Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Eleven Twenty-Nine on Drawing Room Records
Jeff from Drawing Room Records and I have been going to the Word Music Book Club meetings since they started and only just recently (six months later) figured out who each other were... but really I wasn't surprised. Of course he'd be the sort interested in the entire world of music, from criticism to pressing...and to be pressing tiny records after all takes a certain kind of maniac...and I was happy to have met another vinyl superfan.
It's been a while since I talked about his last release from Family Curse and White Murder and after we got together at the "I want my MTV" meeting a couple weeks ago I remembered I still had this single from Eleven Twenty-Nine to check out. Eleven Twenty-Nine is long time collaborators Tom Carter & Marc Orleans, the minds behind the Charalambides and Sunburned hand of the Man among others and on this single the guitar work takes front and center on these somewhere between country and psych tracks.
A-Side's "In the sunlight," mostly has a sort of country feel with lots of intricate acoustic happening alongside this soaring electric. But it starts with a big smack of the strings, an echo of metal acoustic quivering. Still ringing out, a groove sort of solo picks up in front of a laid back sunset-plateau scene. Odd castanets or wood block type of rhythm opens up after the long intro with the title lyric coming from Betsy Nichols and Tom Carter singing together. Melancholic...it's the only thing they have to say in between long stretches of complex guitar work between acoustics and a heavily sustained distortion. The two of them sing in half step down harmony....adding "before the rain" after the title and you can see where all of a sudden this changes the tone and that emotional creaking electric starts to wail, complete with wah bends. It's a '70s feel.... high, stretched out craziness starts doubling up the layers... colliding and getting in and out of sync with each other. The rest of the track doesn't seem to notice this instrument voice that's completely gone off the rails. Somber otherwise, but these guitars have been chained up in the hills far too long apparently.
B-Side's "Anchors Away" takes a very western direction on the nautical titled track. Betsy's vocal is tortured with that cracking apart twang while the instrumentation has the ramshackle feel of a band half stumbling home while she pulls out her beautiful Patsy Cline style, being down on her luck and heartbroken being the key to getting real work done. The point is, everything falls apart... in the form of a huge reverb solo that stumbles, just barely - and then hits every stair on the way down. Slide guitar is another essential ingredient here, that metal hollow body kind of slide using a broken bottle of hard liquor with another set of plucked strings, which must be the dobro listed on the sleeve. Basically I think they're trying to say "oh boy, just when I was getting used to this place I have to leave again".
On black vinyl with download code from Drawing Room Records and check out some tracks from a full length on Northern Spy below.