Fans of Jellyfish and Redd Kross will already know about TV Eyes but what about the uninitiated? That’s who really needs to read this review.
The storied history and devoted fanbase of both groups would take at least two books to describe fully (someone get on that please, by the way), but you may be familiar with three names from those bands: Roger Joseph Manning, Jr.; Jason Falkner; and Brian Reitzell.
Fans of psychedelic music are lucky to be alive during the glory days of its resurgence. There are a lot of great bands out there doing inventive things with psych rock and one of these is Wand, whose debut Ganglion Reef should make several Top Ten lists this year.
It’s been 20 years since the Old 97′s released their debut album Hitchhike To Rhome. Listening to Omnivore’s reissue, I’m struck by how it sounds like The Old 97′s are a seemingly impossible creation: the bastard son of Merle Haggard and Roger McGuinn. Ken Bethea’s jangly guitar is there and Rhett Miller’s boozy, yelpy delivery is too, along with his witty lyrics that are chock full of wordplay. They’ve refined their sound, only just, over the years, but there’s something remarkable about a band that knew who they were and what their sound was from the get go.
Compilation albums are usually hit or miss. While No One Was Looking: Toasting 20 Years Of Bloodshot Records is for the most part, quite a pack of hits. This collection of covers of songs by Bloodshot artists, including Neko Case, Ryan Adams, The Old 97’s, Alejandro Escovedo, and Justin Townes Earle, as well as many others, was recorded by non-label artists. Strong songwriting always helps, and these artists’ takes on the Bloodshot songs vary from straightforward, faithful covers to madly inventive versions. Some songs are epically beardy. Some songs sound as if they’ve come down from a mountain in a basket.
By Tim Murr
Oslo, Norway’s Timeworn has barreled out of the gates with a blockbuster album called Luminescent Wake. It combines elements of thrash metal and ’90s hardcore, in a wholly exciting way. I keep hearing comparisons to Converge, and I guess I hear that, too, but I’d compare them more to a meatier sounding Bloodlet.
On their first, and hopefully not last, Christmas album, New Orleans’ own Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse takes Christmas standards and lets them breathe. A New Orleans Creole Christmas rewards careful listening and attentiveness with unexpected grace notes, bent phrases, and excellent playing. While his name is prominently featured, Irvin Mayfield has surrounded himself with supremely talented musicians who complement his brilliance as a trumpet player.
The delightfully named Belle Ghoul, featuring Christopher Tait (Electric Six) and Jesse Paris Smith (daughter of Patti and Fred), have a new EP called Rabbit’s Moon & Doomsday that is a must-hear.
Rabbit’s Moon & Doomsday opens with the spooky, retro psychedelia of “Lakes of Fire—complete with Hammond organ and a shouted chorus—which evokes the abandoned amusement park in Carnival of Souls. The Alice in Wonderland allusions in “Timepieces,” along with a moody, thoughtful melody, continue the gently somber tone of the EP. Tait and Smith’s harmonies are lovely, a combination of grit and gloss.
The instrumental “Momentum” sounds like an overture, with a piano motif and muted horns promising something around the corner. That something turns out to be “Winter’s Gone,” an anticipatory tune about the coming spring, complete with accordion and echoing vocals. “Around For The Weekend” is next, with two different, yet incredibly catchy melodies (one on piano and one on synth). It’s the kind of joyous song that was made for Thursday night plans. The last track, “Mystery To Me,” is solemn yet hopeful, with lonesome piano and gorgeous orchestral accompaniment. Tait’s gravelly voice reaches its lowest register and Smith provides ghostly harmonies as a counterpoint.
The six songs on Rabbit’s Moon & Doomsday are the perfect accompaniment for the chilly fall weather, and should keep you warm throughout the winter.
Rabbit’s Moon & Doomsday will be released by Elefant Records on November 10. The “Around For The Weekend” single, released on October 27, includes a remix of “Lakes of Fire” and another wonderful instrumental track called “Devoir (Imaginary Theme).”
By Julie Finley
October 4, 2014
Northeast Ohio has been devoid of some good shows for a while now, and Akron rarely has any concerts whatsoever. The venue Musica (located in downtown Akron) is a small one, but has been slowly gaining some momentum, and some have have taken notice. Thankfully, Electric Six did, and performed there in early October.
This show really couldn’t have come at a better time (for me at least), as I was having a really awful week, and I truly needed to get out and do something that was fun. I have seen Electric 6 at least four times in Cleveland, so I pretty much knew what to expect, but that’s just it: I know I am going to be entertained, no matter how shitty the week has been! Electric Six are consistently amusing, and this show was no exception (in fact, I probably had even more fun at this show than previous ones!)
Ronnie Fauss’s Built To Break is the kind of album that musicians strive throughout their whole careers to make. Lyrically honest, with distinctive vocals and excellent musicianship, it’s the kind of lovely surprise that makes me love writing about music. It’s all the better to know that Ronnie Fauss isn’t the kind of musician who yearned to make records his whole life; in fact, he only began writing seriously after his first child was born, and even then it took years for him to share his songs, taking up singing once he realized he would need to to get his songs heard.
With Lynsey de Paul having passed away and Noosha Fox now running a restaurant, we only have Suzi Quatro to keep the flame of female Anglo glamrock alive, and I can think of no one who deserves to be its queen more than her. For all the acknowledgement that mainstream music criticism has given her, acknowledgement which is so often denied to female artists, she barely seems to care that she has it. In Performing Glam Rock, Philip Auslander’s analysis of her subversion of the authenticity and masculinity of rock in both her gender performance and musical performance seemed almost too good to be true to me the first time I read it, and difficult to parse based on the German TV performances I knew of her. Only now, after hearing The Girl From Detroit City, do I realize that she’s really even beyond what he describes.