Guerilla Toss "GT Ultra"
GT Ultra (DFA), the new album from Guerrilla Toss, is a bouncy, artful good time. Sounding a bit like late-era Talking Heads, and even more like ‘80s King Crimson and Adrian Belew’s solo stuff at the time, there is a thrilling new wave prog slant to this that I don’t hear any other modern bands latching on to. Angular, throwback-y and from the future at the same time, with stressed out guitars and quick change math-rock hints, it’s almost like they made this trip of an album just for me! I don’t *think* they did? Oh, the album is mostly about LSD (get the album title reference?). Check out “The String Game.”
Billy Stoner "Billy Stoner"
It’s one thing to call yourself an “outlaw country” artist. It’s another thing to be Billy Stoner, as legitimate an outlaw country musician as have ever existed. He spent some time kicking around in bands in the ‘60s and’70s, before getting busted running drugs across the border. This album, an unreleased gem being brought to light by our pals at Team Love, was recorded in 1980 right before he was sent to the big house. What’s it sound like? Well, he dedicates the last song on the album to Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, and Johnny Cash among others, so… you know. Plus, if my colorful description of him didn’t conjure up a sound in your mind already, then I think no amount of describing here is gonna help-although knowing that Arlo Guthrie’s band is backing him up here could do a little bit of clarifying. Give a listen to “River Gang.”
Dustin Wong & Takako Minekawa "Are Euphoria"
Experimental guitarist Dustin Wong and sometimes j-pop vocalist, sometimes experimental vocalist Takako Minekawa have teamed up again! Are Euphoria (Thrill Jockey) finds the duo pairing up once again to beguile and disorient their listeners. Dustin’s guitar playing is as otherworldly as any other’s, and here his mixture of looping and Fripp-esque phrases, coupled with co-production from Co La, frames the mostly choral hints from Minekawa. The result is an album that demands to be paid attention to, as serious music tends to do. Yet it’s also danceable, and would elevate the culture of any party (if I go to a party and this album is playing, I am staying!). Check out stuttering beats and pitch-shifted instrumentality of “Zaaab.”
House And Land "House And Land"
The origin story of House And Land is as simple and timeless as their sound. Sarah Anne Morgan was opening for The Black Twig Pickers, for whom Sally Louise Henderson plays fiddle. During that tour, they discovered that they both had a deep love of many of the same forms of traditional music, as well as an affinity for minimal music. So they formed the duo we are talking about here today. House And Land (Thrill Jockey) is the kind of music where the notes played are just as important as the space between the notes played. No amplification, no overdubs or additional tracking, every song on the album features merely their two voices and their four hands. Appalachian, bluegrass, and Americana could all be used to describe their sounds, but with a heavy reliance on drone as well. Also, though the songs sound ancient, the record does not, as it is strikingly modern in its sound. You’ll see for yourself as you check out “False True Lover.”