Golden Retriever "Rotations (Thrill Jockey)"
If you are familiar with the sounds of Golden Retriever (the band, not the dog, that sound can be described easily as “bark”), then you know that in the past the duo has worked primarily as a combo of synths and bass clarinet (usually amplified and run through effects). On Rotations (Thrill Jockey) however, the duo has enlisted an entire chamber ensemble to round out their sound. Working with money earned in a grant from Portland’s Regional Arts & Culture Council, they were asked to write some new works for the purposes of performance. And write new pieces they did, as this sounds like Brian Eno and John Adams (the composer, not the president) realized they booked a recording space for the same time by accident, and rather than duking it out like those two madmen normally would, they made some beautiful music together. Check out the evocative sounds of “Sunsight.”
Katie Von Schleicher "Shitty Hits (Ba Da Bing)"
When Katie Von Schleicher was interning at Ba Da Bing Records, our bud Ben offered her the chance to release a cassette on the label (because he is a swell guy). Some demos perhaps? A live recording? Well, Katie decided to go all the way with it, and recorded the self-produced, fully-realized Bleaksploitation which garnered her all kinds of interest in her music. After the surprise success of that release, here we find her releasing her proper full-length debut, the hazy, sunny T-Rex meets Paul McCartney at his most pop-loving sounds of Shitty Hits. Pop it in the tape deck, roll all the windows down, and drive as fast as the law allows on your favorite highway while you blast the sounds of “Paranoia.”
Waxahatchee "Out In The Storm (Merge)"
Look. It doesn’t get much better than a new Waxahatchee record. It also doesn’t get better than this line from Merge’s press: “Out in the Storm is the blazing result of a women reawakened. Her most autobiographical and honest album to date…” Also, there are few things in this world that makes us as happy as the words “At Agnello’s suggestion.” That’s right. This time around, Katie Crutchfield not only brought along her sis Allsion as well as the rest of the band to record in Philadelphia, but producer/engineer/podcaster extraordinaire John Agnello who convinced the band to record live, giving the whole record a vast richness, and leaving it more guitar oriented than her previous albums. Check out the would-have-been-right-at-home- on-college-radio-in-the-‘90s vibes of “Silver.”
Jackie Shane "Cruel Cruel World (Numero)"
Jackie Shane was a musician way ahead of the times. In the 1960s, while the cities he was performing his music generally had laws against selling alcohol on the weekend, and even laws about dancing, here came Jackie. A gay black man wearing makeup and sequined dresses and jewelry that was so electric a performer that he tended to make the uptight white communities of the early ‘60s forget any boundaries of race or gender. With only a handful of recordings to his name before he left the music scene after his R&B/Soul sound fell out of fashion (thanks a lot hippies…), each one shows a promise of greatness, with a voice somewhere between Sam Cooke and Little Richard. Thankfully Numero is here to rectify this great music, almost that time forgot. Check out the pain of “Cruel Cruel World.”