Alibi V.28 No.29 • July 18-24, 2019 

Sonic Reducer

DH Scott My Body Longed For The Summer (Self-released)

This is a folk album in all respects from its ramble on righteously way of proceeding from song to song, to the singer’s voice and syncopated guitar duels. But more than that, this is an honest creative statement, spoken and played in a language both plaintive and privately provocative—filled with nuance, interesting instrumental arrangements and a sense of longing, expectation and ennui—that positively separate it from much the genre through musical leaps of faith and intimate moments gleaned by experiencing both the holy and the mundane in life.

“Banish My Soul To New Mexico” is an unassuming tune; quiet, almost resigned, the song tells a tale of endings, of falling short of heaven, of ending up in New Mexico as a result. That appears to be no curse; rather the song describes an opportunity to grab bolts of lightning and so join up with something greater and brighter than the sum of the past. The title track, meanwhile burns and shuffles through the pain of expectation, dirge-like but still hopeful at the end. On this track, Scott’s voice has a vibrato in it that resembles the voice of Willie Nelson and the crackle of that voice, complemented by a wavering, drifting violin supplied by Rachael Penn is both hearteningly sweet and totally, unforgivably sad. Mi favorito: “Long Arms Of Regret” for its haunting, trickling and beautifully bleary keyboard arrangement. Spend at least a month with this fragile yet hopeful work before summer’s short lease ends again.

Bellemah The Dirt I Settled In (Self-released)

Bellemah is Diné composer Billy Bellmont playing guitar and singing whilst backed up by Roger Apodaca on guitar and keys, Ben Levine on drums and voice, Stue Trory on keyboards and Peri Pakroo playing the bass and singing, too. The project’s new record is called The Dirt I Settled In and more than a dusty circumstance in repose, the work provides a sharp look into interior worlds and exterior motives. Overall, this a beautifully realized piece of sonic reality, heavy with instrumental nuance, killer playing and songs so strongly written that they seem to drive themselves to excellence on wings of wonder, powered by the chops of local and regional players that have a clear yet plangent vision of the world. Rocanrol is just one of the forms here that are used to explore deeper meaning to great effect, a place where melody not only communicates emotion but where it sustains the spirit of shattering sounds, from those that absolutely rock—as in the title track—through more introspective moments like those realized in “Everyone Is Here.” This music could be gritty or lo-fi, but it isn’t. It’s professionally produced, excruciatingly detailed and most of all, totally and completely complete in the sense that, track after track, it proves that rocanrol can be vital, beautiful and indestructible by either time or trauma. In fact, oddly, the whole deal reminded me of The Bends; it’s that damn good.