Malachi Vale “Swan Song” (Maisonnette, 2017)

Machai Vale is the pseudonym of Marc Gagnon, a Montreal native whose previous recorded output was with alt-punk-country-swing (it says here) outfit, Pipo Fiasco. Having no idea what alt-punk-country-swing is, it was hard to know what to expect though expectations were low. Thankfully, there was no need for nerves as this is an immaculate, meticulously performed and recorded EP, its 5 songs calling to mind Leonard Cohen, as on opener and single Soleils, Tom Waits on Monkey and Lambchop on Quarantina. Continue reading “Malachi Vale “Swan Song” (Maisonnette, 2017)”

Pete Fij/Terry Bickers (Broadcast Recordings, 2017)

Second album from ex-Creation artists who flirted with success in the late 80s and early 90s with Adorable (Fij), House of Love and Levitation (Bickers) and who, through the education of life and its attendant struggles and joys, re-routed their indie rock past and delivered 2014’s well received debut “Broken Heart Surgery”. Continue reading “Pete Fij/Terry Bickers (Broadcast Recordings, 2017)”

Mekons “Existentialism” (Bloodshot, 2017)

It would be a terrible thing were you to be unfamiliar with The Mekons. Over almost 40 years they’ve recorded more than 20 albums of punky, post-punky and folky music that is at worst okay, generally very good and occasionally excellent (see 1989’s The Mekons Rock ‘n’ Roll, for example). That said, if you are indeed unfamiliar with The Mekons, this is either the best place to start, or the worst. Recorded shortly after composition, these 12 songs were recorded in one take around a single microphone in July 2015 with 75 die-hard Mekons, fans who themselves become part of the process, at the Jalopy Theatre in Brooklyn. Part performance art, part album.  Continue reading “Mekons “Existentialism” (Bloodshot, 2017)”

Seth Faergolzia “High Diver” (Blang, 2016)

seth Faergolzia 2016When I received this, I was intrigued. A bunch of songs taken from a larger bunch of songs, the results of a period where Our Seth was writing a song a day for a hundred days. Wow! Get that!, I thought. Let’s go! Press ‘play‘, “High Diver”: title track, good, decent; though something’s definitely off. Then “Rubbing It In” happens and there it is. Two tracks in and he’s had himself off. It made me think of the imperious Chilly Gonzales jamming with Kiwi ledges, Flight of the Conchords but sadly, it’s not. It’s a bad thing, and the cod Celtic mess that follows is worrying – despite saving itself after a couple of minute, I was left thinking, after the third song, “this guy’s made 20 albums? How come he doesn’t know what he’s good at yet?” because the absence of cohesion and identity just makes it a mess and unbelievable.  Continue reading “Seth Faergolzia “High Diver” (Blang, 2016)”

Kemper Norton “Toll” (Front and Follow, 2016)

Kemper Norton 2016My old boiler used to sound like ‘Mladic’ by Godspeed You! Black Emperor, so the musicality in machinery’s tonal shifts and sighs, and how it can create melody, isn’t new to me and is, I believe, in our DNA. Try watching Bjork in Dancer in the Dark (without bawling) for another example, and it’s perhaps because of this that I enjoyed much of this record, but inevitably with music like this, there’s a rub, because if you can’t hear sadness and a deep, inexplicable weariness in the hum of your fridge freezer, or find the sound of your boiler oddly beguiling, you should probably stop reading here.  Continue reading “Kemper Norton “Toll” (Front and Follow, 2016)”