Now Appearing: The Disappearing Man

Byron+Isaacs+Lumineers (zimbio.com)Byron Isaacs. A relatively unassuming name buried in the musician credits of many recent records. Peruse the liner notes of Levon Helm’s 2007 album Dirt Farmer, or recent releases by Ryan Adams, Joan Baez, Brazilian Girls, Levon’s daughter Amy Helm…as well as NYC folk band Ollabelle and the current incarnation of The Lumineers, and there it appears. Now it’s attached to one of the best albums to come out in 2018, ironically entitled Disappearing Man. Showcasing nine tunes all written or co-written by Isaacs, the album is due out June 12 on Cosmic Trigger Records.

Byron-Isaacs-Disappearing-Man-Cover (elmoremagazine.com)

The debut solo recording by Isaacs, Disappearing Man opens with “Losing You,” immediately bringing to mind the John Lennon song of (almost) the same name, “I’m Losing You” from Double Fantasy. In fact, Isaacs’ voice does often approach that of Lennon, especially on “Crazy Love” and the engaging title track, which appears to borrow chords from – at least to my Fall-fan ears – The Fall’s “Hotel Bloedel.” Elsewhere, Isaacs emulates Neil Young (“Shadows on the Wall”) and the late, great Tom Petty (”Man of the Times”). On “Summer,” Byron and band create a lovely landscape of pulsating keyboards and acoustic guitar befitting the idyllism (wait, is that a word?) of the song’s title. But the pièce de résistance is the second-to-last track, the Robyn-Hitchcock-meets-Rolling-Stones rocker “Daddy’s Farm.” Now there’s a hit!

Disappearing Man was co-produced by Hector Castillo (who’s worked with David Bowie, Philip Glass, Suzanne Vega, and Bjork among others) and Brian Cullman (who’s produced sessions for Lucinda Williams and put out a couple of albums under his own name). Keyboardist Glenn Patscha, guitarist Chris Masterson, and drummer David Berger – as well as percussionist Joe Bonadio, woodwind player John Ellis, and string arranger John Lissauer – join Byron on his inaugural solo voyage.

Bassist-singer-songwriter by trade, Byron Isaacs was born in Texas and now makes Brooklyn his home. The record release party is at The Loft space at City Winery in NYC on June 12, so come check out the…appearance…of the Disappearing Man, Byron Isaacs!

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Images courtesy zimbio.com, elmoremagazine.com, byronisaacs.com

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Meanwhile, in Baltimore…

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Baltimore, Maryland. Filmmaker John Waters, jazz pianist Eubie Blake, and actor John Astin were born there. Edgar Allan Poe died there. When I was a kid my father’s favorite baseball team was not the Yankees or the Mets but the Baltimore Orioles. And now…Epifo Music! Described as “a boutique record label and artist development firm headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland,” Epifo has been releasing music since around 2006. Ever hear of Viking Moses or Golden Ghost? Didn’t think so…but take a listen to The Conquest Night or The Unimaginative Body. So? How does this relate to current events you ask? Well here are three new 2018 releases from EPIFO logo (epifomusic.bandcamp.com)

HH (hamishhawk.bandcamp.com)

Hamish Hawk & The New Outfit – From Zero to One

Scottish singer/songwriter Hamish Hawk has one those voices that sounds like…somebody…something…an expressive, eccentric baritone that brings to my mind Stan Ridgway of 80s cowpunk-new-wavers Wall of Voodoo. That voice is completely at home in the midst of his four-piece band since 2015, The New Outfit: Andrew Pearson (guitar, mandolin), Alex Duthie (bass), John Cashman (keys), and Barry Carty (drums). Let the Scottishness (Scotchness?) pour over you as Hawk and his henchmen sing of nomads, blueprints, and the Hubble Space Telescope. Pick hits: “Goldenacre,” “Dashing White Sergeant

AA (sevendaysvt.com)

Adrian Aardvark – Dying Optimistically

From way up in Plattsburgh, New York comes the quizzical quartet called Adrian Aardvark: singer/guitarist/songwriter Christopher Jay Stott-Rigsbee, violinist/keyboardist Shannon Stott-Rigsbee, upright bassist Catherine Harrison-Wurster, and drummer Christopher Lee Shacklett. Yeah that’s a helluva lotta names. Well, it seems Mr. Shacklett has been replaced by two-name guy Daz Bird on this CD, so… Let’s call this, unique vocalizing – a bit Robert Smith (the Cure), a bit Jonathan Richman – over a big, fat foundation of fuzz guitar, violin, melodica, and strange buzzing keyboards. Sort of the musical equivalent of…the aardvark? And some colorfully gruesome cover art too. Pick hits: “Little Girl,” “Get Gotten

JA (jesseainslie.bandcamp.com)

Jesse Ainslie – Only in the Dark (out May 18)

Drawing from the emotional, often troubled songwriting of Warren Zevon, the homestyle vocals of Jackson Browne, and the magnificent guitar walls of Crazy Horse, it’s guitarist/vocalist Jesse Ainslie (ex-Phosphorescent, Virgin Forest, and Castanets – hmm, more not-exactly household names but worth checking out, especially Castanets). From Chapel Hill, North Carolina by way of Florida and NYC, Ainslie churns up eight flavorful rock recipes featuring keyboardist James Hallawell, bassist Jeff Crawford, and drummer Daniel Hall. Perfect soundtrack for upcoming summer days…and nights, doing stuff only in the dark.  Pick hits: “Caroline,” “Only in the Dark

So, uh, go Orioles! (Oh come on, New Yawkers, I kid)

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Images courtesy tomorrowstarted.com, bibliolore.org, thoughtco.com, thebloom.com, rarepostcard.com, epifomusic.bandcamp.com, hamishhawk.bandcamp.com, sevendaysvt.com, jesseainslie.bandcamp.com, pinterest.com