Blues & Roots

New EP: Televisionaries || Lorraine

Just shy of sweeping our AOTY lists with their debut LP, our favorite band of brothers (Austin, Brendan & Trevor Lake and their brother from a different mother Aaron Mika) return with a brand new EP. The title track alone makes this new Televisionaries EP worth the purchase. I came across a live version of the song from 6 years ago which is pretty good already, but the new recording is pop perfect. Simply 3 minutes of surfpopr’n’r romanticism, old timey and with bite.

The song is complemented with two songs that may very well be outtakes of their Mad About You studio time – two songs that are simply too good to remain shelved.

The Lorraine EP is out now through Sleazy Records. If there is any knock on this release, it’s its brevity. Can’t wait to hear more new Televisionaries music than these three songs.

Add to wantlist: Sleazy Records

New album: JD Simo Trio || Songs from the House of Grease

Last June, JD Simo (vocals, guitars), Todd Bolden (bass, vocals) and Adam Abrashoff (drums) played two nights live at the House of Grease in Nashville, Tennessee. The performance was so successful that five of those songs – 38 minutes – have now been brought together on an amazing LP. You will hear the new track Missy’s Strut (a nod to The Meters), a long alternate version of Simo’s 2020 tune Higher Plane, and inspired covers of Mortgage on My Soul (Mississippi Fred McDowell), Afro Blue (John Coltrane) and How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live (Blind Alfred Reed). There’s a lot going on here. Although it’s basically blues music, the trio incorporates influences from funk, jazz, country, rock and psych. What a trip it is.

Songs from the House of Grease is out digitally, on CD and vinyl LP via Crows Feet Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Half Deaf Clatch || Feels Like Home

Half Deaf Clatch aka Andrew McLatchie is a UK-based musician with an acoustic guitar and a voice of coarse sandpaper, which he knows how to use for optimal impact. On his latest album Feels Like Home – we’ve lost count of how much music he has released up to now – you’ll hear eight intimate country blues tracks in which the gritty vocals cut through the marrow and bone. This is beautiful music that captivates you – you can’t help but listen very quietly for 46 minutes and only then take a breath again.

Feels Like Home is out now digitally and on CD through Speak Up Recordings.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

Music Year-End List || Dennis’ Favorite Singles and EPs of 2022

We previously shared our lists of favorite albums – here‘s Niek’s and there‘s mine – but there were also some shorter format releases that I noted as wantlist worthy. Below you can listen to the Top 50 singles and EPs that I enjoyed the most last year – quite an eclectic selection, but imho all pretty cool. I’ve excluded releases with songs that also appear on my AOTY overview, and also left out individual songs. Links point to Discogs or Bandcamp (the headings), and to previously posted reviews (in the body text) – add to your wantlist (or collection) what you like!

Music Year-End List || Dennis’ Favorite Albums of 2022

What to say about 2022? It was a year when the world emerged from a pandemic, only to be quickly knocked down again by other crises. Inevitably, it also affected music: an explosive cocktail of hope and fear, of light and dark, of anger and newfound party spirit. Either way, there were plenty of comforting and entertaining tunes to discover (I mainly searched the crates with indie rock, power pop, garage rock, jangle pop, country, and soul).

I checked out 2,400+ new albums – sometimes moving on to the next one after a few minutes, sometimes all songs on repeat – adding 135 of them to my longlist of wantlist-worthy releases. The Top 50 that emerged after long deliberation, is independent of sales figures, number of streams, expert reviews, or snobbish pretensions. It is simply a matter of what I liked and played the most – records that made 2022 more than worthwhile despite everything. Looking at the result, my choices are more folky and mature and less garagy and raucous than I expected beforehand – getting older daddy? – but with a relatively large number of debuting artists and only a handful of veterans.

So here’s my year-end list (you can also find most of it in a playlist on Spotify). Links point to Discogs or Bandcamp (the headings), and to previously posted reviews (in the body text) – add to your wantlist (or better: your collection) what you like!

New album: Melissa Carper || Ramblin’ Soul

Texas singer/songwriter/upright bassist Melissa Carper is well on her way to becoming a very big name in the country world. While last year’s Daddy’s Country Gold wasn’t her first album, it finally garnered critical acclaim and wider audiences (and a high spot on my year-end list, for what it’s worth). She’s already back with a new LP, called Ramblin’ Soul, with which she should be able to continue the triumphal march. Once again you’ll hear a sound from a bygone era, in which country, soul, jazz, R&B, bluegrass and western swing merge, once again it’s the distinctive vocals of Carper that steal the show. That doesn’t mean it’s more of exactly the same: the 13 new tracks – including covers by Brennen Leigh (Hanging On To You) and Odetta (Hit or Miss) – are more diverse and upbeat, delivered with more confidence and humor. An earworm like Boxers on Backwards is probably the strongest example of that fresh breeze, but actually everything here is enjoyable. Authentic, unique and uplifting.

Ramblin’ Soul, produced by Dennis Crouch and Andrija Tokic, is out now digitally on CD and vinyl LP via Mae Music / Thirty Tigers. With contributions from Dennis Crouch (bass), Chris Scruggs (guitars), John Pahmer (organ, piano), Matty Meyer (drums), Billy Contreras (fiddle), Rory Hoffman (piano, nylon string guitar, clarinet), Wes Langlois (rhythm guitar), and Larry Marrs, Sierra Ferrell, Kyshona Armstrong, Nickie Conely and Maureen Murphy for harmony vocals.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Melissa Carper

New album: Tulu and Wimpy || Fly Like A Cucumber

Scott Gildersleeve (aka Tulu) and Jack Hayes (aka Wimpy Rutherford) were founding members of The Queers. The pair also played together in The Monsignors and Drunken Cholos and had plenty of their own musical projects. In 2014, Tulu and Wimpy started recording Fly Like a Cucumber with Marc McElroy of the Electric Cave Recording Studio in 2014. Sadly, Tulu (aged 56) died just weeks before finishing the record. Wimpy promised to finish the recording “as Scott would have wanted me to.”

Fast forward seven years and Fly Like A Cucumber is finally here. It contains Tulu originals, as well as some unreleased/remixed songs by the Monsignors. With one of the creators no longer around, Fly Like a Cucumber is a bittersweet record. Its release stings a little, especially given the positive reviews the record will surely generate. It offers a varied trove of gems waiting to be discovered. It is not a record to quickly scan. You’d probably miss out the best parts if you do. For me, that is the subtle beautiful classic (soft)power pop song Over You. Build on a lovely jangly guitar lick, it’s a song that I can keep on playing.

Fly Like A Cucumber is out now through Pine Hill Records. This is how Wimpy announced the record: “…finally, I am able to release this truly outstanding record, that I had the pleasure of being able to create with my best friend. I feel it is by far the best record I have ever been involved with in my 40 some years of recording. Tulu, may you stay…Forever Young.”

Add to wantlist: Pine Hill

New album: Fruit Tones || Pink Wafer Factory

Pink Wafer Factory is the second full length of Manchester (UK) trio Fruit Tones. If the name Fruit Tones evokes bubblegum associations, you are not necessarily wrong. But bubblegum only accounts for a small part of the band’s sound, and primarily in the vocal melodies. Above all, Fruit Tones sound too dirty, too loud, too sleazy and too rock’n’roll to place them in the bubblegum category. A more apt comparision of the sound of Fruit Tones is early Stones, or even better: recent bands that do a garage take on the Stones like Natural Child. In fact, I am fairly certain you will like Pink Wafer Factory if you like Natural Child – particularly the more uptempo work of that band.

Pink Wafer Factory is the kind of record that combines ’60s and ’70s rock’n’roll nostalgia with craftmanship and provides contemporary fun. It’s the kind of music that is best experienced live, but I believe the recordings have captured that energy and spontaneity nicely. Buy this one with zero regret guarantee, but if you need more reason to give this band a chance, note that the LP is released by the always delivering Alien Snatch! Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New album: 7Horse || The Last Resort

The big discovery of The Wolf Of Wall Street soundtrack (2013) was the track Meth Lab Zoso Sticker by 7Horse, for me the main reason to buy the CD at the time (and still an awesome tune). Somehow I never got to delve deeper into the band (shame on me), but by chance I heard new music this week that I immediately recognized as 7Horse. Since 2011, this has been the “post-punk dystopian blues” project of American multi-instrumentalists Phil Leavitt and Joie Calio, with which they say they are “blurring the lines between ’70s-sized rock & roll, Vegas showbiz glitz and bluesy grit with a sound rooted in groove and Gretsch guitars, rhythm and riffs, desert-rock crunch and cinematic sweep.” Turns out they’ve released four albums before – what I heard was their fifth LP, called The Last Resort. You’ll hear 10 versatile songs that are sometimes rocking, sometimes poppy, sometimes danceable, sometimes understated and sometimes exotic, but always catchy, grand and enthralling. The new record starts off winsome with Hippies On Acid (a riff that smells like teen spirit and an infectious chorus that makes you shout along right away) and then surpasses it with Non Sono Un Ragazzo (an irresistible vibe and great lyrics including references to the aforementioned soundtrack banger). Although these are the most striking tunes, the level remains quite high after that, especially Try To Forget It, Hey Vámonos! and The Record Collector stand out. A big hit can be a yoke, but 7Horse prove to have much more to offer.

Add to wantlist: streaming only for now (self-released).

Dusted || The 10 Best Cover Songs Of October 2022

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.

Honk If You’re Lonely || Cover: Say Sue Me || Original: Silver Jews
South Korean indie rock band Say Sue Me celebrate their 10th anniversary with an EP simply called 10 (out digitally and on cassette through Damnably). For this they recorded creditable new versions of their own songs Bad Habit and Old Town, as well as covers of songs by Yo La Tengo, Pavement, Daniel Johnston, Silver Jews, Grandaddy and Guided By Voices. No weak moments here, but as we can’t honor David Berman enough, we chose this one.

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