Glen Porter: The Devil Is A Dancer, The Piper Is A Madman
Content (L)abel / Ooohh! That's Heavy Recordings / Mism Records

Ryan Stephenson's definitely got a few new tricks up his sleeve on this ten-inch vinyl collection of fresh Glen Porter material (300 copies available) issued by the LA-based Content (L)abel in collaboration with fellow California-based Ooohh! That's Heavy Recordings and the Swiss Mism Records label. On the seven-song release (the vinyl's four cuts plus three digital-only tracks), Stephenson expands upon the ferocious guitar-bass-drums instrumental template that characterized his previous output by featuring samples more explicitly within the songs' arrangements.

At the core of “The Devil is a Dancer” is an accordion-accompanied sea shanty (sung by Stephenson himself) whose verse sneaks into the piece a couple of times, but the eight-minute track's otherwise a fulminating, beat-driven Porter throwdown of the first order, even if the guitar's role is, in this case, largely taken over by an organ-like keyboard. Strip away the superfluous orgasmic moans and “Over the Mountains, Through the Jungle, and into the Cave” impresses as a fine microcosm of the Glen Porter sound, what with its crisp and snappy beat thunder augmented by shuddering layers of tremolo-laden guitar twang. The dread-fueled “The Piper is a Madman” does much the same in overlaying a boombastic rhythm base with raw guitars, organ, and a drawled voice sample (“Death doesn't frighten me”). “Ask Her Nicely and She'll Show You the Scar” dials down the intensity in its opening half with an intro of acoustic guitar and bowed cello playing before setting the track ablaze with electric fire during its stoked second half.

The three digital cuts—two additional originals and a joyously clamorous and bass-thumping Yppah remix of “Ask Her Nicely and She'll Show You the Scars”—have much to recommend them, too. “Forget” is an example of the Glen Porter style in its classic guitar-bass-drums formation, while “Kiss the Pretty Ones Goodbye” turns up the heat for a fiery six minutes of guitar wail and volcanic drumming. Put simply, those who've cottoned to Stephenson's distinctive pairing of dusty guitar riffing and crisp breakbeats in the past won't be let down by the new collection.

October 2012