NEW MUSIC: Slark Moan – The Shore

Slark Moan is the clever twist of a name that Nashville musician Mark Sloan records his solo material under. Pre-pandemic he spent a bunch of the time on the road as a hired gun for acts such as Kelsey Waldon, Margo Price, Sam Outlaw, Erin Rae and more, but when he’s at home he creates his own musical universe – writing, playing, recording and producing his songs.

You can hear a cosmic country streak running through his music but the dominant sound is a lightly psychedelic melodic one with lush instrumentation adding to his melancholic musings. There’s mention of artists such as Harry Nilsson, early Todd Rundgren and Emmit Rhodes and you can definitely hear them in his sound.

The single follows his two full-length albums – Superstition for the Consumer Romantic (2019) and Imperfect Music For Imperfect People (2017).

NEW MUSIC: Eoin Dolan – June Hope

The beautiful and ornate, baroque pop music of Eoin Dolan, from Galway, Ireland

On the song ‘June Hope‘, Dolan explores some wonderful tones amid a minimal yet lush instrumental backdrop on this recent single from his new EP of the same name.

Inspired by early John Lennon solo material, 1960s French pop and vintage calypso compilations, he’s already released three other EPs and three full length albums, which sound like they contain plenty of other psych pop nuggets, ripe for some sonic exploration.

For fans of Beck, Harry Nilsson, Bryan Estepa, Midlake, The Phoenix Foundation.

NEW MUSIC: Black Rabbit George – Fingers Radio

File this one under psychedelic but it’s not of the manic garage rock or pop variety. ‘Fingers Radio‘ by the Gold Coast’s Black Rabbit George locks into a liquid bass and metronomic drum pattern right from the start and averts its gaze. That synchronicity and anchor allows Paul George (Tijuana Cartel) to wander vocally, like he’s negotiating a trip or a dream, drifting in blissed-out awe through a fog. Guitar lines intertwine and curl themselves around the rhythm section – a subtle blend of North African and Asian influences that dial straight into the psych feel of the track.

The utterly hypnotic single is the first taste of his new album Warren, due for release on August 28th.

“I spent a lot of time isolated at home toying with ideas I’ve had over the years. I’ve pretty much lived in the studio for the last 6 months, just toying with where I can take the things I’ve learnt and how they all make sense together. ‘Fingers Radio’ is one of the songs that came from these sessions.”

SPECIAL SOUNDS FOR STRANGE TIMES

Over the last few months, one of the things many people have been turning to during periods of isolation during the pandemic is music. Music for distraction, companionship, solace and joy. Whatever the reason, putting on a favourite album or discovering something new that pulls you in and hits the spot, intellectually or emotionally, can be a great and wonderful experience. In this series we check in with musicians, journalists and broadcasters to see what has inspired repeat listening and provided some special sounds for these strange times.

First up is Darren Cross, he of Gerling and Jep and Dep fame who has most recently been releasing solo material as D.C Cross. Under that moniker he’s created two excellent albums (Ecstatic Racquet (2019), Terabithian (2020)) that blend American Primitive guitar stylings with arcane English folk picking and immersive washes of new age-inspired drone and ambience.

Leonard Cohen – Songs of Love and Hate (1971)

When it’s cold near/in winter time, I love to listen to depressing music. I don’t know, it’s just the way it is. One year, in the coldest house I have ever lived, Jack Elias’ Chopping Board was the winter breakfast album in our Alaskan house kitchen. A local songsmith, influenced by Cohen but even bleaker than Cohen, the half Lebanese guy Elias really hits you were it hurts.

Songs of Love and Hate has been flipped on the record player many a time during this Covid time. Its weird, I watched the Cohen documentary Bird On Wire for the first time recently. It’s about a 20 date tour that ended up in Israel in the 70’s where Cohen and his band are tripping balls on LSD and he is crying during his performance of S’o Long Marianne’ – mind blowing!

The guitar on Songs of Love and Hate is astounding – highlighting what Cohen calls “his chops” – his distinct picking style. This album is tender and angry and evil all at once… and the sentiment is perfect for a heartless winter.

Trumans Water – 10X My Age EP (1993)

When I was a wee lad in the 90’s, Trumans Water really blew my mind. Hailing from San Diego around the time Pavement appeared, (before Pavement ended up sounding like the the Verve) Trumans Water were deconstructionist – dismantling pop-grunge-math-rock that sounded like Captain Beefheart playing the angriest parts of Sonic Youth but 10x angrier, while collapsing down an eternal staircase to infinity.

I bought this 10 inch as I just had to hear these songs on vinyl. I mean one song is just a lo-fi recording of the drummer trying to learn the drum beat (bit annoying) but tracks like ‘Empty Queen II’ and ‘Enflamed’ still impress the hell out of me.

I recently found a rad doco about the San Diego punk scene called It’s Gonna Blow!!! – San Diego’s Music Underground 1986-1996 – which was unfindable online until recent times. I am pretty sure the title of the film comes from the Trumans Water anthem ‘Aroma Of Gina Arnold’ which is another of my favourite Trumans songs. Hunt this down. Such a great band. The artwork of the albums was really inspirational as well, long before collage and dadaism became a hipster staple.

Liquid Mind – Liquid Mind I : Ambience Minimus (1994)

Being a restaurant DJ and working on Saturday mornings as a thrift store sorter (go through the garbage, mould, urns of dead people, to find things to sell to rich people in rich areas) was playing havoc on my sleeping patterns. DJ’ing until 3am (playing ‘Thriller’ to 20 year olds on MDMA) then getting up to work and sort through the junk was really whacking me out (so I quit the sorting job). Not being able to sleep led me to those YouTube ambient music sets of three hours of buzzing electronic drone sounds that hypnotise you into sleepy slumberland submission. Luckily for me I really love those sounds and dug a bit deeper and found Chuck Wild, the godfather of 90’s ambient music.

Chuck Wild’s Liquid Mind I : Ambience Minimus (1994) is probably my favourite and it seemed really fitting, during these Covid times, to reach for this CD and sail away on cloud Chuck.

Chuck Wild went from doing the music composition on that crazy, ground-breaking 80’s, MTV-loving TV show Max Headroom, to a nervous breakdown where he stunningly chose meditation over medication and help invent 90’s ambient music.

The first track, ‘Zero Degrees Zero’ goes for over 28 minutes and like the most of this album, creates understated wooshes of pure 90’s ecstasy drone candy. This album has made me fell less anxious in this really weird and eerie time of self-isolation.

Coffee. Sleep. Sitting on the couch. More sleep. Trying to forget I can’t travel overseas to see my friends in Europe. Play guitar. Beer. Forgetting Covid – Liquid Mind I : Ambience Minimus – Suits my many moods. Repeat. Repeat.

NEW MUSIC: George Gaudy – Mother (Reprise)

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London based Greek singer/songwriter George Gaudy has released this new track of dark, bluesy alt-rock that also draws on North Africa desert-rock and Greek folk in it’s wandering psych grooves. The song comes from his new album Little Pieces, released in April 2020.

Mother (Reprise)‘ is a loose-limbed smoky affair, brimming with sonic diversions into horn-fuelled hypnosis and blank-eyed vocal mantras, twisting and writing over seven minutes.

NEW MUSIC: Musketeer – Wolves

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German songwriter Musketeer has released this haunting slice of melancholia – folk-like with a gothic twist. It unfurls beautifully with a strong poetic bent. Described as a howling testament to a pack of wolves returning to Denmark (after not being sighted there for 200 years), this version of ‘Wolves’ is built around acoustic guitar and a synth – a much starker version that the drums-assisted previous version that was released.

NEW MUSIC: Fly My Pretties – Quiet Girl

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New Zealand collective Fly My Pretties have been a live proposition up until recently when they entered the studio to record new imaginings of tracks from their back catalogue.

The Studio Recordings Part One involved 25 contributors over a 12 month period – including Barnaby Weir (The Black Seeds) accompanied by Anna Coddington, Bailey Wiley, A Girl Named Mo, Hollie Smith, LA Mitchell (Terrible Sons), Lisa Tomlins, Adi Dick, Age Pryor, Iraia Whakamoe (The Nudge), James Coyle (The Nudge), Jarney Murphy (The Black Seeds), Laughton Kora, Mike Fabulous (Lord Echo), Nigel Patterson (The Black Seeds), Paul McLaney, Rio Hunuki-Hemopo (TrinityRoots), Ryan Prebble (The Nudge), and on this track ‘Quiet Girl’ – Samuel Flynn Scott (The Phoenix Foundation).

The song takes a smoky, late-night dreamy angle that conjures up the sound of Twin Peaks, Chris Isaak , and a distant ghostly echo of The Doors.

The Studio Recordings Part One is out now on Bandcamp and the usual streaming services.