The emergence of Brittany Howard has served as a very welcome reminder that African American women can absolutely slay at blue-collar rock ‘n’ roll, and one good thing that can come of it is that it could very well serve as a gateway for other young artists to make their mark, too. Raised in North Carolina and based in New Orleans, Nikki Hill channels Muscle Shoals-era Rolling Stones on her scorching tune “(Let Me Tell You Bout) LUV”, which is from her new album Heavy Hearts, Hard Fists, which comes out on 16 October. A Southern soul belter who loves a good riff and bawdy lyrics, her primary influences are Little Richard and Bon Scott, and you feel it on this track. This is a talent not to be ignored. Hell, she packs so much power, she’ll never let you.
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Fitting somewhere between Suicide, Tangerine Dream, and Giorgio Moroder, Dallas trio Nervous Curtains excel at creating uncomfortable yet compelling post-punk utilizing only synths and drums. In the wake of a quiet 2014 that saw member Sean Kirkpatrick play keyboards on Swans’ monumental album To Be Kind the band is back with Con, their third album. Produced by Daron Beck of the great, similar-minded duo Pinkish Black, the new record fuses experimentation, vintage sounds, and strong melody, yielding a piece of work of unrelenting tension yet remaining accessible all the while.
Australian singer/songwriter Marta Pacek released her album Voodoo Dolls & False Alarms last year, but has recently started a promotional push to get her work noticed in America and elsewhere with a series of well-crafted videos. Her latest is a clip for her latest single, the haunting and thoughtful song “Atheist Prayer”. It’s one of the best moments on the record, so it’s good to see it given some deserved attention.
The American folk standard “Sugar Babe” (or “Sugar Baby” as it came to be widely known) dates back to the early-20th century “rounder” songs of the Appalachian South, played on five-string banjo. Old-time singer Dock Boggs is the most famous performer of the song, having learned it from his brother and recorded it in 1927, which then became one of the most memorable tracks on Harry Smith’s epochal Anthology of American Folk Music.
Best known as the former bassist for Athens rockers the Whigs and the touring guitarist for MGMT, Hank Sullivant is now the frontman for Kuroma, a psychedelic pop foursome that released their debut album Kuromarama earlier this year. They have a new EP called 20+ Centuries that’s set to be released 30 October on Votiv Music, and in the meantime you can hear the T. Rex-meets-Flaming Lips track “Twenty Centuries in Time”, in which a pitch-shifted Sullivant croons a spacey folk tune while sounding like he’s been huffing helium.