When Fiona Apple, Shelby Lynne, and The Vapors, yes those “Turning Japanese” Vapors, come out with new records in the same week, it must be a sparkling week for new music.
Fiona Apple – Fetch the Boltcutters
One of the most intimate records to come out so far this year, Fiona Apple lays it all on the line with Fetch the Boltcutters, her first album since 2012. From the opener “I Want You to Love Me” you can feel the pain expressed in her voice with a heart laid bare for all to endure the pain right alongside her. With sudden starts, stops and tempo changes the listener is asked to listen attentively and allow themselves to be immersed in a world that is uniquely Fiona Apple’s.
Bobby Bare – Great American Saturday Night
With 2 top-notch records already released with Bare and Sleeper Wherever They Fall, there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of room for the live Great American Saturday Night back in 1978 when it was recorded, or, that is what the record company said anyway. Having been shelved for the better part of 21 years the album finally gets to see the light of day in all its Honky Tonk Glory. And what a party record it is. Filled with plenty of raucous sing-alongs right alongside tawdry ballads, along with the between-song storytelling that has long been a fixture at Bobby Bare shows, this one is hands down the tonk release of the year.
Soul Asylum – Hurry Up and Wait
No, this is certainly not “Runaway Train” Soul Asylum and it has been 28 years since Grave Dancer’s Union came out, but does it really matter. As long as Dave Pirner is involved, here he is the only original band member, we are ears all in. Rocking it up on “Got It Pretty Good” and going a bit lower and slower on “Social Butterfly” this record stops short of being excellent but is uniquely satisfying in its own right as long as you consider this a Dave Pirner solo effort and not a Soul Asylum album.
Ron Sexmith – Hermitage
Recorded in his home studio collaborating with his longtime drummer and producer Don Kerr, this set of intimate sounding gems has a bit of a Kinks feel to it that is quite pleasing to the ear. With the typical Sexmith whimsey inherent in songs like “Winery Blues” and “Apparently Au Pair” this one proves once again that the escapism that is generated when music is done well is pleasing to the soul and healing to the heart.
Datura4 – West Coast Highway Cosmic
The band, named after a two-lane blacktop along the coast of Western Australia is a Blues Rock boogie band that sorts of floats between The Black Keys and Deep Purple with Charlie Musselwhite joining them for the ride.
Described as Garagey but not Grungey, Power Poppy but not cheesy, muddy but not sludgy, Blues respecting but not formulaic, trippy but not spacey this is a band that seems to be carving out their own musical niche.
The title track has a certain “Highway Star” feel to it complete with Hammond B-3 and the extended instrumental interludes on most of these songs would make this record and epic road trip soundscape. The songs “Give” and “You’re the Only One” are, to our ears, pound for pound two of the best that have heard all year.
And yes, Datura4 is one of our favorite new bands.