Thursday, November 1, 2012

Friday To-Do: The Alpha Ray

Posted By on Thu, Nov 1, 2012 at 8:10 AM

The Alpha Ray plays an album release show Friday at White Water Tavern.
  • The Alpha Ray plays an album release show Friday at White Water Tavern.

9 p.m. White Water Tavern.

The Alpha Ray is the latest project from songwriter Bryan Frazier. It's a collaboration with guitarist Jonathan Teague (of the outstanding Many Persian Z's) and David Stone (of Hot Springs indie faves Landrest).

The group's new album, "Follow the Ghost," is Frazier's fifth release on Thick Syrup Records, following several solo albums and EPs. And while it's a touch darker than some of Frazier's past records, it's not a radical departure from the sort of smart, hook-filled guitar rock he's been making for years now.

Nine of the album's 12 tracks were mixed by Ken Stringfellow, of The Posies, The Minus 5 and the latter-day lineup of Big Star. Stringfellow also added backing vocals and keyboards of several varieties, including Wurlitzer, glockenspiel and Fender Rhodes. Alex Piazza provides some gorgeous, spectral pedal steel on the brief "Minnesota Radio."

The whole album is very solid, but my personal favorite cuts are the last two. "Picture House" is subtly forlorn, with moments of tension and guitar heroics that, to my ear, recall Crazy Horse. The final track is "Thundersnow," a stunningly beautiful number featuring more of Piazza's pedal steel.

Opening the show are Ezra Lbs. and Landrest. There'll be a listening party on Thursday at Ciao Baci at 7 p.m.

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