The Lowest Pair‘s two members, Kendl Winter and Palmer T. Lee spent the winter of 2015 in the cold and ice of Minnesota composing and playing new songs for a planned record in spring of 2016. Those sessions proved to be so fertile that the duo wound up with far more songs than they expected and the tunes seemed to fit naturally into two separate releases. So, Winter and Lee decided to put out two simultaneous albums on Team Love Records, Fern Girl and Ice Man and Uncertain As It Is Uneven. Uncertain As It Is Uneven fits perfectly within their existing, known sound that features delicately constructed spare arrangements melded with gorgeous vocals and harmonies. Meanwhile, Fern Girl and Ice Man finds the group experimenting a bit and creating a batch of songs that basically imagine being backed by a larger band. Regardless of the differences, both are stunning records with really beautiful melodies and instrumentation and they work ideally as a duo, just like the Lowest Pair themselves.
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In the great folk tradition, Memphis singer-songwriter Mark Edgar Stuart has written a humorous country/folk song look at the sad state of US political affairs in the age of Donald Trump. Stuart goes after hate, terrorists, cellphones and a culture of complete media saturation and violence that is causing us all to lose a bit of our humanity. Folk has always been the perfect vehicle for critiquing society and politics and it’s always been a potent form of protest. The day after Donald Trump’s victories, we could use a tune like this.
Stuart tells PopMatters that he “imagined Jesus looking down from his cloud shaking his head in disbelief and thinking, ‘What have y’all done? You can have it, I’m not coming back…’”
Back in the ‘80s, the (Hypothetical) Prophets posed as an anti-Soviet pop group working inside the Soviet Union, Russia specifically, that was “smuggling” their music to the West. In fact, they were a French new wave group making a political statement about nuclear proliferation as well as cultural repression and enacting a bit of performance art through their methods. Synth master Bernard Szajner and Karel Beer were both involved with the group and are now reissuing their old recording, Around the World With, which was rediscovered by cratediggers in the ‘00s. The record never really took off as it turned out to be a bit of a complicated concept to market at the time. But now InFiné is giving the album a new lease on life with March 4th’s reissue.
Cha Wa hail from New Orleans and carry on the long cherished traditions of the Mardi Gras Indians, while infusing their music with contemporary NOLA street funk. What you end up with is a grand gumbo of singing, chanting, intoxicating rhythms, and some deep funk grooves that are simply impossible to resist. Respecting the Mardi Gras Indians’ musical lineage, Cha Wa is heavily influenced by notables such as the Wild Magnolias, Dr. John, the Wild Tchoupitoulas, and the Neville Brothers. But they add to that production from Galactic’s Ben Ellman and mixing and mastering from Count, who has worked with Radiohead, DJ Shadow, and Lyrics Born.
Texas-raised, Nashville-based singer/songwriter Charlie Oxford specializes in country-tinged soulful pop and had a previous solo release, Charlie Oxford, but it went nowhere when his record deal went south. So, Oxford did the smart thing and reacquired his rights and re-released it last year. Now, Oxford is back with a three-entry series of EPs releasing throughout 2016 and “Letting Go” features on the first EP, The Reflections EP, releasing April 15th. It’s a super catchy song, with a hit tune chorus.
// Moving Pixels
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