Thursday, August 26, 2021

Rick White takes us all to "where it's fine" and man oh man it's a good place to be.

Eric's Trip was one of those bands I think I was supposed to get into at the time, but they just never really connected with me.* So imagine my surprise when I heard Rick White's name mentioned on a recent podcast, as the host gushed on and on about his recent solo release Where it's fine.** The raucous rockers they described certainly didn't fit alongside my own preconceived—and severely outdated—notions of the kid of music White is making these days.

So I checked it out. Gave a few tunes a listen. And plunked down my dough to download the full album minutes later.

Where it's fine uses a psychedelic hard pop approach, fusing the fuzz with solid grooves and mantra-like melodies, topped off by a drumming style that manages straightforward beats with a more tumble style with a loose swing that is more mesmerizing than metronomic. And from what I can tell, it's all White, all the time. The only credit I could find is a short note from White saying the album was "made from collected solo recordings I created in my home studio between the spring of 2020 and spring 2021."

I gotta say, for a pandemic album, this sure doesn't sound like it was recorded in isolation. So hop alongside White and take a trip through an expanded universe. We all need temporary mental islands to escape to these day, right?

The album is available to listen to for free or pay for the download below, but if you wanna get it on vinyl that's an option too.

*It was literally a timing thing. Had I heard Eric's Trip maybe a year later than I was first introduced to them (1991?) my opinion might've been very different.
**It was a podcast about Sloan, so I guess it's not surprising they'd be championing other Canadian rockers. So read that purely as my surprise at the particular rocker they were championing. Though I didn't know White had also recorded a cover of Sloan's Peppermint EP recently as well, and then it all made total sense to me.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

What does it sound like when a rainbow explodes overhead? mazie has the answer.

mazie's the rainbow cassette EP is a dizzying, kaleidoscopic production featuring short stabs of pop that rarely travel in expected directions. It's almost as if mazie consumed old psychedelic catalogs to help craft her own approach to the pop construct. Stay with me here, but whether or not it's intentional—and I have no idea if mazie has even heard of the band—some of this reminds me of Dukes Of Stratosphear. It doesn't really matter though, since this EP is 100% mazie, and after giving it a listen I think you'll agree the world needs more playful, technicolor experimental pop like this.

However you personally end up describing the rainbow cassette, I think every listener will agree that this EP is super fun and quirky and DARING. Sample it below and pick up a copy if it lands on you the way it did on me. 

I also see she's playing a show in Chicago in December, so snag a ticket to that too. I know I'm deeply curious to see how this translates to a live setting!

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Sink into some "Country Glory" with My Tree, my friend.

My Tree photo by Lauren Desberg

Great example of me sitting on an album until it's release and then completely missing the release date! As if that drives anything any longer these days. But still, better late than never!

Benjamin 'Jamal' Hoffmann and Caroline Davis are the core of My Tree (f.k.a. Maitri) and the duo specialize in ... I'm not exactly sure. Usually when you hear a band is genre-blending it's a misdirect because you're not sure how to categorize them, but in My Tree's case their mixture of soul, pop, off-kilter beats, and wild production touches all come together to create something I feel isn't hyperbolic to describe as unique to them. But it's all on glorious display on their new album, Where The Grace Is.

Usually I post a full album below, but today I'm just sharing their song "Country Glory" since it's probably the single tune that manages to pack much of what I consider distinctive to the band into its four minutes. Consider it the gateway to the rest of the album, because if you connect with this song, you'll love the entire album. And if you check out the full album, I highly recommend listening to the whole thing, uninterrupted, from start to finish and strapping in for the ride. You'll find yourself in weird headspaces, and if you aren't thrown pleasantly off-balance a few times by some of the sonic shifts, you haven't given yourself over completely to their world yet. And you should.