DESPITE being scattered across the globe, when the trio of musicians who comprise Typical Sisters get together, whether fraternally to catch up and spitball ideas, in the studio, or collaborating across the wires, they get a really intriguing jazzy post-rock thing going; crisply percussive, vamping with guitar, seeking and melodic, and still that important touch wonky.
They’re gonna release their third album, Love Beam, on Joyful Noise in ooh, what six weeks now; but want you to come hear a first cut, “Recurring Memory” – which you now can, as we’re pleased to be premiering that right here, today.
Let’s say hello, why not. Typical Sisters are guitarist Gregory Uhlmann, who’s worked with Perfume Genius and who describes himself as having “an inclination towards mixing the prickly and the beautiful”; bassist Clark Sommers (Kurt Elling, (who’s played with Ba(SH), and Lens), and drummer Matt Carroll (Ohmme, V.V. Lightbody, Rooms).
It’s been a decade and more now that the three have been bonding and sharing an affinity that goes beyond the music; and the new record celebrates that nourishment. The title evokes the warmth that’s engendered when they gather to play – which might not be quite as often as they’d like, given Gregory lives in LA, Clark in Chicago, and Matt all the way over in Copenhagen.
What to expect from Love Beam? We’re told it’s “a kaleidoscope of glitchy acoustic timbres, warbly guitar melodies, and crunchy drum loops, merging the worlds of improvised jazz and lo-fi bedroom production.”
… for which “Recurring Memory” is a great pointer, brightly rhythmic, unafraid to meander and explore melodically, still warm and not skronking for the sake, but more than prepared to nip through some fusion-style key changes, settle with addictive clickiness into it next phase. Think Jaga Jazzist, think Standards-era Tortoise; Typical Sisters are playing out in that space, the groove totally on and spun a little sideways.
Let’s dig a little deeper with this track – describes it thus: “‘Recurring Memory’ is a mini-suite in three parts. The opening section was spurred by a repetitive cycle of major chords that are simultaneously accompanied by a rhythmically ambiguous melody.
“The gnawing repetition of past memories juxtaposed with the fluctuations of our moment-to-moment perceptions intertwine throughout the middle section and are observed from a point of detached repose.
“The third movement is bookended with another ambiguous chord cycle, echoing the rhythm from the opening section, albeit played with minor instead of major sonorities, foreshadowing the seed of a new set of memories.”
There you go; a whole trip through the nature memory in under three minutes.
The band first got together at Clark’s house in 2009, bonding over Joni Mitchell and classic jazz; improvised for a decent few hours’ session – saw that it was good. Despite musical commitments elsewhere, Typical Sisters is a den to play freely in; a safe space.
As with previous recordings, Love Beam began with each member bringing their own ideas to the table and then fleshing ’em out; but this time around they’ve expanded their palette to incorporate programmed drums, iPhone captures, and the use of Ableton to post-produce and tweak. On “OEO” you can hear the bustle of a Helsinki railway station in the textures; on “Grains”, Matt’s wife singing Danish folk songs in a chopped-up sample.
Love Beam, the guys think, “is a leap of faith by a trio of lifelong friends into a deeper post-rock fulfilment.” Let’s jump.
Typical Sisters’ new album, Love Beam, will be released by Joyful Noise Records digitally and on limited runs of both CD and cassette on July 9th; you can pre-order yours, here.