Timo Andres, Home Stretch The second album from young pianist and composer Timo Andres bursts with creativity, vaulting over the divide between conservative and radical, past and future. His piece Home Stretch accelerates through three uninterrupted parts, with his pulsing piano surging and relaxing amid meticulous chamber arrangements. In a dramatic segue, he follows it with Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 26 (aka Coronation), adding dazzling left-hand figures (which Mozart never completed). The album closes with Andres's Paraphrase on Themes of Brian Eno, a luminous, spectral collage of Eno's ambient music.
Orlandivo, Orlandivo Orlann Divo, who started out drumming with bossa nova keyboardist and bandleader Ed Lincoln in the early 60s, cut three solid second-tier bossa and samba records that decade. He resurfaced as Orlandivo on this self-titled 1977 disc, which makes plain his debt to Jorge Ben's samba-soul: "Um Abraço no Bengil" both namechecks Ben and quotes from "Mas Que Nada." The music isn't original, but it's fantastic.
Michael Hurley & Pals, Armchair Boogie Most of Michael Hurley's work has been reissued, but 1971's Armchair Boogie and its follow-up, Hi Fi Snock, have lain dormant till now. I prefer the former, if only for "The Werewolf," which Cat Power covered on You Are Free. His alchemical blend of indelible melodies, American roots music, and twisted humor was building to its peak—Have Moicy!, a 1976 LP with the Holy Modal Rounders. All Hurley's records are great, but these are really great.
Peter is curious what's in the rotation of …
Lonnie Holley, Just Before Music Lonnie Holley's music makes me feel like the little girl in the rowboat from the opening scenes of the magnificent film The Night of the Hunter. She and her brother drift slowly downstream, utterly alone in the world, mesmerized by fear and wonder at what they may find on the high banks of the river that enclose them.
Molly Drake, Molly Drake Simple, unadorned recordings of voice and piano, Molly Drake's songs are life lessons delivered in brief sound bites. Molly is the mother of Nick Drake, and it's clear Nick was heavily influenced by his mother's dark, gentle musical musings on the constancy of our universal aloneness—and on its only antidotes, the elusive forces of love and happiness. She never intended her music for public consumption; it's certainly lucky for us that her husband, dabbling with early amateur magnetic-recording technology in the 50s, decided to tape it.
Old Baby, Love Hangover Louisville must put something in its water that produces bands who make music that's filled with urgency despite moving as slowly as chilled molasses pours. I think Freakwater may be the only group in existence that plays things slower live. Heavy psych-rock band Old Baby drank that water while making their newest batch of tunes, Love Hangover. For the past week I've found that this album pairs perfectly with a twilight drive north on I-90 as it crosses the Calumet River.
Janet is curious what's in the rotation of …
The Focus Group, Elektrik Karousel The Focus Group is one of the projects on the roster of English record label Ghost Box. Like many of his labelmates, Julian House of the Focus Group collages 60s British soundtracks, found sound, and library tapes to make a kind of music that's both otherworldly and eerily familiar—the latter particularly if you happened to grow up in England in the 70s watching bizarre children's television.
Mike Auldridge, Dobro I had no idea when I bought this album how much I'd love it. The initial spark that led me to it was a desire to learn about the Dobro players who other Dobro players were listening to, and Mike Auldridge from the Seldom Scene came highly rated. When he put out this solo record in 1972, he seems to have been an anachronism—his versions of "Killing Me Softly" and "Greensleeves" were way outside the bluegrass canon—but his playing is beautifully lyrical and filled with humor.
Various artists, Bollywood Bloodbath Because I've spent entire months of my life listening to Bollywood soundtracks and music from horror films, when this amazing compilation came out I got the feeling that the Finders Keepers label had made it specifically for my benefit. The selections span 50 years and feature Bollywood heavy hitters such as R.D. Burman as well as plenty of composers I hadn't heard of. To get the full effect, try listening to it at 3 AM in a van whilst trying to find the hotel you booked in Van Horn, Texas.