Music

Clairy Browne and the Bangin' Rackettes: Baby Caught The Bus

The pull of old soul and R&B has extended all the way to Australia.


Clairy Browne and the Bangin' Rackettes

Baby Caught The Bus

Label: Vanguard
US Release Date: 2013-05-21
UK Release Date: 2013-05-21
Label website
Artist website
Amazon
iTunes

The pull of old soul and R&B has extended all the way to Australia. Clairy Browne and the Bangin' Rackettes' debut album, Baby Caught The Bus, bears a resemblance -- in its unabashed love of the old days, if not quite its sound -- to releases on New York’s Daptone label. But it's best paired with Time's All Gone, the recent album from the American Nick Waterhouse, or Minute By Minute, the latest release from the Englishman James Hunter. Call it nostalgia, revivalism, retro-leaning, whatever: there are walking bass lines, swinging beats, and blaring horns, all contained in compact tracks that rarely pass the three minute mark.

Clairy Browne and the Bangin' Rackettes sing about love in a simpler time. The Rackettes may well be bangin', but there's not much bangin' in their songs. People communicate with notes and letters; texts, Facebook, and Twitter are nowhere to be found.

In step with Browne and co.'s old-fashioned approach to love, their sonics channel a pumping mixture of R&B, soul, and rock from the early '50s, late '60s. (The gang managed to get some valuable international attention when "Love Letter", the first track on the album, was picked to provide one of those classy Heineken commercials with the requisite dose of throwback cool.) This is music for doing the jerk, or maybe the twist. "Far Too Late" wraps together the Miracles' "You Got a Hold on Me" and the Ronettes' "Why Won't They Let Us Fall in Love", while "Aeroplane" reimagines the Seeds' "Can't Seem to Make You Mine" in a piano ballad setting.

Browne's got a good voice and a good shout, with tough attitude to spare. But you sense she's holding back, smoldering underneath but never bursting into flame. (Though threat creeps into her voice when warning her lover about another girl who's trying to steal him away on "She Plays Up to You".) Backing vocalists are present in almost every song, doo-wopping softly and sweetly, smoothing away any sharp edges.

On the album's title track, Browne sings, "My baby caught the bus / When I was out of town / He said he wouldn't wait around / . . . Who am I / To think he wouldn't leave me/ Maybe he'll be back again, I still believe." But why's she waiting around for this loser? She’s too strong for that. She assures listeners she'll "be fine", and wonders, "How many tears must this poor girl cry?" Hopefully not too many, as she's got the pipes and the sass to turn the tables on the men in her life. Let baby catch the bus. He'll come running back in the end.

5

To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.


Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09
Amazon

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

Keep reading... Show less
7

This film suggests that all violence—wars, duels, boxing, and the like—is nothing more than subterfuge for masculine insecurities and romantic adolescent notions, which in many ways come down to one and the same thing.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) crystalizes a rather nocturnal view of heterosexual, white masculinity that pervades much of Stanley Kubrick's films: after slithering from the primordial slime, we jockey for position in ceaseless turf wars over land, money, and women. Those wielding the largest bone/weapon claim the spoils. Despite our self-delusions about transcending our simian stirrings through our advanced technology and knowledge, we remain mired in our ancestral origins of brute force and domination—brilliantly condensed by Kubrick in one of the most famous cuts in cinematic history: a twirling bone ascends into the air only to cut to a graphic match of a space station. Ancient and modern technology collapse into a common denominator of possession, violence, and war.

Keep reading... Show less
10
TV

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

Keep reading... Show less

Here comes another Kompakt Pop Ambient collection to make life just a little more bearable.

Another (extremely rough) year has come and gone, which means that the German electronic music label Kompakt gets to roll out their annual Total and Pop Ambient compilations for us all.

Keep reading... Show less
8

Winner of the 2017 Ameripolitan Music Award for Best Rockabilly Female stakes her claim with her band on accomplished new set.

Lara Hope & The Ark-Tones

Love You To Life

Label: Self-released
Release Date: 2017-08-11
Amazon
iTunes

Lara Hope and her band of roots rockin' country and rockabilly rabble rousers in the Ark-Tones have been the not so best kept secret of the Hudson Valley, New York music scene for awhile now.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image