Album Reviews

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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 half while the other half were vaguely familiar or new to me. The ladies transitioned these tunes of frustration and angst sung from a male perspective, and stripped them down and them made all sorts of beautiful with shimmery reverb-laden guitars with beautiful female harmonies.

Naturally, I was initially drawn to the tracks I knew. Bastards Of The Young by The Replacements was my first taste and I must have spun that track 10 times the day they released it. I was absolutely mesmerized on what they did to one of my favorite tunes by The Mats. Next up was Where Eagles Dare by The Misfits. Hearing them harmonize, “I ain’t no goddam son of a bitch, you better think about it, baby” is sexy as fuck. Then I dug into the tunes I didn’t know that well by listening to their version and going back to the original. Ever Fallen In Love by The Buzzcocks just sounds wonderful in their hands. Pay To Cum by Bad Brains turns the tune on its head in a bewildering manner.

I’m usually not that big of a fan of cover albums. But this is every bit as good as The Day of Dead compilation released earlier this year.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or at @Hearya

Great Morgan is here

Katy Goodman is here

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ages

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 the album came from a trip that singer Tim Perry and bassist Rob Oberdorfer took to Central America. Throughout their trip, time and time again, they found the resiliency that nature offered. Upon returning home, they were joined by bandmates – Sarah Riddle, Annie Bethancourt & Colin Jenkins – in continuing to grow their brand of folkie chamber pop. The tunes are still chock full of harmonizing but they’ve added small flourishes of electronic elements to the mix. Credit to them as it doesn’t sound forced and it shows the band continuing to evolve.

Kick Me Out, My Cold Reflection and They Want More tackle issues about people’s obsession with product and posessions as opposed to living life. The video of They Want More is really well done and doesn’t hide how the band feels on the subject. They close the album on what’s sure to be live-favorite; the uplifting As It Is.

Ages and Ages won me over with their live shows during the Divisionary tour, including a killer set at Homeslice during SXSW. I’m anxious to see how these new tunes translate live and I suggest you get out there to see them live. Obama is apparently a fan, so maybe you’ll catch him at a show.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or at @Hearya

Ages and Ages are here

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Cool Ghouls – Animal Races (album review)

by Woody on August 23, 2016

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I’ve spun Animal Races a dozen or so times over the last month. On every listen, I am reminded of Promised Land Sound’s last album, For Use and Delight. Both bands have a sound that is heavily influenced from the 60s – for the Ghouls, it is geared around fuzzy garage rock. Importantly, both bands have built on their inspirations to create their own sounds. More importantly like For Use and Delight, Animal Races is a big step forward for the San Francisco based band.

Animal Races is their third effort and while it may be easy to peg them as a 60s influenced garage band, they do drift around different genres with relative ease and success. They get a little twangy on (If I Can’t Be) The Man and When You Were Gone. The title track and Brown Bag let loose as a couple of straight-ahead rockers. Jangly guitars rule track like Sundial, Never You Mind and Spectator.

Like PLS, Cool Ghouls isn’t reinventing the wheel. That being said, it is refreshing to hear a band pay homage to their influences in such a worthy manner. That’s done with good writing, good production and good playing. All things that are in abundance on Animal Races. My suggestion to you would be to crack open a cold one, lie outside, put this on with a good set of headphones and wash your worries away for an hour.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Cool Ghouls are here

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Lydia Loveless – Real (album review)

by Woody on August 17, 2016

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Photo by David T. Kindler

It has been a treat to watch the progression of Lydia Loveless. Her early efforts on Bloodshot were good ol’ fashioned cow-punk. Then with 2014′s Somewhere Else, altered her sound slightly and the results were extraordinary as Loveless was picking up plaudits everywhere you looked.

All that led to some heightened expectations for Real and by all accounts, she met those expectations and then some. Loveless continues to broaden and refine her sound while continuing to wear her heart on her sleeve. Her willingness to open herself up and her ability at doing so in such a compelling manner makes her such a vital voice in today’s musical landscape.

In the middle of this album, Loveless seems to have a suite of songs – Heaven, Out On Love and Midwestern Guys that sound like something you heard on MTV in the 80s or early 90s. Heaven feels like it should have a video with Mary Stuart Masterson brooding about and subsequently kicking ass. I don’t know if I would like a whole album of this but in the middle of the album, it works great.

Especially after following the opening trio of Same To You, Longer and More Than Ever which is more consistent with her alt-country leaning past where she’s exposing some raw feelings of hurt. Later on the album, she has a stripped down acoustic track, Clumps, that is a nice way to wind down the album from the more pop oriented tracks earlier.

Real is a great album and is a high-water mark for her as an artist. That all being said, I hope as she continues to grow as an artist, she maintains a connection to her twang roots.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Lydia Loveless is here

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Ryley Walker – Golden Sings That Have Been Sung (album review)

August 12, 2016

Lately, Ryley Walker has had some less than flattering comments on his prior album – Primrose Green. Respectfully, I have to disagree. I loved that album when it came out and it has really held up well for me over repeated listens and seeing him a few times. So that being said, Golden Sings That [...]

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Blind Pilot – And Then Like Lions (album review)

August 11, 2016

Photo by Eric Ryan Anderson Blind Pilot came out of nowhere back in 2008 with the tales of touring up and down the West Coast on bikes and their amazing debut 3 Rounds and A Sound. Tours followed including a stop in at HearYa World HQ for a session. Fronted by Israel Nebeker’s warm voice, [...]

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Izzy True – Nope (album review)

August 5, 2016

Photo Credit: Benjamin Torrey As I mentioned in my post announcing their debut LP, I was lured to the Izzy True by the cowbell on their lead single – Total Body Erasure. I owe that cowbell a thank you as I’ve been enjoying the heck out of this album for a couple of weeks now. [...]

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Michael Kiwanuka – Love and Hate (album review)

July 12, 2016

Back a couple of months ago when Michael announced this album with the lead single, Black Man In A White World, seemed very apt due to the times we were living in. The fact that it wound be released last Friday at the tail end of one of the most demoralizing weeks that I could [...]

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Martha – Blisters In The Pit Of My Heart (album review)

July 8, 2016

Photo by Steve Landles Martha is a four-piece hailing from the English village of Pity Me and they have just released their sophomore effort – a blend of 90s indie guitar rock and power pop-punk – on Dirtnap Records. Their debut garnered a fair amount of praise. Any time you start getting notoriety and seeing [...]

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Lucy Dacus – No Burden (album review)

July 5, 2016

I hadn’t heard of Lucy Dacus until last week but now I’ve listened to No Burden so many times, that she may file a restraining order against me. I haven’t been this blown away by a female artist since hearing Avant Gardener by Courtney Barnett. And maybe that’s I was so eager to hear Barnett [...]

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