Test of the Boomerang: New Arrivals

Written by Music, Test of the Boomerang

Crosby, Stills & Nash – Demos (Rhino)

In the wake of Graham Nash’s box earlier this year, and of course Neil Young’s behemoth Archives, Crosby, Stills & Nash (Neil Young appears only on one song) Demos is a pretty modest little disc. A cross-section of hits in their embryonic, home recorded states. It almost feels like a missing chunk of the old CSN box set. Almost. Nothing here feels too oblique, nothing too archaic or for-completists-only. Crosby’s early takes on “Almost Cut My Hair” and “Deja Vu” are especially interesting in their early arrangements. Graham Nash’s “Sleep Song” and Stephen Stills’ “My Love Is a Gentle Thing” crank up the intimacy factor on these recordings and “Be Yourself” and “Music is Love” retain their summery sing-along feel.

These songs are all classics that you’ve heard over and over again — their impact dulled by repetition on classic rock FM. The hallmark of CSN(Y) is those lush, layered harmonies, but hearing these songs all stripped down and bare still reveals that pointed reminder — music is love, let your freak flag fly.

David Crosby – “Almost Cut My Hair (demo)”

New Monsoon Live (New Monsoon)

New Monsoon are a consistently solid band whose new double live set (recorded over the course of several hot nights last fall in Texas) is a testimony to their powers as a live act. In the past New Monsoon have added didgeridoo and eastern percussion to their sound, but this is all straight-ahead rootsy jam rock at its finest.

Much has been written about how focused New Monsoon are. There are no wasted notes and no indulgent passages, even in the most furious jams. Jeff Miller’s lead guitar and Phil Ferlino’s keyboards chase each other down over tightly wound grooves courtesy of Marshall Harrell’s bass and Sean Hutchingson’s drums. Of course, Bo Carper on acoustic guitar and vocals provides the role of charismatic frontman — a fine vocalist and a deft instrumentalist in his own right.

From their lilting take on “Stagger Lee” to the epic “Alaska” (a sort of parental “Tangled Up in Blue”) to the fiery culmination of “Country Interlude” (and a mean cover of Hendrix’s “Freedom,” too), New Monsoon Live is the sort of supercharged live document that few bands manage to capture.

New Monsoon – “Alaska”

New Monsoon just tore it up last week at the Wakarusa Festival at Mulberry Mountain. An oh so crispy recording of their short but oh so sweet set can be found at the Live Music Archive.

New Monsoon at Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival on June 5, 2009

Sweet Brandywine->The Next Best Thing, Naked Truth, Romp, The Other Side, Modus Operandi->Greenhouse, Southern Dew, Bridge of the Gods

That “Modus>Greenhouse” is especially sick. Enjoy!

Audiobook; The Genesis Generation

The man behind MatrixMasters.com and the Palenque Norte camp and lecture series at Burning Man, Lorenzo Hagerty, has just completed his first novel. You can listen to him read the first chapter of  The Genesis Generation on the latest edition of  his “Psychedelic Salon” podcast. It’s an interesting narrative about a young professional falling into the sway of the psychedelic underground (along with such subversities as vegan pate’ and THC laced brownies!) It’s an interesting tale and I’m anxious to hear the rest of it. Lorenzo’s podcasts feature talks with everyone from Psychedelic legends like Terrence McKenna and Carolyn “Mountain Girl” Adams (Garcia) to present-day luminaries like Daniel Pinchbeck and Bruce Damer. Go check it out.

Bruce Damer & Lorenzo Hagerty (l-r)

Bruce Damer & Lorenzo Hagerty (l-r)

Well, kids, that’s all I have for you this week. Meet me back here next week as we sample some kind goodies from the recent festivals, and stay in touch!