Fat White Family are back and the first single from their upcoming release, Serf’s Up, has just been dropped. Changing their sound to a Depeche Mode vibe, this will be their debut release for Domino records. The band temporarily dropped their respective side-piece bands The Moonlandigz and Insecure Men to reform Fat White Family. Look for the record on April 19th.
Sub Pop Records is always pretty much assured to throw you a musical curveball with their eclectic stable of wonderful artists, and Orville Peck is no exception. If Country Goth was not a genre before, it is now. The new record, Pony, will hit the shelves on February 22nd.
Ex Hex is made up of the power trio of Mary Timony, Betsy Wright, and Laura Harris. The band smashed their way onto the scene in 2014 with the album Rips, an album that garnered much critical acclaim and was on top of many best album of the year lists. Now, in advance of the new record It’s Real that comes out on March 22nd, we are treated to a sign of the marvelous sounds that will soon reach our collective ears.
The Red Rum Club – Matador (Rating 5 out of 5)
With Matador, as debut albums go, Liverpool sextet The Rum Club has delivered a record that is sure to be on most of the Best-Of lists once the end of the year rolls around. With a distinct gumbo of a sound that is part 80’s Brit-Rock, part Psychedelic Rock, Part 60’s Surf-Garage, part Tarantino-Noir, and all cool, the texture of the album changes from track to track with even more influences filtering through the ears upon multiple listens.
Starting with the trumpet blazing opener “Angeline” the band comes out with all guns blazing. The song has a definite cinematic feel to it. Thinking back to the final episode of The Sons of Anarchy, this would have been a perfect soundtrack to the last scene with the police chasing Jax Teller into the sunset.
You have now been duly warned, “Would You Rather Be Lonely” is an earworm of a song that you wont be able to shake for a quite a while. A DNA kit might be needed to figure out the various influences that envelope this one, and that is a very good thing. It starts out with Ventures worthy Surf Rock, but quickly morphs into a Rock anthem with the entire band kicking in to show off their immense musical and harmony chops.
“Honey”, another belter of a song, brings comparisons to Low Cut Connie from the other side of the pond, one of several songs that will serve the band well on the summer festival circuit in 2019, and mark our words, you are going to be hearing “Nobody Comes Out Alive” on a cable or streaming series in the very near future, maybe even on the next True Detective, or the new season of Ray Donovan. And, just a note to the band, I know you need to make money, but If I hear this on a BMW commercial with a video of a car barreling down the Pacific Coast Highway, after toasting you with a robust “Good On Ya”, there will be a tinge of another great band gives up their artistic soul regret likely resulting in a three day bender with Matador on constant replay. Then again if this happens, everybody wins.
In a bit of a Sophie’s choice internal dilemma, if we must choose, “Calexico” comes out as a favorite song on the album. Since the album was only officially released a couple of hours ago and I have only listened to the record 4 times, and “Calexico” probably more than ten times now, this ranking may change, however as of now, the song remains the same. Checking off all of the musical touch points; infectious rhythm, passionate vocals, subtle mariachi horns, all showing off a band that is as tight as any in the business right now.
Stick with “Nobody Get’s Out Alive” past the first 30 seconds or so when panic sets in as the wheels seem to start coming off with the song drifting ever so slightly into U2 territory. But fear not, in very short order the entire affair seems to shift into some eclectic and brilliant mix that could have been a long lost early INXS single. All is right with the world as this one stacks up as one of the top three tunes on the album.
Ending with the title track “Matador” is somewhat of bold move, but in some ways it seems to make perfect sense. The vibe slows down with the musical landscape significantly widened, making this a perfect closer to the album, and a song in my minds ear, I can see as a beautiful closer to a great live show as they tour the country.
I only have one question for this, one of my new favorite bands. What are you doing Super Bowl Sunday?
— Bernie Sparrow —
As happens after year, after a bit of reflection, there end up to be a lot of worthy, highly listenable records that somehow miss our top album list. This year Paul Simon, Soccer Mommy, The Tuneyards, Belle and Sebastian all could have made our list. Here are five notal records that probably should have made the cut.
Gruff Rhys – Babelsberg
The Super Furry Animals front man jumps out front and center with his first record in four years. A timeless beauty that features a 72 piece orchestra, these are all great tunes that would have fit quite nicely on your 80’s playlist right alongside Yes and The Alan Parsons Project.
Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino
Somewhat a deliberate omission, that decison is beginning to feel very regreatable after a couple of post New Year spins of this one. The vibe is very different from your standard Monkey’s fare, Bowie goes to the moon. Pure dancing on the ceiling bliss.
Shame – Songs of Praise
One heck of a live band, London Post Punk rockers Shame deliver an arena-ready set of tracks that will set your hair on fire. Enter at your own risk.
Spiritualized – And Nothing Hurt
We should have known this one was going to be a cracker, all of his records are great. “Let’s Dance” and “The Morning After” are melodic stunners with a definite Brian Wilson influence.
Tracyanne & Danny – Tracyanne & Danny
Camera Obscura’s Tracyanne Cambell returns with a set of sweet sounding pop nuggets with partner Danny Coughlan. Full of lush strings and 60’s Nancy and Lee vibes, this one is a gently euphoric listen.
In listening to a lot of diverse styles of music it is amazing how many of the albums that are the soundtrack of your life have been recorded at 3614 Jackson Highway, Muscle Shoals, Alabama. There have been so many albums record in the iconic studio from Dylan’s Slow Train Coming, Willies, Phases and Stages, and even Paul Simon’s There Goes Rhymin’ Simon, that this playlist is probably more notable for what has not been included than for what I have selected here. I am contractually liable to keeping the playlist at the mandated 15 songs. Mixing it up a bit with the new school “Call Me” courtesy of St. Paul and the Broken Bones, the Jimmy Cliff classic “Sitting in Limbo,” and J.J. Cales “Lies” are also included. The Muscle Shoals band plays on most of these songs. “Hey, Jude” is worth the price of admission alone.
It is guaranteed that you will have many “of course it was” moments any time you find out one of your favorite tunes was recorded in Muscle Shoals.
01. Muscle Shoals Nitty Gritty – Herbie Mann
02. Brown Sugar – The Rolling Stones
03. I’ll Take You There – The Staple Singers
04. Hey Jude Wilson Picket
05. What’s Your Name – Lynyrd Skynyrd
06. Call Me – St.Paul and the Broken Bones
07. Tell Mama – Etta James
08. We’ve Got Tonight – Bob Seger
09. Sitting in Limbo – Jimmy Cliff
10. Dorothy Monroe – Misty Blue
11. Lies – J.J. Cale
12. Gotta Serve Somebody – Bob Dylan
13. Take A Letter, Maria – R.B. Greaves
14. Sweet Soul Music – Arthur Conley
15. Yeah Man – Eddie Hinton
If you are of a certain age and are from the Pacific Northwest you have heard of the Spinanes. Led by Rebecca Gates and drummer Scott Plouf they have been around since their debut album in 1993 and just released their new record, Manos, in December.