Bridgetown #85 – Kevin Greenspon + Nicole Kidman – ‘Already Dead’ 7″
After years in the works, these two best friends team up once again for a new collaborative record of sugary sweet pop punk anthems that are instantly catchy and relatable to anyone who has felt young at least once in their life. For their second collaborative record, Kevin Greenspon and Jon Barba aka Nicole Kidman contribute sincere, heartbreaking and intimately personal songs of foolish love backed by the simple beauty of a busted keyboard, blown out drum machine and raw guitar fuzz. Greenspon’s guitarwork has been stripped down from the thicker shoegaze on his prior split CD with Cloud Nothings to complement the trademark Yamaha tones and frantic beats Nicole Kidman has made a name for himself with. Bridgetown’s first vinyl release captures the duo’s finest moments together from several years of writing and were recorded in such varied settings as a poolhouse the two formerly ran a venue in, a woodshop in Oakland, and even on a junked television set. “Already Dead” includes 4 exclusive songs and crowd favorites from their tours together such as “Thirst For God” that fans will instantly recognize, plus a digital download with more 8 bonus songs. Limited to 550 records with metallic silver labels, housed in tri-fold jackets with doublesided, full-color printing on glossy stock. Package includes all lyrics, over a dozen photos taken by and of the duo, and a high-quality digital download code in your choice of format.
Bridgetown # 79 – Secret Colors – ‘Higher Views’ C38
With a string of solo LPs, CDs and tapes for Aguirre, Group Tightener, Debacle and Digitalis in just over a year’s time, Seattle’s Secret Colors has seemingly appeared from nowhere. However, Matt Lawson bears deeper roots than his enigmatic project may convey at first glance. Impose Magazine describes Lawson’s work on “Higher Views” as “effervescent, bouyant mixes of effects-laden guitars, synths, and found-sounds, meticulously mapped out into relaxing journeys you can drift right along with,” and these five songs live up to all expectations for the newcomer’s stellar track record. Already a fixture of the Pacific Northwest DIY scene as guitarist/keyboardist in local post-punk heroes Stephanie, Lawson channels the songwriting sensibility of his band towards the loose and hazy constructions of the drone underground, refining them into a rich and textural swirl of abstracted synth-pop. Limited to 125 cassettes with color labels, packaged in white cases with full-color, doublesided printing on 80# gloss stock.
Bridgetown #78 – Ultra Dome – ‘Home Videos’ C27
The duo of Rachel Razza (TealFX label) and Jeff Roman (Sky Stadium, Tile, New Future Wanderer)’s recordings encapsulate an optimistic counterpart to the ominous connotations commonly associated with drone and ambient music. “Home Videos” captures the warm, romantic feeling of softened synth pads and bathes them in the murk of tape hiss. Birthed out of the Trenton, NJ basement scene in 2008, Ultra Dome recordings have been few and far between since their formation but are as welcome as any other Sky Stadium-related release for their uncanny ability to raise one’s spirits. What sets the duo apart from Roman’s solo outings is Razza’s subtle focus on rhythm. Murky beats dip below the surface of several songs on “Home Videos,” while twinkling synths float on in a simple and carefree manner. Limited to 100 cassettes with color labels, packaged in white cases with full-color, doublesided printing on 80# gloss stock.
Bridgetown #77 – Sparkling Wide Pressure – ‘Slowed Down Footage of Farming’ C38
In five years time, Frank Baugh’s work as Sparkling Wide Pressure has reached near cult status within the worldwide experimental scene, with stellar recordings on nearly every underground micro-label out there. Based out of Tennessee, Baugh has mastered the technique of writing homely electronic compositions with a uniquely quaint and rustic charm. On “Slowed Down Footage of Farming,” plucked guitar notes bounce across buzzing synths and piano chord stasis, ringing out into silence in sync with the thump of a distant drum machine plodding along. This new full-length may be a dusty photo album full of somber snapshots of desolation and open country, but these songs are far from hopeless. What sets Baugh apart from his peers is his ability to channel the guitar’s role as a vessel for personal experience, effectively reframing the blues into a modern and alienated context that only the lonely understand. Limited to 100 cassettes with color labels, packaged in white cases with full-color, doublesided printing on 80# gloss stock.
Bridgetown #76 – Desert of Hiatus – ‘Compendium’ C30
Kevin Gwzodz has quietly been releasing a string of tranquil drone works as Desert of Hiatus for the past year and a half, but “Compendium” breaks the cycle with a more sophisticated approach to catharsis. This new album steps away from the dense, layered tones and placid serenity of Gwozdz’s previous work and is the first release to feature new member Jon Scheid. Here, their true sense of musicianship is revealed as the rich character of piano and acoustic guitar play off another, flirting with silence and decay while peaceful ambient melodies hover just above the noise floor. “Compendium” sets the stage as a melancholy personal drama that unfolds to the tune of a tiny orchestra in perfect accord: their intensely quiet harmonies bouncing off wooden walls and rain-soaked windows in an empty home, their gasping words drowned out by the streets of NE Portland. Limited to 100 cassettes with color labels, packaged in white cases with full-color, doublesided printing on 80# gloss stock.
Bridgetown #75 – Hobo Cubes – ‘Serpensulla Gardens’ C27
When not touring in Dirty Beaches, Montreal’s Francesco De Gallo is constantly weaving elaborate tapestries of analog oddities and digital detritus under the guise of Hobo Cubes. The eccentric synthesizer composer and curator of the Hobo Cult label covers a wide range of musical territory for his new album on Bridgetown, varying from the mellow time-warp of “Bending the Love You Keep” to the swirling arcade of twisting arpeggios in “Fragment Fusion” and everywhere in between. On this 6-song album, Ouellette has once again sculpted a thrilling cyberpunk paradise from a binary vision. The glowing alleyways of “Serpensulla Gardens” pulse with a datastream heartbeat, racing between crashes and fixes of their inhabitants, dead pixels spilling out across a wireframe floor only to reconstruct anew and burn out even faster than before. Limited to 100 cassettes with color labels, packaged in white cases with full-color, doublesided printing on 80# gloss stock.
Bridgetown #74 – John Thill – ‘D.E.A. Fires’ C37
A veteran of the California and North Carolina DIY scene, John Thill’s recorded output over the past decade was crucial to the development of a contemporary form of underground folk music that is immediately relatable to our current generation. A staple of the home-taper underground Thill’s extensive discography features dozens of off-kilter concept albums on seminal labels such as the legendary Shrimper Records (Woods, The Mountain Goats, Amps for Christ, Wckr Spgt), Not Not Fun (as Quem Quaeritis) and Unread Records (Simon Joyner, Charlie McAlister) before touring the USA with Abe Vigoda in 2007 and disappearing into the Napa Valley just a few years later. John Thill’s dark and comic obsession with traffic, smog, strip malls, pop radio, subcultures and other daily trivialities are crucial ingredients to his dystopian, comedic tales about painfully real characters that have invaded his life ranging from cholos, mall goths, speed freaks, sluts and middle class white guys who hate their jobs. Figments of his imagination and true reality blur together within the outlandishly plausible settings he conjures such as a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles when gasoline supplies are dried up, and these characters become all too real within the context of his poetic narratives. D.E.A. Fires is Thill’s first full-length written since his departure from Southern California, and continues his legacy of blending high-brow concept art with bad ideas that have been taken just far enough to still be flawlessly executed. The 10 song album satirizes the laidback culture of illicit farmers in Northern California, ponchos as a fashion statement, psychedelic mysticism and hippie lifestyle with lyrical aplomb. In classic Thill form, his exuberant vocals hush, bellow and snarl over graceful chords and subtle ringing harmonics strummed from an abused classical guitar. Limited to 100 cassettes with color labels, packaged in white cases with full-color, doublesided printing on 80# gloss stock.
Bridgetown #73 – Venn Rain – ‘Serene Beam’ C41
Jimmy Billingham’s output as Venn Rain serves as an altar-ego to his Tidal project, utilizing melodic repetition and tape manipulation as the building blocks for his ethereal sound constructions. The pieces on “Serene Beam” are akin to being trapped in a singular moment that is frozen and played out in slow motion, harmonies unfolding at a glacial pace. Seconds turn to minutes as these songs become the sound of a perceived room, filling the space with an infinite moment that changes in slow gradients. Limited to 100 cassettes with color labels, packaged in white cases with full-color, doublesided printing on 80# gloss stock.
Bridgetown #71 – Former Selves – ‘Telos’ CDr
Paul Skomsvold’s flawless discography of cassette, digital and video releases as Former Selves now welcomes the CD format to the fold. His effortless composition of miniature ambient soundtracks are emotionally resonant and rich in character. Each instrument plays a vital role in the storytelling nature of Skomsvold’s arrangements, and the careful deliberation of each note, swell and chord never feels forced. The beauty of each Former Selves release is that the pure honesty of his songs can’t be replicated no matter how simple they may seem at first. His first CD is essentially 3 releases in one: “Healing,” “Telos,” and the sold-out “Perspectives” split with Kevin Greenspon, plus unreleased bonus material. Limited to 100 stamped CDrs packaged in slimline DVD cases with doublesided, full-color printing.