Jan 082013
 

Most years, this is a much greater presentation from myself and I’m sorry that this year isn’t the same. It’s been a shit year and that fact combined with the depression that comes with it has sapped my entire motivation to sit down and do all the HTML formatting to make this list as beautiful as (i feel) it normally is.

Presentation aside. I stand by this list wholly. I may not have been able to muster the ambition to format it like years past (I am taking pills that are intended to get me back there) but the list was as brooded, mulled and fussed over as any other year.

So. Without any further ado. Here are, in my opinion, the best albums of 2012 (with links to the original review):

10. Tin Horn Prayer – Grapple The Rails (not yet reviewed)
09. Andrew W. CombsWorried Man
08. Alone At 3AMMidwest Mess
07. The Great UnknownsHomefront
06. JKutchma & The Five FifthsPastoral
05. Lee Bains III & The Glory FiresThere Is A Bomb In Gilead
04. OFF!OFF!
03. American AquariumBurn.Flicker.Die.
02. Arliss NancySimple Machines

And my album of the year is:

01. Scott McDougall – A Few Towns More

Jun 282010
 
American Slang

I first got into these boys from Jersey with a recommendation from a friend and didn’t listen to The ’59 Sound all that much at first. Over time it grew on me and became a staple of my playlist and quite the repeater on mix tapes. The release of American Slang was one of the first to get me looking forward to summer and it hasn’t let me down. I didn’t put this one on the back burner like I did with their sophomore release. Instead I queued it up and it has been on repeat for my drive to and from work for a while now. I’ll skip the comparison to their other work and cut right to the chase. American Slang is straight up rock n roll with absolutely no apologies.

Horowitz provides a driving beat that makes it hard not to tap your feet even when you are desk-bound like I am most of the day while Fallon belts out lyrics that are the heart and soul of what rock n roll should be over the big guitar of Rosamilia with Levine’s bass holding it all together. American Slang is not alternative rock, it’s not post punk, it’s not any sub-genre. It is simply what every rock n roll band in America should be trying to do. I know I sound like a fan boy extraordinaire and to be be frank I don’t give a damn. I love music and there’s been some amazing music this year but this one is the best rock album I have heard in a damn long time. Yeah it’s Essential Listening without a doubt and it could be a contender for the album of the year top spot as far as I am concerned. I guess I had better give up some tracks for you all to enjoy before I launch into a track by track diatribe complete with my favorite lyrics from each one because I really want to go on about this one…

The Gaslight Anthem – Stay Lucky
The Gaslight Anthem – Orphans
The Gaslight Anthem – We Did It When We Were Young

The Gaslight Anthem’s Official Website
The Gaslight Anthem on Facebook

Nov 122009
 


One of the prides of Tampa, Have Gun Will Travel, will spend this weekend playing shows around the state to celebrate the release of their new cd, Postcards From The Friendly City. The cd title is a play on the band’s hometown of Bradenton, and it acts as a foreshadowing of the regionalism the band chose to take with the songwriting this time around.

Musically, Postcards is a further continuation of their last album, Casting Shadows Tall As Giants. It would be easy to drop an “alt.country” or “americana” descriptor here and move on, but I really think that sells the band short. Sure, “folk inspired americana with a splash of bluegrass and a dash on indie rock” works, but what the fuck does that actually mean? Hell, I’ve probably typed that exact line five different times and each band probably sounded completely different from the other. So I’m gonna try (and probably fail miserably at trying) to get in depth on HGWT’s sound for a moment. It deserved it on Casting Shadows, and essentially demands it now.

Make no doubt about it, HGWT is a very full band, with Matthew Burke singing and manning the acoustic, banjo, and harmonica duties, Daniel Burke on bass, JP Beaubien playing drums, Scott Anderson on electric guitars and lap steel, and Joshua Hernandez on viola. With all those instruments you’d expect a tumultuously full sound, but what you get is decidedly different. Instead of every instrument fighting and filling in space, it’s like each player has taken a spot on a different corner of a basketball court while Matt plays and sings at center court. I know it sounds like I’m almost calling them empty but somehow they make that space feel inviting to the listener, a sonic dance floor of sorts. It welcomes you in and then the songs sort of surround and envelop you like an old friend you never met. I hope that makes sense. It’s really the best this particular blogger/writer can do.

Lyrically, Postcards really embraces its (and the band’s) hometown, painting a delicate picture of a sleepy Gulf town, complete with landmarks, legends and history. Being a Gulf Coast resident, I love hearing references and hat tips to the town(s) I live and play in but I did wonder if this would limit the album’s appeal outside of this area. Then I got to thinking about how much I love Grayson Capps and how much detail he goes into when he sings about New Orleans and the surrounding parishes and decided it probably won’t be an issue at all, provided the songs are good; which they are. Matt’s lyrics and voice when combined with the band have the ability to invoke feelings within me and that’s why I love music.

Have Gun’s last album, Casting Shadows, garnered great success, managing to secure an NPR spotlight as well as becoming a Top 20 added album on the CMJ charts at one point. Personally I expect Postcards to reach, if not exceed, those same heights, and I’ll start the award avalanche by calling it Essential Listening and the odds-on favorite to be ninebullets.net’s Local Album of the Year. I’d love to hear what y’all think….

Have Gun Will Travel – Wolf In Shepherd’s Clothes
Have Gun Will Travel – Ol’ Death Rattle
Have Gun Will Travel – Soles Of Our Shoes

Have Gun Will Travel on myspace, Contact the band via myspace to purchase Postcards From The Friendly City

HEY TAMPA/ST. PETE: Saturday night HGWT’s trip around the Gulf Coast will be stopping off at New World Brewery on Saturday night along with fellow Florida resident, Lauris Vidal and Atlanta’s Whiskey Gentry. There is no reason this show shouldn’t be sold out. Yes, I know Lucero is playing Orlando that night. Yes, I know Lucero is playing Tampa the night before. Sometimes, Tampa….sometimes, we need to come out and show the local boys some support. These are the bands that keep our rock and roll fires stoked on a week in and week out basis. The bands that play around here so much it becomes easy to brush off a show telling yourself you’ll see them next week. Lord knows I’ve done it, but what’s important to remember is that this isn’t “just another show”, this is their cd release party. Those are far and few between for any band, much less a local band, so get your ass out to New World and show these kids some love. If we don’t, one day we’ll turn around and they’ll be gone.

Oct 132009
 


Drag The River/All singer Chad Price’s solo debut is in the running for album of the year and as far as I am concerned it’s there without a doubt. I’ve had this album for a few days now and I have been trying to put how I felt about into words and failing. To start with I love the album from start to finish but I haven’t been able to find the words to impart how Smile Sweet Face makes me feel. I can’t review this album by just telling you how cool Chad’s lyrics are or how the understated acoustic accompaniment sounds amazing. There is something more to this album than just sounding good and having the right hook at the right place. It makes me feel something and last night I was finally able to put my finger on what that thing is. It feels like coming down…

I don’t mean it feels like crashing after a weekend of doing blow like a Wall Street trader in the nineties. I mean that Chad Price has created a mood across this album that feels like the sweat filled moment after sex where you fall back on the bed exhausted but more than satisfied. The slow chords and Chad’s heartfelt vocals slow everything around you down just a little bit. The opening line in The Cross is “It feels good when the sun’s out, feels good with my arms outstretched on this cross” and only gets better from there. With the mood waxing and waning across these ten tracks I suppose this album won’t be one that everyone likes. Actually I know it won’t because my brother just didn’t get it and all I could do is stare at him dumbfounded and confused. I guess if you are anything like him then you probably won’t feel any empathy when Chad belts out “Between church and a meth lab / can’t go on living without her laugh”. If you fall into that crowd then I truly feel sorry for you.

But you already knew I would like Chad’s solo effort considering how much I dig Drag The River didn’t you? What surprised me is how much this wasn’t a Drag The River album. I expected more Caleb’s Grave and what I got was something completely different. This is a different baring of the soul than the stuff Chad has done with DTR and rightfully so. This isn’t DTR minus Jon Snodgrass it is a powerful and moving collection of stripped down, soul baring, sometimes keening tracks that shouldn’t be missed.

Chad Price – This War
Chad Price – With Bleeding Wrists
Chad Price – Your Voice Is Music

You can pick this up over at Suburban Home in just about any format you like. I recommend grabbing the deal, I don’t know how long they’ll offer it for, where you get access to everything they release for life starting with this very record…