Quiet Company- Transgressor (2015)

Posted by KB on 2/24/2017 to Reviews
Quiet Company, led by Taylor Ruse, knows it way around a melody. They wring the most out of every instrument giving each moments of prominence and they create drama or bombast at just the right time. Their song structure is similar to Okkervil River but bigger and fuller, which isn't such a surprise since both bands are from Austin, Texas. Ruse writes intelligent and personal lyrics channeling his life's experiences and in this case relational. On "Transgressor" they get little more poppy treading into Semisonic territory with clever intertwining of the riff and the tune and it's welcome, not a deterrent. Looking forward to their next drop.

Favorite Songs: Seven Hills, Mother of a Deal, Understand the Problem

Robert Randolph & the Family Band- Got Soul (2017)

Posted by KB on 2/23/2017 to Reviews
The man can play. He can really play. Robert Randolph can take a campy, cliche riddled song and make it rip, funk, rock, sing, twang, choogle... add your own adjective. He's blistering fast but nuanced capable of evoking the desired emotion. There is an enlightenment to his sound to a point where you can not be in an elated state while listening. It's a definite higher calling, which fits since Randolph is a God loving man. His lyrics have always been his Achilles heel and they can be cringe worthy, though on this release it's not so bad. He throws in his usual cover, I Thank You, and starts the CD with the usual bang with the thumping Got Soul/She Got Soul. Fans of truly great guitar/slide guitar playing will not be disappointed with "Got Soul". But do yourselves a favor and see him live. Trust me.

Favorite Songs: Got Soul, She Got Soul, Lovesick, I Thank You

Hanni El Khatib- Savage Times (2017)

Posted by KB on 2/21/2017 to Reviews
El Khatib is an urgent artist. His delivery is urgent. His message sound urgent, whether it is or not. He's a punk.  He's abrasive and smoothing over the imperfections are not a priority. "Savage Times" is an anthology of his last few EPs into one neat package. A package that drifts from 60's garage psychedelia to punk to soul/r&b to dance. At one end you sense his inner Clash clamoring to get out next Afghan Whigs next LCD Soundsystem or Smashmouth all under a John Lennon umbrella. His songs about his heritage, life and fears are very prevalent currently and he's better at barking than crooning, though I give him props for trying. He's a very relevant punk with a very relevant commentary.

Favorite Songs: Baby's Ok, Gonna Die Alone, Freak Freely, Born Brown

The Orwells- Terrible Human Beings (2017)

Posted by KB on 2/17/2017 to Reviews
It would appear that The Orwells may have begun to mature, slightly. Their sound is still raucous but a tad less messy but not enough to take away their badge of indie garage band. The themes are a bit more grown up but laced with a hint of crazy silliness. Bottom line: The Orwells are still your kick aas party band but with a few less stay up to 5 am nights.

Favorites: They Put A Body in the Bayou, Hippie Soldier, Heavy Head

Enough on Grammy Bias

Posted by KB on 2/17/2017 to Opinions & Thoughts
We've now had time to digest the Grammys. The winners, losers, the clothes, the supposed "wow" moment, the tributes...etc... Full disclosure: I haven't watched the Grammy show in years. I read up on it afterward, YouTube the highlights and then groan. There is little in the form of substance for the real music fan (yep that's pretentious). Us music folk who search, find and listen to what we like but are constantly looking for something beyond what is shoved down our throats or who we are told is "cool" because they are on Entertainment Tonight every night. I won't dwell on the countless errors the The Grammys have perpetrated over the years. That's for another rant. Okay, now that is out of the way.

Spoon- They Want My Soul (2014)

Posted by KB on 2/16/2017 to Reviews
Spoon albums all have a certain sound to them. You know instantly your listening to a Britt Daniel penned release. Spoon manages this without losing any creativity. "They Want My Soul" is most definitely a Spoon album with its unique rhythms, start and stop flow, little abrasive surprises and instrumentation. If there is a differentiating attribute it is that TWMS is pretty upbeat. No real ballads though a few piss off pieces. Those who like Spoon already have this album, but if you are one who have heard the occasion Spoon song, this is worth your effort.

Favorite Songs: Let Me Be Mine, Rent I Pay, Inside Out

New Songs from New Releases

Posted by KB on 2/10/2017 to Shout Outs
2017 is slogging along. Here are a few more songs from notable new releases.

Son Volt- Notes of Blue (2017)

Posted by KB on 2/9/2017 to Reviews
The worst you can say about Son Volt's release is 'good'. They always put out solid efforts and their sound has matured/evolved except for Jay Ferrar's bleak and weary vocals. "Notes of Blue" is another positive growth spurt that's much better than good. There are the expected forlorn stories and introspective gleanings backed by that alt-country, no depression sound Ferrar helped invent, but there is also some back-country, muddy rock muscle showing too. Son Volt deserves your attention. Listen now at NPR;  http://www.npr.org/2017/02/09/514019357/first-listen-son-volt-notes-of-blue

Favorite Songs: Back Against the Wall, Cherokee St, Sinking Down

Windhand- Grief's Internal Flower (2015)

Posted by KB on 2/9/2017 to Reviews
If you're not a fan of sludgy, slow pounding, droning metal you might as well skip "Grief's Infernal Flower". There is a hypnotic quality to their songs. As they throb along it's easy to find yourself slowly bobbing while your mind drifts off to their dark corner of the world. The songs are long, with the longest Hesperous ticking in at 14:27, but there are time changes and varied sections and Windhand does toss in a few unexpected touches like acoustic intros/songs (Sparrow) and guitar flourishes but generally speaking they attempt to muddle your senses with deliberate, straight forward thumping. Think True Widow but even slower.

Favorite Songs: Forest Clouds, Tanngrisnir, Kingfisher

Ty Segall- Ty Segall (2017)

Posted by KB on 2/7/2017 to Reviews
This generation's Rob Pollock, Ty Segall has released his most cohesive album to start 2017. The self titled album is a Black Sabbath, Marc Bolan (T-Rex), Grateful Dead and White Album Beatles stew with just enough freakout moments to keep you paying attention, especially on "Warm Hands". The prolific Segall is not afraid to let his song writing roam free both musically and lyrically to see where the pieces fall. This go around they fall pretty close together even though he meanders from over the top guitar wailing to melodic acoustic contemplation and everything in between. Segall die-hards and cherry pickers are both going to relish this release.

Favorite Songs: Break A Guitar, Orange Color Queen, Freedom