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Submission Accomplished | Six Standouts From the Digital Mailbag

Clementine Was Right, Martin Bisi, Clara Engel and more great recent arrivals.

Thanks to the inexplicable popularity of my Submit Music page, I always have albums, EPs, singles and videos stacked up like virtual cordwood, awaiting my perusal. Here are the latest submissions that caught my ear. You’ve got the hazy melancholia and cyclonic intensity of mind-blowingly great New Mexico roots-rock gadflys Clementine Was Right. The menacing post-rock artistry of New York sonic warrior Martin Bisi. The vibrant electro-pop eccentricity of Brighton’s Fruity Water. The vaguely disturbing yet strangely beautiful soundscapes of Sreym Hctim. The latest hauntingly gorgeous musical spells from prolific and enigmatic Toronto singer-songwriter Clara Engel. And the latest groovy monkey shines from Barcelona garage-rockers The Kongsmen. At least one of them oughta peel your banana. To that end, I’ve included Bandcamp links wherever possible so you can buy the music straight from the source. Tell ’em I sent ya. And if you’ve got something I need to hear, send it my way. If I think you’re half as good as you think you are, I just might include you next time.

Clementine Was Right
Lightning & Regret

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Our first album, Lightning & Regret, is made of nine songs about loss and tacos on two coasts. Along the way, the songs try not to forget about the seventh grade boys wearing their black lipstick, the P.E. coach’s bones, your mom falling asleep while she’s driving, the mall failing to burn down, the fire of forgiveness, extra potatoes, being OK with carrying you but too scared to put you down, driving your Volvo to the doughnut store when your jaw was wired shut, shivering in the buzzcut rain, my favorite shade of history, lightning storms, going it careful with our hearts, the same river, a new river, the same river, a trust fall. The music blends shoegaze, country, early 2000s Swedish-indie pop and cosmic synths to arrive at a sound that is a little bit like Mojave 3 telling a story to The Rock*a*Teens about The Wallflowers trying to impress Neko Case by covering The Cure. For the ideal listening experience, we recommend sitting in your converted tool shed of a bedroom in a town with casinos and meth and garbage bag curtains, singing along to “If you can hear me / you can see that / I am more than smoke” and then writing the song that comes next. Before the pandemic, we were touring and collecting regrets on the backs of puzzle pieces. The front of the puzzle was a picture of lightning. The plan was to assemble the puzzle after the tour and dispose of the regrets to the back of the lightning where they belonged. Of course, that project is now at a standstill. But strange and sad and sweet and interesting things happened in the midst of it. “

Martin Bisi

THE PRESS RELEASE: “NYC legendary producer Martin Bisi releases Solstice, his first solo record in five years. Out of any trend, enjoy this psychedelic opus through light and dark. Beloved as an engineer, producer, and central figure in New York City’s avant-garde music scene, Bisi has recorded landmark works by Brian Eno, Bill Laswell, Sonic Youth, Swans, Helmet, Herbie Hancock, Fab Five Freddy, John Zorn and more. Operating out of his Brooklyn studio, BC Studio, for almost 40 years now, Bisi has brought his style to a disparate slew of crucial albums, from hip-hop to noise-rock and beyond. An underground celeb behind the console, Bisi has also been recording and releasing music of his own since 1988. Solstice is his sixth full-length album and ninth release in all. Bisi proclaims how his role as producer has shaped him as a musician: “I draw influence in large measure from what comes through the studio. It’s like a giant sieve of this NYC stuff. I don’t advertise, so I record people who are drawn to me for various reasons. I think engineering/producing has been an essential part of my path as a musician.” On new album Solstice, dense layers of sound combine in cacophonous and electrifying ways. “Most of the music was born out of improvisation, then developed from there,” says Bisi. Something like early Sonic Youth crossed with Bitches Brew, a stomping post-punk vibe churns beneath a wild array of tones and rhythms – operatic vocals, effects-driven guitars, keyboards, electric viola, drums, and more. Rapturous melodies and anthemic lyrics emerge from the din. The album is split between Summer Solstice and Winter Solstice sides. “I started thinking about solstices, visiting Norway in the early summer, where the power of the summer solstice is more pronounced than in New York,” Bisi explains. “The solstices seemed the most dichotomous of the big, captivating, celestial events. It seemed well suited to the LP format of two sides, including the shape of the disc which is like the Sun or Earth.” “The Summer Side is more about action,” he says. “The Winter Side is one contiguous piece, Unbirth, that’s more contemplative, populated by people and ghosts in the immediate surroundings.”

Fruity Water
The Telephone Song EP

THE PRESS RELEASE:Telephone Song is the new EP from Brighton based electronic odd pop duo Fruity Water, aka Adam Bell and Alan Odgers. As a synergy of two of the main strands of DIY music in Brighton, between the dark and minimal music coming out of the electronic scene in contrast with the output from the indie guitar scene, for which Brighton has long been famous for, Telephone Song encapsulates the bands urge to bridge this musical divide. In terms of legacy artists that are touchstones, the output of maverick producers such as Caribou and Four Tet are big inspirations, as are bands such as Dandy Warhols and Pink Floyd. This theme of communication is right at the heart of the lyrical/conceptual theme of the track, as Adam explains, “Telephone Song is about communicating on the telephone, which seems a bit old fashioned after the jump to everyone communicating using video chat over the last couple of weeks since the lockdown, as well as the slower trend of people moving towards email and instant messaging apps over the last few years.”

Sreym Hctim
Turn Tail

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Each of the five songs tackle composition in a different way. Jigsaw Piece Flaw exhibits the most textural detail and dynamics. It begins with a few simple plucks of a miniature harp swimming in a distant droning fog. Screeches heard from the Jefferson L train platform drag back and forth under the churning gears of a hand-crank music box. Overblown speakers carry a tune through hushed whispers. Loose strings nearly fall off a thrift store toy guitar as the moans from a bowed bass and faulty electronics swirl once more around the sound field before the beat of drum kit marks the song switch. Forcing pieces that don’t go together fuels an anxiety spiral that spans the duration of the EP.”

Clara Engel
Hatching Under The Stars

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Based in Toronto, Clara Engel is a prolific and multi-faceted artist and musician. They have collaborated with musicians and artists from the UK, Germany, Brazil, Canada, Turkey, Iran, and the US. Engel’s music has been played on Italian National Radio, as well as BBC Radio 2, making it onto Tom Robinson’s show BBC Introducing on several occasions. Their music has been described as “folk noir,” “minimalist holy blues from another galaxy,” and “sung poetry.” Engel’s voice and guitar stylings place them singularly on the genre-map, somewhere between avant-garde torch singer and gothic-blues artist. Influences span genres and media, amongst them are Vasko Popa, Virginia Woolf, Theodore Roethke, Jim Jarmusch, Arvo Part, Meredith Monk, Robert Johnson, Gillian Welch, and Jacques Brel.”

The Kongsmen
You’re Bound To Look Like A Monkey When You Grow Old b/w Miss Orangatang

THE TRANSLATED PRESS RELEASE: “Ten years have passed since the last recording of the coolest ape band in high school, Charlton Heston‘s worst nightmare, the cops from Copito de Nieve … and every so often we asked ourselves in which branch (of tree) they would be lost and forgotten at the university, and if there were any remote possibility of regrouping them to relive mythical scattering nights. And suddenly our hearts skip a beat, we began to rummage each other, to attack with our excrement the neighbors who were breaking the rules of confinement, dancing to the rhythm of masturbatory practices, and following with our hyper-developed sense of smell the trail of their urine streams, we managed to contact these elusive primates, whom we tricked with the exchange of trinkets and designer drugs, to publish their single return. But as everything could not be said, the coronavirus has come to take the bananas, to change the peanuts for lupins and to abruptly lower our monkeys from their return scenario. Nothing happens! Here you have this single banana yellow color, as a substitute and as soon as you want to realize you will be in the first row enjoying its innate sense to turn into brainless hit everything they touch. On the one hand, a classic at 78 rpm by Clarence Williams, You’re Bound to Look Like a Monkey When you Grow Old long to memorize even for maestro Pizarro and on the other a proto-soul from the ’60s, Miss Orangatang signed by Lincoln Chase. Both two, chewed, shamelessly shredded and passed on to the fun side of simian sophistication. Suitable to enjoy on the dance floors of the nearest jungle.”

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