August is going to be a slow month here at FDHQ as I soak up the last bits of summer vacation with my daughter before school starts back and try to finish up a host of music projects that have been languishing the previous few months. (Though debuts from two new duos, Country Wifi and Building Buildings are close now!) Today, a new Ajilvsga, Choker, album is released on The Jewel Garden, this one more guitar-centric than anything we’ve done since 2008’s Medicine Bull. Check it out! (and hey, consider subscribing to The Jewel Garden – you get loads of great music, and it helps keep this whole operation moving). With that, here’s an abbreviated Capsule Garden to kick off August.
Liquids Life Is Pain Idiot (Drunken Sailor)
I can’t stop listening to this record. Raw, in-your-face pyrotechnics wail from the opening bars of the blown-out wattage of “Weak.” Even at a constant speed of 100 mph, Liquids smashes some of the best hooks of 2022 into the rapid-fire bombardment. Angular grazes hit the bullseye on “More Than a Friend” while “Night Lights Went Out” ventures into jagged-edged Nikki Sudden zones. Life Is Pain Idiot gets weird, stays fun, and never lets up. Plus, “I Don’t Wanna Get To Know You” is probably my song of the year at this point. From the zigzag verses and all-time chorus, it’s been on repeat for weeks. Biggest recommendation possible.
Isabel del Bosco Undine dans l’eau (Self-Released)
Elevated energies flow through slipstreams unencumbered by time, weightless and effervescent. Ambient piano arrangements flicker with a hope beyond the horizon, emboldened by shifting waves scattering across the beach. Guitar leads levitate at sharp angles. The distance between us lessens, and the night grows stronger. Electronics pluck at star systems, hoping to find answers within the cosmos as cracks in the facade no longer hide our inner light. Isabel del Bosco opens a new path away from the eternal fires on two beguiling tracks. Undine dans l’eau is music full of promise and surprise.
Ghosts of Electricity Field Recordings 2017-2021 (Dub Cthonic)
This compilation of collaborative pieces from Michael Plater and Dean Richards is an eye-opener. As the duo explores a fertile, emotion-rich sonic palette, glassine landscapes teem with possibilities. Plater and Richards weave drama throughout these exploratory soundscapes that open up new pathways into different worlds. Resonant echoes bounce through metallic corridors, glowing on impact. Synth arrangements cause movement to stretch between liminal spaces, interconnected and billowing. This collection plays like a universe full of vastly different subspaces, each piece filling in more details. Their sound design is flawless, and the rich aural details keep this music from ever stagnating. Each subsequent listen makes this album feel more alive. Wonderful.
Tara Clerkin Trio Exquisite Corpse 1 (SA Recordings)
The incredible wonder and imagination of The Hearing Experience from SA Recordings continues with Tara Clerkin Trio’s mysterious collection of interconnected miniatures, “Exquisite Corpse 1.” Looping string arrangements stutter in the glitch before evolving into a laid-back, hazy psychedelic flow. Lofi beats become the ramshackle foundation guiding each lilting element forward. It’s a melodic delight. Tape comes off the reels, and distant piano motifs slide through a wormhole from another time before being helped back up by the return of orchestral strings. Voices detach, becoming infused with the spectral ether as a soft reminder to get out and taste the fresh air before it’s all too late. The Healing Experience is an incredible project, and “Exquisite Corpse 1” is such a fantastic trip.
Dominic Lash / Pat Thomas New Oxford Brevity (Spoonhunt)
Excellent duo recording from guitarist Lash and pianist Thomas. This untethered and restless music follows whims and electrical wires into new, sharp-edged zones. Thomas is one of my favorite piano players, and his range is on full display throughout New Oxford Brevity. One minute he’s twinkling keys lightyears away, and the subsequent subterranean excavations dig out sonic space next to the angular scrawl of Lash’s guitar. The breadth of sounds they’re playing with is incredible, and there’s an enticing discordance in the interplay between their respective tonal palettes. Lash will start with a quickfire deconstruction of familiar scales before veering into scratch-and-slash cacophony while Thomas pulls a crystallized ballet from the keys. Great stuff.
Luke Schneider Presents Imaginational Anthem vol. XI: Chrome Universal – A Survey of Modern Pedal Steel (Tompkins Square)
A pedal steel compilation is something the world definitely needs, and when it’s assembled by one of the best around, Luke Schneider, then I’m all ears. Imaginational Anthem Vol. XI features pieces from a host of star players. Schneider’s cut, “Yosemite,” treads in whimsical streams while the great Susan Alcorn opens up new, multidimensional spaces on “Gillmor Blue.” Maggie Bjorklund’s “Lysglimt” is full of fantastic dichotomies, stomping through the underbelly while piercing the night veil with high-frequency explorations. There’s a timeless feeling woven deep in the bones of Barry Walker Jr.’s “I Will Tread Upon the Lion and the Cobra,” and Will Van Horn sends us off with the sweet lament of “Attwater.” This is easily one of my favorite installments in the Imaginational Anthem series.
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