Latest Blog Posts

by Brice Ezell

21 May 2015


On their Facebook page, Sneakout describe their sound as “fuzz pop”. Their latest tune, “Savior”, does somewhat fit that mold, but what it brings to mind more distinctly is the early ‘00s rock revival, where vintage amps and distortion pedals flooded venues worldwide for gigs played by bands whose names invariably started with “The”. (The White Stripes, the Hives, the Vines… the list goes on.) With a vocal delivery that can be described as somewhat Ozzy-esque, frontman Robert Fleming declares, “I’m your savior!” atop boot-stompin’ guitar riffs.

by Brice Ezell

21 May 2015


With an aesthetic that brings to mind groups like Joy Kills Sorrow, the Colorado-based the Railsplitters find that perfect balance between bluegrass instrumentation and earwormy pop melodies. On their newest LP, The Faster It Goes, all the players are all uniformly great, supporting each other but also taking breaks off to let their instrumental chops shine. Some of their riffs and melodies evoke the knotty playing of Punch Brothers; in fact, “Salt Salt Sea” close sonic kin to that band’s “Movement and Location”.

Below you can stream “You”, which juxtaposes poppy mandolin chords and jangly banjo picking. Above all else, though, is the stellar vocal interplay of the group, evoking both classic pop harmonizing and the communitarian sense that’s found in the best bluegrass and folk music.

by Brice Ezell

21 May 2015


In her newest music video “Far and Wide”, which you can view exclusively below, Ruth Moody lays out a beautiful, elegiac folk tune. Anyone familiar with Moody and her body of work will find this unsurprising; as a member of the Canadian trio the Wailin’ Jennys, who among other things have a Juno Award to their name, she displays sharp harmonic and melodic chops. As PopMatters’ Dave Maine put it in his review of the Wailin’ Jennys’ 2011 LP Bright Morning Star, their music is “a stripped-down masterclass in close harmony singing.” But while Moody’s voice fares especially well in the music of the Jennys, she’s certainly no slouch on her own, either, as “Far and Wide” evinces. The tune was released on a special vinyl single release for this year’s Record Store Day.

Moody is getting ready to do a UK tour with Dire Straits guitarist Mark Knopfler this coming May and June (dates below), including two shows at London’s Royal Albert Hall. She features on Knopfler’s new album, Tracker.

by Brice Ezell

20 May 2015


Described as Christian Gibbs’ “most schizophrenic but unified album to date”, C. Gibbs Sings Motherwell Johnston is rooted in a curious identity. You might wonder who exactly is the Motherwell Johnston that Gibbs is singing; if you can’t come up with an answer, it’s probably not for lack of knowledge. Instead, it derives from the fact that Johnston is an alias of Gibbs’, invented, as the press release for the LP explains, “to try new songs live without having any expectations from those who might be familiar with his past work (Lucinda Black Bear, C. Gibbs, Morning Glories)”. Although Gibb’s voracious musical tastes and past projects can be clearly heard on Sings Motherwell Johnston, with this outing he is creating a singular, new space for him to explore songwriting.

As a preview of what’s to come on Sings Motherwell Johnston, you can stream the track “Unchaperoned” below. Featuring bluesy, soul-tinged lead guitar that is retro in all the right ways, “Unchaperoned” is an excellent harbinger for the record.

by Brice Ezell

20 May 2015


Photo: Richmond Lam

In her 9 out of 10 review of Socalled‘s 2007 LP Ghettoblaster for PopMatters, Lana Cooper writes that the album “offers an eclectic and catchy blend of music for anyone with a true passion for all styles, particularly multi-layered fusion.” Eight years later, the same remains true for the MontrĂ©al sonic innovator, as you can clearly hear on his recently released Peoplewatching. Of the album’s ten tracks, no one better represents Socalled’s sonic and visual eccentricities better than the youthful jubilance—and libido—of “Boyfriend Material”.

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'Wanted' Is a Spaghetti Western That Will Leave You Wanting

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