Posts Tagged ‘Nashville’

Jack White’s been so commonly associated with rock ‘n’ roll over the years that it’s been easy to overlook the fact that he often works similar to how dance producers do. For starters, there’s nothing more explicitly tied to how dance music operates than running your own label to put out releases from yourself and others — and more broadly, since emerging at the turn of the century with his and Meg White’s beloved, now defunct White Stripes, White’s dipped in and out of various projects that more or less function as monikers under which he explores certain sounds.

White unearths or returns to these projects when the mood suits him, and they often bear their own distinct sonic identity. Besides the White Stripes’ arty blues-punk, he’s unleashed jet-black scuzziness with the Kills’ Alison Mosshart as the Dead Weather, embraced an anything-goes mentality with the music released under his own name, and tilted towards country-rock windmills with power-pop whiz Brendan Benson and members of defunct Detroit garage-rock act the Greenhornes as the Raconteurs.

White’s choosing to unearth this month a new Raconteurs’ album the bands third, “Help Us Stranger”. It’s the first album from the group in 11 years and barring the fact that it’s been nigh impossible to predict the machinations behind White’s own creative internal clock, the timing for him to return to more straightforward rock territory is impeccable.

White has effectively split the difference between his last solo album Boarding House Reach’s adventurousness and the band’s past trad-classic rock trappings, the results coming across as appealingly low-stakes. After a series of solo albums that, even at their strongest moments, possessed a nervy atmosphere not unlike grinding one’s teeth, Help Us Stranger is comparatively loose and limber, making for the most collection of songs White’s released in years.

Credit is due to Benson, who  as with 2006’s Broken Boy Soldiers and the 2008 quick-turnaround Consolers of the Lonely shares writing credits with White on almost every Help Me Stranger track. Just like Consolers, the sole song he doesn’t is a cover; this time around it’s a rollicking take on psych-pop shaman Donovan’s “Hey Gyp (Dig The Slowness).” But That’s pretty much the only element that Help Me Stranger shares with Consolers; while the latter sagged from an overlong run time, the Raconteurs’ latest is a comparatively lean and mean 41 minutes, with brisk arrangements and more than a few grin-inducing breakdowns such as the double-time frenzy that closes out the boys-in-the-band opener “Bored And Razed.”

There’s a distinctly stoned silliness to parts of Help Me Stranger, none more evident than on the “Misty Mountain Hop”-ping “Only Child,” in which White sings about a “prodigal son” who’s “come back home again to get his laundry done.” Otherwise, the playfulness streaked across this album is mostly of the musical variety, like the multi-tracked vocals dotting the verse structure on “Don’t Bother Me” or the Tell-tale Heart-esque pulse that courses through “Now That You’re Gone.” There are guitar solos packed into nearly every empty corner of this thing, and plenty of the aggressively hammered piano lines that were so prevalent on Boarding House Reach, the latter playing much more enjoyably to the ears than on that record.

Suffice to say, if none of these sonic elements or the idea of four guys bashing out melodic rock music that nonetheless treads familiar ground — sound appealing to you, then you’re probably better off listening to nearly anything else. But the lack of formal innovation on Help Me Stranger packs its own odd appeal, especially when the old tricks are so capably performed. “Live A Lie” is straight-ahead Motor City garage rock that, ironically, bears some resemblance to once-White nemesis the Von Bondies’ “C’mon C’mon”; the guitar riff that kicks open on “Somedays (I Don’t Feel Like Trying)” recalls Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Happy Gilmore-closing “Tuesday’s Gone,” its midsection breaking into a gooey Beatles-esque breakdown.

Such callbacks to classic rock’s, er, classics inevitably bring to mind Greta Van Fleet, that shaggy-haired band of industry-beloved youngsters who’ve gained equal parts fame and critical consternation for joylessly regurgitating the entire Led Zeppelin catalog But there’s nothing that White and Benson have cooked up on Help Me Stranger that sounds like genre-reliant clock-punching; instead, they make playing around in the classic-rock sandbox sound like so much fun that you have to wonder why it took them eleven years to get back in the habit together. Hopefully, next time around they’ll make a point of getting together again sooner.

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Released June 21st, 2019 ,
2019, 2019 Third Man Records, LLC

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When you are a fan of an artist for a long period of time; consisting of multiple albums; it is natural to have you favorites and albums that you never play. Most people favour the early albums; Justin Townes Earle is one of those artists for me. While I really liked his album, Kids In The Street, I almost always find myself reaching for the older stuff. But I’m here to say that The Saint of Lost Causes is among his best work to date, his voice never sounding better. For his eighth album, Justin turned his gaze out – toward the state of America. Like the excellent,The Seduction of Kansas by Priests, Justin Townes Earle isn’t hitting you over the head with his rage. His imagery is pointed, yet subtle enough to requiring the listener to really listen.

The Saint Of Lost Causes is the 8th album from American roots troubadour, Justin Townes Earle. Earle’s latest album finds a songwriter and artist who is unflinching and unequivocal in his truth. When writing this album, Earle focused on a different America – the disenfranchised and the downtrodden, the oppressed and the oppressors, the hopeful and the hopeless. There’s the drugstore-cowboy-turned-cop-killer praying for forgiveness (Appalachian Nightmare) and the common Michiganders persevering through economic and industrial devastation (Flint City Shake It); the stuck mother dreaming of a better life on the right side of the California tracks (Over Alameda) and the Cuban man in New York City weighed down by a world of regret (Ahi Esta Mi Nina); the used up soul desperate to get to New Orleans (Ain’t Got No Money) and the sons of bitches in West Virginia poisoning the land and sea (Don’t Drink the Water). These are individuals and communities in every corner of the country, struggling through the ordinary and sometimes extraordinary circumstances of everyday life.

Over the course of the dozen tracks, Justin Townes Earle paints little stories of Americans that are getting left behind in this current shitstorm. He isn’t shy in pointing out his targets. It’s a powerful album digging so much deeper than the horrible outcome of a dead policeman.

Releasing such an outward looking album after the deeply personal and inward looking Kids In The Street was a nice touch. And he absolutely nailed it.

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Justin Townes Earle – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Adam Bednarik – Upright Bass, Electric Bass
Joe V. McMahan – Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Slide Guitar, Baritone Guitar, Celeste
Paul Niehaus – Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Pedal Steel
Jon Radford – Drums, Percussion
Cory Younts – Harmonica, Wurlitzer, Piano, Fender Rhodes, Background Vocals

Jack White and Brendan Benson’s group The Raconteurs are hitting the road for the first time in years, and are dropping their first album in over a decade “Help Us Stranger” this coming June. The Grammy-winning Nashville based powerhouse teased fans in December with two tracks from the record, and have now they have unveiled a third cut ‘Hey Gyp (Dig The Slowness)‘, a punchy reimagining of Scottish psychedelic folk singer Donovan‘s 1965 song. The Raconteurs‘ rendition inserts a heavy dose of garage punk heft into the tune, while retaining the stripped back original’s lusty soul. enjoy their cover of ‘Hey Gyp (Dig The Slowness)’ version below…

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released April 10th, 2019
2019, 2019 Third Man Records, LLC

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Arlie are a new young band from Nashville , Knowingly naïve, romantic indie-pop underpinned by hip-hop-influenced percussion with a touch of MGMT about them, Weird production sound effects and obscure, ethereal vocals meet with massive pop choruses, resulting in deceptively ambitious songs that are DIY in attitude but future chart fodder in effect. You’re going to love them, The trio are local heroes at US college Vanterbilt, where they’re studying, yet their tracks ‘Didya Think’ and ‘Big Fat Mouth’ have racked up millions of streams on Spotify, and they’ve since landed a deal with Atlantic Records. They’re in the very strange position of being a local band with a global fanbase – and it’s always fun to get onboard with an act on the ground and watch them grow.

Band Members
Nathaniel Banks,
Adam Lochemes,
Carson Lystad,

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Roanoke is a folk/americana duo fronted band that uses rich harmonies, heartfelt lyrics, and roots music to create a captivating and unique sound. An exceptionally talented young quintet, Roanoke belie any geographic references implied by their name because they make their home in Nashville. That misnomer aside, the music they offer on their stunning sophomore effort, “Where I Roam”, reflects a clarity and cohesion that suggest that even early on in their collective career, the band possesses a knowing sense of skill and savvy. Seamless harmonies and the back porch setting suggested by mandolin, banjo and violin assure a seductive sound, a delivery that lures its listeners even on first encounter. Within the span of its five tracks.

Roanoke weaves a series of tender tales and nuanced narratives, all spawned from a decidedly heart-worn perspective. “Jordan,” “The Light” and “Without You” provide an uptick in energy, while the beautiful ballads “Losing You” and “Heavy Goodbyes” effectively ensure the emotional embrace. The couple at the helm, Joey Beesley and Taylor Dupuis, effectively mine this appealing presentation to full advantage, allowing Where I Roam to transport its listeners to destinations where the auditory appeal is undeniable.

Tennessee Stone explores the dynamic of two people experiencing the highs and lows of love. It’s about feeling lost and wanting to escape and runaway, but also realizing its very easy to lose your way while searching for the unknown. In those moments you think about the memories and emotions that once were, which leads to a yearning for the comfort of your home in another being.

“The infectious rhythm and mood carry through in the video, which takes an equally spirited look at the intricacies of relationships….Hauntingly shot at a small country farm, the video cuts between slow-motion shots, artsy interludes, and intimate moments of reflection, effectively evoking a feeling of absence.”.

“Swirling guitars and harmonica, plucky mandolin, and driving percussion dust the landscape of Roanoke’s adventuresome sound….Fans of the band will feel right at home with its soaring choruses, full-bodied roots instrumentation, and razor-sharp overall delivery. Newcomers to their sound will be captivated by the simultaneous tenderness and energy of the breezy, earthen roots tune.”
Band Members
Taylor Dupuis,
Joey Beesley,
Zach Nowak,
Kyle Breese,
John Fiorentino,

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When singer and guitarist Jenna Moynihan saw the phrase “Daddy Issues” scribbled on the bathroom wall of a now-defunct Nashville DIY venue, she mistakenly assumed it was the name of an all-girl punk outfit sure to become her next favorite band. Upon realizing that no such band existed, Moynihan and friends Emily Maxwell (drums) and Jenna Mitchell (bass) picked up their instruments, taught themselves how to play and started their own band. Three years later, Daddy Issues  release their full-length vinyl debut Deep Dream, out via Infinity Cat Recordings.

Daddy Issues writes self-aware grunge pop about friendship, lost love and life as an urban twenty-something. They openly discuss complex issues like bodily integrity but graft in bits of snark and charm to the otherwise arresting topic. This empowering viewpoint coupled with aggressive distortion and bubbly melodies gives the trio a distinct dynamism. Recorded on November 15th, 2018 in Chicago, IL.

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Love and hate plus chorus and distortion (aka the “Nirvana guitar tone”) are the defining features of Nashville duo Sad Baxter’s grunge-inflected So Happy EP. Though only 6 songs long, the EP packs a mighty emotional punch thanks to the simmering anger coursing through Deezy Violet’s smart, literate songs. From twisty opener “Love Yew” through fist-pumping highlight “Believe Me,” (with backing vocals from drummer Alex Mojaverian) wherein Violet laments the inability to love a damaged individual in the interests of self-protection, these songs are as catchy as they are scabby, balanced perfectly between both the darkest and lightest of human impulses. It helps that Violet is never anything but real, both with herself and her subject matter. On “Sick Outt,” she excoriates an abuser from her past (“You know what you’ve done to me/I don’t deserve a single memory”), but she’s not immune to finding comfort in life’s sweetest moments. So Happy is true to its title, and final track “Baby” closes out with a sentiment as congenial as the guitars are raw: “I don’t wanna think about anything at all too hard/I just wanna go and lay in my baby’s arms.”

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Sad Baxter is Deezy Violet and Alex Mojaverian
All songs written and performed by Sad Baxter

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If kaleidoscopic psych that blends florid Tropicália with hypnotic drones, churning motorik and gritty garage gives you any kind of thrill, you owe it to your neurotransmitters to roll up for The Psychics. Their last EP 4×3 will work your frontal lobes, too, as its catchy and delightfully disorienting tunes offer insightful looks at everything from drug experiences to the role of art in society. It’s also the first release from the slimmed-down version of the band that relocated to Music City from Bloomington, Ind., last year, trimming down their name in the process — though they are no longer “Jerome and the Psychics,” the enigmatic Jerome X remains the frontman.

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Released August 10th, 2018

Many thanks to Blockhouse Bloomington, Andy Beargie, and David James. We could not have made this without their hard work and many graces.

The Psychics are:
Jerome X – Guitar/Vox/Songwriter
Nick Harley – Guitar/Vox/Songwriter
Jay Smith – Bass Guitar/Keys
Kate Haldrup – Drums

Produced by Jay Smith & The Psychics

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Ron Gallo is delightfully hard to figure out. He takes the free-spirited, anti-capitalist ethos of 60s rock and mixes it with what the Black Keys think they sound like ,His lyrics are incessantly entertaining, making it almost OK that he named his debut LP HEAVY META. On album opener “Young Lady, You’re Scaring Me,” Gallo sings, “Let’s get a house, you and me and your 12 cats.” His delivery is sneeringly reminiscent of Dylan, singing such lines with a sincerity and confidence, as if the listener is crazy for smirking at this shack with a dozen cats. He should scan as annoying, but there’s something deliriously charming about this fractured soul spelling out the ills of humanity one song at a time.

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The Philly born, now Nashville-based songwriter first emerged with the modern Americana/folk band, Toy Soldiers, before leaving Pennsylvania for the warm grasp of country music’s capitol, introducing the city to a defiantly unsatisfied debutante, eager to take you out to lunch and then spit in your face because your politics are wack. Gallo has this innate ability—a tremendously tricky skill to hone to dose his songs with humour, all the while lacing them with scathing social commentaries and a level of depth most garage rock acts never reach, let alone aim for. On Heavy Meta, Gallo proved that he’s just a wiser and sharper songwriter than most people doing it. That trend continues on “It’s All Gonna Be OK,” the first single from Gallo’s forthcoming LP, Stardust Birthday Party, out October 5th via New West.

“It’s All Gonna Be OK,” is nervous and twitchy, hallucinatory and repetitive with its scratchy and fidgeting guitar parts, until Gallo, sensing the growing unease, sings, “It’s all gonna be OK.” Good to know. Gallo rattles off all of the shit tearing us apart before easing us with his oddly placating aphorism. Gallo’s philosophy comes as a sort of self-medication, as he tries to convince himself that this broken world can get better, Gallo works his way through insecurities and finds this blind faith to be comforting. He tells us:

it’s all gonna be OK, no matter what it is, because all feeling, thought and experience is temporary. could be in one second or 20 years but, to trust that it’s all going exactly as it should, is true and liberating. i like to remind myself of this often and figured might as well share this thought with others via a mostly one chord song featuring my trumpet debut heard in the outro of the song. it’s all gonna be OK is the main message, and “stardust birthday party” is me explaining WHY? from my own experience looking inside.

Introducing...Lilly Hiatt & The Dropped Ponies.

It took Lilly Hiatt quite sometime to come to terms with her Nashville status. After her initial flee, she came to embrace the fact that home truly is where the heart is, and eventually returned to Tennesssee. Hiatt enjoyed some successes as a solo artist, including a shared stage with Emmylous Harris and Jim Lauderdale, as well as a guest appearance on the Craig Ferguson show. Upon her introduction to North Carolina guitarist, Beth Finney, a new beast began to form. Hiatt’s aching melodies combined with Finney’s tender yet turbulent guitar licks yielded a sound that the two were unable to find prior: women shedding their childhood skin and coming into the unraveled and emotional world of adulthood. Soon after, the girls hooked up with drummer John Radford (Charles Walker and the Dynamites, Drew Holcombe Band) and bass player Jake Bradley (Over the Rhine). The Pony Stampede had began. Since then, The Dropped Ponies have graced the stage of the Ryman, opened for Lyle Lovett, and enjoyed success over seas. They currently reside in Nashville, TN and are working on their debut album, “Let Down”. Produced by Doug Lancio (Patty Griffin, Gretchen Peters), the album is to be released in September.

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