Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Gregg Kowalsky - "Tape Chants" CD

Oakland, California-based drone/tone composer Kowalsky here shows a tremendous shift from his previous Kranky release, moving fully from the digital domain to purely-analogue sources. 'Tape Chants' utilizes cassette players, tape loops, oscillators, and acoustic recordings, and the hazy, gauzy sounds here are prime ambient material -- overall fairly static and (to jaded ears like mine) really quite relaxing and meditational. 'VI-VII' almost approaches a rhythmic direction, as several pitched pulse-tones (or loops) are layered together to create a rudimentary structure. 'IX' uses effected piano alongside lo-fi noises to evoke a mood of solemn nostalgia -- like a musty old photograph. The closer, 'X-XI' is closer to the noise of a furnace, insistent and jaggedly abrasive. Overall, 'Tape Chants' proves to be a curious and challenging experiment for Kowalsky, of which I'd expect greater fruits in the future. (Kranky)

Gregg Kowalsky website


Daddy - "For A Second Time" CD

Now, this is a refreshingly warm and familiar sound, as the Nashville duo of Will Kimbrough and Tommy Womack (collectively Daddy) create some mighty fine classic folk/rock/Americana with country and blues accents. 'Nobody From Nowhere' is a rootsy rock track with a laid-back vibe and masterful pop hooks, and therefore is well-chosen as the album's lead-in. But Kimbrough and Womack deliver well throughout this solid and enjoyable album. They bring in some goofiness on the old-school country lament of 'I Want To Be Clean', while 'Redemption Is The Mother's Only Son' is a more serious, low-key, and reflective lament. 'Love In A Bottle' has a well-worn swagger that's fun, catchy, and just feels, well, real. But it's not all sincere and convincing -- 'I Went To Heaven In A Dream Last Night' reminds me of those awful credit report commercials. Meh. Nonetheless, that aside, fans of anyone from Dylan to Wilco will find plenty to like about Daddy. And score some local points -- Womack used to be in Government Cheese, who played Evansville many (many) years back! (Cedar Street Records)

Daddy website