Emma Ruth Rundle & Jaye Jayle – The Time Between Us

errnjjCollaboration / split releases can be a hit and miss affair, but when they work well, they are a joy to behold. They’re even better when they introduce someone to you who you wasn’t familiar with and now glad you are.

For me, that is Jay Jayle, which is not the name of the person but the entire outfit. Research tells me that this is the project of one Evan Patterson of the Young Widows.

This collaboration came about because both artists had songs leftover from their most recent releases, and decided to combine them onto a split release. Although they have different styles, said styles complement each other well. Emma Ruth Rundle’s songs are highly personal and emotionally charged, with a very late night feel to them. She’s really hard to put a label on and doesn’t really sound like anyone else that I’m aware of, and that’s a good thing. Jay Jayle is a more rootsy, alt-country-blues affair that likes to repeat the groove throughout the tune, reminding most of all of Little Axe, albeit without the samples, and that also is a good thing.

I had intended to do a post on Emma Ruth Rundle’s Some Heavy Ocean last year, but didn’t because it was such an interesting year (which I realise doesn’t tell you anything, but hey ho). Let it be known, however, that the album comes with a hearty recommendation. It contains some great tunes; the lady clearly knows her way around a song.

 

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Horseback – Dead Ringers

hbdrJenks Miller brings us the first Horseback release since the really rather good ‘Piedmont Apocrypha.’ Dead Ringers sees a natural evlution in the Horseback sound, which is to say, he’s carrying on down the road that he was going down.

What this means in practical terms is that the rifftastic, droney, atmospheric, groovy, noisy mashup that is Horseback continues to be a rifftatstic, droney, atmospheric, groovy, noisy mashup. He’s kept his vocals exclusively clean this time out, which I think works for the better. There’s also quite the sonic crossover with one of his other projects, Jenks Miller & Rose Cross NC, lending proceedings an alt-country air.

Listening to it last night again I was reminded mainly of the wonderful Appliance, who probably fitted few of the descriptors I used previously – it may have been partly the crystal clean production (a feature of all Horseback recordings), partly the drum machines which feature on the early parts of the album. The night before I found myself thinking of Julian Cope, particularly on the tune most likely to have slotted onto his earliest releases, In Another Time, In and Out of Form. Before that it was the HP Lovecraft band from the late ’60s. It is entirely possible that this album will remind me of a different artist every time.

There is a minor imperfection in that the last tune is about 6 minutes too long for my money; he could have kept the post-dubstep experimentation down to a mere 10 minutes and it would have been fine! But this is an otherwise minor quibble, as this is otherwise my favourite Horseback album.

Creech Holler – The Shovel and the Gun

 

crehol   This was probably my favourite album of 2008. Probably. I don’t honestly have an exhaustive list of albums released in 2008, and I’m not sure I’ve got round to listening to all of them yet anyway.

This is lo-fi shit-kickin back porch electrified alt-country gospel blues at its rawest and finest. They do versions of standards like John the Revelator and The Cuckoo, but they also write some cracking tunes of their own too, such as Devil’s Eyes and The Color of Bone.

Because there doesn’t seem to be a page where you can listen to the whole album, I’m going to find you some YouTubes. Unlike the other day, I doubt I can find the whole album…

Raymond Lee:

Devil’s Eyes:

Jeff Zentner did an acoustic version of this on this album

John the Revelator:

Live version of The Cuckoo:

Live version of When the Temptor Calls:

 

I think you can listen to all the album at Last FM, but I think you may also need a spotify account which is a new restriction and yet another reason to pay it less attention, as I no have that account and nor am I likely to get one. Also, I’m on an enquiry desk again so I can’t actually test it.

Creech Holler don’t seem to have released anything further since this album, their preceding work With Signs Following, was very nearly as good. Jeff Zentner’s solo stuff is much more mellow, being predominantly acoustic.

Gram Rabbit

My favourite thing about time passing is when an artist you liked a while back but haven’t kept track of turns out not to have stopped just because I stopped paying attention. Item: on the mix cd in my car came on ‘Devil’s Playground’ by the wonderfully fun Gram Rabbit,  a piece of very high quality songwriting from a seriously good album, Music to Start a Cult to.  ‘Damn, I love that tune,’ I said to myself, and not for the first time, so off I trotted to the internets to find out what Jesika von Rabbit and Todd Rutherford have been up to since I last paid them attention.

gramrabbitThey have not been idle, and the good news is, they’re still bloody good.

I should first warn you that this is fun, first and foremost. Why do I have to warn people when music is fun? THAT is screwed up. Anywho, it is shit-eating grin levels of fun to my ears. Mixtures of Electro-rock, alt-country, psych-pop, western-music, and a bloody large sense of humour. Their version of ‘Song 2’ is outrageously good. But so is their own songwriting, and this is why they get to smear a sense of humour all over their music and still have you want to listen to more, and to listen to it again. Just because someone has a smile on their face is no reason to believe they don’t take what they do seriously.

So I bought the digital download of Braised & Confused (embedded below) and am going to check out their other post 2007ish output in good order, although it looks like I’ll have to order the CDs of some of it if I like it as much as I like that, as I really don’t like itunes.