Their first album, Whine Of The Mystic, sort of arrived out of nowhere when Paradise of Bachelor heard it, liked it and re-released it to the world. Plaudits followed from buffoons like me and respected journalists as well. Soon, people were expecting a second album, leading to the dreaded sophomore album.
Whine Of The Mystic was this hyper-literate album about drinking. It sounds childish when you write it but it was actually pretty deep. It was more an observance of the culture that painted outside the lines to look at the highs and lows. Lead singer, chief songwriter and bi0-chemist, Nigel Chapman, has this uncanny knack for painting vivid detail for the mundane. His vocals rarely ever make it out of first gear. As the vocals ease of the speaker, you feel as if he’s sitting next to you telling you a story, in a way that nobody else could. Chapman might not be the coolest guy in the room but he sure as hell is the guy that describes the room in the coolest manner.
Click Clack has my favorite line of the album – “Sometimes, drinking, I feel so happy but then / I can’t remember why … Sometimes, drinking, I don’t know my best friend for my best friend.” It is one of the few times in the album where Chapman’s voice heightens and the band subtly kicks in behind him. It is really tasty. The last verse of the album on Trust is another winner, “I know you don’t trust me but I got some things I need to tell you anyway. Sometimes I can hardly believe the way you don’t believe me when I say what you do.,” before the chorus kicks in and the album fades to black.
I was really looking forward to this album and am happy to say it ticked off all the boxes I was looking for. If you’re new to the band, get on it. Both albums are outstanding.
Cian Nugent is an Irish guitarist who’s been in a few acts over the years and released some instrumental albums over the years with his act, Cian Nugent & The Cosmos. Night Fiction is first foray as a singer/songwriter. The vocals are solid, if unspectacular, but the real genius of the album is Nugent’s playing. The songwriting is strong, and the interplay between him and his band (The Cosmos) is excellent. There is some excellent fiddle throughout the album that sits just under Nugent’s guitar in the mix; only to poke its head out here and there for a little more air.
The album ends with the nearly 12 minute opus, Year Of The Snake. The track ambles about for nearly three minutes as Nugent just noodles around on his guitar heightening expectations. Just about when you’re asking yourself, “this really can’t be it for 12 minutes,” the drummer slowly awakens and the bow gets dragged across the fiddle for a couple of minutes until the drummer says, “fuck this,” and kicks it into gear. The song builds from there and really works its way into a real hootenanny.
If you consider yourself a fan of Steve Gunn and/or Kurt Vile, you’d be wise to search out Cian Nugent. Night Fiction is well worth the effort and I suspect we’ll look back at Night Fiction in a few years and see it as the platform he launched a number of other great albums from.
So every year, we do a top 50 and I’ll undoubtedly fuck it up. I’ll forget an album I loved. I’ll list an album twice. I’ll lose count. And most importantly, I’ll completely miss an amazing album that came out. So when I posted our list, one of our seven readers called me out for leaving off High On Tulsa Heat. I usually don’t put much stock in my readers taste because if they had any, they wouldn’t be reading HearYa.
Turns out, our reader James was spot on about this album. In a nutshell, High On Tulsa Heat is one of the finest Americana albums I’ve ever heard. Oddly enough it was already on my Ipod and it has been getting a work out ever since. If you are like me and have never heard of Moreland, I’d put him on the same lofty plain of Isbell and Simpson. Moreland’s music is like an open wound. A wound hurts and is uncomfortable but at its core, it lets you know your alive. And Moreland’s music does that. It almost as is the pain is welcome because you want to feel. This album is oft compared to Springsteen’s Nebraska, another album that gives off that same feeling.
Moreland is starting to get the well-deserved recognition he deserves, both from crappy little blogs like ours and more renowned publications that people actually read. He deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Isbell and Simpson as modern day titans of Americana. For what its worth, his effort previous to High On Tulsa Heat is called In The Throes and its a must listen as well.
He’ll be on the Colbert tonight. Check him out if your awake.
There’s nothing better than falling in love with a band during a live performance; better yet when that performance is in a small, sweaty SXSW venue. That’s what happened to me with Hinds, a female quartet based out of Madrid. Truth be told, I wasn’t expecting much when I saddled up for the show. Hinds was just a filler between some other acts. Yet, it took one song for me to be blown away. I spent the rest of SXSW telling anyone who would listen that they were one of the best sets I saw down there. When queried what made them so special? My response was a simple, “they make me feel young.”
At the age 0f 45, I’ll take it any way I can get it. And listening to a bunch of 20 year-olds play an infectious brand of lo-fi garage-pop is as good as it gets. During their set, they literally just seemed like they were having the time of their life up there; and it was hard not to get swept up in it all. With all that in mind, Leave Me Alone has been one of my most eagerly anticipated albums in a long time. And I’m happy to say, it’s all that and a bag of chips. I’ve spun the album a few times and that feeling of youthful exuberance wells up in me every time.
There will be a million and one reviews on this album so I’ll spare you the breakdown of the tunes. All I can do is reiterate the fact, that if you want to get that care-free feeling of youth, than Hinds is the band for you.
Car Seat Headrest, aka Will Toledo, sounds like they were meant to be a Matador band. And with that, they are getting compared to Matador legends at every turn. And while many of those comparisons are apt, I am reminded of two other acts. As for the sound, they remind me more of The Eels [...]
This album came out a few months ago and my love for it has been growing since. High is the sophomore effort for the Sydney foursome. Their s/t debut was solid but didn’t have any real staying power for me. So why is High so beloved by my? I think it comes down to the [...]
I’ve introduced Saintseneca to a few people. And while many have liked it, I have heard some say that “it’s good but the lead singer’s voice, Zac Little, isn’t for me.” I disagree as I love his voice as it reminds me of Jeff Mangum. And I thought they such a good job framing it [...]
Photo by Craig Scheihing Beach Slang have been catching a lot of hype as of late. In many of the pieces, you’ll see The Hold Steady referenced. Its easy to see why as both feature front-men who fronted lesser-known acts before finding a larger audience in their thirties. They also tend to write lyrics that [...]
Photo by Paul Beaty Fancy yourself a fan of Scott H. Biram? Two Gallants? Maybe you are but you really love yourself some Elliott BROOD. Well then, you’re in luck as I am about to introduce you to your new favorite band. They are The Yawpers, yee of greatest video ever fame. While that video [...]
A couple of years ago, Promised Land Sound released their s/t debut. It was a solid album, and one I labeled as, “showing a band with great potential”. Well, that potential is met and then some on their sophomore effort, For Use and Delight. Its one thing to have great influences – Big Star, The [...]