June brought us some of the strongest releases of the year, so it was impossible to cover them all. However, here are a few others that we absolutely need to highlight before we dive into the month of July.
Davide Cedolin – Embracing The Unknown
On Embracing the Unknown, Davide Cedolin assembled a dreamy psych-folk soundscape from an unlikely combination of woodwind, brass and string instruments.
You might remember Cedolin from the entrancing Guitar Meditations in C release with Tito Ghiglione (as reviewed here in a recent Roundup), and the expansive guitar approach from that album is certainly all over this record as well (especially on the soothing “Silver Pines”). Yet, there’s a wider scope here, as everything from clarinets to bouzoukis and free percussion (courtesy of none other than our buddy Ryan Jewell!) is employed to create a vast bed of sound. Each track is packed so densely with intermingling disparate tones, it’s nearly overwhelming at times (in the best way possible).
However, what keeps this album grounded is its earthy mentality. The sound of the record is deep and murky, while the rhythms are languid in pace. When paired with Cedolin’s warm Steve Gunn-like vocals, these qualities create a strong sense of familiarity and rustic charm. Playing this album makes you feel like you’ve truly come home.
Give it a try for yourself and order a copy today.
Angel Bat Dawid – Hush Harbor Mixtape Vol. 1 Doxology
Angel Bat Dawid delivered one of the most powerful albums of the year on Juneteenth, the inimitable Hush Harbor Mixtape Vol. 1 Doxology.
Composed, performed and produced entirely by Bat Dawid herself, this record is a stirring portrayal of the Black experience and history told on a personal level, through the voice of beautifully abstract jazz.
Utilizing instruments like synthesizers and the clarinet and the power of her rich vocals with—and without—a vocoder, Bat Dawid communicates so much pride, joy and pain throughout every track. With repeated listens, the songs open themselves up further and further, revealing even deeper levels of human expression that go well beyond the power of words. To call this a spiritual album would be an incredible understatement.
Grab your copy of the astounding piece of work from the good folks at International Anthem today.
Powers/Rolin Duo – Strange Fortune
The Powers/Rolin Duo have returned with the official follow-up to their self-titled debut from last year, and by god, was it ever worth the wait.
Released on Astral Editions, this gorgeous record finds the Ohio-based pair discovering deeper wells of audio textures and an almost wall-of-sound shoegaze-like approach to their acoustic-centric music.
Throughout the record’s four songs, Jen Powers’ shimmering hammered dulcimer intertwines with Matt Rolin’s 12-string acoustic guitar, essentially bonding and becoming one singular sound. On many of these tracks, this sound builds into an immense thunderous wave, that also contains bowed dulcimer drones and the celestial strums of an autoharp.
This is perhaps most evident on the tearfully transcendent “Drifts.” There’s something in this Terry Riley-meets-Flying Saucer Attack-like tune that resonates deep down in your soul. This is the kind of cathartic music that leaves you feeling cleansed and renewed. You just have to focus and let it into your heart.
Get your vinyl copy from Astral Editions while supplies last.
Mountain Movers – World What World
I think we can safely call Mountain Movers legends at this point. With 15 years’ worth of shows and releases under their belt, they’ve certainly earned the title. Their latest album, World What World, is just further proof that they deserve such an honorary recognition.
Released earlier this month on Trouble in Mind Records, this album is absolutely packed with fried catchy hooks, smoldering acid guitar work and hallucinatory jams. The New Haven, CT band juggles both the gritty pop sensibilities of groups like Meat Puppets with the dazed instrumentation and interplay of bands like Major Stars, Crazy Horse and Mugstar with surprising ease.
Just check out the warmly lo-fi “Flock of Swans,” with its scorching fuzz guitar solo and jangly disoriented verses. The delicious melody sticks in your head immediately, and the group rocks out over a minimalist beat like a grungier Antietam or a more psychedelic Sebadoh.
Fitting in now just as much as it could have 10, or even 30 years ago, Mountain Movers’ latest record is utterly timeless.
Get your copy today on a variety of different formats and packaged bundles from the Trouble In Mind Bandcamp page today.
Jakob Battick – Rabbit’s Moon
Jakob Battick’s latest record, Rabbit’s Moon, is a beautifully melancholic singer-songwriter album that feels warmly distorted and surreal, like a half-remembered dream.
The tracks here are within the folk rock realm, but lean often into psychedelic directions. Spacey pedal steel, crystal wine glasses and swirling keyboards often take the songs into phantasmagoric zones.
Battick’s deep vocals serve as the album’s wistful heart, often forming the emotional core that each song builds upon. For instance, on “Lilac Bloom,” Battick’s breathy croons drip with a pastoral dreaminess, as the backing instrumentation doubles down on the gentle bucolic vibes.
Dedicated to Kenneth Anger and riddled with nature and occult imagery, Rabbit’s Moon is a hallucinatory folk excursion that is quite unlike any other you’ll find this year. Get your copy from Battick’s Bandcamp right now.
Mamaki Boys – “Takkai”
On August 6th, Sahel Sounds will be reissuing the pioneering Patriote album by Mamaki Boys, a Nigerien group that became known for blending their nation’s traditional music with grooving hip-hop.
As you can hear in the above newly-remastered music video for “Takkai” from 2007, the Mamaki Boys take instruments from their culture (often played by local elder musicians) and use them to create the beats for their rapid fire raps. The decision to blend these styles came out of a desire to honor their country’s native sounds, while keeping it relevant during the initial hip-hop boom that swept through Niger in the early 2000s.
The lyrics in this track sum this up well and act like a sort of mission statement:
“You adults, for the love of God, make sure the dance is beautiful
because all the way to Ghana they say Mamaki keep the tradition
we haven’t abandoned the tradition of our ancestors.”
What you hear in this mixture of the new and old, is a pleasingly hypnotic assault to the senses that makes you want to dance for the rest of the day. You can’t miss this album. Preorder it from Sahel Sounds now.
Les Filles de Illighadad – “Telilit”
Revolutionary Tuareg masters, Les Filles de Illighadad, will be releasing a new live album, At Pioneer Works, on July 9th, and have produced a new entrancing lyric video for “Telilit,” to help promote it. Check it out above.
Also released by Sahel Sounds, At Pioneer Works is exactly why Les Filles de Illighadad are receiving such global acclaim. The seamless fusion of the psychedelic-edged “desert guitar” sound and traditional village chanting on this album is more beautiful and mesmerizing than most of anything else being performed today.
The strength of these live recordings, which were culled from two sold-out 2019 shows in Brooklyn, is reason enough for you to not miss this group when they resume their touring schedule later in the year. For our readers across the pond, check out some of the upcoming UK live dates:
Wed 1 September – London @ Moth Club
Thu 2 September – York @ The Crescent
Fri 3 September – Salisbury @ End of the Road
Sun 5 September – Deal @ Smuggler’s Fest
Tue 7 September – Norwich @ Art Center
Thur 9 September – Stroud @ Good Shed
Fri 10 September – St. Just @ Town Hall
Sat 11 September – Falmouth @ Cornish Bank
Sun 12 September – London @ Turning Tides Festival
Click here to preorder this excellent live album today.
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