Headdress, Book of Shadows, Carlton Crutcher, Canartic, and Tom Carter Robert Horton Lisa & Lee Ann Cameron
Reviewed by Audra Schroeder, Fri., Sept. 7, 2007
One of the best local surprises of the summer: the full-length debut from nomadic local duo Headdress. Spare guitar, spare drums and percussion, breathy, reverbed vocals; elsewhere it might sound too precious, but on Turquoise (Totem Songs), it makes for a minimalist blues meditation that never gets long-winded. There's a running theme, from opener "Skydye" and the wobbly banjo on "The Painted Desert" to wolves howling on "Moon of Shedding Ponies." There's also a reverence for the dark side of Americana and folk. Book of Shadows' latest stretch, The Inner World (Artificial Music Machine), is five more songs to add to the local duo's uncategorizable oeuvre, as Sharon and Carlton Crutcher again creep through dreamy-yet-uncomfortable swatches of drone and hum. Crutcher's clamor also can be found on The Carlton Recordings, a live disc recorded at End of an Ear, Church of the Friendly Ghost, and Scoot Inn, among other local spots. Featuring members of the local experimental cabal (Douglas Ferguson, Jonathan Horne), it's a whirlwind of feedback in nine songs. Further down the ladder, Canartic, the instrumental duo of Jon Coats and Randall Peterson, gets dubbed with Bouncing Radar Beams off the Moon (Dank Disk), a wham-bam of dub, electro, and ambient sonics that borders on "chill-out" but is saved by the pair's psych reverence. Way out of left field, Sky City (Important Records), a collaboration between the Devil Bat's Lisa and Lee Ann Cameron, Charalambides' Tom Carter, and Robert Horton, expands on Carter and Horton's 2005 LP Lunar Eclipse. This time they're aided by Lee Ann's vocals and Lisa's various vibes (vibrating percussion, toothbrush cymbal, electric thumb), a must-have for the discerning experimental-music excavator.