One-man instrumental band Angelo Spencer makes music that could be the soundtrack for a Coen Brothers' movie, something like No Country for Old Men or Blood Simple. You can almost see the long stretches of highway baking in the heat, with the anticipation that something is about to go haywire with murderous results. Other times the band's style is more contemplative, like a Hal Hartley art film where damaged people find love in a small town.
Spencer grew up in the French Alps and was inspired by the soundtrack to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, which makes perfect sense when you listen to the album. Guitar twang mixes with more exotic instruments like the shenhai, bass clarinet, bells and shakers, creating a sort of disco snake-charm sound. Tracks like "Did You Hear That Sound" and "La Pinaille" evoke slowed down Ventures songs coupled with dusty Old West soundscapes, and for some reason those ones seem perfect for a David Lynch film. Et Les Haut Sommets isn't really an album I would just sit down and listen to without getting a little fidgety, but it could serve well as a soundtrack to trippy, late-night art-making sessions.
Angelo Spencer plays the Zootown Arts Community Center Wednesday, June 30, at 8 PM with Bash Brothers, Tyson Ballew, Sneeze and Pony Cannon. $5.