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Worried Songs

Edsel Axle - Variable Happiness (LP, Album, Bla) (M / M)

Edsel Axle - Variable Happiness (LP, Album, Bla) (M / M)

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Media Condition: Mint (M)
Sleeve Condition: Mint (M)

New copy, sealed

Release Notes


Some Answer 04:55







North Carolina based singer/songwriter Rosali Middleman has spent the last decade using her voice and guitar to construct tunes built upon the spectrum between joy and pain - deeply personal lyrics, profound vocals, and striking, heady guitar synchronizing as a perfect pair to deliver a very welcome and fresh perspective on folk rock and roll music.

On this newest collection of tunes, “Variable Happiness”, under the moniker Edsel Axle, her voice takes a winter hibernation to showcase the prodigious slow burn thump of her solo electric guitar playing. While this musical pivot may be a risk to some, the worlds of wilderness created within the music are easily navigated with clarity.

Recorded directly to a four-track cassette rig in the comfort of her own home- each chord struck exhales from the gear and onto magnetic tape, finding its true north, and throwing sand on the bonfire before it burns the foundation. First thought/best thought improvisations naturally trickling down and turning puddles into expansive streams of sound.

The opener, “Some Answer” seems to not have any question before it. As if it has always just been. A mode of intrinsic acceptance. Middleman confidently reigns in atonal midrange melodies and lets them rest in the bottom of the ocean. Every new movement coming up for air. Reviving consciousness, and letting go once more. The small combo amp on the recordings sounds like it’s being overloaded and exploding into a peace sign, before fading into the next tune.

The title track, “Variable Happiness” suggests that serenity is found within acceptance. It begins with a warm, simple, and circular groove. Bridging the giant landmasses of Fleetwood Mac’s “Albatross” and Loren Connors. The light boogie has surgical tremolo dirge doing major brain work and re-wiring. Coming in and out of a hiccup. An easy meditation that sounds like laying on the perfect area rug after the perfect day.

“Come Down From That Tree Now” isn’t so much a command as it is a peaceful suggestion. A neon glazed layer of arpeggios sits in the background, while Middleman wails fully in the foreground. An amalgamation that sounds like Windy and Carl records being blown apart by firecrackers in a bucket.

Through these six honey-soaked, deeply psychedelic, overdriven ohm-style meditations, “Variable Happiness” showcases the prodigious left-hand melodies, and ball peen hammer attack of Middleman’s right hand. Striking with great patience and humility. A true-blue guitar denizen of a heady state. A new benchmark in solo guitar recordings.

Each tune kicks the can down the dirt road a bit further, knowing it will eventually reach Valhalla. Remaining present and accepting happiness on a sliding scale. As varied as joy may be, these tunes suggest we can arrest the negative with meditation and patience.

(Ryley Walker)

Another beautiful solo-guitar excursion from Rosali Middleman, filled with meditative songs that circle and eddy like leaves on the wind or a mountain stream in springtime. Her guitar playing has a raw, elemental power that is simultaneously soothing and invigorating, hypnotic and transportive.

(Ripley Johnson - Wooden Shjips/Moon Duo/Rose City Band)

released August 11, 2023


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