Album Cuts

Twisted Pine
Right Now
Signature Sounds

Evolving into an eclectic bluegrass-influenced outfit, Twisted Pine entangle indie, folk, and jam band in their latest offering Right Now, preceded by the single “Don’t Come Over Tonight.” The title track is a breezy affair, filled with pop vocal confection courtesy of Kathleen Parks, sprightly fiddle work, and finger-snaps. “Amadeus Party” continues the energy, only this time caked in instrumental form (and in shorter forms later in “Talkneeta” and “Fogo de Chow”). A flute solo injects life into “Papaya,” which stems from a bossa nova-influenced pattern, but takes front-and-center in the Tex Logan number “Come Along Jody”. The assertive “Well, You Can Do It Without Me” offsets the escapist “Dreamaway” while the six-minute “Don’t Come Over Tonight” emphasizes jazz and folk flourishes, a nod to the band’s inspirations.

Eschewing the use of drum or saxophone, the outfit create compelling and contagious compositions with a flute, fiddle, mandolin, whistle, and bass guitar concoction. Parks’ fiddle is rooted in Celtic and Americana, Sartori’s bass in jazz, Dan Bui’s mandolin in the traditional bluegrass and jam band scenes, and newest member Anh Phung in rock ‘n’ roll, with a flute emulating mandolin and fiddle. Intent on staying true to their bluegrass sound foundation but expanding the possibilities of the genre, Twisted Pine symbolize such diversity through their ethnic and gender makeup, revealing the power that music is a common spirit that can be enjoyed by anyone and is open to exploration for survivability. “Tomorrow the Sun Will Rise,” another extended tune, captures this optimism.

by Jeff Boyce

CDLongest Day
The Longest Day
Various artists
Mon Amie Records

Annually, the Alzheimer’s Association produces a fundraiser event to raise awareness to such a devastating disease process, characterized by an irreversible and progressive brain disorder that reduces memory and mental functioning. As the most common component of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease affects around six million people in the United States as of 2020. Mon Amie Records joins the fight, serving a benefit album with 100% of it proceeds going to the organization, a compilation that ranges from artists as celebrated as New Order and Moby to experimentalist Rhys Chatham and critically praised Anna Calvi.

The set opens with the majestic soundscape of “Adelaide,” performed by Calvi, before percolating to the Rituals of Mine’s reassuring “The Only Way Out is Through.” Ambient textures segue into Daniel Avery’s electronic “JXJ, which finishes in a haunting drone. Cold Speck’s “Turn to Stone” merges the darkness of goth music with impassioned soul music; TR/ST’s “Destroyer,” on the other side of the coin, decorates the former’s dark textures into an electropop gloss of their own. Pop-punk Beach Slang perform a convincing cover of the dream rock band The Church’s 1988 classic “Under the Milky Way” before synth-rock stalwarts New Order sink their teeth in the extended mix of the nine-minute nostalgic “Nothing But a Fool”.

Not the typical benefit album, as it is steeped in electronic and experimental excursions, The Longest Day offers a unique perspective to the disease, producing mind-altering mixes of songs. The remaining songs - from HAAi’s powering “Drumting” and the heartbeat rhythm of Hayden Thorpe and Jon Hopkins’ “Goodbye Horses” to the no wave of Wolfmanhatten Project’s “Friday the 13th” and the female-led “Who Goes There” by Sad13 - all attest to this. Full of previously unreleased material and a wide array of sounds and themes, this album is a winner in its underground concept but with a mainstream issue in mind.

by Jeff Boyce