Ak Bombz 2LP- Akron/Family (Dead Oceans)
S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT - Akron/Family (various sites)
The latest anybody-can/should-be-the-band gesture from Akron/Family comes in the form of alternate versions of their newest album, S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT. Disseminated to popular file-sharing sites like Mediafire, Rapidshare, and various BitTorrent trackers, .zip files were labeled to look like s/t itself, with properly labeled (and timed) tracks, but contained radical not-quite-remixes, vocals and structure often just audible below dreamy obfuscations. Versions presented by Vermont experimenter Greg Davis, Megafaun's Phil Cook (who seems to have listened to the album on headphones and improvised along on piano, Jason Moran-style), and various Akrons present a far more challenging version of the band's folk/psych/indie-pop vibes. Now collected on an addendum double-LP, just in time for Record Store Day. Go figure. But with the alternate versions still circulating and blurring lines, and presumably more to be chucked into the ether-void in the future, it's a satisfying and artistic push-back to the reality of modern music consumption.
Welcome To Our Story tour 7"- The Elephant Six Orchestra (Orange Twin)
Aux, v. 2 CD - v/a (ICE)
Some welcome dispatches from the sub-worlds of Athens, where the rent is still cheap and the sound collages are still engaging. Reglobbed as the Elephant 6 Orchestra, the various members of th e Olivia Tremor Control, Elf Power, and Neutral Milk Hotel have their first proper recording since (re)convening in 2008. Titles are etched into the run-off grooves in micro-script, "Odorless Boatman's Belt" and "The Italian Seaside Icejester," alluringly recycled Walrusian garble from the Olivia days. The two side-long/33 RPM jams weave fuzzed bass, toy piano, strange voices, etc., between confectionery psych-pop shards from familiar suspects.
The second Aux compilation organized by Heather McIntosh (The Instruments/Circulatory System/Of Montreal cellist and sometimes Lil Wayne/Gnarls Barkley bassist) has plenty of representation from her E6 comrades, including the first, loopy Olivia Tremor Control track in some 10 years ("North Term Reality"), but mostly collects work from the greater experimental scene around the southern college town and in orbit around the annual Aux festival. The gorgeous oblong package is as handmade as the music: Milton Babbitt-inspired programming (Dave McDonnell's "Song of Overtones"), experiments in slow propulsion (Felt Battery's "Thrasher"), acoustic improv (Mary Halverson and Jessica Pavone's "Hartford"), and other small, interesting moves.
Incredibly dense improv from trumpteer Peter Evans (of nu-jazz poster-dudes Mostly Other People Do The Killing) and Sam Pluta and Jim Altieri (of somebody-needs-to-book-a-double-bill-with-Talibam! electro-acoustic duo, Glissando Bin Laden). Evans' trumpet and Altieri's violin become distant signposts amid sudden static, jazz aggression, and wonderfully lobbed color belches. Like fighting your way out of Jackson Pollack battlefield. If that's your thing.
Future Accidents LP - Sightings (Ourmouthrecords)
No wave zzkjlkffzzzzzzznnnnnnnnksjhjkhhkjtttttt dreams of newly radioactive octofish, courtesy of Brooklyn trio Sightings. Outsider structures in a rumbling internal language dot the four-song 12-incher follow-up to last year's toweringly disorienting achievement, City of Straw. Caught in the space between ghostly electronic drums, gauzy guitar blurs, and untethered bass, Future Accidents downplays none of its predecessor's claustrophobic attack, but--with drummer Jon Lockie's in-the-pocket free playing on "On A Pedestal" and elsewhere--sounds all the more human in its refinements. Which isn't to say inviting. But still awesome.
Come On Board CD-R - Peter Stampfel and Jeffrey Lewis
...and the Ether Frolic Mob (featuring The Dust Busters) CD-R - Peter Stampfel and The Dust Busters
A Sure Sign of Something CD - Peter Stampfel and the WORM All-Stars (Acid Soxx Musicks)
At 72, Peter Stampfel continues to emit more breathtaking joy for music than any man/woman/child/beast one could put against him, if one could get the Holy Modal Rounder fiddler/singer in one place long enough for such a measurement. The last few months has seen a new crop of recordings drawn from Stampfel's six-decade songbook, what Folkways would be putting out if they were still documenting urban folksingers. Stampfel still maintains ties to the records of Harry Smith's Anthology (including versions of Prince Albert Hunt's "Wake Up Jacob" with both the WORM All-Stars and the Dust Busters, his regular combo at Red Hook in Jalopy these days). The latter outfit keeps proceedings somewhat traditional (new lyrics for "Deep In The Heart of Texas" by veteran rock writer John Morthland), and the WORM All-Stars are equally naturalistic, with fine readings of Stampfel standards like Sheriff and the Revels' "Shombolar." But the songbook is huge, and (relative) anti-folk newcomer and recent Stampfel tourmate Jeffrey Lewis helps Stampfel bring the arguably the most urgent recordings from it, pulling out "Little Sister In The Sky," a gorgeously rendered (and previously unrecorded) 1968 song by Stampfel's longtime collaborator, Antonia.