Rocky Votolato & Chuck Ragan – Kindred Spirit Review – 2015

kindred spirit

I’d never been into Rocky Votolato, and not because of any discourse with his music, it just hadn’t reached the top of my list of things to listen to until this split came along. I am a huge fan of Chuck Ragan and all his musical endeavors, so when Kindred Spirit hit the shelves, I immediately put it into regular rotation.

My attention was immediately grabbed with the first line of the opening track by Rocky Votolato – “Sparks of Recovery”,

“In a 91 that still runs but barely, Writing your name in the fog on winter windows in the morning”

A great metaphor of life. A perpetual feeling that life is about to fall apart but the comfort and company of another is all you need to get through.

Sparks of Recovery is a beautifully constructed tune that captures a great metaphor of life. The perpetual feeling this uncontrollable journey is falling apart, and yet the comfort of another will lead to resolution or perhaps just acceptance. Struggle and perseverance, whatever that may be.

Rocky’s other two tracks, “St. Louis” and “Let Go” continue in the same vein as this opening track. Sonically soothing, unavoidably beautiful and surprisingly comforting. He has a great ability to introduce ideas of ultimate sadness only to be followed by a perfectly uplifting resolution:

“Eventually we’ll all lose every single thing we love”
“But we can beat death while we’re still alive”

These songs server as a great reminder that resolution is in the hands of your own mind, so make of it what you need.

Chuck Ragan’s side of the split does not disappoint. Three great tracks, with some fantastic guest’s helping him out on the vocals. Dave Hause, Jon Snodgrass, Ben Nichols, and Chad Price all make appearances.

Chuck’s tracks all sound like they could have been included on his previous release “Till Midnight”, and made the already brilliant record, even better. “Vagabond” is a track you will recognize from Till Midnight, but the guest appearances make this a well deserving re-release.

My favorite track on the record is the closer, “Before Dust”. It’s a slow grind that’s captivating enough to make you lose yourself in thought, if you let it. The song makes me feel like I’m on a motorcycle cruising two lane mountain roads well after midnight, with only my mind and the stars above to keep company. The song is like a good book that can be read in snippets. Take nearly any line presented throughout and let your mind digest it. I mean really dig in, and see where it takes you. Challenge yourself to learn more about yourself through this brilliant thought provoking track. My current favorite:

“We all must land somewhere”

Anyway – this is a great record from end to end, and damn good soundtrack for road trips and traveling into the great unknown. Hop on over to Chuck Ragan’s website, link below, and get yourself a copy of this on CD or Vinyl

Rocky Votolato & Chuck Ragan – Kindred Spirit – ORDER HERE!


FEEL BAD FOR YOU MIX TAPE: APRIL EDITION:

The February installment of the Feel Bad For You Mixtape is up and streaming. The FBFY mixtape has entered a new segment of it’s life moving from a message board tape curated by Ms. Rockstar Aimz, of My Aimz Is True, to a mixtape put together by a collection of (mostly) like minded bloggers. You can stream it below and head over to the official FBFY mixtape web site for some dialog on why each song was selected.

Track Listing:

01. The Youngbloods – Darkness, Darkness
02. Johnny Cash featuring Krist Novoselic, Kim Thayil, and Sean Kinney – Time of the Preacher
03. Ragged Jubilee – Blood On The Highway
04. Dan Bern – Tiger Woods
05. Corner Shop – Good Shit
06. Micheal Hall – Sometimes I Wish I’d Never Heard The Rolling Stones
07. D.R. Hooker – Forge Your Own Chains
08. The Parlor Soldiers – Lawless
09. The Only Sons – Bully
10. Dave Hause – Time Will Tell
11. We Are Augustines – Book of James
12. Biters – Breakin Your Heart Again
13. Glossary – West Liberty (banjo version)
14. Clash – London Calling
15. Lyle Lovette – Brown-Eyed Handsome Man
16. The Blakes – Two Times
17. Earl King – Trick Bag
18. Lowell George – 20 Million Things
19. Dr. John – Getaway

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