***"The Ruby double 7” was made in loving commemoration of Carl Robert Talbot who was murdered by corrections officers inside the Whalley Avenue jail in New Haven, CT on March 21, 2019 around 7AM. Rob was a magnificently special person, which anyone who knew him knew plainly as fact. The conditions that he was forced to live under and the circumstances in which he died speak volumes to the degradation and humiliation all of us must endure in our current state of affairs. I wish I could say that this record is a celebration of Rob's life but that would be a lie; it is full of heartache, suffering, bitterness and hostility towards a system that dehumanizes even the gentlest among us. Ruby was culled together over a few months entirely from initially improvised tracks made on a variety of second rate guitars—a cheap plastic parlor guitar, a broken banjo, an upside down Strat and the Cowboy Guitar. Most of the rest of the instruments and amplifiers used in overdubbing were thrift store finds and roadside junk. It seemed the only way to honor a man who lived a life almost entirely pieced together from the odds and ends the rest of us left behind. Though the recording process was mostly filled with sadness, a bit of joy peeked in every now and again. At times it seemed like every time I worked another marvelous oddity would occur—an unintended yet wonderful sound would find its way to the tape, never...
American Pastoral Again
Ever / Never
***STEFAN CHRISTENSEN has been a staple in the New Haven, CT scene for the last decade, playing in, among many others, ESTROGEN HIGHS, EHRGEIZIG, PERMANENT FEELS and MEDICATION; recording Sex, Worn Leather, Pieces of Fruit; collaborating on the C/Site label and with the venue Popeye’s Garage. And while it would seem that Stefan has always lived a shark’s life—I’ll drown if I stop swimming—it is really only in the last year that he has entered his most prolific phase. All that other stuff has been… practice? In the prior twelve months, Stefan has released two full lengths and a pair of EPs on cassette via the esteemed labels Loki, Night People, and C/Site. American Pastoral Again is the debut vinyl outing from this eponymous artist issued by ever/never records. Channeling Gate, Jim Shepard, Crystalized Movements, and Shakey himself, the twelve minute title track consumes the entire A-side in a melancholic dirge. It is backed by four quick blasts that introduce elements of pop, noise, and more dirge. With varied approaches, Stefan’s songs are written from a unique and developed voice. A unifying thread through these works is the careful craftsmanship, each song tailored perfectly—knowing when to let it breathe, when to ramp up tension—for the most impact. Had Stefan cut his teeth in a more insular scene, in a more glamorous town, he’d have been a hitmaker, but we are thankful that was not the case. As American Pastoral Again demonstrates, he is onto something much more fulfilling and unforgettable.