Slipped Discs April 2011

Discs You May Have Missed
by John Noyd

Amy Speace

Amy Speace

Initial Thoughts

April soars with feathered flights of fancy. Flock towards sadly regal, joyously bohemian A HAWK AND A HACKSAW‘s, gypsy mysteries, “Cervantine,” then fly alongside backwoods traditionalist DIANA JONES’ sweet-honeyed, wonderfully comforting, “High Atmosphere.” Hairpin turns and nimble fingers elevate STEVE MARTIN AND THE STEEP CANYON RANGERS’s sublime bluegrass rehash, “Rare Bird Alert,” while modern-folk hostess AMY SPEACE’s introspective delicacy, “Land like a Bird,” flirts, nurtures and aspires. Spread your wings.


Disc Reviews


Alison Krauss and Union Station - Paper Airplane

Alison Krauss and Union Station - Paper Airplane

Alison Krauss and Union Station

Album title: Paper Airplane
Record Label: Rounder

Slow country waltzes court tranquil restraint bathed in tender nuance and worldly-wise meandering. Alison and her classy, Grammy-winning mavericks, Union Station reunite to unravel talented toe-tapping tapestries tastefully tethered and graciously plaited like sunshine on crystal streams. Soothing and lucid, “Paper,” embraces lean times and troubled souls combating the sadness with rich, picturesque refrains, welcoming harmonies and unrepentantly sentimental renderings.

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Raveonettes - Raven in the Grave

Raveonettes - Raven in the Grave

Raveonettes

Album title: Raven in the Grave
Record Label: Vice Records

Seductive juxtapositions churn bright, blinding riffs from velvety, fuzz-pop melt-downs. Skulking miasmas of scathing, blazing reverb, “Grave,” cultivates dangerous conveyance around heavenly self-possession. Pretty punk defiance abducting prom-dress pledges, pressing crepe-paper hearts between dream-pirate menace dipped in coy, corrosive curtseys and proudly shrouded pastels dressed in rain-gray attitude. The Raveonettes’ fierce, mascara-rimmed melancholy molds vertigo-riddled Valentines into steel-plated, corrugated cool.

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Heidi Spencer and the Rare Birds - Under Streetlight Glow

Heidi Spencer and the Rare Birds - Under Streetlight Glow

Heidi Spencer and the Rare Birds

Album title: Under Streetlight Glow
Record Label: Bella Union

Lingering fiddling and tidewater drums filter drifting harmonicas and blue-sky slide; sweet molasses melodies dally about weary wishes as halting, unholstered Spencer and her Cold Mountain minstrels wrap dilapidated desires over tattered sighs littering forlorn sojourns ravaged from fog-bound farewells. Cradling Appalachian patience, “Glow,” exposes windswept ragdoll blues wallowing in unspoken truth playfully wavering between pregnant pauses and uncertain resolve.

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Erland and the Carnival - Nightingale

Erland and the Carnival - Nightingale

Erland and the Carnival

Album title: Nightingale
Record Label: Yep Roc

Electronic textures scatter among magical, galloping madrigals, swinging, London-based pop and moody, psyche-spooky folk as E&TC’s intricate Wickerman mix of jingling, jittery side-trips dance to arcane but catchy cadences redressed inside modern Sleepy Hollow closets. Bristling, underhanded homage captured in ghoulish studio rapture, “Nightingale,” grooms groovy roots into macabre insinuations, ominous promises lurking in sly, denied smirks and incestuous jests.

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Lonely Forest - Arrows

Lonely Forest - Arrows

Lonely Forest

Album title: Arrows
Record Label: Trans Records

Grass-roots minutiae fuel monumental pop as soft-spoken notions build to pouncing indie-rock onslaughts, “Arrows,” targets existential displacement inside self-assured thoughts. Pensive engines drive soul-searching questions, uplifting torrents of shape-shifting sympathies assembling resplendent, compelling parades.  Sailing and skating over breathless rhythms and runaway bass, TLF’s punchy electric strumming quivers in shiny, obliging slip ‘n slide wildness, barely containing contagious, ageless sincerity.

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Southeast Engine - Canary

Southeast Engine - Canary

Southeast Engine

Album title: Canary
Record Label: Misra

Penitent and persevering, rowdy and reverent, SEE’s gurgling Wurlitzers and Delta-bound brass rile rustic ruckus for relapsed travails, electrified revivalists fronting frontier racketeers, recasting tragic burdens into grizzled, gratifying honky-tonk. A ragged tabernacle, “Canary,” canvasses unflappable affirmations etched in mournful cornfields, barnyard brimstone and boardwalk morality; rousing rust belt ballads conjuring coal mines and cold spells, bad luck and love-sickness.

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Final Thoughts

As above so below. Sink into subterranean synth-pop perpetrators COLD CAVE’s dazzling, industrial, disco apocalypse, “Cherish the Light Years” before digging the scraping mayhem of THE TUNNEL’s distraught, deconstructed gonzo-rock, “Fathoms Deep.” Grounded bounties take on all shapes this spring; from battle-scarred, electro-screeching head-bangers DEATH VALLEY HIGH’s crushing, gulag-gouging, “Doom in Full Bloom,” to restless post-rock intellects LOW’s boney, emotional cornucopia, “C’mon.” Lastly, don’t overlook night-crawling basement-prowlers TIMBER TIMBER’s thick and chewy folk-soul stew, “Creep On Creepin On,” or blithely spiteful, pop-rock romanticists AN HORSE’s earthy, mirthful, penetratingly purposeful, “Walls,”.