Book of Knots
July’s music choices are ripe for the picking. Plant yourself in front of prog-rocking Troglodytes BOOK OF KNOTS’ thundering sci-fi flights of heavy metal fusion uprooting a Viet Cong meets Kafka odyssey, “Garden of Fainting Stars,” smart, sun-crazed L.A. pop-rock writer JOHN GOLD’s upbeat orchestrated break-downs, “A Flower in your Head,” or brawny folk-blues crooner WILLIAM ELLIOT WHITMORE’s steady hand at toiling, sweat-soaked poetry, “Field Songs.” Playing a free show at UW’s Union Terrace July 9th, alt-pop revisionists LADYBUG TRANSITOR celebrate their new groovy, “Clutching Stems.” Don’t fear the reaper.
Smoke Fairies - Through Low Light and Trees
Album title: Through Low Light and Trees
Record Label: Year Seven Records
Sisterly tranquility pirouettes through throaty folk dipped in slinky mists and prowling pomp. “Trees,” weaves celestial serenity bobbing along the choppy waters of twisted steel guitar, prim hymns bursting into lofty rock. Prickly filigree embroidered in kudzu, Britain’s Smoke Fairies string Renaissance wings onto swamp-water incantations, massaging potent mojo into ancient mysteries. Catch them August 14th at Milwaukee’s Shank Hall.
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Gardens and Villa - Gardens and Villa
Album title: Gardens and Villa
Record Label: Secretly Canadian
Floating over chilled robot funk and distant subliminal falsettos, New Wave pagans swaddle medieval dream-pop and clubhouse Krautrock in slithering, hook-driven oblivion. Abandon phantoms trapped in analogue smog and retro-cyber beats, Garden and Villa’s freshman effort paints swishy digital moodiness bubbling from plastic happiness deploying sinister interstellar synths and flickering guitars cushioning butterfly flutes, boosted wig-outs and soothing alien subterfuge.
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Woods - Sun and Shade
Album title: Sun and Shade
Record Label: Woodsist Records
Wide-eyed and blissfully innocent, mischievous sixties whimsy snaps, crackles and pops brokered in corrosive overdoses of basement space-rock. A glorious and incandescent, “Sun,” runs tweaked twee dreams around quaint paisley mazes and woozy hallucinogenic textures as knob-twiddling wizards skip merrily into crashing waves laced with rainbow fuzz and sunflower jangle. Woods’ anachronistic sizzle whittles charmed adolescent experiments into galactic-spackled monuments.
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Paleo - Fruit of the Spirit
Album title: Fruit of the Spirit
Record Label: Partisan Records
Foppish garage-pop served in unrestrained sincerity, ravaged slacker caveats and lo-fi minstrel wisdom, alt-folk experimentalist Paleo builds bric-a-brac boogaloo from playful cantering cadences circling steel drum love songs and street parade serenades. Multi-tracked accidents germinating earnest improvisations, “Fruit,” bear effusive tunes, whimsical missives spinning genuine inspiration, free verse curses tossed across ironic sonnets, humane harangues hung on quirky clattering quips.
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Nick Jaina - The Beanstalks That Have Brought Us Here Are Gone
Album title: The Beanstalks That Have Brought Us Here Are Gone
Record Label: Hush Records
Hand-crafted and custom-tailored to specially selected singers, “Beanstalk,” compiles a menu that swings between mirthful and melancholy. Fashionable madrigals inside swooning moon-lit chamber-pop sonatas, composer Jaina produces luminous showcases inside bristling panoramas dressed in brass and strings. The all-female voices bring dark romance to the bluesier tunes and back-lit allure to the exquisite art-folk flamencos and jazzy Appalachian swan songs.
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Gillian Welch - The Harrow and the Harvest
Album title: The Harrow and the Harvest
Record Label: Acony Records
Despair transported through compassionate salvation, Gillian‘s crisp blues-baked biscuits feed the soul while easing tired bones and weary hearts. Resonant and refined, “Harrow,” embellishes wisely, speaking volumes in rich bluegrass tapestries overlaid in subtle Celtic runs and casual country-jazz licks. Impeccable Dustbowl Americana lovingly embraced, “Harvest,” trims tradition, updating with sharp, unvarnished vision. Gillian plays Madison’s Capitol Theater July 21st.
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This summer exposes several covertly titled discs worth investigating. Uncover the wonders of nature-lover, jazz student and childhood opera singer, BRIGHT ARCHER’s delectably delicate erudite effervescence, “Hidden Systems,” or cavalier power-pop confidant and one-man band NIK FREITAS’ friendly, rousing and slightly sentimental, “Saturday Night Underwater.” Full disclosure arrives in multi-instrumentalist LUTHER RUSSELL’s sprawling double disc dose of honky-tonk harmonies, psychedelic twang and flexible meditations, “Invisible Audience,” while song-writer and performance artist HOLCOMBE WALLER’s reissued live folk theater , “Into the Dark Unknown,” reveals intimacy in sensitive tenor and chronic honesty.