Friday, October 14, 2011

The Soul Corner - The Meters

The Soul Corner has spent a lot of time in Detroit, Memphis, Chicago, but not nearly enough in the great musical city of New Orleans. This must be remedied.
So let's go straight to the top of the fabled Crescent City food chain -- The Meters --the first family of New Orleans soul and funk brothers.

Formed in 1965, and splitting up in 1979, the band still occasionally plays a one off show. The lineup: Art Neville (keyboards, vocals), Cyril Neville (keyboards), Leo Nocentelli (guitar), George Porter Jr. (bass), and the incomparable Joe "Zigaboo" Modeliste on drums.
They have served as the band for numerous New Orleans legends including Dr. John, Allen Toussaint and Lee Dorsey, as well as Paul McCartney, Keith Richards, Robert Palmer and many others.
It's good for the body and good for the soul.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Get to Know: Terry Malts

Terry Malts is a San Francisco punk/garage pop act (the band refers to their music as "chainsaw pop") formed by musicians from the group Magic Bullets. There have been valid comparisons to the Ramones, the Buzzcocks and The Undertones, and at times I hear a bit of The Replacements. Slumberland records is releasing the band's three track EP on October 25. The EP includes "Something About You", which you can hear below, "No Sir, I'm Not A Christian" and "Fun Night". With drums, bass and guitar these guys absolutely nail a great rock sound--hooks, fuzz, feedback, pace, and a sense of humor. I highly recommend you give them a try.

"Something About You"
Terry Malts - Something About You by Slumberland Records

Terry Malts - Distracted by Slumberland Records

This is a live version of their song "In the Waiting Room"

Slumberland Records

Cool Video Thursday

Stay with "Bandages" by Hey Rosetta!, it builds very nicely:

Hey Rosetta! - Bandages from Sonic Entertainment Group on Vimeo.


"Do I Have Power?" by Timber Timbre

Do I Have Power - Timber timbre (2011) from Carlos De Carvalho on Vimeo.

"Frog Rose High" by Craft Spells

This clip from a couple of days ago is interesting because if features Dee Dee of the Dum Dum Girls performing "I Wanna Kill" with her husband's band, Crocodiles

Crocodiles with Dee Dee // I Wanna Kill from Mana Morimoto on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Get to Know: Colleen Green

I'm on a bit of a lo-fi, garage rock binge lately. I make no apologies--I love the stuff. A recent discovery is Colleen Green, who opened for the Dum Dum Girls here in Seattle last weekend. She writes and performs fuzzy, lo-fi, psychedelic garage rock with the obvious added treat of female vocals. Green, who refers to her music as "stoner pop", has recorded and released a tape called Milo Goes to Compton and a CD-R EP entitled 4 Loko 2 Kayla (neither of which are in my possession, sadly). On stage, it's just her, her guitar, and a drum machine. Here is a clip of her live performance at Doug Fir in Portland, Oregon a few days ago.

Colleen Green at Doug Fir from Mana Morimoto on Vimeo.

Seattle's Hardly Art label has released Green's four-track 7", "Green One", including "Green One" and "Y Do U Call Me?". Hardly Art advises that Green will be recording an LP as well.
"Green One"

Colleen Green-Green One from Wendy Wright on Vimeo.

"Y Do U Call Me?"

Colleen Green - Y Do U Call Me? from pat fairbairn on Vimeo.

Green grew up in Massachusetts, but now makes her home in California. She also writes a comic strip entitled "Real Shit Daily!".

Here is a collection of songs Green made available on Bandcamp in 2010:

Green's page at Hardly Art
Hardly Art website
Colleen's blog
Real Shit Daily! (comic strip)

Rocksteady's Single Pick of the Week: The History of Apple Pie - "Mallory"

We profiled London-based indie pop band The History of Apple Pie earlier this year. Their new single, "Mallory", isn't actually released until November 14, but it is available for streaming on Soundcloud and can be pre-ordered from Rough Trade.

Mallory by The History Of Apple Pie


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

REVIEW: Crooked Fingers - Breaks in the Armor

The decision to release Breaks in the Armor, the latest album from Eric Bachman in his guise as Crooked Fingers may have been as simple as looking at a calendar and announcing "I think we'll be ready on October 11". But I'll at least indulge myself by considering the notion that October is the month of release because Breaks in the Armor is, at its heart, an autumn album. Like the season, there are storms and sun, winds and calm, gradual decay, and things of uncertain import hidden in shadows and beneath leaves. However, this album isn't comprised solely of nuance and sighs; it boasts palpable force, even muscularity, as evidenced by album opening track, "Typhoon":

Bachman always has had a gift for conveying complex emotions in economic phrases, and the songs on Breaks in the Armor are no exception. But it is the vigor of the underlying music that makes this album so welcome. The result is more exceptional because of its origins. Bachman told Spin Magazine that, burned out, he travelled to Taiwan in 2009 to take a break from music. At first he stayed with a friend, but then he secured a teaching job on a small island. About two weeks into the teaching gig, he bought a guitar and started working on the songs that became Breaks in the Armor.

The emotional depth of the album is revealed through the first four songs. After the dusty Americana grandeur of "Typhoon", we are treated to a rocking country-infused stomper in "Bad Blood". The third track, "The Hatchet", slows proceedings down for a somber tale of a failed relationship. Rather than leave us wallowing if the regret and recrimination, we slide into the fast-paced "The Counterfeiter", which many regard as the album's centerpiece. For my money, "Your Apocalypse" shouldn't be missed. While I don't have a studio version for you here, I provided a clip of a live version below (I apologize for the audio quality).

This is an album that emphasizes what should be important: Evocative half-stories that invite the listener to read between the lines; varied melodies and the quality performances. There is no room for superficial style or gimmicks.

"Your Apocalypse" (live)

Eric Bachman was joined by the talented Liz Durrett in recording Breaks In The Armor. The album is released today on Merge Records.

Album trailer:

Crooked Fingers - Breaks in the Armor (Album Trailer) from Merge Records on Vimeo.


Monday, October 10, 2011

REVIEW: The Moth & The Mirror - Honestly, This World

Although Honestly, This World is the debut release from The Moth & The Mirror, it has the feel of an accomplished band in the full stride of their career. I suspect that one reason is that the band has been playing together for several years, but the answer also must be found in the fact that The Moth & The Mirror is a project comprised of individually accomplished musicians who also are (or were) members of other bands, including Frightened Rabbit, Admiral Fallow, The Reindeer Section, Smoke Jaguar and Arab Strap. Listen to the first track, "Everyone I Know".

The Moth and the Mirror blend the loud and soft, acoustic and electric, in a manner reminiscent of The Delgados. Many of the tracks tease with subtle touches punctuated by echoing instrumentation, and then build to a climactic wall of sound. The tone tends toward brooding, but there is redemption to be found and the listening is a treat in either case.

The primary vocal duties fall to Stacey Sievwright (other projects: The Reindeer Section, Arab Strap), but at times multiple voices ride the melody. The other members are Gordon Skene (Frightened Rabbit) on guitar and vocals; Louis Abbott (Admiral Fallow, Song of Return) on guitar and vocals; Kevin McCarvel on bass; Iain Sandilands on percussion; and Peter Murch on drums.

One of my favorite tracks, is the rousing "Germany":

The grand scale title track (live)

You can stream the entire album here. If you only have time for one or two tracks in addition to the foregoing offerings, I highly recommend "Fire" and the gentle "Closing Doors".

Honestly, This World was recorded at Chem19 Studios and is released today, October 10, on Glasgow's Olive Grove Records.

Olive Grove Records

Sunday, October 9, 2011

REVIEW: Henry's Funeral Shoe - Donkey Jacket

Henry's Funeral Shoe is a Welsh duo, brothers Aled and Brennig Clifford, that plays hard blues rock. They are the kind of self-taught, dedicated musicians who show their influences but bring the result to life in their own way. Their second record, Donkey Jacket, will be released on Alive Naturalsound records on October 11. The first thought I had upon doing a little research on these guys was to congratulate the person whose idea it was to bring them to Detroit to work with the great Jim Diamond, who's helped bring to life records by the White Stripes, Dirtbombs and The Pack a.d.

The first song, "Be Your Own Invention", brings to my mind the great riffs of songs like "La Grange" and "I Just Wanna Make Love To You"... in fact, sometimes these two sound like they've subsisted on a steady diet of Willie Dixon and Muddy Waters for years and years. The onslaught continues with "Love Is A Fever", and then we have an affecting, well-played blues ballad: "Bottom To The Top". As a change of pace, it serves very well, with acoustic and slide guitar behind a raspy vocal. Perhaps in addition to their Muddy Waters, these kids found their way to Beggars Banquet. Nothing wrong with influences and inspirations like that...

Henry's Funeral Shoe -Bottom To Top by alivenaturalsound

"Anvil and Chains" is another hard blues workout, with some inspired blues harp, another wicked guitar riff and growled vocals. Then comes the centerpiece, "Dog Scratch Ear", to my ears the best vocal on the record, which does the quiet intro (well, relatively quiet) until the guitar hits hard about a minute in, then it alternates quiet/loud with a few spots where the guitar and drums hit together, chugging like a train, calling to mind some good hard Southern rock.

They're offering a free download of "Dog Scratch Ear" here.

There's plenty of variety in tempo and a few more ballads, including the truly pretty closer "Across the Sky". I'm impressed with Henry's Funeral Shoe: their obvious talent, their approach and certainly, this fine collection of songs.

Here's a video from this summer's Binic Festival in France:

Henry's Funeral Shoe Website