If you love Owen Pallett's work with Arcade Fire nearly as much as a Tolkien tale but never really fancied his fiddling, the new Spectrum, 14th Century (Blocks) release could be exactly what you've always wanted to hear from Final Fantasy.
Released in a cheeky faux Folkways cardboard sleeve, Pallett's five bouncy tunes on the EP with members of
Beirut were documented field-recording-style. It's a preview to his forthcoming Heartland album (due in 2009) set in the mythical realm of Spectrum, where horns, timpani, ancient keyboards and the sound of chirping birds are evidently favoured over ye olde strings.
There's more on the way from Final Fantasy in the form of the Plays To Please 10-inch (Blocks), on which Pallett does his darndest to popularize the Deep Dark United compositions of Alex Lukashevsky amongst Zoilus visitors who have friends that own turntables. blocksblocksblocks.com
Oh Spectrum by Final Fantasy
Anyone who believes North Carolina's rich roots-music tradition begins with Doc Watson and ends with Ryan Adams really needs to check out the Old Hat label's delightfully informative new In The Pines collection of vintage Tar Heel folk and fiddle tunes recorded and circulated during the highly productive Depression era.
Along with crisply and cleanly digitally transferred contributions from better-known North Carolina artists of the era like Clarence Greene of Cranberry Gap and J.E. Mainer's Mountaineers presented here, there's a load of intriguing performances of murder ballads, mountain blues and work songs from forgotten pickers that are no less impressive, including the first-ever recording of Tom Dooley
by G.B. Grayson and Henry Whitter from 1929. oldhatrecords.com
Are You Sure by Dixon Brothers & Mutt Evans
In The Pines by "Dock" Walsh
If you've been having difficulty finding the Jay Reatard singles issued by Matador over the past year on various coloured vinyl and alternate sleeves, it's because, while the general interest in collecting the limited-run pop-punk artifacts has increased with each passing month, the number released to the public of each title has progressively shrunk.
But those unable to track down the fifth and sixth instalments of the six-single series and to afford eBay auction prices can take some comfort in knowing that the songs are being compiled on the Matador Singles '08 CD (out October 7) with a dope bonus track, I'm Watching You
, presumably to make up for Deerhunter's swank cover of Oh, It's Such A Shame that's been left off. It should be noted that vinyl junkies preordering the Matador Singles '08 LP from Insound.com will be automatically entered in a contest to win all six singles. Those interested in seeing the celebrated Reatard reprise his faves should get a ticket for his Sneaky Dee's gig October 16 before they sell out, too.
You Mean Noting To Me by Jay Reatard