“Thoughtless Grin”, a collection of songs from recent releases that we’ve been digging lately, sequenced with care for the sensitive mind/ear, is now available direct from Arthur to you as a $3 digital download. Affordable! (Push the BUY NOW button below. A link containing the “Thoughtless Grin” zip file will be emailed to you upon payment.)
A few of the artists on “Thoughtless Grin” are featured in the latest issue of Arthur, so this mixtape is a cheap and sleazy way to get to know ’em better.
Songs featured in the mix:
1. DANIEL BACHMAN – “Sun Over Old Rag”
2. FEEDING PEOPLE – “Other Side”
3. ENDLESS BOOGIE – “Taking Out the Trash”
4. BOMBINO – “Aman”
5. RADAR BROTHERS – “Disappearer”
6. GAP DREAM – “58th St. Fingers”
7. SONNY & THE SUNSETS – “Pretend You Love Me”
8. DEVENDRA BANHART – “Won’t You Come Home”
9. MV & EE – “Turbine”
10. HERBCRAFT – “Full Circle (Eternally)”
11. ARBOURETUM – “Coming Out of the Fog”
All proceeds help Arthur Magazine to resist those nefarious and persistent economic pressures we all face.
As an added bonus, each download comes with a large-size image file of the cover artwork by Lale Westvind (that’s it above) and extended liner notes by long-lost, slightly lamented Arthur “critics”/goofballs C & D.
But! Because you’re an Arthur blog reader, you can preview C & D’s commentary by scrolling to the bottom of this post, where we’ve attached the whole blasted thing. Enjoy, or not — it’s probably more fun to read along as you’re listening to the music, and an adult beverage may make it an even finer experience. Or so we’re told.
Thank you kindly, hope you enjoy. Oh, and the title? It’s from Edward Hoagland—more info on that in the download.
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THOUGHTLESS C & D
Arthur Magazine’s resident cretins—ahem, critics—lend us their opinions on “Thoughtless Grin”
1. DANIEL BACHMAN “Sun Over Old Rag” (excerpt) from Seven Pines (Tompkins Square, 2012)
D: Oh, what a beautifully newgrassy morning. Yes indeedee.
C: It’s coming on, D. Feel the vibes?
D: I always feel at home when I hear a drone humming from the hi-fi.
C: Looks like you’ve already made yourself at home. On my couch.
D: I do feel at home on your couch. Especially now that you’ve moved it onto your porch.
C: Hear the rich, beautiful fingerpicking, multiple-ringing, a guitar weaving, a mystery expanding.
D: It’s big and contemplative at the same time.
C: [cough] Much like yourself.
D: It’s so cool that people still make music like this. What are the chances?
C: I think this Bachman is a young guy, like 21. His music is steeped in lineage and alive. Bachman plays with the tumbling, unfolding joy of Peter Walker, Robbie Basho, Jack Rose.
D: Soaked in the liniment of tradition, I’d say! Great work!
C: We gotta get some of Arthur’s regional operatives on this. Some proper “old rag” recon. Find out what this Bachman guy’s got in his cup.
D: Now I’m far from an expert…
C: [snorts] You can say that again.
D: …but I know what we’ve heard and one thing’s for sure: This sets a fine table.
2. FEEDING PEOPLE “Other Side” from Island Universe (Innovative Leisure, 2013)
D: Do I hear “7 and 7 is”? I feel a sense of urgency here, girl singer has a great snarl going. “I got friends on the other sigh-eeede…” I believe she does.
C: This is Burger Records alumni Feeding People, featured in the new ish of Arthur. The singer is 20-years old.
D: Coming up and coming of age, a true garage psych corker.
3. ENDLESS BOOGIE “Taking Out the Trash” (excerpt) from Long Island (No Quarter, 2013)
C: This is music by people who are not 20. Who, in fact, may never have been 20. Or perhaps they weren’t born, they just sort of appeared one day, out of thin air, out of the fog, hairy and boogieing and ripe.
D: This is not some next level shit. This is previous level. This is four levels ago. Endless Boogie are basement apes!
C: Looking up at the ground floor, lobby-ing for more.
D: I got off the elevator a long time ago and I never looked up to see what I might’ve been missing. And yet…I like it here.
C: Any ya-yas not gotten out yet? Jump on this Endless Boogie train that does nothing but run and blow. And this one is so rolled and stoned, you never want it to stop.
D: “My life is so severe. And my intentions are unclear.” Sounds like me on any given day…or night. Oh boy, this Red Stripe is empty.
4. BOMBINO “Aman” from Nomad (Nonesuch, 2013)
D: Bombino is the big beat bomb, we all know it.
C: Beautifully uplifting desert beat by North African desert Tuareg band Bombino. They are weaving a sifting web. Guitars flicker flame-like… Oh! I just want to join hands with person next to me and dance.
D: Produced by the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, who was spotted on a “Nashville” episode — by me.
C: I thought you you were going to say you spotted him doing recon in Eritrea. Well, I didn’t expect to hear a Hammond organ and lap steel guitar on here, but it works. Another fine production gig from Mr. D. Auerbach in last year and half. Or so.
D: That Dr. John album was nice.
C: I’ll take you up on that joining of hands. [decisively] Okay, I’m scheduling a Bombino dance party for tomorrow…morning. Why wait for sundown?
D: Dayjob cancelled!
5. RADAR BROTHERS “Disappearer” (excerpt) from Eight (Merge, 2013)
D: Same Radar, different brothers?
C: [in movie trailer voice-over voice] “Once they were bros. Now they’re brothers.”
D: And that makes all the difference. They call main Radar Brotherman Jim Putnam the Silver Fox.
C: They do? [listening to chorus] This song has a nice lift-off and glide, like so many Putnam compositions through the years. Great piloting!
D: Accurate song title. I can feel all my problems disappearing. As well as this Red Stripe.
6. GAP DREAM “58th St. Fingers” from Gap Dream (Burger Records, 2012)
C: Gap Dream dude Gabe Fulvimar goes way back with Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney, like to elementary school or something. It’s rumored that he was so psyched on the Burger Records scene he moved from Akron to Fullerton and crashed out in the Burger storage unit.
D: I’m pretty sure all of Fullerton now counts as a Burger storage unit. What is this thing called Gap Dream? Like if you dreamed The Gap Band played at The Gap?
C: A real dream gig…for somebody…somebody I don’t want to meet.
D: If Gap Dream was opening for The Gap Band at the Gap i might go. And stand outside. [Repeating song’s words] “That doesn’t matter right now/because I’m higher than a cloud/I never know when to take it easy!” I resemble that lyric.
C: I like this, it has a coolant-fueled engine for an riff. There’s a real emotional yearning to the vocal, but the song just keeps propelling, doesn’t drop into the key of despair…
D: Is “despair” an abbreviation of “disrepair”?
C: Great question! I think you’ve just written your own epitaph.
D: [wistfully] I do it nearly every day…
7. SONNY & THE SUNSETS “Pretend You Love Me” from Longtime Companion (Polyvinyl, 2012)
C: Now why would anyone have to “pretend” to love ol’ Sonny?
D: It adds to the mystery. Not unlike the sun when it sets.
C: Sonny & The Sunsets sure make you wax philosophical.
D: Sonny’s a thoughtful fellow. A natural romantic. Still, he understands that playing pretend isn’t anything to laugh at when it comes to love. This could be his “Help Me Make It Through The Night.”
C: Could be, could be…
D: Steel guitar and spacey flutes add a nice touch of aloha.
8. DEVENDRA BANHART “Won’t You Come Home” from Mala (Nonesuch, 2013)
D: No one will believe me when I say this but say it I will: U2/Eno “Passengers” era.
C: As long as Eno doesn’t have a Coldplay coming on.“Albatross” and Peter Green come to mind.
D: Or Arthur Russell? Devendra Banhart is back and he is not shouting about it.
C: Just beautiful, so sensitively played and sung. You could play this for anyone you’ve ever felt the slightest affection for, such a loving tender vibe. It’s floatation dreamtank time…
9. MV & EE “Turbine” (excerpt) from Fuzzweed (Three Lobed Records, 2013)
C: Cover heroes of the new Arthur!
D: Nice exposition. Spherical. Nikki Sudden would approve from Robespierre’s velvet basement, with Ziggy and Bob playing guitar and harp respectively. A foray into musical noctambulism and transcendence.
C: Wow, well said… I think.
10. HERBCRAFT “Full Circle (Eternally)” (excerpt) from The Astral Body Electric (Woodsist, 2013)
C: Produced by MV, achieving the Kosmiche Kraut space.
D: Did the other one end or is another one approaching?
C: This craft is very aptly named. Powered by high-grade rocket booster herb into deep blue-black. They’re on some I Dream the Astral Body Electric trip.
D: Pure and gentle psych waves with an echoing refrain moving towards utter dissolution. Eerie signals from another dominion.
C: It’s like Barry Smolin says, “Sound design to lubricate your mind.” Something like that.
D: You talk to Barry Smolin lately?
C: Nope. But I do listen to him.
11. ARBOURETUM “Coming Out of the Fog” from Coming Out of the Fog (Thrill Jockey, 2013)
C: And they sing: “Nobody knows where you’ve been when you come out of the fog…” A sobering thought, in a gorgeous, stately setting.
D: I live in whatever fog they just came out of.
C: Try google-imaging that part of the forest, and you’re halfway there.
D: Actually dude, I’m all the way there. In the arboretum, listening to Arboretum.
C: You’ve done it, D.
D: I’ve done it! I’ve done it! Look at the trees!
C: I can hear the trees. Hear them, D?
D: Loud and clear. Proud and dear…
C: And now we’ve reach the quiet in the clearing.