Melkbelly – Nothing Valley (album review)

by Woody on October 16, 2017


I made the mistake to have my first spin of Nothing Valley be in the morning after a shitty night’s sleep. I was tired and irritable; and I am sure the kids were pissing me off. Nothing Valley challenged me and irritated me more, so I turned it off thinking; nope I don’t like it.

Something drew me back a week later. Feeling good after a good day of work, I dialed it up on the drive home. Soon I was turning it up thinking; yep this is excellent. Nothing Valley, the debut LP by the Chicago quarter, gets up in your grill. Consisting of by Miranda Winters on vocals/guitar, her husband his brother (Bart & Liam) on guitar & bass and rounded out on drums by James Wetzel; Melkbelly create some sort of racket.

There’s lots to love about this album whose roots stem from loud brash 90s indie; think Sonic Youth and The Breeders. At times, the album feels like it is coming apart at the seams. It is brash and Miranda’s vocals are excellent as the band careens around; most notably Wetzel’s drumming. Kind of like Bryan Devendorf with The National, Wetzel will at times seem to be reading from a different page; but my word does it add plenty to the music.

There are a couple of tracks that come together in the middle of Nothing Valley that really stand out. Middle Of and Twin Lookin Motherfucker. On Middle Of, the song just keeps revving up; faster and faster; sounding like Wetzel has been cloned. Twin Looking Motherfucker follows up with a guitar lick spawned from the 90s that eventually leads to all sorts of shit. The tune has more twists and turns than an episode of Twin Peaks.

Some day I’ll be too old to listen this stuff. But that day isn’t today. Hopefully that day isn’t yet for you either as this an excellent debut.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Melkbelly is here


Deep Dark Woods announce Yarrow – 10/27/17

by Woody on October 14, 2017

The Deep Dark Woods are back after a 5 year hiatus after 2013’s Jubilee. Fronted by Ryan Boldt, DDW has always been a HearYa fave. They’ve been in for a couple of live sessions and played our SXSW party a couple of times as well. Yarrow will be out Oct 27th via the fine folks at Six Shooter Records. Here’s some info on the album from their site.

Floods and plagues, ghosts and slaughter: woe to those who populate the songs of Yarrow. A gentle summer breeze swings the gallows ropes, flowers bloom callously on lovers’ graves. These anthems are definitely not from Eden. The Deep Dark Woods’ newest album was borne in a fever – scarlet fever, to be medically specific. A disease of the last century is a fitting backdrop for songs that dig bare handed into the loam to unearth the corpses of old English folk and country blues

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Soul Power by Curtis Harding was one my favorites of 2014 . It was released via Burger Records and combined Harding’s soulful vocals with the garage rock experience you’ve come to expect from Burger’s catalog. He’s since signed to ANTI and I feel like I’ve been waiting for this one for awhile. Here’s a little more on the album from Curtis.

As Curtis explains, “The record [Face Your Fear], to me, is all over the place because I go through moods, man. I change.” The dark title track was inspired by the feeling of a nightmare; a foreboding feeling, the spell broken by the clarity of awakening. “By the way maybe don’t worry Its OK face your fear” he croons on the chorus. Fear of the unknown, fear of the unfamiliar is a bad dream the brave among us must constantly shake ourselves out of. it’s something he’s had to practice his entire life as he moved from place to place and continues to practice as he moves forward as a musician, “Just putting myself out there and not being close-minded and just being open to different ideas and different sounds and different flavors and putting myself in situations sometimes where I didn’t know if I would make it out but you know [the mantra is], face your fuckin’ fear!

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Curtis Harding is here



Photo – Jenn Elrod

Becca Mancari’s name popped up in my twitter feed when due to this album being streamed on NPR but I couldn’t place the name. Turns out she’s part of this Bermuda Triangle project w/ Brittany Howard & Jesse Lafser. It took about one song before I was all-in on Mancari & Good Woman. I’m all in on Bermuda Triangle as well, in case anybody was wondering. Here’s a paragraph from Mancari’s bio on her upcoming debut.

Her anticipated debut album, “Good Woman,” is hauntingly lonesome, with dust-cloud swells of electric guitar and don’t-look- back lyrics revealing scenes from Mancari’s well-travelled story. She recalls, “I remember being 19, and I would go to this old warehouse where a bunch of old timers would be siting around picking and drinking moonshine…and we are talking straight up moonshine. “During this time, Mancari’s curiosity to see the world with eager, fresh eyes grew, drawing her to travel and experience all types of people and places. Her travels would inevitably impact her music; since her music is the landscape of all she’s seen, “Good Woman” evokes the sound of city grit and the mountain music of her youth, swirling into a fresh, nostalgic sound.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Becca Mancari is here


Hiss Golden Messenger – Hallejulah Anyhow (album review)

September 26, 2017

Photo: Elise Tyler One of the chief reasons I’ve always enjoyed the music of Hiss Golden Messenger is that I find it so spiritual. Not in the bullshit fake manor of a Joel Osteen. But in a much deeper and personal manner. A fact confirmed in a recent tweet he sent out. It's my polite […]

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Phoebe Bridgers – Stranger In The Alps (album review)

September 24, 2017

Photo by Frank Ockenfels Stranger In The Alps is the debut of 22 y/o Phoebe Bridgers. It is also a textbook example of how good an album can be when you combine an artist with a beautiful voice, wonderfully written songs and production that sets out to give the artist space and never tries to […]

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5j Barrow announced EP The Journey: Vol. 1, out 10/6

September 21, 2017

These guys have a cool back story. Check it out below and get ready for their debut EP. Founded and fronted by singer-songwriters and Broadway actors, Eryn Murman and Jason Hite, 5j Barrow have built a loyal following on the streets of New York City. With performances everywhere from the open air of Washington Square […]

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Snail Mail signs to Matador Records, set to release debut in 2018

September 20, 2017

Credit: Bryan Regan Matador found some tremendous success with a young East Coast female artist last year in Lucy Dacus. And as the excellent NY Times piece pointed out, there is no shortage of young talented female artists out there to enjoy. So Matador has added the 18 y/o Lindsey Jordan, aka Snail Mail, to […]

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Elliott BROOD – Ghost Gardens (album review)

September 19, 2017

Photo: Trevor Weeks I was trading texts with Oz (remember him) about this album. In response to his query to whether Ghost Gardens was any good, I answered with, “Really good. What you’ve come to expect from them.” And that is some great alt-country. Ghost Gardens, the sixth LP by the Canadian trio has an […]

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Roadkill Ghost Choir announce False Youth Etcetera – 10/27/17

September 18, 2017

It has been over three years since Roadkill Ghost Choir released the excellent In Tongues, an album that made our way into 50 favorites of 2014. That album was built more around Americana, with liberal use of steel guitar and banjo. A fact that was reinforced in our live session. For this new album, they’ve […]

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