Friday, October 21, 2011

The Soul Corner - "Hound Dog" - Big Mama Thornton

It is impossible to say what was the first "soul" song. Some cite Ray Charles' 1954 hit "I Got a Woman" though the term "soul music" didn't come into play until 1961.
But for my money, this 1952 recording is as good a place as any to start: Big Mama Thornton singing the original version of the Leiber-Stoller penned, 12 bar blues classic "Hound Dog". It was released as a 10" 78 RPM single and reached #1 on the R&B charts.
I love the vocal phrasing here, the emphasis on different words each time through.
"Big Mama" was born in Alabama, but got her start in Houston. She was an accomplished drummer and harmonica player. She died in 1984.
Did you know that the song was later covered by some white guy from Memphis? But these lyrics pack a whole lot more power when sung by a woman to a man. I mean, c'mon seriously, who acts like a "hound dog," the fellas or the ladies?

Get to Know: Teenagers

Travis Keymer of Harrison, Arkansas, fronts the band Holy Mountain and played guitar for Burn Baby Burn. But when he takes a break from his Holy Mountain duties, he occupies his time with his solo project Teenagers. Travis plays all of the instruments for these tracks, and seems to have no lack of musical inspiration. He also makes the albums available free, so dive in.

His latest effort is the bluesy rock & roll album Big City

Earlier this year he released the somewhat surfy garage rock Besides

His late 2010 releases are Winter Storm and Vacation

In the past few months I've profiled Teens, from Boise, PreTeens from San Francisco and now Teenagers from Arkansas. I think I have a maturity problem.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

More Minnesota Rock Goodness: The Cloak Ox - "Prisen"

The Cloak Ox has rapidly become a favorite of mine, after hearing the lead track on a Current Song of the Day podcast... This band, featuring Andrew Broder, Martin Dosh, Mark Erickson and Jeremy Ylvisaker, has a very strong presence - a combination of breakneck rhythm section, buzzsaw guitars, some soaring solos and alternating between punk (Lee Ving/Jello Biafra, maybe?) and falsetto vocals. Intrigued? Well, good, you should be.

Here's the video for "Prisen":

Here's another video, shot live at a radio performance, "Live on Radio K":

And here's the EP on Bandcamp:

If you like guitars, don't delay... they're unsigned, but you can buy it here.

Get to Know: The Mallard

I can't seem to find my way out of the garage lately. Truth is, I'm comfortable here and everything sounds so good. Today the sounds in Rocksteady's garage are courtesy of The Mallard -- a female-fronted San Francisco Garage/psych/surf band with a delicious swampy vibe. Get a taste with "Faults":
04 Fault by The Mallard

The Mallard was founded by Greer McGettrick (guitar/vocals), and the trio is completed by Dylan Tidyman-Jones (drums/vocals) and Dylan Edrich (bass). I read somewhere that an album is either recently out, or soon will be out. I haven't got a title or confirmation, but I'll be looking for it.

Slowing it down with "Song About the Devil":
Song About The Devil by The Mallard

The twangy ramble of "Floating"
01 Floating by The Mallard


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Stream New Surfer Blood EP -- Tarot Classics

Florida rockers Surfer Blood are releasing a new four-track EP, Tarot Classics on Kanine Records next week, but you can stream the entire album now at the Spin website: Spin stream of Tarot Classics . Just click on the link, then click on the album cover. I've just listened to it once, but my initial opinion is that it is similar to their 2010 LP in sound, but not the same. Specifically, it seems to rely somewhat less on reverb and anthemic sounds, and somewhat more on rhythm. And while I am a big fan of the debut album, I think the vocals sound a bit better than on this EP. Overall, I'd rate it as a very good indie rock/pop EP. But you can explore for yourself. Enjoy!


Midweek Roundup: Free MP3s from Radio Moscow, Henry's Funeral Shoe, John Heart Jackie, video from Pancho-san

If you like rock, this is a good week for you...

Radio Moscow's new disc The Great Escape of Leslie Magnafuzz came out last week, reviewed here, and they've made another song available for free download here: "Speedfreak".

Henry's Funeral Shoe, a Welsh duo playing blues-based punk-infused rock, whose new record Donkey Jacket was also reviewed recently here, is making another MP3 available: "Anvil and Chains".

John Heart Jackie, revisited from a recent folk-focused Midweek Roundup - here's a free download of their cover of "When You Were Mine".

When You Were Mine by RiotActMedia

And from Pancho-san, a SF-area band consisting of Patrick Abernethy (formerly of Beulah and Rogue Wave), Eli Crews (Beulah) and Pat Spurgeon (Rogue Wave) which self-released its 2010 debut album, Oh, Mellow Melody, here's their first video, "Kick The Fences Down". Jangly and ethereal at the same time, with a bit of a Syd Barrett feel. If, like me, you were unaware, give a listen and go check them out.

Pancho-san "Kick The Fences Down" from Jim Granato on Vimeo.

Link to their Tumblr page:

New Sounds of Scotland-Part 29: The Hardy Boys; Beerjacket; Run Lucky Free

The Hardy Boys are a Scottish band enjoying a rebirth. Originally formed in the mid-80s and considered part of the jangly C86 scene. The band disbanded in 1990, but interest in the band remained strong. Newly reformed, the current lineup consists of Johnny White, Paul McArthur, Derek Mullen, David McArthur and Kat King. Their music is a brand of literate pop shared by their fellow Scots Wake the President and Camera Obscura. They have released an EP named Under the Piccadilly Clock, on October 24 the LP British Melancholy will be released by Bubblegum Records.

I wish I could tell you more about the songs that will be on the album, and perhaps embed of few so you could evaluate it. But the websites for both the band and the label are devoid of track listings, and there doesn't appear to be any videos that are attributed to album tracks yet. However, I won't let a little thing like the absence of concrete "facts" deter me. First, we'll examine the first incarnation of the band by listening to "Send Me A Sign":

You also could check out the '80s version of the band by listening to "Wake Up Sleepyhead" on Spotify. Next, we'll listen to "Seascape", which also is an older song but this performance is quite recent. I think it shows that the band can still deliver the goods:

"Fifteen" and "Wonderful Lie" are old songs as well. Several of their old songs, including "Fifteen", are available for an inexpensive download on the band's Bandcamp site, which is linked below.

Artist page at Bubblegum Records website

Beerjacket is Glasgow musician Peter Kelly. He is an English teacher whose brand of alt/folk/pop has been compared to Elliott Smith, Bruce Springsteen, Bon Iver and Elvis Perkins, and has drawn praise from Kristen Hersh. When you are looking for something a bit less raucous, but genuine and thoughtful, our friend Beerjacket is your man. Earlier this month he released his fine debut studio album, White Feather Trail,

This is a live performance of "Blood Roses", the opening track of White Feather Trail, filmed for Lloyd Meredith's Peenko Sessions:

My favorite song on the album is "Fresh Legs". We have a live version filmed for the Rokbun Sessions in the overpass for the The Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre

If you like that taste of Beerjacket, you can stream, and buy, the album at the Bandcamp site here:


Run Lucky Free was formed in 2008 by musicians from four different areas of Scotland who met while attending college, the band now is based in Edinburgh. Consisting of Rachael Cormack on vocals, Daniel Crichton on guitar, Sam Dick on bass and Fergus Costello on drums, the band has a great rock-edged indie pop sound with great female vocals. They rightfully have been tipped as a band to watch.

The "Factory" single was released this month:

Denim Skyes" was released earlier this fall:

Here is a live performance from about a year ago of their song "Colours":

A set of their music from Soundcloud:
Denim Skyes - Electric & Acoustic EP's by Run Lucky Free


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Alabama Shakes - s/t EP out now

Discovered via Patterson Hood's Drive-by Truckers update - this band will be playing day two of the DBT's three-day New Year's Eve extravaganza in at the 930 Club in Washington, DC.

It's a nice slice of Southern soul. Check them out at Bandcamp:

Get to Know: Being There

There are a few ways to increase the chance of getting noticed by the omnivorous (some would say "desperate, ravenous and undiscriminating", but they are just referring to our eating habits) WYMA blog scouts. But a high percentage tactic is to create very good jangly, indie guitar rock that sounds like a blend of Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Yuck, and recent Times New Viking, and to list Guided By Voices as an influence. So you won't be surprised that we glommed like moths to the porch light of jangle at the first strains of London's Being There. Other than being four musicians based in London, I don't know much about these guys, and their Website and Facebook page are stingy with details. So, we'll go straight to the music. Here is a three track self titled album of very nice songs, and one of them, "Tomorrow", is available for free download.

These guys are worth putting on the "watch for" list.


Monday, October 17, 2011

New Discovery: Chambermaids, "China Blue"

Single was released this summer, and according to their website, they're working on an album. Very well-done noise rock music, reminiscent of Yo La Tengo, maybe My Bloody Valentine... definitely in the wheelhouse of folks who have been enjoying Vivian Girls and Dum Dum Girls, WYMA favorites. I discovered it via the Current Song of the Day Podcast.

Check it out and download here:

Chambermaids Website

Get to Know: Simon Bish

As the millions who regularly read this blog are aware, I'm happy to learn of any artist that can deliver jangly guitar pop. So I'm here to tell you of the happy discovery of Simon Bish. Simon Bish (who, to be fair, may not have realized that he needed to be discovered) delivers wonderful guitar pop that favorably brings to mind Teenage Fanclub. According to his Facebook page, he also delivers mail in Devon, UK. And this month, Bish's delivery is via his LP, All Aboard With ... Simon Bish, which is released on Simon's own Pop Noise Records. All Aboard is 11 tracks of jangly indie that will make on onset of fall a bit easier to take.

Here is album track "You Ran Away"

I've provided two more of the album tracks below, but you can stream the entire album on Simon's website, which is linked below. You also can purchase through the website rather than have to go through a third-party vendor. The website also shows a 12-track LP released in 2010 and an EP.

"Meet Me There"

"Owl Eyes"


Sunday, October 16, 2011

New Stuff - The Mekons "Ancient and Modern 1911-2011"

It's a little odd to refer to a Mekons CD as new stuff, as they've been doing their thing remarkably well with the same lineup, if criminally under the radar, for 25+ years.

SoundSpike's free MP3 download for Monday (9/12) is 'Geeshie' by U.K. alternative rock band The Mekons. The featured cut, inspired by a Geeshie Wiley song called 'Last Kind Words', is from their forthcoming 26th album, 'Ancient & Modern,' and will be available Sept. 27 on their own Sin Records. // Tour dates at SoundSpike
Photo: Francesca Allen
Ancient and Modern is yet another fine record from the UK/Chicago legends. It explores the Edwardian age - inequalities of wealth, uncertain economic times, international instability - stop me when this sounds familiar, with the Mekons characteristic blend of rock, punk, pub, country, soul, rock, literary storytelling, guts and blood.
If you are a fan, but haven't checked in with the Mekons in awhile, you'll love this record. And if you are not familiar with them, this is a perfectly fine place to dive in. They outlasted what few peers they had like The Pogues, The Clash and The Gang of Four, and still sound inspired and important.
"Space in Your Face" with Jon Langford on vocals from Ancient and Modern:
"Geeshie" featuring Sally Timms and her lovely old time voice:
And a some very recent live footage of "Geeshie" and 2 more songs from Ancient and Modern 1911-2011:

New Discovery: Obits - Moody, Standard and Poor

Sub Pop band, recording in Brooklyn but playing all over the place. Their latest record is Moody, Standard and Poor, released back in March... sorry I'm just now getting around to writing about it, because I really like it.

Here's a video of "No Fly List" - sort of a manic punk song:

Obits - No Fly List from Nick Sewell on Vimeo.

And here's "You Gotta Lose" - like the tension/release guitar and the pace of this one:

Obits - You Gotta Lose from Obits on Vimeo.

Download a couple of free MP3s from their Sub Pop page: "You Gotta Lose" and "Shift Operator":

Obits Website

Obits at Sub Pop