January 2022 Roundup

To quote a meme that’s been making the rounds lately, January was a long year, but we made it. During this particularly slow time period, we were at least accompanied by some great music. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the other great releases that we heard recently that you can—and should buy today, since it’s (thankfully) another Bandcamp Friday! Check it out:

Davide Cedolin – Contemplations and other Instrumentals from the Valley

Davide Cedolin, a Ligurian musician, is one of the best names in solo guitar music today. All his releases play like the auditory dreams of pastoral landscapes. Contemplations and other Instrumentals from the Valley is perhaps the most vivid example of this vibe yet.

Comprised of eight languid instrumentals, this record features Cedolin’s sympathetic fingerpicking interplaying with the sounds of nature, ethereal strands of bowed banjo and crystalline electric guitar.

At times, especially on the mystical “High and Wild,” the music here is like a more rustic and acoustic-based Popol Vuh track. We all need that vibe in our lives.

Click here to get your digital copy right now.

If you liked the sound of this, you should also check out: Grass Above My Head​/​My War Blues, by Cian Nugent and Like Sunburned Snowflakes by Alexander Turnquist.


Dunums – Where’s My Eidi?

The great Radio Khiyaban label is giving Dunums’ wonderfully peerless Where’s My Eidi? album its first ever physical release today, and you better grab it fast before it’s gone.

Dunums, a North Carolina-based experimental music and multi-media collective led by Sijal Nasralla, went all in on this record. They threw together an expansive mix of disparate sounds and influences, like spoken word poetry, oud freak-outs and psychedelicized post-punk jams, and somehow, it just works.

The tape’s clashing of styles truly hammers home the band’s desire to create art that reflects their Palestinian roots and their absorption into America’s southern culture. What they created here is something perhaps unexpected, but entirely unique, powerful and straight up addictive for the ears. This is a deep and enchanting listen that all should experience at least once.

Get your very limited edition (50 copies!) cassette release of this album right here today.

If you liked the sound of this, you should also check out: The self-titled album by Shalabi Effect (also from Radio Khiyaban) and Agadez by Etran de L’Aïr.


The Prefab Messiahs – Gellow Mold: Al Lover at the Controls

Boston’s own psychedelic sons, The Prefab Messiahs, have been remixed by the always heady producer, Al Lover, and the results are staggering.

Lover, who’s credits also include remixing the likes of The Brian Jonestown Massacre and Goat, and DJing at the Levitation festivals, has taken the already spacey pop nugget, “The Gellow Mold” (from 2018’s Psychsploitation Today), and shot it deep into the cosmos.

This mix smooths out the track’s barbed garage rock edges and made it sleek and icy. On the full-length version of the song, Lover emphasized the band’s flute-like keyboards and pulsing electronic beats to extend the outro into a sprawling interstellar trip.

Grab your digital download of this track today and go on a wild ride.

If you liked the sound of this, you should also check out: Telepathic Radio by Mirage and Raiders Of The Lost Archives: Demos & Rarities 2007​-​2020 by Cult of Dom Keller.


Ryley Walker – So Certain EP

Ryley Walker is continuing to bust out of genre norms and outdo his previous feats on the excellent So Certain EP.

Flanked by Bill MacKay on guitar, Andrew Scott Young on bass and cello and Quin Kirchner drums, Walker takes the slamming and discordant jazz leanings of his recent Post Wook release and welds them together with his unique brand of angular folk rock. This Frankenstein of styles is intensely complicated musically, yet somehow catchy at the same time.

Expect sudden time signature shifts, obscure lyrics and Walker’s vocals sliding from near whispers to impressive barks. You never know exactly what might happen from one moment to the next on this release, and that’s what makes it so great. We need more records that stray as far away from overused formulas as this one.

Click here to get So Certain on CD and digital today.

If you liked the sound of this, you should also check out: Charlottesville 01​/​23​/​22, also by Ryley Walker and Works For Upright Bass and Amplifier Vol. 2 by Luke Stewart


Jana Horn – Optimism

In the middle of January, No Quarter Records released Jana Horn’s Optimism on vinyl and CD, and it’s already proving to be one of the most sublime singer-songwriter records of 2022.

Based in Austin, TX, Horn tells deeply human stories, some complete and others fragmented, with her melancholic folk-leaning songs. The tracks feel as though they might share a kinship with not just the work of other great songwriters, like Sibylle Baier and Leonard Cohen, but also pieces by writers of the literary world, too. Some of the lyrics invoke short stories by the likes of Joyce Carol Oates and Raymond Carver, the latter of which Horn has referenced as being a direct influence.

Musically, the record remains very calm and muted, with mainly acoustic and subtle instrumentation cushioning and supporting Horn’s soft, silky vocals. Some jazz melodies and the occasional country twang creep into the record, but for the most part, a folk vibe reminiscent of early Josephine Foster and the aforementioned Baier dominates the proceedings.

Click here to order your copy of this beautiful record from No Quarter today.

If you liked the sound of this, you should also check out: The Wrath of the Clouds, by Marissa Nadler and Mirrored Night by ML Wah.


Michael Potter and The Electric Nature –
Mount Analogue, 20th Anniversary Edition

Michael Potter, of whom you may know as the the distinguished gentleman behind the Garden Portal label, released today some of his own mind-melting soundscapes.

The original title track is a home-recorded lo-fi bedrock of slurring electric guitars, hypnotic drums and howling white noise that Potter created on a 4-track tape machine back in 2002. The piece sits firmly between the cosmic shoegaze of Spacemen 3 and the more brutal guitar attacks of artists like David Grubbs.

The other piece on the album is a live version of this sonic bedroom experiment, recorded ten years later with Patrick Lowe on bass and tuba(!) and Josh Lamar on drums and sampler. This version rips even harder and adds a little more nuance to the pummeling 20+ minute track.

Hearing both of these iterations back-to-back convinces you that this is indeed one of the best little known jamming pieces of the last 20 years. Perhaps Potter should continue revisiting this track live with different guest musicians who can add their own unique flavors and signatures to the mix. This could be the troglodyte head-smasher “Dark Star” we all need right now, so the release of this tape is beyond critical.

Click here to order your cassette from Potter’s Bandcamp page today.

If you liked the sound of this, you should also check out: 100 Kinds of Ass by Chris Corsano & Bill Orcutt and October, 2019 by Gerycz/Rolin.


Other Bandcamp Recommendations:

To finish off this roundup post, here’s a listing of other releases I’d strongly recommend that were announced or released in time for Bandcamp Friday:

Be sure to follow along with my Instagram stories today, as I’ll be continuing to share other recommendations as more releases are announced.

-KH


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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: