Self-Released January and February 2016
It’s time to check in with the last couple songs from Matt Duncan’s now-monthly free song project.
“Chutes and Ladders” – Not many musicians would be able to incorporate the sound of a harpsichord into a pop song quite as effectively as Matt has with this one. “Chutes and Ladders” is propelled through its verses by a steadily pumping bass, swelling horns, and rolled harpsichord chords. By the time the chorus comes around, it’s more a bouncing arpeggiated sound from things, even with tuned drums outlining the chords – Matt accompanies himself here, singing the main chorus in an impressive falsetto and the backgrounds several octaves below it. It’s a tough song to unpack the lyrics on, but it’s terribly, infectiously catchy.
“The Jordan of Strange” – This song is marked with the note “It probably goes without saying, but this one goes out to Ziggy.” It’s a song that seems clearly influenced by Duncan’s recent time spent in on Broadway as a part of the on-stage band in the revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. “The Jordan of Strange” is bold and big throughout, perhaps most of all towards the end as Matt sequences the chorus of “there’s so much more” up and up and up before resolving it with a resolute “to do!” It’s definitely recognizable as a Matt Duncan track, but it seems like there’s been a distinct, gradual, purposeful evolution into this from the “AM radio soul” sounds of Soft Times and Beacon.
Two more great songs here from from Matt Duncan – it all makes me wonder what he’s got in store for his mentioned full-length LP. He’s made some changes to his sound, but if these aren’t the songs he’s holding onto for an upcoming album, it’s tough to know what to expect. Either way, we’ve been treated to some really good stuff these last several months.
Ben Southworth – February 7th, 2016 – Kenwick Place
On 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