The Ryley Walker that brought to mind frolicking in sun-dappled fields on his last album, Primrose Green, has vacated those fields. His latest, Golden Sings That Have Been Sung, moves past his love to 1960s and ’70s British folkies (though the occasional field is still dappled in sun) and embraces a more “whole band” approach, throwing in unexpected instrumentation and taking his experimental playing even further. His unbelievable finger-picking is still there, but it’s come with friends this time.
The Hollywood Brats are really an anomaly; difficult to place and more difficult to analyze the longer you listen to them. While they don’t quite have the almost intellectual artifice of the New York Dolls and Heavy Metal Kids, they do share the same deep sense of bad taste and irony. The defining characteristics of their music are a tendency to shock and a rather cutting irony, combined with a deliberately simplistic style of music which can be seen as a precursor of punk. For a short space of time they were shouting obscenities into the void of American glam rock, before disbanding in 1974. But right now, they’re having a moment of revival after singer Andrew Matheson’s book came out last year out and he’s been playing again, so it’s a good time to have another look at their actual output.
By Tyler Hodg
Stewart Eastham’s latest effort, Dancers in the Mansion, is like a wild night in a Nashville bar: the swinging country music encourages you to hit the dance floor, while occasional somber sounds result in moments of reflection. All that’s missing is a little too much bourbon. (more…)
You know what’s easy to love? A two-person band. Do you know what band you’re about to love? Hymn for Her, a nomadic pair who make their home in a ’61 Bambi Airstream trailer (with their daughter) and make the kind of music you can crunch away the miles to.
By Tyler Hodg
Break out your hairspray, headbands, and shoulder pads: the 1980s are back thanks to Wyatt Blair. His new album, Point of No Return, is a love letter to arena-style glam rock that not only celebrates the music of the past, but also makes it cool again. Now that’s radical!
The 20-year anniversary of Tiny Tim’s death continues with an absolute treat for fans in the form of Tiny Tim’s America. This release is special because it’s comprised of new material, from recordings Tiny made in 1974 when he was in between recording contracts. Using this demo tape, a number of songs were chosen to compile a vinyl album (plus mp3 download). The original entire demo recording is also included on the mp3 download.
Though I’d always been a fan of “Dream Police” and “She’s Tight,” it wasn’t until 1993 that I fully embraced the many pleasures Cheap Trick had to offer. Checking the liner notes on their 1978 album Heaven Tonight revealed that amongst the album’s many fantastic tracks was a cover by someone named Roy Wood. “Who the hell was Roy Wood?” was my first thought and my second was “This song is incredible!” As it turned out Wood was the main songwriter for British band The Move, who’d found much success in the late 1960s and was a big influence on Cheap Trick’s musical style.
By Tim Murr
“There’s a bit of magic in everything
And then some loss to even things out”
I haven’t had many mornings this year where I didn’t wake up with the Alice Cooper lyrics “Enough’s enough’s enough/this year’s been really, really tough” in my head. 2016 has seen many of our heroes go to the grave and in February I lost my friend Jason “Jase” Gollihar, who I’ve known since I was eleven years old. Couple those losses with numerous little personal tragedies, a couple of huge ones (that have just recently started correcting themselves), and an election year that I’m still trying to get a mental grip on… Yeah, this year’s been really, really tough.
By Tyler Hodg
Who needs time machines when throwback bands like Masked Intruder exist? The band’s latest effort, an EP titled Love and Other Crimes, sounds like a direct callback to pop-punk’s heyday in the early 2000s, but perhaps a little too much. Although still a fun listen, a lack of originality removes much-needed substance from the album.
For the first half of the 1990s, if Redd Kross was involved in something, I was interested. Any band they toured with or recorded with or even name-checked was a band that I would check out. I was rarely disappointed. Enter The Muffs, who I associated with Redd Kross originally because they were both from Southern California and had both punk rock and bubblegum pop cred. And there was the Bill Bartell connection. Plus, Kim Shattuck and Melanie Vammen were ex-Pandoras members, a band I was fond of after hearing them on WTUL New Orleans in the mid-’80s.
Not long after the band’s eponymous debut, Melanie left and former Redd Kross drummer Roy McDonald replaced original drummer Criss Crass. So I was extremely interested in hearing Blonder and Blonder, The Muffs’ 1995 release from Warner Bros./Reprise Records.