natural child

Natural Child play rock ‘n’ roll music, have for a while now, and are good at it. “Now and Then” drops you right into their stellar forthcoming LP, Okey Dokey, a record that’ll make ya wanna sway, scream, serenade and stumble. You don’t need sub-genres, qualifiers, comparisons, caveats or i/allusions; just ears, a heartbeat, and some of whatever it is that gets through the day and/or night. words / b kramer

Natural Child :: Now And Then


Since her Mississippi Records debut in 2011, Marisa Anderson has established herself as one our finest, most distinctive solo guitar players. She’s one of those musicians who can stop you in your tracks with just a handful of notes. Her latest, however, takes a more widescreen, cinematic approach — indeed, Into The Light was apparently written as ” the soundtrack to an imaginary science-fiction western film” set in the Sonoran Desert. The album may not have the the visuals to go along with it, but the compositions here definitely fit nicely next to such dusty classics as Bruce Langhorne’s Hired Hand soundtrack or Dylan’s Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid. Over her unmistakable electric guitar work, Anderson layers pedal and lap steel and electric piano, creating a gorgeous, haunting atmosphere. Previously, much of her work had been improvisational, but this more measured approach suits the guitarist just fine. Into The Light is a luminous and lovely thing, and a promising new direction for a major talent.  words / t wilcox


Haley Fohr is primarily known for her project Circuit des Yeux, an experimental pop vehicle propelled by Fohr’s distinct vocals and dramatic, operatic lens. An intriguing artist, she’s doubled down with her new project, Jackie Lynn, out now via Thrill Jockey. A concept album recorded in collaboration with Cooper Crain of Chicago’s Bitchin Bajas and CAVE, the record is centered on a fictional titular character, a debutante runaway, known for her lavish parties. On the lam from the cops, the only evidence Lynn leaves of her existence are scant traces of cocaine and this enigmatic LP.

A quote from Lynn reads: “I’ve always been the source of action. My mom didn’t even make it to the hospital before I decided to come into this world. She had to lie right down on the sidewalk in front of Rolling Hills Hospital as doctors hovered around to help. It was storming that morning, and right as I was coming into the world a bolt of lighting fell from the sky, striking my mother right in the belly. They say I shot out of her like a bullet from a gun, right into oncoming traffic.”

The musical and conceptual results are intoxicating – a late-night narcotic pulse bordering on hypnotic bliss. Fohr’s deep, androgynous croon brings to mind contemporaries such as Ela Orleans, Daughn Gibson, Molly Nilsson, and the equally enigmatic (and missing!) John Maus.

There’s some Suicide in there, too, and on album highlight “Chicken Picken,” a taste of Waylon, Wanda, the Velvets, Lee Hazlewood, and a whole slew of other gold-hearted sinners. In a way, it feels like a sort of spiritual sequel to “I’m Waiting for The Man,” offering a glance from the other side, as Lynn boasts: “90 bucks a gram/daddy wont every understand how I’m living so good…cause I got freedom in a bag/party starts at 8/don’t worry about a date,” while keeping her geographical dialect intact: “Up north/downtown, the only real deal is in the South Side/come on and take a ride.”

But in Fohr’s world, nothing’s black and white, let alone a pure hedonistic fantasy. A deeper, more ambiguous cloud forms as Lynn asks: “Is the moon singing a tune, are the stars singing along or did I just step into the room?”

Is she addressing herself, us…or no one in particular. We find ourselves in the midst of an existential tunnel, an outlaw tale of self-reflection. It comes as no surprise that, in her recent reflection on Terry Allen’s Juarez for The Talkhouse, Fohr asks: “Are we aimlessly searching —- or are we following the thread?” The road Jackie takes to answer that question is one worth following her down. words / c depasquale


My friend Sebastian turned me on to this record yesterday, cold, with no editorial save “listen”. Glad I did. Turns out David Nance is a musician from Omaha with a record, More Than Enough, coming out in the states soon via badabing records. Home recorded, no fuss. Turn it up.

David Nance :: Pure Evil


Last June when we wrote about Whitney, there were just a few sounds wafting around the ether online. Fast forward a year and they have a full length out, Light Upon The Lake, via Secretly Canadian. The sum of its parts feels more associated with various late 70s private-press issues than anything released via the principal’s former outfits (Smith Westerns, Unknown Mortal Orchestra). The below, a brief side 2 instrumental trumpet interlude, feels just right within the album’s framework. And while it plays well with others, it works real nice alone, too.

Whitney :: Red Moon


After 30 years of Monkees reunions, the group has delivered a new album that captures the rollicking nature and aesthetic of their classic ’60s recordings. As a lifelong fan, I’ve spent a whole lot of time defending my fandom of this group; it’s an oft told tale of their manufactured origins, but unlike most other examples of this phenomenon, The Monkees (project) brought together four incredibly talented, charming, and charismatic fellas whose legacy is still enjoyed fifty years later.

Repeating the successful formula of the best Monkees albums, Good Times pairs songs from a diverse pool of songwriters alongside contributions from the group’s members. It works beautifully. As an album, it manages to sound both rooted in the zeitgeist of the mid ’60’s and contemporary all at once.

Kicking off with Harry Nilsson’s excellent title track (itself demo’ed for the Monkees, and released on a relatively obscure Pre-RCA Nilsson LP and single), Micky Dolenz duets with his old friend Harry’s spirit in a way that works without seeming exploitative. Ditto the cameo appearance from the late Davy Jones; he’s heard here on a remixed outtake from ’67 (“Love To Love”) that was probably his finest unreleased Monkees era track. XTC’s Andy Partridge brilliantly captures the spirit of the group in his brilliant “You Bring The Summer”, in which Dolenz shows off his still-excellent vocal chops. “Gotta Give It Time” is a choice mod pop number written by bubblegum maestros Jeff Barry and Joey Levine, and “Whatever’s Right” was penned by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, who were the initial, official songwriters and producers of the group, responsible for their first hit, “Last Train To Clarksville”.


We’ve used a lot of words to describe Steve Gunn’s unbroken streak of excellent records over the past few years, but I’m not sure if “fun” has been one of them. But that’s the word that keeps coming to mind when spinning the singer-songwriter’s latest, Eyes on the Lines, his Matador debut. Not that Gunn has gone and made an Archies record or anything; just that the buoyant guitar work, crisp rhythms and overall bright feel of the LP sound like a guy (and his bandmates) reveling in the pure joy of music-making. Recorded at Jason Meagher’s Black Dirt Studio (AKA Where Most Good Records Are Made These Days), this is by far Gunn’s poppiest, most accessible effort yet — there’s an endless supply of catchy, breezy riffs here. But there remains a questing vibe and a restlessness that keeps the songs razor sharp, unpredictable … and yeah, totally fun.

Gunn may have been concentrating on the more straightforward songwriter aspect of his career the past few years, but Three Lobed Records’ reissue of the two Gunn-Truscinski Duo records, now handily packaged as a killer double LP, is a powerful reminder of his more expansive, improvisatory skills. Taken as a whole, these albums are an absolute marvel of telepathic instrumental interplay, with Gunn and drummer John Truscinski alternately locked in and zoned out, calling to mind the classic, similarly styled duets of Sandy Bull and Billy Higgins. Both Sand City (2010) and Ocean Parkway (2012) are essential — if you haven’t checked ’em out yet, prepare for liftoff. words / t wilcox

Related: Steve Gunn :: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview


Our weekly two hour show on SIRIUS/XMU, channel 35, can be heard twice every Friday – Noon EST with an encore broadcast at Midnight EST.

SIRIUS 435: Jean-Michel Bernard – Générique Stéphane ++ Cotton Jones – Blood Red Sentimental Blues ++ Dungen – L.A. (Wil Malone) ++ Dungen – Alberto Balsalm (Aphex Twin) ++ Dungen – Franks Kaktus ++ Ryan Sambol – A Human Being ++ Krano – Mi E Ti ++ Jennifer Castle – Powers ++ Steve Gunn – Wildwood ++ Ryley Walker – On The Banks of The Old Kishwaukee ++ Joan Shelley – Over And Even ++ Meg Baird – Counterfeiters ++ Kurt Vile – He’s Alright ++ Norma Tanega – You’re Dead ++ Jessica Pratt – Back, Baby ++ John Hulburt – The Freak On The Black Harley ++ Bonnie “Prince” Billy – You Remind Me Of Something (The Glory Goes) ++ Kim Jung Mi – Your Dream ++ Yo La Tengo – Deeper Into Movies ++ Cass McCombs – Big Wheel ++ Chris Cohen – Optimist High ++ Here We Go Magic – Tunnelvision ++ Ryley Walker – Primrose Green ++ Loose Fur – Answers To Your Questions ++ Amen Dunes – Spirits Are Parted ++ Kevin Morby – Harlem River ++ The Everly Brothers – I Wonder If I Care As Much (reduxe version) ++ Sandy Denny – Late November ++ Bill Fay – Omega Day ++ Ian Matthews – Seven Bridges Road ++ Silver Jews – I’m Getting Back Into Getting Back Into You

*You can listen, for free, online with the SIRIUS three day trial — just submit an email address and they will send you a password.

As with any artist whose career spans more than several LPs (let alone 30-plus) it’s often difficult to pick a peak. That said, there is little doubt that 1973 featured Van Morrison at one of his highest of his highs. With numerous hits under his belt, some flops, and some good and bad times ahead, he set out across America and England with as powerful a set as any band could claim at the time.

The expanded It’s Too Late to Stop Now proves the original (now Volume I) was hardly a one-off in terms of the quality of the performances therein. That release was seemingly a live Greatest-Hits-Til-Now with some other bangers mixed in; Volumes 2, 3, 4 and their accompanying DVD prove that the three-month tour was one massive highlight and a mere sampling of what Morrison, and the Caledonia Soul Orchestra, could do.

The forty years in-between its original release and present day have muddied the context of It’s Too Late To Stop Now, an album from a promotional tour in advance of Hard Nose The Highway. Morrison is decidedly Irish in popular context, but his first ten years as a solo artist were almost entirely spent in America – New York and Northern California to be exact. The band for Hard Nose, like It’s Too Late, was entirely American. The aloof, or otherness, that Morrison has become known for was an entirely new concept to him in 1973 – a dynamic performer that had become introverted, scared in many ways of the scope of his own success.