Teen Daze – The Inner Mansions
On debut album All Of Us, Together, Teen Daze, AKA Canadian musician and producer Jamison, crafted blissfully uplifting, mainly instrumental song cycles that stirred up visions and feelings of being beachside. Sophomore album The Inner Mansions, which was released just a few months later, swims in calmer, more introspective waters.
A contemplative viewpoint, not a euphoric high, is its end goal, with the exception of the upbeat “Union” that features guest vocals from a buoyant Frankie Rose. Several songs even include Jamison singing wistfully and winningly on lead vocals.
Slug Guts – Playin’ In Time With The Deadbeat
Sacred Bones Records
The now-defunct Australian band Slug Guts roils the swamp waters yet again on third album Playin’ In Time With The Deadbeat. It follows the same menacing template as the previous, critically-acclaimed release Howlin’ Gang (An apt album title if there ever was one).
Songwriter and guitarist Jimi Kritzler and the other band members wrangle with a tangle of wiry to burnished, hard-charging guitars that angle for their target against a pressing drum rumble. Lead singer (Well, shouter…) J.D. howls (and bristles, and moans, and wails) balefully and frustratedly amid the tensely antagonistic racket in the style of compatriot Nick Cave.
Jeff Zentner – A Season Lost
Cities of the Plain Records
Many cooks don’t spoil the broth on Jeff Zentner’s latest album. Jeff collaborates with several other artists including Elin Palmer on strings, and Buck and Shanti Curran (of Arborea), Rykarda Parasol, Hannah Fury, Josie Little, Sumie Nagano, and Matt Bauer on various instruments and vocals.
The result is a lyrics-centered, somberly haunting rumination on the cycle of life and death, the ephemeral nature of time and seasons, and love, loss, and memory. Subdued, but restless guitars and strings create a mood of unease and foreboding, while the varied, low-key vocals are delivered as vessels of suppressed emotions. The restrained nature of the song-craft and expression create quiet fireworks on each song.