Melted Candy is a four-song EP from the psych-jazz collective Uncivilized, which has "its own fuzzy, folky, big-hearted thing" (The New York Times), playing what the Village Voice referred to as "gothic Americana". Technically the group’s first release under this collaborative moniker (the 2014 LP Uncivilized was under the bandleader’s own name, but has since morphed into his big band project) Melted Candy offers four different ways to hear the band, with several different hard-to-pin-down-yet-oddly-specific instrumentations and/or versions of the band, each one bearing the stamp of the group’s unique sound.
The music — as well as Csatari’s other unique projects and vagabond guitar playing — “needs no introduction” (Impose Magazine), and boldly bridges the gap between noisey dream pop and folky Chamber Jazz, with soaring melodies, jangly percussion, wild banshee guitars and fluttery flute playing sprinkled on top. Think Charles Mingus meets John Scofield and John Fahey, played by a group of hipsters, or maybe an early, twangier Pat Metheny Group.
Tiny Montgomery Records – a New York City-based record label and production house, founded by a group of 20-somethings in 2014 – releases its first sampler CD (with more to come) featuring the work of its in-house studio and production team. Highlighting 4 unique artists, with many of the same musicians featured and all recorded at the same home studio, each still sounds remarkably fresh and different. The recurring musicians and devoted recording space give the label an old model and ethos without making referential music. [Retro in structure, not sound.]
“A New Way to Break” by Ivy Meissner [from Platinum Blues]
“Yams” by Uncivilized [from Uncivilized]
“Dreaming of Babylon” by Julian Cubillos [from Evil]
“Passing Ships” by Levon Henry [from Sinker]
“Martyr” by Ivy Meissner [from Platinum Blues]
“Nolan” by Tom Csatari [from Outro Waltz]
“New Insults” by Levon Henry [from Sinker]
“Price of Guilt” by Julian Cubillos [from Bon Courage]
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"Scared" is a frantically punky lo-fi daydream, juxtaposed with the flowery cover "Can I Win?" on the B-side. He performs the entirety of track one; track two is written, produced and performed in part by Evan Vidar, a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Los Angeles.
Brooklyn visual and recording artist Christina Schneider (Jepeto Solutions a/k/a CE Schneider Topical) is responsible for the music video—a surreal whirlwind—from which the cover art is derived.
Platinum Blues is like a female-led version of the Basement Tapes, but with better technology and clarity — having been recorded in a living room at the Tiny Montgomery Records Studio in Flatbush, Brooklyn in 2016 — featuring the songwriting of Bay Area-bred dream-soul songstress Ivy Meissner. The album features 10 original songs produced and recorded by Julian Cubillos, with one featuring the Experimental Americana Orchestra “Uncivilized”, and fine woodwind arranging work from Levon Henry throughout.
There is a raw feeling from the core backing band on the record — who are featured prominently on most of the other releases on the Tiny Montgomery label — hitting on Memphis-based inflections and heavier Americana backdrops that are loose and full of life like sessions in Nashville, but with a folkier, more psychedelic quality (let’s call it Brook-ville, or whatever).
The whole album has a 70s sepia hue that you don’t normally hear coming out of the Brooklyn indie scene, what with Ms. Meissner’s phantasmagorically rough and husky voice, bringing us back to Janis and Joni, but also to some of the jangle and flange of 80s rock-pop and even surf rock. It’s a special sort of rustic, breezy, bluesy pop that is encapsulated concisely and wide open on this debut release.
Talk At Me” — the lead single from Brooklyn-via-Bay-Area songstress Ivy Meissner’s debut LP “Platinum Blues” — is a folk-pop summer jam with dreamy vocals; shimmering production; rock solid grooves; 70s wah-wah guitar; and blues-drenched melodies. The full album drops Friday August 5th, 2016 on Tiny Montgomery Records, available via CD and digital download. Check out the single at the link above, with artwork here by retro-futurist Zuzu Snyder.
Sinker is the debut LP from singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Levon Henry. In addition to his esteemed career as a saxophonist & clarinetist (for the likes of Meshell Ndegeocello, Joe Henry, Bettye Lavette, and Blake Mills), Levon's experience in the New York and Los Angeles songwriter communities has fostered a broad interest in songcraft as a composer, orchestrator and soloist — all of which are represented on his debut record.
Sinker is a progressive tapestry of folkloric influence, casting the warmth of early country-blues against ambient soundscapes and the mystical drumming of RJ Miller. These sonics provide the setting for his abstract and winding vocal narratives, which — fueled by an arrestingly honest and soulful voice — lyrically find Henry navigating the irony and contradiction of the physical against the emotional; not just love-song-romanticism. Old themes and old instruments nonetheless, Sinker assembles it all in a contemporary way, with not the sound but the spirit of folk music ever present.
released 22 April 2016
“Outro Waltz” is an experimental roots double-album* featuring a folk-jazz sextet under the direction of guitarist, composer, and environmentalist Tom Csatari (pronounced CHUH-TAR-EE). “Side A” (studio tracks) features original instrumental songs that are concise and explorative. “Side B” features covers of songs from a wide-ranging group of American songwriters (Elliot Smith, Lee Morgan, Thelonious Monk, and others), recorded the day after the studio tracks at the Manhattan Inn’s backroom in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
Still under the collaborative moniker “Tom Csatari Band”, the ensemble on this work (Csatari’s second full-length release, following up the large ensemble long-player “Uncivilized”) features a smaller group of musicians with a unique instrumentation. It’s something like crossing America by foot and by sail, experiencing the gradient through sound along the way, with arborous strings; electronic stardust effects; husky woodwinds; lilting rhythm; and Csatari’s Gabor Szabo-like vagabond guitar at the helm. In short, an album to compliment the motion of the everyday, or invite the color of movement into more meditative moments.
*Physical copies of the album are available only as stream/download links affixed to salvaged vinyl LPs stamped with relevant information (to reduce waste). A liner notes booklet accompanies the salvaged vinyl.
released 04 August 2015
Two (2) individual tracks (each) from multi-instrumentalist (and ace producer) Julian Cubillos and guitarist/composer (and enviro-analyst) Tom Csatari. This shared digital release includes one (1) full band original song and one (1) solo performance B-side from each artist.
Dedicated to Judy Burrows (“Bon Voyage, et Bon Courage!”).
released 26 May 2015
“Evil” is the third album from dream-soul maestro (and ace producer/multi-instrumentalist) Julian Cubillos. His first full-length release on the Tiny Montgomery label, it also exists as his first major work since relocating from Los Angeles to New York in 2013, resulting in a recombination of the rough-but-shimmering anthems found on his self-released “Youth” (2010) and “Grand Prize” (2012), with something new, rapturous, and inexplicably contemporary. It’s an album that forces the mind to combine words like scrappy and precise in the same sentence, with songs that reach for the sky using a wide variety of timbres and tempos which are piecemeal in separation, but as a whole tell an almost operatic, Freddy Mercury-style rock story. Examples include a flickery alto flute solo; raging synth guitars; wobbly saxophone; some of the best drumming you’ve heard in years (from several different drummers); and even a guest rapper Hoffa Billz — from the group “Team Swerve” in Flatbush, Brooklyn — on one ridiculously funky track. Here’s to hoping for the best, because there’s evil all around, but it’s totally fine when we’ve got this music around. Bask in the rich and the bouncy, swift and smart: objectively “un-Brooklyn” in genre, decidedly local in content. Here’s to grappling with lost love in a big city, singing of dreams and vapors, and admitting all the flaws and defeat along the way (something like Bob Dylan, but like anti Bob Dylan too) — come boogie, you’re invited!
released 31 March 2015
Dust Diner is the singing & songwriting debut of American musician Levon Henry, also known for his career as a woodwind multi-instrumentalist. This is his first release as a leader since the instrumental effort Music for Trains of 2013.
[dust diner as in: to dine on dust, as in: the dust not the shelf, as in: to ruminate on the alterations of nostalgia more than the actual events, as in: to discard the body but keep the flake, as in: i can't enjoy this meal because of everything else that happened in these four walls, as in: there is too much association going on, as in: too much dust at the diner, as in: that guy is making weird faces at me]
released 10 March 2015
Joanna’s warm, tender folk songs are illuminated by her delicate marvel of a voice and her simple, plainspoken songwriting. Joanna does not mince words: this album is about heartbreak and unrequited love, but her spirit of hope and generosity keeps the candle lit all the while. Simply put, Joanna’s record is the kind of record we had in mind when forming this label – this is pure, honest art – unadorned and unaffected, endlessly rewarding in its genuine beauty.
released 31 January 2015
Uncivilized is a recording of original songscapes by American guitarist and composer Tom Csatari (pronounced chuh-tar-ee).
“As we broke for lunch midway through the session, the thirteen of us returned to the living-room-studio soaking wet, and the remainder of the day found everyone borrowing what dry clothes we found in the rooms. You must remember how it was raining.” - Levon Henry
released 09 December 2014