Album Reviews

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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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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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Ex Hex – Rips [album review]

by Woody on October 7, 2014

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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 find sexy? Three women playing their own instruments for songs they wrote themselves as they blare through a set of punk.” If you find yourself agreeing with me, then Rips is for you.

I had the pleasure of catching their SXSW set at Waterloo Records on a sun-soaked day. The trio comprised of Mary Timony, Laura Harris and Betsy Wright blazed a 45 minute set that showcased their experience. This wasn’t some indie buzz band of newbies, these ladies were pros and veterans. And Rips bottles that set in a nice package that is provided to you by the fine folks of Merge.

The tunes are short and dynamic. The writing and playing is crisp. Harmonies work like a charm. It is an energetic 35 minutes that bristles with the energy that makes punk music fun to listen to. Characters abound throughout the album. My favorites are Hot and Cold, Don’t Wanna Lose and Waterfall. Timony was part of the all-female super group Wild Flag. I had been pining for a second album from them. Ex Hex’s debut made that feeling go away.

Follow me on TWitter at @WoodyHearYa

Ex Hex is here

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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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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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Delta Spirit – Into The Wide [album review]

September 16, 2014

Delta Spirit worked their way into our hearts with their passionate brand of Americana via their first two albums – Ode To Sunshine & History From Below. I can still remember the first time I saw them at Buffalo Billiards at SXSW. It was a midnight show on Saturday night and I was flat out [...]

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Israel Nash Gripka- Rain Plains [album review]

September 12, 2014

I love Jonathan Wilson’s music. Wilson’s take on the 70s Americana and Laurel Canyon is unparalleled. Thus I can’t think of any higher compliment to Nash’s 3rd LP Rain Plains, than to say it reminds me of Wilson’s work. Rain Plains is nine songs long but every tune washes over you in no worry with [...]

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Hiss Golden Messenger – Lateness Of Dancers [album review]

September 9, 2014

When I read that Michael Taylor, the main component of Hiss Golden Messenger, had compiled William Tyler, Megafaun members Phil and Brad Cook, Mountain Man member Alexandra Sauser-Monnig, and long-time musical cohort Scott Hirsch for his Merge debut; I was literally giddy with excitement. That is a collection of pros, not making music for any [...]

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