I figured I’d share a little with you today. I don’t have any great words of wisdom, hell I’m barely treading water at this point, but I’ve been mulling over a playlist for a while and I put it together when I was supposed to be working this morning. So here’s a little something to help get you through today, or maybe not…
Brent Best isn’t known for happy songs and Your Dog, Champ doesn’t break with that tradition. There are quite a few tracks on here that are downright dark and shouldn’t be listened in the depths of drinking alone at night. Honestly “Good Man Now” is pretty disturbing but it’s a testament to the strength of Best’s songwriting in that it’s deeply dark, a song about patricide by a child, and still a great song that demands your attention and keeps you riveted while you squirm a little because of the content. Not satisfied with sticking to the darker side of the coin Brent treats us to the lighter side of things as well with tracks like “You Shouldn’t Worry” and “Queen Bee” and even tosses in the love song, “It Is You”, for good measure.
Blood on my mind and anger in my eyes
I’m goin’ to shoot the man I was brought up to despise
And though I kinda liked him, Mamma told he was bad
And I keep Mamma happy even though it makes me sad – Good Man Now
What does remain constant is Brent’s ability to write and he is really in top form here. I am a huge Slobberbone fan but this is his best writing to date. Whether he’s singing about someone slowly dying in the back of a car on “Aunt Ramona”, skipping lightly through memories on “Queen Bee”, or describing yet another dysfunctional family in “Daddy Was a Liar” there’s a poetry to all of it that puts far and above most other people writing songs today. It takes balls to write some of the songs Brent has penned over the years but it takes skill to make them something that you want to listen to. There’s plenty of songs out there written to shock or disgust that deal with the topics that are taken on here and those elements just aren’t present in the writing on Your Dog, Champ. There’s something about the way Brent presents things in such honest terms that almost makes it seem like these scenes are viewed through the innocence of a child while at the same time giving you the sense that he truly understands the dark places in all of our hearts.
When I come stinkin’ of cigarettes and beer
It ain’t from drinkin’ but you know that dear
I’m out late workin’ in a shitty little bar
I won’t make much or get that far – You Shouldn’t Worry
I’m not sure what I expected from the music on this album but whatever that expectation was went right out the window when I queued it up. This isn’t a Slobberbone record nor is it a stripped down acoustic sound. The instrumentation is a full band with just the right amount of twang to suit the slight drawl in Brent’s singing. It also seems that the tempo and style are perfectly fitted to each song and “Tangled” is the perfect example of this. The rhythm drags while a fiddle cries in the background as Brent regales us with poetry as confessional. Between the music and the lyrics there are definitely some ghosts being exorcised in these songs and we get to be privy to it via our speakers.
Coltine, I’ve never know a woman as mean
As the one who who brung me and my sister in to this world
And I have struggled my whole life with the notion of a wife
Who would not seem inextricable
And it may sound inexplicable
Please don’t think me despicable, Clotine
Overall this record is so well put together that it currently tops my list for 2015. It is, without question, Essential Listening! This record was certainly worth the wait although it should come with a warning label that reads: CAUTION: Do not take alone with whiskey in the dead of night. If you don’t already, be sure to follow Brent Best on Facebook as well as Last Chance Records. You can grab Your Dog, Champ at the Last Chance Records online store if you haven’t already picked it up.
This week on the radio show I participated in KRFC’s pledge drive. It was way too much of me asking for money and trying to create witty banter with someone else. I prefer to do my radio alone. So instead of subjecting you to that I put together a totally different patch of songs with less talking. I was in my living room with a beer, a dog and a shitty microphone. But the songs are good.
I almost shuffled this one to the bottom of my stack of stuff to listen to, again, because the cover is kid of goofy and I have been disappointed with a lot music of late. Holy shit I am glad I didn’t! The Heelers are not your standard Texas music fare in that they are not country and they aren’t bar-band-frat-rock. Hell I didn’t even know that Brent Best of Slobberbone fame had produced “Devil on your Shoulder” until just a few minutes before I started writing this here little article and I try to keep with Bren’t projects (I fail at that a lot so it’s not all that surprising). Even with my favorite bands it sometimes takes a couple of listens for me to really fall in love with an album but I was ready to tell you about these boys before the disc even stopped spinning the first time through!
“Devil on your Shoulder” is full of amazing songs, musically and lyrically, and the only negative thing that even comes to mind is that while every song is great the album doesn’t necessarily feel like “an album”. (I am guessing that if you read this site you know what I mean so I won’t explain) But even that doesn’t take away from the talent here. These boys from Denton seem to have a knack for when to drop in a little punk or let their twang shine through. I can even hear a little of The ‘Mats in there. I could list a whole bunch of other influences you can hear or reason this album is Essential Listening, and trust me it is that, but I figure you people want to hear it for yourself so I’ll wrap it up by saying that frontman Issac Hoskins’ writing is only overshadowed by his voice which is just amazing. Do yourself a favor and go buy this one.
Happy New Year everyone! I hope your holiday’s were good. My long weekend was stellar. FSU tried to break Marcus Lattimore’s jaw on New Years Eve and then proceeded to just beat up on South Carolina while earlier in the afternoon USF took care of Clemson to capture the biggest bowl win in that young program’s history. Sunday saw the Buccaneers get their 10th win of the season and lemme tell you, if you’d have bet me Tampa was gonna win 10 games at the beginning of the year you’d own my left nut right now. The national press isn’t paying much attention to what’s happening down here in Tampa but I’ll tell you what…the Bucs are about to be an NFL powerhouse again. But enough about sports. Let’s talk about some music.
I have probably listened to this album 50 times since finding out about it last week. If you’ve been without internet access and don’t know about it, it’s a mashup featuring the beats of ninebullets.net’s album of the year, Brothers by The Black Keys and vocal tracks from Big Boi‘s 2010 effort The Son of Chico Dusty. In a word this album is “pure fun” which is actually two words but that’s how crazy I am for this album. Check it out and we’ll get back to our alt.country leanings tomorrow:
I wasn’t going to cover this show because Two Cow Garage is playing tonight in Florida and I know AIV will be writing up his own review but after seeing them for my first time I realized that there can’t be too many reviews on any given site so this is my take. Let me start by simply saying OH MY GOD! These boys can rock! Without any competition at all this show came in second to only to Slobberbone for the best show I have seen in years. Loud, fast, and frankly fucking punk rock is the easiest way to describe what I witnessed on Friday night.
I got there early and got to meet Micah and Shane (finally) and hang out for a couple of hours prior to them taking the stage. Their piano player had to fly home the night before due to the death of a friend but that didn’t detract from the energy of the evening. I would say I got to meet Cody for the first time but it turns out I met him almost five years ago in Tempe, AZ at the Cory Branan, Koufax, Limbeck and The Honorary Title. I was hanging with Cory after his set and taking pictures of some weird Limbeck fan chick who had curled up in an empty merchandise box and Cody, who was with Koufax at the time, was sitting right there bullshitting with us. Some nights it seems the scene doesn’t get larger it just gets more crowded. So we hung out and talked about life, family, drinking, and so much more. We drank, drank and drank some more. And yes I went on and on like a fan boy and I am not ashamed! Shane confirmed there is some work on a solo effort from him but nothing like a release date or even a label just yet and while it’s not on the radar yet I am pretty stoked that it’s coming eventually. I also talked to the boys about a little idea I had to help promote the new album here on 9B and they approved so keep watching I hope to be able to post more on that next week. Did I mention we drank a little bit? There was whiskey to be had and we had it…
Then Two Cow Garage took the stage and the world came apart at the seams. Micah and Shane are nothing less that rock stars extraordinaire and Cody had a shit eating grin on his face the entire set. From the opening riff to the closing refrain they never stopped. It was song into song into song into song without even a break to catch a breath. Flinging sweat on to the audience from their antics on stage and screaming out every song I am completely amazed that either Micah or Shane could even talk after the show. I was exhausted from screaming along and dancing and they do it every night! They even broke out some older tracks like 135 at the audience’s request which I should mention had to be screamed over the strumming between songs because like I already said they never stopped playing or moving!
This is one of the first shows I have ever walked away from with regrets. I don’t regret leaving the still frame camera and video camera at home and just enjoying the show. I don’t regret screaming along so loud I could barely talk for two days. I don’t regret hanging out until after three in the morning. I don’t regret my ears ringing well in to Sunday. I do regret leaving SXSW early and missing them last year! I couldn’t have seen them locally because I only found out about them four years ago and they haven’t played here in five years. But I can sorely regret not having seen them when I had the chance. If you ever have the chance to catch them live and you don’t then you really must not have a clue. Their albums are amazing but their live show takes their music to another level. Get off your ass and see them. They are good enough that the next time they come through Texas I may well take a couple of days off work and do the Dallas, Austin, Houston circuit just to see them that many more times.
I just want to wrap this up by saying, again, OH MY FUCKING GOD!
AUTOPSY IV SAYS: I tend not to review shows that I put on so there will be little more than “ditto above” said about the Tampa show unless someone who was there wants to review is. I’ll say, people came, beers were drank and hearing was damaged. Good. Fucking. Times.
Friday night I had a religious experience. I got to see Slobberbone play live. Let me clearly state that what I saw on Friday night was the best rock show I have seen in recent history, bar none! Brent Best and company could have easily been teaching school on how to put on a rock show. Every piece of the show was fluid between the band members but the music was as raw as rock is supposed to be. I realized just how amazing the night was going to be when the band pulled out “Lumberlung”, the third song of the set, and played it with all the emotion that it deserved and as the audience wailed along with the band there was an energy that even the yuppies trying to booty dance (no I am not kidding) couldn’t manage to fuck up. Brent ended the song with “Thanks for singing along you sensitive bastards” and launched right into the next song. Whiskey flowed freely and even yours truly ponied up for a round for the band and just about everybody standing close by. Over the course of the night, I gave up trying to keep track of the setlist, I felt all of my recent apathy about the scene fading away. This show reminded me of why I started going to shows in the first place and why I love music as much as I do. I honestly felt like was eighteen and seeing music through un-jaded eyes again.
After the show I got to sit outside with Brent and Jess in the moist gulf coast heat that seems ever present in Houston and just shoot the breeze. I didn’t pull out a pad and pen and try to take notes or conduct an interview as I am known to do. Instead, we talked about life, music, and all sorts of random shit. We even talked about getting Engine Joe turned in to a karaoke track at some point. Talking to Brent I got the feeling that crowds and shows like this in small venues with a sea of whiskey is the reason that Slobberbone started making music and I, for one, appreciate that point of view. As far getting to see them any time soon in your town; they’re trying to keep the touring to an absolute minimum for the moment as they work on a new album so you’re unlikely to get to see them in your town in the next little while (BOO!) but the upshot is they are working on a new record (YAY!).
In closing I have to say that while I may have been in a sort of funk regarding music lately and maybe even a little burned out that I am now renewed and it’s thanks to Slobberbone. From the opening riffs of the show to the cover of “I Got Drunk” to the wailing rendition of “Billy Pritchard” to the encore there wasn’t a single moment when I wanted to be anywhere else. And while Brent may threaten to “Dunk You In The River” he truly baptized that crowd on Friday night in pure rock n roll and did so with a smirk on face and guitar in his hands.
(I know the pics aren’t my usual quality but I didn’t grab the camera on my way out the door so that’s all I managed to get that was even visible on my phone.)
Since I don’t have any equipment to record shows you’ll have to make do with these tracks from Slobberbone’s “Last Show” before the recent reunion.
Virgil and Co. released their latest mixtape earlier this week. This volume was inspired by the upcoming release of the NEW I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House album, The Sounds Of Dying. This album (hopefully) marks the triumphant return of ICLASOB as a band after a couple of years on hiatus. The album was officially released for preorder today and if you preorder it you get an immediate mp3 download of the complete album. Trust me, I’ve had the album for a few months now….it’s fucking fantastic and you should stop reading this post right now, open a new tab and buy it. Regrets, you’ll have none. Anyhow, the compilation features selected tracks from the Suburban Home roster, including a new demo from one Mr. Austin Lucas. They also accepted submissions from outside sources for this album which accounts for seven of the tracks.
The album is available for free and legal download here. The folks over at SH only ask that if you download it you send the link to 4 of your friends (or tweet about it or spread the word in some manner) which I think is a fair trade off.
- I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In the House – Swear To God
- I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In the House – Postcards And Apologies (Two Cow Garage)
- Two Cow Garage – Postcards and Apologies
- Michael Dean Damron – Waiting Around To Die (Townes Van Zandt)
- Townes Van Zandt – Waiting Around To Die
- Austin Lucas – Sleep Well (Demo)
- Trampled By Turtles – Wait So Long
- Oblio’s Arrow – End of the Burning Moon
- Tim Barry – Exit Wounds
- Slobberbone – Placemat Blues
- John Moreland & the Black Gold Band – Bastards Of The Highway
- Jeff Rowe – Kate
- The Replacements – Unsatisfied
- Jon Snodgrass – Fast in Last
- Arliss Nancy – Stella Lovely
- Jr. Juggernaut – Another Two Weeks
- Alexander Hudjohn – Down So Low
- Calling Morocco – Break Your Heart
- Tin Horn Prayer – Louis Collins
- Jared Grabb – Devil Between
- Lucky Old Sun – Back In Style
- Armchair Martian – …not fine. demo
- The Takers – Drift
- Look Mexico – Take It Upstairs, Einstein
- Geraldine Fibbers – Lilybelle
- Pariah Beat – Elvis in Jerusulum
- Drag the River – Beautiful & Damned
- BEERS – I Love You (But I Don’t Trust You)
- The Evening Rig – Half Asleep
- Hank Williams Jr. – If You Don’t Like Hank Williams
One of the best things about the holidays is holiday parties and college bowl games. Fortunately there will be no football to distract you from the awesomeness coming to The Emerald tonight.
The Semis seem sort of like the odd band out on this bill, soundwise. I’ve made a pass through their new CD and it seemed a lot more on the “indie” side of things than the rest of the bill. I’ve never caught them live but I have heard great things from reliable sources, so I’ll be making a point to get there early enough to see their set.
I’ve caught Nessie three or four times over the past year or so and they never disappoint. Two things are for sure when you come to a Nessie show at The Emerald. First, it will be packed. Second, it will be loud. In other words, it will be pretty awesome.
Have Gun, Will Travel has just returned from a successful trip up to Atlanta where they opened up for the Slobberbone reunion show. If you don’t know who Slobberbone is, then shame on you, but to clue you in on how big of a deal it is — Patterson Hood from the Drive-By Truckers found the show worthy enough of a road trip from Athens. There was also a car load of our own Tampons who made the road trip as well (jealous, I am). Anyway, they’re not calling this a “CD release” party or anything, but they’ll have the new one with them and if you haven’t bought it yet, you need to be picking that bitch up. Tonight night is as good a night as any.
On another note, I don’t know if y’all have heard or not, since I‘ve been trying to keep it so quiet, but I recently had some ninebullets.net shirts made and I’m selling them. If any of you local folks want one hit me up (I’ll be the dude in the ninebullets.net shirt) and I’ll sell you one….and since you actually came out and paid a cover to support local music, I’ll sell it to you for a mere $10. So find me at the show or hit me up on email prior to the show.
See y’all tonight!