LP Edition of 300. Drowned Lands Series no.5 – $24
This is the first LP (following a cassette) released under Drew Gardner’s name and it’s a doozy. Drew is a guitarist, probably best known as a founding member of Elkhorn (although his musical partnerships with Jesse Shepard go back way further than that), and his recent work with Jeffrey Alexander’s Heavy Lidders has also been noteworthy as hell.
The band here is a trio with Andy Cush (Garcia Peoples) on bass, and the extremely well documented Ryan Jewell on drums. Drew’s guitar playing is jazzy without being jazzoid, and rural without being hick. The four instrumentals the trio lay down are of a piece, and share a brilliant (if understated) flash.
The closest comparison I can think of is to the pair of Raccoon label LPs cut by Joe Bauer and Noggins. Both Moonset and Crab Tunes were great shuffling sets of low-key trio improvisation hovering somewhere between the electric jazz of the period (1971) and the country-oriented British West Country progressive bands of the same era. The same can be said of Flowers in Space.
The pieces here are all assembled without a lot of flash, but they’re steeped in a deep and very stoned-sort of meditative state you might also compare to some of the Dead’s more pared-down, low-key distentions of late ’69. There’s a smoky, frictionless ease to the sound. One that reveals a little bit more of its true nature every time you spin it.
Recorded by Jason Meagher at Black Dirt in 2019, released as part of the Drowned Land series, this one’s a smoker in a whole lot of ways. So sit down, lean back, and draw deep. You’ll be damn happy you did.
–Byron Coley, 2023