It’s Good News/Bad News time. The good news is that I am submitting a chapter to an upcoming book anthology. The bad news is that the deadline is quickly approaching and I need to finish!
This means that Popshifter will be going on a bit of a break until June. In the meantime, please enjoy the following articles that you might have missed over the last couple of weeks.
What about movies? If you’re looking for something to see this weekend that is the exact opposite of The Nice Guys, you might try Ben Wheatley’s High-Rise. Tyler Hodg enjoyed the videogame adaptation of Rachet and Clank, while Christine Makepeace was appalled by the sexism in documentary All Dolled Up.
If you want music recommendations, look no further than Popshifter! Melissa Bratcher enjoyed the self-titled debut of Big Star’s Jody Stephens with Luther Russell, a.k.a. Those Pretty Wrongs; adores by Ominivore’s reissue of two albums from The Blind Boys Of Alabama; thinks the latest album from Gregg Martinez, Soul of the Bayou, is a charmer; and is thrilled by the way On The Ropes shows that the Honeycutters keep getting better.
Tim Murr thinks Black Absinthe could be as big as AC/DC after hearing Early Signs of Denial; Tyler fondly reminisces about Sloan’s album The Double Cross on its five-year anniversary and praises Royal Tusk for adding some spice to the frequently stale genre of rock on DealBreaker; and Eric Weber describes his history of discovering Divine’s music in his review of the Cherry Red Records anthology, Shoot Your Shot.
Finally, Sachin Hingoo catches us up with what’s happening on Lucha Underground.
Asheville, North Carolina’s The Honeycutters have followed up 2015’s sublime Me Oh My with the completely wonderful On The Ropes. It’s good to have them back with such strong, satisfying material. Vocalist and songwriter Amanda Anne Platt’s voice is a treat: maybe older and wiser (by a year), but still hopeful. Hearts have been broken and mistakes have been made, but she’s not giving up. Ever.
By Eric Weber
The time was 1991; the place was Wax n Facts in Atlanta, Georgia.
Flipping through the packed cardboard box, my jaw dropped when I saw the huge white letters emblazoned across the top of the record sleeve: DIVINE.
I quickly snatched it up, examining every inch of the album. I couldn’t believe it. Divine: Greatest Hits. He had hits?
Louisiana Swamp Pop king Gregg Martinez has the kind of powerhouse voice that seems to grow slow and deep, like the roots of an ancient tree, straight up from the earth. It’s an incredible voice, and Martinez has a gift for adding an extra lagniappe of soul to everything he sings.
By Tyler Hodg
Debut albums are meant to hook to a listener, and make a fan out of them. Royal Tusk, a Canadian rock’n’roll band, is sure to accomplish such a feat with their graceful premiere effort titled DealBreaker.
It’s difficult to listen to The Blind Boys Of Alabama’s Higher Ground (2002) and not compare it to its predecessor, Spirit Of The Century (2001). Both are Grammy-winning collaborations with producers John Chelew and Chris Goldsmith and both feature bold, spiritual covers of songs by contemporary artists, with the Blind Boys Of Alabama being backed by a band in “musical conversation.”
The Blind Boys of Alabama have performed together for nearly seven decades and have recorded over 60 albums. Joining together as glee club singers at the Alabama Institute For the Negro Blind in 1939, founding members Jimmy Carter, George Scott, and Clarence Fountain (with newest member Joey Williams joining in 2001), The Blind Boys of Alabama make honest, American music, rooted deeply in gospel, focusing on the truly glorious way that their voices blend.
By Tim Murr
Toronto, Ontario’s Black Absinthe demand your attention and they have the songs to keep it! Blending classic and modern metal, Black Absinthe hasn’t just done their homework, they’ve innovated the game. Yes, you can hear Maiden, early Metallica, and Motorhead in their sound, but these influences blend into the band’s own flavor, rather than sounding like the source of its parts. As metal albums go, Early Signs Of Denial prove that new life can still be breathed into old monsters.
By Tyler Hodg
Legendary Canadian group Sloan are currently celebrating the 20th anniversary of their landmark album One Chord to Another with a deluxe edition rerelease on vinyl and 30-plus date tour. The vinyl also includes Recorded Live at a Sloan Party, meaning it’s the first time fellow Canucks can pick up that album without importing it.
Yes, it’s a pretty sweet time to be a fan of the band.
The music that Those Pretty Wrongs makes is familiar in the best of ways. It’s sun-dappled melancholy, 1970s AM radio-friendly songs that soar with warm harmony and delicate guitar. It’s quiet power pop with heart, which makes sense if one looks at their pedigree.