Friday, March 10, 2023

Music For Your Weekend

Blind Owl Wilson - Blind Owl Wilson

This interesting figure from American music of the 1960s has one of the most noticeable voices of that era. Most recognizably a singer for the LA-based blues rock group, Canned Heat, Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson gained accolades for his harmonica playing from other musicians of the era including living blues legends such as John Lee Hooker. 

This release by Mississippi Records compiles his most famous tracks from Canned Heat as well as lesser known tracks. Blind Owl's high register voice may most closely resemble that of crossroads blues guitarist Robert Johnson. Some who knew him suspected Wilson might have been autistic, though no formal diagnosis was given prior to his early death at the age of 27. 

OPSEC - Affordable Death

This is hardcore punk I can sink my teeth into. I can only judge punk bands by the quality of the singer's voice. I can recognize good musicianship but if the singer's voice isn't awesome, I will not be a repeat listener... just like Gang Starr made clear in 1994 when Guru said "If your voice ain't dope then you need to chill".

Signed to NYC's Label of Goods, OPSEC brings the aggression and voice that makes me want to keep this EP easy access when driving my beat up shit box around Newark. The singer's voice is similar to that of the Canadian hardcore punk band S.H.I.T., or maybe even the singer of The Peechees. If you need to work out some angst this weekend, may this be the soundtrack for your efforts.

Mamalarky - Pocket Fantasy

Brilliant and wonderful things often emerge from terrible occurrences... it's just the way things happen. It doesn't make those terrible things worth it by any means... it just speaks to the resilience and persistence of the human spirit.

Take Covid, for example. If Covid had never happened, Mamalarky's sophomore release Pocket Fantasy may never have been happened. They were already a band, playing around Austin and making waves. But then the pandemic happened and the band retreated to Atlanta to live in an old house and record what you have here: an inspired and inventive rock record with catchy songs that eschew pop conventions. It's experimental in song structure but recognizable in essence. Not sure what compares.

on4ward - In Rainbow Roads

Sometimes you need a conversation piece that not only piques one's interest but also pulls you in for the whole ride. Some individual out there in the world, going by on4ward, took Radiohead's 2007 In Rainbows and decided it needed to be redone through an Nintendo64 sound bank, "mostly sounds from Super Mario 64" as noted on the artists bandcamp page. 

It's interesting and this homage is one of detail and love. The hipster in me wishes slightly it was done in 8-bit sounds instead, but probably only because I never owned a Nintendo 64 so the sounds don't muster the nostalgia that one who DID own an N64 might get from this. Either way, it's pretty incredible and I look forward to what on4ward does next.

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