Saturday, July 28, 2012

Will Johnson (Centro-matic) - Scorpion, new solo album due out Sept 11


Great news - a new release from Denton, TX artist Will Johnson - a solo record (with help, of course, from some of his talented friends, including Centro-matic bandmates). Scorpion is due out September 11 on Undertow/Thirty Tigers.

For this project, Johnson has decided to cut out the middleman and self-release the album direct to fans via Undertow Music/Thirty Tigers. Scorpion was recorded in the wooded outskirts of Denton, Texas, at the studio of longtime bandmate, producer and engineer Matt Pence. Also lending their skills to Scorpion are multi-instrumentalists Scott Danbom, Howard Draper and Magnolia Electric Company’s Mikey Kapinus.

Unlike Centro-matic’s Candidate Waltz or Johnson’s last solo album Vultures Await (both of which were written well in advance and recorded using carefully conceived arrangements), Scorpion documents the genesis and germination of its songs. “A lot of them,” Johnson says, “Were written in the studio, right then and there, in the moment. I enjoy capturing those initial gut reactions in songwriting. It doesn’t always work, but when it does — you capture the song in such a raw, unique form.”

You can get a download of the lead track, "You Will Be Here, Mine" - just click here. It's vintage Johnson - languid, slow-burning, with some terrific guitar supporting one of the most soulful voices in rock music.

Johnson is hitting the road this fall in support of Scorpion, with his friend and New Multitudes collaborator Anders Parker, playing a mix of traditional club shows and intimate acoustic living-room sets.

FRI Sept 14 - Waverly, AL @ Living Room Show
SAT Sept 15 - Birmingham, AL @ Living Room Show
SUN Sept 16 - Atlanta, GA @ Living Room Show
MON Sept 17 - Athens, GA @ Living Room Show
TUE Sept 18 - North Carolina area @ Living Room Show
WED Sept 19 - Baltimore, MD @ Living Room Show
FRI Sept 21 - Philadelphia @ Living Room Show
SAT Sept 22 - Brooklyn, NY @ Living Room Show
SUN Sept 23 - NYC @ Mercury Lounge
MON Sept 24 - Boston, MA @ Living Room Show
TUE Sept 25 - Montpelier VT @ Living Room Show
WED Sept 26 - Buffalo, NY @ Living Room Show
THU Sept 27 - Cleveland, OH @ Living Room Show
FRI Sept 28 - Chicago, IL @ Schuba's
Sat Sept 29 - Saint Louis @ Off Broadway
Tue Oct 2 - Dallas, TX @ Texas Theatre
Wed Oct 3 - Houston, TX @ Fitzgerald's
Thu Oct 4 - Austin, TX @ Cactus Cafe

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Soul Corner - Bobby Womack "The Bravest Man in the Universe"

A first at the Soul Corner - a brand new release. But it qualifies for our Friday feature because it comes from a classic artist, Bobby Womack, and is damn soulful. You may be able to pick up a free download for it like I did today by walking into to your local Starbucks and finding their card with the iTunes Song Pick of the Week. "The Bravest Man in the Universe" is the title track from Womack's new CD.


Some of you, like me, may love, while others not, the modern production here, but the man sure can sing and play guitar. The song and entire new CD was produced by UK electronic music pioneer Richard Russell and Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz).

Womack of course played with a host of great artists, including Aretha, Janis Joplin, and on Sly and the Family Stone's There's a Riot Goin' On.  He wrote "It's All Over Now", popularized by the Rolling Stones. He had worked with Albarn previously, contributing on some Gorillaz music.

Womack was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

New (and free) song from The Louche


This Manchester band has appeared on these pages in the past (here and here), but not as The Louche.  You see, when we wrote about them in 2011 they were Louche FC.  Before then, the were known as The Bicycle Thieves (please note the difference between 'known as the bicycle thieves' and 'known as bicycle thieves', as we do not want to be accused of libel).  One hopes that the current name sticks, because it would be a shame to build up a fan base and then confuse them.  And they are in danger of building a fan base, because their string of excellent past songs has been well supplemented by current offering: "Salt".  Here is the video:



Dense, guitar-driven and melodic--just what we like.  And if you like it too, here is a download:



The Louche is comprised of Kyoko Swan, Luke Byron Scott, Adam Dawson and Dave White.  Their label is Sways Records.  I would say that I've been waiting patiently for an album, but that would be half untrue.  We are waiting...

One of the older tunes, "Romantic" --




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Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Brooklyn band The Babies will be releasing their Our House On The Hill LP on the Woodsist label this fall.  To whet our appetite, a two track single will be available on August 14.  You can listen to the excellent A-side, "Moonlight Mile", below --


The B-side for the single is "Places".

The Babies were founded by Kevin Morby (who also plays with Woods) and Cassie Ramone (of the Vivian Girls), and has expanded to include Justin Sullivan and Brian Schleyer.  I'm a big fan of their loose, lo-fi approach, and "Moonlight Mile" has me eagerly anticipating the release of  Our House On The Hill.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

REVIEW: The Blakes - Art of Losses



When I read that The Blakes had left Seattle for their Maine motherland to record their third full length album, I was concerned.  Sometimes sequestration in a different environment can produce great works, but it also can lead to insular product, inscrutable to all not involved.  Well, I'm happy to report that all is well.  Art of Losses is an excellent album -- A wide spectrum alt rock/garage pop thesis and, in my opinion, the most consistent of this band's career.

As suggested by the title, the theme of the album is loss, and dealing with loss.  But rather than allow their inspiration to weigh down the proceedings, Garnet Keim, Snow Keim and Bob Husak have used it to push themselves artistically.  The title track provides a fine introduction to the album's sound --



The Blakes have always been a straightforward band.  The sound is stripped to the basics rock, with crunchy guitars and powerpop vocals, both of which honor their '60s influences without mimicking them.  But straightforward doesn't mean limited.  A primary reason I think that the band have been one of the consistently best over the last decade is their ability to coherently and entertainingly express themselves in a variety of styles -- from swampy, bluesy and booze-soaked to dreamy and melodic.  I'll provide a few examples, below.

In "Sea Fishing (Slow It Down)", The Blakes craft a swaggering slice of rock that wouldn't be out of place in the Rolling Stones catalog.



A raunchy, bar-band sing-a-long side of the band is exemplified by "Paralysis" --



Yet, the band is fully comfortable writing and performing a sincere, high quality indie pop song, such as "Old Gal" --



That The Blakes have not yet captured a wider audience is a shame.  But for those of you who didn't know about them before, now you have your chance to grab the work of one of the country's finer bands.  This is your chance.  Don't screw it up.


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New (and free) songs from The Mouse that Ate the Cat



The Mouse That Ate The Cat is a Glasgow indie electro-pop band consisting of Brian Henderson (vocals and synths) and Colin Keenan (guitar).  They appeared on these pages a few times in 2011, and have earned a return trip owing to their ability and extraordinary generosity.  On the latter point, we have several sets of free songs for you to enjoy and, if you like them, download.  Enjoy!

The latest release is the this two-track single --



And here is a single from May, also available for free download --



And if you act now, here is the very free two-track "Lightbulbs" single --



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Monday, July 23, 2012

New single from The Raveonettes


The Raveonettes will be releasing Observator, their new LP, early in the fall on Vice Records.  For those of us interested in the upcoming delights to be found on the album, the single "She Owns the Streets", became available this month.  The song celebrates individuality and punk attitude.  Apparently it was written about a street dancer named Loan Tran, who also stars in this video made to accompany the track.



As expected, it appears that we can expect another album full of ear candy from my favorite Danish expats.  Is it bad form to wish fall to come along sooner?

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REVIEW: Eternal Summers -


Eternal Summers were known for their lo-fi, jangly, dreamy, punk infused sound through their earlier EPs and debut album.  Correct Behavior is the band's sophomore LP, and its first recorded output as a three piece, as Nicole Yun and Daniel Cudiff have added bassist Jonathan Woods.  With the broader sonic complexity comes a slightly different and more sophisticated sound.  Perhaps my best effort at a description would be a combination of The Sundays and Ride -- "dreamgaze" anyone?  But heavier rock sounds still creep in to provide a distinctive accent to the proceedings.

The additional power and complexity is ably displayed on the opening track, "Millions" --


  

In tracks like "I Love You", "You Kill" and "Summerset", the dream pop influence dominates the proceedings.  But tracks like "Heaven and Hell" demonstrate that the band is comfortable in the shoegaze segment of the spectrum --



My favorite track is the crunchy power-pop anthem "Wonder" --



Correct Behavior is a satisfying album.  It delivers hooky, full-bodied dream pop, and the music is diverse enough without losing cohesiveness.  Moreover, I think it establishes Eternal Summers' bona fides as a band with the chops to evolve and gather fans in the years to come.


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