Listed: Currituck Co. + Erik Friedlander
Currituck Co. is one Mr. Kevin W. Barker of New York City. An ex-resident of Washington DC, Barker is also lead guitarist in Teenbeat rockers Aden, and has a couple of solo releases on the venerable Troubleman Unlimited label.
Currituck Co. is just Kevin, his guitar and a smattering of assorted instruments. With a record collection that undoubtedly contains a few titles on the Topic, Folkways and Takoma labels, the music of Currituck Co. is subtle, haunting, intricate and deeply melodic. Barker's latest and greatest Ghost Man on First is out now Lexicon Devil. Check out his web site for more information.
1. Henry Flynt - You Are My Everlovin' (Locust) - This is a 45 minute piece of fiddle and some Indian drone instrument...similar to his "C Tune" released on Locust Music, but for some reason I like Everlovin' more. Maybe it's just the better title. Anyway, it's 45 minutes of hillbilly raga bliss, like the kind of sound some ancient mountain man trapped on the moon would use to communicate with distant South Indian space aliens.
2. Gene Clark - White Light (A&M) - So I'm on this Yahoo Group called Bruton Town which is dedicated to geeky psychedelic folk music, and one day a guy asked "What is some other stuff that sounds like Nick Drake?" and it dawned on me that part of the reason why on first listen I often didn't recognize the true beauty of certain folk records was that they, to me at the time, didn't sound enough like Nick Drake. Because in reality I was barking up the wrong tree--I was thinking, "Nick Drake plays fingerstyle, lets look for other fingerstyle songwriters." and "Nick Drake is a 'folkie,' let's look at other folk records." Through those methods I found some great records for sure, but I always found myself disappointed on first listen because in the back on my head I was thinking, "Nope, not Nick Drake." This was back when I first started playing fingerstyle myself and writing fake Nick Drake songs, maybe around 1998. I spent a lot of time in my room playing guitar, computer solitaire (I'm not even making that up for metaphorical melodramatic effect) and listening to two things: the Nick Drake box set and Patty Waters Sings. What does this have to do with White Light? Well, though I didn't know the record at the time, I'd now add it to my list of records that have that rare, honestly and hopelessly melancholic quality that so many of those folk records made by future well-adjusted ex-hippie middle-class parents just don't have. And while Gene's a much more mature, even adult sort of melancholy than Nick's or Patty's, it's there and it's palpable.
3. Patty Waters - Sings! (Calibre)- The first half are beautiful, sad adolescent love songs with sparse, otherworldly piano arrangements. Sweet and heartbreaking. The second side is the most harrowing, banshee-slaughtering nightmare take on Nina Simone's version of "Black is the Color". Fucking unbelievable. It makes me climb the walls and want to break stuff and believe in God and in the future and past of humanity.
4. Chris Cologne - Horn (Blackberry) – I bought this based on its description in a record store, a practice that I've found gets me lousy shit 50% of the time but occasional left-field masterpieces I never would have found otherwise. Example #1: Chris Cologne's "Horn". I've never seen another copy in a store, on a list, or in anyone's collection (maybe I'm just not looking (ok, now I just looked online and saw a few copies listed for sale)). But anyway, this is comprised of 80s 4-track home recordings that sound somewhere on the same continent as Tyrannosaurus Rex, though with a similar children's song melodic sense to Devendra Banhart. Beautiful, sweet, unpretentious psychedelic acoustic pop tunes drenched in tape-hiss and reverb, reminding me also of Bro. JT's myopic otherworldliness, someone in his bedroom recording tunes because the tunes are coming and there's nothing else to do but hit record and open the doors. TO YOUR MIND.
5. Magic Carpet - s/t (Magic Carpet) - More westerners getting all eastern, this is a folk record from 1971 by an English band led by Alisha Sufit, who sings and plays guitar accompanied by dudes on sitar, tabla and electric guitar. She has a really strong voice, not at all like your Sandy Denny/Jacqui McShee-style Britfolkies....she incorporates elements of Indian vocal styles, but not really. It comes out beautiful, though. Originally on Mushroom, reissued on CD by the band.
6. Chris Thompson - s/t - Brit folkie on the Village Thing label. Great guitar playing, some raga-ish but not really using Indian scales. He enlisted the sitar/tabla dudes from Magic Carpet to great effect. He's darker and sounds in a way more contemporary than some of his contemporaries in the early 70s like Steve Tilston or Wizz Jones. This sounds to me like a record by a 20 year old prodigy, though I don't know why. For all I know he was 56 at the time. To my knowledge he didn't make anything else. This is reissued on CD by the excellent Scenescof label.
7. Steeleye Span - Hark! The Village Wait (Chrysalis) - After leaving Fairport Convention after Liege & Lief, Ashley Hutchings formed Steeleye Span with two excellent folk duos, Gay & Terry Woods & Maddy Prior & Tim Hart. The result is one of the best folk rock LPs on earth. Excellent modal banjo playing, amazing ensemble singing, sweet-ass drumming. Gay Woods & Maddy Prior have completely opposite voices that work together wonderfully.
8. The Woods Band - s/t - After leaving Steeleye Span after Hark! the Village Wait, Gay & Terry Woods formed The Woods Band and made this one fantastic record. Very much in the same general vicinity as Liege and Hark, though less traditional, with some really nice songwriting on it. The song "Dreams" always makes a lame day seem slightly less lame. Don't buy the newer reissue because apparently it was transferred from degraded master tapes and sounds like shit.
9. Orthrelm - current live set - I saw them at the Troubleman Unlimited CMJ showcase and decided that that particular set was the BEST MUSIC EVER MADE. In a variation on their previous recipe of Play Fast and Never Repeat a Riff EVER, they now Play Fast and Repeat the Same Riff Ad Absurdum, changing patterns almost in sonata-like movements, much more organically than the hyper-composed chaos of the previous records/shows. Someone at the show described it as "One long 35-minute-long TOKE." Amen.
10. Nashville West - live recordings - Among the first Clarence White electric guitar work, and I'd argue the best. It's from 1967 before he and Gene Parsons invented the B-Bender, and though I went out and bought a Bender myself, I'd still argue this stuff is better than his subsequent stuff with the Byrds. Maybe it's because he's totally unencumbered by producers, McGuinn thinking his songwriting is better than Clarence's playing, etc, this stuff has such an incredible playfulness and audacity it boggles my mind. God bless Gene Parsons for having the foresight to stick a tape deck in front of Clarence's amp and capture these fucking historic performances. Jesus Christ. This is literally the sound of genius on the playground, running free like the fucking wind, dude.
11. P.G. Six - "High Low & In Between" single (Amish) - Hurry up with that new goddamn album, Pat.
12. L'eau Froide (Olivier Assayas, 1994) - I saw this movie a month or two ago and a couple moments are indelibly etched on my mind, and it isn't even the part where Virginie Ledoyen gets naked (though, ok, I remember that too)...but really it's the part where kids are tearing any wooden parts out of this abandoned house and throwing them on a bonfire, Creedence blaring, then the camera lingers on one of the kids who trips and falls, rolling on the ground and laughing in a drunken haze, and the scene of the morning after the party, set to Nico's "Janitor of Lunacy", where the camera tracks slowly along a row of windows showing kids outside in the cold morning pissing in the woods...
13. These Trails - s/t - Almost certainly a bunch of Haoles (the Hawaiian term like "gringo") playing Hawaiian-style psychedelic folk, speaking in pigeon, with lines like "Our house in Hanalei, stay on the Maupa side, Ay-ya ay-ya, No let in the rainy day, We stuff good the Pukas!" They've got my rapt attention. Plus Margaret Morgan sounds like a stoned Korean Joni Mitchell, though I'm sure she isn't even Korean (though I'm sure she is quite stoned). An indescribably odd and impossible to categorize record.
14. 70s American Family Melodramas - Ordinary People and Kramer Vs. Kramer, where have you been all my life?
The resume of cellist Erik Friedlander is nearly as confusingly impressive as his music. In his career, Friedlander has recorded with everyone from Alanis Morissette and Courtney Love to Dave Douglass and John Zorn (for which he is perhaps best known). Friedlander's new album, Maldoror, is his first ever as a solo artist, and is entirely improvised. While Maldoror certainly falls closer to his work with the more out of his collaborations, it contains a varying melodic sense and tone that allows for shades of his eclectic history to trickle through nicely. Maldoror is now available from Brassland Records/
1. Natalia Ginzburg - Cinque Romanzi Brevi e altri racconti (BOOK) - Moving, funny stories of Italian life circa 1950. In Mio Marito a young woman describes her life with a an older man, a cold doctor who takes a lover who subsequently dies during childbirth--heartbreaking and plain spoken La Ginzburg captures the nuance and the emotion of these complicated situations without becoming maudlin.
2. Shania Twain - UP! (Mercury, CD) - Another pop confection from Twain/Lang team that I can't stop listening to. Like the Jam/Lewis team, Lang knows how to pace a song and to keep your ears occupied.
3. I Cannibali Ennio Morricone - Galileo (CD) - Gorgeous introspective sound track writing from E.M.
4. Alias (TV) - Well paced spy drama on ABC that keeps its own Cold War going.
5. SAWStudio PC Digital Audio Workstation (Software) - Practically unknown creation of Las Vegas programmer Bob Lentini that's been a part of almost every track I've released as a leader.
6. Roy Jenkins - Churchill (Book) - Bio of Winston Churchill done with enormous ease and humor.
7. "Imus In The Morning," "Mike & The Mad Dog" (Local Radio) - I listen to the radio all the time. These two shows are current favorites from my local station WFAN. On the road I bring a radio and spend too much time looking for good programs at night.
8. Damien Rice O (Vector, CD) - New to me. I like the cello and the honest feel of the recording.
9. Blake Edwards - Operation Petticoat (DVD) - Light but worth a watch for Cary Grant, Tony Curtis, excellent supporting cast and the good Blake Edwards comedic timing...not to mention the "dames."
10. Fellini - Roma (DVD) - Rich, meandering tribute to a beautiful city. Scenes of street dining and Rome at night shot from the back of a motorcycle are highlights for me.
By Dusted Magazine