If Chelsea Wolfe spent a lot of time out in the Southwestern deserts of the US and listened to a lot of old school blues, the resulting sound would probably be quite close to the music of Betty Black, the project of New York musician Sylvia Gordon. “Heartless”, her latest tune, is a brooding affair, capturing the sexual energy of rock ‘n’ roll at its sleaziest with a healthy dose of blues rhythm. The highly creative Black directed and edited the video to “Heartless” herself, pairing the song’s enigmatic energy with a striking contrast between psychedelic flourishes of color and heavy shadows.
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Willie Nile is well known as a singer/songwriter and a rock musician, which is why over 30 years into his career, an album like If I Was a River might come as a surprise to some. The LP finds Nile trading in a guitar for a piano, writing tunes centered on the ebony and ivory keys. Of course, Nile has played piano on his records since his 1980 self-titled debut, but never has his music been so rooted in keyboard composition. It’s a move that doesn’t fundamentally change the sound he’s come to build over his lengthy career; rather, it offers a new look at things that have always been present in his style.
His mother named him Richard Wallace, but to you he’s Epic, one of the most exciting, talented and fearless artists making music in Chicago. Best known as a member of the legendary rap trio BBU, he’s been busy since their last release, 2012’s bell hooks. For the past two years the artist, rapper and community activist has been hitting the studio with producer Stefan Clark and artists such as Tomorrow King, Kool A.D. (of Das Racist), and Show You Suck to create a batch of newer, more introspective songs.
In her PopMatters review of Ani DiFranco’s latest album, Allergic to Water, Annie Galvin called her “the high priestess of feminist folk”. Having been putting out records on a consistent basis since 1990, DiFranco’s credentials are beyond reproach, as are her commitments to human rights and justice, both of which remain key lyrical themes of her. Allergic to Water carries on in DiFranco’s legacy, and it finds DiFranco taking the helm on nearly the entirety of the project; it is the first LP of hers in ten years that is completely produced by her.
Below you can watch the new video devised for Allergic to Water‘s “Careless words. In her review of the album, Galvin writes that “Careless Words” documents “the difficulty of maintaining clear communication and physical intimacy in long-term relationships.”
Dean Garcia, one of the creative forces behind ‘90s alt-rockers Curve, spearheads SPC ECO, though you might not make the connection to his past work at first on the single “One for the Little One”. That’s because there’s a brightness and bounce to the synth-driven piece that you wouldn’t automatically associate with the edgy textures and darker tone of Curve’s best-known tracks. But listen a little closer and the frenetic energy of “One for the Little One” has Garcia’s fingerprints all over it, an unmistakable signature that’s more than surface deep.
// Notes from the Road
"José González's sets during Newport Folk Festival weren't on his birthday (that is today) but each looked to be a special intimate performance.READ the article