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June 29, 2018






JOHN COLTRANE - Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album [LP/CD](Impulse/UME)


Recorded in 1963 but lost in the shuffle of life, an acetate of a John Coltrane Quartet session was discovered in the bottom of a closet belonging to Coltrane's first wife Juanita Naima Coltrane. This artifact contained an entire album from the days when jazz musicians would rehearse and record the whole LP in just one afternoon session. "Both Directions" is Coltrane with his classic quartet of Elvin Jones, McCoy Tyner and Jimmy Garrison taking off even further from the modal exploration of "Impressions" (whose title track appears here before its true recording on April 29, 1963.) As with all history, trying to isolate the why and when are the largest challenges of this hidden gem. Recorded on March 6, 1963, it proceeds the session for the classic "John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman" by just one day. If anything, "Both Directions" is Coltrane shedding his past (the standard "Nature Boy" has no solo) in favor of the future (the near stratospheric hard bop "Untitled Original 11383." and the "11386's" lightning runs that will soon thread together the movements of 1965's "A Love Supreme.")


JOHN COLTRANE - "Untitled Original 11383" (Impulse/UME)


JIM JAMES - Uniform Distortion [CLEAR LP/CD](ATO)


As the title indicates, the latest from Jim James is one carefully constructed to turn up loud. James (working with Kevin Ratterman) redefines himself once again as a bratty, raucous rocker. The songs of "Distortion" are short, sharp jabs further driven home by the wail of guitars and the funky undertones from the bass of Seth Kaufman (Floating Action). However, these are not angst-ridden jibes, "Distortion" uniformly highlights James and his multiple exclamations.


JIM JAMES - "Throwback (live at Rough Trade)" (ATO)


FLORENCE + THE MACHINE - High As Hope [LP/CD](Republic)


As Florence Welch grows as a writer, so grows her masterful control of the tension and emotion in her voice. Where most artists might feel the need to communicate with more words, Welch uses "High As Hope" to promote a less is more strategy. Judging from the first sparkling pair of singles, "Hunger" and "Big God", "High As Hope" will be yet another fan favorite that will earn her new devotees as well.


FLORENCE + THE MACHINE - "Big God" (Republic)


GORILLAZ - The Now Now [LP/CD](Parlophone)


For the sixth album from Damon Albarn's cartoon supergroup, "The Now Now" barely follows the same star-studded guest formula. Albarn brings in heavy hitters George Benson and Snoop Dogg, before slamming the studio door shut and allowing producer James Ford (Arctic Monkeys) to work over their sound and make a record as cohesive as their 2001 debut.


GORILLAZ feat. George Benson - "Humility" (Parlophone)


MILK CARTON KIDS - All The Things I Did And All The Things I Didn't Do [LP/CD](ANTI-)


On their first true record with a band, Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan focus on writing songs that are uniquely confessional yet still feel universal. Where previous records pushed their harmonies into the mix, producer Joe Henry keeps the Kids right up front. The result is a series of songs that rarely sound similar, as their dual voices neatly duel with the Trigger-like response of their picked gut-strung classical guitars. The mystical ten-minute tone poem of "One More For The Road" is a highlight and a likely showstopper live.


MILK CARTON KIDS - "Younger Years" (ANTI-)


GRAHAM NASH - Over The Years [LP/CD](Rhino/Atlantic)


Most collections of demos give you a starting point to hear skeletal songs gain structure and most importantly - heart and soul. For Nash's collection of demos, "Over The Years" is largely about his underappreciation in a sometimes overbearing supergroup. As one of the Hollies, Nash came into CSN (and sometimes Y) having co-written the effervescent "On a Carousel" and "Carrie Anne" among others. With Stills, Crosby and Young, it was Nash who penned the "hits" for the band. Listening to his 1968 demo of "Marrakesh Express" or even the latter day 1982 hit "Wasted on the Way", these songs feel intimate and radiant. As Nash rolls through his catalog, what is most enjoyable is the feeling that here in their most nascent form Nash communicates the joy of playing them just for you.


GRAHAM NASH - "Teach Your Children (demo)" (Rhino/Atlantic)


RYAN ADAMS - "Baby I Love You" [7" SINGLE](PAX AM/Capitol)


Like the artists of the 60's, Ryan Adams uses his singles as a means of favoring us with the fruits of his latest idea. Unlike the droll Smiths-ian strum und drang of "Love Is Hell", Adams returns to his chimey electric 12-string with a sweet concoction of hazy pop. "Baby I Love You" is the missing AM radio wonder and best illustrates Adams' newfound ability to write songs of any style that sound more like himself as opposed to tributes to time gone by.


RYAN ADAMS - "Baby I Love You" (PAX AM/Capitol)


TELETHON - The Grand Spontanean [LP](Halloween/Good Land)


Milwaukee's Telethon throws all caution to the wind and unleashes a massive 90-minute rock opera that harkens back to the Who, the Hold Steady and a lot of 90's alternative rock. Split into five acts (they even wisely place their "Underture" in the middle for a suitable intermission), Telethon roll out everything they love, adore and believe in about Rock N'Roll from blinding hooks to squiggly synth solos in hopes of telling you a tale about finding hope at the end of the world. Along the way, "Spontanean" unearths several singles (the joyous "Apocalypse When", the smart satire of "Succinct, The Optimist", the punky "Punctuation!", the redemptive "Notches on the Scale/The Runner's High" and the recuperative "Firebrand") but really plays best as a naive beautiful film-length album. Highly recommended.


TELETHON - "The Signal/Apocalypse When/Succinct, The Optimist" (Halloween/Good Land)






RAY DAVIES - Americana Act II [LP/CD](Legacy)


BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE - Gravity [LP/CD](Spinefarm)




THE ESSEX GREEN - Hardly Electronic [LP/CD](Merge)


ROCK-A-TEENS - Sixth House [LP/CD](Merge)


INTERRUPTERS - Fight The Good Fight [LP/CD](Hellcat/Epitaph)


TRAVIS CHILDERS - Live on Red Barn Radio I and II [CD](Hickman Holler)




GUNS N'ROSES - Appetite For Destruction: Locked N'Loaded [LP/CD](Geffen/UME)


It was a lengthy, serpentine path that led L.A.'s Guns N'Roses from shadowy upstarts living off of their stripper girlfriends to the biggest band in the world. Before they sold 30 million copies of this classic to the world, they recorded some 25 more songs that are contained here for the first time. These are the tracks that started a bidding war, inflamed potential producer Paul Stanley, left critics unimpressed and failed to catch fire on radio for nearly a year after its original release. Once David Geffen convinced MTV to give "Welcome To The Jungle" a little play, that was all that was necessary for Guns to then singlehandedly drive the nails into the coffin of Hair Metal.


GUNS N'ROSES - "Shadow of Your Love" (Geffen/UME)


OHIO PLAYERS - Live 1977 [LP](Goldenlane)


In Funk circles, the mighty Ohio Players are often overlooked and even pushed to that dreaded second tier. However, in their heyday, the Midwest's best funk band could compete with anyone. "Live 1977" captures the band at the peak of their game. Here for your dancing pleasure, eight sinuous minutes of "Love Rollercoaster" and the masterful ballad "I Want To Be Free", nine minutes of "Skin Tight/Fopp" and a half-an-hour spent jamming on their blazing #1 "Fire."


OHIO PLAYERS - "Skin Tight/Fopp" (Goldenlane)




OUR TOWNS: A 100,000 MILE JOURNEY INTO THE HEART OF AMERICA - James and Deborah Fallows.


The Atlantic writer and his wife traveled all across America over four years stopping and staying exclusively in the small out-of-the-way towns.  These days, weeks and even months provided the Fallows with the chance to make connections in the friendliest places and see that the 29 towns they chose for this book are truly the backbone of our country.




Physicist Lightman spent many Spring weekends and summer weeks on a tiny island off the coast of Maine that at its peak could occupy six families. Having learned how to drive and navigate a boat to get back and forth, one night Lightman stopped his craft in the water and stared at the stars above. The little epiphany led him into a journey of mind into star-gazing ancients, ancient philosophy texts and a tremendous leap of faith. Over these pages, Lightman beautiful recalls this cultural, literary and above all spiritual journey.




Michael Davis, T-Bones Records 2018

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