Ultimate Painting were one of those acts that I had numerous times on my SXSW schedule but managed to miss at every turn. From what I’ve heard, that was my loss as their melodic psych-pop wowed audiences throughout the fest. Since then I’ve been spinning their 2014 debut with regularity and ruing my misfortune. So I took great pleasure in hearing that their sophomore effort was coming out this summer. Green Lanes will be out 8/7/15 via the fine folks at Trouble In Mind. Check out the lead track, Break The Chain, below and if you’re hungry for more, check out their KEXP session. Here’s some info on Green Lanes via their fine PR firm.

Ultimate Painting, the duo of James Hoare (Veronica Falls) and Jack Cooper (Mazes), will release their sophomore album, Green Lanes, on August 7th via Trouble In Mind. After touring North America and Europe Jack and James quickly retreated to James’ all-analogue home studio just off Green Lanes in North London to record the follow-up, joined this time by Mazes drummer Neil Robinson.

Recorded by James on one-inch tape, Green Lanes perfects the template they created with the first LP. Each songwriter contributed five songs with various shades of collaboration in between. “The song always comes from a melody, some vague structure and then maybe a verse and chorus worth of lyrics… but everything we do, be it a guitar part or harmony, is always filtered through the other person,” says Jack.

Green Lanes is the follow-up to Ultimate Painting’s 2014 self-titled debut, also released on Trouble In Mind. Acclaimed by critics and peers, the LP felt like a breath of fresh air, with one eye on the orange haze of the late sixties and another looking optimistically to a sparse post-digital space. Refined and economic, dreamy and quietly euphoric, it’s ten songs by two songwriters at the top of their game.

Make no mistake, Green Lanes is a guitar record and it’s refreshing to hear two guitars so confused as to which one is leading, each leaving space and taking turns to rise to the surface and provide the hook. It feels like every little thing has been pored over and at the same time it seems completely on the fly, never contrived.

Follow me on Twitter @WoodyHearYa

Ultimate Painting is here


Banditos – s/t (album review)

by Woody on May 20, 2015


The old saying goes, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” If there was ever an instance to contradict that statement, the cover of the Banditos’ Bloodshot debut would be it. Take a look at that cover and really let it sink in. Dig into the details and you know you’ll be getting a rollicking, rocking version of Barroom Americana.

Hailing from Birmingham, Banditos are the latest entry on the venerable Bloodshot roster. Discovered at SXSW ’14 by the Bloodshot crew in a venue, that Bloodshot co-founder Nan Warshaw remarked had “questionable sound. the 6-piece was back at SXSW this year making some real noise during the fest. I caught them at an outdoor stage on the first stage and they were everything I had imagined. Vocals alternating between three voices (Corey Parsons-singer/guitarist, Stephen Pierce-singer/banjo and Mary Beth Richardson-vocals), buoyed by the rhythm section of bassist Danny Vines and drummer Randy Wade and punctuated by the driving solos of Jeffrey Salter.

Overall the album has this booze-soaked feel to it, sort of like a Diamond Rugs record. The album opens with a can of whoop-ass with the trio of The Breeze, Waitin’ and Golden Grease that are meant to be listened to loud; preferably outside at a barbecue while drinking canned beer. A few tunes later, Still Sober (After All These Beers) is a tune that will leave John McCauley remiss that he didn’t think of first.

While a whole album of ramshackle Americana would be just fine by me, Richardson sprinkles in a few tracks where she slows things down sounding like she’s being backed by The Holding Company as opposed to these fine gentlemen from Birmingham. No Good and Old Ways go a long way to breaking up the non-stop party and giving the album some real feeling.

Based on the album cover alone, I thought I was going to love this album and it exceeded those lofty expectations. They are going to be on the road this summer and they are not to be missed. This band embodies the reason HearYa started up 10 years ago.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa

Banditos are here



Paradise of Bachelors is set to release Whine Of The Mystic by Nova Scotia’s Nap Eyes. Nap Eyes consists of Josh Salter (bass), Seamus Dalton (drums), and Brad Loughead (lead guitar) and Paradise of Bachelors is calling them the greatest band you’ve never heard of. I don’t how you would disprove that so I’m going to go with it.

But once you listen to the song below, they lose that title. That is quite the conundrum. I say go for it. Paradise of Bachelors says it is a brilliant small-batch brew of crooked, literate guitar pop refracted through the gray Halifax rain. I say it reminds me of a Lou Reed tune.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa

Nap Eyes is here



Photo by Meg Remy

Michael Rault plays an infectious brand of psychedelia-tinged power-pop. Hailing from Edmonton and now residing in Toronto, Rault was lucky enough to have his music heard by the tastemakers that are Burger Records. As Rault joked in an interview, Burger is a bit of a cult with their fans. If you get the stamp of approval from them, chances are you’re going to pick up a whole new batch of fans. And while I might not be quite at cult status with Burger Records quite yet, I am flipping through their pamphlets on lonely nights.

But how do you stand out in a cult? Rault does that by mixing elements of 60s pyschedelia-tinged pop that leans towards the later Beatles catalog and giving a nod to the glam-rock era of T-Rex which adds up to a great listen.

After the aforementioned move from Edmonton to Toronto, Rault dealt with the normal anxiety of trying to make your mark in a new city. I can still remember the feelings I felt when I moved from NY to Chicago over 20 years ago. You’re as worried about where to find a good slice of pizza (Café Luigi) to finding someone to love (met my wife within 6 months). Rault digs into these with All Alone (On My Own), Suckcess and Real Love (Yeah) to name a few.

Living Daylight has been gracing my speakers for a couple of months now as Burger Records has delivered another winner. I suggest you get on board with Rault and Burger Records ASAP but HearYa never advocates joining a cult.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa

Michael Rault is here


Donald Cumming announces Out Calls Only 6/16/15

May 13, 2015

Donald Cumming is set to release his debut solo album on June 16th. The album will be titled Out Calls Only and comes out via the fine folks at Washington Square/Razor & Tie. Apparently Cumming was the lead singer for a band called The Virgins that I apparently never listened to. Maybe that was my [...]

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Bhi Bhiman announces Rhythm & Reason out 5/19

May 12, 2015

HearYa session alum, Bhi Bhiman’s sophomore effort is set to be released on 5/19. Rhythm & Reason is the title via BooCoo Records/Thirthy Tigers. Bhiman is very thoughtful songwriter and while you may not agree with everything he says, he does always give you something to think about. The main thing I don’t agree with [...]

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Torres – Sprinter [album review]

May 11, 2015

Dense. That’s the word that comes to mind when I listen to TORRES. After a spin of her latest, Sprinter, I feel like I’ve been hit in the guy with a medicine ball. Her music is powerful, raw and intense. It doesn’t let up for one minute. Its not meant to be listened to casually. [...]

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Mandolin Orange – Such Jubilee [album review]

May 8, 2015

Recently I was having a conversation with some friends about what act they would like to play on their back deck or porch if giving the opportunity. Many good names were thrown out but the first act I thought of was Mandolin Orange. Comprised of Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz, the duo’s warm and inviting [...]

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Mikal Cronin – MCIII [album review]

May 1, 2015

I am a Yes fan. There, I said it. I was mullet-sporting, pimple-popping, sexually frustrated dork that loved Yes. One of things I loved about Yes were their musical suites – a song that lasted 15 to 20 minutes that was comprised of numerous parts. I’d get lost in these wondering why I wasn’t getting [...]

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Hop Along – Painted Shut [album review]

April 30, 2015

Hop Along feel like one of those bands that I would stumble upon at SXSW and be blown away. Too many times I’ve got home from SXSW and listened to the album from said band and been disappointed. Typically that frustration is born out of the production, or over-production as it may be. Over-production can [...]

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