Apologies that blogs were a bit thin on the ground last week: as I maybe mentioned, I got pretty caught up in collating your Great Lost Albums into a Top 50 to run in the issue out at the end of June. A surfeit of great stuff there, and I’ll post some of your suggestions that didn’t make the 50 here in a couple of weeks or so.
I thought today it might be useful to have a bit of a round-up of stuff that’s been sitting on my desk for a while. Beginning with the new album from Joachim Dyrdahl, aka Diskjokke, whose “Staying In” went down very well a couple of years back (the prediction that I’d end up playing it a lot more than Hercules & Love Affair and Kelley Polar turned out to be true, too).
“En Fid Tid” is more of the same, ostensibly: bright and zinging, borderline Kosmische disco with very clear affinities to the whole Lindström/Prins Thomas axis. Not entirely sure it’s quite as good as “Staying In”, but this is all good value, and the Balearic epiphanies of “Rosenrød” worked especially well this morning, walking through Clerkenwell. In a similar vein, a sparkling comp from Lo Recordings called “Milky Disco 3 (To The Stars)” is worth getting hold of; particularly nice use of Oneohtrix Point Never as closing comedown.
“Beyond Berkeley Guitar”, meanwhile, is the latest survey of guitar soli from the ever-rewarding Tompkins Square label. This one, as the name implies, is a sequel to the “Berkeley Guitar” comp of a few years back, rounding up the current batch of Bay Area American primitives. This one’s a consistently strong and lovely set of concentrated virtuosity, the seven players recorded with a crispness and clarity that eschews rowdiness in favour of a meditative spiritual purity.
Hard to pick out a highlight from the Fahey/Basho-worshipping artists featured, though maybe Sean Smith – who also curated and produced “Beyond Berkeley Guitar” – just shades it. Special mention, too, though, to Lucas Boilon and to Ava Mendoza, the latter standing out with an electric, jazzy skip with overtones of Django Reinhardt.
Finally, I believe the Carlton Melton album I mentioned a while back, “Pass It On”, is now properly available on CD. They also, however, have a new split vinyl album on Mid-To-Late with Empty Shapes, a new name to me. Carlton Melton’s two tracks focus in on the super-grungy blues chugs, to the point of virtual tranceout, again recorded in their Northern Californian geodesic dome. I’ve now discovered at least some of them used to be in the Sub Pop band, Zen Guerilla, which makes sense.
On the flip, Empty Shapes sound very nearly as promising, favouring a dense and lashing kind of spacerock – complete with the odd blast of “Funhouse” sax – that continues the current happy trend for American psych bands who sound like Loop. Works for me, as you might imagine.