Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Great Wild Heartache -- Comanche Girl EP

Hey, folks. This week is basically hellacious so here's a quick update with some news tidbits!

First, Great Wild Heartache, whom I reviewed a few days ago, just realized another EP! It's a few live tracks and it's essentially a rebuttal of what I wrote in my earlier review. The music is still fantastic, and it proves that they have more than two tricks up their sleeve. I can't wait for them to put out a full-length album. Plop down $7 for some good ol' Okie country.

 ALSO: Exciting CD releases! When I have a minute, I'll make this a permanent sidebar on the blog.

MONDAY (2/27) -- The Attic Stairs (Bandcamp) -- You'll hear more about these folks soon!
YESTERDAY (2/28) -- Amy Ray, Lung of Love  (Stream here)
YESTERDAY (2/28) -- Roxie Watson, Of Milestones and Moonpie (CD Baby, iTunes)
3/24(?) -- Arliss Nancy, Simple Machines
4/10 -- The Alabama Shakes, Boys and Girls
4/10 -- Tim Barry, 40 Miler
5/15 -- Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires, There Is a Bomb in Gilead 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Matt Woods -- The Matt Woods Manifesto

I can't say I'm really late on this one. Manifesto came out back in June, but since I wasn't blogging then, I can tell you about how great it is now.

The thing I've most enjoyed about blogging so far is getting introduced to so much new music all at once. The thing I've least enjoyed is that I keep getting introduced to so much new music all at once. I've found that it's easy to find music that catches your ear, but it takes a little more time for that music to settle into your heart. There are a couple of folks featured on here who I'm fairly certain I haven't listened to since posting about them (I won't say who.) That doesn't mean they're bad -- if I thought they sucked they wouldn't be on here -- it's just that there's a lot of music to sift through, and that's never a bad thing. However, Matt Woods Manifesto holds a coveted place at the top of my CD pile.

This album was my introduction to Matt Woods, but it seems to me that the title is apt. All but one song on Manifesto knocks it out of the park (which I'll get to in a minute.) I recently revisited the CD and decided I had to commit every word to memory. No lyric is wasted, no note is misplaced. The crowning achievement of the album, to me, is "Johnny Ray Dupree." There's no shortage of songs about jealous lovers who do rash things, but anyone who can make that lover into a tragic hero instead of a testosterone-soaked asshole deserves the highest praises. Kudos to you, Mr. Woods.

And that's why I'm not so in love with "Friday Night," which is a fairly standard "let's get fucked up" song. When a song like that is bookended by complex songs like "Johnny Ray" and the serene "Port St. Lucie," it can't help but come off as somewhat shallow. However, it's a great song by itself, so that should give you an indication of how amazing the rest of the album is.

Hie thee to Spotify, then hie thee to his official website, where you can get a bonus CD with your purchase.

Ghosts of the Gospel
Port St. Lucie
Johnny Ray Dupree
Company Town

Matt Woods Official, Facebook, Spotify

Friday, February 24, 2012

Great Wild Heartache -- Allison EP

I learned about Great Wild Heartache via John Moreland's Facebook page, so I knew they must be good people.

Like John Moreland, Great Wild Heartache's greatest strength is their ability to toss off brilliant lyrical twist after brilliant lyrical twist like it ain't no thang. Though there are only four songs on the EP, they each leave a big mark. The first two songs, "Mind's Achin'" and "Solar Flare" are reminiscent of driving '90s rock hits like "It's a Shame About Ray." As if you needed another reason to hit that ol' play button. "Sunlight" is a meditation about hitting low points, but finding a way to push on through. "Bronco Babe," the last track, is a meditation about, well, Bronco babes.

All four songs start off by repeating a catch hook until all of the players join in and build off of it. It's certainly effective but, personally, I don't know if I'd want to listen to a whole album of songs that use this single technique. Hopefully, as Great Wild Heartache gains its sea legs, they'll become even more confident about taking risks in their songwriting. As Allison shows, they have a lot to be proud of already.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


I'm pleased to announce that I have the entire week off for Presidents' Day. (One of the few benefits of NYC public schools?) In honor of Georgie and Abe, let's celebrate American cultural imperialism!

Sorry Ok Yes, hailing from Milan, packs a two-fisted punch. In his e-mail to me, the lead singer, Davide Materazzi compared his band to The Pack AD. There's a lot of similarities -- the two-man garage-blues approach, the fuzzy guitars, and the 500% investment in their music. But I'd also direct fans of The Black Keys to this duo: danceable beats, catchy guitar hooks, and an overpowering sexuality that I don't see present in the Pack's music.

To Sorry Ok Yes's credit, they avoid coming off as repugnantly macho. There's nothing I hate more than cock rock, and you'll never hear it on this blog. Really, Sorry Ok Yes's is youth music at its best: they're singing about young peoples' problems while embracing an infections joie de vivre. I hope they come back to the States soon. 

Oh, and you can download all of their music for free, because they just don't give a damn about record labels.

Get more info, Facebook and Twitter links, etc. here.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

FREE MUSIC: Lee Bains III and The Glory Fires

For those of you who missed the memo, the Alabama Shakes not only finally got themselves a real website, they're also about to launch a major tour. Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires will be supporting them. I'm always one to check out the opening band (I mean, I'm paying for the show, right?) and now I'm stoked for the concert. $20 for two bands that I know I will thoroughly enjoy is a great bargain if you ask me.

So when I went to look at The Glory Fires' website, I had some initial reservations. It's in that hipster faux-web design neophyte style. As I read the band bio (in Courier Sans) I read a rather tortured apology for being Southern, followed by the words "NYU," and "English degree." Because if there's nothing worse than a navel-gazing English major, it's an English major from NYU (almost certainly a hipster) consumed by white guilt.

And then I listened to the music, and my dumb preconceptions were thoroughly shattered.

Because the other thing to note about Lee Bains is that he's an alumn of the Dexateens, a rowdy Southern rock bar band. The three songs currently available from the band's forthcoming EP, There is a Bomb in Gilead, vary greatly in style. "Righteous, Ragged Songs" is a blistering declaration of intent. As the press release promises, it's Southern rock with a little something new. "Everything You Took" and "Centreville" are similarly upbeat. I can't think of a better opener for The Alabama Shakes -- something old, something new, and enough energy to power Los Angeles for a year.

April 12th can't come soon enough.

Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires Official, Facebook
The Dexateens on Spotify

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Blessed Broke

As a proud New Yorker, I can say that The Blessed Broke is enough to make me want to move to Kansas City.

The first word that comes to mind here is earthy. While you can find singer Brian Frame's live, solo efforts on the YouTube channel (see link below) I'm more attracted to the full band sound. The electric guitar and drums serve to offset the cryptic lyrics. However, Frame's vocals -- accompanied or not -- lend a warmth that prevents his otherwise cryptic lyrics from dipping into the macabre. And macabre's not a place I find too interesting (unless your name is Black Francis and you're writing music before 1993.)

The music's greatest strength is that it succeeds in creating a particular atmosphere without being a downer at all. It was this resistance to predictability that drew me in to The Blessed Broke in the first place. I hope you agree!

The Blessed Broke Official, FacebookYouTube Channel

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Washover Fans

Here's how I generally select music for this blog: usually while I'm doing something else. (True story!) If it "pops" out at me from the general background noise of the Internets, then there's something about it that makes it worth my attention. 

This is true of the Seattle-based The Washover Fans. The band sounds as if they are of one mind. The confidence, sensitivity, and instrumentation in "Yours" reminds me of The Low Anthem. All three vocalists are soulful and believable enough that they brought tears to my eyes the first time I heard them -- and I was having a great day. If you like your music on the awesome side then you should give them a listen.

A Ways

For two more songs by the Washover Fans, check out Americana Rock Mix.

The Washover Fans Official, Facebook, iTunes, CDBaby

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Ani DiFranco -- Which Side Are You On?

I'm not a huge Ani DiFranco fan. I don't know why; probably because the places she goes are too dark for me, even when I'm at my darkest. But I streamed a few tracks from her latest release, Which Side Are You On? on Paste Magazine's mPlayer and I was hooked. I couldn't stop listening to the album for the first few days after I bought it. Oddly enough, it dropped out of my rotation fairly quickly, but now that I'm listening to it while I write this entry, I'm realizing that this is quite an unjust omission. 

I'm just going to start with the obvious and note the superb guitar-playing. If you're somebody who dismisses Ani and other Lilith Fair-era musicians, then you're making a grave mistake. The backup musicians complement Ani's skill: the sweeping drumbeats and odd syncopation give the songs a unique strength that could only come from Ani DiFranco's pen. 

What strikes me most about this album is how mellow it is. With the exception, of course, of "Which Side Are You On?" As far as I'm concerned, it's the political rallying call we've been waiting for since Sleater-Kinney's One Beat. The drumline is pure New Orleans, which, as far as I'm concerned, she pack an extra bite in a post-Katrina world. Ani's edge is still very much visible and has become more pointed with time. It's as if she's learned when to release the claws and when to be peace

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Mother Corn Shuckers

If you like bluegrass, that's awesome. If you don't you're about to love it.

Your emissaries of bluegrass.

The Mother Corn Shuckers hail from San Luis Obispo, but as far as I'm concerned they could have walked out of Appalachia. (Except for those songs about the sea -- not so topical to a coal miner.) The band brings a genuine passion and drive to each song on this album, whether it's the rollicking "Coffee" or "Corn Liquor," or the contemplative "Rossin' Up My Bow." Whoever takes lead vocals on "Bottom of the Sea" is a dead ringer for John Mellencamp, and in my book, that's pretty great.

So throw down with some good time-y music. And have yourself a superlative weekend.

Buy The Mother Corn Shuckers

The Mother Corn Shuckers Official, Facebook

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

FREE MUSIC: The Walla Recovery

So I made a playlist but I forgot to tell you about it. It's way more raucous than this music, so you should have a listen if that's what you're in the mood for.

So let's get one thing straight here: I was raised Jewish. I just want to make that clear, because The Walla Recovery seems to be a Christian band. If this is something that takes some effort to get past (like it does for me) then you should put in that effort.

Their music is as gentle and pleasant as their band photo. Their combination of acoustic guitars, heartfelt lyrics, and soaring cello strikes a chord, regardless of your religious persuasion. My favorites are the lead-off tracks: "She Said" and "Spread Your Wings." I guess I just have a thing for yearning vocals and a driving beat.

Interestingly, it's difficult to tell whether or not many of these songs are about a romantic relationship or something more spiritual. That's a theme that's at the core of Sufi poetry. Oh, stop gasping. Music like The Walla Recovery's should serve to remind us that the desire for a relationship with God/gods/Buddha/etc. is one of the most powerful bonds that we, as humans, should have. But we don't. What's up with that?

And if you really can't get past the Jesus-stuff. Here's what John Moreland has to say about Christian rock bands.

The Walla Recovery OfficialFacebook

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Pack A.D. -- Unpersons

Concluding our week of drrrty blues is the best thing to come out of British Columbia since Stargate. (I set the bar really high. I'm serious.) The Pack A.D. is not especially bawdy in terms of its lyrics, but all of those distorted guitars and vocals start to get underneath your fingernails.

The Pack A.D. is reminiscent of Sleater-Kinney and the Black Keys. The Sleater-Kinney comparison is not because they have lady parts (though, as sexist as this is, I would argue that only female rockers can express the raw ferocity of the riot grrl movement.) The Pack A.D's music is raw and almost dangerously chaotic in a way that I've only heard on Sleater-Kinney's last album, The Woods. The blues influences (less prominent on Unpersons) clearly invoke The Black Keys. 

Like the Black Keys' most recent album, Unpersons is more accessible and dance-able than the band's previous work. Unlike El Camaro, Unpersons manages to retain the integral core of what The Pack A.D. is all about. On its own terms, most of the songs on Unpersons ditch the blues influence for straight-up punk -- as you can see in "8".

If for some reason you don't already have Spotify, The Pack A.D. should be enough of a reason to download it. Their entire catalog is on there, and you don't want to miss out on it.

The Pack A.D.’s official site, Spotify, Facebook. 
Buy Unpersons on vinyl, CD, or digital, iTunes, Amazon.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Lucille Bogan

Lucille Bogan is the reason that this week is drrrrrrty blues week here on Adobe and Teardrops. (Is it pretentious to start going with A&T?) And believe me, Ms. Bogan deserves all of those extra r's.The ever-trusty unearthed Lucille in their 2009 article "7 Songs From Your Grandpa's Day That Would Make Eminem Blush". As talented as Cracked's writers are, for this article you just need to read the lyrics to believe it.

I'm not really sure where to start -- with one of her more coy songs, or if I should just hit you in the face with how shocking this stuff is. Stuff from the 1930s.

If you want to start in easy, read on to Barbecue Bess.

If you want to start with the crass, SCROLL DOWN to "'Til the Cows Come Home"! (NSFW)

Clearly, Bogan wrote songs for their shock value. Wikipedia is pretty skimpy on the details, so I don't know how famous she actually was, but she was well-known enough to get recorded and to tour around the country.

Barbecue Bess

"Barbecue Bess" seems to be her tamest song, in which we are lead to compare barbecue and sex. (The refrain is, "I'm talkin' about barbecue/That's the only thing I sell.") For funzies, here's a Japanese group performing the song. They pretty much nail it, though. (And I believe she's explaining the meaning of "barbecue" to the audience -- it's hard to tell with that weird grinding sound.)

'Til the Cows Come Home

The Cracked article features "Shave 'Em Dry" -- probably because she says "fuck" so many times.

But if they had done their research, "'Til the Cows Come Home" would have given them comedy gold. Oh, and here's a picture of Ms. Bogan so you can imagine her singing this.

If you suck my pussy
I'll suck your dick
I'll do it to you honey
'Til I make you shit
Ooh, baby, do it all night long.

And then there's my favorite song. I would like to declare it the international anthem of lesbians everywhere: "BD Woman's Blues."

I'm not so great at this kind of thing, but if someone can tell me what key that's in I'm going to learn me it on guitar.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Molly Gene One Whoaman Band -- Folk, Blues, and Booze

It seems like the last couple of posts have veered to a more acoustic kick lately. It's time to get out of that rut (though there certainly isn't anything wrong with acoustic guitars.) This week, we're gonna focus on some drrrrrty women's blues. And today we're gonna start with Molly Gene.

And her stylish boots.

I'm not reviewing the album here, because I haven't listened to it (though her previous album is available on Spotify.) I listened to "Country Lover" and "Smells Like Low Tide" and I thought, "What. Is. This?"

Really, it's what would happen if riot grrl and the Delta blues conceived of a bastard child after a whisky-sodden night. (I'll tell you more about one of their legitimate children on Friday.) "Kings and Queens" is much less raucous and, in my opinion, exhibits Molly Gene's range as a writer and a singer. Enjoy!

After some amazing advice from Von (Americana Rock Mix) I've tried to keep my posts short and sweet. Do you think I've been able to do that without giving Ms. Gene short shrift? Let a blogger know!