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Sunday, May 31, 2015

AJ & the Rockin' Trio
self-titled (DdjRecords)

Lots of spare spaces in between the standard rockabilly guitars, slap bass, and elementary drums, here - which is, of course, a very good thing. Too many busy sounds can get in the way of the fundamental rockin' reason for being. And with that much room to cut loose, leader AJ whirls, shudders, and testifies to humanity on fire. Realness will surely never fade from fashion.  

Recommended "Hot Rockin' Mama," "All Because of You," "Goodbye Baby     
                      Goodbye," "Baby Baby Baby"


VIDEO: "Just Thought I'd Set You Straight" (non-CD)        

Hard Six
Haunted Ride (self)

Now, this is worth our attention. The blast-level dynamic Hard Six careens skullfirst through death-defying tilt-a-funland. Members Fuse, Six, and Vogelcide perpetrate the real sort of rock'n'roll that corrupts entire generations and will never be found within arm's reach of upright culture. They understand that the all-important kick at the leathered heart of 70s punk and 50s rockabilly also charged vital 40s country, and wring from each outsider slant an electrified cacophony of febrile fervor. It is only right that they have destroyed stages with Nekromantix, Wanda Jackson, Los Lobos, and similar subcultural icons. 

Discs like this are just too rare.

Recommended "Haunted Ride," "Rockabilly Rumble," "Black Syrup," "Heartbreaker," "In the Shadows"

VIDEO: "Haunted Ride" - official video

Thursday, May 21, 2015

(Another look at some of my past Rockabilly Magazine CD recommendations. Bands may have new releases!)


Eddie Clendening featuring the Modern Sounds
"is...Knockin' At Your Heart" (Ventrella)

A lean and hungry cat -- trim sports jacket, trucker sideburns, talent in wicked abundance -- snaps open like a hipster's jacknife. Slicing off echoey slabs of flair is Chicago's uber versatile roots spellcasters 
Modern Sounds. If not royalty reborn, Mr. Eddie heads the hip -swaying shadow line.

Recommended "Long Tall Lou (from Louisville)," "Respectfully, Miss Brooks"

Hillbilly Casino
Tennessee Stomp (Hobolight)

HC's blooming anti-Industry bootstrapism -- entailing self-recording / booking/everything -- grows organically from the band's above-all calling: taking rock'n'roll (in all of its sundry aspects, including honky tonk and punk) to barrooms full of hoarse-throated, mug-waving true believers. And now, the group is even better than before. Take that, Handlebar.

Recommended "Tennessee Stomp," "The Ballad of Psycho Steve"

Carolina Chocolate Drops
Genuine Negro Jig (Nonesuch)

Clap hands, bend knees, and know that it's good to breathe. Raise dust 'round the porch to these upturned hearts anthemizing a jump-down, turn-around people -- and that's all of us, this being a chunk of America's heart. Yesterday/today seamlessness locates actualization via banjos, fiddles, leg percussion, and "computer hard drive 'triangle.'" Humanity steps it down.

Recommended "Your Baby Ain't Sweet Like Mine," "Cornbread and Butterbeans"

The Chop Tops                                                     
"Deadly Love" (Swillbilly)

No surprise that these three cruel cats drew impressive fan numbers at Viva. As grit-stocked punk pools tilted outlook with country/ska/blues / verboten Sun psalmizings, pomaded thugs furiously kick-dance on a switchblade's razor: fists curled, 'fuck-you' eyes aflame.

Recommended "Hard Luck," "Nothing For Something"

Truly Lover Trio
"Bullseye" (Twinkletone)

Suavity, enthrallingly gentle melodicism, implicit ebbulliance  -- these 
rank prominently among TTT's identifiers.Affectionate, winsome nods to the Wink Troubador elevate Bullesye tall o'er less graceful and 
clambering roarers. Refinement, it seems, offers strength not 
accessible to unthinkingly cacophonous cut outs.

Recommended "Twice Sorry," "You"

Kings of Nuthin'                                                                      
"Old Habits die hard" (Sailor's Grave)

Having crossed the rubicon dividing college kicks and bill-paying proposition, the Kings articulate matters that require living. Amid raucous -as-ever, punk-splayed and hyper-sudsy r'n'r (still the group's finest weapon) are a mature-perspectived can't-go-home essay, an aware, seasoned blast at the corporate music industry that routinely crushes musicians, and a markedly pensive piano/violin/cello moment in which strained-angst throat pipes nod toward Tom Waits.

Recommended "The List," "Congratulations"

"Police State" (Hazard Hill)

Laced up, splenetic and politically aware trio agitpunk, cut in 2006. 
"They took our freedom with the Patriot Act...One world run by corporate 
greed" is, sadly, no less relevant in the Obama years as the Bush ones. 
Boots on!

Recommended "Inciting a Riot," "Some Gave All"

Hot Rod Hillbillies
"You Wanna Race" (HRHB)

Galloping down into town from the highest ridge is fatal thunder: The 
Xavier Ortiz Gang rides again. At the Lone Star string-strangler's 
elbow, their Colt's spitting flames, are Tony Slash, David Cisneros, Al 
Martinez, Dave Irish. As always, it's a crashing bar-chord hoedown. There'll be one helluva pit down at the old corral tonight...
Recommended "Good, Bad, Ugly," "Probation"

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

I've just endured about two minutes of an annoyingly self-indulgent, dirgish offering by an unsigned Bay area 'alternative jam band.' 1:40 into the song, they were still gradually introducing instruments, and hadn't even gotten to the vocals.

All I could think, was: "The Ramones would have finished a song by now - and would have done a hell of a more with it, too!"

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Jinx Jones
Twang-Tastic!" (VibroSound)

It's not uncommon for artists to cool down a bit once they're a few discs into recording careers. Maybe they lose something of their initial creative fire. Perhaps they're a little less hungry.

But such concerns can be set to one side 'til another day and for a different case. Because California guitar wizard Jinx has stepped up an already formidable game. Here in lung-bursting, strapping evidence are the ear-stealing fretboard conjury and tunefully drawled, cat-on-barstool narratives that earlier this year earned him a coveted Ameripolitan Award nomination. And truly, they've never rung out more impressively.

A layered and textured kicks-festival, "Twang-Tastic," Jinx's fifth CD, finds our hero once more digging boot-heels into country-boppin rockabilly and swingalong surf instrumentals with raw enthusiasm. What he does with his guitar is so amazing it could be dangerous. We're lucky he wields it for the forces of good. Piercingly trebly, kaleidoscoped flutter-riffs spark lightninglike up and down the fretboard, occasionally pausing to revel in the spark-showering moment. Then, it's back to the swaybacked lockdown rhythms that keep feet on the hardwood.

All the while, a reliably rollicking, unstoppable force generated cooperatively by bassman Joe Kyle Jr. and drummer Ken Owen makes good-time magic possible. (These gentlemen add to the majority of the rocketing tracks, though others occasionally step in.) Also making important contributions are sax player Doug Rowan and David Phillips, pedal steel. The compound proves detonative; one senses they've all forgotten more about laying down rock'n'roll sounds than many others will ever know. 

Truth be told, I honestly don't believe Jinx Jones ever will lose the fire.

Recommended "Metalflake Sky," "Nothing Left To Burn," "Wham Bam Boogie," "Too Many Chicks," "Beat Crazy Baby," "Jinx's Guitar Boogie"

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Simon and the Bar Sinisters
"Break the Tension, Eat a Peanut"(self)

NYC six-string sparkplug Simon Chardiet and associates are in the prime spot: The hotblooded, kick-out-the-jams fury of feral youthfulness explodes here, but calculated dispatch and knowing awareness owing to angry matutity render it so effective as to rank the perpetrators o'er many-a contemporary. And that it is about a thousand kinds of fun into the bargain only enriches further. 

Recommended "Nostalgia Ain't What It Used To Be," "Doucheocracy," "Time Will Tell," "Oh Baby," "Break the Tension, Eat a Peanut," "Cherry Pie" 

VIDEO "Break the Tension, Have a Peanut" (live)

Monday, May 4, 2015

Shelley Minson .
self-titled (self)

Take note, all who revere primeval rockin' country icons Wanda Jackson and Janis Martin: Australian pin up siren Shelley romps and stomps in those legends' full-throated manner one moment, only to settle into winsome, heartfelt ruminating, the next. Add in head-turning, skirt-snapping brashness, and the redoubtable fretboard navigations of husband Lawrie, and this is an ardent EP effort both alluring and audacious. 
Lucky crowds at April's Viva Las Vegas got a whirlwind sample. 

Recommended "Bettie Bang," "Thinkin' 'Bout a Boy," "Zombie Fear," "I Didn't know What I Was Missing"

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Rockett 88 featuring Doctor Harmonica 
"Poultry and adultery" (Lanark)

Nothing novel or unprecedented in these blues, but familiarity can be a good thing: When you know what you want, experience maps a satisfying course. And this does indeed satisfy. Whether in full-on, jump-blues mode or laying back to ponder, this hardy squadron is in crackerjack character. Each drawled swipe speaks of heartaches, hopes, and a million midnight joys.   

Recommended "The Wizzinator," "Christine," "Girl With a Job," "Don't TalkTo Me," "Blues To the Point"  

The Blue Plate Specials 
"Servin' It Up" (Lanark)

It may be understandable if some consider Lanark a rockabilly label; the imprint does, after all, boast icons Robert Gordon and the Rockats on its impressive roster. But the label is deeper than any single style. The Blue Plate Specials excel at in-the-groove blues boogie. Theirs is a galvanizingly jivy and genial, sway-backed proposition in which already robust guitar, drums, and bass are further fortified by rollicking keys and horns. It's electrifying to hear players this suited to their glad duty.  

Recommended "I Need a Car," "Come Out Baby," "Goin' To Mississippi," "Me and My Baby,"  "Cruisin' Past Bakersfield," "Whiskey Cost Money" 

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Lustre Kings
Go Green (Wild Boar)

The Lustre Kings dig that true-hearted rockabilly has a country core, and their unfeigned love of the rebel music is infectious. The good-time sounds purveyed by Gretsch-slinger Mark Gamsjager and co. swing, bop, and wheel in formidable fashion; so enthusiastically so that the world's 
hardwood dance floors surely fear the Lustre Kings. Each hip-dipped step of the way, affable character predominates. We're all in this big beat, twangin' celebration together.  

Recommended: "It Ain't Right,"  "Don't Let Go," "First Train Heading South," "I'm Through," "Boogie Woogie Country Girl," "Try Me"

VIDEO "Mr. Big (live - not on this CD)