San Diego’s Rafter, otherwise known as Rafter Roberts, concocts little, brilliant nuggets of off-kilter pop with an experimental spirit. No two songs on Rafter’s new album XYZ sound alike and ideas aren’t repeated as the album exhibits a real flash of originality blending Beatles, XTC and Queen influences with electro pop and really inventive rhythms and texture. Tossing a bit of R&B into the mix as well, XYZ is a super fun album that should be a true delight to all pop fans who appreciate out-of-the box thinking.
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There’s a well-worn adage which states that great art can be born from pain. That’s certainly the case with Solas, the latest from the Answer. Coming off a 2015 tour, the band returned to Northern Ireland to face dire circumstances. The members faced dire emotional and financial circumstances that drove the collective to the precipice, wondering if there would ever be new Answer music again. Eventually, the collective returned to what it had done for the previous 15 years, making music. Determined to come back with a stronger effort than ever before the quartet set about making Solas. Taking its name from the Gaelic word for light, the LP shows a markedly improved and mature band examining both the light and the darkness that light has to offer.
Tim Easton said of Texas singer-songwriter Adam Carroll, “Adam Carroll is East Texas’ own Shakespeare of song…. His songs belong in Texan and Bayou anthropology courses, but mostly they should belong to your car stereo speakers.” We couldn’t agree more as Carroll’s songs are genuine, poetic, literary and relatable tales of life in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma.
This coming Friday, October 28th Austin-based Eight 30 Records is releasing a tribute to the influential Carroll entitled Highway Prayer: A Tribute to Adam Carroll, which includes takes on Carroll’s music by leading Americana luminaries like the Band of Heathens, Hayes Carll, Tim Easton, James McMurtry, and Slaid Cleaves.
London’s Crystal Fighters are one of the more interesting contemporary bands as they mash up musical styles to create the most memorable of catchy earworms. Melodies and instruments from Basque folk music are intertwined with electronic music beats. Acoustic, electric, and electronic elements coalesce utterly naturally in their music. This Friday the band is due to release their third album, Everything Is My Family, and we’ve got the premiere of Crystal Fighters’ brand new anthemic single “Lay Low”, which rises to rousing crescendos and wall of sound vocal choruses. It’s a stellar, joyous, glorious tune, with killer melodies and it promises that the band’s new record may be the very best yet.
Mike Watt is a punk rock legend whose bands Minutemen and fIREHOSE had a huge influence on both punk and rock generally. In 1995, Watt first went solo as he toured the US, eventually stopping at Chicago’s Metro on May 6th for an incendiary set that crackles and thrills 21 years later. It’s that performance that Columbia/Legacy has chosen to memorialize with the release of Watt’s “ring spiel” tour ‘95 due for release on November 11th. The tour followed the February 1995 release of Watt’s first solo album, ball-hog or tugboat?, which has stood the test of time with a set of songs that featured the playing of Henry Rollins, Flea, Thurston Moore, J Mascis, Adam Horovitz, Mike Diamond, Frank Black, Dave Pirner, Evan Dando, Nels Cline, Pat Smear, Dave Grohl, Eddie Vedder, and more.
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