Sunday, February 03, 2008

Kelan Phil Cohran & Legacy African Skies CDR
Coach Fingers "Molly Moonbeam" b/w "Johnny Thunder" 7-inch
Pigeons Virgin Spectacle LP
Carter Thornton Ten Fingers For Forefathers LP
D. Charles Speer & the Helix After Hours LP
Grass Magic LP
Pissed Jeans "I've Still Got You Ice Cream" video

Coach Fingers is yet another No-Neck Blues Band splinter group, this one led by guitarist Jason Meagher with Dave Shuford (aka D. Charles Speer...right?) on bass, David Nuss playing drums on the A-side, Robert "Moose" Gregory of The Helix (formerly of The Suntanama!) playing drums on the B-side... I thought it was gonna be more dusted cowboy rock a la Speer, but, although it is another 'straightforward' rock band, there is more of a British Invasion & Paisley thing going on here, with "Molly Moonbeam" so punchy and keyboard-driven that the phrase "new wave" actually popped into my head. Turned me off a little too, but I ended up listening to these two songs 4 times tonight (it goes by QUICK) and it's growing on me - it's no-doubt catchy and the acid guitar leads are pretty much fantastic. The album by new-to-me-and-probably-everyone-else Pigeons is a nice one, dreamy haunted little avant-music-box songs sung in French by a lady... the sound of new wave chansons (there's that "new wave" term again, hmmm) performed by a band that only exists in the reflection of a puddle of water on cobblestone streets...although for all this dream-fragility they are also a guitar band, and a rather noisy one at that, with side two being where the songs really start to fragment and dislocate. Pigeons are a trio of Wednesday Knudsen, Clark Griffin, and Carter Thornton, who also has a new solo release on the Black Dirt label called Ten Fingers For Forefathers - yep, Mr. Thornton got his start with the Sound@One collective as an album-title pun-writer. No but seriously, he has been playing in various NNCK splinter groups and recording solo works for S@1 for quite a while now, and although I did once see him play in the proto-Speer group Enos Slaughter while in NYC waaaaay back in like 2002, I have never heard one of his releases until now. And this one is a solo acoustic guitar release, improvised music, instant composition, sometimes with a spiky avant-jazz feel, other times with a rambling dusty Americana feel, plenty of vibe, a nice ruminative listen, no real ruts to speak of (like say the Bailey and Fahey ruts that so many others stumble into, nay, wallow in). So kudos to Black Dirt for kicking off the label with three excellent full-lengths, with the D. Charles Speer leading the pack (gave it another spin tonight, digging the "Contrails" song: "Johnny's outside videotaping the sky/Wants to know why he sees those jumbled letters/Before his very eyes/Thinks he might just know what the contrails mean/Latest phase of an ancient poisoning scheme"), all of 'em edition of 500, 180 gram vinyl, charming silkscreen covers, soulful stuff. The Grass Magic LP comes from Wisconsin and the 23 Productions scene (label is Earjerk)... it's a one-off jam that was recorded the night before the legendary Pasture Festival and Jubilee in August 2004, by a 10-person lineup that features most key members of The Davenport Family, both of The Skaters, Glenn Donaldson of Jewelled Antler.... it's a total jam and it sounds like it, but once Side A gets going it picks up a nice walloping head of steam and one thing that distinguishes both sides from the general mid-00s moanwave onslaught is the crafty psychedelic rhythms that snake underneath. Anyway, I'm glad they pressed this thing up (the cover is a thrift-store LP jacket turned inside out and silkscreened with stoner artwork, and some brief liners that name the lineup and include a rad quote from Rabindranath Tagore, stuff like that).

And before you go, please check out this music video for "I've Still Got You Ice Cream" by Pissed Jeans... the plotting and production style reminds me of when MTV used to occasionally play good music. Monty Buckles should direct more! (Maybe he has.)

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