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Friday, October 20, 2017

Real McKenzies
Two Devils Will Talk (Fat Wreck Chords)

Perhaps the Real McKenzies are the only Celtic Punk band in the way that Only The Meteors Are Pure Psychobilly. No rivals hew as assiduously to the core, and none produce as consistently stalwart a musical body.

Accordian darts in and out of guitar onslaughts; traditional airs are hefted high; indomitable pounding lashes all to frantic animation; and hoarse, impassioned exclamations thunder at center. The old and the new bond as a vibrantly unique creature, seizing without polish or politeness.

Leader Paul McKenzie told one interviewer that fellow Scots the (sadly, defunct) original Sensational Alex Harvey Band is the group for which he'd most wish to open. 'Twould be a bill for the ages.

Recommended "Seafarers," "Due West," "Weyburn," "Northwest Passage," "Float," "Fuck the Real McKenzies"

Video "Seafarers"

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Los RIPpers
Astromante single song (Sureste Records)

Ominous, insistent Spanish language psycho rendered distinctive by blaring Morricone trumpet. Intriguing in its guttural sweep.


Jinx Jones Trio
(Vibrosound Records)

Each successive Jinx Jones disc has elevated his oeuvre. This latest persists in that upward arc, and also raises sails toward fresh ambition.

Jinx has led something of a double professional life, surreptitously stepping it up with jazz coadjutors in the hippest night spots, even while etching with twanged electrical ammunition his more globally familiar rockin' renown.

Of course, silky jazz accentings always informed Jinx's country-planted rockabilly, much as they wonderfully did in that proffered by the late Danny Gatton. Understatedly eloquent and of common national lineage to the hillbilly, western, and blues idioms also turning up, they were naturally appropos to the larger intent, though of understandably limited prominence.

Now, though, the lights are fully up. The man has ushered his hot-and-cold jazz persona from the shadows, giving it ungoverned utterance. Mature, measured, and stately, each passage is enriched by a sangfroid that at once entrances and bespeaks miles-deep bearing.

To dig is to nod and feel wise.

Recommended "Flying Home," "Swedish Pastry," "Missile Blues," "Stompin' At the Savoy," "So What"

Video Jinx Jones Trio live at California's Impulse Room

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Eric O'
Bricks (self)

An emotionally contemplative concept disc so comfortably tuneful that uncommitted listeners might miss the narrative substance. So, pay heed while you sway to prepossessive lilts evocative of the Mavericks, Dwight Yoakam, and wood grain-Americana hefted proudly.

Recommended "Bricks," "Lucky Lucky Man," "It's Just the Way You Are," "Broken Jukebox," "She's Got You Fooled," "Hey Little Mama"

Video CD sample

The Owlz
Introducing the Owlz (self)

Woodwinds, doghouse, 88s, and canny confreres hit the cobblestone boulevard, turning up a tangy and sleek collection in which Gypsy Jazz, jump blues, Latin winking, and the splash of freshly-ridden wild surf combine in kicky union.

Recommended "Bossa Dorado," "That's What She Said [featuring Alex MacDonald]," "Honeysuckle Rose [featuring Robyn Adele Anderson]," "I'm Beginning To See the Light," "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes," "Heads Up"

Video "Bossa Dorado"

Gary Angel and the Angel Country Band
One More Time (Outlet Music)

This gentle country rhapsodizing has been heard before, and it never wears out its welcome. Without undue emphasis, it makes its good points, glides easily on stringed wings, and assumes plain folk-rank when so much else about exerts vainly.

Recommended "Stop the World and Let Me Off," "One More Time," "Rockin' Alive," "Teardrops Over You," "They'll Turn It Around," "You're Gonna Be Good"

Jon Langford
Four Lost Souls (Bloodshot)

Onetime Mekon Jon navigated the same punk-to-American-roots passage that had proved natural for Chip Hanna, and with the same affirmative eventuality. Limber, down-home backwoods muses always did offer expostulatory humanity of significance equal to that deafeningly remonstrated by angry youth, big-city yearning and tumult. And a pluck can match a buzzsaw thrash any weekday, and twice on Sundays.  

Recommended "Natchez Trace," "In Oxford, Mississippi," "Half Way Home," "What's My Name?," "Snake Behind Glass," "Waste"

Video "Natchez Trace"

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Li'l Mo & the Monicats
Country and Rockabilly Sampler 
(Passin Fancy Records)

It's a wondrous instrumental vehicle, Monica Passin's sweet voice.  It can evoke all the heart-wrought angst so familiar to those of passion, or rise in mule-kicking obstreperousness to rebel gloriously in free abandon. Back-country fiddle, guitars, and solid rhythms keep to welcome course.

Recommended "It Just Doesn't Add Up," "Sideburn Daddy," "Packin' Up and Movin' Out," "Put Up A Fight," "He's a Handful," "Still Cryin'," "Why Don't You Live With Me," "Oh Baby!"

Video "It Just Doesn't Add Up"

Let's Go Sparkin' With...the Sidewynders 
(Rhythm Bomb Records)

Like a strapping country cousin, down-to-earth rockin' elbows into dance floor-place and cuts loose with a glad-all-over joyfulness that is truly a sight to behold and a liberating sound to hear. Happiness bustin' wide.

Recommended "Heart In a Daze," "Lyin' Baby," "Fancy Free," "Knock On Wood," "Dry Run," "Every Girl's Heart"

Video "Heart In a Daze"

Rocket J
Rocket Baby 
(Rocket J / Squirrel-Tone)

That elegant belter Joanne Van Vranken is back is but part of the glad news. She's jam packed these four EP tracks with rock-ribbed rockabilly of the type certain to scatter all lassitudes hopelessly galley west. 

Let's have a party!

Recommended "Rocket Baby," "It's the Beat," "I Don't Mind Being Free"

Video "Rocket Baby"

JD McPherson
Undivided Heart and Soul 
(New West Records)

Time and again, JD does what so few can: asserts his early rock'n'roll/r&b lineage with cutting chops and been-there-done-that swagger. Fingers snap, knees bend, hips sway, and heads bob. No superfluous gestures. We've struck bone marrow.

Recommended "Crying's Just a Thing That You Do," "Desperate Love," "Lucky Penny," "Hunting For Sugar," "Style (Is a Losing Game)," "Under the Spell of City Lights"

Video "Crying's Just a Thing That You Do"

Dexter Shaw and the Wolftones
Dexin' (Rhythm Bomb Records)

In its day, romping, sliding blues of spare instrumentation, full-throated expression, and dedicated deploy counted for a lot. Scratch "in its day." It never stopped mattering. 

Recommended "She Likes Her Bottle Gin," "Rocker," "Dexin'," "Wanna Love You,' "Honey, Let's Get High," "Louisiana Bound," "Give Me Back My Wig"

Video "She Likes Her Bottle Gin"

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Miki Pannell
Me and Mr. M.T. Wallet 
(Heroe de la Guitarra Records)

That Miki wields a formidable guitar and is well skilled at its application will surprise no one familiar with his Demented Are Go / Soulteros / Royal Scumbag Orchestra past. This new solo turn captures a remarkable aspect: one placidly reflective, inclined toward tasteful rumination, and even genteel. Lush, swept-away choral flourishes that sometimes recall the Beatles are unanticipated qualities, but are appreciated, nonetheless. 

Recommended "Hurricane Mari," "British Artists," "Barbie and Ken," "Hymn For the Homeless Part 1: I'll Be On My Way," "Hymn For the Homeless Part 2: Me and Mr. M.T. Wallet," "Hymn For the Homeless Part 3: Me and Lady Lucky," "Hypnotized," "By the Lake," "An Epitaph"

Video "Hurricane Mari"

Monday, September 18, 2017

Dollywood Confidential

Sunday night's Stephen Colbert-hosted Emmy awards broadcast fully met expectations, as a poncy parade of powdery silver-screen snoots took turns under-handing slurs at the President of the United States. 

By logical extension, the American people who support Trump, and the country itself, were also targets of the foppish Hollywood hissters.

Positively adrip with show-people contemptuousness for Real America, the Emmy Awards broadcast reaped the lowest ratings ever posted by that stomach-turning orgy of self-congratulation. 

Average Americans in their living rooms by now know to avoid the treasonous, glittering falderal Hollywood invariably choreographs. (Despite this broadcast crashing into utter splinters, though, next year's show will surely be cut from the same scornful fabric. They hate us even more than they covet viewership.)

Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin, and Jane Fonda appeared onstage, both to clumsily reference their 1980 film 9 To 5, and gigglingly smear the President. (Apparently, you can take Jane out of Hanoi, but you can't take Hanoi out of Jane.)

Some critics have noted that Parton herself did not comment during the awkward anti-Trump dido, merely raising her eyebrows as Tomlin and Fonda read scripted attacks. Those observers suspect Parton's silence might indicate disagreement with her erstwhile co-stars.

But, the singer hardly deserves exemption from sharing in the blame for only driving the getaway car. 

Parton well knows of Left intolerance. Only recently, an identity-addled Slate essayist joined in contemporary mania for historical reinvention, decrying Dollywood's Dixie Stampede. And, of course, she has throughout her career made much of the 'common folks' theme.

Given that, her volitional cooperation in the Emmy broadcast's flat anti-regular Americans antic conflicts with both her experience and cultivated image.

Dolly Parton may have chosen to participate in an act for which she did not herself feel enthusiasm, but that offered her profit. I believe there's a word for that.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Blue Coupe
Million Miles More (self)

Spectacular product issues when the brash energies of youth are focused by wisdom gleaned from journeyman background. Always welcome at the rock and roll party are song hooks successful in conversion, heavy guitar riffs that wind and bind with growled authority, and a trippingly compelling pounding that logically recalls the venerated Blue Oyster Cult and Alice Cooper bands from which sprang this titanic supergroup.

Also contributing are Dictator Ross the Boss, NYC sirens Tish and Snooky, BOC eye-harvester Buck Dharma, various devout members of Steppenwolf and Radio Birdman, and some singer named Furnier.

Recommended "Ride With Me," "Prophets, Dukes, and Nomads," "Hallow's Grave," "Modern Love," "Everybody Goes Insane," "Used Car," "Supernatural Love"

Video "Ride With Me"

The Astro Zombies
Frog's Legs (Crazy Love Records)

Skeletal, antsy Psychobilly, as yet saluted by glory-wrapped French guardsmen of the Old School Great War. Heaped dollops of mischievousness and maleficence.

Recommended "Use My Axe," "Fish Fingers," "Mad," "Frog's Legs," "Monster Stroll," "Burlesque Show," "Crazy Monkey"

Video "Use My Axe"

JD and the Straight Shot
Good Luck and Good Night (self)

Not nearly so much artificially matched from distinct origins as of obviously natural correspondence -- so apt that they could never thrive in any others' company  -- the unabashedly expressive lyrics and gentle, animated music here in residence find effectiveness well beyond mere background distraction.

Recommended "Run For Me," "Redemption Train," "Ballad of Jacob Marley," "Never Alone," "Moonlight," "It's Your World, Now"

Video "Run For Me"

The Bad Breed
Snake Girl (Dangerhouse)

Imagine slowly waking in an unfamiliar, slippery and pulsing, keyboard exotica reality, one as conversant in passing, amiable western lilts as driven rock and roll, and led to crowning triumph by scissor-fanged and whomping guitars. A strange circumstance, perhaps. But one perniciously pleasant. Franz? 

Recommended "Snake Girl," "Ain't No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down," "Love Or Glory Man,"

Video "Snake Girl"

Lawen Stark and the Slide Boppers
On the Run (Drunkabilly Records)

Solid and wood-grained rockabilly without counterproductive fancy-pants airs about arty exposition. Real music for real people in the real world. Fun, and loads of it.  

Recommended "," "Pepper Hot Baby," "On the Run," "Come On, Let's Go," "I Got Devils," "Forget Me Never," "I Can't Lose"

Video "Pepper Hot Baby" (Live)

Rockabilly Kitty Rose
Gotta Wind Down (Crackerjill Music)

Wonderfully basic rockabilly -- forceful in its bursting, with honking sax coloration and blues wisdom -- is all the base Kitty requires from which open up and exclaim her rockin' heart out. And a mighty, mighty heart it is.

Recommended "Bourbon Bound," "Gotta Wind Down," "Up Side Down (You Turned My)," "Walking Blues," "Drop Dead Gorgeous," "Black Cherry Tree"

Video "Bourbon Bound"

Jim Diamond and the Groove Syndicate
Somewhere Somehow (Bigtone Recording)

Fortunately reissued tracks communicating the just-plain joyfulness of knowing exactly where fun is and how best to get to it. There is in these high-stepped blues passages great jubilation. Jim's guitar compels all to gladly follow.

Recommended "Down So Long," "Surfin' the Blues," "Don't Be Sad," "Tempest," "Desperate Man," "Highway 401"

Video "Down So Long"

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Clockwork Psycho
I Don't Give a Fuck (Diablo Records)

Like heady sweet wine in whose crimson murk floats crunched-up windshield glass. 

Recommended "I Don't Give a Fuck," "Library of Abandoned Hope," "Go Away," "Dead Boy," "Secret Me," "After Midnight"

Video "I Don't Give a Fuck"

Black Patti
Red Tape (Rhythm Bomb Records)

With each winged harp note and serious string pluck, Peter Crow C. and Ferdinand Kraemer summon anew the unassuming blues spirituality of an era long-since passed, but alive yet to all truly hip to the American music canon.

Recommended "Ask Your Mama," "Wooten Stomp," "Goodbye Little Baby," "I'll Never Come Back Home," "Frenchman Street Rag," "A Stroll With Mr. Roll"

Video "I'll Never Come Back Home"

Milwaukee Wildmen
Blood Moon Shadow (Diablo Records)

Angry, menacing rock 'n' roll shook the forbidden club. It assaulted innocent ears for blocks around. 

Inching open the club's rear door, a timid square peered fearfully inside. It was midnight-dim, save for the stark beams of randomly placed lights, He stared in open-jawed horror at the monstrous tableau within: A crush of bodies pulsed -- jerking, gyrating, and slamming into monstrous union. Swerved brutality deafened. 

Onstage, the delinquent authors of the riotous racket leaned into their breakneck dirty business, eyes blazing with the fervency of undead hitmen. 

And the songs. They were irresistible, onrushing, and like some grisly brew of feral howling, one-percenter stridency, and the arrogance of a thousand dark-side beasts.

The square eased shut the door he should have left unopened. He knew the unspeakable scene he'd beheld would forever stalk in his brain.

Recommended "Die Alone," "Dark Shadows," "Leaves a Scar," "Not Too Late," "Psycho Like You," "Black Machinery," "Dead Heroes"

Video "Dark Shadows"

Sandy and the Wild Wombats
Devoted to Rock (Bear Family)

Each hopped-up instrumental element explodes straight at you with blood-churning relish. In formidable burliness, and with stylistically particular mind, the minimalist Rockabilly romps, batters, and delights as only it can. (The hallowed Paul Burlison exemplar sometimes gestures in lightning-strike leads.)

Recommended "I Gotta Move," "Rockabilly Man," "Wild Night," "Cure Your Ills," "Hey, Hey, Hey"

Video "I Gotta Move"

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Charlie Pickett featuring Peter Buck
That's What I Like About Miami 
digital track 
(Bloodshot Records)

The Floridian landscape of torn wreckage and despondent humanity horribly evident in Hurricane Irma's wake requires that all able take up the amelioration task, however we are able, and to the limits of our potentials. Art, too, is summoned to its feet; its peculiar charms are here manifested in a laid-back groove that echoes in reassuring counterpoint to nature's indifferent ugliness.

Proceeds, as should be the case, are directed to the salvation effort.

Supper Club Riot (self)

The siren of riches ripe for discovery leads aspirational souls to wander away precious years in its pursuit. But, that it seldom delivers cash wealth only matters if you don't tally the more valuable rewards of the heart. 

By the way: This is some of the finest and most elemental rural tune-raising you're likely to ever hear.

Recommended "Swing Valley Drifter," "Sweet Sweet Girl," "Build Your Gallows High," "Space-Age Chevy," "Brassy Dame," "Jail Cell Bop," "Supper Club Riot"

Video "Swing Valley Drifter"