Music Review: The Creation, Action Painting

Published on March 17th, 2017 in: Current Faves, Music, Music Reviews, Reissues, Retrovirus, Reviews |

By Melissa Bratcher

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How is it that we don’t speak of The Creation in the same reverent tones as The Kinks, The Stones, and The Who? They made seemingly commercial, well-written songs with appealing melodies, and  they were produced by Shel Talmy, who produced and arranged tracks by The Kinks and The Who. Guitarist Eddie Phillips ostensibly created guitar bowing (playing guitar with a violin bow), but Jimmy Page isn’t sending him royalty checks. They had a stage show that would incite fervor; they had the right look; they had the crunchy, chunky sounds that epitomized a very specific era of British rock. And yet, and yet, they’re maybe a footnote in rock history.
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Music Review: The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, Front Porch Sessions

Published on March 15th, 2017 in: Americana, Current Faves, Music, Music Reviews, Reviews |

By Melissa Bratcher

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Unless Reverend Peyton and his Big Damn Band comes to your house and plays a set on your porch (or perhaps you end up on his front porch),  Front Porch Sessions  is as close as you’ll get to that specific pleasure. It’s an organic, charmingly effective album that mixes classic blues songs with The Rev’s originals. It’s thrillingly alive and a fine introduction for those who haven’t been fortunate enough to make The Rev’s (and his Big Damn Band) acquaintance yet.
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Music Review: Old 97’s, Graveyard Whistling

Published on March 3rd, 2017 in: Americana, Current Faves, Music, Music Reviews, Reviews |

By Melissa Bratcher

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There’s something enormously comforting about a new Old 97’s album. You know what it will sound like: giant, resonant guitar, Rhett Miller’s clever lyrics and busted yelp, a chugging beat. Songs to sing along with. There have been the barest of forays into other sorts of music, influences splashed on their otherwise perfect template, but if you can say one thing about Old 97’s it is this: they are consistent.
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Music Review: Sondre Lerche, Pleasure

Published on March 3rd, 2017 in: Current Faves, Music, Music Reviews, Reviews |

By Melissa Bratcher

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Sondre Lerche is going through some changes. His latest, Pleasure, bears the hallmarks of a breakup album: heartbroken, aching lyrics and a complete shift in musical style. Pleasure sounds nothing like any previous Lerche album, which, to be fair, touched upon a variety of musical styles. From the indie pop of his debut, Faces Down to the glorious jazz inflections of Duper Sessions, to the edgier kick of Phantom Punch, Sondre Lerche isn’t shy about dipping into disparate genres. On Pleasure, he goes full on 1980s revival, faceted through his undeniable talent.
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Music Review: Levi Petree, It’s Country

Published on March 3rd, 2017 in: Americana, Country Music, Music, Music Reviews, Reviews, Singer/Songwriters |

By Melissa Bratcher

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Levi Petree’s debut album is called It’s Country, but it isn’t. It’s a delicious melange of things that might fit neatly under the Americana umbrella: pastoral balladry, kick-ass stompers, folksy sunniness, and more than a little punk-rock snarl. They come together to make a debut that is strong and assured, with loads of personality.
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Music Review: Otis Taylor, Fantasizing About Being Black

Published on February 10th, 2017 in: Culture Shock, Current Faves, Music, Music Reviews, Reviews |

By Melissa Bratcher

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“After 15 albums, i’ve taken all of my thoughts about the history of racial injustice and created a musical interpretation for modern times,” says trance blues artist Otis Taylor. His latest, Fantasizing About Being Black is shattering and thought-provoking. By looking backwards, Otis Taylor has made an album that is unfortunately still prescient.
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Music Review: Son Volt, Notes Of Blue

Published on February 10th, 2017 in: Americana, Current Faves, Music, Music Reviews, Reviews |

By Melissa Bratcher

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The latest Son Volt album, Notes Of Blue, may just be precisely the album that will put your anxious brain at ease. It’s inspired by Nick Drake, but it’s also inspired by Mississippi Fred McDowell and Skip James. While the influences of the latter are more easily evident, Son Volt’s leader Jay Farrar says he was “aiming for where blues and folk and country converge.” He’s certainly hit his mark.
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Movie Review: Sad Vacation: The Last Days Of Sid And Nancy

Published on January 11th, 2017 in: Documentaries, Movie Reviews, Movies, Music, Reviews |

By Melissa Bratcher

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Photo © Richard Mann

Do you want to know what surprised me the most about Sad Vacation: The Last Days Of Sid And Nancy? What surprised me was how very young Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen were at the height of their infamy and subsequent deaths. Sid was 21 when he died, and Nancy just 20. They were just babies.
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Melissa Bratcher: Things That Made Me Happy In 2016

Published on December 29th, 2016 in: Best Of Lists, Feminism, Music, Podcasts, Soundtracks and Scores, TV |

By Melissa Bratcher

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As ever, my Best Of list is a list of… things. Stuff that made me happy. When looking back at 2016, it’s hard not to feel a crushing ennui for all of those we lost and a general clusterfuckiness, but there were some gorgeous, delightful bright spots. Mine are, in no order whatsoever:
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Music Review: Don Rich and the Buckaroos, Guitar Pickin’ Man

Published on December 16th, 2016 in: Americana, Country Music, Current Faves, Music, Music Reviews, Retrovirus, Reviews |

By Melissa Bratcher

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In the pantheon of great guitarists, there are ones that come easily to mind: Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Chuck Berry, Jeff Beck, B.B. King. I’d add the Buckaroos’ Don Rich to that list. His style is immediately recognizable, and without his sonic experimentation, Buck Owens’s catalog would lack a certain verve. While Owens was always happy to dip a toe in the rock side, Don Rich’s playing upped the ante. His fuzzed-out guitar work on “Who’s Gonna Mow Your Grass?” is as fresh and timely as anything recorded in 1969, and viscerally satisfying. This is pretty remarkable for someone who was hired to play fiddle.
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