Lately it seems that the world has been put on pause. The situation with the Covid-19 virus grows ever more serious, especially so in light of our federal government shirking off their duty to act, suggesting that each state instead take charge. So fifty different approaches to a common problem. Please don’t blame me for adopting the ostrich approach. I have ducked my head and body into my home and rarely make an appearance. I am waiting for the vaccine to be home-delivered.
In the meantime, although musicians can longer play live on a local stage, they have found ways to give concerts and performances online, and also release new music. Here are some brief reviews of some new or recent albums that have been released, and that you might have heard on my radio show, “It’s a Nice World to Visit”
This album has been out for a while now, the first album he has released in a long number of years. It is well worth the wait. At the heart of each song, there seems to be a drone — a single note made constant, one which each song builds and dances around. It is both beautiful and dark. A record that answers your glance into it with a healthy dose of what you already have inside. If you want it to be dark, then that is what you will hear. But, if you open up your ears, you may well be transported.
I recommend the following tracks:
- Bo Ningen Sudden Frictions
This is the fourth album by the band Bo Ningen. On this album the band experiments with their sound. The only way I can describe it is they have created more space between the instruments, while keeping something clinging to the necessary tension needed to engage the listener. The approach is less headlong, but never lacks in beauty. The lyrics are mainly in Japanese and although I have no idea what the band is saying, I do not find that to be a barrier of any kind. Music is universal. There is a groove of sorts to the songs on this record. Like one might have heard while listening to Can or The Fall. Not the sort of groove you find on the dancefloor, this is the sort of groove you find in a heartbeat.
- Yo La Tengo We Have Amnesia Sometimes
This new release by Yo La Tengo is a five song EP, consisting of what appears to be ambient music. Much like bands that have inspired them, they have mastered the drone. Each track builds and separates itself slightly from the note at the heart of the piece. The instrumentation is minimal: organ, guitar bass, and almost incidental percussion. Pleasant to listen to, but distracting enough that it keeps my interest. Listening, I find myself waiting for the changes.
I like the fact that while the pieces work as individual tracks, they also work in full; the EP builds from the first track to the next, with a satisfying conclusion.
- Bdrmm Bedroom
This is a new band, and this is their debut album. I think it is fair to say that nostalgia runs on a twenty year cycle; the noise generated by this quintet would fit well with your albums by My Bloody Valentine, Ride or Chapterhouse. Noting this does not diminish this album in any way; it is an album made with enthusiasm, love, care and craft. The sound entrances and intrigues. The melodic shimmer of each song is a pure delight. I have had this one on repeat for a while now and am already eager to hear more releases by this band.
- The Psychedelic Furs Made Of Rain
It has been a while since we had a new album by The Psychedelic Furs to talk about. In that time the band has gone through some membership shifts, while the brothers Butler — Richard and Tim — remain at the core. The sound on this album could well be just one step away, the follow up to their third album “Forever Now”. The band noise on this record has the necessary density to be recognized as their classic sound — front and center above the beautiful chaos is Richard Butler’s voice, as distinguishable as Dylan’s or Reed’s, with his imagistic lyrics, suggesting thoughts you wish you had had. A perfect return full of grand gestures and subtleties in equal measure.