May Roundup: Ash & Herb, Steve Gunn & Harmonica Lewinski

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen a few of these short reviews recently, but ICYMI, here’s a little roundup. Expect another roundup to follow later in the month with some completely new reviews.

Ash & Herb – Salt Lick/Tables of Grass Fields


If you have been digging the likes of Prana Crafter, Dire Wolves and MV & EE this year, then you need to immerse yourself into the deep world of Matt LaJoie and Ash Brooks’ music. Every project that they are attached to is utterly transcendent. Take for instance this one, the Salt Lick/Tables of Grass Fields seven-inch, which is credited to Ash & Herb. The two tracks are a rare strain of Astral folk rock that is actually fairly catchy and totally bursts with an energetic sense of fun. Think Incredible String Band by way of Big Star. Meanwhile, the single’s bonus track, “Root Seller,” is a ten-minute droning trip through the cosmos. If you turn the lights off and crank this one up loud enough, it truly feels as though you’re drifting untethered through the blackness of space. Head over to Flower Room Records’ Bandcamp page to take a deep dive into the many, many killer releases and projects that exist between these two vastly talented artists. 

Steve Gunn – The Unseen In Between


I have talked a great deal on here about how certain albums take repeated listens for them to click with you. There’s nothing wrong with that, in fact, many of my favorite records ever didn’t really leave an impact on me for the first few spins. However, there are some albums that hit ya right out of the gate. It’s like the music was made to correspond with the very fabric of your being. Steve Gunn’s The Unseen Between is one of those records for me. I have richly enjoyed many of his past releases, but there’s something about the majestic mix of gorgeous folk (Meg Baird on backup vocals!!) and rural psych-tinted jams on this one that really resonates deep down to my marrow. I played the whole album via Gunn’s Bandcamp page today and I have played it at least two more times all of the way through. I still want to hear it again before the day is done. It’s safe to say that I’ll be buying this one on vinyl very soon. 

Harmonica Lewinski – Schlock Value


One of my top favorite Rochester NY bands, Harmonica Lewinski, is always killing it (no matter what). Their most recent release, the Schlock Value 7-inch EP shows off every facet of the group’s sound. From campy surf rock to scuzzy Cramps-esque garage nuggets and psych-goth freak beat tunes, this record is ripe with all of the fun that the infamous upstate band is known for. Crank this one way up (and also do yourself a favor and seek out the group’s Naked Brunch and Pyramid Scheme/Risky Bizness releases as well). A new full length is due out before the end of the year, so definitely keep your eyes peeled for that one, kiddies! 



Published by Record Crates United

Keith Hadad, the creator and manager of RCU, has been a contributing writer to Elmore Magazine and and maintains a regular column, “Keith Hadad’s Choice,” in Blicker magazine. His writing has also appeared in the Smithsonian Folkways' Guest Blog and the Optical Sounds Fanzine. Also, please check out the blog's super-active Instagram account, @recordcratesunited for daily blurb-styled music reviews.

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