d. english - "Girl Like a Qtip"

by Graham Johnson

Earlier today, Minneapolis musician Daniel English (styled d. english) released three tracks on Soundcloud, some of his first output since the gorgeous Big. The tracks are presented as tossed-off or casual disclosures, the name of "5/20" channeling the same aesthetic realm, and setting up the same contextual backdrop, as a journal entry or iPhone memo: expectations are low, which allows for great moments to flourish in a way they might not if presented otherwise. 

And the tracks bear plenty of gems. "Girl Like a Qtip" opens with the amusing visual of a girl cleaning English's head out  "just keep turning," he sings, "I play guitar now." "Beer Buzz," meanwhile, (another version of which was released as a split with Von Neumann Architecture for No Problem Records) displays the kind of weird, 80s synth work that's always been popular in the DIY scene, but with a frenetic lead guitar mixed in that serves as a highlight of the track. "5/20," finally, closes off the set with a strangely poignant minimalist rendition of Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark."

Daniel English is a member of Frankie Teardrop, the Minneapolis rock group that released the fantastic sophomore LP Raiders last year. He's also a part of the Iowa City music scene, which we profiled in January. More of English's music can be found at his Bandcamp.

Nora Petran - "Mourning Dove"

It’s Big Kev from the Rare Candy Mag tech department. I’d just like to say firstly that I’m pretty honored to be able to get a space on the magazine. 

I’ve never been a big music-head, but while I’m programming I always like to have something playing in the background. My friends help me out a lot, send me some new stuff when I ask, or when they find something they think I'll like.

The latest track I’ve been shown and that really stuck out — really made me pause in the middle of my programming and check the song title — is “Mourning Dove” by Nora Petran. It’s got a warm atmosphere, like it’s been close-mic’d with the gain knob set high to pick up the soft vocal cooing and fingerpicking. The room’s gentle white noise and reverb swell like an overheated CPU. And Petran’s voice resembles a flute or some similar family of wind instrument: it’s got a pure, clean, steady tone that can hit precise intervals or hold steady, drawn-out croons.

The artwork is subpar sadly. I can’t understand why she chose to draw it by hand rather than using Photoshop (or one of its fantastic free alternatives, GIMP or Paint.net). That said, “Mourning Dove” will be running up on my Foobar2000 player for many a programming session to come.

Read our January interview with Nora Petran here. More of her music can be found for streaming and download at her Bandcamp.