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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"