Cereal Glyphs – Cereal Glyphs

a0108716917_10Fuzzy Poppy Rock

October 16th, 2015 – auralgamiSOUNDS

Cereal Glyphs is the product of Louisville’s Andy Myers – a series of ten songs written, recorded, and performed only by him. Reading through some stuff written on this album by the talented and prolific folks over at Never Nervous, there were a lot of comparisons of this project to the sound of Ty Segall, and I think that’s definitely an apt description. My own interpretation was that it comes in sounding a lot like something influenced by John Dwyer and his projects, Thee Oh Sees and Damaged Bug – maybe with some Stephen Malkmus thrown in too. The album is spilling over with a thoroughly DIY aesthetic, but for all the grunge and fuzz, the album is equally full of pop sensibility, catchy hooks, and creative melodies. The guitar imitates and acts as counterpoint to the vocals at several points throughout the album – a technique that I’m particularly a sucker for, and something that serves to add a significant amount of depth and craft to the music. If you’re wanting something a little more laid back, you can try songs like “Siren Stalker” and “The Well.” Need a little more intensity? Take a listen to “Dead Beat,” “Count the Night,” or the 30 second “Gralehaus Fried Chicken” (these three songs make up the middle of the album, and are all spectacular). Cereal Glyphs might seem like a pretty unassuming album at first glance, but it is certainly a really good one – I’ve enjoyed listening to it every single time I’ve gone through it as much as I did the first time. Congrats to Andy on recording something this great as a solo project, and to auralgamiSOUNDS for yet another killer release.

Tracks I Liked: Siren Stalker!!, Instagram!, Dead Beat!, Count the Night!!, Belly of the Snake!!, The Well!

Ben Southworth – November 20th, 2015 – Park Avenue

Satellite Twin – The Mechanical Hearts EP

a0597827793_10Post Punk Garage Rock

October 17th, 2015 – Gubbey Records

The Mechanical Hearts EP is the product of Louisville’s hard driving trio, Satellite Twin – the EP is a collection of five spacey, angular songs that tie together sounds from both prog, post, and punk rock. Most of the songs start with extended instrumental sections that shuffle back and forth between off-kilter phrases, and even when they get to the lyrics, they’re usually not around for too long. The instrumental ability of the band is the most important part of the album – two of the three musicians can be doing something fairly repetitive, keeping perfect time while the third goes off on some sort of totally outrageous pattern. Satellite Twin would play well in a live setting – I imagine that the show would only amplify the intensity and excitement that the band is able to capture on the tape. The final track of the album, “cracks and stains (on the marquee slogan)” is the obvious stand out here – you can feel the song getting more and more anxious as it heads towards the chorus, bursts forth into an incredibly catchy recitation of the song’s title, does a quick coordinated turnaround, and heads back into the song’s main groove. Other tracks are good too – the breakdown that happens towards three minute mark of “raise the sign” feels like it comes out of nowhere, and it’s an incredibly satisfying way to end the song. The Mechanical Hearts EP is has a way of being simultaneously atmospheric and hazy while feeling intense and relentless. Another strong release from an inventive Louisville band, this is worth checking out.

Tracks I Liked: raise the sign!!, mechanical hearts!, cracks and stains (on the marquee slogan)!!!

Ben Southworth – November 15th, 2015 – William T. Young Library

Idiot Glee Announces New Album, Shares Single “Evergreen Psycho”

a1624139790_10On Friday, Lexington’s Idiot Glee announced that they’d be releasing their self-titled album on January 29th. Idiot Glee will be released through Hop Hop Records and is the first release since Four was released about a year and a half ago in 2014. Given the album notes uploaded on Bandcamp, and much like previous releases, this album looks to be made mostly of the sounds of its central musician, James Friley – though there will be some additional sounds on a few tracks from Case Mahan and Jamie Adkins, both members of the live band. The album art, which is pictured, was created by renown Lexington artist, Robert Beatty – who has done work for several of Idiot Glee’s previous releases. Stephen Trask, another Lexingtonian known for writing the music for Hedwig and the Angry Inch, helped produce the album – his presence is evident in the remarkable fullness and fidelity that is found on the single that was shared.

“Evergreen Psycho” is embedded below, and is a bit of a departure from the more dominant sounds on previous Idiot Glee albums, but it also feels like the natural progression. Gone are the old-school drum machines that made up Life Without Jazz and Paddywhack, as well as the lo-fi tape warble of Four. Instead, it’s replaced with spotless production, layers of keyboards, and nearly a psychedelic haze. If you’re an Idiot Glee fan, you’ve probably already heard it – if you haven’t, you should give it a play:

Ben Southworth – November 15th, 2015 – William T. Young Library

Cher Von – Kuhh Duuh

a0787588641_10Improvised Vocal Atmospheres

August 28th, 2015 – auralgami SOUNDS

It isn’t easy to describe the sort of music that Cher Von makes. It was recorded without previous concepts, but it doesn’t sound that way – in fact the music here might even seem more thoughtful and aware of itself because of this sort of ‘realizing-the-music-as-it-comes’ approach to things. It’s the sort of approach that makes many musicians nervous to even think about, and the fact that it is done here in such a pleasant way seems like a testament to Cher Von’s musicianship and inventiveness.

Kuhh Duuh is a rich collection of six semi-improvised songs – each making extensive use of the voice, loop and effect pedals, and found percussion. The tracks here are very atmospheric, feeling thick and hazy while maintaining a distinctly directed groove. It’s not a kind of heavy, driving, four-on-the-floor kind of groove, though – it’s more like that built in background groove that you feel when you’re driving by streetlights at a steady speed on a quiet night. The music refrains from being domineering, but rather allowed me to walk to class on this wet Autumn morning without excess thought as I let it go by. It was almost meditative.

Tracks like “Anywhere (Kilik 2)” and “Nimm-Mumm (Wood. Chant)” pull in some extra instrumentation – guitar and bass – and have more melancholic, even distressed feels to them. The fifth track, “Loop: Goh-Kuhht,” is an incredible amount of fun, and one that most anyone should enjoy – as the name implies, it builds layers and layers of loops (mostly voice, with some effects) and can easily put the listener in a trance. Another great release from auralgami SOUNDS this year, Kuhh Duuh is a thoroughly enjoyable listen – it stays fresh across several listens, as you find more and more surprises buried in its textures. The music is able to be simultaneously calming, entrancing, exciting, and playful – it’s something I would most certainly recommend.

Tracks I Liked (though I would more recommend listening to this all as an album): Anywhere (Kilik 2)!!, Nimm-Mumm (Wood. Chant)!, Loop: Goh-Kuhht!!! 

Ben Southworth – October 27th and 28th, 2015 – Park Avenue and Kenwick Place

Mark Fosson – kY

mark-fosson-kyAmerican Primitive Guitar

May 1st, 2015 – Big Otis Records

The task of being an innovator – to spring a new twig on a well established branch of an idea, an art – is reserved to very few souls whom we – spectators, consumers – dote lofty, divine judgments for what has been offered.  Still a few more distill this new way of looking at an idea, taking hold of these twigs and nourishing them into their own solid branch.

Many would claim John Fahey as the father of American primitive guitar folk, taking notions of traditional folk music and enriching it to captivate listeners in a way that had not been heard before.  His imprint has left a huge mark on guitar players over the years – Mark Fosson included.  Fosson is that distiller, capable of taking what his mentor and luminary Fahey had laid out and making it a solid form. Fosson’s latest album kY is a shining example of this, but Fosson is anything but Fahey’s apprentice.  Fosson has tapped into that same folklore and blues that Fahey so wonderfully crafted decades ago and has made a remarkable album that is still authentically his.

Fosson features several upbeat jigs you should find featured in a backwoods club, notably “Avondale Strut” and “Loose Change”.  He has a charming traditional themed musical poem called “A Drink With Stephen F”, which I can only hope is the short story of him dialoguing with the ghost of Stephen Foster.  Fosson has not limited himself only to the guitar, as he has featured two songs on banjo – “Bad Part Of Town” and “Kingdom Come” – and one light-hearded piece on a mountain dulcimer – “Dogwood”.

Where Fosson shines brightest are his stunning allusions of the magic of Atlanta and Mississippi 12-string blues, reminiscent of Blind Willie McTell and Mississippi John Hurt.  These are not replications of a forgotten art – Fosson has conjured the busy yet purposeful, rich yet melodic approach of these former greats into his own American primitive vernacular.  With the last track, “Come Back John”, Fosson shows off his mastery of Piedmont blues picking with own melodic nuances.  Spend time listening to the shifts of album’s longest track, “When We Were Young”.  It is in this track that his style of introspective wandering is given its fullest measure, featuring movements where Fosson allows his mind to roam freely on a musical thought, pausing only to reconsider another side of the same notion.

A former Kentucky native drawing on the experiences his former home, Fosson gives Kentucky folks a reason to smile and be proud for this son.  This album is a rich offering of well-balanced Americana folk and is one of the more refreshing releases for 2015.

Adam Standiford – October 25th, 2015