record reviews june 2017


Stealing Sand (Two Roads)


Based In Seattle, Transient Songs line up as singer / songwriter / guitarist JohnFrom and guitarist Michael Shunk, the former on Rickenbacker rhythm and the latter on lead, the duo joined by bassist Dayna Loeffler and drummer Craig Keller for an album of psyche - pop that evokes the like of TheChurch and Mercury Rev.

The dreamy title track opens the show, a decided evocation of a SteveKilbey and Martin Willson-Piper number, contemplating our significance in the universe as compared to the importance in which we hold the things we do and the need to make the most of the connections we make.

The musical mood remains much the same throughout, ranging from the chiming Rickenbacker blurry pop of A Reflection and the acoustic All I Said And Done featuring Barb Hunter on cello and the spooked other worldly vibe of Shoppin’ For Coffins, the appropriately fuzzed acid rush of Drug Dreams and the steady drum beat bolstered Fall City. Ending on the open your mind and spiritdrift of the acoustic finger picked Those Hidden Lakes, this will go nicely with anyone whose record collection features a copy of The Blurred Crusade.

Mike Davies


Binary (Aveline)


Working with alto sax legend Maceo Parker, multi-instrumental Ivan Neville, violinist Jenny Scheinman and both Gail Ann Dorsey and Todd Sickafoose contributing bass, her 20th studio album, Binary finds the New Yorker (now New Orleans-based) in itchily funky mood on the opening, beats-driven title track, the album written before but relevant to the climate post the Trump election, the song itself a message about hearing with two ears in order to get the full picture

An activist as well as a musician, she’s always been a political writer and this is no exception, Play God a feminist funky, squelchy groove evocative at times of Sly Stone and Bootsy Collins about a woman’s reproductive rights while Pacifist’s Lament is a lush, brass coated soul-blues anchored in the need for non-violent protest that suggests a touch of Marvin Gaye and both the staccato Telepathic and the acrobatic driving rhythms of Terrifying Sight are calls for empathy.

The six-minute Zizzing nods to the languid, fluid jazz configurations of Mingus, Justin Vernon providing background vocals on a song concerning desire, the seductive, silkily sung prowl of Sasquatch features Neville on bluesy piano, a mood echoed in the hand percussion and sax late night vibes of Alrighty while Even More has more of a jazzy swing to its step and Spider draws on a breathlessly sung rock urgency.

Trombone, trumpet and clarinet add melancholic colours to album closer Deferred Gratification, a song about impulse control that brings things to a soft, slow swaying lullabying conclusion to an album that both builds on Di Franco’s established strengths and takes them to a new level.

Mike Davie 2020