The NBTMusic Review 142

review 143

The Random Playlist Experiment

Older Reviews (1 – 123) can be found here

So I thought I would try something different, Take three very talented, very different artists, throw all their new songs into a folder and let my player spit out the music at will, and I will attempt to convey my emotional, my sensual, my heart’s response to what hits me, and for three tracks from each artist I shall discover what private movies are created, what memories are triggered. I shall leave the technical dissection for other worthy critics; they have my permission, to conduct strenuous autopsies upon the verse and chorus of each song.

The three albums I will listen to are:

Monsters by Dudley Saunders (Strange Troubadours)

Tokyo’s Fifth – Tokyo Rosenthal (Rock and Sock Records)

Long Way Home – Max Carmichael (Independent Release)

So as a famous pair of lips once said in a cult film one dark rainy night, ‘’let’s get to it boppers’’

The first track up is Rosenthal’s ‘’What Did I Used To be’’ a reflective dark start to the proceedings.  3AM fragile where sunrise seems a lifetime away, and the hope that kept the younger man going seems in short supply. What surprises is how gentle this is, perhaps this is how depression hits us not with blunt force, but cloaked in sweet melody.

Saunder’s ‘’ What Rats Are We’’ stays in that temperamental time zone,  part of the night where time slows to a crawl, but this is  jazz romantic, neon sign reflected in puddle moody, kinda hip as the ghosts of Marlon Brando and Miles Davis are evoked. These too are lost men, but watch for the proud tilt of the head, the small wicked smile.

And so we leave the street and enter a packed club, An impossibly cool band whose members all look like Max Carmichael are playing on a tiny cramped stage, the song is, ‘’ Yellow Mud’’, we think of the Beatles, but not in Hamburg, rather in CBGBs, Jonathan Richman looks on and takes notes, a yuppie in the corner is loudly demanding a coloured drink, perhaps because his girlfriend is paying too much attention to the band.

Speaking of the Beatles, Tokyo takes back control of their ‘’Helter Skelter’’ but with none of the affectation of U2. This is country fiddle joyful, recalling a glorious time in the mid 70s when the American charts were full of country rock boogie, sing along anthems devoid of guile, you know, like when the Doobie Brothers were NOT slick, NOT polished, and there wasn’t a genre called adult contemporary.

Carmichael’s ‘’Plateau’’ comes skipping in, keeping the party vibe going, Everly Brothers overdosed on Paul Simon sanctioned subliminal afro rhythms, the singer enjoying the insecurity of sunshine through clouds,  we feel we are on a roundabout ,things become a pleasant blur, tension and giggles in equal measure.

Dudley Saunders brings back the fear, but oh how tactile, stirring seductive he makes it, in ’’ The Man In The Game’’ we cuddle up nervous next to one of his curiously broken characters, find an understanding for the approaching horror, glory in the detachment, this is how nightmares should be written, not with screeches and bombast, but rather with a slightly dangerous empathy.

Rosenthal’s ‘’Waste Of A Heart’’ with its traditional Oprey feel, and shy lilting harmonies from Andrea Connolly, makes us wish that Leonard Cohen, had written more Country songs. Regret and acceptance he moves out towards the dawn at last

In ‘’Zero Out (In These Boxes) ‘’ by Dudley Saunders,  we discover how memories can trap the soul, how powerful inanimate objects can be, as if they are magic, that just by looking at them, taking them out of that box in the attic or the top of the cupboard, they bestow the not  completely welcome gift of time travel. This for me is the most personal track on this album and all the more beautiful for it.

And finally we head down into Max Carmichael’s ‘’Rifted Valley.’’ What amazes me here is suddenly we are no longer in the artist’s beloved New York post Punk Loft dreamscape, but somewhere deep in that intellectual alt Americana that folks like Andrew Bird inhabit. It is fitting that this is the last song of this random journey, because the music is epic, growing, dense and like all that we have heard today, full of ideas, but never disregarding the raw emotion of it all.

Find out more from these artists right here:

http://www.tokyorosenthal.com/tokyo_rosenthal/home.html

http://www.dudleysaunders.com/index.php

http://www.maxcarmichael.com/

And you can hear LOADS of tracks from these three albums on the NBTMusicRadio 24 hour stream

http://nbtmusicradio.playtheradio.com/
TuneIn (for Windows Phone, Blackberry and Android):NBTMusicRadio

iTunes: Click on ‘Advanced’ then ‘Open Stream’

and paste: http://listen.radionomy.com/nbtmusicradio.m3u

or search Under ‘radios’ /’eclectic’

stream thru your Media Player: http://listen.radionomy.com/nbtmusicradio.m3u

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The NBTMusic Review 141

Older Reviews (1 – 123) can be found here

Child Of Ancestors – Sarah Jane Mary Hills (Sjambok Music)

Written by Jacobus Rossouw aka 88KOS

Every month, I read every music magazine and website and blog end to
end. It’s a search for albums that are personal, stripped of ego,
beautiful and honest. On my twitter account I ask questions, hoping
that the crowd will source these beautiful albums for me… And every
so often I’ll come across Warpaint or a rare perfection like Mountain
Man’s “Made the Harbour”, but more often than not I’m disappointed by
the anodyne starch that is served up as music so regularly.

Then, out of the blue I see a post about Sarah Jane Mary Hills’ new
album, Child of Ancestors, on NBT’s Facebook feed. I loved the work
she did with Sunways and so it was an easy decision to buy the album
immediately from her bandcamp site. After listening to the opening 5
seconds I was hooked, and when NBT Music Radio asked me to do a review
I jumped at the chance.

This is a rare album, so deeply honest and personal that it’s an act
of courage (and perhaps catharsis) to release it to the public. The
arrangement is simple and the production sparse, and combines with
introspective lyrics to produce an intimacy that is arresting and
inspiring.

Though this is a solo album the collaboration with the Legendary
Warrick Sony in terms of the final product is worth mentioning. Hills
and Sony have worked together before with Hills contributing vocals to
two Kalahari Surfers albums – One Party State
(http://kalaharisurfer.bandcamp.com/album/one-party-state) and the
recent Agitprop (http://kalaharisurfer.bandcamp.com/). For this album,
Hills recorded the vocals and guitar before sending the songs to Sony
to add final musical touches after which he did the final mix and
mastering.

Sony’s genius is that his contribution is light and sensitive thereby
adding to the album’s haunting beauty. The layered vocals and the
simple guitar figures against a background of sweeping soundscape is a
trip into someone’s soul.

Hills’ writing is superb, never over the top and never straying from a
sound that suits the album’s themes. The subject matter is sometimes
emotionally tough but ultimately leaves this listener with hope and a
sense of peace. This may make it sound like a “difficult” album but it
is extremely accessible and you will find yourself humming the songs
long after listening.

This is not an album for anyone that is fond of aggresive posturing or
frivolous pap, but for those who appreciate simplicity and beauty it
is a rare find and I encourage you to make your way to Hills’ bandcamp
site with your credit card ready.
(http://sarahjanemaryhills.bandcamp.com/). Child of Ancestors is
another superb Sjambok Music release and while you’re in a buying mood
make sure to check out other albums released by one of SA’s finest
labels at http://www.sjambokmusic.com

Tracks from this cool album can be heard all over the 24 hour stream that is the NBTMusicRadio

http://nbtmusicradio.playtheradio.com/
TuneIn (for blackberry and android):NBTMusicRadio

iTunes: Click on ‘Advanced’ then ‘Open Stream’

and paste: http://listen.radionomy.com/nbtmusicradio.m3u

stream thru your Media Player: http://listen.radionomy.com/nbtmusicradio.m3u