February 2021 Roundup

Winter isn’t quite finished with us yet, but thankfully, we’ve had a mountain of great new music to help keep us warm and our spirits high. Here’s a sampling of some of the cool recent releases that we’ve been digging lately…

Adeline Hotel – Good Timing

Fingerpicking fans will be obsessed with Good Timing, the latest album by Adeline Hotel.

Adeline Hotel (AKA Dan Knishkowy) built this LP out of stacked layers of improvised guitar parts, which intertwine and scatter kaleidoscopically in all directions. Think of something like Bill Evans’ Conversations with Myself, but on guitar.

Throughout the mostly instrumental album, Knishkowy’s playing is delicate and exact. There’s space around each note to breathe, no matter how intricate each song ends up being. These compositions are essentially ever-expanding patterns that somehow remain feeling nothing but restrained and methodical. Never once does Knishkowy stray from the tone and pace of the song. This style of playing brings to mind the likes of Glenn Jones and the more quiet moments of Tom Armstrong.

Both heady and pastoral in equal measures, Good Timing is a real treat for guitar soli lovers.

Get your copy from Adeline Hotel’s Bandcamp page right now.

Whisker – Moon Mood

Released on Ryley Walker’s Husky Pants Records, Whisker’s Moon Mood is a mind-bending album of mutant electronic noise and double bass contortions.

Whisker consists of two major figureheads of the Chicago free jazz scene, Andrew Scott Young and Ben Billington, both of the infamous Tiger Hatchery. Their background is perhaps unsurprising when you feel the fierce spirit of experimentation that courses through every second of this record.

Across two suite-length tracks, Billington produces trickling, gargling shrieks from various modular synths and other electronic equipment, sounding like a possessed R2-D2, while Young’s bass groans and cries with disturbing life. When paired together, they create a cacophonous cloud of otherworldly sounds that even Stockhausen would’ve been jealous of.

This is a wild record in every conceivable way. The pieces flow with a chaotic energy, shifting into an endless array of directions, like a stretching and oozing amoeba. Fragments of shattered melodies jab into pools of bubbling electronic tones, while Young utilizes the entire body of his instrument to produce a wide palette of highly textural sound.

This is an album that is unlike anything you have in your collection, unless you do your record shopping in Twin Peaks‘ Black Lodge dimension. Get your copy from Husky Pants fast, before they sell out!

Ryan Dugré – Three Rivers

Three Rivers is an interesting music experiment and sonic journal of Ryan Dugré. The Holyoke, MA native and NYC transplant attempted to compose something every single day, no matter how small nor complex it might have been. The results of this project are surprisingly moving.

Performed on piano, keyboard and guitar with the additional help of a string section, flugelhorn player and other musicians, this record spans a wide spectrum of styles. From haunting pedal-steel backed fingerpicking exercises to stoic moments of symphonic folk jazz, Dugré shows a wide versatility and an impressive mastery of tone.

At times his pieces are more minimal and bear a modern classical influence, and at other times, the recordings take on an almost orchestral post-rock vibe, similar perhaps to the likes of Sigur Rós or MONO. No matter the style nor the choice of instrumentation, there’s always a pastoral and chilled vibe that carries throughout every song.

Calm, meditative and always edging into ambient territories, this is an album that fans of Tompkins Square and Aural Canyon Records would greatly appreciate.

Pick up your copy today.

Barra Brown – LFT​:​RT

Here’s an album that never ceases to swerve around genre labels, especially just when you think you’ve finally figured it out.

Barra Brown’s LFT:RT combines tense breakbeats with the barest elements of jazz and ambient music. Occasionally, guest vocalists, like ePP, rap and sing over the swirling brew of hybridized sounds, adding an essential human flair to the mix.

Standout tracks like “Gulls” and “Cyrus,” feature catchy-as-hell beats, warped synths and warm trumpet solos. These songs sound like Boards of Canada with more soul and a foot firmly planted in jazz fusion.

Between the pulsing rhythms and thick production, this a record of deeply atmospheric jams. Each one feels like a sunny drive along a breezy seaside, which is a mood many of us could use right now, as we dig ourselves out of the snow.

You can preview this album and preorder it ahead of its March 5th drop date right here.

Russell Hoke – The Melancholy Traveler

Russell Hoke is an outsider folk musician who’s armed with a guitar, banjo and mountains of unbridled creativity.

Hoke’s songs lean heavily on the folk music of the 60s and 70s, sometimes sounding like a cross between the likes of Tom Paxton or Dave Van Ronk and Folk Legacy artists like Jim Ringer. He even covers two Sandy Denny songs (quite beautifully, I might add!). Yet, his lyrics are exquisitely imaginative and can be deftly surreal (check out “Kingdom Blue”) and his vocals at times have an intimate looseness, so it’s hard not being reminded of artists like Daniel Johnston, Syd Barrett or Michael Hurley.

After recording several albums over the last decade or so, Hoke apparently sold off his instruments, and it was assumed he had quit music for good. This surprise release of new material proved everyone wrong, and thank god for it, too. We need more daringly original voices like Hoke’s today.

For skilled banjo and guitar picking paired with unorthodox and visionary lyrics, seek no further than Hoke’s The Melancholy Traveler. You can get your copy right here.

Post Moves – Cut Into Your Own Dimension

If you’ve been enjoying the recent entries in the ‘ambient country’ and ‘experimental country’ sub genres lately, then you need to give Post Moves’ Cut Into Your Own Dimension a listen ASAP.

Post Moves, a project fronted by Sam Wenc, uses a pedal steel guitar to create dense, often eerie soundscapes. On this record, Wenc is joined by several guest musicians who add manipulated fiddles, saxophones and synthesizers into the mix. These additional instruments help to give the album a wide array of sonic textures and a creaky unease.

The record bends from extremely avant-garde territories, like the sound collage, “Ira Arrives for Purim,” and the chilling spoken work piece, “David’s Death,” to tracks with poppy beats and warmly soothing drones. The songs with the latter, more accessible style could feel right at home on a dreamy video game soundtrack.

This is an album that will take you by surprise no matter what your listening habits are.

You can hear it for yourself via Post Moves’ Bandcamp page today.

If you like what you’re reading, please help keep RCU thriving. You can show your support by becoming a Patron at our Patreon account or you can make a donation to our PayPal account below.

As always, please also consider donating to any of these sites to help fight racial injustice.


Published by Record Crates United

Keith Hadad, the creator and manager of RCU, has been a contributing writer to Elmore Magazine and Thewaster.com 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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