Pickwick announces Lovejoys – 7/7/17

by Woody on May 24, 2017

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Back a few SXSWs ago when Antone’s was still on 5th, we caught a set by Seattle’s Pickwick and had our doors blown off. I think it was 2012 and it was the last year of Oz. Anywho, Pickwick are back with a new album called Lovejoys that will see the lights of day on July 7th.

LoveJoys was recorded at “Chemical X” and “Black Space” (February – May 2016), Blood’s studios in the basement of the old Rainier Brewery building in Seattle. It features performances from: Tendai Maraire (Shabazz Palaces), Sean T. Lane, Marquetta Miller (Breaks and Swells), Taryn Rene Dorsey, and the Black Space’s in-house horns and strings – Alina To (Passenger String Quartet) and Jeremy Shaskus (Breaks and Swells).

Written in the midst of personal and political turmoil, lyrically and sonically LoveJoys became an escape somehow, a place for the band to purge all their deepest concerns while somehow also being relieved of them. LoveJoys embodies the relationship between inspired creativity and the use of escapism as a way of getting there.

Here’s a live session we did with the band back in 2013

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Pickwick is here

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Photo by Sandy Carson

A couple weeks ago I tweeted that Death Song had slid in behind Phosphene Dream as my second favorite Black Angels album. Well, I’ve been playing the crap out of Death Song for these past two weeks and I have to say, it is the pinnacle of their career. It is a massive album with big themes that swallows you whole leaving you a bit worn out by its completion.

Death Song is a raw, uncompromising look at our current state, and this was recorded before that turd became president. The albums is shot out of a cannon with Currency, a scathing look at our monetary system. Lead singer Alex Maas starts off sounding broken by the system before angrily chanting “Print and print the money that you spend / Spend and spend the money that you print,” all the while Stephanie Bailey is pounding the drums, while Christian Bland, Jake Garcia, and Kyle Hunt unleash mind-numbing riffs. It is a fucking brilliant rock song on so many levels.

Grab as Much (as you can), aided by a pounding backbeat, tackles the evils of greed. A tune that sound particularly timely with the release of the new budget. And while Medicine’s main message is about the prescription pill issue, in reality that circles back to greed as well.

If there is a glimpse of light on the album, it comes with I Dreamt. “You can use art to show people how you think the world should be,” Maas explains. “You can encourage them to dream what you dream and feel what you feel. If people act on those dreams and give them meaning, artists have the power to change the way the world thinks.” Let’s hope so.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

The Black Angels are here

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Photo Credit: Joshua Black Wilkens

Justin is an interesting guy to follow on social media. I’ve witnessed him fall off the wagon, bemoan the over-building in Nashville and celebrate the World Series title of his beloved Cubbies. Over the last year, it has been nice to hear him embracing married life, await the birth of his first child and make Kids In The Street.

Kids In The Street is his seventh album and first with new label, New West Records. It also happens to be the first time he’s recorded outside of Nashville with an outside producer, Mike Mogis. It also happens to be my favorite album by him since Midnight At The Movies.

“When I wrote songs in the past, I was looking in on what I was feeling, but this record’s more about looking outward on what’s happening, and writing about subjects like gentrification and inner city strife,” was the most interesting quote in the press release as the album is more observational in its scope.

The album opens with Champagne Corolla, a track celebrating the everyday cars that folks drive. Its buoyed by some tasty horns. He follows that track by taking a look at a time when life was simpler pre-gentrification on the title track. He also seems to dip into his wilder years for inspiration on Maybe A Moment, a track about talking a girl into a ride down to Memphis. And 15-25 is a New Orleans infused boogie that catalogues the list of transgressions of youth.

I’m loving this album more and more every day. When Justin is on top of his game, there are not many better out there. On Kids In The Street, he’s on top of his game.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

JTE is here

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Photo by Cameron Browne

With the constant flood of new music coming my way, I sometimes lose track of a band or artist that I really enjoy. If I don’t hear anything for awhile, I just assume they’ve broken up or moved on. I had assumed the worst since the Portland 5-piece hadn’t released an album since 2013′s Western Medicine. So when an email hit my inbox announcing The Spark, a smile grew across my face.

For those who are not familiar with the boys, an easy way to describe them would be as dark goth version of The Decemberists. For those familiar with them, The Spark finds them in excellent form. I’ll admit that I was a bit worried when I hit play for the first time, maybe the layoff had softened them a bit. Yeah, that didn’t happen. Fronted by Ben Sollee foreboding vocals, they continue delve into some dark shit which is right in my wheelhouse.

For years, Shirk (the producer of the HearYa sessions) always professed the beauty and importance of space in music – giving the music a chance to breathe. And that is a noticeable difference here, as compared to their last effort. Darker Day is a great example of this. There’s a lot going on as Sollee sings about some dark shit but its subtle, and never overpowering. That tune sticks to your innards for a bit.

Casket Lands is a call & response track built on a tasty banjo lick. Sollee paints a dark picture of the sun burning the farm lands to a crisp, rendering them a giant casket. Never Tell is another choice tune, about a showdown the devil in the afterlife.

The Spark stands among the best work The Builders and the Butchers have even done. If you like your Americana dark, run don’t walk for this one. It’s fantastic.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

The Builders and the Butchers are here

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Major and the Monbacks announce Moonlight Anthems 6/16/17

May 18, 2017

Major & the Monbacks are the latest RVA based Mattew E. White machine that blend soul, blues, americana, psych into a tasty little package. The tune gives off the vibe of a real loose jam by The Band. Yep Roc will be putting out their debut on June 16th. Here’s some more info on the [...]

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Jamila Woods signs with Jagjaguwar, set to re-release HEAVN

May 17, 2017

We stumbled into a set by Jamila Woods this past SXSW and we were all the better for it. After giving up on trying to get into the Pandora party, we made our way across the street to catch The New Pornos. Being an hour early, we decided to sit tight for Jamila’s set, as [...]

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Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires announce Youth Detention on 6/30/17

May 17, 2017

Photo by Wes Frazier Lee Bains is not a man who shies away from expressing his feelings. That might turn off some people, especially in his native Alabama, where Bains squares right up to many issues that he feels has been plaguing the region for years. Bains’ music has a passion that many acts would [...]

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Alyeska – Crush EP (album review)

May 15, 2017

Alyeska is a trio out of LA, fronted by Alaska Reid who’s joined by Ben Spear on drums and Enzo Scardapane on bass. Crush is the band’s debut EP and grows on the soft/loud dynamic that their first single promised. Whether the music is subdued or blaring out of the speakers, Reid’s vocals dreamily float [...]

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Kyle Craft covers Leonard Cohen’s Chelsea Hotel #2

May 11, 2017

Credit: Andrew Toups I hadn’t really spent much time with Kyle Craft’s Sub Pop debut, Dolls of Highland, before catching him open for Drive-By Truckers. Since t then, I’ve been giving it some steady play and enjoying the hell out of it. Today, WXPN released a video of Craft covering Leonard Cohen’s Chelsea Hotel #2. [...]

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Sher Mag announce debut LP, Need To Feel Your Love

May 10, 2017

Photo By: Marie Lin Sheer Mag, the force of nature from Philadelphia are set to release their highly anticipated full-length LP. The LP will be titled Need To Feel Your Love and will be out on July 14th. As with the previous three EPs, the lead single Just Can’t Enough tends to rock. Here’s a [...]

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