Friday, April 26, 2013

Quiet Hollers -- I Am the Morning

Quiet Hollers is the perfect band to listen to if you're giving your life choices a serious think. Or maybe not, since it'll make you cry. Depends on what you need.

I Am the Morning is a series of meditations on mortality, life on the road, and lost love. So...your usual alt-country subject matter, but the Quiet Hollers gets it right every time. Not too shabby for a debut album. 

You'd never believe that these gents started out playing hardcore punk. While they are part of a growing tradition of punk rockers moving to roots music, these are not guys playing punk with acoustic guitars. What remains from their hardcore days is their ethos: frank and emotionally searing songs. 

When I thanked lead singer Shadwick Wilde for calling my attention to his band, I called the album "gorgeous." He said I was being "generous." I'll let you decide.

Quiet Holler --Official, ReverbNation, Facebook, CD Baby, Amazon, Spotify

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Dustbowl Revival -- Carry Me Home

There's just something inexplicably charming about The Dustbowl Revival.

A umpteen-piece traveling roots collective based out of LA, the Dustbowl Revival is indeed reviving gospel, swing, and bluegrass in the best way possible. They're making it fun, not hollow. They care. They're in love with their music. That's the mission statement for this here e-publication.

 Personally, I think the band shines most in its gospel covers. My first thought was "Damn. I forgot he was a white city boy." Sincere music? Unheard of.

I hope the Dustbowl Revival sticks around for a while. The world could learn from their example.
 The Dustbowl Revival -- Official, Bandcamp, Facebook

Monday, April 22, 2013

Adobe and Teardrops on Homoground!

Yours truly has been featured on the world's premier queer music podcast, Homoground! (See the link list to the left.)

I'd say it's a pretty boss mixtape, but you'll have to see for yourself.

Lastly, I was looking at today's stats. Apparently some of you are visiting through the DoD and a cancer research center in Texas. What the hell, people? Get back to work!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

William Pilgrim and the All Grows Up -- The Great Recession

William Pilgrim has been through a lot, and his songs show it. Raised in foster homes and homeless as a youth, the guy's a fighter.

Now, I'm about to make a comparison that will not seem flattering at first. William Pilgrim reminds me of Hootie and the Blowfish. Not because of the more obvious comparisons between Pilgrim and Rucker, but Hootie's emphasis on strong, folk-inspired melodies is evident through The Great Recession.

Also, both frontmen can really sing.

The difference, of course, lies in Pilgrim's authenticity. While the '90s pop hooks and Americana influence give the music a timeless quality, Pilgrim's searing social commentary lends his songs immediacy. I wouldn't be surprised if I saw this album on a certain list at the end of the year.

William Pilgrim and the All Grows Up -- Official, Bandcamp, Facebook

Monday, April 15, 2013

Woody Pines -- Rabbits Motel

It's difficult to get more retro than Woody Pines. Pines' lyrical and musical swagger calls to mind early rock'n'roll -- fun and a little edgy, but before rock became mired in grit and seedy territory. According to his site, Pines is every inch the rambling folkie that comes through on this record. Really, you won't be able to listen to Rabbits Motel without kicking off your boots and cutting a rug.

As fun as swingers such as "Like I Do" and "Keep Your Hands Off Her," I think the album's strongest songs are its most contemplative: "Hobo And His Bride" and "Close Your Eyes and Dream" are truly moving.

Pines reminds me of JD McPherson -- not musically; Pines sets himself a couple of decades earlier. LIke McPherson, his joy and obvious adoration of the music he pays homage to is contagious: this is not a guy who wishes he was from another time. He's living it, and he's inviting us to join him.

Woody Pines -- Official, Facebook, Bandcamp

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Ben de la Cour -- Ghost Light

We talk a lot about "voice." Usually we're referring to a person's perspective, or their style of expressing themselves.

But god dammit. Ben de la Cour has a Voice.

Men just don't come like this anymore, it seems. Combining the dusky grit of the most hardened bar band singer with the lilt of a folk singer, De la Cour's vocals are well-suited to Americana. I'm certainly glad he dropped out of death metal. De la Cour's songwriting chops match his vocal range. The album begins with "I Went Down to Dido," a moody, Gothic ballad. "Heavy Things" moves the album in a poppier direction. "Palace of Mirrors" showcases De la Cour's ease with country music.

There is not one superfluous note on this album. I might even go so far as to say that it's perfect. But I'll let you be the judge.

Ben de la Cour -- Official, Bandcamp, Facebook

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Safe Haven -- Sermon For No One

Normally I like to listen to an album a couple of times before writing about it here. I like to be thorough, ya know?

I've only listened to Sermon For No One once, but I'm in love. Heck, I was by the end of the first verse of "Leave Me Where I Want to Be." Safe Haven has captured the energy of classic southern rock and incorporated a sense of 21st-century detachment.

This is not an album for the faint of heart. Bitter, sarcastic, acerbic, and rollicking, Sermon For No One contains all the piss and vinegar any one album has the right to display. I'm looking forward to big things from these gents.

Safe Haven -- Official, Facebook, Bandcamp

Monday, April 1, 2013

Mo Kenney -- Mo Kenney

There are lots of artists out there who love what they do. After all, music is too tough, too heart-breaking a line of business for someone to half-ass. So sure, when you listen to music, you take it for granted that the people you're listening to really care about what they're doing.

But it takes a rare musician to really insert him or herself into their music.

Shove over Tegan and Sarah. Ladies, meet your new heartthrob.

I was hooked within ten seconds of "Deja Vu." There's a certain swagger, a special confidence, that few singers display. Mo Kenney is one of them. "Deja Vu" is a fairly simple song. But Kenney isn't trying to be different -- she's just telling you how it is. And if you don't see eye to eye, you can just keep right on walking for all she cares.

That's the kind of commitment I like to see.

Mo Kenney -- Official, Bandcamp