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DOUBLE SIX / DOMINO

John Cale

Mercy

    For nearly 60 years, or at least since he was a young Welshman who moved to New York and formed The Velvet Underground, Cale has been reinventing his music with dazzling and inspiring regularity. There was the bewitching chamber folk of Paris 1919 followed instantly by the gnarled rock of Fear, the provocative and spare song cycle Music for a New Society followed more than 30 years later by mighty and unabashed electronic updates. Once again, here is Cale, reimagining how his music is made, sounds, and even works. His engrossing 12-track MERCY moves through true dark-night-of-the-soul electronics toward vulnerable love songs and hopeful considerations for the future.

    On MERCY, Cale enlists some of music’s most curious young minds: Animal Collective, Sylvan Esso, Laurel Halo, Tei Shi, Actress. They’re only some of the astounding cast here, brilliant musicians who climb inside Cale’s consummate vision of the world and help him redecorate there. Cale turned 80 in March, and he’s watched as many peers have passed away, particularly during the last decade. MERCY is the continuation of a long career’s work with wonder. Cale has always searched for new ways to explore old ideas of alienation, hurt, and joy; MERCY is the latest transfixing find of this unsatisfied mind.

    The writings and recordings that shaped MERCY piled up for years, as Cale watched society totter at the brink of dystopia. Trump and Brexit, Covid and climate change, civil rights and right-wing extremism—Cale let the bad news of the day filter into his lines, whether that meant contemplating the sovereignty and legal status of sea ice melting near the poles or the unhinged arming of Americans. Lessons from a life (still being) richly lived floated to the fore, too, nodded to on the previously released “NIGHT CRAWLING.” If we’re always regretting our past, aren’t we conscripting ourselves to permanent disappointment?

    During “STORY OF BLOOD,” after the piano prelude gives way to a frame-rattling beat and synthesizers that feel like sunshine splashed across a snowfield, the voices of Cale and Weyes Blood’s Natalie Mering slide past one another, two phantoms trying to find a partner amid the modern din. “Swing your soul,” they both sing in aspiration. In the final verse, Cale remembers this existence is not just about himself. “I’m going back to get them, my friends in the morning. Bring them with me into the light.” The accompanying video by Emmy-winning director Jethro Waters is a mix of disturbing and serene featuring both Cale and Weyes Blood. Its deep tones and religious images emphasize the track’s dark, spiritual mood.

    Cale elaborates: “I’d been listening to Weyes Blood’s latest record and remembered Natalie’s puritanical vocals. I thought if I could get her to come and sing with me on the ‘Swing your soul’ section, and a few other harmonies, it would be beautiful. What I got from her was something else! Once I understood the versatility in her voice, it was as if I’d written the song with her in mind all along. Her range and fearless approach to tonality was an unexpected surprise. There’s even a little passage in there where she’s a dead-ringer for Nico.”

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Mercy Feat. Laurel Halo
    2. Marilyn Monroe’s Leg (Beauty Elsewhere) Feat. Actress
    3. Noise Of You
    4. Story Of Blood Feat. Weyes Blood
    5. Time Stands Still Feat. Sylvan Esso
    6. Moonstruck (Nico’s Song)
    7. Everlasting Days Feat. Animal Collective
    8. Night Crawling
    9. Not The End Of The World
    10. The Legal Status Of Ice Feat. Fat White Family
    11. I Know You’re Happy Feat. Tei Shi
    12. Out Your Window

    Trailer Trash Tracys

    Althaea

      With ‘Althaea’, Trailer Trash Tracys follow-up to 2012’s critically acclaimed debut album ‘Ester’, the band continue their investigations into the farther flung reaches of pop music, with stunning results.

      Spanning 10 deeply esoteric tracks, ‘Althaea’ sees the band drift further afield from traditional song structures to create a new aural lexicon of their own, one as influenced by Filipino carnival music and Latin rhythms as it was by Japanese tropical music from the 80s. Even at their most outwardly pop - the pristine ‘Eden Machine’, for instance, or the swooning ‘Kalesa’ - there is a baroque splendour and heightened sensuality. The interplay of light and dark - the foreign and the familiar - brings forth an album with manifold pleasures, one which rewards repeated listening and further exploration.

      The album is also a soundtrack to Filipino filmmakers Raya Martin and Charles Salazar’s forthcoming film with the same name. On their collaboration Raya says, “‘Althaea’ is a narrative about being stuck in a strange mystical island. It’s a landscape that’s at once familiar, aggressive, drifting, odd and unexpected. The music by Trailer Trash Tracys perfectly transports us to this place hidden in all of us.”

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Barry says: From tropical rhythms and silken marimba hits, through to grooving summery numbers, and more full-force rhythmic rock 'Althaea' is packed with moments of pure perfection. A brilliant outing, and just a hint of what's to come.

      TRACK LISTING

      Smoked River
      Eden Machine
      Going Gardens
      Siebenkas
      Money For Moondogs
      Betty’s Cavatina
      Casadora
      Singdrome
      Kalesa
      100 Aspects Of The Moon

      After the critically lauded ‘Boys Outside’, ex-Beta Band mainman Steve Mason delivers his magnum opus ‘Monkey Minds In The Devil’s Time’.

      ‘Monkey Minds In The Devil’s Time’ is an album saturated with politics. With a title referring to the Buddhist term for an easily distracted brain, the album features 20 songs - 9 recorded in London with producer Dan Carey and 11 short linking pieces self-produced in Mason’s Fife studio.

      All songs on the album were written by Mason, while Dan Carey appears on bass throughout the record, and acclaimed London MC Mystro provides vocals on ‘More Money, More Fire’.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. The Old Problem
      2. Lie Awake
      3. Flyover ‘98
      4. A Lot Of Love
      5. The Last Of Heroes
      6. Lonely
      7. Safe Population
      8. Friends For Ever More
      9. Seen It All Before
      10. From Hate We Hope
      11. Oh My Lord
      12. Goodbye Youth
      13. Never Be Alone
      14. Behind The Curtains
      14. More Money, More Fire
      16. Fire!
      17. Operation Mason
      18. Fight Them Back
      19. Towers Of Power
      20. Come To Me

      BONUS CD DISC:
      1. Seen It All Before (Greg Wilson Remix)
      2. Come To Me (Greg Wilson Remix)


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