And she talks softly, sees through me, says something I can’t hear

Mutual_Benefit-3I’m struck by a number of disquieting thoughts as I make this post. Back in the day, most of the stuff I wrote about was what you’d broadly call Americana-based records – slow tempo, pensive, somewhat rootsy. If you had beards and/or played banjos, you were in, my friend.

Fast forward seven or eight years, and the preconditions for a plug on Partly Porpoise can now be said to centre on being either infectious and Latin-based (in some form or other) or straight up bonkers psychedelic. Along the way, there’ve been extended stays in the Welsh foothills, the sweatshops of German motorik and even the sticky nightclubs of late-sixties Addis.

I’m not fussed about the butterfly nature of my musical consciousness (actually, I’m long since resigned to the way my palate veers drunkenly from one thing to another, tend to go with it without complaint…). What bothers me, is the thought that I may well be missing great records that don’t happen to be in tune with my current tastes and manias. What else has been going on while I’ve been gazing loon-faced at this month’s pretty stones?

Fortunately, some records force themselves upon me no matter what else is going on…

Mutual Benefit

It’s a dumb name, right?

This alone is a decent reason for having missed this record when it came out last year but I can claim another reason could that I’ve heard no mention of this amongst my ear-to-the-ground twitter pals – I’m either very, very cool, or the opposite of very, very cool. Answers on a postcard…

According to their Wikipedia entry, Mutual Benefit centres loosely on the singer-songwriter talents of Boston musician Jordan Lee and have made a number of semi-official releases of their own, before Love’s Crushing Diamond, their official debut surfaced last October.

I’ve got to say, it’s just a beautiful, beautiful record. It’s full of delicate melodies nurtured carefully and at the same time carelessly, fragile little songs that blossom and go to seed over the course of five or six heady minutes. There are quivering keyboards, pastoral guitars, banjos (yes!) layer upon layer of random jingles and even the occasional jangle.

No freakbeat or Cumbia here…

With Us Soon

The unexpected bonus of a relatively free Sunday has meant that I’ve been able to do a bit of work on the pond, go for a walk by the canal and even consider a bit of a post for the long-suffering, patient readers of this Blog.

I bought the new Temples record the other week, which has had some good words said and written about it (plus a few not so good), but I’ve listened to it just a couple of times since. Haven’t really managed to form a coherent opinion of it yet, however, because a couple of whispers amongst the in-the-know Twitter folk I like to surround myself with have given me these two sticky delights to stuff myself silly with…

Morgan Delt

MorganDelt_AlbumArt-608x608You can read about Morgan Delt here on his Trouble In Mind page and read the first couple of lines (if you’re like me) of the Pitchfork review here, but I’d rather think of him as another of the Jonathan Wilson-style West Coast, sunfried aliens that emerges from time to time, album and musical persona, fully formed and ready to go.

If Wilson’s records come from the land of Seventies Laurel Canyon though, you could probably say that Delt’s self-titled LP has been hot-housed in Sixties Haight Ashbury with a more than (un)healthy dose of bonkers English psychedelia in there. It’s a lot of fun. Here’s the opener Make My Grey Brain Green from the record, really gooey, freaky stuff…

 

 

The other record that has had me capering around at the wheel in an unseemly fashion this couple of weeks is another self-titled effort from this bloke:

Doug Tuttle

doug tuttleTuttle is another Trouble In Mind alumni, where he released two records with another band I’m starting to explore, Mmoss, from whom he’s recently split. His own record is a beautiful mix of Byrds-y psychedelia with a huge nod towards Teenage Fanclub (indeed I Will Leave could have come straight off Songs from Northern Britain). As a record, full of keening organs, distorted vocals and engineering trickery, it’s damn near perfect, if not quite as exhilarating Morgan Delt’s; and if next Christmas I’m not banging on about it in my End Of Year lists, then it’s either been a helluva year, or I’ve been having a helluva Christmas…

Here’s the opener track of this record too, With Us Soon:

 

 

This is a record I’ve not finished with yet.