Country & Folk

New album: Late Slip || I Love You

Contemporary country meets a 60s girl group sound on I Love You, the expertly produced full-length debut album from New York City’s Late Slip, after previously releasing EPs Other Men (2016) and Reelin’ (2020). We also hear influences from old school rock ‘n’ roll, exotica, surf and garage rock (what’s not to like?!), and somehow the sun spontaneously gets a technicolour filter when you press play.

We are dealing with Chelsea Nenni (vocals, guitar), who has recorded eight super charming retro-pop songs, together with Lewis Pesacov (guitar, bass, keys), Rachel David (bass) and Garrett Ray (drums, percussion). All originals, with the exception of closing track Heart of Glass, a successful Blondie cover.

A vibrant voice that makes you happy and an inviting rhythm section that makes you dance, a blissful soundtrack for this summer. The record is dedicated to songwriter Chelsea’s grandmother, who passed away a few years ago, but will be very proud posthumously.

I Love You, produced, recorded & mixed by Lewis Pesacov, is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP, through Party Mermaid Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Good Looks || Lived Here for a While

It doesn’t seem all that special what Tyler Jordan (rhythm guitar, lead vocals), Jake Ames (lead guitar), Robert Cherry (bass) and Phillip Dunne (drums) of Austin-based indie folk/slacker rock quartet Good Looks bring to the stage, but somehow it has an irresistible and addictive effect on me. Their first LP Bummer Year made it into the top 3 of my 2022 year-end list, and successor Lived Here for a While hits the mark again. The fact that this album exists is a miracle in itself; immediately after their triumphant hometown debut record release show, Jake was hit by a car, fracturing his skull and tailbone, but ultimately here he is again.

The cover photo by Amanda Julia Steinback suggests that the band continues in the same vein, and that turns out to be the case, although the guitar riffs sound a little more vicious and varied. We get ten indie rock songs with relatable lyrics about all kinds of relationships (“You know music theory, but you can’t feel the vibe // Let me show it to you, it comes from deep inside // Mine was put there by my parents, a place for me to hide // And if I didn’t have it, I probably would have died” – from Self-destructor), songs that have cracked the magic formula for the right balance of loud and soft, fast and slow, heart and soul. And that’s pretty special.

Lived Here for a While, recorded, mixed & produced by Dan Duszynski, is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP, through Keeled Scales. Also featuring Vanessa Jollay (back-up vocals) and Dan Duszynski (additional instrumentation and background vocals).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New album: Fantastic Cat || Now That’s What I Call Fantastic Cat

New York City’s charming folk rock supergroup Fantastic Cat named their debut album The Very Best of Fantastic Cat, but on their sophomore LP Now That’s What I Call Fantastic Cat they show they can do even better. Band members Brian Dunne, Anthony D’Amato, Don DiLego and Mike Montali are all gifted songwriters with an appealing voice and skilled hands (and their own careers), but playing many shows together – entertaining cockfights without a winner but with a lot of fun – has only further strengthened their synergy. What they do so well on stage – everything to give the audience a good time – you can now hear to a greater extent in the eleven new songs, with somewhat larger gestures: catchy whoo-hoo and la-la-la-la harmonies, infectious handclaps, memorable melodies, and earworm choruses. Watch the video below for standout track So Glad You Made It, featuring Adam Duritz (Counting Crows) and Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, and you’ll get the picture. There are more than a few hits here, but for real – I’d be willing to bet that these purring cats will have at least ten times as many listeners and fans by the end of this year as they do right now.

Now That’s What I Call Fantastic Cat is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP, through Missing Piece Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs || Fantastic Cat 

New album: Workers Comp || Workers Comp

Here’s an album that may not be brand new by strict definition, but it definitely deserves a prime spot on your wantlist. Baltimore’s Workers Comp has dropped their self-titled debut LP, essentially a compilation of the trilogy of EPs they released over the past two years. We’ve already raved about the Crazy With Sweat EP, and now you get to dive into the other two gems: One Horse Pony and When In Room (both from 2022). These songs were released on Tape and now, for the very first time all of the outfit’s songs are available on one convenient piece of black vinyl. As a bonus there is a closing track that is brand new.

If you are unfamiliar with these songs, I envy you, because Workers Comp are one of the realest bands out there right now. They are the perfect antidote to all that is artificial about today’s music. Blending elements of Velvet Undergroundesque protopunk with outsider country, Workers Comp are an unique band with a raw and lo-fi edge. Their songs are anthems of solidarity and rebellion that hit you right where it matters. If you have time for just one song, make it Pressure Today. The first time I heard it, I became a fan of this band. Now, with help from ever/never records even non-cassette player owners can now enjoy these tracks the way there were meant to.

“Pressure today from the man in charge // gonna have to pull the conveyor apart // I take a hex wrench off of the workbench // waiting on a lesson to be blessing my heart.”

Workers Comp are Joshua Gillis (Deadbeat Beat, Glad Fact) Ryan McKeever (Staffers) and Luke Reddick (Divorce Horse)

Dusted || The 10 Best Cover Songs Of May 2024

Not all new music is really new, as many artists cover songs. Sometimes these are songs by their favorite artists, eg as a tribute to such a musical hero for a special reason, or they simply feel that a song deserves to be dusted and polished to reacquaint fans with great songs from the past. Other times, bands cover songs as a parody. Regardless of intent, some of those cover versions are so good or so much fun, we’d like to put a spotlight on them. Chosen from a wide range, here are – in random order – ten of our favorite covers from last month – links to the pages where you can add them to your wantlist included.

To be honest, I wanted to kick this off with Swedish rock band The Hives’ take on Blue Swede’s Hooked On A Feeling. You probably know the “Ooga-Chaka Ooga-Ooga” chant from Guardians Of The Galaxy Awesome Mix Vol. 1, but the tune is actually 50 years old. The new version is recorded for Spotify Singles, which means we cannot easily embed it here (you’ll find a link in the honorable mentions later in this post). Fortunately, there’s plenty more to choose from.

Star Star || Cover: The Cynz || Original: The Rolling Stones
On their latest release, JEM Records celebrates Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, after previously honoring John Lennon (2020), Brian Wilson (2021), Pete Townshend (2022) and Ray Davies (2023) with a strong compilation in this series. This new one is also fun, with energetic contributions from favorite bands and artists such as The Midnight Callers, Paul Collins, TheAirport77s, Nick Piunti and The Weeklings. No fillers here, but I like the ragged edge of The Cynz the best.

New single: Daniel Milewski feat. Jacuzzi Boys || Waiting b​/​w Good Times

Daniel Milewski is a singer-songwriter from Miami, who so far has mainly subdued Americana songs to his name, although rock influences occasionally seeped through. For this freshly pressed 45 he collaborated with his long-time friends and fellow citizens from garage pop trio Jacuzzi Boys, and the result is more than the sum of its parts. On both A-side Waiting and B-side Good Times, the four musicians deliver a full band sound in which tough guitar riffs, driving bass lines, stomping drum rhythms and gritty vocals come into their own in equal measure. Balanced and drawn out, honest and energizing, ragged and inspired.

Waiting b​/​w Good Times, recorded with Ryan Haft, is out now digitally and on 7″ vinyl through Saturn House Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Yea-Ming and The Rumours || I Can’t Have It All

Yea-Ming Chen has done it again, delivering the perfect remedy for my noise-battered ears with her latest LP alongside The Rumours – featuring familiar collaborators Eóin Galvin (lead guitar, lap steel, backing vocals) and Sonia Hayden (drums, percussion), with fresh faces Jen Weisberg (Hits) and Luke Robbins (Latitude) joining in on the rhythm section.

I Can’t Have It All is simply a wonderful pop record. Expect intimate and melancholic jangly indie pop, sprinkled with subtle ’60s girl group vibes, along with folk and country influences that shine like rays of sunshine on a cloudy day. Or, as some might say: really good music. The album boasts the fullest and most accomplished sound yet from this Bay Area band.

I Can’t Have It All has a warm, nostalgic atmosphere that is both refreshing and comforting. I first played the record on the train home after a long day. Its effect? Instead of multitasking on my phone, I found myself staring out the window, fully immersed in the music. This is the kind of record that slows down everything around. It’s not just good for the ears — it’s soothing for the soul.

I Can’t Have It All is out today on Dandy Boy Records. Don’t miss out!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Dandy Boy

New album: The Blessings || Woke Up With The Noonday Devil

Is there still good old southern rock being made these days? Californian rock ‘n’ roll band The Blessings are at your service. On their new full-length album Woke Up With The Noonday Devil you’ll hear twelve songs that are big in every respect, and in which rock, blues and soul are synonyms. Jeremy White (lead vocals, harmonica, guitar), Mike Gavigan (guitar), Jeff Howell (keys), Terry Love (bass), Scott Sobol (drums), and the late Lavonne Barnett-Seetal (backing vocals, percussion) know the 70s by heart. Just check out their cover picks – Back Home (Golden Earring) and Party’s Over (Raspberries) – and listen to the mean guitar riffs that blend effortlessly with the soulful vocals and grooving rhythm section for proof. Musically it’s very well done, but the lyrics are also quite enduring, including multiple nods to classic western films – hence the cover art.

Woke Up With The Noonday Devil, produced by Gabe Lowry & Mike Gavigan, is out digitally, on CD and vinyl LP, through Rare Bird Records. Also featuring Paul Litteral (trumpet) and Tracy Wannomae (saxophone) on select tracks.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs || Rare Bird

New EP: Worms In Dirt || Smoke

Worms In Dirt are an indie punk band from Seattle, and their new EP, Smoke, is a lo-fi, ramshackle gem. The prize song on this four-song collection is the title track, a dirt pop banger infused with old-school pop punk vibes that had me hooked from the start. The other tracks subtly reveal the band’s folky side, adding a distinct twist to their sound.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Small Town Jones || Kintsugi

Kintsugi, which translates as golden joinery, is the Japanese art of repairing broken ceramics with gold or silver lacquer, based on the idea that cracks are like scars telling their own story. It’s a perfect metaphor for the fragile music of Devon-based singer-songwriter Jim Jones, who borrows the title and cover art from the refined technique for his fourth full-length album under the moniker of Small Town Jones. The fantastic premise is expressed in eleven subdued Americana songs, both musically and lyrically atmospheric and sensitive: “Faith and loss, hope and doubt // Uncertain unseen, with or without // Has the wild goose taken its flight // The path between the mist and the light.” Obviously, perfection is not the goal here – unexpected arrangements and connections make this record even more fascinating – but it comes close. The standout opening track in particular is one to hold on to: “Oh there’s got to be better days.”

Kintsugi, produced by Mike Reed, is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP, trough Broken Sea Records. The ceramic heart of the cover photo was created by Taz Pollard.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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