Thursday, July 06, 2006

Black Taj: guitar rock from members of Polvo, Idyll Swords

Black Taj: "Clover" (from Black Taj 2005. Buy it here.)

This isn't a new song (though it's not too old, either), but I just came across it recently and found it really appealing. Black Taj brings together the shards of a number of storied local groups, including half of Polvo (guitarist Dave Brylawski and bass player Steve Popson) and 2/3 of Idyll Swords (Brylawski again and guitarist Grant Tennille). I've written about Polvo's fractured genius before (here and here). I wasn't familiar with Idyll Swords until I started researching Black Taj -- they were an entirely different beast, combining a variety of world influences, many Middle Eastern, into a swirly sound that anticipated some of the freak folk of more recent years.

Black Taj is a lot more like Polvo than Idyll Swords, though not nearly so twisted. The vocal parts of "Clover" aren't really anything special but I love the way the chimy, fuzzy guitars fit together in the slower parts, and how they navigate the tempo changes. I have only heard samples of most of the other songs on the album, but as far as I can tell, this track is the real standout.

Here's an article from last year that talks about the band's somewhat erratic history. I don't think they've broken up, but it sounds like it's only so often that they mange to get together. This may explain why they have no real web presence that I can see. There's a review of the album here (scroll down).

Bonus Music!
Black Taj: "Woke Up Tired" (from Black Taj 2005, and also the WXYC Bandwidth compliation)
Idyll Swords: "Tantz" (from II 2000. Buy/download)


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