Band get a following in the local area. Band gets signed to a label. Band puts out solid album. Band leaves local area, works with new challenging producer and expands sound without abandoning what got them there. Its a story as familiar as tying your shoes. And yet, it is one I’ve yet to tire of. Add to that list; Houston’s Buxton.
Back in 2012, Buxton put out the excellent Nothing Here Seems Strange via New West Records. My pal, Jefe and I caught them both at SXSW and up here in Chicago at Schubas. Both times we caught a scintillating set that left us wanting more. It also left them wanting more as they headed west to work with Thom Monahan. Lead singer Sergio Trevino had this to say “We take from a lot of different genres and present it in a way that I think is most honest for us,” Trevino says. “You’ll hear rock, folk, country, ambience, and distortion, all interpreted through us.”
What I’d Do sets the mood right away. The song has a Cosmic Americana feel to it, barely moving faster than a crawl. The band really gives Trevino’s lyrics room to breathe. The keys are particularly pleasing throughout the track and you can’t help but be reminded of MMJ.
Miss Catalina 1992 is what Buxton terms the most “rock” song they’ve ever written. It took on new life after learning they would be heading to LA to record. Lead guitarist, Jason Willis, has a ripping solo in the middle of the track. This track is the perfect example of a band augmenting their sound without losing sight of who they were. It slides in nicely as the centerpiece of Half A Native. Pool Hall closes out the album with a twangy waltz about a chance encounter in a pool hall. Its a beautiful tune builds slowly, builds tension and then fades away oh so gently.
I referenced MMJ earlier in the review and I think it is fitting that Buxton released Half A Native on the same day that MMJ announced The Waterfall. I can’t help but think that if you enjoy the music of MMJ, you would love Buxton. I certainly do. Jefe certainly does. And we’re both pretty cool; all things considered.
Lady Lamb, aka Aly Spaltro, might not be keeping bees any more but that hasn’t stopped her from putting out an absolutely stunning sophomore effort. Two years ago I became infatuated with her music from her debut, Ripely Pine. That infatuation was reinforced by a ripping show at Schubas.
On my review of Ripley Pine, I commented that Spaltro reminded me of Will Sheff of Okkervil River. Her voice can be as fragile as a china doll one verse and can bristle with rage on the next. Her tunes are not what you would call formulaic or straight-forward and that complex nature fits her voice like a glove.
The third track, Violet Clementine, opens up with Spaltro singing a capella before a banjo kicks in. The song bounces along as a tasty little folk track. Then a bass line drops and you know you’re going for a ride. So much shit is going on. Left is right. Right is left. But somehow it sounds like it all belongs. That encompasses the brilliance that is Lady Lamb. You never know what the fuck is coming next? Sounds and transitions you would never imagine pushing up next to each other are the norm. The envelope isn’t so much as pushed; as it is ripped open like a piñata.
Spaltro’s last line on the album is “I know where I come from.” The fun part will be seeing where she goes because right now the possibilities are endless.
This Side of Jordan was the album that really flipped this switch for me with regards to Mandolin Orange. In my review, I compared them favorably to The Everybodyfields. The first track, Old Ties and Companions is simply a gorgeous tune. NPR seems to agree with me as well calling it A Song We Love. Here’s some info on the album.
Such Jubliee, written over the course of a year spent on the road, is about home, both the place and the idea. Some days it’s a safe, warm, loving refuge from the world outside. Other days it’s cold and empty and too quiet. Either way, it’s always waiting for you at the end of the road.
Mandolin Orange is hitting the road, including a stop at SXSW. I suggest making it a point to see them.
The Sun Dogs by Rose Windows was a favorite of mine back in 2013. I got hooked on that album by the track, Native Dreams. Glory Glory is the lead track on their follow-up and I am now all in for this one as well. The album comes out on 5/5/15 via the fine folks [...]
With the release of their s/t debut in 2012, I figured Diamond Rugs was just a pleasant one-time project. With Deer Tick kicking into full gear and T. Hardy Morris embarking on a solo career in addition to his work with Dead Confederate, I didn’t see how they would make it happen again. And that’s [...]
Here’s what I know about Leon Bridges. He’s from Fort Worth. He plays a wicked brand of soul music. He recorded a couple of tunes with Austin Jenkins and Josh Block of White Denim. NPR compared him to Sam Cooke. I’m by no means a diligent fan of R&B or soul music but I’ve had [...]
I had only heard of The Deslondes from the constant praise given from Hurray For The Riff Raff’s Alynda Lee Segarra. I had checked out a couple of tunes and sat patiently waiting for a label to snap them up. Well that turned out to be New West Records. Named after Deslonde Street in New [...]
Christoffer Gunrup, the band’s singer, songwriter and guitarist, had this to say about his new band The Amazing – “I have no idea how to describe the songs [on any of my records]. I like and hate them all equally. If you theorize about the songs, it ruins the tension and passion. Just shut the [...]
Houndmouth blew us out of the water with their debut, From The Hills Below The City. Their follow up, Little Neon Limelight, is even better. It will see the light of day on March 17th and will be down at SXSW. Check out the video for the lead single, Sedona. Last week I tweeted – [...]