Album Reviews

SG

Steve Gunn is one of the best guitarists I’ve had the pleasure to see play live. I’ve always found his music so easy to get lost in and daydream to places far and beyond where I sat. So it seems perfect that his third effort as a full-out singer/songwriter delves into exploration and experiencing your environment as the central theme for Eyes On The Line.

That appreciation of exploration and the enjoyment of space around him is evident in his playing. Gunn’s fingers aren’t firing up and down the fret. Nor is he contorting his body into yoga positions as he holds a note for 5 seconds. Instead his fingers pick at the strings as they dance around his guitar making some of the most wonderful tones you’ll hear come out of a guitar.

But it is continued growth as a vocalist and a writer that is taking him to a new level. These are Gunn’s strongest tunes to date and he delivers his vocals as if he espousing us with a way to live life to the fullest. Well, I’ve decided to cash in on this advice and rearrange my schedule to catch his show at Schuba’s tonight. Hope to see you there.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Steve Gunn is here

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Emotions and Math is my favorite title of an album in 2016. Two rather simple words that you use on an everyday basis, but they rarely ever cross paths. In Glaspy’s bio, she elaborated on how she learned during the making of the album, everybody needs to be combine the analytical while listening to your heart.

Glaspy’s tunes are mostly centered around jagged bluesy riffs that owes us much to the blues as it does 90s indie. The tunes mostly deal with the perils of navigating relationships as a single twenty-something in a big city. Its nothing entirely new but Glaspy does a great job mixing up her delivery, usually matching up with the lyrics. On You and I, Glaspy sings, “Tonight I’m too turned on to talk about us/ And tomorrow I’ll be too turned off/ And won’t give a fuck/ About you and I,” sounding every bit the part of not giving a fuck.

She really has nailed it on her debut. At the tender age of 26, you have the feeling it is the first in a long line of stellar albums.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Margaret Glaspy is here

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Cut free from the major labels, Eli Paperboy Reed makes some music that matters. You see, Reed had a release on Warner Bros that sounded like Adam Levine & Blake Shelton got a hold of him. I honestly can’t make it through a song of the album.

As that album was getting ready to hit the masses, Eli began working at a program in Harlem called Gospel for Teens; teaching kids quartet singing to the music of Wilson Pickett and Sam Cooke, at the behest of his dad. Shortly thereafter, he was dumped by the label just as he thought he was to become a star and in my opinion, that’s the best thing that ever happened to him. Working with the at-risk kids became his sole connection to music as he delved in to his roots; and found his way home to the reason he loved making music.

As he began to get some positive feedback on some demos he’d been recording at home he met up with Loren Humphrey who had put together a studio brimming with vintage gear. And that’s where this thing came to life. My Way Home not only sounds like a album of covers of old R&B tinged gospel tunes (only one tune isn’t an original); it sounds like it was recorded in the 60s.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Eli Paperboy Reed is here

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DP

Have you ever tried to capture a fart in a container? It isn’t easy, trust me. That’s what it is like to capture the brilliance of a Diarrhea Planet show in a studio. For anyone who has ever seen the Nashville sextet live, complete with four guitars, you’ll know that to be an almost impossible feat to accomplish.

So with the deck stacked against them, Diarrhea Planet entered the studio with Vance Powell. And I have to say, they managed to capture a healthy whiff of a DP show. The opening track, Hard Style 2, is how a DP show opens up – guitars spilling over each other as the drums push the band forward, all the while the crowd is whipping itself into a frenzy for what they are about to see. Then things get real. Here’s a breakdown of some of my favorites.

Announcement - Life has been handing our protagonist like a shit and he’s just fighting through it.

Life Pass – This heavy-riffed rocker is a sure to be a live favorite with fists in the air. Feels like this would be great on Regular Show.

Bob Dylan’s Grandma - All about the joys of learning to love rock ‘n’ roll and the pain of learning the guitar. This should be the theme of any music school teaching kids to rock.

Ain’t A Sin To Win – Opening with the roar of a motorcycle, this tune details a motorcycle race in heaven. This tune is begging for the most kick-ass video of all time.

When asked, I’ve always described DP as the perfect blend of 80s metal, punk and garage rock. That being said, this could come off as hokey or like shit if these guys weren’t so damn talented. That being said, and as awesome as Turn To Gold is; seeing Diarrhea Planet live should be on everybody’s bucket list.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Diarrhea Planet is here

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Outer Spaces – A Shedding Snake (album review

June 8, 2016

Photo by Micah E. Wood In their initial press release, lead singer/songwriter Cara Beth Satacino cited R.E.M circa Murmur as the driving influence. In many of those press releases, I’ll struggle to here the influence the artist cited, whether it be my shortcomings or some over-elaboration. But on this occasion, there was some real truth [...]

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Whitney – Light Upon The Lake (album review)

June 6, 2016

Photo credit: Dominique Goncalves Light Upon The Lake has slowly become one of my favorites in 2016. Funny thing is that after reading the initial PR email, I was prepared to dislike it; mostly due to the association with Smith Westerns; a band I found to be joyless and uninspired. I had no reason to [...]

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Big Thief – Masterpiece (album review)

May 31, 2016

Big Thief is a quartet newly signed to Saddle Creek and Masterpiece is their debut. They are fronted by Adrianne Lenker and she wrapped up this album in way that would put any music journalist* to shame. Here’s what she said, the songs are about, “the process of harnessing pain, loss, and love, while simultaneously [...]

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Quaker City Night Hawks – El Astronauta (album review)

May 23, 2016

Photo by Karlo X. Ramos Busting out of Fort Worth, this quartet sounds like a Texas BBQ version of J. Roddy Walston & The Business. Its gritty, smokey and definitely for real. Per the their label, Lightning Rod Records, the band is equally influenced by ZZ Top and space. And while those sound like they [...]

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Car Seat Headrest – Teens Of Denial (album review)

May 20, 2016

Photo by Anna Webber I don’t consider myself to be a fan of rap. There are a couple of acts I enjoy but for the most part, it doesn’t connect. But when you listen to Kendrick Lamar or watch him perform, it becomes very clear that he’s close to lapping the field. He’s executing stuff [...]

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Arbor Labor Union – I Hear You (album review)

May 16, 2016

Arbor Labor Union began life as Pinecones and much like a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, Pinecones entered into the cocoon of Sub Pop and re-emerged as Arbor Labor Union. Whatever happened during this transformation, the band definitely sounds better. After spending some considerable time with I Hear You, I still fall back on Parquet Courts [...]

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