It’s Memorial Day, and there is plenty of action afoot in Paradise. But before the rundown, given the season and the occasion, we humbly suggest that you take a break from your grills and coolers to remember our veterans, perhaps by listening to The Red Rippers‘ raging country-boogie songs about Vietnam and those who served. Now, on with the news.
If you haven’t yet, now is the time to pre-order your copy of Steve Gunn’s phenomenal Time Off. Pre-orders will begin shipping on June 4, two weeks before the June 18 official release date. The record is already garnering some strong praise, including the following words from Dave Segal of The Stranger, here and here, on both the trio’s live show and the record:
“The songs on Gunn’s new album, Time Off plunge so deeply into that folk-blues vein it becomes a kind of sacred psychedelia. They do what so many other American bands do, but somehow Gunn and company’s take on folky blues resonates way more strongly than that of their peers. Last night they showed how Americana should sound: raw, fluid, grave, stirring, and rolling on a seemingly eternal ramble. Gunn’s non-histrionic voice is the ideal forlorn, wistful foil to the glistening streams of salubrious, post-Fahey sound.
He’s a guitarist of uncommon soulfulness and melodic grace. If he were coming of age 45 years earlier in Britain, he’d be contending with Bert Jansch, Michael Chapman, and John Renbourn for pastoral psych-folk supremacy. Gunn’s forthcoming Time Off album proves that there’s still juice left in this idiom, when the picker/singer is as skilled as he is. Gunn’s pantheon-bound guitar eloquence is aglisten with profoundly peaceful and beautiful vibes. Absorb ‘em.”
- Dave Segal, The Stranger
Meanwhile, Lars Gotrich of NPR deems Steve’s album “a chooglin’ good time.” Overseas, venerable music mag The Wire counts Time Off as an integral component of their office soundtrack, while Echoes and Dust has filed the first (glowing) full review:
“Astounding and mesmerising in equal dollops, take the journey to a psychedelic delta blues of Steve Gunn’s world. This is head music of a higher order and demands headphones to appreciate the true talent at work… A psychedelic blues ride that hasn’t been heard since the heady days of Grateful Dead.”
- Martyn Coppack, Echoes and Dust
Steve and company just returned from a tour with Kurt Vile, capped by a Violators performance, featuring Steve on guitar, for the Late Show with David Letterman. You can revisit the prime time vibes here:
Finally, Steve now has an official artist page on Facebook, which you can “like” here to stay up to date on occasional announcements and news.
HISS GOLDEN MESSENGER
Also freshly returned from the road is Hiss Golden Messenger, who was accompanied on a tour of the UK and Ireland with his bandmate and pal, the incomparable William Tyler. Those shows earned rave reviews from the likes of the Line of Best Fit; for a taste, check out this video of M.C. Taylor and Tyler cracking open a David Wiffen tune:
Visit out Live page for a listing of summer dates with Daughn Gibson and others.
Hiss Golden Messenger’s new album Haw–which you can purchase here–continues to sink into souls worldwide, quickly becoming one of the year’s top-rated albums. New York Magazine rated the record seemingly higher than anything else on their Approval Matrix, right in between Atticus Finch and Steve Carrell: “Haw proves that, contra Mumford & Sons, folk music doesn’t have to be formulaic.” Ouch.
We’re grateful to Bob Moses, who filed this brilliant profile of Hiss Golden Messenger for No Depression and the Huffington Post, as well as to Davis Inman, who covered Haw and Golden Gunn for Aquarium Drunkard.
And much love to Amanda Petrusich for her astute and gorgeously composed feature-length profile of HGM, “The Bottom of the River Haw,” for the Oxford American. The summer issue is now on newsstands, but it won’t be online for a little while, so go pick up a copy and support this fine publication.
Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band (feat. current and former members of Spacin’ and The War on Drugs), are burning up stages across the Northeast these days, with plans to tear up the Southern states soon too. Forsyth’s forthcoming album Solar Motel, due this fall, is the Philly guitarist’s most impressive statement to date, a soundscape at once concisely articulated and mind-alteringly expansive. We can’t wait to share it. If you are in the Northeast Corridor, we can’t recommend Chris’ residency at the venerable Ortlieb’s highly enough; he’ll be there with special guests every Thursday in June.
In other Forsyth news, he recently wrote a moving and clear-eyed assessment of Jack Rose and their relationship for Sound American, with some curated statements by PoB principal Chris Smith and others. You can read that here.
As some of you may have heard, Promised Land has to change their name to avoid potential conflicts with existing bands using that name. A shame, but that’s the nature of the game. Any ideas? Email us. Here’s what the Nashville Scene had to say on the subject.
More happily, the guys just released this 7″ on Jack White’s Third Man Records.