PICASTRO - I'VE NEVER MET A STRANGER (2022, n°157, mc/digital)
From my early days as a frequent showgoer, seeing Picastro has always felt like a little revelation. In the beginning of 2000 and up they were always promoted in Prague by adventurous collective Am180 and often played at 007 club (back then one of the most important places for independent music). Their sound was an idiosyncratic mix, where ultra fragile met with iron steel strong. Unique sounding guitars, which many have labeled as slowcore, melted with well arranged strings, minal drumming and most importantly, with characteristic, beaten sounding vocals of Liz Hysen which you just could not mistaken for anyone else's voice.
Early odds has seen many bands working around the genre of slowcore or deriving the alternative folk formula, but just few of them maintained their existence till these days. Picastro is one of those bands. Technically its songwriter vehicle for Liz Hysen, she has always been in the circle of just a very slowly rotating line up. If we take her first demo from 1996 as the beginning of Picastro, it means her and Picastro has now 26 years of pretty active existence under their belt with seven long play records (one of them is collaboration with similarly devoted canadian duo Nadja).
Hysen's latest effort is also her first mini album release in her discography. “I've Never Met A Stranger” is a collection of 5 cover songs. And as you could expect, they are definitely not played beat by beat, but rather wrapped around Picastro's typical songwriter aesthetics which nowadays also includes a bit of a well crafted bedroom recordings vibe. Eclectic selection of cover songs includes bands and artist such as The Velvet Underground, Richard Dawson, The Silt, Elfin Saddle and Fire on Fire.
This mini album is released by Stoned to Death and will be followed up by Picastro's new 7” (out during the first half of 2023).
released October 7, 2022
Thanks to Karen Ng (sax and flutes on 3), Chris Cummings (organ, synth on 3), Brandon Valdivia (percussion on 2), Germaine Liu (flute, percussion on 5), Nick Storring (electric cello, clavinet & mandola on 3), Luka Kuplowsky (vocals, synth on 2), Matt Dunn (vocals on 3), Mike Duffield (drums on 4), Soren Brothers (vocals, guitar, melodica on 1), Tim Condon (moogs on 5, bass and guitar on 4, bass on 1).
Liz Hysen: vocals on all songs, piano on 3, strings/arranging weird shit on 5, guitar on 2, 1, 4
Extra special thanks to Tim Condon who not only played on the songs but mixed, mastered and performed his magic on all of them.
1 by Fire on Fire, 2 by The Silt, 3 by The Velvet Underground, 4 by Richard Dawson, 5 by Elfin Saddle.
Artwork: Victor Gáspari Released on Stoned to Death, 2022, n°157
supported by 12 fans who also own “I've Never Met A Stranger”
Refreshing techno/EBM single from Fallen Metropolis, aka Christian Rütz (the artist behind this very promising project). I'm not an EBM enthusiast but both tracks are really worth. You might close some doors... but leaving windows open—just in case. sjah83