Sam Lewis first crossed our radar on a video from Music City Roots, but the timing was off to feature him on the show. As Lewis has toured more in the United States and the United Kingdom, he has built a following and honed his songs, yielding a his new Waiting On You album, recorded with some of Music City’s Americana elite at an historic studio, Southern Ground (recently purchased by Zac Brown). When folks like Brandon Bell champion you to Darrell Scott, Will Kimbrough, Mickey Raphael, Gabe Dixon, and the McCrary Sisters, then you know that your record will sparkle.
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Exo—“Call Me Baby”
With so many dating scandals and members leaving, it’s sometimes hard to remember why Exo is one of the most popular K-pop boy bands, but the release of “Call Me Baby” does well to remind us. While its accompanying Exodus album is hit or miss, the title track is exactly the kind of boy band song I love. It’s got a great groove, tons of personality, and is insanely catchy. Most importantly, though, it allows the members to show off their talent both vocally and dance-wise. Lyrically, the song is nothing special, but what they do with their voices is particularly impressive, especially at the end of the bridge, where the hook gets extended by one measure as more vocal harmonies pile up, after which the track stutters a bit into a powerful dance break. The effect is strikingly unusual, adding a level of excitement to the already amped-up track.
Mendelsohn: Confession time, Klinger. For the past six months I’ve been listening to the new album from Run the Jewels nearly nonstop. Remember those weeks when we had to listen to the Violent Femmes, or the Beatles, or Husker Du, or Jefferson Airplane, or Daft Punk, or the Kinks? I was listening to Run the Jewels instead.
That’s a bit of an exaggeration, I did listen to the other records—a little bit—but most of the time, when I was by myself, the kids weren’t in the car, or I was hanging out in the garage making stuff out of wood, Run the Jewels 2 would be on as loud as possible. I am enthralled by this messy, uncouth, unbelievably smart record from the Odd Couple of Hip-Hop. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t perfect, but for my money it is pretty damn close.
When it was announced that Mastodon and Clutch would be touring North America together, many of those familiar with both bands thought, Now that’s a perfect combination. Granted, those underground-oriented metal fans with nothing but disdain for anything that flirts with the mainstream, not to mention the fans both bands attracts, might’ve thought that in a negative way, but those who actually enjoy Clutch and Mastodon were elated at the thought of the two doing a co-headlining tour, yours truly included. It’s the kind of double-bill that makes you wonder why bands like those two have never done it before.
Mike Montali of Hollis Brown loves rock ‘n’ roll, as the band’s 2014 Record Store Day special release covering Velvet Underground tunes indicates. Hollis Brown brings together their love for Ziggy Stardust and Big Star for a step forward with their new album, 3 Shots.
Supported by a new-to-them indie label out of New York and an upcoming 40 date tour with Counting Crows, Hollis Brown has made the most of their friendships, rooted in solid rock records.