Curios

Death of the Album, Pt. 2 - July Singles

"You Are In Love" - Shannon Whitworth: High Tide (EF Records)

Damn, playing a Gibson SG never looked or sounded so sexy! Before the press folks dropped her new album on me, I didn't know of this compelling singer-songwriter formerly with the North Carolina outfit The Biscuit Burners. This is my pick hit from her new effort. Collaborating with bassist Bill Reynolds of Band of Horses has given her a chiming folk-rock vibe on her third solo effort. And tours with the Tedeschi Trucks Band and Chris Isaak certainly helped inform her "new" sound.

Single of the Week: Tony Joe White - "The Gift"

"The Gift" - Tony Joe White: Hoodoo (Yep Roc)

Two notes, a pinch of natural distortion from an old tweed tube git-tar amplifier, a short harmonica solo, and plenty of boogie chillen groove and attitude. It sounds too simple a formula, but it's not. Need a master of the form to pull it off. Enter veteran roots-rocker Tony Joe White -- 70 years young -- of "Polk Salad Annie" fame who rocks it for 4 minutes and 23 seconds on this amazingly engaging track from his new CD due in September.

Song of the Week: Willy Mason - "Talk Me Down"

"Talk Me Down" - Willy Mason: Carry On (Communion)

US singer-songwriter Willy adds some Tom Waits boho clanking -- courtesy of Hot Chip producer Dan Carey no doubt -- to this simple, evocative tune and it keeps things percolating along quite nicely. Sharing a label and sometimes touring stage with fellow new folk artists Mumford & Sons seems like a logical bookend. Good thing, too, as we need more music like this, all the time. Three albums in and it's safe to say that this young man is a musical marvel.

Gig of the Week: The Main Squeeze

"Mixed Up" The Main Squeeze

Hot! Hot! Hot! The Main Squeeze!!! One of my favorite new live bands and I haven't even seen them live...yet. Do not miss this funky fresh jam band tomorrow night, Thursday, July 11th at 8 pm at Brooklyn Bowl! This young Chicago-based quintet is making big waves on the festival circuit -- Bonnaroo, Electric Forest and EquifunkWatch this video and you'll know why. Get off of that thang!

Firecrackers and Music for the 4th of July!

These past few months, I've grown weary trying to find albums that engage me from start to finish. In fact, I've yet to find one album in the past few months I can listen to top to bottom. I truly believe that we are back in the land of "singles." Not saying that a Blood on the Tracks, Dark Side of the Moon, OK Computer, or (What's The Story) Morning Glory? isn't lurking in the shadows, but.... I'm old enough to have bought 45s back in the '60s when I was a young pup; my first was The Beatles' "Rain"/"Paperback Writer." In the land of digital, I'm happy to download one song from some new noteworthy act and let it fall into my enormous random shuffle playlist (over 8,700 songs and counting). And that "single" is not always the band or label's choice; in the age of iTunes, we all have the opportunity to decide for ourselves what the "single" should be! If you love an album that you truly believe holds your attention for ten (or more) songs, I'm all ears. In the interim, here are 12 "singles" I've added to my summer playlist. I'll have more next month...and maybe, just maybe, one entire album!

"Get Up" - Wiretree: Get Up (Cobalt Works)

First time I heard this track from Kevin Peroni's Austin-based quartet, I was certain it was by an alt-pop U.K. band like Teenage Fanclub or The La's. I had to double check their website. Regardless, this is really catchy, vibrant alt pop-rock that will make you sing along. Now is that so bad? Their fourth album will be released on July 9th.

Video of the Week: Houndmouth - "On The Road"

"On The Road" - Houndmouth: From The City Below the City (Roughtrade)

This is damn fine single in a ragged roots-rock, stripped-down-version-of-The-Band-kinda way from this New Albany, Indiana quartet. The dual vocals of keyboardist Katie Toupin and guitarist Matt Myers frame the proceedings with just right amount of tension along with stabbing piano and a tasteful, economical guitar hook. Worth keeping an ear and eye on; new 12-track album was just released a few weeks ago.

Song of the Week: Patty Griffin - "Ohio"

"Ohio" Patty Griffin: American Kind (New West)

Griffin is one of those evocative singer-songwriters that represents that quintessential essence of Americana. Hailed by critics, but often ignored by a larger audience. she deserves so much more. Hopefully her latest single will help in that cause as she's in atmospheric duet with her new beau (Rock God) Robert Plant. There is a siren-like quality to this acoustic-driven meditative love ballad and the undertow of the instruments - acoustic guitars, djembe, dobro -- is as strong and steady as the current of this name-checked river. "Meet me in the evening / Where the river is low..."