Our old blog friend István Csarnogurszky of Silent Island (and so many other stellar projects) has a new album out, and it is a continuation of his mellow, cosmic guitar playing inspired, possibly, by everything from psych and post-rock to four-to-the-floor rock licks. Gentle, meandering (in a great way), a nice album to just get lost in the clouds with.
RIP Toots Hibbert, 1942-2020“Pressure Drop” (Live in ’75) — Toots and the Maytals — Biblioklept
Rest in peace, Toots, and thank you for years of great reggae.
My brother in culture, Andrés, turned me on to this film which came out in 2019. The promo for the film reads as such:
YELLOW ROSE is the timely story of a Filipina teen from a small Texas town who fights to pursue her dreams as a country music performer while having to decide between staying with her family or leaving the only home she has known.
The film stars Tony Award Nominee Eva Noblezada (Hadestown, Miss Saigon) in her feature film debut, Tony Award Winner Lea Salonga (Once on this Island, Miss Saigon), Princess Punzalan (Mula Sa Puso), Dale Watson (Friday Night Lights), Gustavo Gomez (The Walking Dead), Libby Villari (Boyhood), and Liam Booth (Ghosts Never Sleep).
Directed by Diane Paragas, the film is written by Paragas, Annie Howell and Celena Cipriaso based on a story by Paragas and Andy Bienen. The film is produced by Paragas, Cecilia R. Mejia, Rey Cuerdo and Orian Williams. Executive Producers are Olivia De Jesus and Karen Elizaga.
The trailer is moving, and it looks like this film will do well far outside of the domain of the art house, or so I hope.
For those of you into Industrial metal, goth metal and that sort of thing, I have to say that Batavia are not doing too shabby of a job. From their press release:
Batavia is a gothic industrial band from Jacksonville FL, the band is comprised of husband and wife duo Terri and Ed Cripps. The story of Batavia is less about the band, but more about the people behind it. The two had been acquainted years ago and reconnected only by chance. The chemistry between them was immediately apparent and scarcely has there been a day where they have been apart sir. They were married in November of 2019 in a retro arcade in downtown Jacksonville, before an Addams Family pinball machine, in true nerdy-goth fashion. Both being musicians, having strikingly similar musical tastes and already doing everything else together, it was a natural step to form a musical project.
Terri’s comeuppance was in the Madison WI scene. She began playing piano and singing from a very young age. Ed spent most of his formative years playing in bands in the Providence and Boston area. He had been recording from his teenage years on, starting with primitive tracker software and thrift shop synthesizers to score video game mods.
They both came into the punk and industrial scene during its 90s stride and draw much of their inspiration from the music of that era; Skinny Puppy, 16Volt, C-Tec, Godflesh as well as goth and post-punk bands The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Smiths and a litany of other influences.
Batavia’s music is an amalgamation of all those influences, using those textures as a framework and building into new directions, painting vibrant pictures, exploring new ideas and to make more of the music they would want to listen to themselves.
Batavia are signed to Tigersquawk Records.
The newest release from Batavia, titled ‘Quite Mean Spirited‘, is an exploration of malevolence and what drives the human soul to inflict indignities upon their fellow beings.
The recording took place in our home studio in Jacksonville FL, with marathon recording and writing sessions spanning several weeks.
The title song delves into justification of inflicting vitriol through the veil of tribalism by means of a bleak, brooding goth-rock drone. To break the morose subject matter, track 2 is a jaunty cover of The Jesus and Mary Chain’s ‘Upside Down‘, delivered in industrial metal fashion.
Tracks 3 and 4, ‘Ab Initio‘ and ‘Finis‘, are two parts of a whole. Based on the true story of a woman in 1930s Soviet Russia who was taken from her home and sent across the sea to an island prison. Shortly after her arrival, she was assaulted by the guardsman. When she turned to her fellow prisoners for help, they instead tied her to a tree and cannibalized her. ‘An Initio‘ is based on a sailor song that was adopted by the Red Army during this time. ‘Finis‘ is a dreary, gothic orchestral illustration of the terror and despair this woman must have experienced.
Track 5, ‘The Absinthian‘, paints a picture of the malice in the individual. There are no questions to be asked, but a cavalier affidavit told from the perspective of unrepentant malevolence. A representation of the evil that lives in each and every one of us at its purest form in the form of a man.
Track 6 closes the EP with a remix of the title track, provided by Leæther Strip.
My friend Henning Küpper is the impresario of Lollipope Shoppe, perhaps the first indie label whose work introduced me to everything from psychedelic music and weird Russian rock. For this, I owe Henning a massive debt.
Continuing his amazing curative abilities, he released an album New York-based psych-folk band Ocean. This mellow folky freakout was released in 1969, but the stereo tapes were lost thanks to their label, Apostolic Studios, went under. Thankfully, guitarist John Townley saved a mono recording, and after Lollipope Shoppe polishing, it is available again after 51 years.
I am proud to announce that my dear and darling friend, Alessandra Celletti, has a new album out. She does an astounding job interpreting the works of John Cage, Arvo Pärt, Alan Hovhaness and Philip Glass in her own inimitable way, as well as a couple of her own pieces.
Just a lady and her piano. Weirdly elegant and whimsical listening material.
Having spent a week in August during my 50th birthday celebration and being hosted by my friend, Béla, I was treated to some new Hungarian bands I had, up until this point, never heard of. One which stood out was the Hobo Blues Band.
Their rendition of Hey Joe is very impressive, and I have to say, the lyrics sound very melodic in Hungarian.
September 4 is one of those Bandcamp Fridays where the company doesn’t take its normal commission in order for the artists to either make a bit more money or donate it to the cause of their choice. Though well over 1,500 releases flooded by email inbox today, there was one which came to me from a dear friend of the blog, Raffaele Pezzella (owner of the incredible Unexplained Sounds Group, whose compilations never fail to impress.
This one is a second batch of Iranian dark ambient and experimental music composers, featuring such maestros as Xerxes The Dark, Reza Solatipour, Force Ignore and a host of names which are not only new to me, but who have managed to capture my interest rather quickly.
Today, of all days, is a fine one to introduce yourself to a fresh batch of music from Iran’s dark ambient wellspring.
From the Kirk Center:
Cathay: A Critical Edition
by Ezra Pound,
Edited by Timothy Billings.
Fordham University Press, 2019.
Hardcover, 364 pages, $35.
The Bughouse: The Poetry, Politics, and Madness of Ezra Pound
by Daniel Swift.
Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2017,
Hardcover, 320 pages, $27.
A lot of my colleagues and friends enjoy Ezra Pound, as of course do I. Some have a far deeper grasp of his work than I do, mainly because I come through it from a historical angle rather than from a purely literary one.
J. L. Wall writes on Pound, the new edition of Cathay, and the giant mark he left on 20th Century literature.
You can read the article HERE.
New York City, despite its current malaise, will always be the mecca of music in the United States. There is no popular genre of music that didn’t explode there at one time or another. Surprisingly, it took a Swiss record label, Rocafort Records, to document the boogaloo, guaguancó and salsa scene in such a concise way. The company specializes in Latin music, and this disc features acts like Orquesta Olivieri, Ozzie Torrens and the Brooklyn Sound. Each track makes you want to raid the dance floor.