Every summer has its share of feel-good albums and hits made just for the season. I don't know when this tradition began but it had to have been during the mid-century upswing era of youth culture and its attendant flood of pop music. I can't really imagine Mario Lanza or Maria Callas releasing hazy poolside jams for the young lovers of the world. In a year where nothing seems easygoing or normal, it's rather ambitious to release such a collection of dewy musical beauties amidst the general apocalyptic haze of the pandemic newscycle. Many well-established artists have belly flopped trying to capture a genuine good mood this year. Even more galling is the decision to call an E.P. Sports at a time when America's favorite collection of pastime distractions seem so disjointed, politically charged and alien.
Fortunately for us, composer and synthster extraordinaire Hudson Glover, aka Huddyglo on his less improvisational projects like this one, has delivered a tight little seven-tune masterpiece of uniquely glistening pop stretched over an impressively strong songwriting frame. Imagine the iconic physical beauty of the monarch butterfly while also appreciating how truly bizarre such a creature is when compared to anything else in our garden's purview. That's what's going on with this album: Everything is colorful and graceful with a structure that is tough — and strange — enough to withstand the wild forces of evolution that bore its creation. This album is a survival of the prettiest.
The sequencing of the tracks is well done and the album is bookended by two instrumental tunes. There's the confidently strutting hybrid disco jazz of "Sports" and 22 minutes later the gummy goodness of the outro "Friendly Combos." It's generally considered a good idea to put the strongest tracks first, which Huddyglo does here by releasing two back-to-back heaters. "Be My Sequencer" is a sweet love song about a person and their synthesizer, while "Trip On My Tongue" captures the vibe of a fluttering human being, floating above a shimmering landscape of electric pipes and plucked bass strings. Both songs have videos on YouTube that I can't recommend enough. The first is a series of romantic vignettes with a happy Casio and the latter is perhaps better seen than described. I'll only say that it takes my butterfly comparison and stretches its chrysalis out beyond the fringe.
The E.P. came out in full Aug. 28 on the Earth Libraries label, on whose website you can find cassettes and related merchandise (www.earthlibraries.com/hudson-glover). It is also available on Spotify and Soundcloud. The record is penned by the artist, with some additional musicians and associates helping out with production. The bass lines for the two singles are by Red Two Six from the band Feed Me Jack, while Christian Hower plays guitar on the opening jam. The videos were produced with help from Evan Wrye, Leigha Evers and Rosemary Shultz. This is a local tune, as Hudson is an alumnus of the music department at Humboldt State University, but I really do mean it when I say this bright and lovely little piece of fun has the capacity to go just about anywhere. At just under a half-hour long, it's a perfectly flippable soundtrack for all the nice things we used to be able to do so freely in the warm months and which are now relegated to nostalgia, dreams and screens. Here's hoping we can make new memories with such delightful songs soon, without any restrictions.
Collin Yeo (he/him) is a writer and handyman. He believes that a more just and compassionate world is worth getting worked up about.