Monthly Archives: July 2013

Liar’s Club – Come and Go (2013)

liLiar’s Club was one of the rare Seattle and Tacoma bands in the late 1980s and early 1990s that focused on intricate studio production, the best example being the excellent “Drop Dead” album with the XTC like “Cinnamon Smiles” and a variety of hard rock and pastoral melodies.
Skip ahead two decades and we’ve got Come and Go. The title track feels like they never left the 80′s with big angular rhythms and staccato riffs. And a bit of Partridge-like fun is displayed on “Big Bastard” including organ and horn flourishes.  Slowly the stylistic excesses give way to some great songs, “Gonna Get Yours Yet” is a perfect example of this. “Emily” is a another smart mid-tempo gem, mixing Queen and Beatles in equal measure. Fans of Jellyfish are sure to flip over this track. The baroque “As Soon As Impossible” is a light forlorn 60′s melody, then the band rocks out on “Ever The Optimist” complete with cynical lyric and kick-ass guitar solo. There are 15 tracks total, and most of them are great including a sweet cover of George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass.” The slide guitar pysche-pop harmonies of “You Suffer” and “Forgiven” round out this excellent return to greatness from The Lair’s Club. Let’s hope the next album isn’t as long a wait.

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Hamell on Trial – Songs For Parents Who Enjoy Drugs (2006)

hamell on trial - songs for parents who enjoy drugs - frontIf there’s anything to say about Ed Hamell (aka Hamell on Trial), it’s that he’s certainly not shy about voicing his opinion. On his fifth solo record, Songs for Parents Who Enjoy Drugs, the anti-folk acoustic punk singer presents his most politically charged album to date. Inspired by the birth of his son, Detroit, Hamell searches to answer some of the questions that plague all parents in the 21st century (what to do when he asks if you’ve ever done “anything bad” — the response: “lie” — in “Inquiring Minds” or how to justify picking up toys when “We’re over in Iraq/And there’s no sign of turning back” in “Values”) while keeping everything very tongue-in-cheek. Hamell’s not concerned about dispelling stereotypes or about showing “compassion” (“That would take a bigger person than me,” he admits in “Coulter’s Snatch,” which is everything you’d think it would be, only probably more graphic); in fact, he doesn’t even seem to mind perpetuating them (the Southern-accented voice in “Maddy’s Pt. 1” and “Pt. 2”). He’s just angry and wants to say what he feels, and doesn’t care who he offends in the meantime. While Hamell’s nasally, sneering voice can be more than a little grating — not to mention the fact that his delivery as a “rapper” is pretty bad — his intentions are, in an odd way, very sincere. Maybe this can be seen in his less political songs, like in “Jerkin’,” an atypical ode to monogamy, or the early-U2-esque “Father’s Advice” (“You’d better love/’Til you die”), everything played over fuzzed-out acoustic and electric guitars and random synths. It’s lo-fi music that sounds like it’s played on broken strings and blown-out amps, and while perhaps Johnny Rotten would never be caught singing “The Wheels on the Bus” (albeit a more modern, and disturbing, version of it that features Detroit on background vocals), he might appreciate the D.I.Y. ethic that Hamell pursues. As an album, Songs for Parents Who Enjoy Drugs is kind of hit-or-miss, but as a statement, he’s spot-on.

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Cloud Control – Dream Cave (2013)

clAustralian quartet Cloud Control are no strangers to taking risky chances, having uprooted themselves from half way around the world to pursue a career in music is no decision for the cowardly. However, their second album Dream Cave feels lacking of almost any sense of ambition or adventure. Rather than further seizing opportunities, the band wallow within uncomfortable musical positions and fairly unremarkable tracks. Despite this inconstancy in the quality of the various elements of Cloud Control’s music, they get it right in ‘The Smoke and The Feeling’; a deep tenor, laidback ode to 90’s dance music with an added synthetic twist. It holds the honour of being my favourite track, much to my surprise considering the album’s dominant indie rock aspects.  But, alas, the follow-up ‘Scar’ becomes just another rather forgettable mess, to a point wherein the chorus feels like a free-for-all between vocalists and guitarist, ending in an incoherent babble.

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Tallahassee – Old Ways (2013)

TALLBefore he formed the roots-rock band Tallahassee, Brian Barthelmes was an offensive lineman for the New England Patriots, using his 300-pound frame to strike down players from the other team. Nowadays, he’s throwing his weight behind his band’s second album, which mixes down-tempo Americana with sweeping, guitar-based rockers.
Don’t be confused by the group’s name. Barthelmes formed the four-piece band in Providence, RI — roughly 1,280 miles away from Tallahassee, Florida — but in this case, Tallahassee refers to an old Muskogean Indian word meaning “old fields.” Barthelmes’ music fits that bill well, rustling up memories of forgotten landscapes and rural, open-ended horizons. To keep the vintage theme going, the band even named its new album Old Ways.
“To me, this album is a kind of declaration of our evolution both as a band and as people,” says lead guitarist Scott Thompson. “It’s filled with songs about trying to find a way forward. From this perspective, the title, Old Ways, might be perceived as ironic, but I think it’s just right. We’re the kind of band who would never want our own ideas about these songs or even the album title to overshadow that of the audience. Hopefully, the album title comes across as a sort of invitation to potential listeners, hinting at one meaning while the lyrics articulate something unexpected.”

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The Handsome Family – Last Days of Wonder (2006)

the handsome family - last days of wonder - front“There was mystery singing from everything,” says Brett Sparks on “White Lights”.  It’s a tender love song from the Handsome Family’s seventh studio album, Last Days of Wonder, that’s set, characteristically enough, within a graveyard beside a stripmall– a theme and place that should be recognizable to anyone familiar with the Handsome Family and their fractured, gothic Americana. The husband/wife duo of Brett and Rennie Sparks have always sought to wrest as much mystery and romance as possible from their seemingly mundane modern surroundings, crafting an impressive, finely attuned catalog of urban ghost stories, death ballads, and fatalistic country narratives.
Steeped in Appalachian folk tradition, the Handsome Family’s songs are forever shadowed by nature’s hidden uncontrollable forces. Perhaps it’s this deep-seated sense of impending doom that has lately discouraged the duo from making any far-reaching updates to their musical attack. Last Days of Wonder is the Handsome Family’s first album since 2003’s Singing Bones, and like the rest of their work its success depends entirely upon two assets: Rennie’s keenly observed, fantasist lyrics and Brett’s rich, oaken baritone. With a formula the duo settled upon somewhere around 1998’s Through the Trees, Brett supplies nearly all of the music as well, digitally recording layers of guitar, banjo, autoharp, and electronic percussion. But while Last Days of Wonder does contain some typically absorbing performances, one can’t help but feel that they’ve begun to repeat themselves, sounding at times like some talkative old-timer who can’t always recall which of his crazy stories he’s already told.

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Joe Sun – Storms Of Life (1981)

joeJames Joseph Paulsen (born September 25, 1943, Rochester, Minnesota) is an American country music singer, songwriter of Danish descent, known rofessionally as Joe Sun.

Tracks:

1.Folsom Prison Blues
2.Ella B
3.Break My Mind
4.Endless Sleep
5.Little Old Winde Drinker Me
6.What’s Left Of Me Will Never Be Right
7.Rock Salt And Nails
8.Kansas City
9.Storms Of Life
10.I Ain’t Nothin’ Buddy But Drunk

mp3 320 kbps | 66 MB | UL | CL

Old Bear Mountain – Northwest Hymnal (2013)

oldNorthwest Hymnal, the latest album by Spokane, Washington’s Old Bear Mountain, is the gorgeous follow-up to the band’s 2011 debut On The Run. The quartet of Wade Muncey (vocals, banjo), Derek McFaul (guitar, harmonica, kick drum), Mackie Hockett (vocals, piano), and Brett Didier (bass, tambourine) return with their magnificent patchwork of banjo-driven bluegrass interwoven with Irish folk.
For many of their songs, Old Bear Mountain draws inspiration from their surrounding geography–“Mount St. Helens,” “British Columbia,” and “Idaho” are just a few of Hymnal’s track titles–with lyrics that often incorporate sepia-toned imagery of gullies and groves, ferries and forests. In fact, the record as a whole serves as an homage to nature, a callback to a time when the trees were yet to be timbered and the roads yet to be paved. The album’s opening number, “All Weary Travelers for the Last Frontier,” showcases the unique voice of Wade Muncey, who conjures up those memories of days past and love lost, and functions to set the scene for an album packed as tightly as a bindle with nostalgia for the Old Pacific Northwest. On “British Columbia,” the additional vocals of Mackie Hockett are highlighted in a beautiful but remorseful chorus, exemplifying the way the record, despite its simplicity, is still capable of dimension and depth. Hockett takes the reigns on “Mountain to Sound,” a song about the evolving feelings one has when rambling around with someone from place to place for the sake of love: “I follow you across the country, or all the places you call home / I thought that you and I had something, but that was then, now I don’t know,” she sings. It’s a song that captures the essence of Northwest Hymnal–a journey through the Pacific countryside that expresses both the thrill of exploration as well as the longing for a life that’s a little more settled. But no matter which leg of Old Bear Mountain’s travels you find yourself drawn to, it’s almost certain you’ll be tapping your foot along the way.

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Scud Mountain Boys – Do You Love the Sun [Special Edition] (2013)

scDo You Love the Sun, the first new collection of songs to appear from Massachusetts-based alt-country/Northern gothic folk quartet Scud Mountain Boys since 1996, pretty much picks up where things left off. Warm, weary, and congenially intimate, Joe Pernice, Stephen Desaulniers, Bruce Tull, and Tim Shea have crafted a fine new set of understated anthems for the terminally wistful and forlorn, all of which strut and fret their hour upon the stage in that elusive grey area between melancholic, bottle-strewn, front-porch country and resigned, Sunday afternoon, post-pot roast AM pop. The album boasts its fair share of last-call, midtempo juke joint laments (“Crown of Thorns,” “Drew Got Shot,” “You’re Mine”), but Pernice’s pop pedigree, which has been honed over the years through a steady stream of solo and full band (The Pernice Brothers, Chappaquiddick Skyline) releases, muscles its way to the surface on some of the record’s better moments, like the lush and languid “Theme from Midnight Cowboy,” the weepy “Double Bed,” and the cleverly subversive, suburban blues tale “The Mendicant,” the latter of which deftly and comically, albeit darkly, provides a rusty bridge between the boys of old and the men they have since become.

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Fotheringay – Fotheringay (1970)

FOFotheringay’s only album – the beautiful self-titled ‘Fotheringay’ – has long been regarded as one of the finest achievements of British folk-rock. Originally released in 1970, soon after Sandy Denny left Fairport Conventiion, the album includes some of her finest vocal performances and some of her finest original compositions.

Band:

Sandy Denny – guitar, piano, vocals
Trevor Lucas – guitar, vocals
Jerry Donahue – guitar, vocals
Pat Donaldson – bass, vocals
Gerry Conway – drums
Linda Thompson – vocals
Todd Lloyd – vocals

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The Flying Eyes – Lowlands (2013)

flProduced by Rob Girardi at Lord Baltimore Studios. Mixed by Chris “Frenchie” Smith at The Bubble in Austin, TX. Mastered by Dave McNair Mastering, “Lowlands” will be released soon.
“This was the first chance we’ve had to work with a producer and it made all the difference. Rob was totally focused on the execution of the recording giving us the freedom to completely absorb ourselves in the performance. During overdubs, he also kept us on task so we didn’t slip down the rabbit hole of psychedelic weirdness. We were also really lucky to record with some incredibly talented guest musicians, including Dave Hadley on pedal steel, Ryan McBride on sitar and Katrina Ford (of Celebration) on back up vocals.”

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CC Coletti – Bring It On Home (2013)

CCCC Coletti is back with a new album, Bring It On Home. The album was recorded by Chesky Records.Her powerful, warm voice combined with the well respected guitarist/producer Anthony Krizan brings a new and modern play on songs like, Led Zeppelin’s “Rock And Roll”, Howlin’ Wolf’s “Killing Floor” and many more.

Tracks:

01 In My Time Of Dying
02 When The Levee Breaks
03 Bring It On Home
04 You Shook Me
05 Black Dog
06 I Can’t Quit You Babe
07 Killing Floor
08 Bron-Y Aur-Stomp
09 Nobody’s Fault But Mine
10 Whole Lotta Love
11 Rock And Roll

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Poor Man’s Whiskey – A Tribute To Kate Wolf: Like A River (2012)

1. Like a River
2. Here in California
3. Everybody’s Looking for the Same Thing
4. You’re Not Standing Like You Used To
5. Eyes of a Painter
6. Across the Great Divide
7. Hurry Home
8. Picture Puzzle

Jason Beard-Guitar, Mandolin
Josh Brough-Banjo, Keyboards
Eli Jebidiah-Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin, Theremin
George Smeltz-Drums
Aspen Stevenson-Bass

mp3 160 kbps | 46 MB | UL | TB

Lorrie Morgan & Pam Tillis – Dos Divas (2013)

loDos Divas is the new release (July 23, 2013) from two of country music’s most talented singers, Lorrie Morgan and Pam Tillis on Red River Entertainment label. They are currently touring as “Grits and Glamour”, an appropriate name for the spunky duet that between the two of them, have amassed a large collection of Top 10 singles, millions of albums sold and shelves full of awards.
The new project was produced by Matt Spicher and several songs were written or co-written by Morgan and/or Tillis. Both Lorrie and Pam sing lead on four songs each and then combine their beautiful vocals on the last six songs. My favorite cut on the album, being a breast cancer survivor, is “I Am A Woman” written by Mary Sue England and Thom Shepherd. It is a beautiful song written about what every woman is; “I am beauty, I am grace, I’m not just another pretty face…I am faith, I am hope, I’m this pink ribbon that I wear and I am brave, no matter what you take away, I am a woman.”
The album is full of a variety of songs from the slow ballads to the peppy, feisty fun songs—a very good mix. Of course the musical arrangements and instrumentation is excellent! This album is a must for every country music lover’s collection.

mp3 320 kbps | 114 MB | UL | CL

David Munyon and Mary’s Band – Meanwhile, Back in Japan (2010)

DAWith his new 2010 album “Meanwhile back in Japan” David Munyon sets up his second one with “Mary’s Band” from the UK, on his own Record-Label “Mobile Home Records”.Most of the featured talented musicians can also be found on his “Some Songs for Mary” album from 2008. All in all fourteen diverse musical tracks, vary between beautiful Ballads and Love-Songs, cool Blues-Style-Songs, a bit Radio-Pop and some real rocking stuff. The only one on this album which comes only Solo/Acoustic is the nice and melancholic Song “Hare Krishna Christmas” – fits just right for the December release date! Some of my personal highlights are the “Cafeteria Blues”, “OK to Love”, “Painting for you” and with “Finally Scotland” a wonderful homage to his friend and producer Roger Morrish, out there in Scotland.
Everyone who always wants to know how David becomes such a genius musician and guitar-player gets the answer in “Hank Williams taught me how to play guitar”. The most touching Love-Song “San Francisco in the heart”, sung with Dagmar Wirtz, badge the punch line of the 67 minutes running-time CD. A really worth to buy “colourful” album, different to his audiophile Stockfisch products and his only Solo/Acoustic recordings!

mp3 160 kbps | 79 MB | UL | CL

Michael Martin Murphey – Red River Drifter (2013)

MINew release from the Country singer/songwriter.Murphey has been exploring the similarities between Bluegrass and American cowboy music. But for Red River Drifter, he brought in some very eclectic and unexpected elements to the writing process. ”I wrote songs that drew from what is inspiring me at this point in my life,” he says. ”Every style was fair game. We intentionally did not follow formulas or rules.” Murphey has received multiple Grammy nominations during his incredible career including one for Best Bluegrass Album for his Buckaroo Blue Grass album in 2009. He has also earned six gold albums and performs more than 150 shows per year.

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