The TVD Record Store Club’s look at the brand new wax presently in stores for December, 2016.
NEW RELEASE PICK: Virginia Wing, Forward Constant Motion (Fire) Alice Merida Richards and Sam Pillay currently shape-up Birmingham, UK’s Virginia Wing, the pair deserving commendation for crafting an experimental-leaning strain of electro-pop lacking in cliché if not familiarity; the whole continues to radiate as an extension of Broadcast or to a lesser extent Stereolab as the motorik element found on last year’s Measures of Joy has essentially vacated the premises with drummer Sebastian Truskolaski. “Grapefruit” has been chosen as the LP’s first single, and it’s an exquisite entryway into their sound. A-
REISSUE PICK: OST, Chinatown (Cinewax) Jerry Goldsmith remains amongst cinema’s most distinguished composers. That he wrote and recorded this soundtrack for Roman Polanski’s masterwork in just ten days (after producer Robert Evans nixed the efforts of Phillip Lambro) only reinforces his stature; it’s probably (though arguably) Goldsmith’s finest achievement. Scoring a neo-noir from the midst of the New Hollywood era, this embodies, stains against, and breaks completely with narrative filmic norms as the period-enhancing pop standards are flawlessly executed. The result is 31 minutes of brilliance. A+
Asteroid, III (Fuzzorama) This Örebro Sweden-based trio fits rather snuggly into a heavy psych/ stoner rock mold, but unlike many of their contemporaries they’re handy with a song. Guitarist Robin Hirse’s deft melodic touch, apparent from the lead slide in opener “Pale Moon,” helps to elevate this beyond mere riff motion, but fans of that tactic will still find satisfaction, especially in “Wolf & Snake” and “Them Calling” as both tracks are loaded with textures underlining their relationship with Fuzzorama. The vocals are emotive (with harmonies, even) but they mostly avoid lessening the overall value. B+
Jon Camp, Stifled Hair-Trigger (Self-released) 2016 has been a lousy year by any metric, but the proliferation of prime-grade Guitar Soli has helped to keep the horrors and anguish somewhat at bay; those who can’t get enough experimental-tinged fingerpicking should consider investigating this Washington, DC-based practitioner’s full-length debut. Camp also indulges in bit of instrumental post-rock on the latter portion of the set; my lingering impression is that the stylistic expansion isn’t an improvement, but neither is it terribly detrimental. “Christian, the World is Yours” is a standout. B
Cat-Iron, Sings Blues and Hymns (Exit Stencil) Excellent reissue of the only recordings by Natchez, Mississippi singer-guitarist William Carradine as released in 1958 by Folkways. Cat-Iron wasn’t a nickname but a mishearing of his surname by rediscoverer Frederic Ramsey, Jr., and as the title indicates the record is cleaved between blues and spirituals. Continuity is established through potent vocalizing and string work, reminiscent at times of Son House, so gospel-blues fans shouldn’t hesitate to grab a copy. Only 500 have been pressed, on yellow vinyl like the original. A-