Tommy Keene delved deep into his record collection for Excitement at Your Feet ( Second Motion Records), his 10th studio effort and first LP of cover songs, due for release Sept. 17. Those who have followed Tommy’s career know his definitive versions of Alex Chilton’s “Hey Little Child” and Lou Reed’s “Kill Your Sons.” Here he covers iconic artists such as the Rolling Stones, the Who, the Bee Gees — but apart from Donovan’s “Catch the Wind,” none of Excitement’s 11 tracks ever troubled the U.S. singles chart.
Instead, Excitement is largely about the artist’s personal musical inspiration. Tommy pays tribute to his aforementioned British Invasion heroes, but also his East Coast punk/new wave roots with covers of Television and Mink Deville. On a more contemporary note, he also tips his hat to Keene Brothers partner Robert Pollard with a cover of Guided By Voices’ “Choking Tara.” Other gems include Echo & the Bunnymen’s “The Puppet” and Roxy Music’s “Out of the Blue.”
Bob Neuwirth is known inside the music business as Bob Dylan’s associate during the mid-’60s and early ’70s. He eventually began to record his own music in the early ’70s, and while he has only recorded sporadically, critics have frequently sung his praises. Recorded in 1999 in Cuba, Havana Midnight beautifully documents the collaboration between Neuwirth and composer/arranger/pianist José Maria Vitier. The album’s spare, atmospheric sound immediately draws the listener’s attention on the title cut. Reminiscent of Terry Allen at his most mellow, an evocative combination of bongos, piano, and tabla lays down the ideal base for Neuwirth’s relaxed vocals. Both “The First Time” and “Dead Man’s Clothes” follow the opening cut in a calm, peaceful procession that quietly introduces themes of desire, lost dreams, and regret. As a whole, Havana Midnight unfolds like a soul’s journey in a strange land, both dark and beautiful. Lyrically, “Don Quixote” and “The Call” run deeper than the typical singer/songwriter fare, as if painted on a timeless canvas. The overall approach, musically, vocally, and lyrically, is low-key, as though a poet were whispering a desperate story to himself or herself late at night. The arrangements are an epitome of taste, and include such subtle touches as rain in the background at the beginning of “Havana Farewell.” Pianist Vitier and guitarist Rey Guerra add lovely fills to a number of cuts, deftly enhancing these proceedings. If fortune shines on the dark world of Bob Neuwirth, this recording will spread his good name and inspire listeners to seek out his older material.
The Rich Hands, the three-piece garage rock ‘n’ rollers from San Antonio, Texas, have released their excellent album ‘Dreamers’.
The boys, who formed back in 2011, have already put out an EP and two singles, but this last month has finally seen the release of their debut album. Full of straight up rock and roll, melodies and catchy chorus’; the album has been released on cassette on Burger Records and on LP by Fountain Records.