Blues & Roots

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.

New album: Herman Hitson || Let The Gods Sing

In 2022, not many artists can claim to have collaborated with Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, Joe Tex, Bobby Womack, Wilson Pickett, Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke and many other big names, let alone release a new album more than 50 years after their debut. But look: American guitar player and singer Herman Hitson aka Hermon Hitson has survived a wild life – his biography calls him a recovering heroin addict, one-time inmate and snake-clearer armed with a flamethrower – and recently in two days he recorded the nine songs of Let The Gods Sing, unstoppable as if he were at the beginning of his career, although his unique dark voice betrays longevity. The experienced pioneer plays here alongside The Sacred Soul Sound Section – Will Sexton (guitar), Mark Stuart (bass), Will McCarley (drums/percussion), Al Gamble (organ) and Art Edmaiston (horns) – forcing everybody to get loose and then tight. The LP captures the adventurous musical spirit of Hitson, with a wicked groove and a mix of funk, rhythm & blues, soul, hard blues, all layered with psychedelia, all raw and authentic. You’ll hear new performances of some of Hitson’s best-known R&B tunes, like Suspicious (an original Hitson song attributed to Jimi Hendrix at the time), and he also re-covers Bad Girl (featuring garage rock legend Jack Oblivian on guitar and Marcella Simien on vocals), written by his longtime bandmate Lee Moses. The record colors wildly outside the lines, takes you on an exciting trip, and leaves you in awe.

Let The Gods Sing, produced by Bruce Watson and Will Sexton, is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP through Big Legal Mess Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Big Legal Mess

New album: GA-20 || Crackdown

To be honest, I saw American trio GA-20 purely as an blues revival band, an image reinforced by their previous album (2021) where they honored legendary six-fingered Chicago bluesman Theodore Roosevelt “Hound Dog” Taylor. But now that I replay their debut LP Lonely Soul (2019), I realize that this thought was too short-sighted, that they are more than that. Although traditional electric blues is clearly the basis, the musicians give it their own, modern twist. On their new full-length Crackdown, guitarist/vocalist Pat Faherty, guitarist Matt Stubbs and drummer Tim Carmanand let go of the straitjacket of the old blues heroes even further, I guess more confident than ever because of countless successful live shows. Maybe we should call it soulful garage rock ‘n’ roll with heavy blues influences? The music is still raw and swampy, but the nine new, original songs are stronger and more memorable than ever – the melodies are catchier, the guitars more biting, the drums groovier, the vocals more convincing. I used to like GA-20, now I love them.

Crackdown is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP through Karma Chief Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Colemine || Discogs

New EP: La Perra Blanco || Won’t You Come On

Spanish rock & roll trio La Perra Blanco are back with the Won’t You Come On EP, featuring 4 sure-fire songs that make sitting still impossible. Alba Blanco (vocals, guitars), Guillermo González (double bass) and Jesus Lopez (drums, percussions) play uplifting rhythm & blues with powerful vocals on a swinging bed of seductive cadence. Energetic and fast, tough and danceable.

Won’t You Come On is out now digitally and on vinyl 7″ through FOLC Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || FOLC Records

Gimme 5! Peter Matthew Bauer (The Walkmen) Shares 5 Recent Favorites In Anticipation Of His New LP Flowers

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

Depending on your frame of reference and location, The Walkmen were either wildly succesful in the ’00s or criminally underrated. I, for one, am a huge fan of the band’s discography. Unlike other bands, the Walkmen’s demise did not end the musical careers of its individual members. In fact, they continue to gather critical acclaim with their solo (see Hamilton Leithauser, Walter Martin, Paul Maroon, and Peter Matthew Bauer) and band careers (Matt Barrick with Muzz). A close look at all of these projects reveals the diverse talents and musical interests of the individuals that made up the Walkmen.

In anticipation of his third record (Flowers), we reached out to The Walkmen’s bass player Peter Matthew Bauer to provide a Gimme 5 feature. He kindly obliged, and his list is as diverse as I’d hoped it would be. Part of this has to do with his own record label (and management company) Fortune Tellers Music. The Flowers LP, which will be out September 23 on Fortune Tellers – pre-order now) is a reflection of the different artists Bauer works or has worked with. Currently, three teaser singles have been released and none of them sound alike, yet all of them are of interest. Whereas Skulls has hints of The Walkmen, Knife Fighter starts out as an acoustic folk song that grows into something bigger and more exciting along the way. That also applies to Miracles, a gorgeous and particularly powerful track where Bauer constantly builds and releases tension. Continue reading below to hear the song and discover Bauer’s Gimme 5.

Dusted || The 10 Best Cover Songs Of June 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.

In June we heard some covers on the soundtrack of Baz Lurhmann’s biopic film ELVIS, The Routes’ did a surf rock Kraftwerk tribute, Elvis Costello celebrated Paul McCartney’s 80th birthday, a project of Disclotch Records contained 27 home recordings to pay homage to Daniel Johnston, and previously we wrote about releases from Thee Escapees, Mikey Erg, Reverendo Band, Runaway Lovers and Townies with some successful cover versions. Below we list the 10 best that we haven’t mentioned yet.

Hound Dog || Cover: The Record Company || Original: Big Mama Thornton
The iconic rock ‘n’ roll track Hound Dog was written by Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller, first released by blues singer Big Mama Thornton (1953), and made famous by Elvis Presley (1956). The ELVIS soundtrack features an honorable cover by Shonka Dukureh, but as a fan of American roots rock band The Record Company, it’s their version that you see here (not related to the movie). It’s not a Thornton or Presley imitation: as always The Record Company gives it its own twist. In case you don’t know: they previously worked on Beastie Boys’ So What’Cha Want, still one of my favorite covers ever.

New EP: The Sound Station || Wild One

Nakia and Simon Black are a prime example of how great musical taste and talent can result in great tunes. In their Gimme 5 feature on our site, they revealed their impeccable taste, and the only negative thing I can say about their band The Sound Station’s output is that I wish they were a bit more prolific.

But scarcity makes the heart grow fonder – or something like that, and their new EP Wild One was worth testing our patience for. The four songs on the EP are The Sound Station’s love letter to the outcasts of ’50s and ’60s music, to the earliest punks, the greasiest rockers, and the grooviest R&B lads and ladies. It’s an exhilerating brand of garage rock that sounds particularly combustible on the title track and Late Night Snack.

The Wild One EP is out now on 7″ single at Chaputa! Records. The quality of the songs and the great by João Pimenta should make this one a can’t lose purchase.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Chaputa!

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