Friday, November 16, 2018

Adobe & Teardrops: Episode 39

Rachel is flying solo this week and she has some choice words for tomato-gate architect Keith Hill.
CORRECTION: Rachel called one of the St Beauty songs “Beauty.” Actually, it’s called “Borders!” 
  1. Eden Iris - “Dangerous Mind” (Demons)
  2. Young Readers - “Dancing” (Migrator) SH
  3. The Rizzos - “90s Song” (Split 7”)
  4. Jonathan Byrd and the Pickup Cowboys - “We Used to Be Birds” (Jonathan Byrd and the Pickup Cowboys)
  5. Todd Burge -- “Comic Book Sleeve” (Your Reflection Will Kill You)
  6. Amy Darling -- “Jamie” (Rock’n’Roll Woman)
  7. Sarah VDB - “The Moon” (The Moon) (SH)
  8. Oginalii - “Further In/Out” (Cause and Affection)
  9. St Beauty - “Borders” (Rising to the Sun)
  10. Copper Viper - “Hung Up Alone” (Single)

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

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Laura Jane Grace & The Devouring Mothers -- Bought to Rot

I'll admit that I was a bit thrown off by Laura Jane Grace's new album, Bought to Rot. Since it was put out by Bloodshot Records -- an alt-country and Chicago institution -- I was hoping that this album would be Grace's pivot to Americana. (Which would also cement my working theory about queers and Americana -- ie, that we're drawn to it like moths to a flame.) It wasn't a vain hope; that's the trajectory of many of Bloodshot's artists, including label-mate Cory Branan, whose album Grace appeared on.

I've given the album a number of listens now and I'm still trying to tease it apart. That's not a complaint -- instead I think it's a testament to Grace's talents as both a songwriter and producer. (Whether or not you care about Laura Jane Grace or Against Me!, you probably care about music and this article where Grace ranks her own albums is fascinating.) Sonically, the albums feels very similar to Against Me!'s previous album, Shape Shift With Me. I was particularly disenchanted with one of the songs on the album, so I didn't write about it here. However, the music on both albums have a more aggressive thrust and muddier over-all vibe than the strong pop structures and trans power anthems of Transgender Dysphoria Blues. And that makes sense, too, considering the production hell that album was caught up in.

I think what makes Bought to Rot challenging is that each song stands alone. The opening, "China Beach," hearkens back to older Against Me! songs, while "Born In Black" has an exaggerated, epic sensibility that calls to mind 80s cock rock. I certainly empathize with "I Hate Chicago," where I was essentially assaulted by a cis white gay man in the heart of Chicago's gayborhood. These songs capture a sense of unmooring -- living in a new town (Chicago), recently divorced, and navigating dating, we're seeing Grace continue to figure herself out. The album isn't without humor -- "The Friendship Song" and "The Acid Test Song" gleefully recount misadventures with a charming snarl. "Apocalypse Now (& Later)" pretty much says what we're all thinking. And, of course, "Reality Bites" is the energizing empowerment I was hoping to get a good dose of given everything that's been going on.

For me, the album has a much stronger finish as Grace slows things down. "Dreamy Screamy" begins as a lullaby and -- well, it says it in the song. We also see Grace explore a new direction -- in the last few songs she warms to an agile 70s-style art rock that reminds me a bit of Lou Reed, but with Grace's piercing arrangements. Overall, the album feels like a mixtape, but it also feels honest: it's a snapshot of a life in transition.

Laura Jane Grace & The Devouring Mothers -- Purchase from Bloodshot Records

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!

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

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 and say hi to Rachel on Twitter @adobeteardrops