Album Reviews

“Get back to rock ‘n’ roll,” Gold Connections front Will Marsh exhorts on the opening track Icarus. The seven minute track does exactly that, setting the table for what is a thoroughly enjoyable debut LP of ripping good indie rock.

Marsh’s career got a nice bump after having a link with Will Toledo of Car Seat Headrest. But with Popular Fiction, Marsh stands on his own two feet working with producer Daniel Goans. The one thing that he shares with Toledo is that his tunes are prone to take left turns at a moment’s notice. Just as you’re putting your finger on an inspiration, Marsh will shift gears. That’s a trait I love in both artists.

In addition to Icarus, which is about as good a way to open your debut LP; Bad Intentions, the title track and Isabel are among my favorites. Isabel reminds me of another under-the-radar album from last year that was on my faves of 2017, Big Blue by Gold Star.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Gold Connections is here

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Friday saw a trio of major indie artists release albums. There are a million reviews and excellent articles on each. So I’ll hit you with my quick thoughts and spare you the agony of reading my babbling nonsense for 3 or 4 paragraphs.

Parquet Courts – Wide Awake!: I have to say I was a little nervous when I heard they hooked up with Danger Mouse to help on this album. I was worried that he was going to sand off the rough edges. Nope, this album fucking rips. I hear a bit of early Beasties in there. Almost Had To Start a Fight / In and Out of Patience is straight up brilliant.

Great article in GQ

Stephen Malkmus – Sparkle Hard: I haven’t fallen hard for a Malkmus album since Real Emotional Trash. Well, I’m smitten with this one. Shiggy is a jam and the twangy Refute with Kim Gordon is money.

Great Article on Paste

Courtney Barnett – Tell Me How You Really Feel: Here sophomore album comes across as a little more mellow. Kurt Vile definitely rubbed off on her, which I take to be a good thing. But like her previous songs and the tunes with The Sea Lice, these tunes will most certainly rock much harder live. I am going to see her in a small setting on Monday night and I am fucking amped. Her lyrics remain on point and she is clearly a grounded person.

Great article on NPR

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Neighbor Lady are a four-piece from Atlanta and their first LP, Maybe Later, was released last month. Like one of my current faves, Ratboys, Neighbor Lady tows the line between twangy and indie rock. Their tunes tend to have a little more angst to it than Julia Steiner of Ratboys. Lead singer, Emily Braden’s voice tends to remind me of Big Thief’s Adrianne Lenker.

The whole album is excellent but the bookends really stick out in my opinion. Let It Bleed kicks off the album with a bang. Jack Blauvelt and Braden’s guitar work is excellent on this track, almost haunting in parts. The closing track, Wring Me Out, is a six minute heavy-hitting tune that gives Braden plenty of room to shine. The rhythm section of Meredith Hanscom (bass) and Andrew McFarland (drums) nail this tune. They pull back when needed and deliver the crashing blows when Braden’s voice asks for it. Very cool set-up of this tune.

All in all, I’m down with this band. Braden has some serious chops and she’ll stand out on your first listen. With each listen, the importance of the other three members stands out. This band has a bright future ahead of them.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Neighbor Lady is on instagram

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Photo by Evan Jenkins

Ryley Walker reminds me of Chris Knight from 1985’s Real Genius, the movie that put Val Kilmer on the map. Walker is a walking encyclopedia of music. His knowledge is so deep and varied that he could just as easily be a professor. But that is balanced by his self-deprecating manner and a twitter feed so ludicrous; it can only be matched by Rob Delaney.

That genius is what drives Walker to recreate his sound from album to album, often looking back at his prior albums as sub-par. Deafman Glance is no different. Like all his albums, the sound is tethered to Walker’s guitar playing. But as you can see from the influences above, they’re all over the board. I was so happy with myself that I referenced Genesis before seeing that tweet; I was pretty close to stopping strangers on the street to tell them. Would have also dropped the fact that I love mayo as well.

Walker is constantly fighting being pigeon-holed in a genre and that’s admirable. But one thing is clear, he will not compromise his vision of how he envisions a song. For Deafman Glance, it was Chicago. Walker says, “And it’s more Chicago-y sounding. Chicago sounds like a train constantly coming towards you but never arriving. That’s the sound I hear, all the time, ringing in my ears.” There are some truly magical tunes on Deafman Glance, but Can’t Ask Why is simply off the hook. The closer, Spoil With The Rest, is another tune that just takes you a cosmic guitar trip.

I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Walker. I almost don’t want to as I’ve built him up in my head as this mystical rock ‘n’ roll riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma (covered in cheese sauce of course).

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Ryley Walker is here

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Cut Worms – Hollow Ground (album review)

May 14, 2018

Photo Credit – Joyce Lee Cut Worms, the moniker of Max Clarke, is oft compared to The Everly Brothers. And while I’m familiar with a couple of their songs, I’m not well enough versed to speak intelligently about that. However, what Clarke’s lo-fi 60’s sound with hints of twang reminds me of is when Lennon […]

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Brent Cobb – Providence Canyon (album review)

May 10, 2018

Photo Credit: Don Van Cleave Amazingly I missed Brent Cobb’s debut, Shine on Rainy Day, when it came out. It wasn’t until I saw him kick out a set during 2017’s SXSW that I was hooked. I’ve worn that album out ever since; well at least since I got an advance of Providence Canyon. Cobb’s […]

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Trampled By Turtles – Life is Good on the Open Road (album review)

May 7, 2018

Photo by David McClister Trampled By Turtles strike such a nerve with me cause they’re able to balance an album with songs that drive forward with a manner that borders on unhinged with songs that wear their hearts on the sleeve. After a four year hiatus since Wild Animals, the Minneapolis sextet have reached some […]

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Speedy Oritz – Twerp Verse (album review)

May 5, 2018

photo by Shervin Lainez When the leader of a band steps out and makes a solo album that falls outside the genre that I am accustomed to, I get a little worried when that band reconvenes. Slugger was lead singer’s Sadie Dupuis solo effort under the moniker of Sad13 and was decidedly more pop in […]

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Minor Characters – We Can’t Be Wrong (album review)

May 3, 2018

Photo: Chris Hershman I was texting my good friend and all-around man of HearYa, Steve Shirk, about his work on this here album. After a few spins, my reaction to Shirk was, there’s alot of shit going on almost every tune, and yet the tunes never feel cluttered. There are layers but it never feels […]

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Joshua Hedley – Mr. Jukebox (album review)

April 24, 2018

Photo by Jane Goodsell I wasn’t raised in a house where the sounds of country music filled the air. In fact, for most of my life I resented it as second-rate music. It wasn’t until I started to get into alt-country that I began to appreciate and embrace the sounds of country music of yesteryear; […]

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