Apr 182014
 

waterliars

I immediately like Water Liars because their band name reminds me of thunderous titles of indie rock past–Pavement’s Watery, Domestic EP and Built to Spill’s Water Sleepers 7-inch. This Mississippi duo can certainly fuzzrock-out like those bands (often landing close to Pavement’s best Watery track, “Frontwards”), but they’re never as loose, so it’s more likely we’ll recognize in Water Liars the subdued yet sweaty stuff we like in The White Buffalo or Adam Faucett. In reality, their name comes from a Barry Hannah story.

I imagine this would be a great middle of the night on the highway album, but, I got to listen to Water Liars on an airplane flying over the Atlantic ocean in broad daylight–and it holds up to that real well. In their tonal shifts, Water Liars reflect the water below and the water above. The electric and the acoustic on this album, oscillating you between planes, leading you through cirrus and nimbus.

It would be great if bands had the time and resources to test drive their albums on different magnitudes of transportation–instead of just How does it sound in a car stereo?, How does it sound from laptop speakers?, Headphones in general?, they could experience how it sounds flying over the ocean or from a rear-facing seat on a cross-country Amtrak.

Water Liars would ace most traveling soundtracking tests because they shift tones seamlessly but with hard impact. Their acoustic songs balance between bedroom and front porch, but when they dawn the electric gear it’s like they’re armoring up for bar-band battle–which makes sense of a song titles like “War Paint” and “I Want Blood.” A lonesome and roamsome album; highly recommended.

It would be great if bands had the time and resources to test drive their albums on different magnitudes of transportation–instead of just How does it sound in a car stereo?, How does it sound from laptop speakers?, Headphones in general?, they could experience how it sounds flying over the ocean or from a rear-facing seat on a cross-country Amtrak.

Water Liars would ace most traveling soundtracking tests because they shift tones seamlessly but with hard impact. Their acoustic songs balance between bedroom and front porch, but when they dawn the electric gear it’s like they’re armoring up for bar-band battle–which makes sense of a song titles like “War Paint” and “I Want

War Paint
I Want Blood
Swannanoa

Find Water Liars on CD, vinyl, and digital at Fat Possum Records.

Apr 172014
 

RobertEllis-TheLightsFromTheChemicalPlant-CoverADA

I’m a sucker for ’70′s soft rock. In my vehicle, I’m as likely to have Sirius satellite radio tuned to “The Bridge” as any other station. Elton John? Carole King? Steely Dan? Yes, please. Maybe that is why I’m so captivated by “The Lights from the Chemical Plant” by Houston’s own Robert Ellis. Stunningly original and hard to categorize, Robert Ellis is a boot wearing, Texan troubadour raised on Paul Simon and James Taylor along with Hank, Waylon, and Cash.

“Chemical Plant” kicks off with “TV Show”, a deceptively joyous song about losing yourself in you favorite TV shows while ignoring your wife sitting next to you on the couch and wishing she wasn’t quite so much like Betty Draper. Next is the title track and one of my favorites on the album. “The Lights from the Chemical Plant” laments the impermanence of permanence; the chemical plant is the stoic backdrop in the lives of two lovers. As one of the lovers dies, the lights from the chemical plant that had always shone bright, go dark. This album isn’t exactly a heartwarming Disney movie.

“Bottle of Wine” is a powerful, beautiful, breakup ballad. Accompanied by only a piano and soulful saxophone solo, Ellis’s voice hits all of the right notes on a song that you don’t want to tackle next time you are at the Karaoke bar. It’s a tremendously strong song that sounds like a lost Dan Folgelberg track from 1977. “Bottle of Wine” is, perhaps, my favorite track on the record.

Two of the songs, “Pride” and “Houston” bust into unexpected free jazz jams in the middle of the songs because, well, why the hell not? I know, it sounds like it shouldn’t work but it does. The changes in direction and tempo do nothing to detract from the tunes, it only enhances the songs. “Houston” is Ellis’s love letter/break up song to his hometown. So long Houston, hello Nashville. Anyone that has had to escape their hometown because of the ghosts on every corner can relate.

The album closer, “Tour Song” is honest songwriting at its finest. I’ve never been a touring, semi-known singer of songs but I can’t imagine the life could be better documented than in “Tour Song”. “It’s the choice I made, it’s the price I’ll pay, just to hang out in some shitty bar, then spend ten hours in a car”, sings Ellis. And later in the song, “I know that she loves me and I know her love is true, but when she needs some company what else is she gonna do? She’ll have some tough decisions that may try her achin’ heart, but everything feels different from a million miles apart”.

We all love music. If you didn’t you wouldn’t be reading this. But, occasionally, once in a great while, a record will come out that you want to share with everyone you know. You want to shout about it from a street corner. You want to share it with the world. John Moreland’s “Into the Throes” was that way. I feel the same about “The Lights from the Chemical Plant”. The musicianship and songwriting are superb. Ellis paints from a different musical palette than most of his peers. Seamlessly blending country, folk, jazz, and rock, the result is simply brilliant and sublime. “The Lights from the Chemical Plant” is a treasure and is, most definitely, Essential Listening.

Apr 162014
 

Facebook/Twitter/Show Archive

Lenny Lashley’s Gang Of One “US Mail” from Illuminator

Aretha Franklin “Son Of A Preacher Man” from This Girl’s In Love With You

Black Joe Lewis “Skull Diggin’” from Electric Slave

Waylon Jennings “Low Down Freedom” from Honky Tonk Heroes

Sturgill Simpson “Life Of Sin” from Metamodern Sounds In Country Music

Sixteen Horsepower “Brimstone Rock” from Low Estate

Rick Danko “Java Blues”

Arliss Nancy “Directions Never Hold” from Wild American Runners

I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House “From Bad To Worse” from Mayberry

The Box Tops “Everything I Am”

Kevn Kinney “Not Afraid To Die” from McDougal Blues

Sam the Sham & The Pharoahs “How Do You Catch A Girl”

Valerie June “Somebody To Love” from Pushin’ Against a Stone

Langhorne Slim “Back To The Wild” from Be Set Free

Eddie Hinton “I Want It All” from Very Extremely Dangerous

Otis Rush “You Reap What You Sow” from Duane Allman Anthology Vol. II

Uncle Tupelo “Watch Me Fall” from Still Feel Gone

Six String Drag “Bottle Of Blues”

Apr 152014
 

Mostly-Harmless1

Long time 9B friend, Dammit Damian, started off his Mostly Harmless podcast by talking with Chuck Ragan. A little over two years and seventy podcasts later Damian got to sit down with Chuck again. This is one that’s worth check out. Next week he’s even posting a new episode with White Buffalo. If you aren’t following this podcast you damn sure ought to be.

Mostly Harmless: Episode 71 w/Chuck Ragan
Mostly Harmless: Episode 1 w/Chuck Ragan

Use Stitcher to listen to Mostly Harmless
Stalk Mostly Harmless on FB

Apr 152014
 

april 2014

Title: Scratch
Artist: Morphine
Album (year): Yes (1995)
Submitted By: hoosier buddy
Comments: This album comes out swinging…not punching, but swinging. The first three tracks either have you on the bus with the rest of the merry pranksters, or not. Scratch is one of those songs where the feel contrasts with the subject matter; the singer really does not seem to mind starting over from scratch. Is it the epitome of cool, or an inability to care? Methinks the former.

Title: 12 Steps
Artist: Big Shoals
Album (year): Still Go On (2014)
Submitted By: Bryan Childs (ninebullets.net)
Comments: Debut album from a new band out of Gainesville.

Title: Late for the Sky
Artist: Andrew Rose Gregory (Jackson Browne)
Album (year): The Covers EP (2012)
Submitted By: @philnorman
Comments: One of Jackson Browne’s best, covered by an incredible singer-songwriter in his own right, Andrew Gregory. Yes, Gregory, as in The Gregory Brothers of schmoyoho youtube auto-tuning celebrity. Andrew’s solo work gets overshadowed by internet silliness, and I know I’m submitting a cover, but check out his The Lost Year album, and also his stunning interpretation/musical setting of The Song of Songs.

Title: Sweet Tooth Boogie (Unreleased from The Wildness)
Artist: The Bones of J.R. Jones
Album (year): Reliable the Unreliable EP (2014)
Submitted By: @BoogieStudio22
Comments: I was introduced to The Bones of J.R. Jones, with a free EP via NoiseTrade (no longer available), in March. He’s got a great folk sound. I like this little ‘boogie’ number so have a listen.

Title: I’m A Little Mixed Up
Artist: Betty James
Album (Year): Released on 45 by Chess (1961)
Submitted By: Truersound
Comments: Heard this on an electric blues comp, dug the hell out of it. So much swagger in the delivery of the vocals, so much interplay between the guitar and rhythm section. A perfect song, a house rocker as they say.

Title: Milk In The Fridge
Artist: Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons
Album (Year): Hey Kid (2014)
Submitted By: @popa2unes
Comments: Luckly one of my boys is also a fan and gets to see the band often in the Columbus Ohio area, at the record release party earlier this year he got me an autographed CD, and I swooned. I bet you think, I think this song is about me

Title: Slow Death
Artist: Flamin’ Groovies
Album (year): I’ll Have A…Bucket of Brains: The Original 1972 Rockfield Recordings for U.A. (1995)
Submitted By: TheSecondSingle
Comments: In my opinion, one of the top three finest Rolling Stones rip offs of all time, but with a little of that Groovies jangle that makes them fun.

Title: Broke My Heart
Artist: Tim Easton
Album: Porcupine (2009)
Submitted By: toomuchcountry
Comments: I’m not sure where I’ve been the last 10 years to have missed the music of Tim Easton. In late March, I took in an in-the round showcase to see East Nashville and Couch By Couchwest faves Eric Brace, Peter Cooper and Jesse Lafser. Easton was the fourth, and I dug each song he performed. I’m now playing from behind and digging his 2009 release Porcupine. And is there anything more obvious to offer a flippant “feel bad for you” than hearing of a broken heart?

Title: Opossum
Artist: Adam Faucett
Album (year): Blind Water Finds Blind Water (2014)
Submitted By: Trailer
Comments:

Artist: Eddie Noack
Title: Psycho
Album: Psycho: The K-Ark and Allstar Recordings, 1962-1969
Submitted By: Mad Mackerel
Comments: OK so we’ve only just discovered Eddie Noack, best known for this, his 1968 cover of Leon Payne’s serial killer song Psycho. Rockabilly tinged, country cult classic. Pure genius.

Artist: Miles Davis
Title: “Jeru”
Album: Birth of the Cool (1949)
Submitted By: Gorrck
Comments: listened to this on vinyl on my birthday back in March. It was the only cool there was. I am a nerd.

Title: The Heavy Things
Artist: Micah Schnabel
Album: I’m Dead, Serious
Blurb: I have been helping take care of a dear friend who lost his fight with cancer at 9:20 April, 9 2014. This is one of the songs I’ve had on repeat since then. It’s been helping me deal with the loss and the grief. I thought it appropriate to share.

Title: Amphetamine
Artist: Steve Wynn -& the Miracle Three
Album (year): Static Transmission (2003)
Submitted By: Simon Lellow
Comments: This track popped up on shuffle in the car on the way to work a couple of weeks ago, I hit repeat, rolled the window down and gave an impromptu performance – to anyone who witnessed it, sorry. KEXP https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKMxflK_dok

Artist: Rod Picott
Album: Hang Your Hopes on a Crooked Nail
Year: 2014
Label: Independent
Comments: I picked this because I have been listening to this record a lot lately and it’s my favorite off it.