Music Review: Honeybeat: Groovy 60s Girl-Pop

Published on May 5th, 2017 in: Current Faves, Feminism, Music, Music Reviews, Reissues, Retrovirus, Reviews |

By Melissa Bratcher

There is no better mood raiser than a girl-group compilation. This is a scientific fact (that perhaps I have just made up). Finding long-lost girl groups, hearing those sweet harmonies, losing yourself in that “falling in love feeling”: it’s the best kind of bliss. A new compilation from ChaChaCharming and Real Gone Music, Honeybeat: Groovy 60s Girl-Pop, is an instant happy maker, with groups that are unfamiliar, groups that really should have made it, and some names that are a delightful surprise.
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Music Review: Cait Brennan, Third

Published on April 20th, 2017 in: Current Faves, Feminism, Music, Music Reviews, Reviews |

By Melissa Bratcher

Cait Brennan’s follow up to her critically acclaimed debut, Debutante, is a stunner. Where Debutante felt like the incredibly talented bastard daughter of Harry Nilsson and ELO, who fell asleep while listening to AM radio in the 1970s and made an album about it, Third lives and breathes where it was born: Ardent Studios in Memphis. Third is muscular and fierce, but it can break your heart with a word.
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Music Review: Chris Milam, Kids These Days

Published on April 7th, 2017 in: Americana, Current Faves, Music, Music Reviews, Reviews |

By Melissa Bratcher

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While the centerpiece of Chris Milam’s Kids These Days is a trio of breakup songs, focusing on before, during, and after a breakup, there’s so much more going on here. Milam has questions that he would like answered, memories he’d like to share. He also has the heart of a philosopher. Kids These Days could easily fall under the catch=all of Americana, but it’s more than just that. It’s gritty guitars and incredibly tasteful strings, and Milam’s versatile voice that easily sweeps to an elegant falsetto from ragged emotion.
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Music Review: The Warden, L-I-V-I-N

Published on April 6th, 2017 in: Americana, Country Music, Current Faves, Music, Music Reviews, Reviews |

By Melissa Bratcher

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Only The Warden could change my mind about “Kokomo.” To refresh your memory, The Warden is Ward Richmond, an East Dallas hellraiser who sings about drinking and regretting, honky-tonking and shenanigans, and he does it with style and aplomb. On his welcome return, L-I-V-I-N, The Warden dips into a variety of genres that are all filtered through his particularly Texas vibe.
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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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