Thursday, June 26, 2008
New Giant Sand record due Sept. 2
I just saw an announcement from Howe Gelb that he's releasing a new Giant Sand album in September. Howe has plenty of recording projects, and released a solo album in 2006 and the Arizona Amp and Alternator project in 2005, but it's actually been four years since a proper Giant Sand record.
So it seems like 'bout damn time for proVISIONS, which, according to the band's announcement, features collaborating friends like Isobell Campbell, Neko Case and M. Ward.
The biggest part of the anticipation for me is wondering what sort of vibe this new album will have. I'm not quite well-versed enough to put forward a good guess on how Howe chooses to name any particular recording project. Hell, he himself says "Giant Sand is a mood," but to me his records as Giant Sand have been no less, shall we say All Over The Map, than solo Howe or any other name.
I absolutely love the Arizona Amp and Alternator record, a dusty ramshackle sort of thing. And I got turned onto Giant Sand during the Chore of Enchantment days, which to me sort of best define Howe as an off-kilter desert folkie who's always ready to unleash a burst of guitar feedback. And then there's the slightly earlier stuff like Glum and the earlier stuff like Valley of Rain I've been turned onto at different points. And yet I'm still a novice. So there's really no telling...
For my money though, the best overall Howe Gelb or Giant Sand recording you can find is a live set recorded at the Club Congress 20th Anniversary festival. Put aside how tainted this opinion is by the fact that I was at the show and consider this: his set list spanned just about as far as it could span. The whole set is at Archive.org, but check out a couple samples.
As I wrote about that night: "I lost some of the specifics as the night grew hazy, but that sound is still in my mind: Howe Gelb doing whatever he wanted with that guitar. And I was constantly amazed."
Giant Sand - Yer Ropes (live, Club Congress, 2005-09-02)
Giant Sand - Classico (live, Club Congress, 2005-09-02)
And check out a great clip on Howe that KUAT did a couple months back.