Friday, August 31, 2012

The Soul Corner - Dennis Coffey "Scorpio"

The first Rodriguez album Cold Fact was produced by Detroit guitarist Dennis Coffey. And had I been one of the amateur investigators tracking Rodriguez for decades, that mention in the liner notes would have been my first clue that Rodriguez was from Detroit.
But I digress.
Dennis Coffey is a brilliant guitar player known for his prototype funk sound, with wah wah pedals, distortion, etc. You've heard him on "Psychedelic Shack", "Cloud Nine", "Band of Gold," "War", and many Motown soul-rock classics.

Here's his solo track "Scorpio", a fairly big hit in 1971:

Coffey was, among many other distinctions, the first white musician to appear on Soul Train.

Here's the Temptations classic "Ball of Confusion" where Dennis Coffey laid down some nasty psychedelic guitar lines:

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Check out "Touchdown Jesus" by Brick Mower

Happy College Football Season Everyone!

Brick Mower describe themselves as New Jersey living room punk, and that works for me, except they humbly left out the fact that they're really good at it. That's a bonus, because anyone who puts out a song with a connection to this

is gonna get play on a site where all the contributors are domers.

Brick Mower is releasing their second full-length, My Hateable Face, on Don Giovanni Records, on 2 October. They're also putting together a tour in October. You can see the dates and places on their page at Blogspot. And check out their Bandcamp page, where you'll also find their other stuff, including an EP for free download.

And I hope wherever you are this Saturday morning at 9 am Eastern Time, 6 am Pacific Time, or 2 pm Dublin Time, you'll hoist your pint of Guinness toward the sky and yell, "Go Irish, beat those ACL-hating Midshipmen!"

Free song from Middleton Hall

When you hear some cities mentioned in connection with a band, your first assumption may be that there will be a bit of a country influence.  Nashville, Tennessee is such a place.  And Bakersfield, California, of course.  And certainly Dunfermline, Scotland ... wait ... what?  Yes, Middleton Hall of Dunfermline has made available for free download "First Bus Out of Town", a sparkling, country-tinged guitar pop song about the occasional need to be the first to break off a relationship.

The band was begun in a couple of years ago, but the current line up wasn't in place until this year.  The members of the band are Steve Haddow (guitar and vocals), Simon Ellen (guitar and vocals), Dougie Shanley (bass and vocals), and Gordon Helm (drums).

Twitter ( @_MiddletonHall_ )

New Discovery - Rodriguez; and film "Searching for Sugar Man"

I am hesitant to write too much about the extraordinary story of the Detroit singer-songwriter known as Rodriguez. Far better that you simply see the documentary film Searching for Sugar Man, as this truth-is-stranger-than-fiction tale is far better told in 90 minutes by the parties involved than anything I could write here.

But I will say that I grew up in Detroit in the 1970's when Sixto Rodriguez recorded his music, and while my ear was to the ground, I did not ever hear of him at all until I read a review of Searching for Sugar Man just a week ago. And yet halfway around the world, his songs literally helped spark a revolution and became the soundtrack for an entire nation.

Which would not be totally shocking perhaps except that Rodriguez had no idea for more than 25 years that anyone anywhere in the world outside of little more than friends and family had heard his music.
It could have only happened pre-internet, and perhaps only in a country as cut off from the world as apartheid-era South Africa.

Here is Rodriguez performing on the David Letterman show 2 weeks ago:

I will also include a movie trailer, though it contains way too many spoilers. I include it for those of you non-trusting souls who need more. Seriously, if this film is showing in your town, skip the trailer and go see it. Now. Or get it from Netflix. It is an amazing film about an intriguing, fascinating man and great songwriter.

Rogriguez is touring the US now at age 70 for the first time in his life.
Rodriguez tour dates.

His only 2 albums, Cold Fact and Coming From Reality, from 1970, are now available on CD at Amazon: Rodriguez CDs

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Beat Connection - Palace Garden

I confess to being a fan of Beat Connection, but I actually have a complaint about this album, which is this: If you are going to release an album of high quality summer electro-pop, such as  The Palace Garden, why not release it at the start of the summer?  The answer may be that Beat Connection resides here in Seattle, and we didn't get true summer weather until quite recently.  But I imagine that other regions actually got summer more or less as predicted by the calendar, and those folks have been deprived.

However, we can't hold a grudge, because regardless of its timing, this is a welcome vacation-time treat.  With danceable beats, chiming synths and a palpable Caribbean feel, the music manages to be chill and feel-good.   Some tunes may be more appropriate for the poolside, and some for the club floor, but it all works.  Particularly evident, is the band's feel for melody, which allows The Palace Garden to transcend the fairly large volume of synthesizer music generated in today's marketplace.  It is an album that you will want to take along on your end of summer adventures.  Rave on!

Beat Connection was formed by Jordan Koplowitz and Reed Juenger, who gained some well earned press and devoted fans with their EP Silver Screen.  For The Palace Garden the group includes Tom Eddy on vocals and Jarred.  The album is released by Tender Age.

Twitter ( @beatconnexion )

Monday, August 27, 2012

REVIEW: Young Kato - Young Kato EP

What were you and your best mates doing in your late teens?  I'm certain we could come up with a long list, some of which might even be of interest.  However, unless you are more precocious than I was, I think it likely we'll score this round for Cheltengham, UK's Young Kato.  The six-piece band, with an average age of 18, is signed to Manchester's LAB Records.  Their debut EP was released on August 26, and their smashing single from the EP, "Drink, Dance, Play", was released in late May.

"Drink, Dance, Play" opens the EP, and showcases the band's unabashed intent to play guitar/synth pop anthems with upfront hooks and soaring vocals.  A warm, infectious call to live for the moment, it is a great summer song.

But while "Drink, Dance, Play" may be the focal point of the Young Kato EP, the other three tracks demonstrate that this band promises to have staying power.  "Break Out" is a similarly paced album that deftly follows the loud/soft template.  "Life's Good" is an interesting song with somewhat less fireworks, but a nice melody, full sound and excellent vocals.  The final track, "Revolution" is a burning post-punk track that ends the album as it started -- with evidence that this is a band from which we can expect to continue to hear great tunes.

Young Kato is Tommy Wright, Jack Edwards, Joe Green, Joe Lever, Harry Steele and Sam Henderson.

Twitter ( @YOUNGKATO )

Sunday, August 26, 2012

REVIEW: Hungry Ghost - Hungry Ghost

Hungry Ghost's pedigree is impeccable, and given the variety of backgrounds of its members, it's no surprise that their self-titled debut is sprawling, messy and awesome. The band consists of Sara Lund (Unwound, Corin Tucker Band) on drums, Andrew Price (Irving Klaw Trio) on guitar, and the Lorca Wood attack (The Drags) on bass. Sam Coomes of Quasi produced and also plays some keyboards on the record. They describe themselves as a supergroup of "obscure 90's indie rockers".

The sound is strongly punk-influenced heavy rock - heavy drumming and bass anchor some spectacular flights of guitar shredding. They sort of play on the Kinks' "Powerman" to start off the record, and it's reimagined in a way that is both familiar and unique: "Am I a Powerman/or just a regular man?", then a whole bunch of guitar playing, and "This is my comeuppance/you knew it had to come". You may hear echoes of Heatmiser, Sonic Youth and Eleventh Dream Day - I certainly do.

And they veer off into jazz and funk territory, featuring some interesting tempos and little touches like the falsetto vocals at the beginning of "Shame" and the almost chicken-scratch guitar throughout that song. But even there, the heavy bottom keeps things anchored. On "Alice", things slow down a bit and the band stretches out with some keyboards serving to anchor occasional guitar flights and variety in the bass and drum attack. But things pick up again on "Wicked Betsy", a punk song in which Price yelps over a guitar attack and the whole thing's done in a little over three minutes. What could be more punk than that? The final cut, "Know" is terrific - it stretches out in a way that reminds me of "Voodoo Child".

Here's a video of them performing "Wicked Betsy" in Japan:

The record came out July 31, and you can check out the record and buy a digital at Bandcamp:

Or you can buy a physical copy, click here.

Friday, August 24, 2012

REVIEW: Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Mature Themes

Listening to Mature Themes, the just-released LP from Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, is like being inside a fantastical pop-music amusement park.  It springs from the fertile, idiosyncratic musical musings of  Ariel Pink, who has a talent for combining his own take on underground LA with excellent pop music and a genuine sense of humor.  The sounds of Ariel Pink on this album are much more pop and mainstream than his bedroom compositions of the last decade.  But tempos and styles change frequently, and the subject matters require some attention if you want to keep up.  For example, there is a bouncy tune about "Pink Slime" -- yes, the almost-meat that the American food industry manages to get many customers to pay for.  "Schnitzel Boogie" may be the only song you hear this year that discusses sausages.  And we should mention that one track is likely to be your favorite song about a nymphomaniac lesbian.

But that is the way amusement parks are.  You jump from ride to ride, and circle back for your favorite ones.  You eat food you wouldn't normally eat. And at the end of the day you are tired, but willing to plan the next trip to the park.  I certainly intend it as a compliment when I tell you that Mature Themes reminds me of Frank Zappa.  Sure, it has more pop and less shred, and the perspective of its commentary seems more internal and less focused on society generally.  But it shares the sense of adventure, and the willingness to walk at the edge of musical convention.

This album is well worth your time.

Ariel ("Pink") Rosenberg, Tim Koh, Kenneth Gilmore and Joe Kennedy.  Mature Themes is released on 4AD.


The Soul Corner - Marvin Gaye "Trouble Man" (live)

Marvin Gaye referred to "Trouble Man" as the "most honest" song he ever wrote. It was the title track for a film that was known mainly for this amazing song.
By the time Gaye recorded this in 1972, he had broken completely free of the Motown formula and was making some of the most innovative music of the time, combining a great deal of jazz with his soul / pop sensibilities and deep soul vocals.  He wrote and produced the song, and played many of the instruments on the studio version.
I can't locate the date or location of this live version (help anyone?), though I am guessing it is later in the '70's. Terrific stuff, with a particularly tasty sax solo towards the end.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Natalie Pryce -- And Other Tales

Natalie Pryce are here to provide musical entertainment.  That isn't to say that they are here to make you feel better.  In fact, this Glasgow band may help expose that last raw nerve.  But they will make you feel, and it will be an interesting musical ride.  They have a new album to  showcase their talent, but they are trying to raise funds for the physical pressing and distribution.   If you go to their website, you can click on the button and contribute to their cause.  Participation ends on August 31.  Let's let Mark Swan, the lead vocalist for the band tell the story:

As Mark explains, the album was recorded in two days with one take for each track.  The approach gives the album a visceral live performance feeling.  And the music itself is highly visceral, veering between  heartache and bitter anger.  There are twelve tracks, and each is named after a person or character.  The first have of the album focuses on females, the second half on males.

However, they also have made ... And Other Tales available for free download, and there is a link for that on their website as well.  Here is excellent album track "Elizabeth" --


In addition to Mark Swan (vocals/harmonica/melodica), the members of the band are Greg Taylor (guitars), Steven Litts (bass), and Stephen Coleman (drums).

Take a walk on the wild side, and experience other tales ....


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

New video/song from Frightened Rabbit

Glasgow's Frightened Rabbit has built a loyal and growing following over the past five years.  The group plans to release the State Hospital EP in September.  However, they recently released this video for the title track.  It isn't a happy affair, but it is a good song and a compelling video.  And we expect, and get, excellence from Frightened Rabbit.  But happy stories are not guaranteed.

Twitter ( @FRabbits )

Hipster Death Squad - The Break Up

For my money, some of the most engaging and intelligent electro-pop hitting my ears these days comes from Hipster Death Squad.  Winnipeg's Micheal  Glucki, who is the one man band behind Hipster Death Squad, has a genius for composing melodies that you don't ever want to end.  This month brings a six track mini-LP entitled The Break-Up.  The sombre title reflects the tone of the record, which encompasses loss and sorrow.  But the music is no less wonderful for the melancholy, and may be his emotionally richest work to date.  Look, don't hesitate.  Commit to listen to the first track, "Not The One", and I think you'll want to stream the entire album.  And it is available at Bandcamp.

Twitter ( @HpstrDthSq )

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Honeydrum - Brokenhearted With A Busy Schedule

Today is a happy day:  The day that Honeydrum  -- a favorite indie band from New Jersey -- releases their new EP, Brokenhearted With A Busy Schedule.  It is six tracks of lo-fi, fuzzy pop gems, with some delightful '80s accents.  And you can stream it all here.

You can purchase the tape from GNAR Tapes, the link for which is below.  You also can download the EP for an attractive price at the Bandcamp link.

GNAR Tapes

New Stuff - Peter Buck "10 Million BC"

Peter Buck is a restless guy. So no one should be surprised that he has already finished a solo record just 11 months after R.E.M. unexpectedly called it quits.
Nor should it surprise anyone that his solo record was done quickly with none of the careful polish of an R.E.M. record.
But it is a surprise that Buck handles the vocals.
An advance track is out there as of yesterday. "10 Million BC" is indeed a throwback in its primitive garage rock glory. And yes Peter Buck is singing beneath all that distortion.
We track a whole lot of young garage and punk bands here at WYMA, but you'd be hard pressed to find a recent song with a better rock'n'roll feel than this. And that piano solo at the end is the icing on the cake.
10 Million BC

Buck will be previewing his new songs Sept 21-22 at the Sunset Tavern in Seattle WA USA. The band name (for that night at least) is Richard M Nixon, though it's Buck's usual co-conspirators Scott McCaughey and Bill Rieflin, who have played with Peter for many years in both the Minus 5 and R.E.M.

The Complete Beat = Complete Happiness

Combining ska, pop, new wave, world beats and politics, The  English Beat (known simply as The Beat in their native UK) were one of the top bands to emerge from the two tone movement of the late '70s and early '80s.  They played their first show in early 1979, in their native Birmingham, and were finished in 1982 after three successful albums.  The band was formed in 1978 by Dave Wakeling (vocals/guitar) and Andy Cox (guitar).  They attracted bassist David Steele with an advertisement referencing the Flaming Groovies.  Drummer Everett Morton was discovered through acquaintances at a hospital where Steele was employed.  Ranking Roger (Roger Charlery) joined after the The English Beat opened for his band, and showed themselves to be the better outfit.  The eventually added Saxa (Lionel Augustus Martin), whose Saxophone was an key element of the band's sound.

The English Beat's success was attributable to several factors beyond the then-popular fusion of pop and ska also also played by groups such as The Specials.  First, the group benefitted from strong songwriting from several members, including Wakeling, Ranking Roger, Steele and Cox.  Second, they enjoyed the rare advantage of two lead vocalists, the more pop-voiced Wakeling and the gifted toaster, Ranking Roger.  The final factor was the musical abilities of the members.  Cox and Wakeling provided a strong dual guitar attack.  Steele's basslines are among the best I've heard in pop music, and I believe could have held his own in Kingston as well as Birmingham.  Everett Morton was a hard hitting drummer with soul band experience and reggae knowledge, and his proficiency helped stitch together the disparate elements that made the band what it was.  Saxa, 50 years old when he joined the band, was a singular force, with deep reggae experience (playing with Prince Buster and Desmond Dekker, among others).  Eventually, Saxa retired from live performances and was replaced by Wesley Magoogan.

When the band broke up, its members went on to distinguish themselves in other projects such as Fine Young Cannibals (Steele, Cox and (briefly) Morton), and General Public (Wakeling, Ranking Roger).  Eventually, Ranking Roger and Wakeling cut the unusual deal allowing Wakeling to perform as The English Beat in the US, and Ranking Roger to perform as The English Beat in Europe.  If you check the "tour" tab on the website link below, you'll see that Dave is busy touring the rest of this year.

To the delight of fans of The English Beat, such as me, The Complete Beat box set was released this year.  It combines the band's three studio albums (in some cases, with bonus tracks) -- I Just Can't Stop It (1980), Wha'ppen? (1981), and Special Beat Service (1982) -- and includes a fourth two-disc album containing 15 dub, dubwise, extended and remixed versions of some of the hits, three sessions from John Peel's UK radios show and five tracks from their live performance in Boston in 1982.  And, of course, a booklet with historical information and photographs is included.  Since I already owned all three studio albums, what is the attraction?  Bonus tracks and the booklet certainly are part of it.  But in truth, the material on the fourth disc is worth the price on its own.  Folks, this is great stuff!

To remind you of the quality of the songs from this band, I've provided some clips from each disc below:

From I Just Can't Stop It --

And this fusion of a somewhat cleaned up version of the very blue Jamaican tune "Whine & Grine" and a political shot at Margaret Thatcher --

From Wha'ppen? --

"Monkey Murders" --

And from Special Beat Service --

"Spar Wid Me" --

From the fourth disc, the extended (12") version of "Two Nice to Talk to" --

The extended version of "Hands Off ... She's Mine" (I played this at my wedding) --

Facebook for Dave Wakeling's The English Beat

Monday, August 20, 2012

Black Twig - Paper Trees

If one is looking for interesting new music (you really don't need to do that on your own, you know; we'll do it for you), Finland should not be ignored.  And one of Finland's best contributions to the scene this year is Paper Trees by Black Twig.  Beginning with a platform of droning psychedelia, and then energizing the proceedings with the noisy power pop of, say, Teenage Fanclub, or even the more explosive sound of Sonic Youth or My Bloody Valentine, the music is refreshing, and a sure hit for fans of electric guitars.  For a taste, here is Paper Trees's opening track:

The guitars ring and chug with style and formidable power,  and the rhythm sections drives the songs with aggressive purpose.  One of my favorites is "Lake Song" --

"Death Scene" is among the better power pop songs of the year --

Black Twig is Aki Pohjankyro (vocals, fuzz boxes), Aleksi (crash cymbals), Janne M. (ring modulators) and Janne V. (distortion pedals).

Paper Trees is another triumph for Soliti, an indie label that is having a very good year.  The album is out now, and is available digitally from Amazon and iTunes.  I'm not certain about the availability of physical copies in the US, but if you contact Soliti I'm sure they can help you out.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Brian Olive - new video and free download from Two Of Everything

Brian Olive, former Greenhorne, has released one of my favorite records of 2012: Two Of Everything. Olive has rightly become very well-known this year: he's a multi-instrumentalist who worked with Dan Auerbach on Dr. John's latest record, and Two Of Everything is meeting with nearly universal approval (if not ecstasy). I'll just go ahead and add my voice to the chorus of praise.

From the funky, hard-rocking groove of opener "Left Side Rock" (free download available - click here), to the hypnotic electric piano and flutes of "Go On Easy" to the Motown rhythm section and horns fronting Lennonesque vocals on "You Can't Hide It"... the common elements are an explosion of talent and an amazing facility with different styles, tempos and genres. Everything on this record - the rhythms, the guitars, the horn sections - is well done, and Olive's vocals are certainly up to the task of carrying such a big-sounding record.

Here's a video for "Left Side Rock":

In a way, though I wouldn't call this a rehash or even particularly "retro", I'm reminded of two old records: Rick Danko and Dennis Wilson's Pacific Ocean Blue. And you would say, those two don't sound much alike, and I would agree but still say those are the ones Two Of Everything reminds me of. Both are subtle masterpieces arising out of the totality of their creators' musical journey, that forced us to look at them a little bit differently. The same thing is probably true here, although I must admit that, other than kind of enjoying the Greenhornes' sound, I was largely unaware of Olive's work before this record. Happily, that is no longer the case. Highly recommended, and available via Alive/Naturalsound Records. Alive/Naturalsound makes our world a better place.

Upcoming Brian Olive tour dates, with more to come:

8/22 Cleveland, OH - Happy Dog
8/23 Toronto, ON - Silver Dollar Room
8/24 Montreal, QC - La Divan Orange
8/25 Quebec City, QC - Le Circle
8/26 New Haven, CT - Cafe Nine
8/27 Brooklyn, NY - Union Hall
8/28 Boston, MA - O'Brien's
8/29 Pittsburgh, PA - Gooski's Bar
8/31 Louisville, KY - Zazoo's
[September West Coast Tour dates to be announced soon]

Friday, August 17, 2012

New Lo-Fi Rock Discovery: Snow Wite - "300°"

If you, like me, enjoy lo-fi, super-catchy guitar rock of the Wavves and Jeff the Brotherhood variety, I've got another delightful discovery for you.

Los Angeles' Snow Wite features a terrific melodic sense and overall goofiness that makes his lo-fi rock very engaging, if you can get past some of the outfits:

The barely-post-adolescent, cracking voice and the variety of heavenly guitars make this a pretty wonderful song, and the rest of the EP (As Psychedelic Days Go By) sounds good as well:

It's available from Gnar Tapes, and if you've followed Rocksteady's recommendations and checked out Honeydrum, you may have already been there.

Introducing: Blank Maps

Blank Maps are Thom Piddock, Ben Trotter, Jake Longley and Nick Pierce, a post-punk rock band from Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK with an emphasis on melody.  The band was formed in 2010, and just released the Blank Maps EP on Tiny Lights Recordings.  Below you can sample the video for EP track "Just Call", and stream the entire EP.  I think it is ideal stuff for relaxing outside on a weekend morning or to accompany a nice drive.

Twitter ( @blank_maps )
Tiny Lights Recordings

The Soul Corner - Odetta; and Denise Sullivan book Keep On Pushing

In Keep on Pushing, Black Power Music From Blues to Hip-Hop, her outstanding book from 2011, Denise Sullivan writes of Odetta: "She was a champion of life, and she sang as if she'd die for her people."
Soul music is a uniquely American mixture of blues, folk, country and rock'n'roll, and a deep dive into the black American experience at a critical time in history. I write it about here every week because I am so drawn to these voices.  
And few voices are more powerful and soulful than Odetta's, here doing the classic "Midnight Special":

One more you know but few can sing "House of the Rising Sun" with this much deep soul:

Denise Sullivan's book is a great read, and a terrific history for those who wanting to get behind the music and read about the political power of the songs and performers of the Civil Rights era and up to the present day. Everyone from James Brown, Len Chandler, Gil Scott-Heron, Marvin Gaye, Richie Havens, Jimi Hendrix to Public Enemy is discussed.
You can read more about and purchase Keep On Pushing here: Denise Sullivan Keep On Pushing

Thursday, August 16, 2012

"Spanish Glass", new single from Fawn Spots

York, UK's Fawn Spots were profiled here a few months ago (link).  We are impressed with the duo's ability to make intense but melodic rock.  Think Dischord Records or Japandroids and you'll be on track.  Today we are alerting you to their new, two-track single, "Spanish Glass".  The record will be released on August 20 by the Louder Than War imprint of Southern Records, and can be pre-ordered at the Southern Records and Bad Paintings links at the bottom of this post.

Fawn Spots are Lee Bowden and Jonathan Meager.  Yes, just two guys, but based on the sound they do the work of many men.  To sample the single, check out the video for the title track below.  Good music, good video -- happy Thursday to all!

Twitter ( @fwnspts )
Louder Than War
Southern Records' pre-order link
Bad Painting's pre-order link

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

New video from Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires - "Ain't No Stranger"

We've been raving about Bains' album There Is a Bomb In Gilead since we first came across it in the spring, and pleased to tell you they've got a new video for "Ain't No Stranger", some new tour dates and a Daytrotter session to check out.

If, like me, you just can't get enough of this rock/soul band, it's great news all around:


Aug. 16 The End Of All Music IN-STORE, Oxford, MS
Aug. 16 Proud Larry’s, Oxford, MS
Aug. 17 Hi-Tone Café, Memphis, TN w/ Dirty Streets
Aug. 18 Blue Canoe, Tupelo, MS
Aug. 22 Chelsea’s, Baton Rouge, LA w/ Futurebirds
Aug. 23 Alabama Music Box, Mobile, AL w/ El Cantador, Austin Lucas
Aug. 24 Green Bar, Tuscaloosa, AL
Aug. 25 Martin's, Jackson, MS
Sep. 6 Earshot Records IN-STORE, Charleston, SC
Sep. 6 The Pour House, Charleston, SC
Sep. 7 Local 506, Chapel Hill, NC
Sep. 8 Night Cat, Easton, MD
Sep. 9 Mercury Lounge, New York, NY
Sep. 10 Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ
Sep. 12 Monkey House, Winooski, VT
Sep. 13 Silver dollar, Toronto, ONT
Sep. 15 Scrummage Fest, Detroit, MI
Sep. 16 Mickey Finn's, Toldeo, OH
Sep. 18 Schubas, Chicago, IL
Sep. 19 TBD, Louisville, KY
Sep. 20 The Basement, Nashville, TN
Sep. 21 Barley's Taproom, Knoxville, TN
Oct. 26 Voodoo Music Experience, New Orleans, LA
Nov. 16 AlleyBar, Montgomery, AL
[more dates to be announced soon]

Click here for the Daytrotter session (listen or download).

Finally, the website:

Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires

Introducing: The Deadline Shakes

Here is some excellent Glasgow indie pop from The Deadline Shakes.   "Sweeten the Deal" will be available for digital download on November 5, but you can enjoy it between now and then right here.  It has a classic guitar pop feel and an irresistible bounce.  My suggested serving instruction is repeated plays for maximum good feelings.

The Deadline Shakes are Greg Dingall (guitar/vocals), Iain McKinstry (guitar/vocals), Martin McLeod (bass), and Thomas Booth (drums).  The single will be released on the fine Flower In The Dustbin label.

Twitter ( @DeadlineShakes )
Flowers In The Dustbin

REVIEW: Lorelei - Enterprising Sidewalks

With post-rock structures and rhythms, intriguing melodies and guitar tones that alternate among icy detachment, formidable distortion and a warm chug,  Enterprising Sidewalks -- the first album in 18 years from Washington, D,C,'s Lorelei -- is a welcome entry into the 2012 soundscape.  At a time when many bands, including many other bands (new and old) on Slumberland Records' roster are ably producing at the warmer, fuzzier end of the pop scale, Lorelei continue where they left off, justifiably confident in their ability to write complex songs that reveal themselves in layers.  It all is on display in album opener "Hammer Meets Tongs", so I suggest that you give it a spin.

Enterprising Sidewalks probably will be one of the more unique albums you'll hear this year.  It just may challenge what you think about the structure of a pop song.  Just as you settle into a pop hook, the tempo changes and the guitar begins to shred.  Songs that you think have ended will take off in a new direction.  If you are like me, you favorite tracks will change with repeated spins, but overall it is an enthralling album that seems better with each listen. I highly recommend it.

Lorelei are Matt Dingee (guitar), Stephen Gardner (bass) and Davis White (drums).  The label is Slumberland Records, and the album was released on on Tuesday, August 14.

Slumberland Records

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

REVIEW: Wild Cub - Youth

Nashville, TN's Wild Cub is a duo - Keegan DeWitt and Jeremy Bullock. DeWitt has a soulful voice, and they play a mix of beat-based electronic music and a fuller electronic pop. It's pretty engaging - in places, reminiscent of New Order, and in places a little brighter than that. After playing Bonnaroo in June, they came back to Nashville to play a few local dates and work on some videos and the release of their new album Youth (out today, August 14 on Big Light Recordings).

It's not surprising to learn that the principal songwriter, DeWitt, is a film composer, as there's a very cinematic element to the composition. Here's a new video by filmmaker Matt Jay for the song "Shapeless":

"Shapeless" (Official Video) from Wild Cub on Vimeo.

And there is a new video, for "Jonti", available at

You can listen and order a record, which includes a free download, on Bandcamp: These guys have a way with a song, and DeWitt a way with the vocals, that transforms this from what might be just another faceless dance-rock disc into something with a good bit of texture - check out the percussion on "Thunder Clatter", strings on "Streetlights" and the Afro-pop guitar on "Jonti". Youth sounds like it will be in the rotation a while.

They're playing an album release show in NYC tonight, then they'll be on a mini-tour:

* BMI Back to School 8 Off 8th event
** supporting Sondre Lerche
# The Young Giant Presents... CMJ showcase

New video for TV Girls' "Misery"

San Diego's TV Girl is a favorite of mine.  Their spring mixtape (available for free download here) provides hook-filled, clever electro-pop.  Here is their new, self-made video for one of the tracks from that release.  The mixtape can be streamed at the Bandcamp link below.  The band's previous EPs can be downloaded here.


Monday, August 13, 2012

REVIEW: White Violet - Hiding, Mingling

Athens, GA country rockers White Violet have released their first album, but it's been in the works for quite a while. Hiding, Mingling has a sad, quiet vibe to it, but with some sweet-sounding vocals that are kind of reminiscent of Whiskeytown. White Violet consists of Athens native and young music veteran Nate Nelson (who has released two solo albums already, the first when he was 16), and Vaughan Lamb, Brad Elliott and Josh McCauley. But on this record, his most frequent collaborators are Jeremy Wheatley on drums, David Barbe on bass and Matt Nelson on electric guitar. Producer was Andy LeMaster, of Now It's Overhead.

It's an extremely intimate record. Nelson's voice is laden with emotion and affect, and on the quieter tracks, you can hear fingers moving up and down the acoustic guitar strings. But on some of the tracks, the rhythm section gets to chugging along, and the contrast is part of the appeal. It's good acoustic country, with rock and folk touches throughout.

We featured an advance single, "Lays Around Lazy", on WYMA earlier this summer (click here). And a second advance single, "4AM" is available here.

Here's a video of them from SXSW, playing "4AM":

You can stream the record at Spinner - click here.

The record is out Tuesday (August 14) on Normaltown Records, a new imprint of Americana stalwart New West Records.

"Aristide", by Father Sculptor

The third summer gift from Glasgow's Father Sculptor now is available for streaming and download. "Aristide" contains the yearning, emotive vocals of the band's prior work,  but has a feel that is more intimate and, perhaps less dark.  It shouldn't be necessary to mention that I think you are a bit of a fool if you haven't been downloading these Father Sculptor offerings as they become available.  But whether you've availed yourself of the others or not, don't miss this one.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

New Guitar Rock Discovery - The Delta Routine, free download of "Switchblade"

Milwaukee rockers The Delta Routine (lead singer/rhythm guitar player Nick Amadeus, bassist Evan Paydon, lead guitarist Victor Buell IV, keyboardist Al Kraemer and drummer Kyle Ciske) have an album due out in October, and have made an advance track available for free download: "Switchblade":

The album is Cigarettes and Caffeine Nightmares. From the album and song titles, you might guess it's down and dirty barroom blues/rock, and you'd be right. Looking forward to hearing the rest of the album.

To hold you over, here's an earlier incarnation of the band playing one of their previous songs:

Saturday, August 11, 2012

New Electro-rock Discovery: Nervous Curtains - Fake Infinity

Nervous Curtains are a Dallas trio playing some pretty evocative and somewhat creepy electronic rock featuring drums, keyboards and vocals reminiscent of Wall of Voodoo or maybe Ultravox. Very intriguing stuff...

Here's a free download of "Wired To Make Waves" - click here.

And you can listen to the rest, and decide for yourself, here:

Friday, August 10, 2012

REVIEW: Ugly Winner - Inside Your Wave

San Jose, California's Ugly Winner are playing at that terrific 90's indie ethos, and playing it quite well. Quiet/loud, tension/release, a pounding rhythm section and some truly memorable guitar work - it's a recipe for 9 tracks' worth of enjoyment.

They're a four piece: Takashi Makino (Guitar/vocals), Todd Flanagan (Bass), Nick Lopez (Drums) and Maxwell Brokenhagen (Guitar). The two guitars are definitely a plus, as Ugly Winner features a very full, evocative sound. It's lo-fi in a way, with the vocals buried a little bit, but the sound is far from lacking. Check out the lead track, "Fret One (Grow Old)" here:

A review of the song titles: "Thoughtful Spots", "Perfect Nothing", "Secret Song" - might lead you to guess that Makino's songwriting is all about taking you somewhere else. And you'd be right. The songs are long and dense, and really surround you with a heavy sound. There's feedback (check out the opening of "Fret One (Grow Old)" and no shortage of overlapping guitar work. And this being a California band, you'll find surf elements as well. Check out "TCBAHS" (lyrics contain the repeated phrase "This could be a heartbreak song") for some of that. But it's never completely straight ahead, and the influences aren't just recycled. This is thoughtful, very well-crafted rock music.

In places, it is definitely reminiscent of Sonic Youth and in places, it reminds me of some of the faster, early Guided by Voices - maybe "Cut Out Witch" or "Auditorium" - you know, a big sound, but delightfully lo-fi for all that. And I'd be remiss not to mention the resemblance between the excellent bass work and San Pedro's good old Minutemen... All this is to say, I really like this record and am optimistic about their ability to deliver this sound live...

Check out this video for "Senses Safe":

And you can download the song here:

The music is definitely underpinned by a reverence for punk's golden age... check out this video of them performing closing track "Ha Ha":

It's out now (released July 20) and if you're out West, you might have a chance to catch them live:

08.11.12 - Albuquerque, NM @ Launchpad
08.12.12 - Santa Fe, NM @ Better Day
08.13.12 - El Paso,TX @ Lips Bar
08.14.12 - Tempe, AZ @ Long Wongs
08.15.12 - Phoenix, AZ @ TBA
08.16.12 - San Diego, CA @ Tin Can Ale House
08.17.12 - LA, CA @ Origami vinyl(Early Show)
08.17.12 - LA, CA @ Warehouse Party(Night Show)

The Soul Corner - Joe Tex "The Love You Save (May Be Your Own)"

Joseph Arrington Jr., born and raised in a small central Texas, town, became known as Joe Tex and had a string of hit singles in the '60's and '70's, including the novelty "Skinny Legs and All".
But his best work was done early in his career, when he blended gospel and deep soul, and sang some amazing ballads like this week's featured soul single - from 1966 "The Love You Save (May Be Your Own)":

Tex had a colorful life that included a longstanding feud with James Brown who once shot a gun at him in a nightclub. Tex died of a heart attack on August 13, 1982 at age 47.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Heavenly Beat - Talent

Perhaps a prisoner of my own tunnel vision, if I had been asked to guess about the sound of the music created by John Pena, formerly of the Beach Fossils, for his independent project, I'm quite sure that I wouldn't have suggested bright, synth-based melodies with blissed out summery arrangements.  But that is what Heavenly Beat delivers on Talent, Pena's debut LP for Captured Tracks.  With vocals evocative of Sweden's The Radio Dept. and tones reminiscent of Seattle's Beat Connection, this album delivers a note-perfect summer soundtrack.   Here is the official video for track "Tradition" --

As soon as I heard the album, I knew what to do with it.  I packed some beverages, loaded on to the When You Motor Away powerboat and headed out for some late afternoon and early evening wake surfing and cocktails with Heavenly Beat providing the perfect background.  There is even some Latin rhythms to liven up the proceedings.

You can stream the entire album below.

It seems that Pena has been recording as Heavenly Beat since 2009, and has released a 7" and a few singles.  However, Talent is my introduction to the project.  And a welcome introduction it is.  I can only hope that John has another treat planned for next summer.

Captured Tracks

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

REVIEW: Buffalo Killers - Dig. Sow. Love. Grow.

Blues-rock purveyors Alive/Naturalsound Records have done it again - they've brought you another act that, while hitting all kinds of pleasurable retro touchpoints, is playing its own take on all that old stuff. Cincinnati's Buffalo Killers combine influences like the organic guitar work of Crazy Horse and the earthy rock rhythm work of The James Gang into a whole that, if not greater, certainly honors the sum of its parts.

Lead track "Get It" (available for free download here, from is a straight-ahead heavy blues rocker, well-played, with a heavy guitar base over some rocking piano work and some twangy, psychedelic vocals. It's a very engaging combination, but it's far from the only trick in their bag. Next one, "Hey Girl", is more melodic and slower-paced, building over an extremely simple vocal line with some engaging guitar effects (and a couple of well-placed solos). The third song, "Blood On Your Hands", and especially "Those Days", bring back wonderful memories of James Gang Rides Again, but again, they're their own band. The slide guitar in "Rollin Wheel" - well, I'm channelling Duane Allman. Not sure if that's what they intended, but it's a good thing either way, especially when paired up with some of those psychedelic vocals. Brothers Zachary and Andrew Gabbard share vocal duties and play the guitar and bass.

Here's a good video of them performing "I Am Always Here", a good example of their style and evidence that they can deliver in a live setting:

And special mention is warranted by the excellent drummer Joseph Sebaali. At every turn, while the vocals, guitars and piano are moving here and there, he forms a rock-solid and rocking base. Songs like "Those Days" especially benefit from his skill. There are quick changes and hairpin turns, and it all comes together organically, in large part to Sebaali's work on the bottom.

We first heard these guys on the wonderful Alive/Naturalsound compilation Where Is Parker Griggs?, and while that means we are perhaps late to the game on Buffalo Killers, we are happily working our way through the back catalog. For me, this stands as their apex.

This is a terrific, and very welcome, record. You can listen, for now, at Relix.

It's available to buy at Alive/Naturalsound and Bomp!

They'll be on tour, too (with more dates promised soon):

08.10 Louisville Glassworks - Louisville, KY
08.11 Canal Street Tavern - Dayton, OH (Dig. Sow. Love. Grow. Record Release Show!)
08.16 The Glasslands - Brooklyn, NY
08.17 Duke's Bohemian Grove Bar - Buffalo, NY
08.18 Happy Dog - Cleveland, OH
08.23 UltraSession - Cincinnati, OH
10.02 20th Century Theatre - Cincinnati, OH w/ The Sheepdogs
10.04 Grog Shop - Cleveland, OH w/ The Sheepdogs
10.05 The Shelter - Detroit, MI w/ The Sheepdogs
10.07 7th St. Entry - Minneapolis, MN w/ The Sheepdogs

Introducing: The Bronze Medal

Since the Olympics are in London, it seems an appropriate time to introduce the UK's The Bronze Medal.  Rory O'Gorman, Chris Hiller, Daniel Rogers, Mike Barnett and Robin Southwell are masters of melodic anthems that build over their course to captivating conclusions.  Four of their creations have been released on their self-titled EP, which can be streamed below.

Twitter ( @Thebronzemedal1 )

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

New song from Holy Esque - "Tear"

Holy Esque is one of the most talked about new bands in Scotland this year.  We covered their excellent debut EP recently (reviewstream), and now we have their latest song - "Tear".  Here us the video:

It is available for free download below:


Monday, August 6, 2012

Introducing: KiDD

KiDD is Glasgow's Stuart Kidd.  he is busy and he is talented.  He drums for Johnny, the project of Norman Blake of Teenage Fanclub and Euros Child of Gorky's Zygotic Mync, and Stevie Jackson (whose non-solo gig is with Belle & Sebastian).  He also has recorded a couple of EPs as KiDD for label The Barnes Society.

Stuart also has played with Stevie Jackson, Marco Rea, Roy Moller and Lorne Cowieson in The Store Keys and as one half of The Wellgreens.  Their split 7" is below.  The Wellgreens also released a full album a couple of years ago, and you can check it out at the link at the bottom of this post.

The Store Keys and The Wellgreens --

Twitter ( @Stuart_Kidd )
The Wellgreens

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Two Gallants new album due out Sept. 4, new song available now

Two Gallants have an album coming out September 4, The Bloom And The Blight. Their first in several years, it features a more aggressive pop/rock sound but with the close harmonies and solid songwriting you'd expect. Here's the trailer for the album:

Here's "My Love Won't Wait", free to download:

If you like what you hear, you can pre-order at their website.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

I Am Harlequin - new video from Craze EP

I Am Harlequin, London-based singer Anne Freier, has released another video, this time for the title track from her current EP Craze. Her songs and videos are a real treat - she's creative, artful and has an amazing voice. Enjoy:

We previously featured the video for another song from the EP, "Wild One" - click here.

The EP is available now - click here to check it out and see how to buy.

New Patterson Hood album due out Sept. 11 - free song available now

2012 continues to be, in a way, the year of Alabama ascendant... along with upstarts like Alabama Shakes and Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires, we have a new solo album from Drive-By Truckers frontman Patterson Hood. Heat Lightning Rumbles In The Distance will be out September on ATO Records, and on early listen, it sounds terrific.

You can download and listen to "Come Back Little Star", which features a duet with Kelly Hogan:

Tour dates:

Sep 14 Jomeoke Music and Arts Festival – Pinnacle, NC
Sep 15 The Southern Cafe and Music Hall – Charlottesville, VA
Sep 16 World Cafe Live Downstairs – Philadelphia, PA
Sep 17 Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY
Sep 18 Paradise Rock Club – Boston, MA
Sep 20 Club Helsinki – Hudson, NY
Sep 22 City Winery – Chicago, IL
Sep 23 City Winery – Chicago, IL
Sep 24 Fine Line Music Café – Minneapolis, MN
Sep 27 Star Theater – Portland, OR
Sep 28 Star Theater – Portland, OR
Sep 29 Biltmore Cabaret - Vancouver, BC
Oct 1 Tractor Tavern – Seattle, WA
Oct 2 Tractor Tavern – Seattle, WA
Oct 6 Masonic Lodge @ Hollywood Forever Cemetery – Los Angeles, CA
Oct 7 Anthology – San Diego, CA
Oct 10 Cactus Café – Austin, TX
Oct 11 Cactus Café – Austin, TX
Oct 12 Austin City Limits Festival – Austin, TX

Tickets available at this website now.

Along with all the rest of the Truckers and Kelly Hogan, the album features Scott Danbom and Will Johnson of Centro-matic and Hood's father, legendary Muscle Shoals session man David Hood.

Expect great things - you won't be disappointed.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Soul Corner - Judy Clay and William Bell "Private Number"

It's back to Memphis for a great track from 1967 I bet that more than a few of you don't know. Before cell phones, before texting, there were telephones and for quite awhile those lines (and the conversations that took place on them) were shared - "party lines". Getting a private line was a privilege.
So getting someone's private number was a sweet deal.
And it's all here n this terrific duet by Judy Clay and William Bell.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

New song from Close Lobsters

Yes, you read that correctly.  Paisley, Scotland's beloved purveyors of C86/jangly college rock reformed with the original five-person lineup for some 2012 festivals.  They also are issuing a new 7" with two previously unreleased songs.  You can stream and download "Steel Love", which is a 1990 demo track, below.  The other track is a 1989 live recording of "Head Above Water". The single will be released by German imprint Firestation Records limited to 200 copies.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

New song from Honeydrum

I'm very fond of the melodic, fuzz pop produced by New Jersey's Honeydrum, and try not to miss a chance to profile their releases.  Today's post is about the delightful single, "Big Chris On The Couch", from their tape Brokenhearted With A Buy Schedule, which will be released in late August by Amdiscs.  "Big Chris" is available for free download.

Twitter ( @Honeydrum )

The History of Apple Pie, with less sugar - "Do It Wrong"

The History of Apple Pie is on our radar again.  The occasion is the upcoming release of their new song, "Do It Wrong", which is to be released on August 5 on Marshall Teller Records.   The London band is a little less jangly and sweet, and a bit more dense, psychedelic and shoegazey on this outing.  But I doubt any of us will mind, as it is an excellent song and should feature well on the album that, we hope, is forthcoming.  Enjoy:

Twitter ( @thoapband )