Autumn Electric — Make Me a Tree
(Bandcamp no#, 2012, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2013-07-26
I had never heard of Autumn Electric before I saw them open for Johnny Unicorn at a dive bar in Seattle. Since that time I've been metaphorically kicking myself for not paying more attention to the local music scene. What a discovery! The band is largely the vessel for Michael Trew's songs, though the band (Naomi Smith on keys, Barton McGuire on lead guitar, Daniel Desrosiers on drums) plays an essential role throughout. In the credits, producer Johnny Unicorn is thanked for "letting us 'prog out' when necessary." Unicorn also handles the bass parts on the CD — when I saw them live, Smith covered the bass parts on a keyboard, and Max Steiner (who also plays with Alex's Hand and is in Unicorn's touring band along with Smith) handled the lead guitar, so it's a cozy little Seattle scene. The sound is a kind of jangly folk-rock with noted psychedelic elements, and they're not afraid to stretch out. One of the highlights is the eight-minute "Spaghetti Western," which weaves its way through numerous sections of varying tempos and intensities, with Smith's keys playing an important role. The lead guitar parts are dextrous but unpredictable, the perfect foil for Trew's warbly voice (a bit like Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes) and delicate melodies. And the backing vocals are luscious, very full and on-key without sounding too stuffy, made up of a variety of voices instead of a single voice overdubbed. Occasional guests provide strings and other nice touches. This is music to float away on, unearthly beauty grounded by earthly emotions and the flaws of real people playing real instruments with great art and little artifice. Lovely!
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santana, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more