Tom Dyer — I Ain't Blue Anymore
(Green Monkey GM 1015, 2013, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2014-01-07On I Ain't Blue Anymore, Tom Dyer functions as a one-man Captain Beefheart plus Magic Band. His herky-jerky take on rootsy Americana encompasses folk, blues, and rock into a bubbling pot of guitars (acoustic and electric), banjos, ukulele, synthesizer, bass, drums, and whatnot, with his gruff voice bringing it together with lyrics that are by turn amusing, keenly observational, and obliquely political (or social commentary). He even throws in covers of Beefheart's "Smithsonian Institute Blues (or The Big Dig)," The Sonics' "The Witch," and a version of the traditional "John the Revelator" by way of Son House, so you know where he's coming from. His updated version of "Call on Me," originally done with his former band The Colorplates, provides a jangly alternative to the original punkish version. The drum parts are mostly pretty minimal, but there's enough going on with the other instruments that it works just fine. On the instrumental "I'm Fretless," a gritty, distorted slide guitar sends us to a smoky electric swamp; the other instrumental features oddly compelling strumming on ukulele that is slighly discordant. Towards the end of the CD, "Lizzy" ramps things up a bit, with an organ part added in, and a mass of backing vocals to remind you that Dyer really knows what he's doing in the studio. I Ain't Blue Anymore is an eccentric Seattle take on "New Weird America" — though I suppose in this context, "eccentric" is redundant. No matter, it's good music, well worth listening to.
Related artist(s): Tom Dyer
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more