Monday, January 16, 2017

Mr. Airplane Man - Moanin'

Most likely I stumbled upon Mr. Airplane Man by the miracle of modern technology, Facebook. Sympathy For the Record Industry put out this record as well as several others so it's quite likely that Long Gone John posted something about them at some point or another - or it could have been someone from their home town of Boston. Regardless, always good to discover something modern and cool.

The two women that make up MAM (no idea what the group name references, if anything), Margaret on guitar and vocals and Tara on drums and backing vox, create a bluesy stew of Howlin' Wolf, Mississippi Fred McDowell and the Velvet Underground in a minimalistic way - this sounds like it was essentially recorded live, which means it is sparse and open, without the benefit of added instruments.

Most of the record is slow'n'moody, with Margaret providing some cool slide guitar work here'n'there and Tara keeping the backbeat leisurely, without much urgency. There are some exceptions, of course, with "Uptight" being a bit more upbeat'n'noisy, without being raucous, though it does build into a fuzzy, shriekin' pounder. The ladies cover Howlin' Wold twice - the title tune as well as "Commit a Crime" (deconstructed into their own style) and McDowell a couple times, as well - "Sun Sinkin' Low" and his take on "Jesus Is On The Mainline".

I appreciate the fuzz'n'slide and screamin', but they specialize in dynamics - kind of a necessity for a duo, as they are limited otherwise. Tunes like "Very Bad Feeling" are melodically melancholy in more of a VU than bluesy style, as is the Eccentrics "Podunk Holler", which also has some nice call'n'answer vocals from the duo as well as the closer, "W*nderin'", which almost sounds like Mazzy Star or Dream Syndicate when Kendra would sing.

I really enjoy this CD, although I have to say that something doesn't grab me 100%. I think it is simply the fact that the sound does jump from noisy blues to ethereal, dreamy tunes - both done well, but pretty disparate, so not a consistent listening experience. That said, I'd still recommend checking these ladies out!