Country & Folk

New album: Leopardo || Malcantone

If you have some time to spare for a record that upon multiple listens will ultimately grow on you and get under your skin, would you be interested in such delayed rewards? I am talking about Malcantone from Leopardo, which is a delightfully weird yet strangely accessible record. It’s the kind of record I did not expect to write about, but somehow I keep returning to. It’s also the kind of record I lack the vocabulary for to explain in full. Leopardo are from Schwitzerland, but they may just as well reside in the Chelsea Hotel (NYC) in the seventies. Comparing Leopardo to Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground is kinda lazy, but it also kinda makes sense. Malcantone is an eclectic mix of styles, including folk (Malcantone, Bitter Man), psych (Country Side Love, Hardship), punk (Tell Me, I Belong To You), garage (Put Me In Jail), and rock-‘n’- roll (Throwback in The Snow). I was quick to dismiss this record and I was wrong.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Feel It Records || SDZ Records || Le Pop Club 

New album: Joe Bourdet || Meadow Rock

Meadow Rock is not a forgotten Americana treasure from the 70’s, but the brand new debut album from Californian singer / songwriter Joe Bourdet. “Sometimes I read a picture like a book, then I close my eyes and take a second look // The images take on a strange new life, colors flying in the moonlit night,” he sings in Morning Light. Something similar happens when you listen to the music on this record, you hear something different every time: a surprising poetic phrase, female backing vocals or one of the vintage instruments (Hammond organ, double bass, pedal steel, mandolin, Moog Rogue, Fender Rhodes or Wurlitzer piano, etc.) that complement the drums, bass and various guitars (in the video for El Capitan you can see the musicians in the studio). This is beautiful, quiet folk rock, with an authentic sound and optimistic lyrics. Experiencing the nine songs on this album is like a journey through a virgin alpine meadow: “Wide awake lost in a dream.”

Out now digitally, on CD and 12″ vinyl LP. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Green Mohair Suits || Sink or Sing

Green Mohair Suits are a country / folk outfit from Sydney, Australia. After their last album Evans St (2016) it remained silent, but now there is suddenly the (digital) EP Sink or Sing with four new songs. Jason Mannell, Brian Campeau, Richard Cuthbert, and Ben Romalis have outdone themselves. Especially opening track Don’t You Mind is a very beautiful song. The country of Gram Parsons is a little further away, here it is as if The Byrds meet Brian Wilson. as if it has always been there. Nice that new classics are still being made.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Horseloverfat || Greetings From Nowhere

Horseloverfat is an unusual name. That also applies to their music, which is all over the place and kinda awesome. The band from Italy self-desribes as “a psichedelic (sic) krautrock group, a transnational and stateless parody that encompasses all without regards to purism and coherence.” On their new record Greetings From Nowhere, Horseloverfat goes from postpunk to psychedelic to protopunk to country to kraut to glam in their songs. Somehow, the band manages to pull it off without creating a unlistenable mess. They recorded Greetings From Nowhere in March in an old school fashion: as a live band, and with limited digital intereference. The result is a time portal to the music of the ’60s, ’70s and early ’80s. Step in, if you’d like!

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Cody Barcroft and Shoot Ya || Get Loaded

This is the kind of music that I find hard to resist, hard to sit still with. Shoot Ya is a “trash country” band from Buffalo, New York, lead by singer / songwriter / multi-instrumentalist Cody Barcroft, joined by Sean McNamara, Patrick Jackson, Ryan Campbell, Jamie Sunshine, and Dalton Sharp. Their album Get Loaded has eleven varied original songs that swing, that rock, that captivate, that surprise. Great distinctive vocals, wonderful back up harmonies, nice to hear a saxophone here too. I’m sold. RIYL American Aquarium, Drive-By Truckers, Hayes Carll.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

Gimme 5! Stella Maxwell Of Stella And The Very Messed (And Cruiserweight) Shares 5 Records That Influenced The Marigold EP

With ‘Gimme 5!’ we take a peek into the collections of artists we admire. The premise is simple: artists WE like share 5 records THEY love.

There was an instant familiarity when I first heard the Marigold EP by Stella And The Very Messed. It all made sense when I found out that Stella Maxwell of Cruiserweight fronts The Very Messed. Cruiserweight was a pop punk band from Austin that had a great run in the first decade of the 2000s, and the distinct voice of Maxwell was (is!) one of the draws of that band. Together with Cruiserweight alumn Dave Hawkins, she started this new project which is not pop punk, but semi-acoustic and equal parts indie pop, ’90s alternative and americana. It’s more layered and, for lack of a better word, more mature than the music of Cruiserweight, but just as accessible an enjoyable. It’s the kind of music Maxwell’s voice seems made for. In addition to Maxwell and Hawkins, the band also includes Chris Nine (Karaoke Apocalypse, Manhole) and Donnie Adkinson (The Letters Organize, Whores), with Nik Snell (The Cutaway) and Sam Rich (Black Books) recent additions for live shows.

The video for lead single, and my personal favorite on the EP, The Feeling premieres today. The video is an arts and crafts stop-motion piece of creative brilliance. Sonically, The Feeling is a song made for spring with its gently strumming guitars and catchy forward moving bass line. Lyrically and vocally, the song pulls at the heartstrings with its dark and deeply personal undertones. “And now I drink myself to bed and I cry myself to work,” Maxwell sings, and “How can you really miss what you never really knew? I get the feeling, I do ||  How can you really miss what you never really had? I know that feeling, I do.” [post continues below]


Gimme 5! Marc Ribler (Little Steven & The Disciples Of Soul) Shares 5 Records That Influenced His Upcoming Record The Whole World Awaits You

With ‘Gimme 5!’ we take a peek into the collections of artists we admire. The premise is simple: artists WE like share 5 records THEY love.

I started reading Twilight Of The Gods this week, a book in which Steven Hyden explores the past, present and future of classic rock. Early in the book, Hyden calls classic rock a finite resource: “One day, it will disappear. Bands break up. Albums go unplayed and are eventually forgotten. Legends die.” Hyden has a point of course. Time does not stand still, albums are losing out to playlists, fewer and fewer bands sell out stadiums and it’s unlikely that current and future rock bands will come anywhere close to the lasting cultural impact of the classic bands from the ’60s and ’70s. But is that necessarily a bad thing? They’ve been saying that punk is dead since the late seventies, but to agree with that statement you essentially admit that you haven’t been paying attention. Ultimately,  there will always be musicians that will carry the torch of guitar music into familiar and unfamiliar territory. Which brings us to this week’s Gimme 5! which features an artist whose music celebrates the power of classic rock and soul.

Marc Ribler is a musician and producer who in recent years has been Steven Van Zandt’s right hand man in The Disciples Of Soul. Ribler also shared the stage with many Hall-Of-famers including Carole King, Elvis Costello, Bruce Springsteen, Darlene Love, and Paul McCartney. On July 9th, Ribler will release a new solo record called The Whole World Awaits You (pre-order here). Busy as Ribler is with producing, performing and writing songs and jingles for others, it is a record that’s been long in the making – some of the songs were written as early as 2005. Little Steven became excited after hearing some of the early mixes and offered to co-produce the record and release it on his label Wicked Cool Records. Based on the early singles, it’s easy to see why: Shattered and Who Could Ask For More (watch the video here) are excellent throwbacks to the heyday of rock and soul, and both songs were picked as ‘coolest song in the world’ at the Underground Garage radio station. Not only that, these songs make my speakers sound better than ever – this is some well produced, mixed and mastered music. Below Marc Ribler shares five classic albums that he drew influence from in writing the songs for The Whole World Awaits You. Enjoy reading and listening!  [post continues below]

New album: The Pine Hill Haints || The Song Companion of a Lonestar Cowboy

The Pine Hill Haints perform “ghost music”, songs they consider to be “dead” in the modern world. With this premise they do themselves short, because on their new (11th!) full-length album The Song Companion of a Lone Star Cowboy they sound very much alive. These 15 roots tracks are honest and authentic (“prayers and simple meditations, cool shadows to ease the mind in the turbulent times”), a mix of originals, traditionals with new arrangements and two covers (Bo Diddley’s Pretty Thing and Hasil Adkins’ Louise). This is punk oriented country blues from and for skateboarders. The instruments, including washboard, accordion, harmonica, fiddle, mandolin, singing saw (and of course Jamie Barrier’s great voice), are treated in such a way that they provide a swampy and raucous sound. In any case, when good songs are played (and recorded) with so much effort and power by experienced musicians, they will always live on.

Out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP through Single Lock Records. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New album: Half Deaf Clatch || Metamorphosis

His raw down-home blues and his original song writing make Half Deaf Clatch (aka Andrew McLatchie) a welcome entrant at the British Blues Awards, where he is described as a “slide stump blues machine.” More importantly, the UK artist is steadily expanding his discography with good folky country blues. On his new album Metamorphosis, McLatchie has put on a cowboy hat and accompanies his gritty voice with an electric guitar in nine new, cinematic songs. Out now digitally and on CD via Speak Up Recordings.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Southern Culture On The Skids || At Home With Southern Culture On The Skids

About 25 years ago we were nerdy on time at the concert hall, so we saw Southern Culture On The Skids perform twice: the sound check and the real show. Camel Walk is still one of my favorite songs and new work always leads to a jump of joy. The band – Rick Miller on guitar & vocals, Mary Huff on bass & vocals, and Dave Hartman standing behind the drums – has been playing together for 30+ years, consistently recording and touring around the world. Good news: they have an awesome new album out called At Home with Southern Culture on the Skids (already released March 12, so I almost overlooked it, but luckily our hero Little Steven brought it to my attention by playing new track Run Baby Run this week, on episode 996 of his legendary Underground Garage radio show). The 11 tracks, including 2 covers – Sugar Town (written by Lee Hazlewood, first recorded by Nancy Sinatra), and Dear Mr. Fantasy (written by Jim Capaldi, Steve Winwood & Chris Wood, recorded by Traffic) – were taped and mixed by Rick In his living room and at The Kudzu Ranch. And that is also the feeling that the new album evokes: a successful living room concert, a cozy and laidback rock ’n’ roll party with catchy songs that make you smile and sing along. We would have loved to be there, twice.

Out now digitally and on CD via Kudzu Records. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs || SCOTS

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