Part two of the TVD Record Store Club’s look at the new or reissued wax presently in stores from April, 2016.
The Bevis Frond, Miasma and Inner Marshland (Fire) Through sheer prolificacy and erudition Nick Saloman’s psych unit became a fixture in the review sections of a formidable stack of late ’80s-early ’90s zines. During the period others deliberately replicated vintage ’66 (or thereabouts), but Saloman blended classicism and non-trite psych weirdness without sounding like a standard update. These ears aren’t familiar with the full Frond spectrum, but nothing meeting my acquaintance has been underwhelming; these reissues of the debut and follow-up, both from ’87, are amongst the best. A-/ A-
DNA, “You & You” b/w “Little Ants” (Superior Viaduct) The three acts comprising Superior Viaduct’s 2016 punk singles roundup, Suicide, The Fall, and DNA, all embraced the fringes over formula and represent the kind of uninhibited norm-destruction that many were (are) all too eager to dismiss or ignore. Of the three it’s the trio of Arto Lindsay (guitar-vocals), Robin Crutchfield (keys), and Ikue Mori (drums) that have retained the strongest aura of extremity. Recorded shortly before No New York this debut 45 is an undiluted hunk of No Wave racket with a barking Lindsay wrangling his axe like a champ. A
The Fall, “Bingo-Master’s Break-Out” 3-song EP and “It’s the New Thing” b/w “Various Times” (Superior Viaduct) As punk rock was expanding, straining and convulsing amid sneers, jeers, and cheers, The Fall’s debut EP and follow-up single offered an inkling of what was going to happen next. Outbursts of divergence (“Psycho Mafia,” “Bingo-Master,” “It’s the New Thing”), a manifesto (“Repetition”) and a harbinger of what was to come (“Various Times”) are now integral components in the narrative; these reissues give newcomers the opportunity to discover the essentiality as the band’s initial fans did. A+/ A
Robbie Fulks, Upland Stories (Bloodshot) Fulks’ follow-up to last autumn’s enjoyable collab with members of the Mekons (Jura, also on Bloodshot) is an absolute gem of a record. Infused with gentleness and spiked with moments of gripping intensity, this consistently beautiful document weaves country, folk, bluegrass, and even a touch of soul (hey, that’s Americana in a nutshell) into a rewardingly personal whole. Easily wipes the floor with country music’s recent pack of supposed saviors, though that’s obviously not Fulks’ intent. A