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.
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.
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 Equifunk. Watch this video and you'll know why. Get off of that thang!
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.
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.
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..."
Apparently these Aussies from Perth are much beloved in a music genre that often gets hammered by my fellow rick critics. I just discovered them, and I have to give them high marks for terrific songs, playing, production, et al. "We Are" is their latest single from their latest album, Asymmetry, due later this summer. If you dig the prog metal of Tool, A Perfect Circle, and dare I say, King Crimson, then you will dig Karnivool. Prog is not dead, long live Prog!
Wow! The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach may have met his match when he decided to produce the Memphis-based, Americana singer-songwriter Ms. Valerie June. This song is so good it'll levitate you out of your blues. Pushing Against a Stone is set for an August 13th release.