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by Brice Ezell

19 May 2015


Don Rooke, the frontman of the Toronto-based folk outfit the Henrys, describes their sound as “old instruments—new sounds.” He’s not wrong; although there’s plenty of old-style folk to be heard in the band’s music, due in large part to certain instrumental choices such as Rooke’s historic Weissenborn and Kona lap steel guitars, they evoke plenty of current sonic architects as well. Rooke, in particular, evokes the stylings of maestros like Ry Cooder and Bill Frisell.

It’s been six years since the Henrys have put out a full-length studio recording, but that time has now come to an end with Quiet Industry, their new LP. Below you can stream “A Weaker One”, which begins as a seemingly simple folk tune that blossoms with a dissonant post-chorus section towards its conclusion.

Other players on Quiet Industry include Hugh Marsh (Bruce Cockburn, Don Byron, Jon Hassell), John Sheard (Stuart McLean, Rita Coolidge), Andrew Downing (Kelly Joe Phelps, David Tronzo), Davide DiRenzo (Holly Cole, Cassandra Wilson, Jacksoul), Jonathan Goldsmith (Jane Siberry, Nick Buzz, Sarah Slean), along with harmony vocalist Tara Dunphy (The Rizdales).

by Brice Ezell

19 May 2015


Following their Grammy-nominated collaborative LP with Bobby Rush last year, Decisions, Laramie, Wyoming’s own Blinddog Smokin’ have readied their next studio outing, High Steppin’. Populated by funk grooves, rock shredding, and a healthy dose of New Orleans style, the LP showcases the well-practiced union of high-energy instrumentation with frontman Carl Gustafson’s vivid lyricism.

On “Bayou Lady”, Blinddog Smokin’ pull off a fine feat: making an eminently danceable tune that also gets you to think. Gustafson’s understanding of the ways in which people overlook their own damage to the environment is on point—and it helps that his point is made with such jubilant music.

by Brice Ezell

19 May 2015


Photo: Bloodshot staff, the Yawpers, and band members’ families

In describing their new signees the Yawpers, Bloodshot uses the term “shitstarters” to describe the Denver band. When you read the label’s reasons for taking the Yawpers on, the only thing you’ll wonder is why it took so long for this brilliant match to come together.

by Brice Ezell

18 May 2015


In 2013, Jobs, a biopic about the life of the late Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs, was released to little fanfare. Starring Ashton Kutcher as the titular figure, the film received a mostly mixed response, from both critics and the higher-ups at Apple. Bill Fernandez, one of the early employees of Apple, called it “the biggest, flashiest piece of fan fiction that there’s been to date.”

Two years have passed since then, and clearly Jobs’ story is still compelling to many filmmakers, as director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionare) and Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing and Academy Award-winning writer for The Social Network) have prepared their own spin on the life of Jobs. Their film, entitled Steve Jobs, is “set backstage at three iconic product launches” and concludes “in 1998 with the unveiling of the iMac”, according to Universal Films’ official statement.

by Brice Ezell

18 May 2015


“In general, I’m a nostalgic person,” singer/songwriter Josh Gilligan says in relation to his new record Steady On. However, he qualifies this by also suggesting, “I don’t think retrospective behavior is completely healthy.”

From its homey sleeve art to its gentle, acoustic guitar-led songwriting, Steady On is the kind of album one could mistake for a nostalgia-worshipping hipster who’s imbibed one kombucha too many. The songs he writes, however, paint a different picture: a picture of someone who has taken in and has a deep respect for old-fashioned songwriting. Steady On may be a nostalgic affair, but it’s not nauseatingly so; it’s the sound of how to look into the past without worshipping at its altar, all the while bringing in a new perspective.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

A Crooked and Unseen Highway: lowercase - "She Takes Me"

// Sound Affects

"The newest Between the Grooves series tackles Lowercase's Kill the Lights, a great marriage of slowcore and post-punk: raw, angry, sullen, and very much alive almost 20 years later.

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