Normally, I do all my listening sessions for review purposes with headphones. I’ve got a nice pair that set me back far more than a person of my limited means should be spending, but I get a lot of use out of them. Today, I had to take them off. “Mangler Redbeard,” Warm Climate’s newest release on their oldest Robert Barry Construction Associates label, simply had to be shared with my daughter.
She was drawing pictures of dogs, but seemed game.
Seth Kasselman’s sublime “19th Century Blessings” rebounded off the walls, his voice eeirely filling a space between David Bowie and Roger Waters. Isn’t this guy from Los Angeles? Whatever, it’s perfect. The best thing is that this is one of the more straightforward cuts– check out “Can’t Forget To Know You,” which transitions abruptly from high-speed flayed-drum pounding into something like I’d imagine Steve Ignorant fronting an electronic version of the Lost Poets would sound like. Twin stereo vocals complicate matters before the headlong rush towards the end kicks in. It’s absolute genius, and no doubt will be sitting on my year-end best albums list.
“Snake Procession” is another gem, taking the same sort of amazing musical leaps I loved so much in Warm Climate’s “Forced Spring For Rising Tide,” but in completely different directions. Field recordings, church bells, and a dissonant wind section set the atmosphere for Kasselman’s “lion keeper” character to describe a serpentine parade-and-feast. Weird stuff, but wonderful.
Although Warm Climate’s lineup tends to shift somewhat, “Mangler Redbeard” is essentially a solo Kasselman effort. Sometime-contributer Nick Schultz shows up for drum duty on a couple tracks, which benefit from the live feel, but lose some of the incredible weirdness on Kasselman’s more baroque constructions.
The glam-rock feel positively saturating this album was inevitable, I guess. With what seems like every bearded guitarist alive claiming musical inheritance from Roky Erickson, how long could it take before the fertile (and to my ears, under-explored) territory of glam started looking like just the right place to plant one’s flag? George Korein may have beat Kasselman to it with last year’s “Another Corpse,” but he’s going to have to play Leif Ericson to Kasselman’s Columbus.
“Mangler Redbeard” is available as Robert Barry Constuction Associates release number 14.
Don’t believe DaveX? Here’s another review! (Foxy Digitalis)