By Tyler Hodg
Music is constantly evolving and yet at certain moments, it stands completely still. With their latest full-length album Wrought, Washington punk-rock band Broken Water continues to display their musical influences in their own music, creating a nostalgic-sounding record that will remind many listeners of their angst-filled teenage years. Wrought is totally grunge-tastic and is a blatant throwback to a sound that seems to have gotten lost in recent time.
By Tyler Hodg
The amount of talented musicians that Nashville, Tennessee produces is insurmountable; it’s always been that way and the city shows no signs of slowing down. Humming House, yet another act to come from the legendary area, is further proof that Nashville still has that touch. In a time when mainstream country music seems to be at its lowest creative level, Humming House shines bright with their latest release Revelries, a joyous album that serves as significant hope for the stifled genre.
Vetiver’s Complete Strangers is like a time machine. The tracks range from lo-fi synth escapades to AM radio gold with a dose of late ‘80s/early ‘90s indie rock. It feels completely familiar and quite unusual at the same time, taking classic song structures and putting them in a blender to make something wholly new.
Eighty-two-year-old bluesman Leo “Bud” Welch has recently recorded an album for Fat Possum/Big Legal Mess Records, home of R.L. Burnside and Mississippi Fred McDowell, as well as current favorites Jimbo Mathus and Jim Mize. While being a blues record through and through, I Don’t Prefer No Blues sounds so current and fresh that Jack White is probably gnashing his teeth in envy. I Don’t Prefer No Blues has an incredibly live feeling that features Welch’s well-weathered vocals and his flat-out amazing guitar playing. It’s a stunner of an album, and it’s only his second record (the previous was the all-gospel record Sabougla Voices).
Blancmange’s fifth album, Semi Detached, is the first one recorded without core member Stephen Luscombe. Remaining founder Neil Arthur has taken the opportunity to revitalize the Blancmange brand name by taking the music on a gleeful trip to hell. It’s also one of the purest synth-pop albums in years, with electric guitar mainly layered in for texture.
The story of Connie Converse is both fascinating and distressingly common. After leaving college and heading to New York City in 1949, she wrote and recorded poetic, wry, revealing songs accompanying herself on acoustic guitar. Despite intervention and best intentions of friends (animator Gene Deitch and colleague Bill Bernal) who worked to get Converse’s music heard by a wider audience, she abandoned everything. She wrote a series of goodbye notes to friends, packed up her Volkswagen, and disappeared in 1974. No one has heard from her since. She would be 90 now.
The earlier Game Theory EPs gave us a Portrait of the Artist as a Young Band. As the band tried on and discarded aesthetic approaches and made basement recordings on less than ideal equipment, a musical persona began to emerge: sunny Californian pop with fillips of experimentation and flashes of intelligence, pitting melancholy lyrics against jangly melodies. On Real Nighttime, the band’s first official LP, Game Theory’s sound comes into sharper focus.
March 7, 2015
If you haven’t heard Montreal’s Gutter Demons, and you have even a passing interest in rockabilly, psychobilly, old skool punk rock, or just damn good music, you must rectify this situation immediately. I had never heard this incredible trio until last week, but at The Rockpile on Saturday night, I got schooled.
While they’re marketed as a roots ensemble and a string band, Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys have a seriously jazzy vibe to them. They play mandolins, dobros, stand-up bass, steel guitar, and take those instruments to an interesting place: playing them percussively, angularly, expressionistically. Lead vocalist Lindsay Lou’s voice isn’t a rootsy voice, either. There’s a dusky richness to her voice, and her slides from chest voice to upper register are elegant though she makes it sound incredibly easy.
It must be more than a bit daunting to cover the Beatles. They’re The Beatles for the love of Pete, the alpha and the omega, the ones from whom everything good sprung, the band that changed everything. (True fact: I once was friends with a woman who said, “I don’t really like the Beatles.” I realized from that moment that she was a horrible person and I couldn’t be friends with her anymore. And I wasn’t.)