Charlie Parr’s Dreamlike “Hollandale”

charlie parr

Charlie Parr, Hollandale (Chaperone Records)

The guitar is one of those instrumental pieces of a musician’s arsenal that can sound like a thousand different things in a thousand different hands, from the fast flatpickers to the delicate classical guitarist, the punk thrasher to the jazz swinger. Minnesota guitarist Charlie Parr’s weapon of choice is the resonator guitar, mostly, and he makes it sing in mournful, wailing tones on this new instrumental album of extended pieces with electric guitarist and producer Allan Sparhawk.

From the earliest blues masters, the resonator has held a spooky, dark place in music—think Son House and “John the Revelator”. Parr knows this and uses the instrument’s naturally supernatural tones to create a sonic sculpture across two huge movements, “I Dreamed I Saw Paul Bunyan Last Night (Part 1) and (Part 2). The first half builds as it ebbs and flows, returning to a stinging slide theme again and again as the tension mounts like a Wagner march. Around the nine minute mark, spent and elegiac, the dense arrangement folds up its tent and walks off into a mercurial sunset of sorts, fading ever so gradually as the theme is repeated on a single string and a ghostly echo wails in the background.

The title track, inserted as it is between the main piece’s two parts, is drone-like but more intermission than bridge, a beautiful folk melody on its own but no match for its surroundings. Likewise the last two tracks suffer, if only in comparison. “Barn Swallows At Twilight” is minimalist and banjo-sounding, almost, as Parr evokes the flutter and flocking of the titular birds in the dusk of evening, painting the scene with his driving flurry of notes.

The dreamlike fugue returns for a second round with Part 2, and one wonders at the story entwined in the bagpipe-like monotony of the underlying low notes (provided in understated support via Sparhawk’s electric, apparently) and the stirring, equally repetitive crash of the resonator and slide above. Parr’s playing has a way of inducing visions and metaphors in the mind, so whether or not you or I dream about Paul Bunyan doesn’t matter, as long as we dream something out of these passages.

Deltron 3030 “Do You Remember” Video Captures Futuristic Nostalgia

“Not to get into nostalgia, some of those things had value,” goes the key line in Deltron 3030′s new single and video “Do You Remember”, featuring Jamie Cullum, and with the hip-hop electro supergroup’s (Del the Funky Homosapien, Kid Koala, and Dan the Automator) focus on a futuristic kind of old school vibe, there’s plenty to remember for them. Childhood, a time “before predjudice could spark a cold flame in the dark”, before corporate greed, a time of peace without guns, and more are covered in the laid-back grooves of the song. It’s arresting in the way that Aloe Blacc’s “I’m the Man” makes you stop and sing along, or how Boogie Down Production’s “You Must Learn” stated the cold hard facts in that undeniable way. “Wind your mind back to a simpler time” and check out the wistful, elegiac video clip just released for “Do You Remember”:

http://vevo.ly/7YrWJL

April Video A Day: The Restoration, Honor the Father

Finishing out the month with a bang, here’s the short film from Columbia, SC historical rock act The Restoration, “Honor the Father.” It won an award at the recent Indie Grits film festival where it was first shown, but now it’s online for anyone to check out here:

April Video a Day: Tiesto, Wasted

The latest from trance-house star Tiesto comes from his upcoming “Town Called Paradise” album, and it builds on the party theme from yesterday’s clip with another batch of impossibly happy-looking people, only this time it’s a girls’ night/day shindig that gets a little stripped down, shall we say: