Album Reviews

At this juncture in my life, it takes quite a bit for a folk musician to stand out for me. Whether it be vocals, lyrics or variety of approach; I need something for it to stand out. Well on I Need A Garden, Haley Heynderickx ticks off all the boxes on a wonderful debut LP.

The album opens with No Face, a two minute tune that showcases her stunning voice. It’s what I would deem as traditional folk with Haley singing over her exquisite guitar playing. And as enjoyable as that track is, a whole album of that would probably lose my attention at some point.

Well after that opening track, we go on a bit of a voyage. The quirky The Bug Collector sees our protagonist wandering around the house dealing with a whole host of critters. I am guessing it is kind of an allegory (don’t know if that term works here but I’m going with it) for the troubles our protagonist has dealt with over time. Worth It is the centerpiece of the album; a seven cathartic journey about self-worth that starts slowly, works its way into a nice little boogie and then vacillates between the two for the balance of the tune. She then finds time to wonder what God looks like on Untitled God Song, a tune that reminds me Okkervil and works in the easy-going Oom Sha La La; a tune that is sure to be a live favorite.

Heynderickx is a wonderfully talented songwriter and this is sure to be the first of many excellent LPs. She has so much talent and the ability to take it in many different directions for her not to be a special talent.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Haley Heynderickx is here


Photo by Naomi Beveridge

Camp Cope’s second album bristles the rage of someone that has just about fucking had it. Lead singer Georgia Maq’s vocals are one of exasperation. But I love how that rage is layered over some jangly guitars and the subtle rumbling of Kelly-Dawn Hellmrich’s bass and Sarah Thompson’s drumming. Maq’s anger doesn’t beat you over the head. It slowly seeps into your being; like you don’t know it is happening until you’re pretty pissed as well.

The opening track, aptly named The Opener just unloads on the male-dominate hierarchy in music. It is basically, the excellent NY Times article in a four minute tune. Another timely subject is addressed with the raw The Face Of God. Along the lines of John Krakauer’s excellent book, Missoula; it deals with the fallout of being the victim of a sexual assault – the victim-shaming and the loneliness that swallows up the victim.

How To Socialize and Make Friends is a really nice step forward for the Australian trio that has something to say. Best you give it a listen and make plans to see them live.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Camp Cope is on Instagram


Lucy Dacus – Historian (album review)

by Woody on March 2, 2018

Photo: Dustin Condren

Elvis Costello once said, ‘you have 20 years to write your first album and you have six months to write your second one.” An adage that has proved true in the thirty-years or so since he said it. For me, the second album is often where the rubber meets the road. Historian doesn’t feel like Lucy Dacus’ second album. It feels like the album of someone who has recorded multiple albums and taken some time off. After a few years off and with a wise head on her shoulders, the artist would re-emerge with a stunning album that garnered praise from near and far; making the title Historian so very apt.

2016’s No Burden was a good album. Historian is a phenomenal album; my favorite of 2018 so far. Dacus mines her life to come us 4 to 6 minute vignettes that resonate with the listener. I’ve seen some label Historian as a break-up album. While the lead track, Night Shift, certainly is; labeling the album as a break-up album is doing it a disservice, much like the latest from Marlon Williams. This an album that chronicles her life, including her rise from obscurity to indie darling of the famed Matador Records.

There are no shortage of stunning tracks on this album. The aforementioned Night Shift kicks the album off. Nonbeliever is a great track, looking at finding your way as you get older in a small town, and how people perceive you as grow as a person. Yours & Mine sits in the middle of the album and packs a wallop. It tackles issues many of us are dealing with today. How do you voice your opinion of what’s going on, how do you get involved, how do you change things?

As good as all these tunes are, the penultimate track on the album, Pillar Or Truth is just stunning. It is track written about her grandmother as Lucy spent time with her in final days. I’ve listened to that track forwards and backwards for a month now and I still get goose bumps on every listen. It is a 7 minute cathartic voyage that should resonate with anyone who has lost anybody over a prolonged period where you celebrate their life as much as you mourn them; you consider lucky to have had that person in your life for as long as they were.

This is a stunning album; one that will hold up for years and years. Tip of the cap to producer Collin Pastore, John Congleton who mixed the album and Jacob Blizard who provides tasty guitar work throughout.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Lucy Dacus is here


Soccer Mommy – Clean (album review)

by Woody on March 1, 2018

Photo by Shervin Lainez

I’d always just assumed that Sophie Allison was a wee bit older than her 20 years of age. She sings with a confidence of someone who has lived through some shit and navigated her way through it. Not to dismiss youth as having the wherewithal to pull if off (the kids in FL are testament to that) but I found it surprising that she was only twenty.

On Clean, her debut LP for Fat Possum, Allison ups the game and her music takes a massive step forward. The lead track, Your Dog, is a great mid-tempo number that makes her position very clear. She’s crystal clear in proclaiming that she’s not playing begging you to be with her. She’ll open herself but it is a two way street. On Last Girl, she does the most human of things – comparing herself to her new flame’s ex. She does it in a way that blends confidence with self-doubt.

No matter her age, Sophie Allison is about to experience a moment as her debut album comes out to a whole slew of praise. She’s one of the can’t miss artist down at SXSW.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Soccer Mommy is here


The Low Anthem – The Salt Doll Went to Measure the Depth of the Sea (album review)

February 27, 2018

After a devastating accident while touring in 2016 that left their gear and instruments destroyed; and Jeff Prystowsky hospitalized for weeks, Ben Knox Miller became immersed in a fable about a salt doll that slowly dissolves back into the ocean but achieves a sense of being. That’s a pretty heady subject for someone who almost […]

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Grace Vonderkuhn – Reveries (album review)

February 23, 2018

Grace Vonderkuhn can fucking rip it. I heard a song of hers on All Songs Considered back in January but like a fart in the wind, I forgot about it almost instantly. It wasn’t until I was going the list of bands playing at SXSW and recognized her name. From there, a trip to YouTube […]

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Marlon Williams – Make Way For Love (album review)

February 21, 2018

Photo credit: Steve Gullick Traveling for work is a lonely proposition. It sucks if you you have a solid family life at home. You miss the comforts but at least you have something to look forward to return to. But starting a relationship as you and your new special someone are traveling around the world […]

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Starcrawler – s/t (album review)

February 17, 2018

Fairly regularly I’ll poke fun at myself for judging a book by its cover and being completely wrong. But every once in a while that cover paints a pretty accurate pretty picture of what you’re going to get on the inside. As I emailed my friend, it sounds exactly what you’d expect a Ryan Adams […]

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Superchunk – What A Time To Be Alive (album review)

February 15, 2018

Photo by Lissa Gotwals Superchunk was never a band that would be deemed as political. Since reconvening in 2010, the two albums they’ve released seemed to have been aimed at old guys like me trying to find the right way to balance clinging to their youth wile aging with grace (author’s note: I haven’t found […]

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Kyle Craft – Full Circle Nightmare (album review)

February 14, 2018

Photo – Jeremy Kale Padot On his sophomore effort, Craft continues to cement his place as one of the top songwriters around. His musical inspirations are rooted in the music of the 70s and his ability to spin a good yarns stems from his love of the folk, “I’m really just into that ’60s folk […]

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