Will Schube still plays Seger.
Gunn – Truscinski Duo– Bay Head
Every noise that emanates from Steve Gunn’s guitar is good. This is a fact, this is science, this is a rule. On his easy flowing new collaborative LP with John Truscinski, this truth is once again put to the test, and once again confirmed. These ten tracks are collected on an album called Bay Head, out now on Three Lobed Records. The album is a raw, unfiltered look at an artist firmly in his prime collaborating with a musician he feels wholly at ease with. Wouldn’t it be nice to be so good at your craft that you can just call up your buddy—who is also good at said craft—and do the craft for a while, then have people buy it from you? Obviously, the album took more effort than that, but it doesn’t sound like it. This is a jam session in the best sense of the phrase; this is the greatest jam outside of my college cover band. We played Seger. Bay Head blends grooving Americana sourced straight from The Dead with meditative jazz and some noisy experiments tossed in for fun. It’s not a groundbreaking album, but its ambition is outpaced by performance. Anything Steve Gunn touches turns to gold.
Los Angeles Police Department– “Spent”
Ryan Pollie’s Los Angeles Police Department is still criminally underrated. He’s got a record deal with Anti, a dope side project with 93 Bulls, and the always enviable POW co-sign. What else could you need? Apparently something, because the kids aren’t getting LAPD tats and the blogs aren’t particularly abuzz. Whatever. More for us. Pollie sent us the video for album standout “Spent” today, and the video is almost as charming as the track. The latter is a spacey, falsetto-imbued, psych-pop odyssey, aiming for the cosmos but tethered to reality by Pollie’s charming home video accompanying the track. This is a great track by a wonderful musician. Y’all need to appreciate what you’ve got. Here are a few words from the man himself on the video:
It’s a video that kind of shows what my life is like living in Los Angeles. Right now, the video feels like home—my friends, my girlfriend, my cat, my piano. But I think in 10 years it’ll be cool for me to look back at this video because it’s very much a moment in time. For example, my cat will be a lot older by then.
H.C. McEntire– “A Lamb, A Dove”
I’m positive that I really enjoy Mount Moriah. I have a distinct memory of loving the North Carolina trio’s self-titled debut. But there’s another little part of my brain—the accurate part—that knows this is a lie, because every time I’d try to listen to the album I’d get caught up on “Lament” and listen to it on repeat. That song is a gut punch, all harmonies and tambourines and organs. All this to say, the singer of the group, H.C. McEntire (helluva name), is putting out her debut solo album. The first single off of LIONHEART is called “A Lamb, A Dove,” and is an aching ballad led by a sparse piano and McEntire’s soulful, beautiful voice. “Honey it’s a love I must protect,” she sings, sounding a bit like the female counterpart to M.C. Taylor (Hiss Golden Messenger). It’s music propelled by an otherworldly spirit, not quite religious, but certainly southern; allegorical, heartbroken, but moving forward.
John Carroll Kirby– Travel
John Carroll Kirby is one of those musicians you’ve unknowingly heard. He helped out on Solange’s A Seat at the Table, producing and performing on a few tracks; he’s played with Blood Orange; and he also makes an appearance on Shabazz Palace’s latest record. His new solo LP, Travel (out now on Outside Insight), is a rambunctious blend of synth compositions surrounded by grab-bag percussion—traversing influences from all corners of the globe. “Golden Ring” sports an old world Eastern influence, while “Colo River” takes traits of baroque pop and drenches them in patches and patterns as otherworldly as the desert landscape from which it takes its name. Travel is a truly intriguing LP, and while it may have taken his work with others to get a—ahem—seat at the table, John Carroll Kirby is now firmly ensconced. Hopefully the chair is comfy.
Arjan Miranda– “Spiritual America”
Arjan Miranda’s “Spiritual America” is a doozy. The video for the track is 14 and a half minutes long (16 on the album), a tried and true psych rock odyssey unabashedly enamored with the genre’s maximalist ideology. It sounds a bit like if Mars Volta took their heads out of their collective ass and decided to make an actual song. Miranda takes the kitchen sink approach: There’s a choir, descending guitar solos, a drummer seemingly mimicking Animal from The Muppets, and a synth breakdown in which you’re required to find a lighter and lift it as high in the air as possible. “Spiritual America” is the title track from Miranda’s latest LP (out now), an album closer to end all album closers. It’s a furious concoction of psych rock signifiers, spun together and twisted so organically, it becomes something new entirely.