Listening recommendations for the past, present, Portland and the periphery.
Creedence Clearwater Revival have all but sworn off their final album, 1972's Mardi Gras, released without rhythm guitarist Tom Fogerty and recorded at the height of the tensions that would break up the band that same year. It's spotty, not least because bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug Clifford write and sing most of the material rather than Tom's bandleader brother, John. But it's not as bad as its reputation—and when it's good, it's really good. "Lookin' for a Reason," in particular, is one of the best country pastiches of an era crammed with them.
Sadly, San Francisco synth sorceress Pauline Anna Strom passed away before she could see the release of her swansong, Angel Tears in Sunlight. It's her first album of material in 30 years, and it feels strikingly modern, in part because Strom is a master of her form, and also because echoes of her playful, burbling sound can be heard in scores of latter-day bands and producers.
Rose City Band is led by the impressively hirsute Ripley Johnson, and if you're familiar with his work in the space-rock bands Moon Duo and Wooden Shjips, you might be surprised what a straight-ahead country song "Lonely Places" is. But the psychedelic edge is still there: A pedal steel performance by Barry Walker nods both to the instrument's storied C&W history and to Walker's more ambient work with North Americans. Full album Earth Trip comes out May 21.
If you saw the Mars rover footage and wished you could be there in person, of1000faces' Astronomica is the next best thing. The solo project of drummer Matt Walker (Smashing Pumpkins, Morrissey and more), of1000faces inhabits the sound of Brian Eno's earliest ambient albums and shoots it into the stratosphere. The first concert in space will probably be Grimes given her hubby Elon Musk's Mars-conquering ambitions, but it's hard to think of a better candidate for the gig than Walker.