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    • Under the Radar’s Black Friday Sale - 35% Off Print Subscriptions and 50% Off Back Issues
      Under the Radar is having its annual Black Friday Sale right now and continuing through Monday. This year we're offering 35% off all print subscriptions and all back issues and digital subscriptions are 50% off. 
    • Check Out Photos of M For Montreal
      Last weekend Montreal hosted M For Montreal. 
    • Under the Radar’s Holiday Gift Guide 2017 Part 2: Board Games
      Happy holidays, board gamers! Welcome back to the 2017 edition of Under the Radar’s Holiday Gift Guide. If you’ve been following our regular game review column, PLAYlist, you’ll know that it’s been a pretty fantastic year for new releases. If you’re looking for a perfect present (or just to spoil yourself), we’ve broken down some of our top picks for 2017’s […]
    • Member of the Family
      From the ages of 14 to 16, Dianne Lake was a member of Charles Manson's cult. With Member of the Family, she tells her incredibly personal story from out of place child to teenager enrapt with this twisted "guru," including with it all of the horrors that would inevitably follow.
    • Batman: The Dark Prince Charming Book One
      Part one of acclaimed European writer-artist Enrico Marini's American debut is an instant Batman classic.
    • Death Cab for Cutie Release Audio of Their First Ever Show in Honor of its 20th Anniversary
      Death Cab for Cutie played their first ever show 20 years ago today, on November 22, 1997. In honor of that anniversary the band have shared the audio for the acoustic set on Bandcamp for $4.00, with some of the proceeds going to the Seattle-based charity Aurora Commons.
    • Steve Lightfoot, Showrunner on the Netflix Series “Marvel’s Punisher”
      Grim. Gruesome. Unrelenting. Those intense adjectives and more would be apt describing The Punisher, the latest Marvel Universe series streaming on Netflix.
    • “The Archies” - Alex Segura and Joe Eisma on the New Comic Book Series
      Comics' perennial teenage band, The Archies, are back for new musical adventures. The new comic book series of the same name, written by Alex Segura and Matt Rosenberg, with art by Joe Eisma, sees the fictional band interact with illustrated versions of real life musicians, while, as ever, The Archies fret, bicker, and try to remember that, despite the […]
    • Utopia
      Björk is Björk is Björk: that is to say, even as far back as her salad days fronting avant-punk aliens KUKL, there's been no mistaking her for anybody else, and no possible way of burying her magnetism and charisma in the mix. 
    • The Mercenary
      Released in 1968, The Mercenary reunited director Sergio Corbucci with Franco Nero, the star of his cult classic Spaghetti Western Django.
  • RSS Clash Music News

    • Live Gallery: Queens Of The Stone Age - O2 Arena, London November 24, 2017
      A titanic night in London...Queens Of The Stone Age have bulldozed 2017. The band's new album 'Villains' is rock at its most potent, a virile, vicious return from a group operating at the absolute peak of their game. Since its release Queens have stormed across the globe, playing some of the biggest shows of their career. Hitting London, the b […]
    • Hunter & The Bear Return With New Cut 'Skin Tight' November 24, 2017
      British rock heroes return...British rock could do with some heroes right now, and they might very well come in the form of Hunter & The Bear. The group's crisp, emphatic live show is currently being put to the test, playing a host of venues the length and breadth of the country. Winning fans wherever they go, Hunter & The Bear are now ready to […]
    • Track By Track: Xenuola Guides Clash Through Her Debut Album November 24, 2017
      It's a surreal-pop gem produced by Sam Dust (LA Priest)...Romy Xeno grew up in rural South Africa, surrounded by tranquil scenes of nature. Coming of age far from the big cities, when the lights would dim all she could hear would be flora and fauna, as close to nature as she could get. Moving to London at the age of 16, this astonishing clash of culture […]
    • Wiley Announces Massive UK Tour November 24, 2017
      Including a Brixton Academy show...Wiley has announced a huge UK tour for next year. The grime figure released solo album 'Godfather' earlier this year, before completing work on his autobiography. With new album 'Godfather II' slated for next year, Wiley has now announced plans for a huge UK tour. Opening in Ireland at Dublin's Olym […]
    • Shane Meadows Directs The New Liam Gallagher Video November 24, 2017
      'Come Back To Me' was filmed in Glasgow...A few weeks back Liam Gallagher tweeted something rather cryptic. Thanking Shane Meadows for his work on a new video, the singer mentioned a trip to Glasgow. So, what did it all mean? The video for 'Come Back To Me' is online now, and it seems to hold the answer. Shane Meadows directed the clip, w […]
    • It's An Education: Clash Meets Body & Soul November 24, 2017
      “Play songs that we love, that we like, that we feel...”As any respectable DJ will tell you, you’re always learning. And despite the Body & Soul trio of Danny Krivit, Joe Claussell and François K, three of the forefathers of house music, hitting the twenty one year anniversary of their founding, they attribute their longevity to an eagerness to draw insp […]
    • Poté Channels Baile Funk On New Bouncer 'Flirt' November 24, 2017
      It's out now via Versicolor...London producer Poté has dropped new Baile Funk infused bouncer 'Flirt'. The UK via St. Lucia talent established his own imprint earlier this year, with Versicolor dedicated to uncovering new club styles from the diaspora and beyond. Since then, it's proved to be remarkably on-point, with Poté gathering lik […]
    • Alien She's 'Feed Me' Is A Righteous Blast Of Noise November 24, 2017
      An inspired new group from Dublin...Dublin three-piece Alien She are ready to share new single 'Feed Me'. The group hail from astonishingly different backgrounds. Aoife Mairead, for instance, is a poet and writer, while Katie O'Neill previously performed solo. The introduction of Darragh McCabe, though, seemed to let the project gel, with thei […]
    • Queen Zee Hit Back With 'Idle Crown' November 24, 2017
      New single packed with rabble-rousing menace...Liverpool group Queen Zee have shared new single 'Idle Crown' - tune in now. The band's sensational live shows have caused enormous word of mouth hype, smashing through gender norms with a righteous fist. New single 'Idle Crown' is released via the group's own Sasstone Records, and […]
    • Premiere: Oscar Jerome - 'Subdued' November 24, 2017
      A drifting, jazz-infused return...South London's Oscar Jerome makes music that can stretch. Growing up he would absorb everything from UKG to hip-hop, and on into jazz, a wide-ranging aesthetic imagination that soaked up everything in its path. As a result, his own music is virtually impossible to peg. New single 'Subdued' follows on the back […]
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    • BILL WARD’S DAY OF ERRORS RELEASE TWO NEW SONGS November 22, 2017
      Bill Ward’s new solo band, Day of Errors, has released its first two songs, Day Of Errors and Blaspheming At Creation through iTunes, Spotify, Amazon MP3 and Google Play. Listen an audio sample here. The band features Joe Amodea on guitar/vocals and Kill Devil Hill singer Jason “Dewey” Bragg on vocals. Two days ago, Ward... Read more
    • 11/21: HAPPY THANKSGIVING, BILL WARD, BOOKS, MERCH, MORE November 21, 2017
      Just wanted to take a second to wish everyone here in the U.S. a very happy Thanksgiving to you and your families. My final live SiriusXM show is today 2-4, 9-11P ET on 106 Volume. Tomorrow is a Best Of. Also Best Of shows Saturday and Sunday 8-10P ET. Bill Ward was schedule to be... Read more
    • BILL WARD’S DAY OF ERRORS TOUR DATES CANCELED November 20, 2017
      Drummer Bill Ward has released the following statement: “Hi Everyone, It’s with great, great sadness that I must tell you I have to cancel the Day Of Errors tour dates scheduled in December. I wound up in hospital this past weekend with heart problems. I am OK and in good recovery at this time. However,... Read more
    • FIRST ANNUAL FRONTIERS “ROCK HOLIDAY BASH 2017” WITH L.A. GUNS, WARRANT, JACK RUSSELL’S GREAT WHITE AND RIVERDOGS, HOSTED BY EDDIE TRUNK, SCHEDULED FOR DECEMBER 2ND November 20, 2017
      Frontiers Music SRL is proud to announce their first-ever U.S. Showcase at Southern California’s premiere rock club: The Canyon Club in Agoura Hills, Ca. – Hosted by the Metal Maniac himself: Eddie Trunk of SiriusXM & That Metal Show. Kick-off your holidays with rocks’ icons L.A. Guns (featuring the reunion of Tracii Guns and Phil... Read more
    • 11/19: VERNON REID, BILL WARD AND MORE ON TRUNK NATION THIS WEEK November 19, 2017
      Hope everyone had a great weekend. Hey, even my Giants won, go figure! Short week this week coming with the holiday. Live tomorrow/Monday 2-4P ET on SiriusXM 106 Volume with guest Vernon Reid in studio. Then live on channel 39 Hair Nation 5-8P ET. Then Volume show replays 9-11P ET. So plenty of TrunkNation tomorrow!... Read more
    • 11/18: RIP MALCOLM YOUNG November 18, 2017
      More sad news in the rock world with the announcement that AC/DC founder Malcolm Young has passed away at just 64. This is not a total surprise. Mal had been in bad shape suffering from dementia and it was often said in the business that once he retired we had seen the last of him.... Read more
    • AC/DC GUITARIST MALCOLM YOUNG PASSES AT AGE 64 November 18, 2017
      Malcolm Young, guitarist and co-founder of AC/DC, died Saturday (November 18th) at the age of 64. Young had been suffering with dementia for the past three years, an illness that forced his retirement from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted band he founded with his brother Angus Young in 1973. “Today it is with... Read more
    • ANVIL RELEASE LYRIC FOR “EGO,” NEW ALBUM “POUNDING THE PAVEMENT” DUE JANUARY 19TH November 17, 2017
      Canadian Metal heroes Anvil release their first digital single and lyric video for the new song Ego today (November 17th). The song is taken from their forthcoming studio album Pounding The Pavement. Ego is a song where Lips spread his razor-sharp guitar riffs over the dynamic rhythm foundation courtesy of Robb Reiner and Chris Robertson,... Read more
    • KING’S X GUITARIST TY TABOR SET TO RELEASE “ALIEN BEANS” ON JANUARY 12TH November 17, 2017
      Iconic King’s X guitarist Ty Tabor will release his all new solo effort, Alien Beans, on January 12th through Rat Pak Records. Alien Beans is a double-disc album that features 10 all new studio tracks and a “best of” compilation disc. The “best of” disc is comprised of eleven re-mixed and re-mastered tracks personally selected... Read more
    • AMERICA SALUTES YOU AND WALL STREET ROCKS PRESENTS: GUITAR LEGENDS FOR HEROES ON NOVEMBER 29TH November 17, 2017
      America Salutes You and Wall Street Rocks have joined forces for an unforgettable benefit concert America Salutes You And Wall Street Rocks Presents: Guitar Legends For Heroes on Wednesday, November 29th at Terminal 5 (610 w 56th Street) in New York City. The unforgettable night is dedicated to our heroes to create national recognition as... Read more
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  • RSS Chart Attack

    • Sawdust City Music Festival July 27, 2017
      The inaugural Sawdust City Music Festival takes over Gravenhurst, Ontario this August long weekend. Running from August 4th – 6th the festival features performances from a plethora of talented artists from the area and all over Canada. Whether you want to check out the Muskoka music scene or experience the Jim Cuddy Family Band perform [...] Sawdust City Mus […]
    • Interview: Danko Jones July 21, 2017
      We sat down with John Calabrese, bassist of Danko Jones to talk about the band's impressive 20+ year career, most memorable moments and their newest album Wild Cat.  Interview: Danko Jones by Chart Attack | Chart Attack.
    • Interview: Kid Koala July 20, 2017
      Kid Koala chats with us about his chaotic party show Vinyl Vaudeville, his new album Music To Draw To: Satellite and working on . Interview: Kid Koala by Chart Attack | Chart Attack.
    • The Lemon Bucket Orkestra July 19, 2017
      A Toronto music staple Lemon Bucket Orkestra had humble origins as buskers in Kensington Market, the band’s ringleader Mark Marczyk spoke to the Chart Attack team about the evolution of LBO and their drive to keep performing live for (and with) their ever-growing audiences. The Lemon Bucket Orkestra by Chart Attack | Chart Attack.
    • Interview: Mix Master Mike July 17, 2017
      Mix Master Mike put on an epic show in Quebec City on Friday and again in Toronto last night. We chatted with him about his tour with Metallica and his new Virtual Reality work. Interview: Mix Master Mike by Chart Attack | Chart Attack.
    • Interview: The Dirty Nil July 14, 2017
      The Dirty Nil played one of their biggest shows in Canada yesterday. We caught up with the band just before the show to talk about opening for The Who, touring and Minimum R&B. Interview: The Dirty Nil by Chart Attack | Chart Attack.
    • Interview: A Tribe Called Red July 13, 2017
      A Tribe Called Red played their biggest show in Quebec yesterday at Festival d'été de Québec. We caught up with Bear Witness just prior to the festival to talk about We are the Halluci Nation. Interview: A Tribe Called Red by Chart Attack | Chart Attack.
    • FEQ in 2 Days! July 4, 2017
      Celebrating their 50th year this summer,  Festival d'été de Québec is throwing an epic bash from July 6th to July 16th. FEQ in 2 Days! by Chart Attack | Chart Attack.
    • Album Review: Prairie Cat’s Is Cary Pratt June 30, 2017
      The unconventional songwriter has been making waves with the release of his fourth album. Album Review: Prairie Cat’s Is Cary Pratt by Chart Attack | Chart Attack.
    • REVIEW: !!! (ChkChkChk) June 17, 2017
      Wednesday, June 14th at the Horseshoe Tavern: dance-punk at its finest REVIEW: !!! (ChkChkChk) by Chart Attack | Chart Attack.

Archive for the ‘Five Cool Ones’ Category

Five Cool Ones: Five New Songs on Our Radar

Posted by falconi5 on October 29, 2017

 

fiveThe Barr Brothers – Queens of the Breakers

There is a pretty strong Laurel Canyon meets Neil Young vibe going on with this one.

Nai Palm – Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)

And now, in the now for something completely different category, comes Nai Palm.  The Neo-Soul and charm of her debut album Needle Paw is an eclectic tour-de-force.

Weezer – Feels Like Summer

Somehow it is pretty fitting for Weezer to come out with the jam of the summer when we are well on our way to winter.  The Guns N’ Roses shout-out in the video is worth the price of admission alone.

 

Gang of Youths – The Deepest Sighs, The Frankest Shadows

The new record, Go Farther in the Lightness is well work a look-see. A bit of a melding of The Gaslight Anthem, Springsteen, and U2, only a much more textured version.

 

Tash Sultana – Jungle

Tash Sultana burst on to the scene on the strength of this Medium-Fi stunner of a video recorded in her living room has earned her an e.p., a Tiny Desk Concert, and a very bright future. Six Million You Tube viewers can’t be wrong.

 

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Five Cool Ones – Five Cool Recently Released Records

Posted by falconi5 on October 14, 2017

As artists rush to find that sweet release spot between having their album fade into obscurity by the time the Christmas season rolls around and full on holiday buying frenzy, October just might be the pound for pound the best release month of the year. Hear are five that have tickled our earlobes.

St. Vincent – Masseduction

St. Vincent’s Annie Clark is back.  And this time with a vengeance. Album number five is a fitting follow-up to her Grammy winning self-titled album from 2014, and sparkles in many places evoking Prince on “Savior” and channels her singer songwriter with the emotionally  charged “Happy Birthday Johnny.”

 

Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile – Lotta Sea Lice

Both of these artists are on our list of favorites individually, and collectively they don’t disappoint. If the record has a fault it is that it does not quite shake you out of that zone where you are just waking up, in sort of a foggy haze, nursing those few precious minutes before you have to get jiggy with the day.

 

Robert Plant – Carry Fire

Hearing about this upcoming release, expectations were at half mast.  An aging former front-man having split the Austin scene for his home territory of Wales certainly cant maintain his mojo could he? Or could he? The answer is that is most definitely his finest solo effort, and vocally he is in Houses of the Holy form. Rock on, Rock Star!

JD McPherson – Undivided Heart & Soul

Another solid performance Oklahoma rocker J.D. McPherson.  Enlisting a bunch of his music pals including Butch Walker, Aaron Lee Tasjan, and Parker Milsap on songwriting duties, the vibe is 60’s Garage Soul.

Gil Landry – Love Rides a Dark Horse

The first descriptive lines of this Dark Ballad Noir treasure pretty much says it all.

“As I was walking through Berlin on a twisted cloud of gin searching once again for unknown pleasures.”

Enter at your own risk.  We suggest you do.

 

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Five Cool Ones: Five (More) New Album Releases

Posted by falconi5 on April 26, 2017

 

5

Imelda May – Life Love Flesh Blood

The first thing your ears will notice if you are a long time fan of Imelda May is that the vibe is a noted departure from her Tainted Love, Jeff Beck Muse, Rockabilly persona.  And that, my friends, seems to be a very good thing.  More Jenny Lewis and Neko Case than Wanda Jackson, “Call me” is a cocktail lounge stunner, and “How Bad Can a Good Girl Be” is sublime Chris Isaak noir at its best.

 

Rodney Crowell – Close Ties

Close Ties, the latest long player from Rodney Crowell is one heck of a record, and if there was ever a doubt that Crowell is one of the best songwriters in the business, the topic is officially closed, and the verdict rendered. He is, and there is no doubt. The two stand out tracks are the album opener, “East Houston Blues,” a song that chronicles back in the day life in the third ward of Houston, an eclectic hodge-podge composed of various ethnicities with a vibrant club scene, and the closer “Nashville 1972,” a tune that takes you back to Rodney’s move from Houston to the music city.

Everybody who’s anybody is name checked here from Willie and Guy Clark to Steve Earle, and on to Tom T. Hall and Townes Van Zandt.  Heck, even skinny Dennis makes an appearance.  Sandwiched in between are 8 more story vignettes that include most notably “Life Without Susanna” who must be one heck of a woman since along with being Guy Clark’s wife she also seems to have been a muse for both Rodney and Townes Van Zandt. Don’t sleep on “It Ain’t Over Yet,” a song that features John Paul White, formerly of the Civil Wars, and Roseann Cash.

 

White Reaper – The Worlds Best American Band

If you can get back the tongue in cheek album title, and you should, you will find under the covers a very solid up and coming Rock and Roll Band.  Hailing from Lousville, Kentucky, this solid four piece band delivers a more than solid set of bouncy Garage Pop tunes that have bring a distinct 70’s feel to the proceedings.

 

Sean Rowe – New Lore

Listen to at least two songs from New Lore, the latest from Sean Rowe, at lest 2-3 times before you pass judgment. With sufficient whistle wetting, you will then be profoundly used to his heavy baritone voice, and will be begging for more. His laid back vibe coupled with knob twirling production that fits his aura just perfectly, this is one you will return to over and over again.  If you like the work White Buffalo did for the soundtrack of Sons of Anarchy, you will love Sean Rowe.

 

Blackfoot Gypsies – To the Top

Don’t pass judgment on the Blackfoot Gypsies based on the song titles alone on their latest album, To the Top.  After all with songs like “Back to New Orleans,” “Velvet Low Down Blues,” “I Wanna be Famous,” and “I’ve Got the Blues,” this has to be a Glam Band, right.  Well not exactly, Blackfoot Gypsies are exactly who you think they are, a hard charging bluesy Rock and Roll band that will remind you of The Black Crowes, The Rolling Stones, and Chuck Berry with a bit of Foghat thrown in for good measure. And yes indeed, that is Margo Price helping this Nashville based band out on Potatoes and Whiskey.

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Five Cool Ones: Five Cool Chuck Berry Covers

Posted by falconi5 on March 22, 2017

5.jpg

In recent days, the great Chuck Berry has received many well deserved accolades with everyone from Paul McCartney to Dave Grohl adding their voices to the chorus giving praise to The Godfather of Rock and Roll. But don’t sleep on the songwriting.

Mostly overlooked for his verse, Chuck could spin a novella in the structure of 2:30 Rock and Roll song.  If you want proof, just listen intently to “Brown Eyed Handsome Man,” “Down Bound Train,” or “House of Blue Lights” just to name a trio.

As far as cover versions go, neither The Beach Boys nor The Rolling Stones would likely exist, as we know them anyway, without Chuck Berry.  And, The Beatles certainly paid homage to the duck walker in their early days. The number of artists that cover Chuck Berry songs is long, eclectic, and awesome.  Here are five of our favorite cover versions.

Brown Eyed Handsome Man

Paul McCartney did a fun, almost head scratching, zydeco version on Run Devil Run, Lyle Lovett takes it low and a bit slower on his Release Me album, and Nina Simone even rocks it up a bit with her rendition. But, the winner is:  TajMahal

 

Roll Over Beethoven

With all due props to the spacey neo Classical riffs on the Electric Light Orchestra version, and the Rocking vibe from the Beatles effort that proves that The Beatles could have been one hell of a Rock and Roll band if they put their guitars to it, the winner here his Mountain with their 70’s Rock riffage courtesy of Leslie West and company. Don’t Bogart that joint.

Rock and Roll Music

Lot’s of cool and eclectic choices. The Beach Boys version from Beach Boys 15 Big Ones is for purists only. The Beatles version is pure gold with John Lennon firmly cementing his position as the pure Rock and Roll singer of the group. But our favorite is from REO Speedwagon and Nine Lives. The boogie-woogie piano and harmonica riff mid-song is worth the price of admission alone.

 

Around and Around

There is really no need to mention any other version here. The Rolling Stones epic bom-diggity, drop the mic, it’s over rendition on 12X5 is the only cover version you really need to hear. Mick’s turn on “Under the Boardwalk” from the same record is worth some ear time as well.

 

Johnny B. Goode

Don’t ever listen to another version of this song.  The Chuck Berry version is the Holy Grail of Rock and Roll.

 

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Five Cool Ones: Five Cool Versions of Mr. Bojangles

Posted by falconi5 on December 4, 2016

5Jerry Jeff Walker – Mr. Bojangles

From the Jam in the Van series, the man who wrote the song.

Tom Jones and Sammy Davis Jr. Mr. Bojangles

A brilliant collaboration.

Whitney Houston – Mr. Bojangles

A bit of an out of the blue version here, but it is still pretty good.

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – Mr. Bojangles

Second favorite version.

Sammy Davis Jr.

Was probably introduced to the song with this version.

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Five Cool Ones: Five New(ish) Bands We are Grooving To

Posted by falconi5 on August 28, 2016

 

5Dreamers – Drugs

Dreamers is a Los Angeles based three-piece band that weaves solid festival-ready hooks with sharp lyrics with an infectious energy that never overwhelms and rarely lets up. Their debut long player This Album Does Not Exist, while somewhat poorly named, is terrific. Key stand out tracks are “Drugs” a song that addresses a different type of drug with the addiction to technology, and “Wolves (You Got Me)” covers another type of addiction.  To the opposite sex. This band should be on your ones to watch list.

 

 

Mother Feather – Mirror

First there was Rock, then there was Pop, now there is Pop Rock. And N.Y. Based Mother Feather do it in style. If you are not careful you will dismiss this dual frontwoman band led by Ann Courtney and Elizabeth Carena a shock rock, all hat no cattle glam rock outfit that pays more attention to the Kiss style make up and the outfits than they do their music.  But you would be wrong.  Very wrong.

Their music is self-described as Pop Cock Rock with a touch of female empowerment along with nuances of Lady Gaga, Karen O, Kiss, and Beth Ditto. Must hear songs from their new self-titled album are “Mirror,” “Trampoline” and “Mother Feather,”  just to name a few shiny apples from a bushel of excellent tunes.

Lisa Hannigan – Fall

It’s always good to discover, or re-discover in this case, a musician that has been around for a spell and has a bit of a back catalog to enjoy along with their current case.  Such is the case with Irish singer, songwriter, musician, Lisa Hannigan who is best known for her collaboration with Damian Rice.  Having just released At Swim Hannigan also has two beautifully atmospheric records under her belt with Sea Sew released in 2008, and Passenger in 2011.

L.A. Salami – The City Nowadays

You can find the roots of 70’s singer songwriter troubadour all over Dancing With Bad Grammar, the debut album from L.A. Salime, the stage name that U.K. based Lookman Adekunte Salami goes by.  There is a lot of Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Elliott Smith, and Rodriguez in the spirit of this one with Salami turning the mundane into magic with his dense lyrics and everyday life storytelling.

Larkin Poe – Trouble in Mind

This is another one of those been around for a minute, but are new to us bands. Atlanta-based sisters Rebecca and Megan Lovell deliver a more than solid of gritty Garage Blues with “Trouble in Mind” with the shout out to Freddie King as sparkling a song as you will hear all year,

 

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Five Cool Ones: Five Cool “Covers” Albums

Posted by falconi5 on August 7, 2016

5

Albums consisting entirely of songs made famous by someone else can be decidedly hit or miss affairs. When an actor like William Shatner gives birth to a record of space related songs on the horribly named Seeking Major Tom record, a platter that is an assault to the ears and absolutely tortures stone-cold classics like “Space Cowboy”, “Rocket Man” and “Walking on the Moon” and Pat Boone is given valuable studio time to cut 12 “Metal” tunes on In a Metal Mood: No More Mister Nice Guy covering  “Metalclassics “Smoke on the Water” and “Love Hurts” along with an absolutely horrid version of “Holy Diver” that warrants Ronnie James Dio coming back from the dead to kick Pat Boone’s ass, a legitimite case can be made to ban the genre altogether.

And then there are the good ones.  And there a lot of them. The Walkmen took their fandom to the next level with their nuanced recreation of Harry Nilsson’s Pussy Cat’s that was itself essentially a covers record, and the Flaming Lips recently came out with a somewhat bizaar guest driven track by track rendition of Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band which is strangely cool, and is probably considered epic to a Flaming Lips fan, but hardcore Beatle fans would probably be better served checking out Cheap Trick’s Sgt. Pepper Live.

Willie Nelson has released a lot of really good covers albums, the best of which is probably Willie Sings Kristofferson, and even the iconic Bob Dylan has joined Rod Stewart with songs performed from the great American songbook.

Here are five top-notch artist covers albums very much worthy of some of your ear time.

Metallica – Garage Inc.

Very much a genre specific selection here, this one tend to veer slightly more to the rock side vs. the heavy metal bombastic playing we are used to from Metallica.  Scoring high marks for the song selection here with Seger’s “Turn the Page,” the Thin Lizzy anthem “Whisky in the Jar,” and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Tuesday’s Gone,” this one is a mighty fine road trip record and on that will definitely scratch that hard rock itch.

 

Bryan Ferry – Dylanesque

When the first line of the song hits you between the ears “When you’re  lost in the rain in Juarez and it’s Easter time too” the line from “Just like Tom Thumb’s Blues,” this time delivered by Roxy Music front man Bryan Ferry, you immediately know that this version rides the same side of the track as the original, and that this song, or any other Bob Dylan song for that matter, is in the capable hands of a master. A master paying tribute to a master.  Highlights are “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” and the somewhat over looked classic “Make You Feel My Love.”  The version of “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” might be the second best cover of the song just behind the almost death bed performance of the song delivered by Warren Zevon on The Wind.

 

k.d. Lang – Hymns of the 49th Parallel

This unique take on the covers genre, covering songs by Canadian artists, works well mostly due to the fact that two of the most brilliant songwriters ever just happen to be from north of the border in Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, and Joni Mitchell.  All of the arrangements here are short, sweet and too the point with k.d.’s voice on brilliant display front and center. “After the Gold Rush” and “Helpless” the two Neil Young songs presented here are first rate, and “The Day I Walk,” a song written by the criminally ignored (except by the critics) Bruce Cockburn is a pleasant surprise. The real stunner here, of course, is Lang’s version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”. in a Beatles vs. Stones sort of debate the jury is still out among many as to which version is better. This one, or the Jeff Buckley version. While the studio version presented here is certainly terrific, seek out a live version.  It will change your life.

 

Dexys – Let the Record Show: Dexys Do Irish and Country Soul

Dexys, the later day version of Dexys Midnight Runners of “Come On Eileen” fame may not be that well known on certain sides of the pond, and lead singer Kevin Rowland certainly could shop in any mall in America without fear of recognition, but all of that being said, Let the Record Show: Dexys Do Irish and Country Soul is on fine record, forget covers record.

The album is 1/2 vinatge traditional Irish standards and 1/2 carefully curated from an eclectic palate of artist including Joni Mitchell, LeAnn Rimes, and The Brothers Gibb, with a couple of tasty nuggets from the great American songbook thrown in for good measure. “You Wear it Well” sounds perfect with the Dexy-fied arrangement and Rowlands exquisitely deep voice, and the Johnny Cash deep track 40 Shades of Green sounds like it could have been a traditional Irish ballad, Country style.

The opener “Women of Ireland” is a beautiful instrumental and a perfect mood setter to carry you on a sea voyage to the Emerald Isle. “To Love Somebody” is brilliant, and “I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen” is stunning.

This record released in 2016 is a good one.  Better than good actually.

 

David Bowie – Pin Ups

This album, released between Alladin Sane and Diamond Dogs represented sort of the last hurrah for Ziggy Stardust, and Bowie was in fine peak form. Choosing a set of songs that were his personal favorites some of these songs were bona-fide hits of the day including The Easybeats “Friday on My Mind” and The Yardbirds “Shapes of Things” while others more are obscure deeper tracks by major acts like “See Emily Play” the Pink Floyd Song and the Who’s “Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere.”  “I Can’t Explain” in the slowed down version presented here is distinctly different that the original, and “Here Comes the Night” is a scorcher.

Pin Ups was the swan song for Mick Ronson and the Spiders from Mars. What a way to go out.

 

Honorable Mention

Steve Earle – Towns

Jesse Malin – On Your Sleeve

Joseph Arthur – Lou

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Kicking Against the Pricks

Elvis Costello – Almost Blue

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Five Cool Ones: Five Cool Records Released in 2016

Posted by falconi5 on June 27, 2016

5It is never too late to start compiling your best of lists even though the year is just at the half-way point.  There has been a lot to sink your ears into including a couple of old souls in Iggy Pop and David Bowie, a sprinkle of fresh new and dynamic faces in Car Seat Headrest, and some real he done me wrong Country soon to be classics from the likes of Margo Price and Brandy Clark.

Here are five nice albums that come to our ear-tention.

Royal Jelly Jive – Stand Up

Dynamically Rock Chick fronted by the dazzling Lauren Michele Bjelde, San Francisco based Royal Jelly Jive is a band in the purest and best sense of the word. Combining Rock, Soul, Big Band, New Orleans Noir, and Swing into one intoxicating clam chowder, Stand Up puts it all together in one unique 13 song coming out party. It doesn’t hurt either that the band members are big Tom Waits fans with “Dear Mr. Waits” as a highlight of the album.

Tiger Army – V

V, the latest from the Los Angeles, Ca based Post Punk/Psychobilly band Tiger Army rocks it hard, and then it doesn’t. And that is exactly what makes this record so special. The turn on a dime vibe change from “Firefall” a scorcher of a tune to the low and slow “Prisoner of the night” makes this a something for everyone listen.

John Doe – The Westerner

Don’t worry, John Doe, the former lead singer of the Iconic uber-influential L.A. punk band X, has not gone soft.  He is simply aging very carefully and has gone California Cool. This one should be your Road Trip set list of the summer. Songs about trains, blue skies and wide open spaces, and simply going somewhere. Going somewhere,someplace,somehow.

Karl Blau – Introducing Karl Blau

If like many of us you are a bit depressed and have not quite gotten over the recent passing of Country music legends Guy Clark and Merle Haggard, Introducing Karl Blau just might be your antidote to sadness. With songs ranging in style from Buck Owens, to Merle Haggard and Glen Campbell Blau does New-School meets Old School exactly the way it should be done.

Whitney – Light Upon the Lake

Chicago based Whitney was formed by Max Kakacek following the demise of The Smith Westerns. The album is laid back, think laid back So-Cal surfer rock with a Bon Iver Midwestern edge. On the strength of two really terrific songs, “No Woman” and “Golden Days” along with the jazzy near perfect instrumental “Red Moon,” this one will be on your listening reel for a long time.

 

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Five Cool Ones – Five New “Outlaw” Singers

Posted by falconi5 on March 19, 2016

5Sure, you have heard of Chris Stapleton and Sturgill Simpson, two of the beak-out “Outlaw” Country/Americana artists of the last few years.  But, lurking just below this stellar surface are a bunch of top-notch talents that are working in the genre that very much deserve some of your ear time.

Margo Price

If you listen to her latest single “Hurtin’ (On the Bottle) from the soon to be released album Midwest Farmer’s Daughter, you will take pause and not quite figure out what decade you are in. Signed as the first Country act to Jack White’s Third Man Records, Margo Price brings to mind many of the 70’s Country music vixens, most notably Tammy Wynette and Dolly Parton.

Andrew Combs

A bit more Laurel Canyon than Music Row, Andrew Combs does Country Folk-Rock the right way in the Jackson Browne mode. His latest record These Dreams with stellar songs the likes of “Rainy Day Song” and “Suwannee County” vibing Guy Clark and Kris Kristofferson.

Aubrie Sellers

Aubrie Sellers is a Country Girl with a Rock Chick Attitude. As the daughter of Lee Ann Womack, you would thing that her musical muse runs more to the Countypolitan side. But you would be wrong. She calls her style of music Garage Country, and after a couple of kick-ass sessions with Light of Day, her newly released album, she couldn’t be more right.  Her guitar skills shine on the title track, and she goes low and slow on “Like the Rain” this is a refreshing candidate for Country record of the year already.

Daniel Romano

To state the obvious, Daniel Romano is retro. He has skipped the 70’s and 80’s all together and has gone all the way back to the best George Jonesin’ 60’s Gentleman Country this side of Marty Robbins and Bill Anderson. The vibe is so old it is new, and a welcome listen.

Sam Outlaw

If you are Jonesin’ for George Strait, Clint Black, and Clay Walker, and miss that more laid back Country Style, then Sam Outlaw will be your new favorite cowboy.

 

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Five Cool Ones – Rock Is Not Dead (2016 Edition)

Posted by falconi5 on February 27, 2016

5Don’t fall for the hype surrounding the Guns N Roses reunion.  It is going to suck. Stay away from the state fair circuit bands that are trying to present to you the songs you loved when you were in your 20’s with nary a member of said band gracing the stage.  Are you listening Foreigner? Instead, wrap you ears around the great bands that are touring right now, and will be assaulting your ears from now until at least the end of summer.  Rock is not dead. In fact, it is better than ever.

Monster Truck

Grand Funk Railroad is a major influence. This riff heavy band from North of the border. And it’s all good.

The Record Company

The sound is a bit raw and rootsy.  Think Jimmy Reed meets The Black Crowes. Everything about this band is cool.  Before the band formed literally from a Craig’s list ad that Chris Vos, lead guitar and singer, placed looking for buffs, the trio would hang out, drink beer, and listen to classic vinyl.  The passion for vinyl led them to picking up their own instruments and with their debut record Give it Back to You, they have come up with one of the best efforts of the early season.

Inglorious

Another Riff-ORama of a band with a distinct heavy Deep Purple Vibe. Singer Nathan James with his a voice that comes somewhere between Ronnie James Dio and David Coverdale, is worth the price of admission alone.

Wolfmother

Sure Wolfmother, Andrew Stockdale’s hard-driving band, has been around in some form or another for a bit now, and as late as 2005 was hailed as the next greatest Rock band. So this means that the new record, Victorious, must be a comeback of sortsAnd it certainly is. Set the speakers on 11, kick back, and let her rip.

Flying Joe’s

I am not sure what is going on there up there in Canada, but there has certainly been a lot of pure back-to-school Rock bands recently showing their wares all the way from the frozen tundra. This time we have  70’s style Black Crowes Blues Boogie, and on their latest, Let it Out, they play like their hair is on fire.

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