Attention humans: be prepared for your record collection to become marginally spookier, but a whole lot weirder with the delightful new release from Croydon Municipal/Cherry Red Records (and just in time for Halloween), Songs For Swinging Ghosts.
There’s something enormously comforting about a new Blitzen Trapper album. They’ve got a certain sonic texture, that coupled with lead singer Eric Earley’s distinctive, weatherbeaten rasp and slice-of-America lyrics, make them easily recognizable and inimitable. While they have experimented with looser, sparse sounds, their latest, All Across This Land, has that classic Blitzen Trapper feel. It rocks, sometimes gently, and the songs are immersive and evocative, conjuring up dusty back roads that stretch for miles, blue collar desperation, and youthful yearning.
By Tyler Hodg
Patty Griffin is a musical treasure. There is no modern poet that can come close to the brilliance that she puts out, and her music stands high above almost everything else. But all that is great has to fall at some point, right? In the case of Patty Griffin, that theory has yet to be proven. Her latest album, Servant of Love, is yet another entry in her fantastic catalogue.
By Tyler Hodg
To many, the name of musician Jim Shepherd isn’t significant. Aside from signing with Rick Rubin’s American label just two years prior to his death, he spent the majority of his career underground, recording his and others’ music to no quantifiable success.
There’s something amazing going on in Alabama. The bands coming out of the Cotton State are incredible right now. From the Banditos to St. Paul & the Broken Bones to, of course, Alabama Shakes, to the Drive-By Truckers and that nice fellow Jason Isbell, there’s an earthiness and a rootsy flavor in the music, and these bands are breaking in such an exciting way. Add to that list The Pollies.
By Tyler Hodg
Hollywood Vampires is a “supergroup” consisting of core members Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp, and Joe Perry, with guest appearances by Brian Johnson, Dave Grohl, Slash, Perry Farrell, and Paul McCartney, to name a few. Yes, this is a real thing.
By Tim Murr
Patti Smith’s new memoir, M Train, is coming out on October 6. It will continue the journey through her life that she began with her previous book, Just Kids, which focused on her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. Just Kids is a moving book that I couldn’t put it down. I encourage everyone to pick it up.
For me, Patti has been such a strong source of inspiration for so long. Every time I listen to her debut, Horses, I’m struck by how timeless it is. Released at the end of 1975, about two months before the Ramones released their debut album, there is a quality to its sound that doesn’t scream any era, but simply sounds like Patti Smith music. The build up to the chorus on “Gloria” still makes my hair stand on end. I’d call it one of the best moments of any rock song on any album ever produced.
So with Patti Smith’s new book around the corner and 2015 being the 40th anniversary of Horses, I thought I’d make a mix tape of her top 20 songs for the uninitiated to download right now. I chose from across all eras and offer them in particular order. For the bold, I’d say just buy Horses and then each album in order of release, but I recognize that people buy music differently these days. So, here’s the Patti Smith mix tape track listing I’d make for you, if ya know, we were friends or dating or something…
By Tyler Hodg
Toronto music fans came out in droves to witness this year’s Riot Fest. The traveling festival made a stop in “The Six” on September 19-20, with international artists such as Weezer, The Prodigy, Motorhead, Wu-Tang Clan, and Canada’s hardcore darlings Alexisonfire all showcasing their stellar live shows to a very hungry crowd.
Somewhere around the halfway point of this rockumentary, I came to an odd realization. Here I am, a man who lived through the Eighties, watched the rise and fall of Hair Metal, and yet I have taken the band, Scorpions, completely for granted. After all, has there ever been a world where “Rock You Like a Hurricane” hasn’t existed?