Music Notes: James Blackshaw, Effi Briest and Panda Bear

James Blackshaw’s All is Failing

I get so much pleasure out of listening to new James Blackshaw releases and watching Blackshaw grow with each passing release.

After listening to his last album, The Glass Bead Game, I admit that I found myself worrying that his experiments in post-Fahey chamber music would be his undoing.  But after several repeated listens, I still find myself wondering how Blackshaw does what he does.  He is a guitar virtuoso without much competition who seems to have this ability to churn out album after album of near perfect music.

His latest, All is Falling (Young God), doesn’t upset that flow.  On this newest album, we get an idea of what would have happened if Pentangle and Philip Glass had a mutual appreciation of each other.  Expansive sounds fit into tiny places, hypnotic and beautiful; Blackshaw delivers again.

Effi Briest’s Rhizomes

I was under the impression that the closest to “pop” Sacred Bones Records would come to was the Zola Jesus album they put out last year.  If your definition of pop is of the more conventional school, you’d probably tell me I’m a nutcase.

The all-female group, Effi Briest, now takes that title (And again, my definition of pop music is skewered at best) away from Zola Jesus with their album, Rhizomes.

There’s Arthur Russell throb, Lydia Lunch squeal, Kraut Rock crunch, and some tricks borrowed from The Slits on the songs you will hear upon listening to this beauty.  It’s only logical that in a world dominated by Vivian Girls and 60’s girl group fascination, an outfit like Effi Briest could fly under the radar and put out  my favorite album on this fantastic label.

Listen: Effi Briest, “Rhizomes”

Panda Bear

I don’t really care much for Animal Collective, but I really like Panda Bear’s solo stuff.  I’m excited about his next album, and excited he has a song titled “Surfers Hymn.”