Album Reviews

DBT

DBT has never shied away from how they felt. Their music has always had a hint of their political leanings but never hit you over the head. But as the band turns 20 and our country stands on the precipice of voting in a racist Oompa Loompa, DBT has thrown down the gauntlet on an album that bristles with anger and passion.

Patterson Hood recently did an outstanding hour-long podcast with Steven Hyden. He made mention of how this current iteration of DBT was the one he’s enjoying the most. And it certainly shows. After a couple of albums that were OK, DBT seems to have found its groove again. After English Oceans saw the band return to form, American Band stands amongst their best work.

The lead single, What It Means, sadly remains timely as ever with the two recent incidents in Charlotte and Tulsa. Penned and sung by Patterson Hood, the song sees Hood just plain exasperated by what the fuck is going on in the country. It isn’t so much saying, “hey you on other side, you suck.” To me, Hood is saying, “Fuck me; is this as good as it gets? Can we not to do any better than this?”

There are also a couple of songs that deal with our country’s obsession with guns. The heartbreaking Guns of Umpqua, sung by Patterson, deals with the deadliest shooting in Oregon’s history. The opening track, Ramon Casiano, sees Cooley take the lead on a song about Harlan Carter. Carter is the man responsible for turning the NRA into the cesspool it is today and also killing a 15 y/o Ramon Casiano.

Other gems on the album include Patterson’s ode to his new hometown Portland, Sun Don’t Shine. Buoyed by Jay Gonzalez’s excellent piano, it sounds like something of his solo effort – Heat Lightning Rumbles In the Distance. And in tribute to his roots, he pens an ode to his Southern roots, Ever South.

Not to be outdone, Cooley delivers a couple of other tunes that are vintage Cooley. Filthy and Fried is a gem made all the better being that it was recorded live at The 40 Watt by David Barbe. You listen to that and Kinky Hypocrite and you wonder how someone that prolific ever went through writer’s block. Quite simply, he is one of the best I’ve ever seen.

The album comes out next week and this is one to get excited for.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or at @HearYa

Drive-By Truckers are here

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Natural Child – Okey Dokey (album review)

by Woody on September 21, 2016

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If there is a better band to listen to on your back porch after a long day of work, then I don’t know of them. I don’t care if you’re shuffling papers all day or doing back-breaking work, sitting outside with a glass of bourbon as the sun sets with this Nashville trio easing out the speakers is sure to bring a weary smile to your face.

Natty C have continued to kick out mid-tempo Southern jams that are soaked in whiskey and singed with weed. These tracks all cook but never get over-heated. Take the second track, the aptly timed NSA Blues. The tune just boogies a bit as an NSA fella sings of knowing when I jerk off. How Oliver Stone didn’t sanction this for Snowden is beyond me?

The second half of the album is just bliss. A little twangy, a little spacey (including a flute outro for the album) and just overall in no rush.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or at @HearYa

Natural Child is here

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Goon – Dusk of Punk EP (album review)

by Woody on September 20, 2016

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Goon is the project of LA-based musician and visual artist Kenny Becker. Becker suffers from severe polyps in his nose that affects his smell and his hearing. That sounds about as shitty as it comes but Becker has managed to cope with this and crank out a really enjoyable debut EP. What does it sound like? Well, that’s a good fucking question. There’s a lot going on here but overall the central tenet seems to be an adherence to the lo-fi aesthetic.

There are fuzzy guitars that can get real heavy at points, giving off a grungy feel to it. I seem to remember a bit of Americana somewhere when I first listened to it but now I can’t seem to reference it. Gay Rage reminded me of an early R.E.M. song the first time I listened to it. The second time it didn’t. I guess the point I’m trying to make is that its an interesting listen and you’ll hear some different shit on every listen.

I’m really digging this EP. And I really think I need more Goon in my life.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or at @HearYa

Goon is here

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Photo by Giles Clement

When DM3 announced that their 5th LP would be comprised of all covers, I was not overly excited. As a rule, I tend not to enjoy covers albums. But as Katy Goodman & Greta Morgan’s excellent album proved earlier this year, rules are made to be broken. And now with the excellent, Redemption & Ruin, I might need to rethink my rule altogether.

The brilliance of the album is its theme – 6 songs of ruin followed by another half-dozen of redemption. Enlisting the help of Emmylou Harris, Tim O’Brien, Jerry Douglas, Darrell Scott and guitar great Duane Eddy, Pete, Cooper & Lucia trio fires through covers by Townes, Waits, Willie and Robert Johnson to name a few. The band has done a great job of putting their stamp on these tracks. We didn’t write these songs,” says Pete Bernhard, “So they’re up for interpretation, and really that’s the best approach to take anyway. If you invite someone to play on your album you obviously like them and trust what they do. So arrangements changed drastically. Most of the arrangements we went in there with were not the ones that we came out with. And that’s exactly what we were hoping for.”

With tunes like Drunken Hearted Man, I Gotta Get Drunk and I’m Gonna Get High; the opening side is definitely a damn good time. But the tide begins to turn with the dark cover of Townes’ Waiting Around To Die. The back half opens with the upbeat There’ll Be A Jubilee and doesn’t let up from there with ripping versions of I’m The Man Thomas and What Would You Give before ending with the dark tune of Hank’s Angel Of Death.

Redemption & Ruin started as inspired idea by a trio of friends that have been playing together for 15 years. Their vision was expertly executed and will make a worthy addition to your collection. And make sure you them live as that is where they really shine.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or at @HearYa

The Devil Makes Three is here

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St. Paul & The Broken Bones – Sea Of Noise (album review)

September 13, 2016

Any worries I had about a sophomore slump were quickly put to rest during their electrifying set at Newport Folk Festival. When I first saw them a few years back, their manager told me that once some of the kids in the band finished college, they were hitting the road for a long, long time. [...]

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Adam Torres – Pearls To Swine (album review)

September 9, 2016

Photo by Bryan Parker In listening to Pearl To Swine, I am reminded me of this great book I read, The Painter by Peter Heller. In the book, the protagonist paints these gorgeous pictures of natural beauty that are collector’s items; well that’s before he kills a dude and all hell breaks loose. But I [...]

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Okkervil River – Away (album review)

September 7, 2016

My favorite Okkervil tunes are the ones where it feels like the words are dragged from Will Sheff’s mouth. It gives the feeling that whatever emotion he’s dealing with is just too much to handle at that juncture. The lead single, Okkervil River R.I.P, is exactly that and it is firmly entrenched in the pantheon [...]

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Angel Olsen – My Woman (album review)

September 2, 2016

Photo: Amanda Marsalis In 2014, Angel Olsen had just released the excellent Burn Your Fire For No Witness and was one of the must-see acts of SXSW. I made it a point of seeing her early on Wednesday before the masses arrived. With that in mind, I dragged my buddy Jamey to The Mohawk (inside [...]

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Katy Goodman & Greta Morgan – Take It, Its Yours (album review)

August 26, 2016

Katy Goodman (La Sera & Vivian Girls) and Greta Morgan (Springtime Carnivore) took on an ambitious project by covering 10 punk tunes from 70s and 80s and knocked it out of the park. I’m by no means the all-knowing word on punk music. Of the 10 songs on the album, I was really familiar with [...]

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Ages and Ages – Something To Ruin (album review)

August 24, 2016

Photo by Alicia Rose Portland’s Ages and Ages are not being subtle on their third album, Something To Ruin. Based on the title of the album, the cover of the album and their first video below, Ages and Ages are not particularly happy on the path we as a people have taken. The inspiration for [...]

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