Evidently, the Constantines haven’t yet decided what to call the follow-up to 2005’s disappointing Tournament Of Hearts album. But while they’re looking for titles that have yet to be used for women’s curling championships, Arts & Crafts have gone ahead and released a limited white vinyl 7-inch single – actually the Cons’ first ever! – boasting one song that shows enormous promise for the forthcoming disc. Hard Feelings is the sort of fist-pumping anthem that ought to get thick-necked collegians bellowing along atop student union bar stools on campuses from Kingston to Windsor. The less exciting Easy Money on the flip won’t get nearly as much play, but that won’t stop hardcore fans from hollering requests for it during the Constantines’ anticipated 20th-anniversary tour in 2019. Watch for that new Cons album to drop in April, whatever it might be called.
Tree for all
Whether you call it freak folk, real people psych or new weird American music, the gently trippy self-titled debut from Oregon’s Tree People – recorded in 79 though it sounds like 69 – has risen to the top of the heap of the genre’s collectible artifacts. And once you hear the eerie flute, wistful strumming and entrancing hand percussion on the magnificently packaged reissue from Tiliqua Records, you’ll quickly understand why this fragile masterwork is so revered by connoisseurs of backwoods hippie hijinks. Fans of Espers, MV & EE and Voice of the Seven Woods should investigate.
It turns out that the top-selling compilation disc at Slinky Music (442 Queen West) in the month of December wasn’t anything released by Kitsune, Soundway, Stones Throw or G.A.M.M. It was the Freestyle label’s Modern Funk collection. That should make more sense once you find out the track listing includes heavy house rockers from Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Quantic, Speedometer, the Bamboos, Sound Stylistics, Robert Moore and the unlikeliest breakout star of 2008, Charles Bradley.
No less impressive is Freestyle’s simultaneously released Planet Latino selection, which delivers the dopest salsa dura descargas, boogaloos and mambo heat from the likes of Bobby Matos, Rumba Caliente, Andy & Larry Harlow, Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Luisito Quintero with Hilton Ruiz, Cubana Bop, La Excelencia and numerous other cooking combos.