In the press materials for their new album, Nine Lives and Forty-Fives, the Los Angeles rock band Prima Donna are described as having a “curriculum [that] includes musical road trips with Eddie and the Hot Rods, Adam Ant, D-Generation and even Green Day, who they supported on two arena tours on two continents.” The influences of those groups are certainly evident in Prima Donna’s music, but on their latest number, “Deathless”, their vocal harmonies bring to mind an influence that few if any rock bands can escape: the Beatles. With this track, Prima Donna tips their cap to their forebears while adding their own driving verve and energy, with some excellent work on the low end by the bass playing of “Lights Out” Levine.
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Having already picked up some attention in their native United Kingdom, the all-sibling trio the Rua, comprised of 22-year old Roseanna Brown (voice and guitar), 24-year old Alanna Brown (piano and backing vocals) and 19-year old Jonathan Brown (violin, guitar, vocals and backing vocals), is preparing to bring their music across the pond. The classically trained trio’s debut LP Essence is being prepared for a spring 2015 release in the States. Already, the Rua have earned comparisons to the likes of Fleetwood Mac from publications like Q Magazine, and the association is certainly not off. Emotionally resonant and harmonically arresting, these siblings have put their best foot forward with their debut LP.
While you wait for Essence‘s release date, tune into PopMatters over the next six weeks for a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the writing and recording of the music. Each week, we’ll premiere a video that features the band explaining a particular song on the album. By the end of this series, you’ll have a pretty strong picture of this preternaturally talented young trio. While certain famous UK sibling acts gained their fame through public rivalries, these three use their familial rapport in the service of writing beautiful songs, with nary a hint of sibling competitiveness to be heard.
The Band are one of the great rock acts of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Although that time is also associated with the rise of psychedelia, the music of the Band is anchored in the roots rock tradition—put simply, their music will never bring to mind any skies with diamonds. However, that doesn’t mean contemporary artists can’t take the music of that essential Band and throw in some psychedelic flourishes, just as the Portland, Oregon outfit Drunken Prayer has done with their cover of “Evangeline”, featuring Freakwater’s Janet Beveridge Bean on supporting vocals. The video to “Evangeline” features distinct washes of psychedelic color, an appropriately quirky, Pacific Northwest touch to this classic tune. For a slightly off-kilter take on America as only Portland can bring it, Drunken Prayer will do just the trick.
Sedona, Arizona doesn’t sound like the kind of place where one would expect to find an homage to the Wu-Tang Clan. However, the singer-songwriter Brandon Decker, whose musical calling card is the all-lowercase decker, isn’t exactly keen on fitting into basic expectations. On his newest LP, Patsy, decker pays homage to the late Wu-Tang Clan founding member Ol’ Dirty Bastard with the tune “O.D.B”, the video of which you can exclusively watch below. In the video, decker and a choir decked out in red sing ebullient harmonies in the desert, line dance, and circle around in the woods. As a tribute to ODB’s spirit, it’s definitely an atypical one, but it’s also charmingly and uniquely decker, straight from the heart.
In the ‘00s, the Leeds, UK rock outfit Kaiser Chiefs made a big splash with their excellent 2007 album Yours Truly, Angry Mob and its earworm of a lead single, “Ruby”. Like that song, the band’s latest tune, “Falling Awake”, anchors itself on a simple, repetitive chorus: “She’s got me falling, falling / Falling away!” Also like “Ruby”, though, such repetition is extremely effective given the Chiefs’ catchy songwriting. Buoyed by a near danceable bass synth, “Falling Awake” bodes quite well for the group’s forthcoming sixth studio LP, which follows 2014’s Tony Blair-referencing Education, Education & War.
// Sound Affects
""If Drivin' N' Cryin' sounded as good in the '80s as we do now, we could have been as big as Cinderella." -- Kevn KinneyREAD the article