Rick & Roy – Superfluidity (2015)

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Yes, Rick and Roy from Lucero. No it’s not Alt-Country, in fact it couldn’t be further from Alt-Country. I managed to catch up with both Rick and Roy while they were in Houston on tour this past month with Lucero, and I got a better perspective of how this duo went from their Lucero gig to this new project.

These overly talented gentlemen spend a great deal of time touring with Lucero but managed to break away from their busy schedules and spend some time messing around at Archer Records. The result is an electronic meshing of sounds that’s equal parts catchy, dramatic, and trance-inducing. According to both Rick and Roy they had some down time. Fear not, this does not mean that Lucero is taking a break in fact they will be stepping into the recording studio during April to lay down a new album. You should read “down time” as sitting on a bus for long hours, weekends at home in Memphis, and being constantly obsessed with working on something new related to music. Rick had been doing a bit of soundtrack work for Ward Archer, including the Mud soundtrack and music to accompany Charly the City Mouse Fasano’s Retrospect/ed single and Rick asked Roy over to assist. From these sessions and the related experimentation, the two were asked to put together an EP of their electronic music. The EP turned into a full album, produced by Daniel Lynn, that Roy said they kept adding to and fiddling with, until eventually it was done, and by done he includes that there are still tons of tracks that didn’t even make it to the record, but hinted they will be released in time.

As I listen to Superfluidity I can’t help but think that some of the songs have sounds that are reminiscent to music that pre-date my own age, and I brought this up. According to both Rick and Roy there were no intentions or influences of 70’s or 80’s music in a planned way, but rather they would play around with the sounds they were creating and found that they fit best. Rick personally feels it echoes more of a 70’s era because to him that’s where the instrumental synth records he most loved stemmed from. That is the beauty of this album, there’s no one reflected idea, there’s no one theme, and there’s no definition. With each listen I imagine this album as an accompaniment to other art forms, as if it should be used as the salt to add flavor to the blandness of life. It sounds like beautiful, sometimes haunting, and also at other times chaotic layers of sounds that can transcend the decades and easily be molded into any scenario. Rick said “It’s not as deliberately planned as you think, it wasn’t intentional, it wasn’t ignored it was just a natural process of the creative experience.” I could not think of a better way to describe just how seamless it sounds.

When I asked about the creative process of Superfluidity, it’s no secret that Roy Berry can create an entire electronica album on his laptop from home with his previous experiments in music such as his work with Overjoid. I’ll let you do the google searching and fall down the path of no internet return to Mr. Berry’s non-Lucero music history. Rick refers to himself as more of a song guy, taking the music and inserting a melody. The question then became if this record was created over a length of time, until it felt completed rather than under a deadline, and if it was created with no real agenda or written music, how would this be replicated in a live setting? Rick and Roy both agreed that it simply must, but it would ideally include a stage set up of them improving music just as they did in the studio during creation. The concept of this being an ever evolving project and never quite the same or a repeating occurrence simply excites me like a kid on Christmas morning. Creating an experience for fans that will be different yet of equal caliber is a very forward thinking concept, and I can only imagine frightening for an artist to do. I’m excited to see the future that Superflidity will kick-start for Rick and Roy, and eagerly await the next experimental surprise from them.

Superfluidity is set to be released on April 4th, but you may pre-order the album now at Archer Records’ website. There will be a limited vinyl LP pressing autographed by Rick and Roy, I recommend rushing on over to pre-order that HERE.

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Stephen Chopek – Things Moving (2015)

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Stephen Chopek, a strikingly handsome young man with a long resume of music experience behind him that includes touring with the likes of Charlie Hunter and John Mayer, has a new EP titled Things Moving.

“Systematic Collapse” is the first track off of the new EP, which is available on his bandcamp page. This song has an upbeat tempo that puts you in a very positive mood. The lyrics are more thought-provoking than the music would elude to. Right and wrong, good versus evil, and the overall effects that our actions have not just on ourselves.

I may be off base, but, to me Chopek takes Southern Blues and meshes it with that raw New Jersey/ Springsteen sound and delicately balances it with lyrics that are deeper in an almost Emo way, and it makes me want more! I strongly recommend checking out Chopek’s previously released album, See Through as well.

Find Stephen Chopek on social media here and here and buy Things Moving here.

View Stephen’s video for Systematic Collapse here.

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Mighty Souls Brass Band – A Mighty Big Sound

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The Mighty Souls Brass Band’s debut album Lift Up is exactly what you need to listen to when you’re having withdrawals from all the Mardi Gras fun. If you missed out on finding that little baby in your king cake this year, mix up a drink, put Lift Up on, sit back and crown yourself the king of your own krewe.

The Mighty Souls Brass Band was Sean Murphy’s big dream that came to be with the joint efforts of up to 14 rotating and evolving musicians from Memphis. The MSBB’s music ranges in styles from Marching, Swing, Soul and Funk with each track of the album taking on its own sound that it’s impossible to listen to without feeling the desire to move your feet. The music speaks for itself and requires little in the way of lyrics though a few of the tracks offer some vocals that only enhance the notes that are pushed through the loud horns and jazzy percussion beats.

It’s no secret that my favorite thing about New Orleans is the off the beaten path swing and jazz bars where I can dream about being one of the girls being swung up on a dashing man’s shoulders and spun around the floor… and this album is exactly what I would want to be the soundtrack of my fantasy swing dancing self. Check out this video and tell me you don’t feel like putting on your suit going out and grabbing a cutie in a swing dress and tossing her around the dance floor!

 

PORTER – FIRST LISTEN: HARDEST HEALIN'

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Chris Porter brings his deep strong voice with emotional stories in his upcoming (due out early March) debut solo album This Red Mountain.

Porter has been working relentlessly on the content of this album for some time. The songs tell the stories of his real life and have meaning and conviction that the listener can truly feel. The title track This Red Mountain portrays the whole story so well. He was living in Birmingham and had a tough situation and moved to Austin with Miss Bonnie Whitmore; whose family took him in and helped him change his ways for the better and gave him a chance to master new musical challenges. While in Austin he began writing his perfect stories of life, love, dark times and redemption. He went into Ramble Creek Studio with his band and producer Will Johnson hoping to crank out an album that was free of cliché and within four days of live recording turned out something spectacular.

Porter stated that having Jon Dee Graham coming into the studio to play steel on Hardest Healing the last day of recording and hearing the playback of the first take was real validation that his record was going in the direction he’d been hoping for. Jon even illustrated the cover of the album and held Porter’s sanity together through the process of putting the album out with a label.

In Porter’s own words: “It’s not a happy record, it’s bleak, and it’s sad. The characters are flawed, the narrators are unreliable as fuck, and the relationships are complicated, but it was made by family. I’m one of the luckiest musicians on the planet.” I could not agree more, the images the songs paint are not beautifully tied up with ribbons, but they do tell beautiful stories in their own right.

Hardest Healin’

Album: This Red Mountain Artist: Porter
Produced by: Will Johnson
Featuring: Chris Masterson & Eleanor Whitmore (Steve Earle/The Matsersons)
Bonnie Whitmore ( Solo artist, bad ass bass player, vixen)
Falcon Valdez (The Happen-inns)
Jon Dee Graham (Texas music legend)
Recorded live in Austin, Texas by Britton Beisenherz
Featured Track: Hardest Healing

Laura Allmon Joins The Nine Bullets Gang

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Hey y’all, I’m Laura (pictured above with the famous Mr. Gray); I come from a small town in East Texas where the cows outnumber the people. I’m a wife, mother of one, and a desk slave at a financial firm in the Houston area ‘burbs and I cuss a lot. A lot!

My guilty pleasures include eating junk food, reading naughty books, socializing with friends, and taking road trips to small towns in search of vintage treasures. I am in a never-ending search for the perfect cup of tea. I’m a member of a woman’s only camping club that travels around the south in vintage trailers, an officer of my local Rotaract club and I’m passionate about my volunteer work with the Wild West Brew Fest.

I came into the folds of this great group of people mostly in person at a Matt Woods show one night in the outskirts of Houston a few years back. I met Romeo, we chatted over some beers, mentioned my love for Lucero and how Michelle had turned me onto Matt Woods.  Romeo and I kept running into each other at other shows, where he later introduced me to Scott, another 9B writer, and as they say the rest is just history. It feels that way. It’s been a hard and fast couple of years since I became personal friends with these people. There have been many shows together, lots of bummed rides home, and even more “Can I borrow your lighters?” than I can count. Every encounter starts and ends with a conversation about music. Every single one and I would not want it any other way.

I have zero formal training in music; I cannot play an instrument despite the fact that I have a few guitars and resources to learn said instruments. My one and only guitar lesson actually went something like this “Do you play any instruments?” and I replied very seriously “No, I play with people who play instruments.” Basically to come across as a stereotypical fan girl, I just love music, all types, and I love the passionate people who love music too. It’s as simple and complex as that. I like the emotions a song can evoke inside and I could care less so about any of the technical aspects of the song, though I can tell you if it sounds like garbage or a band looks sloppy and un-rehearsed on stage.

I’ve always liked music. My best memories of my childhood are of me falling asleep in the wee hours of the morning watching my grandfather and his band play to a house full of friends and family on the weekends. I was always fascinated with the way his big hands moved so delicately across the strings and he never once required instructions on what to play but managed to play any song someone threw out to him. I wish I could go back and tell little child me to record those awesome country and blues sounds. In my angsty pre-teen years I would lock myself in my room and listen to my cd-boom box for hours and hours. Relished in the Saturday morning when my mom would take me to Hastings and let me walk around forever carefully selecting the next cd to add to my collection of popular hits, jazzed she would pay for my chosen items only to later realize she’d manage to swipe some of my existing cds to keep in her car for her listening pleasure. Man I liked some things grown me would be ashamed of now. As I grew older and moved in with the man who later became my husband he introduced me to a whole new way of life… independent artist. He brought into my life long road trips packed with music from so many of the bands I still listen to and he further added fuel to my music loving fire. He would talk about the bands, and songs, and I would chime in with my thoughts. It was the first time I realized that I had a real opinion about what I was listening to. It was the first time I felt emotion and passion in regards to the lyrics, and it was the first time I was old enough to relate to the things the songs were about. That was the turning point in my life for music. I was over the force-fed pop tunes. Currently I spend a great amount of my time and financial resources attending live shows of all genres but strongly prefer the bands and music that Nine Bullets represents and supports. I do my best to support the local music scene in Houston where I live, and I try very hard to not ever live up to the stereotypical fan girl no matter how much I may love a song, band, or artist. I choose my friends based on their music preferences and I try to always remain open to giving anything new to me a listen.

So with that being said I am excited to become a part of this great site and a part of a team of people who love whiskey, tacos and unsolicited pictures of body parts as much as I do.

Some of the (sad) songs that are the current soundtrack to my life: