Saturday, 9 April 2016

Double Trouble (In Mind)

I got sent a couple of Trouble In Mind records last month and I really dig em, so here is a quick write about em.

Doug Tuttle's It Calls On Me is a rush of 60s/70s pastoral psychedelic pop that shows the artist solidifying his solo stylings. The ex-MMOSSman has lost some of the introspection that permeated his eponymous debut, instead replacing it with more rustic sunburned psych underpinnings. There aren't any psych drone jams though - this isn't a throwback to old times - but there is a greater degree of comfortability in Tuttle's musicianship and lyricism that indicates he has settled into the groove of working on his own. I personally like the pastoral rock intimations of 'Make Good Time', the Kinks-in-space-on-hallucinogens of 'Painted Eye', and the more rooted rock of the title track. But I absolutely love the languid 'Saturday/Sunday' - this song is now a staple jam on the weekend mornings.

And then there is Chuck Johnson. The Oakland guitarist has brought out another album in Velvet Arc, effectively a solo record but with a band in tow, and it is much more dark and muscular as a result, reminiscent of his band Idyll Swords. 'As I Stand Counting' is the perfect opening, a desert-and-dust smoker, a ragged psych shuffle that sees Johnson lead then be consumed by the rumbling rhythm section. I didn't really need anything more after this. But of course the rest is just as good if not better - 'Everything At Once' a beautiful waltz, the rustic charm of the slide guitar towards the end a wonderful touch; 'Anamet' is even more of a surprise, a slow meditation with cello and a synth-driven outro that drifts along the backwater slipstreams. The title track that opens side B sees Johnson's recent fingerpicking journeys come to the fore once more, and shows a countrified swagger enter his step. Although I enjoyed these four songs, they don't quite marry up to the first three, so disoriented me a little bit - I felt like I was listening to two separate EPs, rather than a fluid album. Nevertheless, Johnson is a master craftsman, and Velvet Arc is a master's work.

You can pick up both albums here - both very worthwhile.

No comments:

Post a Comment