entrance band Untitled (180g red vinyl LP, £16.50)label: Latitudes
Like so many musicians I end up falling for, I first came across The Entrance Band by happenstance. Guy Blakeslee, who was simply performing as Entrance at the time, was headlining a show with Daniel Higgs in New York. Taking the stage after the mighty Higgs is a daunting task I don't wish on any performer, but Blakeslee's homespun charm and otherworldly delivery made a forceful impression on me and everyone else in the room that night. I picked up his Wayfarer Stranger album, and listened to his tranced out take on the standard "Darling" for the next couple of years, always rapt and locked in by his psychedelic take on traditional American music. But it was 2006's Prayer Of Death album by the newly expanded Entrance Band that became a standard go to record in the Southern office: its myriad directions and influence made it one of those long players that unites a musically disparate workforce and it became one of those rarest of gems: an album that everyone agrees on. Taking the same blues and folk idioms from his solo records and dressing them in Aquarian Age volume and distortion, The Entrance Band cemented their place at the top of our potential hit list for Latitudes sessioneers, should the opportunity ever arise. Years down the line and a late night call from Todd Uzel, a former Southern employee and friend of the band, led to the fortuitous scheduling of this session. It turns out the band were fans of the Latitudes series and had a day off in London, and we swiftly confirmed things. When the band actually arrived at the studio we learned that Blakeslee was not only a fan of Latitudes, but of Crass, the band that kick-started Southern's musical history (and still are part of the very fibre of us). And to top it all, he told us that his favorite recording of theirs was Ten Notes On A Summer's Day - indisputably their most "difficult" record, and one that Penny Rimbaud had been remastering in that very control room just a few weeks prior. "Sometimes. Just Sometimes, it all manages to work out." - Tony Sylvester. Recorded just after the band's appearance at All Tomorrow's Parties curated by Animal Collective.
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