Monday In May – Cale Israel – Cambridge, 5/23

Cale Israel Blue

On a tinny, upright piano in the new, tony, Out of the Blue Too Gallery, Cale has the classic sound of the early 1970s’ singer songwriters – natural, pastel progressions, righteous, meaningful vocals, communication with the audience, humor. You may think Laura Nyro, Billy Joel, Elton John, Joni Mitchell, with jazzy undertones. He varies his tone, with a lilting touch of stride, soft, buttery funk, syrupy romance. He’s lively, upbeat, and outgoing, intimate and warm. He’s done crazy electro-pop in smoky basements in the past, hippy experiments (sometimes naked), he’s always moving, always has charm, he’s always at once familiar and unexpected. People sit on the blue-striped tiled carpet, watching the blue and yellow patterns cross on the screen behind him, this is a nice night.

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New Fire: Guerilla Toss, Eraser Stargazer

Eraser Stargazer

Eraser Stargazer

DFA (2015)

“Eraser Stargazer”…. “Cinnamon chocolate”… Guerilla Toss’s new album, Eraser Stargazer, twists and turns in spicy sweet directions. The beat keeps happening. Arian’s guitar patterns stick in your mind, sharp pieces of broken green glass, which Kassie skips around with her tart, sassy singing, elastic as she coos, then does dark things with her throat. Peter keeps giving the music a hard edge, with the beating but listening drums he’s known for, and everything’s knit together like a three-dimensional artwork with intricately crossed strings. The Toss has always gone deep into inventive interplay. This is the album that perfects it, looming with the spirits the band has left behind, but striking into new veins, showing that rock has a future.

Guerilla Toss – Eraser Stargazer – DFA Records, 2015

Eraser Stargazer

Eraser Stargazer is the rhythm of the waves glowing in the caves, cold in the middle of the night. Kassie’s vocals sound like they’ve been slowed down to 16 RPM, so it’s pretty creepy at first, like you wonder if it’s really her singing. But she dominates the album, and it’s catchy and eerie and weird. It’s the sound of Arian’s guitar that makes you want to listen to it again and again. It’s got a slick slant to it, kind of funky. The more you listen, the more you notice Peter’s drumming, structured like architectural blocks, building new ways of looking into the music. Guerilla Toss keeps toughing out disruptions, locations and lineups, but it keeps succeeding at what it was expected to do – refine inventions in the rock of the future.