Here’s what you’ll get with the outlaw folk of Rust Dust’s Diviners and Shivs: One voice, a few fine old instruments, and an unflinching, all-of-a-piece performance that will reach you in the moment and resonate with historical memory.
Rust Dust, formally known as Ardell Jason Shealy Stutts, is a South Carolina native with a healthy aversion for barbers and liars. He earns his keep repairing and dealing in guitars and amps of a certain age. After bonding with Oscar-winning, Grammy-nominated producer John DeNicola over their mutual affection for this sort of vintage gear, Jason explained his concept for a record.
“A set of songs came together. I rearranged and de-arranged them until they tell the story of Diviners and Shivs,” Jason says. “They seemed to fit naturally with the country, blues and gospel songs I always held dear, and I hoped to record them, live, with someone who wanted to contribute to the sound and feel so that this wasn’t just a ‘dude with an acoustic’ record.”
John was in. “Jason wanted to do this like a performance art piece, a live recording straight to two-track tape, and I thought my barn studio in upstate New York would be the perfect setting,” John says. “While Jason would bethe only guitarist and singer, he saw the project as the work of a ‘band,’ with me and our engineer, Andris J. Balins, ‘playing’ the gear.”
So Rust Dust made use of the large hayloft and milk house, placing different mics in various locations to capture subtle nuances. They even used the corn silo as a reverb unit, putting a mic at the top and bottom and sending Jason’s voice and guitar through a speaker. Then they left the building entirely and recorded outside.
You’ll hear this process in the prison-break intensity of the title track and the rawboned blues of “Just Can’t Keep From Crying.” You’ll feel it in the acidic sincerity of “Nothing Hurts Worse.” You’ll know it through a medley that teams Townes Van Zandt’s “Lungs” with Rust Dust’s “Modern Times,” a tragedy for the Trump era with rough and tumble guitar, before seguing into the possible salvation of “Everything Got Softer.” By the time you reach the end of Side Two, with the almost jaunty delivery of “Wayfaring Stranger” and an “Amazing Grace” from your strangest dream, you’ll believe in salvation, goddamnit.
“I hope everyone can listen and dream their own story of Diviners and Shivs. John and Andris made sonic changes live and played the barn, board and tape machine while we recorded straight to tape. It gives the album a cool sound and movement.”
Adds John: “What you hear is simply wonderful songs, with all the excitement and immediacy of a great live performance. Diviners and Shivs harkens back to music that was pure and raw while still being very contemporary—an heir to Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan and Ralph Stanley that reflects a unique take on the world right now.”
Fovea is an electronic dream pop psych rock band from New York, New York. A little on the lounge-y side, a little on the jazzy side, Fovea’s summer 2016 release is well composed and a joy to listen to. It’s engaging, with its delicate guitar layers and angelic vocal harmonies. It’s subtle in it’s percussive expression, never stepping out of place but always keeping perfect time. Not to say there isn’t some amazing drum tracking here, there really is. The bass and drums hold the wild keyboards and synth. The back and forth between the male and female singer is refreshingly new and exciting.
This is the kind of pop music sound that I always find myself in admiration of. The catchy, creative melodic flow of Fovea is just on another level than can be found in mainstream music. It’s got all of the fun and happy pop sound without a lack of content, Fear Of is practically bursting with artistic merit. I keep coming back to the word art, I think that’s what this album is to me. The way the sounds layer over each other, especially in the song. “TAIW.” It’s masterful, carried throughout by the skilled guitar and synth playing. Every part of Fovea comes together to create a otherworldly, magical whole.
A statue of sound, a monument of creativity and true expression that will easily stand the test of time. Fovea is different, different from anything I’ve ever heard before. With all the musicians in the world, we must remember that our songs are still unwritten. Only we can write them, and they are still important. You, the musician, artist, creator, whatever it is that drives you is important. The work of your hands and mind is significant, and I am reminded of this more and more with each new amazing band I am fortunate enough to hear. Fovea knows how to make a good album, and I can’t recommend it enough.
The SIGHS is an American power pop band from Holyoke, Massachusetts. They built their reputation playing clubs around New England over an eight year period starting in 1982. It wasn't until 1990 when they played the China Club in NYC that they caught the ear of producers Tommy Allen and John DeNicola, eventually signing with Charisma Records in 1991. The SIGHS brand of power pop is influenced by bands like The Beatles, Cheap Trick, The Everly Brothers and many more. Their debut CD "What Goes On" was released in 1992 on Charisma Records, and the bands follow up CD "Different"was released in 1996 on Big Deal Records. They're set to release a new CD (yet to be named) in December 2016 with a CD release concert to follow in the Spring of 2017.
What Goes On is a great slice of '90s power-pop that should appeal to any fan of the genre. Always a little more on the rock side of the pop/rock fence, the Sighs deliver an album full of classic, big drum beats, British Invasion-style vocal harmonies and huge guitars. - AllMusic Review: Pemberton Roach
Don Von Conrad met Will Vunderink in some summer in the past where they started making potions made of chemicals and music. They played together in several other groups until at a party; the Don met Cameron Wisch and Adir Cohen. The three spent much time bonding over a keyboard, bombarding their own fraction of the board with their fingers. The first legitimate band practice consisted of massive explosions and ferocious dive bomb attacks; they then decided to be the Medics.
"...Right off the bat, Gloss bombards you with sound. It feels like being dropped in the middle of Mario Kart on mushrooms, and fittingly, it’s the rainbow track without the sides. It’s loud, fast, and colorful. Weiss pounds on the keyboard with abandon, layering his Ben Folds by way of Doug Martsch voice on top of layers of noise. Vocal hooks alternate with riff hooks until the finish line. Gaxinthaw picks up from there and turns it up a few notches. It’s the same formula, only louder and faster with guitar in the forefront instead of the keyboard, Weiss alternately yelling and harmonizing. Bomb sounds like it would kill live, as it builds to an explosive crescendo before coming to an abrupt end...."
Reed McGregor Foehl: Lead Vocals, Guitar Curtis Thompson: Bass, Guitar, Mandolin, Vocals Tom Diehl: Drums, Vocals Tim Roper: Violin, Keyboards, Organ, Flute, Harmonica, Vocals
At the midpoint of Acoustic Junction's first release of all-new studio tracks in four years, songwriter Reed Foehl joyfully exclaims "Oh me, oh my, she's got that look back in her eye! Ooh wee, it's beginning to feel like it used to be!" And indeed it is. Nearly two years after recasting the beloved grass roots moniker they had briefly shed in exchange for ironically loose-fitting Fool's Progress, Boulder's neo-folk outfit has completed their triumphant return from a major label faux pas that nearly cast them into rock oblivion. With the confusion of the name change behind them, the gifted folk-pop quartet is ready to share the spirit of their newborn freedom with the world. - by Rob "Gumby" Hillard, Editor, Deadheads Music Calendars
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Even at the last of the small dance clubs, they were starting to play music that brought the dancers to a halt, like hunters in a ballet some witch has cast a spell upon; songs so raw, barbed, snotty we would hang our heads and walk off the dance floor