TLVS have completed their first full length album. Entitled Sundowning, the album marks a return to the Recorditorium & the guidance of Allen B, who worked with McGlothlin on the original 7". Tracked over weekends in August & September 2006, the lp marks the first collaborative work of the group, including all four members.
Where the ep solidified song structures, Sundowning showcases an optimistic hopefulness within bleak textures. Favourites from the band's live set (Winding walk, winter rain, You are what gets me in trouble) are set in the context of the group's forward vision (NY104, headed east, Very heaven). Clocking in at 45 minutes, the lp has a spacious, open feel, while restricting the listener with enough ebb & flow to assure a memorable experience. There are similarities with rsc011, as rsc011 might be considered a work print for Sundowning, but new versions of the rsc011 songs and all new songs makes Sundowning live its own life, making the two completely different experiences.
For you consideration, Sundowning, as presented by The Late Virginia Summers.
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Instrumental music has a very difficult task. The artform must find a way to invoke passion, emotion, and meaning without the use of lyrics. Newcomers The Late Virginia Summers overcome the challenge as well as any instrumental band I've heard. They effectively use intriguing song titles and mood to affect the listener.
Simply put, this album is entrancing.
The late Virginia Summers is a pleasantly surprising instrumental band that I discovered through a Myspace friend request. Their first LP Sundowning is 11 tracks soaked in drum beats, bells, keys, guitars, and various other noises that will certainly arouse your ears. I was looking for music that would be mellow and ideal for late night listening. This album was just as sublime and experimental as I expected. to my surprise, tracks like Winding walk, winter rain, Who's afraid of The Late Virginia Summers, and You are what gets me in trouble are groovy good pop songs with neat vibes. These songs have addictive melodies that exceeded my expectations.
If I'm being completely honest, the only aspect of this album that I don't like is the artwork. For my taste, it doesn't fit the music. I would expect the artwork to reflect the somber tone of the music more than it does. Perhaps it's the mostly white background that doesn't seem quite right. It's a minor criticism and merely an aesthetic one at best.
This is a good album to listen to first thing in the morning because it gets you going without being overbearing or annoying. It's ideal music for 'chilling-out' before bedtime or even while you sleep. The music lulls you to sleep with hypnotic sounds and gently pulls you back into consciousness with a catchy beat. Sundowning is a highly focused and cohesive effort as it sets a mood and sticks to it without jumping all around. It's not something I'd listen to while driving or doing yard work, but it certainly has its place in my cd player. All 11 tracks will transport you into a state of relaxation without being boring or mundane. If you need a break from the anxiety of the world, then this is the cd to consider adding to your collection. I highly recommend this album for fans of Unwed Sailor and Saxon Shore.
John, plugged 
The Late Virginia Summers, commonly referred to as just TLVS, is the project started by Nathan McGlothlin (also of A New Dawn Fades) years ago. It started with some ideas he had for minimal, highly non-'electronic' drone-pop music. With Sundowning, the band has grown into a 4-piece act and Joe Morgan (guitar) has contributed substantially to the writing of this material. The Sundowning box-set, which is a limited edition compilation, includes Sundowning as well as an 11 track b-sides, demos and live recordings disc, and now from a project Nathan was involved in called, the BEAT!.
TLVS can be described as desolate, alone and cold...but there's something more to the music than just desperation. For me, the experience of TLVS is similar to a long drive at dusk in the summer. Windows are rolled down, the wind blowing oh so strongly against your face, there's a feeling of loneliness, but beauty and perfection as well. It's sort of an experience that brings me closer to reality and the world as it should be. not a world engrossed in consumerism and technology, but the simplicity of a dirt road on a summers' evening watching the wind blow through the tall grass.
One of my favorite tracks actually comes from the b-sides disc in wedding song, which is written and performed by Joe Morgan. As one who is into sparse, beautiful music; I find Joe Morgan's addition to TLVS a brilliant companion to the organic beats and melodies produced by Nathan McGlothlin. Sundowning displays this sort of dichotomy of sounds quite well. The album starts off with a very plaintive, droney track (staring at the stars...) and leads right into Winding walk, winter rain, one of the 'hipper' tracks with the use of a drum machine and some well-placed bells and glockenspiel hits. NY104 (first heading west, then east) is a great pairing of tracks. West starts off with something rather unexpected from TLVS....a bass guitar riff opening the song, only to be complemented by a couple guitar tracks. East is much more noticeably TLVS, which I guess would make sense as this group is from the east coast. The coupling of almost asleep (pts 1 & 2) provide a sort of mellowing down of the record and really showcase the talent of Joe Morgan and a really great grouping of his material into TLVS. The end of the record, You are what gets me in trouble, is probably my favorite track from the record. Again taking advantage of the ol' drum machine, TLVS craft what could be their catchiest, most chill track of the album. A perfect ending to what one might consider the perfect debut?
The b-sides, demos and live recordings disks showcases some great additional material that is at some points just as good as the Sundowning material. The BEAT!'s Now is a whole different beast that brings a collective of individuals into a creative work. Ambient in nature all the way through, there's a variation of experience from song to song. Each song is named for the day it was recorded and the material goes from sounding like an avant-garde jazz work to an early Danielson Familie demo (see 7/8/2004) going along with Nathan's musical style, the music is largely acoustic percussion and very lo-fi. The two albums are great and may be even greater when coupled with TLVS's Sundowning. Although they may not be James Brown or Sammy Davis Jr., TLVS has got some soul.
Aaron Bell, n/a reviews