Sunday, March 6, 2016

CD Review: Corwin Bolt and the Wingnuts: Screwloose

CD Review: Corwin Bolt and the Wingnuts: Screwloose

Listening to Corwin Bolt and the Wingnuts latest release, Screwloose, is like tuning-in to a haunting AM radio station on a summer night where the grass is blue and you are happy lost on the backroads of a 1930s Appalachian Dream. Bob Wills, Hank Williams and Stephen Foster are conjured forth. Bolt’s voice aches and moans with his resonating steel guitar like a strange attractor, owl-wing flutter towards a Blood Moon, at once comfortable and unsettling in its authenticity and rawness. Josh Britton’s slapping bass and Tim Long’s percussive tapping raising up the ghosts of Johhny Cash’s Tennessee Two: somewhere Marshall Grant is smiling. Dancing over it all, like musical lightning melting is Jeremy Sher’s sweet sweet fiddle playing. Every track on the album is fine, a cauldron of inventive original themes such as Made of Metal and Mile After Mile mixed with traditionals that reach out from the depths of the the collective American unconscious. The Gillian Welch song, Winters Come and Gone is given a new and remarkable reading as the involuted elements of the song are turned outwards into the willful convictions of the traditional John Henry. Likewise, the Stephen Foster tune, Angeline the Baker is fused with the dark energy of the fiddle reel, Soldier’s Joy. Corwin Bolt and the Wingnuts perform a New-Time Music, dressing the bones of Old-Time Music in a fresh and mysterious skin; creating a thing of beauty, harmony and sorrowful joy.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

EP Review: Spider Ferns: Safety

The Spider Ferns new EP Safety unfolds seductively in your mind, laying down layer after layer of resonate musical reference, from trance to surf, jazz to dreampop - music simultaneously bright and shining new and yet as ancient as a fireside dream lullaby. The marriage of music between Kelly and Alton Fleek as The Spider Ferns has created a series of epiphanic sonic landscapes filled with poetic fragments and evocative musical atmospheres. The first track, Stronger Still, sets out with Alton’s fused-out tribal rhythms, icy guitar riffs, and Kelly’s voice like that of deep memory, reverberated and reminding: “When you turn the key.” The next track, Safety, has an elegant clock-like complexity, jazz-inflected guitar over a series of vocal questions that answer themselves in the beauty of Kelly’s asking. The hypnotic and seductive, Worlds Without Fail, with it’s Bauhaus meets Angelo Badalamenti echoes, an opium dream of a surf guitar, is one of the strongest tracks on the EP - entrancing as a ghost. The final track, In Violet Bloom (featuring Audiosapian), has intricate rhythms alchemized with sparse musical phrases and luminous vocals. The five songs on this EP are all beauties, as solid and multi-faceted as diamonds. The Spider Ferns music is music you fall into like a dream, where time and your presence dissolve into a transcendent beauty.

This review original appeared in What's Up! Magazine