Album Reviews

Bonny Doon – s/t (album review)

by Woody on March 21, 2017

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photo by Julia Callis

Bonny Doon are a quartet of Detroit musicians born from the city’s punk scene. Started as a duo by principal songwriters, Bill Lennox and Bobby Colombo; they were joined by the rhythm section of drummer Jake Kmiecik and bassist Joshua Brooks. After trying to keep their music in the punk genre, the band realized it wasn’t working and slowly drifted into a alt-country state reminiscent of the best of Pavement’s twangy ventures.

Like Nap Eyes, their tunes never get overly worked up in nature; relying on the casual observations to be the focal point of their intelligent lyrics. The songs are mostly sing from the perspective of twenty-somethings finding their place in this crazy world. The album opens with Relieved and opening lyrics. Now, you’re one year older / do you feel any different / its hard to tell. The track languidly looks at the dilemma of; “shit, I’m an adult now. What now?

What Time Is It In Portland sees Colombo pining after a love that moved away, all the while letting life just pass his by. Nothing earth-shattering but it should connect with anybody who’s ever been in that position. I See You is so easy-going and brilliant. A drunk birthday boy sitting by himself trading texts with his mom. The reading of the emojis is so understated; it is just brilliant.

All in all, this is a phenomenal debut. Keep an eye on these boys.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Bonny Doon is on Instagram here

Bonny Doon don’t appear to be on Twitter but they’re on Facebook

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Bleached – Can You Deal? EP

by Woody on March 20, 2017

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Photo by Nicole Anne Robbins

The question being asked is Can you deal with women making music? Bleached follows up 2016′s acclaimed Welcome To The Worms. For whatever reason, I didn’t connect with that release when it came out. So when they announced his EP, it was met with very little fanfare on my part. Well, it is connecting now. The EP is outstanding and I’ve been making amends with Welcome To The Worms.

The LA based punk band rocks and to that point, the title track of EP deals with that. They were tired of being pigeon-holed or labeled due to them being fronted by females. As someone who spent a good chunk of the day watching the ladies rock at the She Shreds party at SXSW, I could care less who’s fronting the band; as long as it’s good. And this is excellent. So my answer is yes, I can deal.

I caught one of their many sets down in Austin and it was fantastic. Day was on the cusp of turning to night, I had a few cocktails in me and the amps were turned up loud.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Bleached is here

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Alynda Lee Segarra looks inward to her heritage and knocks it out of the park. Segarra, a Bronx native of Puerto Rican descent, decided to dig into her roots for inspiration. As Segarra was digging into the punk scene on the Lowe East side in her teens and hopping trains before landing in New Orleans in her 20s, her heritage was lost in the wash. As she approached the momentous 3-0, she took a long hard look at where she came from, what she became and in my humble opinion, what can she do to make the world a better place.

To achieve this self-realization, Segarra developed a concept album centered around The Navigator. a/k/a Navita Milagros Negrón, as “this girl who grows up in a city that’s like New York, who’s a street kid, like me when I was little, that has a special place in the history of her people.”

Over the course of the album, Segarra expands her sound without fully severing the tether of the Americana genre where she built her name. I have to admit I wasn’t immediately won over by the lead single, Rican Beach when she released it but it works oh so well on the album. As does everything, it is tough to pick out a highlight as one tune dovetails into another.

That is until, the album culminates in the powerful Pa’lante, a song inspired by a newspaper published by 1970s Puerto Rican activist group, The Young Lords. The song is part protest / part empowerment for a group from yesteryear that sadly rings true today in our current climate. In many ways, her anger and strength on this track reminds me of Killer Mike of Run The Jewels.

Segarra was on Daily Show this past week and it made me appreciate her even more.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Hurray for the Riff Raff is here

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John Andrews has a day job playing keys for Woods and he recorded this album in a secluded New Hampshire farmhouse with his buds. You could get halfway though this album and be able to figure that out on your own. It kind of falls somewhere in between hazy, trippy folk and psych pop. Whatever label you want to stick on it, Bad Posture is one hell of an album.

Nothing really moves too fast on this album. It more or less ambles along; welcoming you to join in if you want. If not, that’s cool too. When I first posted about them, I commented that it sounded like a blend of Whitney and Woods. And after spinning the album numerous times, that comment still holds water.

This album really fits the scene that it was recorded. Makes me want to sit around in a chunky cardigan while holding a nice mug of herbal tea.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

John & The Yawns are here

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Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – The French Press EP (album review)

March 7, 2017

Photo Credit: Rubin Utama Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever (heretofore known as RBCF) are a five-piece out of Melbourne; recently signed to Sub Pop. Their PR turned me on them with their prior EP and French Press sees the band moving forward in a positive way. Upon your initial listens, it is easy to hear the [...]

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Vagabon – Infinite Worlds (album review)

March 3, 2017

The thing that I’ve always loved about Lady Lamb is her ability to craft her voice to bounce back and forth between fragile vulnerability and undeniable strength. The fact she achieves all of this ion top a varied and dynamic musical landscape is deeply captivating. Well; Vagabon, the moniker of Brooklyn’s Laetitia Tamko, achieves the [...]

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Sarah Bethe Nelson – Oh, Evolution (album review)

February 27, 2017

Sarah Bethe Nelson popped up out of the Mission District to release Fast Moving Clouds in 2015. Combined with a tasty set that I caught at SXSW, Fast Moving Clouds never found its way out of rotation. Oh, Evolution sees Nelson building on the momentum of that album. Comprised of eight tracks that all have [...]

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NE-HI – Offers (album review)

February 24, 2017

NE-HI have made themselves a great sophomore effort. Their self-titled debut LP was rough around the edges, ragged and full of promise. It held your attention fine but you were hoping for more. Well, Offers is more. They’ve sanded the edges while retaining the attitude. The production is tighter, without sounding over-produced; mixing in styles [...]

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Michigan Rattlers – EP (album review)

February 20, 2017

Photo by Shelby Goldstein I don’t know know how I stumbled across Michigan Rattlers, but Lord am I grateful that I did. Consisting of Graham Young and Adam Reed, the duo are wonderful storytellers. The fact that those stories are told with some rocking Americana flavor is all the better. Sweet Diane feels like an [...]

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Strand Of Oaks – Hard Love {album review)

February 17, 2017

As Tim Showalter’s stature in the music world has grown; a steady stream of very interesting pieces are written about him. During the release of HEAL, Steven Hyden did a phenomenal piece on Grantland ; as did Spin. With the success of HEAL and the upcoming release of Dark Love, Stereogum did a piece that [...]

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