Part two of the TVD Record Store Club’s look at the new or reissued wax presently in stores for June, 2016.
NEW RELEASE PICK: Spain, Carolina (Glitterhouse/ Diamond Soul) For his sixth LP as Spain, Josh Haden cites a turn toward Americana/alt-country, and that’s indeed a tangible thing; check the pedal steel-infused “In My Hour” for evidence. But along the way the style branches out farther than one might expect, with “Apologies” providing a highlight through assured soulfulness of voice. In no way has Haden forsaken his established “slowcore” direction, so those digging the old stuff should like this just fine. But neither is he stuck in a holding pattern, and he’s got Danny Frankel and his sister Petra on board. A-
REISSUE PICK: The Scenics, In the Summer (Studio Recordings 1977-1978) (Dream Tower) Highly worthwhile collection of Toronto-based punk-friendly melodic-rock that’s intermittently injected with an era-appropriate nervousness nearer to Ubu than The Feelies. A lot of these late ’70s punkish reissues present bands best suited as local openers for out-of-town headliners, and that’s cool. However, The Scenics were strong enough that had circumstances been different they could’ve toured the continent’s clubs. This album came out in 2015, but it’s getting a fresh push through Light in the Attic. A-
Ben Lukas Boysen, Spells (Erased Tapes) Merging programmed piano pieces with live instrumentation, specifically drums, cello, and harp, Boysen’s second album (at least under his own name, he’s got a bunch more as an electronic producer under the moniker HECQ) should appeal to those with a minimalist inclination, though it consistently avoids the pitfall of background. First single “Golden Times 1” combines an electronic aura with a chamber classical vibe, while “Nocturne 4” works up a sturdy rock-ish beat connections to Boysen’s previous album. Consider me intrigued. B+
James Brown & His Famous Flames, Try Me (Rumble) This is Syd Nathan using Brown’s follow-up hit to “Please Please Please” as a potential sales hook, and the results basically document the bandleader in search of a consistent sound. Try Me is dominated by straight R&B, excursions into rawer blues and unsurprisingly given the nature of the title cut, shades of doo wop; a few strands of formative soul do emerge in the mix. With a few exceptions this isn’t classic Brown, yet the selections still cohere into a strong whole in part because the tunes haven’t been overplayed. It’s a vivid snapshot of 1959. B+