A regular Thursday feature of this channel.

Peter Baird


Tallest Building starts like any acoustic guitar opus a world-weary singer-songwriter might come up with, but takes a quick left turn into prog/metal sensibility. It’s like the singer’s mates dug his songs, but said “dude, if we’re gonna have a band we need hardass drums and key signature changes.” The band’s name is Muttering (not often a band name is a verb). Tallest Building is also a pretty good lyric: “Your lies are a comfort/Nothing grows in darkness.”

You already know I like Freedom Fry. When the Day is Done fits right into their sensibility, but would not have made the list without its strong chorus. “In the end I’ll/Still be needing you/So come back home.”

Gold confused me. It sounds like a really good Bruce Hornsby tune, straight outta 1987. The chorus is completely original—the accents are mostly on beat 4, so it wants to fall forward into your lap. “This town’s too small for second chances.” And pinch me if I’m wrong, but when things crank up there’s a TON of non-lin reverb on the snare. I love it.

The Puzzle is seven minutes of great hard bop on a direct line to back to Coltrane. It’s always refreshing to hear a straight ahead trumpet solo without the Harmon (we all love Miles, but give it a rest). That’s Shutaro Matsui, BTW. Makato-San takes the Trio From Ozone through this with slightly dense voicing in the left hand, but that’s just so we all understand the chords.

Cover of the week, Surrender to the Rhythm by Brinsley Schwarz as rendered by Elvis and Rusty. Stellar recording, find a good system and turn it up to stun. And not for nothing did I put this sonic cupcake right next to the debacle that follows. This week’s problem child really has my dander up for a bunch of different reasons.

The Sadies were/are a Haight-Ashbury throwback from Toronto who make consistently challenging music. Their latest album, Colder Streams, was supposed to be their commercial breakthrough—after all it was produced by buddy Richard Reed Parry of the super-mega famous The Arcade Fire. Tragically, lead singer/songwriter Dallas Good passed away in February, so this is kind of his farewell. Message to Belial is an arresting lyric with great guitar lines. It’s an absolute dumpster fire of production and mixing, however. Hand this song to the Byrds in 1967, you have a smash hit. Instead, everything is swimming in reverb, all the live instruments recorded in rooms designed to sound boxy and resonant in all the wrong ranges, and the vocals are pushed mercilessly into the mush. Parry really dropped the ball on this—Dallas deserves a remix that focuses on his song and not a producer’s intention to impress his hipster friends.