Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Avons "Hardscrabble" - Self Released

Sometime geography can obviously help define a sound, or at least reinforce an idea of what that part of the country should sound like. But then there are times like this instrumental free jazz single from The Avons set out somewhere in "The wide open flat spaces of government-subsidized GMO cornfields in Illinois" that defy any sort of tie to a place. This seems to be one of those rare examples of like minded people who have followed a call to an idiosyncratic place that simply couldn't have been planned.

A-Side "Hardscrabble" begins with a smooth quiet jazz groove and whispered beginnings of vocals, more of a heavy echo scat vocalization, a punkier, rural Tom Waits. The instrumentation is winding around, ambling in a hip circle, this vocal quietly talking or forcefully spitting out bursts syllables. Something on a rainy jazz midnight, with cabs and fog coming up from manhole covers. Restrained   Saxaphone seems to rise above this ambling pace for just seconds in a free form style, creating this moody night with noir elements. The snapping of fingers... suits and hats, wingtip shoes. An instrumental private investigator sound that has nothing to do with that wheatfield on the cover. Or it's the small town David Lynch town with mysterious sinister underpinnings...stumbling across a body in that field - for example.

"Hardscrabble B" gets settled into a slow groove, the sax now going for a bassline sound with the rolling echo percussion trodding along. The guitar here has a huge almost surf tremolo rotating speaker sound. It's played in a huge room and everyone is falling in line here, the guitar with near distorted notes and the sax is cooly staking its claim on the opposite side of this. All kinds of unsettling information in heavy rim shot echo and barely grazed kick drum. The echo surf quietly making waves in the background, the percussion picking up, bouncing off he walls of this massive empty hall. It's a long contemplative track in which they take their time to build up and break back down. The lack of any kind of info on this makes the noir feel that much more mysterious. Who are these guys taking pictures of wheatfields and playing this haunting jazz long into the night? Creepy. I'm almost in that Beats, Naked Lunch smoky lounge, but there's something forcing this more contemporary. A very defined melody and direction on this side.

Pick this up from Intangible Cat Distro, hand stamped inner label with optional punch out 45 hole, single color copy sheet sleeve.

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