Morgan Y. Evans: I am a longtime Mastodon fan, from having flown from New York to see them and Kylesa once in New Orleans for my birthday to having a hysterical memory of blasting Remission in snail pace traffic near the Lincoln Tunnel with original Coheed and Cambria/Shabutie drummer Nate Kelley years ago to get cars inclined to move forward. Their goofy side was good marketing in that it allowed them to cross-over into the mainstream via Jonah Hex, Jack Black props and more, but I still prefer their musical side to the silly side of many of the videos and promotional campaigns. While it is interesting to hear straight drum beats from a band who got famous from songs that were practically all fills, and while the Queens of the Stone Age ambitions were always present (including Josh Homme guesting on classic “Colony of Birchmen”, the new and melodic hard rock direction of this single is still a bit of a shock. That said, it is a fun and rocking number. I just can’t help but miss the old days when there was no one who sounded like the onslaught you’d get from “Crusher Destroyer” or the psychic surge of recognition in the proggy landscapes of Crack the Skye. Let’s just say I prefer the chaotic ending of “Andromeda” to this number, but I do admire their urge to push their sound. [6/10]
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Adriane Pontecorvo: Feist could have gone the way of so many indie singer-songwriters, mellowing out and settling down into easy money singles after a Top 100 hit. “Pleasure” is yet another release that proves that she hasn’t. With a spare and growling guitar and vocals that murmur, strain, and belt with abandon as fits the occasion, Feist is a dynamic blues rocker with a biting edge, juxtaposing heavy twang with aching spaces. She pushes the limits of her voice as she hits high notes and switches ably between eerie and exuberant. It’s been six years since Metals, and it’s great to hear Feist back and in as fine form as ever. [9/10]
Missouri’s Ha Ha Tonka follow a middle path between indie rock and Americana that has made them huge favorites on the festival circuit with notable performances at events like Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits. The proud Ozarks recently released their fifth album, Heart-Shaped Mountain, to critical acclaim just ahead of festival season. Now they are sharing the new video for “Everything”, a slice of buoyant folk-pop with killer harmonies and a catchy tune.
The Hot 8 Brass Band is legendary in New Orleans having played together for more than 20 years. The NOLA brass band has spread the gospel far and wide for this multicultural art form born in the streets of the Crescent City. Hot 8 Brass Band’s new album On the Spot released last Friday via Tru Thoughts and the group is touring the US and Europe all the way into May.