MICK HARVEY & CHRISTOPHER RICHARD BARKER "The Fall And Rise Of Edgar Bourchier And The Traumatic Horror (Mute)"
As far as concept albums go, The Fall And Rise Of Edgar Bourchier (Mute) from Mick Harvey & Christopher Richard Barker puts the artistic layers of House Of Leaves to shame (yes, I know I’m mixing my metaphors – books and albums – but bare with me). The story goes that Christopher Richard Barker has been writing poems as a fictional WWI poet named Edgar Bourchier. Also, this fictitious poet also has a backstory (killed by a tank at 24, his front line poems printed posthumously). He then asked Mick if he’d like to team up with him to record songs based on these poems. I can only assume Mick said yes, because here we are! The genres are all over the place, the only constant the concept of the WWI poetry. From era-appropriate folk songs to “Poor Poor Surgeon Tim,” a song that would sound right at home on The Who’s Tommy (assuming Tommy was about WWI). Check out the first single from the record, the guitar line trading “Lost Bastard Son Of War.”
Planningtorock "Powerhouse (DFA)"
Planningtorock – aka Jam Rostron – has never shied away from making statements with their dance-oriented music and Powerhouse (DFA) is no different. Wait, that sounds weird. I mean, of course it’s different from their other albums, I was just talking statements… oh, never mind. Because it actually is very different from their previous work. Sure, everything is catchy, bubbly, ear worm-y, autotuned, perfectly produced, and just quirky enough but also just club-y enough. But rather than painting the world with broad strokes, here they are specifically writing songs about their “experiences as a non-binary genderqueer artist.” Check out the coy bounce of “Much to Touch.”
SAVAK "Beg Your Pardon (EJRC)"
Woah! Did you guys know that Mr. Spock’s super-conservative, overbearing Vulcan father Sarek is now releasing music? *puts on glasses* Wait… OH! Savak! Never mind. These dudes just keep getting better than better. This is their third LP in three years, and judging from their trajectory in another 3 years they are going to be releasing Pleased To Meet Me. The angular rock! The power-pop! The humor! The classic rock references! The sax solos! The swimmy guitars! The melodic choruses! Beg Your Pardon (Ernest Jenning) has it all. So check out the jammy-sax chug of “Nature Erased.”
Eiko Ishibashi "The Dreams My Bones Dream (Drag City)"
Eiko Ishibashi’s new LP The Dreams My Bones Dream (Drag City) is a wonderfully ramshackled, travelogue of an album. Written in the time after the passing of her father, she decided to dig into her family history and this is the lovely result. It’s a little bit like Stereolab is covering Miles Davis and Radiohead at the same time, with a little bit of her mixer’s Jim O’Rourke influence thrown in. Some train sound effects here, some detuned tuner there. The occasional soundscape-esque instrumental… Really, until you listen to this one you’re gonna have a hard time picturing it with your mind’s eye…er… mind’s ears. So check out the bouncy Stereolab syncopation of “Iron Veil.”