Disc Reviews

by Max Ink Staff Writers


Steve Gunn - Other You

Steve Gunn - Other You

Steve Gunn

Album title: Other You
By John Noyd
Posted: Jul 2021
Label: Matador
(22) Page Views

It’s hard not to notice the bright, sunshine vibe to Steve Gunn’s sixth album knowing, “Other You,” came from two recording sessions in Los Angeles. Gunn’s strong, sensible tendencies filter into rambling dynamics where polished confidence conveys ageless arrangements and glimmering riffs casually skip over an airtight rhythm-section, connecting leisure greased-lightning sleight-of-hand hovering over sweet euphoric chords to songs subtly avoiding complacency without sacrificing comfort. Contributions from Juliana Barwick, Mary Lattimore and Bill MacKay add rich, vibrant dimensions to the sultry, “Other You,” highlighting a beguiling side to a familiar talent. Prosperous and economic, the album seeps into the brain through measured refrains containing easy-going emotions; exciting the senses in playful, layered waves and grounding the electric textures with rock-steady resilience and calm, disarming brilliance.

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KUNZITE - VISUALS

KUNZITE - VISUALS

KUNZITE

Album title: VISUALS
By John Noyd
Posted: Jul 2021
Label: Lowly
(36) Page Views

Stuttered contrapuntal funk lunges between classical pasts and dancefloor futures as Kunzite’s dreamy zip-lock beats frolic in psychotronic wonderlands, fantastic slack-key sweeps lifting antsy programmed pantheons into feverish auto-tuned orgies toying with blessed decadence grounded in technical education and music theory. Compulsive polyrhythmic visions blaze throughout the clever leveraged, “Visuals,” with phat bass, mechanical ska, Bach architecture and bright synthesized orchestras colliding in cyber-tropical collages, cut-and-paste party-jams planting cannabis mantras into footloose robo-powered marching-band anthems saluting, exuding and noodling. Chopped, cropped, workshopped and flip-flopped, the studio duo’s barracuda grooves move through logical options and seductive toppings, concocting sweet cerebral treats that go straight to the hips through sticky digital trickery tickling meticulous rhythms with hard-swinging invitations promising sunshine dubstep raves covered in hungry vampire cool.

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GreenblacK - Consumption Overkill

GreenblacK - Consumption Overkill

GreenblacK

Album title: Consumption Overkill
By Xiola Schneiderman
Posted: Jul 2021
Label:
(73) Page Views

Fresh out of quarantine: Yohai Portal’s new band GreenblacK has been in the process of making new music. The upcoming band is making its way into the music scene officially on Wednesday, July 28th, with their debut single, “Consumption Overkill.” The single is different from what Yohai has produced in the past and this new beat is the perfect song for an electrifying summer jam. Yohai shares that his inspiration behind this song, and other new music yet to release, is from artists that have inspired his sound throughout the years. Yohai has teamed up with Daniel Jakubovic on this single, and is overjoyed with the experience since he has looked up to Daniel in the music world. Yohai has never been shy to share his creative projects with the world before since he grew up in an Israeli household that encouraged dancing, painting, and music. Wanting to take a step back from being the guitarist, Yohai has taken the title of lead vocalist in GreenblacK to switch things up. He is excited for people everywhere to hear his first single as a member of GreenblacK and also as a lead vocalist. This single will heat up the charts this summer on Wednesday, July 28th, and you don’t want to miss the return of Yohai Portal.

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Eric Hagen & Red River Revival - Crossroads Motel

Eric Hagen & Red River Revival - Crossroads Motel

Eric Hagen & Red River Revival

Album title: Crossroads Motel
By Xiola Schneiderman
Posted: Jun 2021
Label: Eric Hagen Music
(157) Page Views

Eric Hagen originated his unique blend of Americana music with flares of blues, rock, and country in Door County, Wisconsin. Growing up with his parents, he listened to music such as The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Bob Dylan, which have influenced his music style today along with newer artists, Jason Isbell and Chris Stapleton. Eric has transformed his craft into something much more than music throughout 2020 when the pandemic hit. It became more about writing and having an emphasis on the vocals to get Eric’s true message across in his songs. The art of storytelling is close to his heart, which is apparent in his latest EP, “Crossroads Motel” performed with Red River Revival. The EP is now available, and can be listened to on Spotify and Amazon Music. Eric Hagen will be traveling across the state to perform the new EP to Wisconsinites in select cities. Be sure to experience the art of storytelling and his stellar performance in Madison at The Bur Oak on August 28th.

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LUMP - Animal

LUMP - Animal

LUMP

Album title: Animal
By John Noyd
Posted: Jun 2021
Label: Partisan
(72) Page Views

A follow-up to their spooky 2018 debut, Laura Marling and Tunng’s Mike Lindsay’s collaborative side project LUMP retains the original’s sophisticated electro-pop zeitgeist, advancing a Twilight Zone persona with spellbound stealth, wishful mystery and jigsaw logic. The duo’s studio glitter whisks the listener into praying-mantis fantasies while improbable topics offer existential menace with twisted quips, decisive riffs and knowing winks swooning then blooming into sweet, upbeat ear-candy. Stripping tender social conventions down to streamlined feline dreams, “Animal,” nonetheless maintains a sane, contained restraint; Laura’s lovely mahogany voice injects stoic focus to Mike’s ghostly gizmo-pop pulling the ear into marvelously odd spots. A surreal collage matching magical thinking to computer grooves where cinematic abstractions package human confusion into alluring curiosity and woozy perusing into connected reflections.

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Half Waif - Mythopoetics

Half Waif - Mythopoetics

Half Waif

Album title: Mythopoetics
By John Noyd
Posted: Jun 2021
Label: ANTI-
(115) Page Views

Patient invitations raise hopes and soothe hurts as the inquisitive, wistful, “Mythopoetics,” grows from hushed cuddly lullabies into firm determined statements, daring transformations whose trade-wind layers take root in glowing interludes casting magnificent shadows between illuminating self-truths. Comfort and surprise greet each operatic song, sonic confidence romps alongside sensitive diary entries revealing deep feelings with fabulous tragedy, coy poise and shaded grace. Nuanced and nurturing, Half Waif welcomes careful examination, well-chosen proposals blossom in emerging percussive climaxes, swirling mercurial melodies and engaging arrangements balancing delicate treasures with heavenly vehemence. Dainty angst wilts beneath sunbeam chamber-pop programmed with pathos; sumptuous and simple as required for maximum impact, Nandi Rose’s third album as Half Waif refines an already primed style that manages to be real and sublime.

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Emma-Jean Thackray - Yellow

Emma-Jean Thackray - Yellow

Emma-Jean Thackray

Album title: Yellow
By John Noyd
Posted: Jun 2021
Label: Movementt
(99) Page Views

Bold rainbow soul folded into bright cosmic funk and ultra-smooth fusion, Thackray’s full-length debut binges on sinful rhythms swimming in grand big-band communion, enthralling polish topped in feverish divas possessed by astral passions, kickass brass and slick synth flash. Urgent words chase breathless reflexes as tunes zoom in groomed enthusiasm, vital unbridled energy floats over Fender Rhodes space-jazz as hard stops, sharp chops and big-hearted charts mount hip trips, jive dives and cool grooves in a rousing champagne campaign. Uniting and enlightening, “Yellow,” shines, pines, coos and caterwauls through coordinated joy voicing hospitable harmonics hosting appealing ideals, musical utopias where expressive celebrations liberate and captivate. Grounded in structure and forethought, Thackray attaches ecstatic chromatics to spiritual consciousness while brokering cozy flows for involuntary bodily responses.

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Ches Smith and We All Break - Path of Seven Colors

Ches Smith and We All Break - Path of Seven Colors

Ches Smith and We All Break

Album title: Path of Seven Colors
By John Noyd
Posted: Jun 2021
Label: Pyroclastic Records
(293) Page Views

A vivid poly-rhythmic village, the invigorating Smith and We All Break rise in pliable alliances and groove-beat treaties performing musical unions with bold diplomacy, cross-pollinating deep pockets in a dazzling modern-jazz coalition energized by effusive Vodou traditions. Led by percussionist, scholar and Diaspora explorer Smith, “Seven,” blends hips to hearts with jump-started brains fired in tireless experimental tendencies. Doubling the group’s size from its 2015 incarnation, the three-drummer octet convulses in bubbling impulses, basing their blazing improvisations of piano, sax, bass and vocals on classic Haitian songs. Sophisticated and passionate, joyful in movement and spirit, the incandescent band’s incessant frenzy rides winding lines where, “Path,” crafts hot thoughts from cool heads, absorbing abstract forms into willful pilgrimages, joining a multi-generational journey and digging the scenery.

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The Mountain Goats - Dark In Here

The Mountain Goats - Dark In Here

The Mountain Goats

Album title: Dark In Here
By John Noyd
Posted: Jun 2021
Label: Merge
(329) Page Views

Recorded in Muscle Shoals’ FAME Studios with veteran sidemen Spooner Oldham and Will McFarlane, The Mountain Goats’ twentieth album show no signs of a band slowing down, smoothly unraveling knotted thoughts and furtive worries with naturally pragmatic aptitude balancing crackling accents with transcendent chemistry. Telegraphed passions cast in Morse Code poetry track tactfully jazzy passages as the marvelously prolific John Darnielle’s glory-bound stories draw plausible cosmologies from playful piano and baleful sax flitting beneath bendable bass, inquisitive drums and brisk guitar. Peppered in effortless metaphors riddled in Ritalin rhetoric, “Dark,” glows in intuitive musicianship, handling and channeling gallant indie-rock cantering with folksy commotion and satiny panache, rappelling down deep thoughts, congruous allusions and cross-stitched myths knitting articulate mysteries into search-party bullet points for court-reporter revelations.

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Japanese Breakfast - Jubilee

Japanese Breakfast - Jubilee

Japanese Breakfast

Album title: Jubilee
By John Noyd
Posted: May 2021
Label: Dead Oceans
(325) Page Views

Exuberant in luminous double-ply fireworks cushioned in lollipop optimism, Japanese Breakfast emerges from sorting through her mother’s passing to embrace life’s restless blessings with alt-pop frolics whose candy-coated charms hide soft aching centers beneath sweet sheltering shells shellacked in flashy brass and slinky strings and colored in devilish street-parade revelry. Irresistible dance blitzes flit with tree-swaying daydreams in the always sunny, “Jubilee,” where rejuvenated refuge becomes pro-active distractions playing in palatial spaces, languid tangled sprints through tinted synths dodge soft-rock beatboxes with tasty refrains restrained in athletic innocence; coy decoys lavished in bashful infatuations to set the mind at ease while entertaining a carefree mania for melodic tonics and emotional potions. Japanese Breakfast along with musical moonbeam Luna Li play Madison’s Majestic Theater September 18th.

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The Six Organs of Admittance - The Veiled Sea

The Six Organs of Admittance - The Veiled Sea

The Six Organs of Admittance

Album title: The Veiled Sea
By John Noyd
Posted: May 2021
Label: Three Lobed Recordings
(220) Page Views

Musical goo brewed by electronic swamps give rise to fierce maniacal solos, barbed red-eyed eels preying and surveying as the thick, “Sea,” sails through thorny storms growling and snarling in chomped stomps riding intergalactic taxis crosstown into starship ambience glancing off corrosive solar flares. Grasping leads seizing headless rapture from incredulous shreds and cosmic exhaustion, the enigmatic Six Organs of Admittance turn yet another corner in this extremely electrified version led by a very plugged-in Ben Chasny, whose Hexadic madness and meta-folk masterstrokes give way to scorching space-cowboy joyrides gliding from blistering to blissful down multi-dimensional highways stocked in looped grooves and hijacked acrobatics; centerless messengers ripped in snorting boogie falling deep asleep beneath a throbbing wobbly world then jolted awake by gritty spitfire blues. 

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Sarah Neufeld - Detritus

Sarah Neufeld - Detritus

Sarah Neufeld

Album title: Detritus
By John Noyd
Posted: May 2021
Label: Paper Bag Records
(279) Page Views

Plagued by vague layers from simmering violins, plummeting percussion and ghostly vocals, Neufeld’s evocative compositions slice icy waves from tonal oceans, tireless fireflies flitting in velvety darkness. Centerless melodies sway and fade while turbulent forms absorb shadowy passages whose thick pitches and churning surges connect swarming storms to lifeboat solos, “Detritus,” proves victoriously buoyant combatting placid symphonic patterns with mesmerizing finesse, glorious voyages navigating safe havens among rocky shores exploring transient ambience with curious fury and piercing fierceness. Whether solemn soliloquies meditating upon the vast cavernous beyond or cumulative movements exploring torrid flourishes, the brooding, inconclusive, “Detritus,” grows, flows and erodes, taming the brazen in sustaining arrangements and creating corporeal sonority from sensuous energies swirling in nervous searching urgency, chasing the unattainable into immeasurable depths.

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