Sonic Reducer: The Black Watch, The Copper Gamins And Little Wings

Geoffrey Plant
3 min read
The Black Watch
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Sugarplum Fairy , Sugarplum Fairy is the 17th release from The Black Watch, formed in the late ’80s by founding and only remaining original member John Andrew Fredrick. Like TBW’s last couple releases, Sugarplum Fairy, Sugarplum Fairy contains a nice batch of well-produced indie-pop with a veneer of ’90s brit-pop. Fans will embrace standout tracks like “Quietly Now” and the ace lyrics of “Nothing,” but newbies might try 2011’s much-lauded Led Zeppelin Five first. This latest release, which apparently began as a solo acoustic project—evidenced by the pretty acoustic tracks “Anne of Leaves” and “Dear Anne”—has all the same elements, but doesn’t quite reach the quota of riffs and rhythms set by previous albums. Released on the Pop Culture Press label and distributed by Carrot Top, Sugarplum Fairy, Sugarplum Fairy does give one hope for the future of the independent recording industry.

The Copper Gamins La Quimera de Cobre (Self-released)

The Copper Gamins
When The Copper Gamins came through Albuquerque a couple years ago, they had one of those nights that every touring band—every musician, for that matter—goes through occasionally: the gig without an audience. The best of bands kick out the jams anyway, and this duo from Mexico thusly demonstrated their passion for rocking out—to me and my girlfriend. Anyway, this new Copper Gamins album finds the boys with chops improved and wailing away in the same White Stripesy way. Derivative? Maybe … but these guys do it right and without pretense. Besides, the whole garage scene is by nature kinda derivative; some just play “Green Fuzz” better than others—or in this case “Norwegian Wood.” The singer sounds like a Mexican, early-Beatles John Lennon singing like Jack White. I’m down with that.

Little Wings Explains (Woodsist)

Little Wings
Little Wings is the long-time vehicle/band for musician and visual artist Kyle Field, and Explains is his first release on the dependable Woodsist label. Field’s voice and musical arrangements remind me a bit of Jim Sullivan (the country musician rumored to have been abducted by aliens outside Santa Rosa, N.M.)—but with the phrasing of the heavily medicated. The lyrics on Explains are enjoyable meditations on growing grass, fairy-tale maxims and other subjects both personal and out there. Field is backed by an understated band consisting of brushes, an acoustic bass, a few guitars, keyboards and the occasional odd noise. Once you get over Field’s slightly uncertain-sounding voice, Explains is the perfect soundtrack for your opium dreams or coma.
The Copper Gamins

Little Wings

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