The Noise Boston)
Compiled by Eric Boomhower (Royal Wedding, Dyr Faser)
Thalia Zedek Band – Stars
I was housemates with Thalia in 2008 when she recorded the album Liars and Prayers. I heard her form her ideas and craft the songs with her band. Now in 2016 she and I collaborate in Dyr Faser. It makes sense. Thalia’s lyrics and songs seem to always carry the weight of the ghosts of her past. ‘Stars’ is a simple track beginning with soft fingerpicking. Thalia finishes her thoughts by desperately declaring “I don’t want to try” and then suddenly the band crashes in around her until the piece methodically dissolves. Thalia still plays this song live a lot so it’s likely one of her favorites too.
Henry Flynt – You Are My Everlovin’
Recorded live in NYC in 1981 this forty-two minute violin drone is similar to Ravi Shankar in form but packs a punk ethos in delivery. Henry plays lead violin with a maniacal master’s touch and never does it feel overwrought or random. A continuous long flow of energy is the exact point. He goes for speedily played high squeal notes complimented with lower more rhythmically serrated six note melodies. The mix of eastern phrasings with Henry’s love of hillbilly music is a thing of rare beauty. A pairing I admire.
Anda Volley – Entwined Legend
Anda is based in Boston. This track appears on the 2015 release Are You Armed. Simple music is usually the most powerful. Anda’s mournful voice floats through the verses until she asks “can you see our fate entwined?”. It feels personal but also universal. Maybe the legend is not much different than keeping a secret. Her voice is beautifully dark with the perfect use of delay allowing the shadow of fate to appear. She then uses a descending guitar line to quickly turn a corner. It’s not necessary to give you anything more. Just a few notes to set you up again. This song features only Anda on an album that features many collaborations. Those are great too but this song hit me the hardest.
Brainticket – Brainticket (Part One)
Released in 1971 Cottonwoodhill is Brainticket’s debut album. I love how the band can play any style of music effortlessly. Led by Belgian jazz piano phenom Joel Vandroogenbroeck the band was associated with the krautrock movement but elements of psychedelia, blues, soul, noise & jazz figured heavily in their long career. I like that. British singer Dawn Muir sounds like she’s right in front of your face on this track and she is pleading with us to “listen…don’t listen!”. It sounds like she is in the middle of an acid trip and there is a very good chance she was. But the band is tight with electronic noise pops, breaking glass and soulful organ taking the forefront. Repetition is magic. Brainticket are highly original in concept and design.
Joss – Dolphin Tunnel
Also from Boston Joss Bordelon creates space age electronic music that feeds your head and body. I like every song she’s got out there. This track from 2015 is highly evolved like a sonic puzzle. She matches the title with the music perfectly. For the first minute she marks time with hard hits of ascending notes like sirens or flares going up. When the setup is complete a tambourine guides you thru a cool blue tunnel. We hear a watery distorted rumbling with strategically placed melodic keyboard chords swimming with semi-atonal zigs and zags. The rhythm drops about fifteen seconds before the end to give you just enough time to rest and look around. But Joss has other places to go so she picks it up again and you’re off.
Can – Butterfly
Can’s very first album was recorded in 1968 and was eventually called Delay…1968. It was not released officially until 1981 due to the record company’s fears the public would not understand it. Can had the ability to incorporate world music, jazz, blues, electronics, noise, psychedelia, punk, reggae and anything else they could dream up into their songs. This track ‘Butterfly’ opens the album with broken guitar chords that steadily scratch and claw in some backwards form. When the drums, bass and organ join up and straighten things out Malcolm Mooney is already telling us a bizarre tale of a garden with dying butterflies. This song was the future in 1968.
Jandek – I Knew You Would Leave
Six And Six (Jandek’s 2nd album released in 1981) was a revelation to me upon first listen many years ago. And subsequent listens prove even more powerful. I was attracted to the dusty clanging fractured guitar playing. I immediately thought ‘death blues’. The music followed no rules and held no expectations. The poetry on this track is dizzying. Jandek seems uncharacteristically hopeful and perhaps welcoming at the end but how he gets there requires a slow, brutal and painstaking precision. “His clutch has found my heart bleeding”….long pause….”And Now You Are Gone”.
Agitation Free – Rücksturz
This is the last track on Malesch which is Agitation Free’s stellar debut album released in 1972. Middle Eastern themes make up most of the album and a dose of space rock is filtered through as well. This German band has a long history and helped pioneer what became known as krautrock. Rücksturz is the last track and a great way to end it. A lone guitar with shimmering vibrato opens the track leading to eastern tinged lead passages swirling up and around simple chords and tastefully placed tom tom rolls. But before you can become settled the band decides to stop on a dime and leave you with these amazing melodies hanging in the air with nothing more. Perfect.