Xylouris White, 'Mother' (Bella Union); Idnó, November 3rd
There are two-man bands. There are power duos. And then there is Xylouris White, the exploring, swinging collaboration of Giorgos Xylouris, who plays the Cretan lute, and drummer Jim White of the avant-rock trio the Dirty Three. Xylouris was born in Crete and comes from a distinguished family of folk musicians; he and White met in Australia, where Xylouris was on tour, and became a band – in the most empathic sense – in 2013. At Airwaves, previewing material from their sublime and propulsive third album, Mother (coming out on January), Xylouris White hit the ground running like an ouzo-fueled Cream of ecstatic, circular riffing and urgent, rolling syncopation. It was Eric Clapton's original vision of that band as "blues ancient and modern," shot forward through Cretan mountain-village song and psychedelic improvisation. I also had periodic flashbacks to the Middle Eastern jamming and climbing drive of the late-Sixties Los Angeles band Kaleidoscope – as White's thunderclap fills and Xylouris' sinewy licks kept that transcendence firmly in the present.