JIM DEAD – TEN FIRES

Jim Dead is from Scotland, which I will use as my excuse for not hearing his music before now. Put on his new album Ten Fires and tell me the opener, “Bone Blue Moon” doesn’t sound like Tim Barry. In fact, there are more than a few moments that could come from a Tim Barry record with Josh Small as backup. If, of course, Josh Small was not a charming fellow in overalls and instead was Crazy Horse. All of Crazy Horse.

The vocal delivery has the raw honesty of good folk and blues, and the song structures are classic and simple. But the production has a visceral, live recording edge that drives even the slowest, longest (often six minutes plus) songs relentlessly forward. Dead is no one trick pony however. Right when I thought it was going to be an album of drawn out, mid tempo Neil Young worship here come tracks like “Coffee and Cocaine” and “Hotel”; solid acoustic tracks that showcase his finger picking and the softer side of his voice. And then “Jim Landstrom Must Die,” back to the full band with some open G blues licks whose tube amp grit challenges you to remember that Jim Dead doesn’t, in fact, come from anywhere near the “land of the blues”.

The whole record maintains a nice balance between serenade and wail, twang and fuzz, harmonica and drums. The longer songs are somewhat uncharacteristic of the genre, and very uncharacteristic of 9B material, but if you like your grit a little slow and your chords a little fuzzy Dead and his cronies (called, I believe, The Doubters) will not disappoint. And if the six minute stoner blues is not your thing, the acoustic songs on Ten Fires more than stand on their own.

If the interwebs are to be believed, Jim Dead has no plans to visit the US of A anytime soon, but should he reconsider I wouldn’t miss it. Or, for any European 9B readers, keep an eye on his site and track him down in the UK.

Jim Dead – Bone Blue Moon
Jim Dead – Hotel
Jim Dead – Jim Landstrom Must Die

Jim Dead’s Official Site, Jim Dead on Facebook, Buy Ten Fires

DAVE HAUSE – RESOLUTIONS

Dave Hause, for folks who didn’t arrive in Ninebullet country on the punk rock train, fronts Philly based pop-punk band The Loved Ones. (Full disclosure: I have listened to and enjoyed The Loved Ones). We’ve all watched the singers from “punk” bands strike out on their own over the last few years, spurred on by each other’s success, free liquor, fan support and, of course, age. Some release albums that sound a lot like their punk band, just stripped down to an acoustic (e.g. Tom Gabel), while others change their sound entirely (e.g. City and Colour).

Hause’s debut Resolutions is somewhere in the middle, perhaps a bit closer to the former category. His voice and delivery are immediately recognizable, and the basic songwriting and lyrical style for this album are very reminiscent of The Loved Ones. You can take the dude out of the punk band , but you can’t take the punk band out of the dude, right?

However, this is certainly not an acoustic Loved Ones album. ThE album’s a bit more open and slower than The Loved Ones, and even the simplest songs never rely on Hause and his guitar alone. Each song is arranged for a full band, with varied instrumentation across the “Americana” spectrum. “Melanin” could be a re-worked Loved Ones songs, with a pretty straight ahead rock vibe, while “Prague” is driven by a totally unexpected (but effective) mandolin backbeat. Another sing-along anthem, “C’mon Kid,” opens with some big organ chords, and settles into some Springsteen-esque piano. While the title track, a hopeful New Year’s rebirth number, is the kind of two-step barn-burner we have come to expect from a punker going twang. All told, Resolutions offers something for everyone and it’s is a great way to watch Hause explore songwriting beyond the punk framework.

After a US tour with Frank Turner this spring, Hause will be in good company with Chuck Ragan (Hot Water Music), Brian Fallon (Gaslight Anthem), and Dan Adriano (Alkaline Trio) for a stint on the U.K. incarnation of The Revival Tour. This could be his year for sure…

Dave Hause – C’mon Kid
Dave Hause – Resolutions
Dave Hause – Prague (Revive Me)

Dave Hause’s Official Site, Dave Hause on Facebook, Buy Resolutions