The Needle Drop

spoken word

Mark Kozelek with Donny McCaslin and Jim White - "Day in America" ft. Kevin Corrigan

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As we all know at this point, Mark Kozelek is never not recording music, hence the recent announcement of a new collaborative album with Blackstar saxophonist/flautist Donny McCaslin and drummer/previous collaborator Jim White. Mark has a solo album dropping in May, as well as a Sun Kil Moon album in November, so he doesn't plan for this collab to come out before 2019.

However, we already have the 15-minute-long lead single, "Day in America," which makes ridiculously timely commentary on the Valentine's Day shooting in Florida. Despite the unfortunate suggestion in the song's opening seconds that Sandy Hook is a high school, Mark's sentiments on the subject are respectable. Even his eye-for-an-eye vision of justice is hard to fault in the face of such atrocity. You certainly can't say the man's not doing his part to combat the normalization of gun violence. But, as is often the case, Mark's lyrics stray from the topic at hand. (Let's just not talk about the part when he confuses Bill Evans with Bob Evans, OK?)

The instrumental is quite progressive and heads in all sorts of interesting directions, as well; closing with a monologue from actor Kevin Corrigan as he reflects on the tragedy. You can listen to the song below or download it by clicking here.


Graham Lambkin - No Better No Worse (Vol 1)

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Just a month following the sad but deliberate closure of Graham Lambkin's Kye record label, the sound and visual artist has embraced digital distribution by joining Bandcamp. His five, long out of print solo albums are now on the platform, as is a new compilation of previously unreleased material. The recording of this collection spans from the first of those albums in 2001, all the way through last year; with the project effectively serving as an alternate history of the man's post-Shadow Ring career up to this point. The sprawling opening track, for instance, could be another world's Salmon Run.

Consequently, I recommend listening to the actual albums first if you're not familiar with them – given their aforementioned OOP status, that's a distinct possibility. Salmon Run is my favorite sound collage / musique concrète work of all time, Amateur Doubles is one of this decade's greatest ambient works, and Community was one of my 2016 faves, so it's hard to go wrong with any of those. But if you'd prefer a baptism by fire with this comp, fucking go for it.

A second volume of unreleased material is due out later in the year; not to mention a collaborative double album with Áine O'Dwyer on the way via Erstwhile. Suffice it to say Graham's making big plays in 2018.


Mark Kozelek with Ben Boye and Jim White - "The Black Butterfly"

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Here's the second single from Mark Kozelek's upcoming collaborative album with Ben Boye and Jim White, which will apparently contain the Koz's sixth and seventh discs of 2017. Lyrically, "The Black Butterfly" is a step up from the previously released "House Cat," with Mark spending the first portion of the song conveying a dream he had about Elliott Smith. Then the track gets Beefheartian with an off-kilter, seemingly improvised section; though after hearing Jim's drumming on the Yellow Kitchen cut "Daffodils" (and considering his free-form work with the Dirty Three), I can't say that's really out of left field.

I'm digging the dark vibe of this song overall, and am just curious at this point to hear how the whole album will come together. A full stream will go live on Sun Kil Moon's site on October 1, along with an interview about the project with producer Tony Visconti.