Monday, November 12, 2018

Anamon -- Purple, Green, and Yellow

Listening to Anamon is a bit like hopping into a time machine on the fritz. The machine is set for the 20th century, but it hops around at regular intervals. The Rochester, NY-based group draws the easiest comparisons to Speedy Ortiz, but there are hefty undercurrents of rockabilly, country, and jazz that push Anamon further out to sea -- albeit with a strong tether.


That sense of wild experimentation keeps the band buoyed. These songs -- with titles like "No Friends" (featured on last week's Adobe & Teardrops podcast) and "Outsider" suggest a worldview that is deeply isolated and isolating. Ana Monaco's voice comes to us as if from a distance -- battling to stay abreast of the wall of guitars and expressive drumming. The band is tightly locked together, though that wall of music seems to be forcing these songs' narrators off the side. Purple, Green and Yellow is an album that experiences a life of loneliness, though you won't get bogged down by it -- the share inventiveness of the compositions won't let you. That's because Anamon is a band that's fiercely alive and wants you to know it -- whether or not the going gets tough.



Anamon -- Facebook, Bandcamp

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Friday, November 9, 2018

Adobe and Teardrops: Episode 38

This week was a lot to digest but there are always hopeful things to forward to. Also, some meditations on starting creative projects -- even if they’re meant to be snide commentary.
 

  1. Karen and the Sorrows, “Star” (The Names of Things)
  2. The 1984 Draft - “Honest” (Make Good Choices)
  3. Railway Gamblers - “Closer” (Lover)
  4. Cashavelly Morrison - “Night Feeding” (Hunger)
  5. Nick Dittmeier & the Sawdusters - “O’Bannon Woods” (All Damn Day)
  6. Deep Hollow - “Hangin’ On” (Weary Traveler)
  7. The Revivalists - “All My Friends” (Take Good Care)
  8. Kent Eugene Goolsby - “Take Another Shot” (Every Way But Easy)
  9. The Wind And The Wave - “Neon Prayer Flags" (Human Beings Let You Down)
  10. Anamon - “No Friends” (Stubborn Comfort)
  11. The Black Lillies - “Midnight Stranger” (Stranger To Me)
Click here for this week's episode and our archives!




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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Nick Dittmeier and the Sawdusters -- All Damn Day

Nick Dittmeier's got packs a lot of life into his new album, All Damn Day -- but it's not necessarily his. As you'll hear on this Friday's podcast, Dittmeier likes to create distance between himself and his songs by writing from the perspective of specific characters. But that doesn't mean these songs aren't informed by real life. Following the loss of Dittmeier's mother-in-law, great grandmother, and dog in a brief span, All Damn Day, confronts mortality.


These songs aren't dour, either. The Sawdusters support Dittmeier's tales with quite a bite. As the band swings from country radio-friendly hooks to bar-backroom guitar heroics, the core themes of loners who are this side of desperate remains. On "Love Me Like You Did," the narrator regrets a lost love over meaty riffs. "O'Bannon Woods" is a rough-and-tumble rocker that reminds us that the country should be a character in country music more often. The song is almost gothic, describing how the woods in a small heartland town seem to swallow lives whole.

For me, the standout is "Two Faded Carnations." The song tenderly unfurls along a baritone guitar line. The narrator carefully sets the scene as he describes the bouquet he places at a beloved friend's grave. The song details some youthful misadventures gone horribly wrong. Even as the song details some larger-than-life experiences, it's an intimate look at grieving -- something our culture often keeps hidden away. It cements Dittmeier's abilities as a storyteller -- just as All Damn Day shows that Nick Dittmeier and the Sawdusters are a band to watch.


Nick Dittmeier and the Sawdusters -- Official, Facebook, Bandcamp

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Monday, November 5, 2018

Kent Eugene Goolsby -- Every Way But Easy

There's lots of guys with smoky voices but they can't write a song like Kent Goolsby. You likely know Goolsby for down-to-earth Americana, finely honed after fronting The Only Sons. On his new EP Every Way But Easy, Goolsby's returned for more melancholia with a backbeat.


This time around, Goolsby brings a more contemplative approach to his songs. Every Way But Easy is powerful, but it isn't loud. From the first notes of the Glossary-like "Take Another Shot" (which I erroneously attributed to Joey Kneiser but it seems like his only involvement is snapping the album cover) to the closing chords of "Victory Lap," we get a sense of Goolsby's impressive control over his craft. Sure, there's plenty of road songs and breakup songs in the world, but Goolsby's observant lyrics allow us to see these stories anew.


Kent Eugene Goolsby -- Official, Facebook, Bandcamp

Thanks for reading! You can hear Kent on Friday's episode of Adobe & Teardrops -- or listen to it a bit early by subscribing to our Patreon! Feel free to drop a tip in our Ko-fi cup as well!

Friday, November 2, 2018

Adobe & Teardrops: Episode 37

Just another normal episode of Adobe & Teardrops, which means we talk about hair care and totalitarianism. Dad rock bands can get kinda weird. So do witch flash mobs. 
  1. Max Garcia Conover and Haley Heynderickx - “Mother” (Among Horses 2)
  2. Broken Witt Rebels - “Georgia Pine” (Broken Witt Rebels)
  3. Rachel Baiman - “Tent City” (Thanksgiving)
  4. Rhett Miller - “Total Disaster” (The Messenger)
  5. Laura Jane Grace & The Devouring Mothers - “Apocalypse (Now & Later)” (Bought To Rot)
  6. Mercy Union - “Silver Dollars” (The Quarry)
  7. ZZ Ward - “Ghost” (The Storm)


Rachel wrote a comic! Check it out here! Send us music via SubmitHub. Send us money via Ko-fi or Patreon. Contact Von via linktr.ee/vonreviews and say hi to Rachel on Twitter @adobeteardrops

PREMIERE: Dan Conn's Ballad "Green Eyed Gal"

Dan Conn is a man after my own heart. He picked up guitar as a teenager, inspired by John Mellencamp. That love of strong melodies and shoot-from-the-hip lyrics has followed Conn over the decades and into his new album Shine On. Today, he shared "Green Eyed Gal" with us.

The fifth song on the album, "Green Eyed Gal" is a song about "how the love of a good woman can change your life, even it doesn’t work out." Conn goes on to say, with a bit of humble surprise, "I taught the band the song in the studio 20 minutes before we recorded it, and it turned out to be one of our favorites that we recorded."

Photo courtesy of Dan Conn
Shine On sounds like John Moreland taking a left turn at Jason Isbell: powerful music centered around Conn's voice and acoustic guitar. "Green Eyed Gal" brings a sweet love song to the table. Thanks to Conn's careful steering and the band's flexibility, the song feels as serendipitous as the romance it describes -- rather than saccharine. Conn's been making music his own way for a long time now -- and this album proves he damn well knows what he's doing.




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Thursday, November 1, 2018

Music Roundup!

It's been quite a week, as all the weeks seem to be. Here's some peaceful music for a brief respite.

Mary-Elaine Jenkins -- "Hold Still"


I can't think of a better song to kick off this meditative list than Mary-Elaine Jenkins' "Hold Still." It's not exactly a happy song, but it does have a beautiful flow. Even as Jenkins gently rasps through a list of her anxieties, the band's gentle determination suggests that life will continue, regardless of how these tensions resolve. The gorgeous string arrangement helps, too. It's one of the slower songs of an album that brings a little flavor to the Brooklyn singer-songwriter landscape, but I'll bet it's a showstopper just the same.

Rosie Carney -- "Thousand" (feat. Lisa Hannigan)



Rosie Carney's been building a reputation for herself as the future of Irish folk. Her song "Thousand" shows her staying power -- much like her artistic ancestors, Carney's got that uncanny ability to pierce the heart of the matter with lyrics that cut and display a love of language. "Thousand" has a catchy hook but, most importantly, a melody that will stay with you for a long time. Carney modernizes the tradition by giving her composition breathing room: there are moments of silence here, all the more stark thanks to Carney and Hannigan's intricate duet.

Joseph Houck -- "Along The Trail"



I wrote about Joseph Houck's album Roam over the summer (and featured some of that music on the podcast) and it might be a good idea to catch up. On his new album Congeries, Houck expands his reach from gentle folk into jazz, old-time music, and some more up-tempo folk rock. "Along The Trail" is an spacious song of appreciation and contentment -- a happy song that actually says something. We could all use more of that.


Mighty Joe Castro and the Gravamen -- "Wake Up, You're Rockin'!"



I couldn't resist ending on something upbeat, though. Here's how Joe Castro describes his band: "We define ourselves as a rockabilly band because the term rock and roll these days has become so broad that it’s completely meaningless. But I consider us to be a rock-n-roll band in the truest sense of the word, in the tradition of the pioneers of the genre like Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran, Elvis, Johnny Cash, Bo Diddley and Johnny Burnette. My Dad grew up in Brookyln in the’ 50s, and would tell me stories about going to the Alan Freed shows at the Paramount and seeing Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis and Buddy Holly. As a kid, those guys were legends to me. Couple that with being taken to the drive-in to see films like American Hot Wax, American Graffiti and Grease - that beat was in my ears from a very early age. It’s in my blood. I’ve always loved it.”

The song lovingly recreates the wild sexuality, aggression, and just plain weirdness of early rock'n'roll with an updated sensibility. 

Canyon Trail -- "Rain on Sunday"



I featured some of John DiStase's instrumental music a little while ago on the podcast. DiStase brings his craftman-like guitar playing to another of his projects, Canyon Trail. The song is reminiscent of '90s pop -- though the lyrics here dive a bit deeper than most of the radio hits of the time. While the guitar gets center stage in this arrangement, there are some generous harmonies here that bring extra pathos to the tragedy of a dying relationship.