David Nance, Long Hots, Axis: Sova

Omaha, NE musician David Nance is nothing if not prolific. Over the course of the past six years, he has released three full-length albums for labels Grapefruit and Ba Da Bing, a 7-inch, numerous cassettes, CDRs and unlicensed "cover albums" of artists like Lou Reed, The Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Doug Sahm. His latest full-length is credited to the "David Nance Group" and features Nance alongside his recent hot-shit live band of fellow Omaha musicians; guitarist Jim Schroeder, bassist Tom May and drummer Kevin Donahue.

Appropriately, the album is called "Peaced and Slightly Pulverized" as the sounds contained therein are alternatingly tender & brusque. Nance has an enviable way of conveying intensity and pathos in his music without necessarily resorting to clicking on a distortion pedal, instead relying on the build-up and tension from the interplay of his bandmates with his cracked, impassioned wail. There's also plenty of fuzz and distortion too, from the anthemic "Poison" with its fuzzed- out guitar riff that leans into a Crazy-Horsian guitar maelstrom and white-hot solo, to "Ham Sandwich"; a blisteringly frantic rant about a lunchtime torment - uncomfortable in its directness. Respite comes with "110 Blues"s languid late- night desert psychedelia, and side one closes with the epic seven and a half minute "Amethyst", expanded & jammed upon from 2017's Richie Records single into an emotional odyssey with Nance & Schroeder strangling their guitars into a twin-guitar, barbed-wire duel. The album's centerpiece is "In Her Kingdom", an emotive ballad that fades into view with a plaintive guitar strum, and over seven minutes ebbs and flows with a rising tide of swelling guitars, it's riffs gilding the melody & adding flecks of gold to Nance's tale of poverty and grace. Alternately, "When I Saw You Last Night" stalks the night like a predator, finally finding its prey two and a half minutes in with a stinging, blood-drenched guitar solo. The album closes with "Prophet's Profit"'s biting commentary on false idolatry that again utilizes the group's not-so-secret weaponry of Nance and Schroeder's six-string simpatico to bring the listener home.

Pitchfork (rated 7.7): "Turning the gestures and feeling of classic rock into a statement on our modern malaise, this Omaha guitarist balances the tightness of a new band with the rage of the day."

Long Hots

Axis: Sova returns with Shampoo You, out November 16th via Drag City imprint, God? Records. Shampoo You is the latest Axis: Sova album, following 2015’s Early Surf and 2016’s Motor Earth. With each succession, the Axis sound shape morphs in subtle yet definitive ways; now, with Shampoo You, the impact is unprecedentedly direct and connective. Take first single, “Dodger.” It emerges from the reverberating chambers of its predecessors first with the expected: scorched, punching guitars; before giving way to the unexpected: harmonized, crystalline vocals, put forward for immediate impact. Aboard a galloping waltz beat testing the structural integrity of its own mechanical limitations, “Dodger” lilts from its final big chorus into a weaving guitar confab, escalating and emoting into the deeper, wordless territories of song.

Axis: Sova has always been a rock band, even when the “band” was just Brett Sova and his Roland TR66 Rhythm Arranger creating a surging maelstrom of reverberant fuzz, with guitars foregrounded and wailing at length, while beats distended the depths. Shampoo You sounds the arrival of the trio version – Sova with Tim Kaiser (guitar) and Jeremy Freeze (bass) -- in trademark Axis style: relentless tempo with distorted, interlocking guitar concussions, and vocals that howl of other worldly mutation… but in, like, a relatable way. It’s the first Axis: Sova album entirely performed and recorded live to tape as a three piece. The amusement of rock-making turned thrillingly alive, they’ve honed in on a sleek transport for their new sounds, with tightly conceived power-punk and classic pop touches creating memorably melodic (and harmonic) contours. Head down to the scar-wash and let Axis: Sova Shampoo You!



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