Made Violent are a trio out of Buffalo comprised of Joseph White (bass/vocals), Rob Romano (guitar) and Justin Acee (drums). They’ve recently release their debut EP and subsequently made their was to SXSW. Our crew rolled in for a night set at Maggie Mae’s. While the sound system was “meh”, we all managed to have ourselves a grand ol’ time squeezing right up to the stage. There are definitely hints of early Strokes in their vocal delivery but the band they reminded me of was the now defunct The Henry Clay People.
The Grateful Dead are coming to Chicago to play their Farewell shows. I was a major Head back in the day. The Dead shaped my musical tastes and persona like over the course of 70 some-odd shows like no other band before and no other band since. But truth be told, I had little to no interest in catching the shows at Soldier Field as I am not much for nostalgia shows.
Its fun to revisit the past but more fun to live in the now. There are so many acts doing incredible things now; many influence by the music of my youth. Ryley Walker is one such example. I’ve seen countless bands influence by The Dead over the years but I’ve yet to come across one that celebrated the contributions of one Ronald McKernan, aka Pigpen, like Ryley Walker. Listening to Primrose Green is like listening to a hissy bootleg from The Fillmore circa the late 60s.
Many have compared him to Tim Buckley. That is apt as like Buckley, there is a pervasive jazz influence throughout the album. But the vocals, those are pure Pigpen. In addition to the great vocals, Ryley is not that shabby on the guitar. He did a solo acoustic session at KEXP that will stop you in your tracks. His playing reminds me of another act I’ve become enamored with lately, Steve Gunn.
The second track, Summer Dress, is and will be one of my favorite tunes of 2015. It is just full of passion and a tune to get lost in. It sounds like something off a Dead bootleg from the Fillmore West. The video below is just Ryley & his guitar. That alone is jaw-dropping, but on the album it is fleshed out with elements of blues, folk and jazz.
As with any artist that takes his inspiration from yesteryear, different people are going to hear different things. I’m sure you could compile a couple dozen influences that Walker drew from. I caught a set of his down at SXSW and thought it was fantastic. His record release party is tonight in Chicago at The Chopin Theater and appears to be sold out.
On the rainy Friday of SXSW; some time between seeing Houndmouth and Run The Jewels, I walked a half-mile in the wrong direction to catch a set by Doug Burr based on this one track below. Sadly, I had never heard of Doug Burr prior. But it didn’t take long for him to win me over. The set I caught was full of punch and had I was telling people I met later that might that it was great set of rousing alt-country. It had an element of an outlaw American to it. For what it’s worth I was a wee bit drunk and based on this PR info, I’d be lazy calling his music Americana. Me, lazy? After walking from The San Jose to Maggie Mae’s and back to the Continental Club just to see Doug Burr? Whatever label you want to slap on it, I loved his set and if this tune is any indication of what the rest of Pale White Dove is about, then I can’t wait to hear the rest. Here’s some info from the PR machine.
Doug Burr does believe in reclamation, redemption, restoration. It all accords with his credo as a Christian, a reality he has no interest in either obscuring or marketing. In that sense, he is cut from the same black cloth as Johnny Cash. And like Cash, he eschews stylistic borders. Burr moves freely between country, folk and pop. A lazier writer might call him “Americana” and, unwittingly, be more on point. Burr is an American musician, thinker, composer and lyricist, shaking hands with both the spirits of Appalachia and the ghosts of the Mississippi Delta.
Hinds are a group of four young ladies from Madrid. Apparently, they were previously known as Deers before some Canadian lawyer threatened them because a confusing similarity. I had heard of these guys but had more or less dismissed them as some hipster hype bullshit. On Wednesday of SXSW they were playing at Cheer Up Charlies with a couple of other recently hyped bands – Chastity Belt and Girlpool. This was my reaction as I was taking in their set.
I fucking love @hindsband . I dismissed them as hipster bullshit hype. Yeah, I was wrong about that. Go see them. #SXSW
They were all that and more. They play a catchy brand of surf/garage rock that will leave a big smile on your face. They were one of my most pleasant surprises of SXSW. I would expect to hear a whole lot more about them in the future. Here’s two of their tracks below. If you want more, go to their Soundcloud page.
I have a misconception amongst friends that I don’t like pop music. I like good pop music just fine. For Christ sakes, The Beatles were pop music and I think they’re pretty swell. The problem with the new age of pop music as well as new TV is that we are force fed a non-stop [...]
A couple of years ago we all became enamored with Houndmouth after catching a set at SXSW. Since then, I’ve seen them another 3 to 4 times here in Chicago which heightened my appreciation for the Americana quartet from New Albany, Indiana – guitarist Matt Myers, keyboardist Katie Toupin, drummer Shane Cody and bassist Zak [...]
Michael Rault is an artist from Edmonton who is now residing in Toronto, Canada. His sophomore album and first on the ever-productive Burger Records is titled Living Daylight. He plays a crunchy guitar rock that had NPR comparing him to The Beatles, circa Dear Prudence. The video below, Nothing Means Nothing, is from a single [...]
Bee Caves are a band out of Austin, TX and I think they are named after a small town in Texas, called Bee Cave. I stumbled across them in a post about some SXSW party or another. I clicked on them because I liked their name, nothing else. Finally, judging a book by its cover [...]
Sweet Jesus. This track is a real kick in the pants. For those not in the know, Bully is a punk band from Nashville fronted by Alicia Bognanno. They cranked out an EP last year that was fantastic and they are picking up steam. Based on this tune, their momentum shows no signs of slowing [...]
Sarah Bethe Nelson’s Fast Moving Clouds emerged on to the scene a month or so ago with one of the most poignant break-up tunes you’ll hear this year with Paying. Comparisons to Red House Painters and Mazzy Star seemed apt. A more recent act that I was reminded of was Widowspeak only with hints of [...]