material — alongside replicas of original poster art, fliers, press releases, 7″ singles and ticket stubs, all here to offer a deep, multi-tiered portrait of the years when Pink Floyd were fumbling around trying to find their voice. This isn’t precisely uncovered territory — during the eight years covered on this box set, Floyd released eight studio albums, and their early singles have been compiled on several collections, including 1971’s Relics — but what’s available on this box is almost entirely rare, with much of it being unheard and unbootleged. This isn’t limited to the audio tracks, either. The DVDs and Blu-Rays offer a cornucopia of stunning films, ranging from promo clips and BBC performances to interviews between Syd Barrett and Dick Clark, full live sets, documentaries, a version of “Interstellar Overdrive” with Frank Zappa from 1969, a ballet from 1972, rejected animations, and the entirety of More and Obscured by Clouds, two feature films Pink Floyd scored.

Sleigh Bells, Derek Miller and Alexis Krauss, have announced their first new album in three years. Entitled Jessica Rabbit, the album was produced by the band and mixed by Andrew Dawson (Kanye West, Tyler, the Creator); and for the first time ever they brought someone outside of the band into the creative process, working with Mike Elizondo (Dr. Dre, Fiona Apple) to shape five of the band’s favourite tracks on the album.

The result is an album that does not sound like anything Sleigh Bells has ever done – or anyone has ever done, for that matter. It is the sonic equivalent of firing synapses, with melodies zigzagging in different directions in a beautiful and ever-modulating controlled chaos. It is playful but darkly so; flirtatious but caustic; ebullient but downright sinister. It is a record that is wholly unique in sound and purpose, an unabashed and unafraid statement from a band that has made offending rote conceptions of pop music their signature and greatest strength.

Released as a companion to Robbie Robertson‘s 2016 memoir of the same name, Testimony is the singer/songwriter’s own take on his musical history — an 18-track compilation that samples from every era of his career, from his time supporting Ronnie Hawkins to his stabs at moody trip-hop. While the book ends when the Band disbands, Testimony finds space for selections from his solo career — five songs total, with 1991’s Storyville earning the largest play and the electronica aspects of 1998’s Contract from the Underworld of Red Boy and 2011’s How to Become Clairvoyant diminished. Still, the Band naturally figures heavily into the equation here, but Robertson avoids his biggest hits along with some of his best-known songs. Instead, he culls heavily from the Band‘s Live at the Academy of Music 1971 performance — it’s better known as the 1972 LP Rock of Ages — and the 2005 Band box A Musical History, which is where all the early cuts from Levon Helm & the Hawks and the Robertson-sung “Twilight (Song Sketch)” were first released. If Testimony is light on rarities, what matters is context. By piecing together all these elements of his career — including his time backing Hawkins(“Come Love”) and Bob Dylan (“Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” from Before the Flood) — he paints a fairly rich portrait of his musical achievements, so Testimony does indeed wind up being a musical memoir.

Wolf People – This London-birthed four-piece have long been hailed as a band with the alchemical charge to transform psychedelic, folk and riff-rock spirits into something both timeless and vibrant, avoiding the lure of retro pastiche. ‘Ruins’ however is unquestionably their greatest achievement to date, reinventing the earthy roar of ampstacks and a quintessentially English pastoral sensibility, and finding transformational ways to draw the cosmic dots between 1971 and 2016. The theme of this album may be a world in which nature has overcome the end of humanity, but the post-apocalyptic landscape has never sounded peachier.

Arriving on the heels of her 2015 road memoir Don’t Suck, Don’t Die: Giving Up Vic Chesnutt, which focused on Kristin Hersh’s long friendship with the late singer/songwriter, Wyatt at the Coyote Palace delivers another audio-visual experience via a 24-track LP and an accompanying hardback book stocked with lyrics, notes, essays, and photographs. Published through her own co-founded nonprofit organization CASH Music, the double album is a purely Hersh-oriented affair, with the alt-rock hero handling all of the parts. Having that kind of freedom can be a creative death knell for some artists, but Hersh has always operated in another realm, both sonically and lyrically, and she takes to the open-ended format with gusto. Opener “Bright” starts off on familiar ground, with Hersh fingerpicking one of her signature spectral melodies. However, things begin to shift gears quickly, with wild swaths of dissonance rolling in like downed wires. Hersh’s voice remains electric, if not a bit rawer than usual, and her knack for pairing big, circular pop hooks with dreamlike lyrics and rhythmic left turns remains intact. When all of those pistons start to pump, as is the case on standout cuts “Hemingway’s Tell,” “Diving Bell,” and “Between Piety and Desire,” the results can be hair-raising, but at just over 80 minutes of material, there’s a lot to digest here. It’s easy to stand on the sidelines and say that a more streamlined, ten- to 12-track version of the album would suffice, but one of the many things that’s helped to make Hersh such a singular talent over the years is her unwillingness to compromise, and on that front, the punishing and beautiful Wyatt at the Coyote Palace doesn’t disappoint.

In the book that serves as a companion piece and reciprocal guide to her mazy, incandescent new collection of songs, the singer-songwriter, author and punk mystic Kristin Hersh shares the harrowing story of an accident that took place on a mountain road between two club shows. Her tour bus caught on fire; she had to pull one of her children from the flames. Deeply shaken, she told her bandmates and family that she’d cancel the rest of the tour. But no one would leave her. Soon help came pouring into the shabby woodside motel where they were stranded; fans sent letters, money, rescue remedies. They fixed the bus. Recalling that that incident of near-doom and recovery, Hersh quotes something her teenage son Wyatt likes to say: “When the unthinkable happens, we die: we cross a threshold and start a new life.”

Hersh has spent a lifetime crossing brinks like that one. She started her first band, Throwing Muses, at 14; injuries sustained in a bicycle accident two years later turned her into an oracle, possessed by sounds she heard in her head, which she turned into some of the most ravishing and revelatory music of the indie-rock era. Later, Hersh found ways to channel her noise revelations into rock hooky enough to get her on MTV and intimate folk-influenced songs connecting her story to myths and the poetic tradition. Wyatt At The Coyote Palace reflects upon some of her life’s most perception-altering junctures: youthful near-overdoses and other bad trips, floods and fires, rough air on an international flight, a knife fight with a drunk at age 12. Grief at the dissolution of a decades-long marriage surfaces in the pauses between anecdotes. So does wisdom she’s gained from parenting her four sons, including Wyatt, who is on the autism spectrum; the album’s title describes time he spent at an abandoned building near the Rhode Island studio where Hersh often records, which had been overtaken by those wild canines.

In both her lyrics and her prose, Hersh recalls her misadventures conversationally, with elegance and droll humor. She’s made it through them, the way anyone who faces trouble must. “We don’t like the s***, ‘cuz we belong in it,” she declares in the caterwauling waltz “Between Piety and Desire,” a song that’s about the New Orleans neighborhood where she lives half-time, but also about accepting life’s disarray. Her songs don’t just describe the way things unravel, both internally and circumstantially. They embody the unpredictable motion from grace to disaster and back that may happen in an instant, in the flick of a neural synapse — or that may creep up almost imperceptibly.

Hersh took four years to make Wyatt At The Coyote Palace, crowdfunding the project and recording all the instrumental tracks herself, assisted by engineer Steve Rizzo, when she had the chance. The sound is grounded in her skittering voice and acoustic 12-string guitar, but widens like a gyre to reveal electric guitar and bass, horns, cello and various ambient recordings she collected while on tour. Songs like “Wonderland” and “Hemingway’s Tell” have the propulsive drive of Throwing Muses and Hersh’s other rock band, 50FOOTWAVE. Others, like the desolate “Guadalupe,” turn as unexpectedly as an interrupted thought spiral. “Shaky Blue Can” contemplates dissolution within a stately waltz, while “Secret Codes” shows Hersh at her starkest and most evocative, singing words of both comfort and confrontation to a slipping soul who might be her ex-husband, herself or any of us.

The music on Wyatt At The Coyote Palace doesn’t always feel finished, but that’s not a fault: It’s a testament to Hersh’s willingness to share her creative and emotional life with her listeners. Her songs have always been both confessional and formally challenging; they expose her, but also evade us, throwing down clues and scurrying into dark thickets before revealing anything more. This mature work shows Hersh to be more in control of the process that results in her singular and ever-reconstituting body of work. “Work is a moment,” she writes in the book’s conclusion. “Its forever is in the sharing.” Wyatt At The Coyote Palace generously shares Hersh’s unfolding moments in ways that linger in the mind — new chances pulled from ashy circumstance.