Sonic Reducer: Rafi Bookstaber

Geoffrey Plant
3 min read
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Picture yourself floating downstream in a dream while napping in your favorite big city library, surrounded by a reverberating quiet with occasional words in any language dropping in to assist lucid segues. Late Summer might too be compared to a sweet sun-nap during an impulse-taken camping trip. Just before the nights get too cold, but before sweater weather. Rafi Bookstaber’s echo effects-filled sound doesn’t borrow so much as it soaks in the great books program of drug music. More folky than Sonic Boom and softer than most of the current psych scene, Late Summer seeks late afternoon nappers who enjoy flight and endless soft corridors.

Cool Ghouls Animal Races (Empty Cellar Records)

Groovy groovy groovy. Finally a ‘60s throwback worth its salt. How many times will this writer get to compare a current act to Buffalo Springfield? Not a lot. Like a ‘60s version of Wounded Lion, this third Cool Ghouls album resounds with a feeling of realness, sans imitation or a copycat’s worriesin this case promulgating a sound that could have been pressed onto vinyl in 1967. This album rocks from tune to tune without fail. A drum-forward mix with copious clean guitar and foot-tapping bass lines, Animal Races has a sweet, full sound that stands alongside the great LA pre-hippie country rock and roll. This is a gem of a production and one deserved by the songwriting. Great cover, too. Wear a flower in your hair.[phoyo]

Haley Bonar Impossible Dream (GNDWIRE/Thirty Tigers)

Haley Bonar is a Canadian-born musician with her hands in a few projects besides her solo work. Gramma’s Boyfriend is worth checking out for those of you who like slop with girl vocalsand they show their chutzpah by performing at such venues as independent league pro baseball gamesc’mon! Back to Haley Bonar, though. Impossible Dream flows like an punk rock Stevie Nicks with a Plastic Ono Band chip on her shoulder. “Confessional” lyrics over pop-influenced cowpunk songwriting don’t rely on the female vocals but rather bolster her sometimes gruff, sometimes sweet singing. It isn’t just that the track “Jealous Girls” builds on John Lennon’s “Well, Well, Well,” something about this album keeps me in mind of the first Plastic Ono Band album. Not a bad pedigree.

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