Sunday, April 7, 2013

Naïm Amor - Dansons

Naïm Amor is simply one of the most under appreciated artists, as well as guitarists, of our time. He is possibly the most stylish Frenchman living in the desert of Arizona playing live performances on any given night in a number of various dining establishments with an equally talented posse. I've been a fan of his music for years, and appreciated all of his recordings, but it wasn't until his release of 'Dansons' with Vacilando '68 Recordings that Amor marked his place in history. 'Dansons' is a timeless treasure.

Vacilando '68 Recordings really put their best foot forward with this release. With a stunning botanical cover image, and complimentary / properly delivered handwritten fonts (I really hate when people use a computer for this; thank you Naïm) that resemble the pistil of the lily-like flowers, you can anticipate the romantic qualities Amor naturally exudes, and appreciate his sensitive transmission.

The vinyl itself is a silky, buttermilk cream complexion that is quite possibly more smooth that Naïm Amor's own blend of traditional classic jazz with the most underground of indie rock; breaking and blending sonic barriers between genres decades apart. Naïm Amor is the J Mascis version of Joao Gilberto, whom inspired Martin Denny, only he's of this generation.

Thøger Lund and Mr. Howe Gelb himself from Giant Sand, as well as John Convertino of Calexico, are featured players on Naïm Amor's 'Dansons' album. Jim Waters at Waterworks, known for his work with Sonic Youth on their 'Goo' masterpiece, recorded and mixed the pièce de résistance of Amor's career.

Choice cuts are the tropically inspired "The Day After," which will have you reaching for a pitcher of Mai Tai and your Ray-Bans, "On Se Tient" and "The Other Step," appropriate for any Sunday breakfast at Tiffany's, and certainly "Sparkling Guitar," Amor's English journey into the Space Age Bachelor Pad realm.

Order Naïm Amor's 'Dansons' direct from Vacilando '68 Recordings today!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Mike Adams At His Honest Weight - Oscillate Wisely

There is something about handmade silkscreened record artwork that gets me good every time. It often accompanies music released on a more local level and/or limited run basis, and it always demonstrates a level of passion and dedication hardly ever revealed through manufactured artwork.

I can't help but relate this admiration to a foody's obsession with locally grown organic ingredients. Corporate owned restaurant chains continue to fill the bellies of the masses in the same way larger record companies thoughtlessly use the same formulas over and over for what should be creative designs. When you can simply look at carrots and see their unique flavor profile, or open a carton of multicolored eggs and know the vibrant yokes inside are going to ooze richness... that's when I can wait to drop the needle on the record to hear what awaits. It's not going to be Radiohead or Justin Timberlake, and no its not going to be that McRib sandwich that stirs up memories of youthful trips to the beach, but I can promise you it's going to push some envelopes that were left on the table that should have been opened in the first place.

This is definitely the case with Mike Adams At His Honest Weight's album 'Oscillate Wisely.' But Mike Adams has a lot more going for him than thought provoking packaging; he's a brilliant song writer, and has a handsome Mike Love (Beach Boys) -like voice (maybe not quite as high but just as silky-sweet) - best presented on "I'm Not Worried."

The cover art appears to be a picture of Mr. Adams himself, although I've opted not to GTS to confirm. St. Ives and Flannelgraph Records (split release) had a standard white record jacket (spray?) painted with silver ink on the front, and then the artwork was silkscreened with blue ink on top, with the emblem-inspired imagery.

The back cover is much more raw; as if there was a little dirt left on the carrots. Mike Adams did the handwriting and additional illustration. The record is hand-numbered, limited to 500 copies, and does come with liner notes that further explain the teamwork and responsibilities involved with crafting this prize release.

"Don't You Blanket (When That Happens)" launches side-b like the best of any Starflyer 59 album, while "It's All Been Done (You Said)" highlights Adams' understanding of vocal melodies in a way that reminiscent of Alan Sparhawk (Low); pulling from the best-of-the-best of influences.

I can't get enough of this bona fide indie rock record and Mike Adams' graceful vocals, as well as his respect of ambience. Originally released January 25, 2011... Check out 'Oscillate Wisely' over at Flannelgraph's Bandcamp.