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Fly Golden Eagle comes at you from Nashville and they are decidedly not country. What they are is something I’ll let you answer for yourself. Quartz Bijou is a delirious mess of an album comprising of 12 tunes. It was originally a 26 song epic based upon a 1973 film titled The Holy Mountain; a film funded by Lennon and Harrison. That would probably have been a little too much to swallow. The band and ATO did a nice job trimming it down into a damn good LP.

The lead Eagle is Ben Trimble, a transplanted Motown native with Kentucky roots. Trimble was raised in a religious family but found his escape with rock and roll. Not very original but what Tribmle does with his bandmates – Matt Shaw (bass}, Mitch Jones (keys) and Richard Harper (drums). Its as if Trimble got lost in a record store but couldn’t decide on a genre to really dig into. Songs blend blues, gospel, soul, glam and psych-rock or whatever else pops into their mind.

Fly Golden Eagle are a damn good listen; the kind of band you wish you would stumble across in parking lot during a warm day during SXSW. They are touring with HearYa favorites, J. Roddy Walston & The Business now. I could think a lot worse ways to spend three hours as opposed to rocking out to the ATO label mates.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa

Fly Golden Eagle is here

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I had totally forgotten about Robert Plant’s new album until seeing him on the Colbert Report last week. The interview was fantastic as Colbert & Plant bantered back and forth – two masters at play; including Plant handing Colbert a joint. Then Plant hit the stage with a ripping his band, The Sensational Shape Shifters to perform the lead single, Rainbow, complete with glow-in-dark tambourines (I’m sure they have a cooler name. I just don’t know it.) Next day, there was a web exclusive of Little Maggie which was even better.

Robert Plant is a rock and roll legend that is getting better with age. As opposed to just touring off his old hits, he’s pushing the envelope by combining his history as a Rock God with a dazzling mixture of new sounds. The album is impeccably done. I could blather on about individual songs. I’ll leave you with this; if you ever enjoyed a Led Zeppelin album, go get this album. If you hated Led Zeppelin, go get this album. This album transcends all that. Plant is to be celebrated for his undying commitment.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa

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Minor Characters, Live Session #124

by Shirk on October 14, 2014

Minor Characters Session Photo

I first learned about Minor Characters through friend and photographer, Chris Hershman, who’s talent behind the camera brought some of my favorite HearYa sessions to your eyes. When I first got in touch with Chris about shooting a live session for me sometime back in 2011, we decided that we better do a test run to work out the kinks.  I asked him to bring in a band that he thought was really talented and could benefit from having a live session video.  Enter Minor Characters who had just finished their first EP.  We setup, hit record and made this video.  Since then, I’ve spent a good deal of time with Minor Characters.  Not only are they creative individuals and talented musicians, but genuinely good people.

Over a year ago, they began production on their upcoming full length release, Voir Dire, with Beau Sorenson up at April Base Studios in Eau Claire, WI.  A few months later they asked me to get involved and help finish vocals as well as the tracking of one last song, “Berlin Wall”.  I was honored to be asked as I had become fan after seeing them live around Chicago many times.  Our sessions together were hard work but enjoyable and that time together in the trenches solidified our friendship.  I invited them to come in for a HearYa session down the road when the time was right.  So this past April, the band returned to SHIRK studios to track this session.  We had a great time working together again and it was enjoyable for me to hear these songs that we had previously recorded together, played all live right in front of me.

We decided to keep this session in the vault and share it as it got closer to the time at which the full length album would be released.  Well here we are.  Minor Characters is playing The Hideout in Chicago this Friday, October 17th, 2014 to celebrate the fruits of their labor and send their baby, Voir Dire, out into the world.  It’s a fantastic album that takes the listener on quite a journey without veering off course.  You can preview and purchase a few songs as well as pre-order the entire album here.  Here are some live cuts to give you a taste of what’s in store for Friday night at The Hideout in Chicago.

Exclusive: Minor Characters – Sparrow/Hollow

Exclusive: Minor Characters – A Lovely Reception

Exclusive: Minor Characters – Berlin Wall

Download Minor Characters Live Session as a zip file.


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Steve Gunn – Way Out Weather [album review]

by Woody on October 10, 2014

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Photo by Constance Mensh

Steve Gunn hadn’t registered on my radar until I discovered Hiss Golden Messenger via the Paradise of Bachelors label. From there I picked up some other great artists such as Promised Land Sound and Steve Gunn. Time Off was Gunn’s 2012 effort. And while late to the party, it soon found its way into the steady rotation. Way Out Weather picks up where that left off, blending hypnotic guitar riffs with subtle flourishes and his easy-going vocals. The flourishes can be a quick blast of feedback or some gentle steel. Whatever it may be, there is space; always space. Gunn’s ability to spread these songs out, as most are over 5 minutes, is truly magical.

There’s no denying that Gunn is a phenomenal guitar player. You’d have to be giving yourself a swirlie to miss that. What takes a few listens to pick up on is that he is fabulous songwriter and arranger. Tracks like Wildwood, Milly’s Farm and Drifter all have moments that make you sit up and take notice.

But the track that is my favorite is the closer – Tommy’s Congo. It is blend of Tinariwen, War On Drugs and Tame Impala. The first minute & forty seconds is a master-class on building tension and anticipation with a guitar riff. I can feel Gunn’s riff go up and down my spine. The solo, about 3:30 in is just so damn tasty. The way he brings back that opening riff and then layers them on top of each other. Man, that is fucking brilliance.

Much like his former label-mate, Michael Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger, Gunn has been putting out quality music for years but recently seems to picking up more notice. It is great to see artists like them getting their just due. Kudos to the Paradise Of Bachelors label for all their hard work.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa

Steve Gunn is here

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Carl Barat & The Jackals – Glory Days

October 9, 2014

Carl Barat, best known for having to deal with Pete Doherty during their time together in The Libertines, has a new band. In putting together his latest act, I guess he surmised that he couldn’t find anybody more out of their mind than Doherty was during their time together. So he placed ads online and [...]

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Ex Hex – Rips [album review]

October 7, 2014

I recently had the displeasure of being involved in a conversation of how hot J-Lo looked in her new video for a crap-tastic tune titled Booty. Are you fucking kidding me? Who cares? I had recently become privy to Rips by the female trio of Ex Hex. So I chimed in, “You know what I [...]

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Field Report – Marigolden (album review)

October 6, 2014

I have a lot of friends that travel a ton for work. The things they get to do sound great – drunken boondoggles, golf at some of the nicest courses, unreal tickets for premier sporting events, etc. And while there are those times, there is also the drag of constantly being on the road away [...]

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Diarrhea Planet – Aliens In The Outfield out on 11/18

October 3, 2014

If you’ve never seen Diarrhea Planet, you are really missing something. Imagine six dudes playing as if they are lit on fire, with stage-diving, multiple guitar solos going on at the same time and the whole venue going ape-shit. Here is a track from their upcoming EP, called Aliens In The Outfield. The track is [...]

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Luke Winslow-King – Everlasting Arms [album review]

September 26, 2014

In my review of his Bloodshot debut, The Coming Tide, I compared Luke Winslow-King (LWK) to Justin Townes Earle (JTE). For one they both have three names. Second, they both have a dedication to the way music used to be and the ability to pull it off. I caught LWK’s set at the Bloodshot SXSW [...]

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King Tuff – Black Moon Spell [album review]

September 24, 2014

My parents didn’t have the best taste in music growing up. I don’t have great stories of us sitting around listening to The Beach Boys, Otis Redding or The Beatles. Just wasn’t there thing. So when I finally discovered rock n’ roll, I was captivated. My first dalliance was mostly with metal bands. It was [...]

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