This week we look at the latest releases from Usse, LKP and The Chickahominy Mountain Band.
Usse – Flowers For S.
There is nothing predictable about Flowers For S, the debut full-length album by Saint John experimental ensemble Usse. With eight tracks that shift continuously and challenge all concepts of genre and categorization, Flowers For S, and Usse for that matter, finds its strength in the freedom it presents both the listeners and the musicians involved.
As if to say, “put me in a box, I dare you,” Usse have succeeded in creating something all their own. Each track on Flowers For S sounds almost like it’s a playground where no idea is a bad one and each musician is encouraged to ‘do that thing you do’. Post-jazz?
The list of players on this recording include core-Usse collaborators Jud Crandall, Emily Saab and Stephanie Tierney performing with a cast of guest musicians whose collective backgrounds draw striking similarities to the album’s eclecticism. Musicians known primarily for their work in the well-defined fields of rock, folk and electronic music all contribute to this album, yet somehow manage to keep their own signature sounds from clouding the broader vision/structure Crandall, Saab and Tierney have created. Like the album itself, that’s a remarkable feat.
LKP – Dogdays
Three new tracks from the Moncton electronic music project, LKP. On her latest EP Dogdays, composer Laura P offers up a range of pop-friendly sounds that mix cascading stacado melody lines with energetic and driving rhythms to create three distinct tracks that complement one another without feeling like a rehash of ideas.
The opening track, Anything You Want (Imagine the Possibilities), is a mid tempo track that builds and flows with a subtle tension created by a beat-forward bass tone that seems to drop with slightly more intent than the other instrumentation. I Wanna Dance follows a similar vein of breaks and pauses (in a minor key this time) and leads into the EP’s closing track, While Stuck In This Place, a song that builds to become a march-like anthem that serves as both a climax of the EP and a lead into whatever may come next.
LKP’s experience and attention to detail make this three track collection a simple and complete package from front to back.
Chickahominy Mountain Band – Live Off The Hardwood Floor
The Chickahominy Mountain Band make their debut with a live off the floor recording that features seven tracks that touch on the softer side of the roots-rock spectrum. With a stacked lineup of accomplished players that include members of the Montgomery Street Band, Earthbound and several other groups past and present, it’s still early days for this group of musicians. And while all the elements are there – the songwriting, musicianship and a fine variety of instrumentation – the band still sounds slightly unsettled, perhaps still searching for the balance that best suits their collective abilities and vision for this project.
Guided by Sam Astorino’s distinct voice, Don Flatt (piano), Patrick Gushue (voice, mandolin and fiddle), Mike Humble (drums and percussion) and Ian Sherwood (bass), this recording offers a fine introduction to what The Chickahominy Mountain Band are all about and hints at what this group may be capable of. Standout tracks for me what have to be Fairy Tales and Lovely Bunch.
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If you are a New Brunswick artist or group, have new music on the way and would like to be considered for a future edition of Midweek Music Mix, send us the details at gridcitymagazine(at)gmail.com