For almost thirty years and over the course of countless releases, the American band Pelt has traversed non-idiomatic improv, Eastern-tinged psychoacoustic drones, and—in its earliest incarnation—noisy post rock. The group once counted among its ranks the late guitarist Jack Rose, whose spirit continues to imbue Pelt’s music with a sound that is as forward-thinking as it is refreshingly unpretentious.
Like fellow travelers Daniel Bachman, Paul Metzger, Bill Orcutt, and R. Keenan Lawler, the members of Pelt clearly possess a firm grasp of the American folk vernacular, and similarly honor this history without resorting to pastiche or cliché. It is this fundamental understanding of the art of the recent past that informs Pelt’s music, which one might call “Primitive-Futurist”; a Fourth World approach suggesting a Cumberland Gap Pandit Pran Nath.
- James Toth
Bill MacKay & Nathan Bowles
Bill MacKay and Nathan Bowles’ debut is well titled: keys are what they play and keys unlock things too. Their trad bonafides are balanced with inquisitive playing that adds surprise as a formal songwriting and arranging tool. Spirited 21st century folk music made of equal parts bluegrass, classical, country, gospel and improv.
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