Night-People Records – December 14th, 2013
I must confess, it’s taken the better part of the year for me to get used to seeing Idiot Glee as a foursome, rather than just James Friley with the multi-keyboard/drum-machine/loop-pedal setup that he started out with. It’s grown on me, though – the band has done an excellent job of fleshing out his tunes, and some of the new stuff they’ve come up with since forming has been fantastic. That said, to receive a notification in my mailbox that a new album, titled The Prairie, had been released was a big surprise, and a good one at that. The album is divided into three major sections, each with three songs a piece – “The Prairie,” “Position,” and three already known Idiot Glee songs, reworked on solo piano. The first portion starts out with piano and electronic bass before adding textures of synth – the entirety of “The Prairie” (parts one through three,) comes in at over twenty-two minutes, but I assure you it’s a beautiful listen the whole way through. “Position” and its three parts is about half the length of the first portion, but is an equally beautiful and mesmerizing piece built with an acoustic guitar at its very base. Sprinkled in are more immediate rhythm from the bass and synthesizers, but it remains a meditative companion to the first third of the album. The final chunk of the album is perhaps the most interesting to Idiot Glee fans – the last three songs (“Swimming Pool,” “Trouble at the Dancehall,” and “Little Berlin”) are live takes of James and a piano, without further accompaniment. They all translate remarkably well to the stripped down sound, and are played with such nuance as to give them their own identity outside of their original iterations. For an album that was released without much notice or hype, The Prairie is an excellent addition to Idiot Glee’s discography (or tape-ography,) and is absolutely worth a listen.
Ben Southworth – January 16th, 2014 – Hagermann and Maxwell
I can safely say this is the first piece of mail that IronPost has received that has required the acquisition of a new piece of equipment to listen to. As a twenty year old, I remember growing up with a few cassettes, but I think that even then, they were probably on their way out – making way for CDs and eventually for MP3s. That said, cassettes seem to be regaining popularity, and this compilation – spread over two cassette tapes – is stuffed with forty-six songs from Louisville bands. Much in the same way Louisville’s music scene isn’t devoted to one or two genres, this release is a (excuse the cliche) smorgasbord of sounds, jumping track-by-track from lo-fi indie, to hardcore rock, to jazz fusion unapologetically.
The quality of the music is superb, and though there were several groups and musicians who I’d never heard of, it’s clear that the folks at Gubbey were careful in picking good tunes for this release. And though plenty of bands I did know weren’t included on the release, most of them already have music that resides on some form of physical media – I’d say the majority of the bands on Head Cleaner haven’t had an opportunity to put their music out on something like this. It’s endearing, to say the least, to see so many bands and musicians – spanning ages, cultures, genders, and genres of all kinds – being brought together for a compilation like this.
In the meantime, I’ll be listening to Head Cleaner for the next good chunk of time – I’ve got some work to do in order to figure out how to navigate cassettes all over again. If you’re challenged by antiquated forms of musical media like I am, you’re in luck – the cassette comes with a download code that can be redeemed on Gubbey’s website. If you’re new to Louisville, to Kentucky, or simply want to find out what music is right for you in this massive collection of bands, I can’t think of much better a place to start.
If you’re wanting to catch some of this stuff live, and celebrate the release of this massive compilation, you can enjoy a series of shows on November 29th and 30th – click here to read more.
Ben Southworth – November 23rd, 2013 – Maxwell and Hagermann