Spacecase Records (SCR002)
“Go West Old Bastards" b/w "Close Ur Eyes” is the second single from Spacecase Records.
Texan James Arthur is a garage-rock mainstay with an impressive track record. James is an ex-member of Fireworks, Necessary Evils, CC Riders, New Memphis Legs and The Golden Boys. For the past few years, James has focused on his band, James Arthur’s Manhunt. Known for his guitar playing, James’ new material has been largely instrumental. “Go West Old Bastards”, with its repetitive drum pattern and atmospheric guitar playing, is influenced by Krautrock bands Neu! and Can. James is assisted on the track by Orville Neeley (Bad Sports, OBN III) and Bryan Schmitz (Golden Boys).
Memphian Alicja Trout’s track record is also impressive. Alicja played in The Clears, The Lost Sounds, CC Riders (with James Arthur and Jeffrey Evans) and Nervous Patterns; she’s currently in The River City Tanlines and releases solo material through her Alicja-Pop and Black Sunday projects. Alicja also ran Contaminated Records and with Jay Reatard mastered The Reigning Sound’s incredible LP, Too Much Guitar. Alicja played all the music on her side and provided the album’s cover art. Her track should appeal to fans of Black Sunday and Nervous Patterns.
I don't feel like I should have to lay out James Arthur's credentials for you, as if you're this deep into a Termbo review section you should know that anything the guy touches is gold, from Fireworks to Necessary Evils to A Feast of Snakes to the New Memphis Legs. A founding member of the Golden Boys. A CC Rider even. His solo LP as James Arthur's Manhunt was one of the most overlooked top shelf LPs of modern vintage, and the (hopefully) soon to be released second LP from that combo is at the top of my can't-fucking-wait-to-hear list. His track on this, "Go West Old Bastard", is a wide expanse of Texas-style Krautrock instrumentalism, atmospheric guitar tracking hauled by drumdrive that picks up speed into a tornado of oscillation which drops crashing waves down on the dust. I've heard the new LP is mostly instrumental tracks such as this and I'm looking forward to two sides of similar sprawl. On side Alicja, a figure just as impressive as James when it comes to back catalog, you get "Close Ur Eyes" a quiet and trebly solo effort, which reminds me of Nervous Patterns. A hooky garage-synth number with beautifully sad vocals, melancholy vibes and a somber solo. I'm not usually one to recommend two-song splits, but this one has some merit, as it's one of the best Alicja tunes I've heard in a long time and the teaser for the JAM LP is worth a look.
--RK, Terminal Boredom
James Arthur’s “Go West Old Bastards” is an impressive audio journey that seems to be heading more for the west side of the Milky Way than Californi-ay. Atmospheric, introspective, and groovey, it’s a little like Kraftwerk started a garage rock band, and this was a close as they could get. But if all split singles are Battles of the Bands, Powell was facing Muhammad Ali-cja in this one, as AT has long been a super favorite of ours, and the slinky, catchy, groovester she delivers would be the perfect soundtrack to any quality night of mischief making. So with all respect to Mr. A, I declare Ms. T the winner, and now I am headed out to do mischief.
Musical genres are word corrals. For people new to a genre, or mere consumers, they’re helpful. Garage rock. To me, as a term—it’s almost as meaningless because it’s so vast and has such a rich and continuing heritage. Then there are the compartments in the corrals. The subgenres. They use hyphens and the hyphens cordon off smaller chunks of musical landscape. Mummies-inspired-proto-Crypt-rock. Gunk-punk. That sort of thing. But, as a music lover and an American who loves wide open spaces, I give thanks to artists like James Arthur and Alicja Trout. Instead of can’t-turn-around-in-this-cage, I’m-going-to-die-in-here, veal-fattening pens of much of corporate-sponsored garage rock today, these two are on wildly different trips. James Arthur: best instrumental soundtrack to a movie that hasn’t been made. I would like that movie to have a robot, a monkey, and a cowperson. Alicja: for those familiar with her work in Mouse Rocket and Alicja Pop, she sounds like a deconstructed “New Rose” Damned, sung with palpable heart, open artful stitches, and wide-open wonderment. Excellent pairing.
--Todd Taylor, Razorcake