This excellent release from Nashville’s Centripetal Force brings together 10 diverse acts – the music here is definitely outsider material and covers genres from folk to electronica via cosmic psych and taking in modern composition. All of the tracks on the album are either by women artists performing solo or featuring them prominently as part of a band, with profits from the release being donated to NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Quality compilations like this are a double win (triple this time with those proceeds going to NARAL) You’ve got the immediacy of the album being played and then the rabbit holes it sends you down investigating bands you aren’t familiar with. This is especially true for me with this release, there is so much on offer.
The prolific Big Blood are first up with Pox, a pulsing track featuring a wonderfully committed vocal that’s really grown on me. I truly have no idea how you would categorize the track, it’s doesn’t fit neatly into a box you can put a label on. The track it’s full of layered vocals caustic put-downs, home truths and ill will.
Abronia contribute a live take of Waning Wand, it’s a great version of this track, a 7 or so minute psych workout that builds and builds. Shimmering guitar, huge bass drum, sax, and a vocal that sits just on the right side of recording limits come the end, fantastic. I just really want to see them gig now, their FB page shows lots of Portland gigs, good if you live in Portland not so good if you are from South Wales. Oh well.
Chase Me is a pretty good intro to Eve Maret’s electronica is new to me (I’ve since found a couple of really nice albums from her on Bandcamp, as with everyone on this compilation to be fair). It’s an aptly titled contribution here with bright synth pulses built over textured sounds. It would make a good sound track for a remembered chase scene in a film, a fondly remembered dreamy scene rather than anything sinister though.
Louise Brock Cello G with Clarinet is an altogether different piece, it got me fairly flummoxed to begin with it’s so far removed from my normal listening material. I had to give it time for the repetition and tonal work to pull me in.
The Californian Americana of Crucibles of Glasgow just feels really comforting. Gentle acoustic guitar, laid back vocal. The refrain of ‘You came through like the rolling dew’ reassures at the tail end of a song that’s rich with images of nights out in the wild with people that you hold dear.
And then we have a snippet of a ridiculous quote from the legendary Tony Wilson opening the next track. It’s truly bizarre intro to an elongated free form freak-out from Dire Wolves. Wonderful speaking in tongues vocals are all over the track with all sorts of instrumentation on the go. It’s a live track, no idea how many people were on stage, it sounds like lots but it’s a magnificent racket.
Another exceptional artist from Portland, the solo instrumental guitar of Marisa Andersen is ‘just so’, just so easy, just all good. I really could sit and listen to this parred back but deceptively complex work all day, no problem and I’ve had one of her albums on heavy rotation in the car this week. She will be one of my finds of the year for sure.
Another take on music based around acoustic guitar is Nashville’s Diatom Deli but this time with a subtle mix of electronics and what sounds like a field recording outside a school playground. The vocals, multi-layered and breathy will draw you right in.
Now I love Moon Duo and Sanae Yamada brings her distinctive keyboard playing with her to her Vive Le Void solo project, it’s coupled with a straightforward but hypnotic bass line and vocals that at times remind be of both Gwenno and Lush at the same time. I think solo project is too light a term for work that is pure quality, Moon Duo have quite the cult following though.
Closing out the tape is Lou Turner of Styrofoam Winos (who I also discovered via this). It’s a dreamy affair with flute, gentle twanging guitar and beautifully harmonised vocals, utterly brilliant.
This is a highly recommended release and you’ll get more out of it the more you play it, as Bandcamp so fond of reminding me… time to open up your wallet! It’s in stock and ready to ship, 175 cassette limited edition or digital DL.