Introducing: The Weight

Depressed punk kids playing country songs for those lonesome late-night drives. Apparent influence from classic American songwriters to certain late-’80’s Minneapolis punk bands. “Punk attitude mixed with the passion and sincerity of country” -Status Magazine

My wife hates Internet message boards. She thinks they’re stupid and I spend to much time on them. She’s probably correct on the latter, but I’ll defend the usefulness of message boards until she figures it out. I have been turned on to some amazing music and have met some interesting, not always in a good way, people via message boards. I was turned on to The Weight via a thread on the Lucero message board.The Weight are Joseph Plunket, Uncle Will Noland, Jay Ellis, Fletcher “Poor Boy” Johnson, and Johnny Carpenter. The band originated in Athens, Georgia but relocated to Brooklyn a few years ago. They have two full-length releases: Compass released in 2002 and Ten Mile Grace released in 2004. Compass is long out of print and Ten Mile Grace is f-an-a difficult to locate. I finally found it at No Idea Records.To me, The Weight sound like an equal mix of Drag the River and Lucero. Tracks like Ten Mile Grace could easily appear on a Drag The River release, and I could swear I’ve heard part of the opening guitar riff of Sanchez on the latest Lucero record. Dragged Back In really drives the mix home in my opinion. If this CD was released next year I would write the band off as a Lucero clone, since it came out 3 years ago is all the proof I need that these guys are unique. Ten Mile Grace is the type of CD that gets better with every listen. The kind of record you put on when you are all alone drinking a beer and looking out the window. Warm, soulful, and full of heart, Ten Mile Grace is a must listen for all fans of alt.country/roots rock…..if you can find the damn thing.

Fortunately for us The Weight are currently in the recording process and 2007 will see a new album. I, for one, am looking forward to it.

The Weight – Ten Mile Grace
The Weight – Dragged Back In
The Weight – Hate Myself

The Weight’s Official Site, The Weight on myspace, Buy The Weight’s CD

Introducing: Kenneth Brian


Kenneth Brian as Hank Sr. in Lost Highway The Life of Hank Williams

I’ve mentioned before the assorted collection of people who make up the Hank III message board . We can be a major source of annoyance most of the time, but on occasion a musical gem of a recommendation will fall out of the noise. Such is Kenneth Brian. His name has been getting mentioned for quite some time, and recently I had some money burning a hole in my pocket, so I picked up one of his releases. Kenneth Brian plays straight up Texas swing/roots country music. Having said that, his 2002 move to Nashville instead of Austin was an interesting choice. Though it has been working out for him.

“Firmly rooted in his Honky-Tonk Ways”* Kenneth’s writing draws inspiration from his life growing up on the Gulf Coast of Florida, and his family’s West Virginia hard working roots. His lyrics reveal his years spent on the road as a musician- moving forward and looking back on what he’d left behind. His music is straight ahead Roots Country with a contemporary sharpness, fueled by a back beat of raw emotion. “The Past, Present, and Future of Country Music”

I had hoped the tour last year, when he was opening for Hank III, would make it to Tampa but no such luck. Perhaps 2007 will see Mr. Brian in the Central Florida area. Till then we have his Cd’s to listen to, but you can only buy his latest “Brighter Day” off his web site. Later this year he is supposed to be releasing a gospel CD, there are a few tracks from it streaming over on his myspace page.

Kenneth Brian – The River
Kenneth Brian – Wide Open Spaces
Kenneth Brian – 349

Kenneth Brian’s Official Site, Kenneth Brian on myspace, Buy Kenneth’s Cd’s

Myspace Bands (part 3)….or, Introducing: The Sumner Brothers

The Sumner Brothers are proof that the internets are good. Their myspace page was forwarded to me by a friend who thought I’d be interested in them for a Myspace Band segment. He was correct. As I listened to their songs I thought about what I might say about them until “Going Out West” started. About two minutes into it I was buying the CD. It arrived right before Christmas, and has been in rotation on our ancient 3 disc CD player ever since. The Sumner Brothers are an unsigned group from Canada. Ten years ago there would have been no fucking way in hell I would have heard an unsigned band from Canada, unless I was in a bar in Toronto (Maple Leafs suck!), but here we are in the aughts where anyone with a garage and a Yamaha 8-track can put their shit out there for a global audience.  Granted the signal to noise ratio isn’t all that good. To me this is the modern equivalent of flipping Cd’s in a record store, buying based on band names, labels, and album covers. I wish I could tell you about The Sumner Brothers, but as songs:illinois says , “they have no web presence besides their MySpace page and no bio to speak of.” What they do have is a CD entitled “In the Garage” (3 guesses as to where it was recorded and the first 2 don’t count) that you can purchase off their myspace site. The CD is a lo-fi, some live, some 8-track affair of rustic-roots/country music….you know the kind of shit that you wanna drink to at your local dive.  So if you have a few minutes check out the mp3’s I have here, and if you like ’em…buy the CD. I suspect that we’ll be watching these guys rise over the next few years.

The Sumner Brothers – Goin Out West
The Sumner Brothers – Both Back
The Sumner Brothers – Pain

The Sumner Brothers myspace, Buy The Sumner Brothers CD

Who knew Girl Talk could be so much fun?

does anyone actually read alt-text?

The other day I saw a mention of a guy who goes by Girl Talk on song:illinois and decided to give the CD a look-see. I’ll admit I downloaded it…but when a CD is boasting 150+ unlicensed samples, bitching about me downloading it would be a pot kettle black moment. What can I say about Night Ripper? Well for one…It’s a god damned blast. Don’t like what’s coming out of the speakers? Wait 45 seconds…it’ll change. Night Ripper is the Shawn Merriman of mash-ups…that means it’s mash-ups on steroids for those non-sports fans out there. Compiled and created with DJ software and a laptop, it makes me wanna start downloading acappella versions of songs and try my hand at creating something, and that’s quite a feat for any CD…sample based or organic. I wish I had known about this CD before (it came out in May of 2006) but now that I do. It will definitely be my party album of the beginning of 2007. This CD begs for a drinking game to be based on it, and with 168 alleged sources it’s the perfect disc for a night of whiskey (root beer for the kids) and a game of “name that source”. After some further research on the Internets it seems that “Night Ripper” is more tame and DJ Party mix based than Girl Talk’s earlier releases. I guess on those, while he still uses popular samples, he works harder to create original works from those samples. Color me interested. Girl Talk’s back catalog will be added to my buy list.  Check ’em out if you are looking for a good time. Guaranteed STD free.

Girl Talk – Once Again
Girl Talk – Minute by Minute
Girl Talk – Summer Smoke

Girl Talk’s Official Site, Girl Talk on Myspace, Buy Girl Talk Cd’s

seriously though....I am looking forward to C. Love's new cd.

Introducing: Sweatshop Union

Sweatshop Union  is a collective of the Canadian hip-hop acts: Kyprios, Dirty Circus, Creative Minds, and Innocent Bystanders, and if you know who they are you’re well versed in Sweatshop Union. However, if you are scratching your head and are a fan of hip-hop then these are some fellas you need to look into. Since coming together they have released three albums: Local 604 (2002), Natural Progression (2004) and United We Fall (2005) while continuing to make music as solo artists. Having toured with Jurassic 5 and Blackalicious, as well as their label-mates Swollen Members and Abstract Rude, the band has managed to make quite a name for itself in the hip-hop underground. One night last year, my friend and I on the way home from a bar, playing United We Fall, he asks if I thought they would ever make it big…..I thought about if for a minute and said, “No, they are far too talented.” It’s a fucking shame too. I guess the millions of dollars and platinum records are reserved for puppets like fitty and ditty and Lloyd Banks, while true talent has to remain content with relative obscurity. Having said all that, check these guys out. Conscious Canuck Rap.

Sweatshop Union – Broken Record
Sweatshop Union – Try
Sweatshop Union – Never Enough (money loves me)

Sweatshop Union Official Site, Sweatshop Union myspace, Buy Sweatshop Union cds

Introducing: Cunninlynguists and the hip-hop album of 2006:

2006 Best of


cunninlynguists

If you’re like me, you’ve had a gaping hole in your musical world since the break-up of Goodie Mob and the slow decay of Outkast (proving that it is better to burn-out quick than slowly fade away). I offer you Kentucky’s own, Cunninlynguists. In January, with A Piece of Strange, Cunninlynguists ended the battle for hip-hop album of the year before it really even began. So, while all the jerk-offs are gonna throw up Ghostface and Jay-Z in their year end lists over the next few weeks, I beg you to acquire A Piece of Strange by whatever means you choose, and see for yourself who’s kung-fu reins supreme.

Kno’s production is once again at the forefront of Cunninlynguist’s sound. With opening track “Since When” CL lays down the gauntlet, and with tracks like “America Loves Gangsters”, “Nothing to Give”, “Caved In” and “Beautiful Girl” CL shows that they’re the new kings of the SouthernUnderground…only problem, muthafuckers ain’t hearin’ ’em. Whole god damned world talks about bullshit like Fitty, and Lloyd Banks, and fucking Mike Jones, and whatever other fucking pop-rapper is spelling a tennis shoe brand on Clear Channel instead of looking past the spoon in their face….but, I am getting off on a tangent, back to Cunninlynguists.

Cunninlynguists is Kno and Deacon the Villan. Over the years they have released 3 albums: Will Rap For Food, SouthernUnderground, and A Piece of Strange. Along the way they have released a collection of mix-tape type releases. Mr. SOS was part of Cunninlynguists up until A.P.O.S., but has since gone his own way and should have a cd coming out in early 2007. With A Piece of Strange CL has shown a tremendous amount of growth. The tell-tale CL sound is present with the laid-back almost melancholy beats complete with pianos and pitch-shifted female vocal samples getting tighter with every album. Also, CL introduces a long list of instruments, from guitars to flutes, not commonly associated with hip-hop helping to set them apart. Continuing to prove Kno is deserving of the praise “The best loop-miner east of the Mississippi” and “Today’s best beat-maker” bestowed by many in the hip-hop community. Deacon’s lyrical abilities are as tight as ever…as the band ages, gone is the bulk of silliness that dominated early CL efforts and in it’s place is a pen as honed and sharp as there is in hip-hop.

So, as 2006 comes to a close I demand you check out this band and their latest release…even if you are just a fringe fan of hip-hop. Great production, great beats and intelligent lyrics. Thinking music for a thinking audience.

Cunninlynguists – America Loves Gangsters
Cunninlynguists – Caved In
Cunninlynguists – Since When

Cunninlynguists Myspace, Cunninlynguists on QN5, Buy Cunninlynguists cds

While you are at it check out QN5’s awesome blog!

cunninlynguists

Introducing: A.R.E. Weapons

A.R.E. Weapons

I do not really know how to describe A.R.E. Weapons‘ sound. I wanna use the term post-punk but, in all honesty, I have no idea what that term really means. So, I’ll just say they sound kinda like a punk band with more talent and some keyboards and drum machines. A lot of reviewers seem to really dislike these guys and their articles about the band seem to give way to angry rants that the band had tricked them leading up to the release of Free in the Streets. I think the problem lies in the fact that they took the band seriously to begin with. A.R.E. Weapons are a good time and while the songs can stand up to a certain amount of scrutiny they are not meant for up close inspection. No, A.R.E. Weapons are for rocking not reading liner notes. So, as long as you do not get to caught up in whether or not the band takes their music seriously enough and you just wanna have a rockin’ good time than maybe…..just maybe….A.R.E. Weapons is for you.

A.R.E. Weapons – Brand New Walking Blues
A.R.E. Weapons – Reggie
A.R.E. Weapons – Who Rules the Wasteland?

A.R.E. Weapons Official Site, A.R.E. Weapons myspace presence, Buy A.R.E. Weapons cds

Introducing: Willard Grant Conspiracy

sorry for the sparce updates….real work is kicking ma’ booty.

WGC

I can’t recall how I heard about Willard Grant Conspiracy, but I sure am glad their CD’s ended up in my collection. Willard Grant Conspiracy is singer Robert Fisher and some 31 other rotating members that play when they are available. Over their 5 releases they have amassed a truly great catalog of songs. A stalwart on many critical best of lists, it amazes me that more people are not familiar with the band. Their songs are soft but tremendously powerful, it was the Lose Weight Exercise of the songs that first drew me into the WGC tent. Personal songs written by a tormented soul and sung in a throaty baritone. I find WGC to be the perfect listening when I need to focus. Check them out, I don’t know how you could dislike them.

Willard Grant Conspiracy – Ballad of John Parker
Willard Grant Conspiracy – Morning is the End of the Day
Willard Grant Conspiracy – Evening Mass

WGC Official Site, WGC Myspace, Buy WGC cds

Introducing: Scott H. Biram

Scott. Hiram. Biram.
motherfuckers

SHB is the devil and the devil calls Austin, Texas home. Pitchfork hates him….The Church of the Ultimate Fanatasism loves him. SHB is one bad ass sumbitch. On May 11th, 2003, one month after being hit head-on by an 18-wheeler at 75 MPH, he took the stage at The Continental Club in Austin, TX in a wheel chair — with I.V. still dangling from his arm, two broken legs, a broken foot, a broken arm, and 12 inches less of his lower intestine. Biram unleashed his trademark sermon and if that ain’t punk rock then I don’t know what is. Biram plays a beat-up 1959 Gibson guitar and keeps time with a mic’ed stompboard. His sound is sort of a sloppy shuffle blues/rock/bluegrass guitar riff, that amped stompboard, and Mr. Biram screaming, singing, yodelin’, spitting, and growling through his version of gospel, blues, punk, and all around hellbilly….He is — the devil in Woody Guthrie, and you need to pay attention because he just might save your soul.

Turn yourself over.

Scott H. Biram – Raisin’ Hell
Scott H. Biram – Long Fingernail
Scott H. Biram – Goin’ Home
Scott H. Biram – Spoonful


Scott at Home
, Scott on Myspace, Scott at Bloodshot

Introducing: The Dexateens

Dexateens

Patterson Hood says they are the future of rock and roll. Patterson Hood knows rock and roll. While I don’t feel I’m qualified to speak on the future of rock and roll, I do feel qualified to say I believe these fellas have a future in rock and roll. The Dexateens are a 5 piece rock band from Tuscaloosa, Alabama featuring, much like the truckers, a triple guitar attack. In all honesty, they are really easy to compare to the truckers….from Bama, 3 guitars, southern rock, singer sounds similar to Patterson, and the newest album produced by Mr. hood. Yes, the comparisons make themselves, but they aren’t just a DBT clone. I prefer to tell people they are the band that will fill the hole left by the split of Slobberbone. In all reality I don’t think the band cares who you compare them to, so long as it’s not Kings of Leon.

On the new release the boys seem to have traded in some of their grit and stomp for a polished swagger, while there is still plenty of Alabama dirt and torn edges for me. Fans of Slobberbone, DBT, Neil Young, and American rock music in general need to slide The Dexateens to the top of their shopping list. Hell, don’t take my word for it….take Patterson’s.

The Dexateens – What Money Means
The Dexateens – Red Dust Rising
The Dexateens – Fyffe

Dexateens: myspace, official site