Scissor Tail Editions

scissor tail editions

not pictured: Robin Allender

So any label by helmed by an experimental pedal steel player (at least the release that I have) is bound to be deep and interesting. What always strikes me about Dylan Aycock’s Scissor Tail Editions is that as much as I feel like I have moved away from traditional-sounding music created by acoustic instruments, he consistently finds interesting artists that straddle that netherworld between what could be popular roots music (which I mostly loathe) and composed & melodic instrumental artists (which I adore). I know I should not shoot the messenger because of such superficial things as a “banjo” but I have been burned before and if I have to sit through another asshole group singing and stomping in four-part harmony about forests and bunnies I will take a hostage. I swear I will.  Too many years in Portland, Oregon have filled my quota as such. But that original love of such music is still there, however charred, stretched, tattered, and worn. I guess I feel arrogantly like the scene has been played but Scissor Tail always knocks the dick out of my mouth, proving me wrong yet again. And it’s not that the label’s artists are re-imagining the uses for traditional instruments and being all avant either, most are working within the confines of a very melodic, if on the woeful, side of traditional composition. I guess what I am trying to say is that whatever it happens to be, the releases from Scissor Tail are always the finest quality and an excellent listen.

Maybe I should get this beef out of the way right now, as two of these releases are 7″s: I bet there are plenty of folks in this world (well I guess there have to be) who enjoy 7″s – I am not one of them, unless the music sucks. Then it’s an easy out, music’s over – endo. That’s why I am totally cool with punk 7′s. But singles? Never collected them. Not even cassingles. So having to get up after one song for the vinyl ritual is always a chore for me, as I have always been a deep LP “folding into a couch for the duration” sort of fellow. This becomes a even greater pain when all I have for an artist is two songs and I want more – like for instance ALL THESE TINY ALBUMS. Rant over.

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Jesse Aycock – Out To Space / First To Last 7″

Maybe ya’ll knew this and are not late to the Jesse Aycock train like I am, but what is most surprising to me is that this high lonesome voice is coming out of a man. It’s as if you took Marianne Faithful and pitch-shifted her voice up an octave and a half but gave her Tom Petty’s vocal licks. Or whatever – fine, he sounds like Emmylou Harris. But a GOOD Emmylou Harris. Actually that’s not fair – Harris is pretty good. Whatever. The B-side “First to Last” is fucking beautiful and this is the point where I “get” him, his songs, his voice – it all come together for me and now I have no more, as this is a 7″. Fuck you Jesse Aycock – give me more!!!

GET IT HERE

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Robin Allender – Foxes in the Foyer lp

I guess this fellow plays in Yann Tiersen’s band and in Gravenhurst (bio alert) but in some ways it feels a natural release sibling of the the 7″ to be spoken of below. Introspective pieces, solo or small ensemble, abound throughout with a little more of some country swing/jazzy base. Robin Allender certainly has prowess on his instrument but I found myself drawn to the more woe-some and winsome tracks that inter-weave amongst the track order, culminating with the prettiest song I have heard in a while. In fact, were there a Buddha Box with only the final track “An Uneven Lie” I probably would never leave the house again. I want to hear a whole album with the emotional content and feel of that song. It’s fucking killer song but far too short for my tastes.

GET IT HERE

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Padang Food Tigers – Crabbing King Sappling
Lake Mary – White River 7″

This split 7″ is a natural pairing of two great atmospheric tracks by Padang Food Tigers and Lake Mary. Once again I am pissed that this is only a 7″ but I guess that is a good sign re quality, right?  PFT’s track starts with a haunting plucked banjo line before stepping aside for some plaintive piano and guitar swells before reverting back to banjo etc but that is really just the play by play, no? Who needs a diagram – listen to the fucking song, it’s beautiful. And too short. Did I mention that? Moving on….

There is a little bit of wonder in Lake Mary’s track. A bit of wonder like “where where did those 5 minutes go?” That sounds stupid but it’s true – obviously if I were a better writer you’d no doubt be able to parse the complex jumble emotions I feel whilst listening but it really has nothing to do with me. Pick it up and do me the favor of not having to describe it. Merry Xmas.

 

GET IT HERE

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Bruce Langhorne - The Hired Hand

Bruce Langhorne – The Hired Hand lp

This gorgeous sounding LP, the soundtrack to Peter Fonda’s first movie The Hired Hand would not sound out of place in a Ken Burns documentary about morphine addiction during the push to the West Coast. The audio quality is also superb in its atmosphere: apparently is was recorded by Langhorne’s girlfriend via an old Revox reel to reel while he watched handmade copies of Fonda’s movie in his apartment, forgoing the standard of the time of studio projection room recording. In fact, this might be the first modern bedroom soundtrack of a motion picture – it certainly has an intangible quality to it that befits written accounts of the film. There is a tacit lonesomeness to this recording that is hard to describe and if you can find a copy of this album these days it’s well worth picking up. Especially if you have a fireplace full of wood on a cold winter night.

GET IT HERE

 

 

FH039 Mattress – Fuck The Future

mattress, rex marshall, fuck the future

RIYL: Nick Cave, Suicide, Dirty Beaches

Portland Oregon’s reigning king of white-velvet doom returns with a sixer of vile yearnings and throbbing confessions. Gritty analog drum machines and flabby baselines drenched in reverb fill holes in the body formally filled with things like love and forgiveness. FUCK THE FUTURE has been said to be rough around the edges, brooding and somewhat frightening, like “Stephin Merritt crooning inside a locked closet”…

Rex Marshall is from Portland, OR

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Limited edition of 100 pro-dubbed & imprinted cassettes w/ download card

Price: $6.00

mattress, rex marshall, fuck the future, portland, cassette, oregon

1. Beautiful Moment
2. Fuck The Future
3. Arrested
4. Pretend
5. Watch For
6. Treasure

 

FH038 Oxykitten – Escape From New Amsterdam

oxykitten, field hymns, escape from new amsterdam, field hymns, cassette

RIYL: Dr. Octagon, Add N To X, minimal synth

Slow, dark and brooding are the streets in New Amsterdam – gangs run everything, law is dead, people are terrified and the awful heat of summer will not abate in this filthy town. The survivors and the lucky have retreated into abandoned tunnels deep under the city, seeking respite, safety, a chance to start anew or perhaps to just wait out this civil war. But even deeper beneath them something is stirring; a dark malevolence is awakening, nourished by the pain and suffering that trickles down to pool in its ancient sarcophagi…as unbearable as life has been for all of New Amsterdam, the real horror is only beginning…

Oxykitten is from Portland, OR

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Limited edition of 100 pro-dubbed & imprinted cassettes w/ download card

Price: $6.00

oxykitten, escape from new amsterdam, cassette, portland, oregon

1. 40 oz Nipple
2. Beholding
3. Springtime for the Dead
4. Communal Goat
5. Msr. Slab
6. Avoiding Those Nasty Bad Beats
7. Secret Asian Trustfund
8. What is This Pleasure of My Too Tight Suit?
9. Dick Ray
10. The Gates of Haven
11. Forgetting to Live Again

FH037 Lazercrotch – Gemini Air Systems

john murphy, lazercrotch, gemini air systems, skweee, cassette, field hymns

RIYL: dancing robot Prince clones, Flogsta Dancehall, chiptune sex tapes

Field Hymns’ first proper skweee release, Gemini Air Systems is a swanky sexpot in a velvet analog robe billowing funk like an angry love cyclone. Somewhere in the distance, in the swirling Upper Gamalongs, a return cry is heard, signaling the beginning of Round 2, a round not even close to the boss level. We cannot wait until the next installment of Lazercrotch vs. Field Hymns – what a sound that will be! Lazercrotch is also the owner of one of the America’s finest skweee labels Poisonous Gases.

Lazercrotch is John Murphy of Portland, OR

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Limited edition of 100 pro-dubbed & imprinted cassettes w/ download card

Price: $6.00

GET THE DIGITAL HERE

fh037

1. Wassup Dog Don’t It
2. Space Jizz
3. Boss Of Clubs
4. Get Up On It
5. Hot Lovin’
6. Ironic Hooker Park
7.  Neon Dude
8. Used Car

FH036 Giant Claw – Impossible Chew

giant claw, keith rankin, impossible chew

RIYL: b-roll stinger music from the depths of heck, a video game induced panic attack

The sunrise dawns over an earlier Miami, black-purple turning to pink then to yellow-white as flamingos stretch and go about their morning, poking around the mangrove shoots and cattail stands. Girls in bikinis rollerblade around canals with pink Bollés & headphones the size of shooting cans strapped across their tightly permed dull, bronze skulls, never seeing the massive figure coming from the river bottom, cold & dirty with a perverse lust his only sustenance. One by one they fall under his command and turn north into the city to feast on the innocent…

Giant Claw is Keith Rankin of Ohio

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Limited edition of 100 pro-dubbed & imprinted cassettes w/ download card

sold out

fh036

1. Science Island
2. Latenight Mall Frenzy
3. Meal Brothers Theme
4. Mars Serene
5. Moonsick Pt I
6. Superpower Police Car
7. White Rain
8. Teen Nude
9. Dream Racer
10.Moonsick Pt II

Stuff and Things – Spring Edition

A bit of a sleepy Spring here on the Field Hymns internets waypost – upcoming Summer releases will be Giant Claw, Mattress and Lazercrotch – and if you haven’t picked up the Spring releases, they are going fast! Don’t hesitate, paper weight – buying tapes is totally great! In the meantime, here are some of the things we have been geeking out about and wish to pass along…

 

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Tape Famous, run by Vikram Babu, is the one of the coolest gig around: originally started as an aggregator of the best cassettes on Bandcamp, it’s now becoming a purveyor of analog taste – it’s like crate-digging, but in virtual bins and of such an impeccable curation that it’s practically an order form. Always insightful (especially for tips on using your Walkman for self-defense), Tape Famous is also a great portal for the uninitiated and an avowed champion of cassette culture. Soon it will be a physical publication too – triple win!

bandcamp

 

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Holodeck Records from Austin, TX is one of the best  labels around these days, hands down. We often commiserate at the “office” about how much Holodeck is everything we want to be as a label. Kudos gentleman, kudos. Plus Survive and Thousand Foot Whale Claw are always on the hi-fi around here. People keep raving about this Troller album they’ve released but it keeps fucking selling out, so there you go. Apparently they are taking pre-orders for another pressing – get on it!

bandcamp

 


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Blue Cranes are the best jazz band on the West Coast, if not this side of the Rockies. We were fortunate enough to pick up their record release party show and our heads are still spinning, much like this beautiful blue record which I have been flipping over and over this morning. Ostensibly an album about loss, their latest Swim holds almost unbending joy and seemingly a touch of survivors guilt. Blue Cranes come from a fabulous world where a young Mingus was influenced by Sunny Day Real Estate and Constellation Records – fucking killer.

bandcamp

 

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Speaking of curation, check out Cassettivity – a tape-only web-shop full of excellent releases and some pretty sharp UI!

 

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