Trucking in the music of moonlit roads and dark barrooms, Georgia’s Chris Stalcup and the Grange turn turmoil into glorious song. A Southern smart aleck with an aching heart, Stalcup draws from personal—and typical—life events on his forthcoming sophomore album, Downhearted Fools.
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From twangy civil war chimes to modern songs of protest, love, and sadness set across both acoustic and electric soundscapes, the American folk scene’s makeup has changed drastically since laying its foundations back in revolutionary times. However, as a genre meant for bards to weave their tales and stories and convey them with utmost intimacy folk’s roots have largely stayed the same despite the rise of Greenwich village folk, Dylan going electric, or the Mumfordian movement of recent times.
Dan Kok: If there was a sole heir to the spacey, futuristic musical stylings of Parliament Funkadelic or Sun Ra’s Arkestra, it just might be Mndsgn. With this heavily funk inspired track and a psychedelic space-cult video to accompany it, the LA producer has made his influences fairly clear. There’s a sense that, to his credit, Mndsgn doesn’t take himself or the music too seriously. But with that mentality, the song ends up being mostly fun without being all that memorable. [7/10]
Chris Ingalls: A producer’s producer who’s manned the boards for everyone from U2 to Bob Dylan to Brandon Flowers, Lanois seems to enjoy bouncing back and forth between experimentation and straightforward pop/rock. On “Deconstruction”, he’s definitely embracing the former, employing some fuzzy, guitar-centric ambient soundscapes reminiscent of Robert Fripp (and perhaps taking a cue from Le Noise, the 2010 album he produced for Neil Young). Lanois provides a unique, somewhat soothing mood with this particular sonic departure, and I can only hope the rest of the album is this interesting. [8/10]
Adriane Pontecorvo: Banging from the very first beat. This song layers cool on cool, laid-back vocals and driving, droning guitar, all leading to a simple chorus that’s easy to shout along with. The Pixies spend the entire two minutes at maximum power, a well-oiled machine. They’re at their tightest here, not a piece out of place from its speedy beginning until it glides to a final stop. A satisfying burst of energy. [8/10]