Music

Jake La Botz - "Hobo on a Passenger Train" (audio) (premiere)

Photo: Joshua Black Wilkins

Jake La Botz offers up his latest single from one of the year's best Americana albums, Sunnyside.

Americana's Jake La Botz has one of those deep, whiskey-soaked voices that emerge from time spent on the margins of society. As a youth, he rolled some punk kids, stealing cars, and getting into mischief. “The punk rock community was my refuge. If you had a weird haircut and a leather jacket, you fit in there," says La Botz. Then, he dropped out of school, did odd jobs, and befriended some key Chicago blues artists at the Maxwell Street Market who ended up teaching La Botz a bunch of their guitar tricks. La Botz's life could easily be a novel and don't be surprised if he writes it up as a memoir. His life is a very literary affair that you can read more about here.

These days the Chicago-born musician calls Nashville home, and he's made a name for himself on the Americana scene with his eclectic brand of roots music. La Botz recently released his latest album Sunnyside via HiStyle Records and today we're premiering a slinky blues number "Hobo on a Passenger Train", which sounds like the title of a Jimmie Rodgers song, but the sound reminds more of Alabama 3's "Mansion on the Hill". "A mystical hobo's description of freedom. For him, a passenger train is a prison. He points the way out for youngsters who want to experience life beyond conventional boundaries," says La Botz.

La Botz's guitar playing is always superb as his style is clean and minimalist, never over showy, just in full support of the melody and voice. That voice. La Botz's lived-in vocals are knowing and full of experience and will appeal to anyone who is a fan of Tom Waits.

This book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Marcelino Truong launched his autobiographical account of growing up in Saigon during the Vietnam War with the acclaimed graphic novel Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63, originally published in French in 2012 and in English translation in 2016. That book concluded with his family's permanent relocation to London, England, as the chaos and bloodshed back home intensified.

Now Truong continues the tale with Saigon Calling: London 1963-75 (originally published in French in 2015), which follows the experiences of his family after they seek refuge in Europe. It offers a poignant illustration of what life was like for a family of refugees from the war, and from the perspective of young children (granted, Truong's family were a privileged and upper class set of refugees, well-connected with South Vietnamese and European elites). While relatives and friends struggle to survive amid the bombs and street warfare of Vietnam, the displaced narrator and his siblings find their attention consumed by the latest fashion and music trends in London. The book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Music

The World of Captain Beefheart: An Interview with Gary Lucas and Nona Hendryx

Gary Lucas and Nona Hendryx (photo © Michael DelSol courtesy of Howlin' Wuelf Media)

Guitarist and band leader Gary Lucas and veteran vocalist Nona Hendryx pay tribute to one of rock's originals in this interview with PopMatters.

From the opening bars of "Suction Prints", we knew we had entered The World of Captain Beefheart and that was exactly where we wanted to be. There it was, that unmistakable fast 'n bulbous sound, the sudden shifts of meter and tempo, the slithery and stinging slide guitar in tandem with propulsive bass, the polyrhythmic drumming giving the music a swing unlike any other rock band.

Keep reading... Show less

From Haircut 100 to his own modern pop stylings, Nick Heyward is loving this new phase of his career, experimenting with genre with the giddy glee of a true pop music nerd.

In 1982, Nick Heyward was a major star in the UK.

As the leader of pop sensations Haircut 100, he found himself loved by every teenage girl in the land. It's easy to see why, as Haircut 100 were a group of chaps so wholesome, they could have stepped from the pages of Lisa Simpson's "Non-Threatening Boys" magazine. They resembled a Benetton knitwear advert and played a type of quirky, pop-funk that propelled them into every transistor radio in Great Britain.

Keep reading... Show less

Acid house legends 808 State bring a psychedelic vibe to Berlin producer NHOAH's stunning track "Abstellgleis".

Berlin producer NHOAH's "Abstellgleis" is a lean and slinky song from his album West-Berlin in which he reduced his working instruments down to a modular synthesizer system with a few controllers and a computer. "Abstellgleis" works primarily with circular patterns that establish a trancey mood and gently grow and expand as the piece proceeds. It creates a great deal of movement and energy.

Keep reading... Show less

Professor Abbas Amanat shines the light of reason and rationality upon this greatly misunderstood nation.

For many, Iran's defining characteristics were forged in only a few short months between 1978 and 1979. It was at this time that the Pahlavi Dynasty was toppled, that a largely secular government was exchanged for one driven by Shi'a Islam, and that the Ayatollahs rose to their dominant position within the Iranian political landscape.

Keep reading... Show less
9
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

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

rating-image