“As much as I hate to do this” was Jason Lytle’s comical and straight open to our conversation. As a fan of his and Grandaddy and Admiral Radley, I wondered how much his shy but strong personality would come through in person. He did not disappoint in the slightest. He joked often, took extremely long pauses to think of his answers, and generally seemed uncomfortable with the idea that someone would want to ask him a bunch of questions.
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For over a decade now, Courtney Granger has been a member of the Cajun/Creole outfit The Pine Leaf Boys. Though the band’s sets are usually comprised of exactly those two musics (and sometimes the intersection thereof), over the years there have been moments when Granger was able to sing a country tune or two to the delight of PLB fans. The more often he did, the more fans would approach him after shows and ask him when he was going to do a country-based solo album. He even gave some thought to what songs he might record.
Granger, who is quick to remind anyone asking, that he doesn’t write material, knew that it would be a covers collection. He just needed time and a reason. Then the reason came.
My favorite album so far this year (Run the Jewels 3 dropped in 2016) has been a total left-field selection. Country music doesn’t normally get my attention though the Americana genre being heralded is on my radar. But for whatever reason, when NPR’s First Listen hosted Natalie Hemby‘s Puxico (GetWrucke Productions) I queued it up and found myself hooked. At that time there was little fanfare elsewhere on the web for the singer/songwriter’s debut album but since then she’s been covered by Rolling Stone, The New York Times and more.
Having released 12 albums in as many years, one would think Electric Six would by now be running out of ideas, stamina or things to sing about.
Instead, as anyone who listens to their new album Fresh Blood for Tired Vampyres will tell you, it’s as if they discovered the fountain of youth. Their latest is a collection of electro-disco numbers that incorporate metal riffs, spoken bits, and sound effects that would seem welcome in an Ed Wood film. It’s impossible to listen to the album without wanting to throw a block party, their mastery of dark themes with infectious beats a welcome antidote to a world that just keeps getting darker. What remains surprising is how they’re able to inject life into situations that seem uninteresting, their ability to see magic in the mundane as always being their best asset.
Aesop Rock is a very busy man.
Just earlier this year, the New York native released The Impossible Kid, his seventh and arguably most acclaimed solo album to date. Particular praise went to his lyrical content, which reflected a more personal, direct edge than ever before. For fans of Rock’s more abstract stuff, however, the emcee has also seen fit to release his second free EP collaboration with friend Homeboy Sandman under the name Lice Two: Still Buggin’.