Archive for the ‘Americana’ Category

Amen Dunes (aka the project of New York-based Damon McMahon) will release his fifth album, Freedom, on 30 March via Sacred Bones.

On the surface, Freedom is a reflection on growing up, childhood friends who ended up in prison or worse, male identity, McMahon’s father, and his mother, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer at the beginning of recording. The characters that populate the musical world of the album are a colourful mix of reality and fantasy. Each character portrait is a representation of McMahon, of masculinity, and of his past.

The lead single is Miki Dora, and its accompanying video, which features 17-year old Boomer Feith with McMahon appearing as both the story’s narrator and its subject.

Of the track, McMahon says, “Miki Dora was arguably the most gifted and innovative surfer of his generation and the foremost opponent of surfing’s commercialization. He was also a lifelong criminal and retrograde: a true embodiment of the distorted male psyche. He was a living contradiction; both a symbol of free-living and inspiration, and of the false heroics American culture has always celebrated. With lyrics of regret and redemption at the end of one’s youth, the song is about Dora, and McMahon, but ultimately it is a reflection on all manifestations of mythical heroic maleness and its illusions.”

It is a cracking tune too…

 

New From Dr. Dog

Posted: January 15, 2018 in Americana, Indie, Music, Psychedelic, Rock
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Dr. Dog have shared a new track Listening In, which appeared in our Soundcloud feed this afternoon.

All we’ve been able to establish thus far is that it comes from their Critical Equation album, which will be available on the 27th April.

We also know it is another fine example of their psych infused Americana, carried along on metronomic percussion and a typically plaintive and questioning vocal.

Take our word for it… well worth a listen below.

 

Another of our round-ups of songs we should have posted from the end of 2017.

Restless was a stomping single from Brooklyn-based folk rocker Common Jack. It’s anthemic take on Americana draws favourable comparisons to Lumineers, Neil Young and The Avett Brothers.

 

Swedish indie rockers Francobello shared Future Lover, which rises and falls, building to a crescendo of gorgeous harmonies and ferocious guitar runs.

 

LA-based Space-Psych outfit Tombstones In Their Eyes released an excellent Double A-side single towards the end of the year. Listen to the cavernous, post-rock soundscape of Shutting Down.

 

Family Fiction are a four-piece based in Brighton. They lie somewhere between indie folk and Americana in style and this is their most recent single, Old Money.

 

Trudy and the Romance take the good-hearted ramshackles off Jonathan Richman, punch out The Four Freshmen’s surf harmonies and scruff them up through the raw audacity of the noughties whilst tightrope-dancing somewhere between reality and fantasy. Twist It, Shake It. Rock & Roll comes from their recent Junkyard Jazz EP.

 

The alluring, ghostly folk of Waterloo Suns comes from Richmond based duo Lean Year’s eponymous debut record.

 

New York City trio Show Me The Body released 7″ single Challenge Coin back in November. K-9 is the A side, a potent mix of hardcore and punk.

 

Italian band Bee Bee Sea play a fuzzed-out mix of garage and psych that’s drawn comparisons to Thee Oh Sees, Black Lips, and King Gizzard. D.I. Why Why Why comes from their sophomore LP, Sonic Boomerang.

 

Adam Barnes is local to us and Electron was the third single to be released from his upcoming album Vacancy At Nasa, which is due for release on 7th February. It tells the tale of Donald Crowhurst – an amateur sailor who quit his job to enter the Golden Globe Boat race in the sixties – and unfolds the lies and psychotic episodes as he sailed ‘the Teignmouth Electron’ to his tragic death.

 

We finish with psych-rock outfit Elephant Fire music video for the swirling Natural Heart, the title track of their recently released album.

 

  1. First Aid Kit – Ruins
  2. Courtney Marie Andrews – May Your Kindness Remain
  3. Suuns – Watch You, Watch Me
  4. Alela Diane – Ether & Wood
  5. Nap Eyes – I’m Bad Now
  6. Prism Tats – Daggers
  7. Public Access T.V. – Lost In The Game
  8. U.S. Girls – Pearly Gates
  9. Sunflower Bean – Crisis Fest
  10. Rik & The Pigs – America
  11. Frankie Cosmos – Jesse
  12. Kal Marks – Today I Walked Down To The Tree, Read A Book, And When I Was Done I Went Back Inside
  13. Shitkid – Yooouuu
  14. H.C. McEntire – Quartz In The Valley
  15. Van William – Cosmic Sign

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MM Shorts 990: Jodee Lewis

Posted: January 11, 2018 in Americana, Country, Music, Rock
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Though a Chicago native for nearly two decades now, Jodee Lewis was raised in Osceola – a town of 800 people in the Missouri Ozarks. Her childhood home was down a secluded dirt track, set amongst 190 acres of woodland, where days were spent running through the trees, building forts and secret hideouts.

She grew up in a household where Dolly Parton, Waylon Jennings, Patsy Cline and EmmyLou Harris were fixtures on the radio and these country, honky-tonk and Americana roots still shine through in her own music.

Her new single, Buzzard’s Bluff opens with a haunting chill that quickly becomes an anthemic march. Listen below.

 

Yep, the good stuff from last year keeps on coming…

This time, we begin with Flesh from post-punk duo Chastity, a chaotic, antagonistic and downright eerie single released way back in October.

 

Cut Worms (a.k.a. Max Clarke) shared Song of the Highest Tower, a seven minute track that combines a poignant, nostalgic Americana with classic Roy Orbison style licks.

 

At the other end of the musical spectrum is the violent, post-hardcore squall of Big Heet’s slow burning anthem Failure At Work.

 

Taking their influences from NEU and Faust, as well as the space rock of Spacemen 3 and Spiritualized, Swedish Kraut-Rock three-piece Norma released a timely ode to seasonal affective disorder and inner demons of all kinds on their new single S.A.D.

 

Feed is a rock band from Seattle, WA. With fuzz pedals set to melted, phasers are wide and slimey, and amps that are cookin’, listen to blistering first single, Different Life.

 

Apparently Neko Case’s track Deep Red Bells is about a about a serial killer that stalked the Northwest. On his version of the track Mark Erelli gives the vocal a appropriately sinister edge…

 

The Good Graces is an indie-folk collective based in Atlanta, GA formed in 2007 by singer-songwriter Kim Ware, whose plaintive, utterly appealing drawl of a voice grounds each song with raw honesty and homespun warmth. Listen to The First Girl from The Hummingbird EP.

 

Oklahoma band, Helen Kelter Skelter release their sophomore full-length, Melter next week. With vintage organ flourishes over frenetic bass lines, vocals delivered with glam rock swagger over subtle and intricate guitar work, deep in the mix, droning loops, and pulsing beats it promises to be a cracker. Listen to lead-off single Minding.

 

We loved Breakfast Muff’s track R U A Feminist which almost made it into our end of year lists. Clam is another excellent track from the uncompromising Glasgow DIY pop trio, who all switch between guitar, bass and drums in a cacophony of anxiety, celebration and creativity.

 

Lastly we have Future Tense from Daddy Lion. It nods its head to the classic new wave and the indie rock sound of the 90s,  a la REM and Bob Mould.

 

The second instalment rounding up some tunes we missed from the tail end of 2017.

Let’s kick off with Yowl’s relentless and uneasy Darkroom, a wonderfully vicious and febrile slice of post-punk.

 

Night Herons’ raw sound is a visceral blend of garage rock and chugging proto-punk – for fans of classic bands like The Stooges or the New York Dolls.

 

Norwegian psych-rockers Electric Eye’s single Sometimes You Got To Jump To Lift Your Feet sounds like a soundtrack to a movie that hasn’t been made yet, it’s villainy acid prog, it’s ethno jazz, it’s old school hip hop grooves mixed with the easily recognisable, hypnotic Electric Eye sound.

 

Grant Earl LaValley plays a haunting iteration of psych/folk – almost like a gothic Gene Clark that experimented very heavily with psychedelics and lush instrumentation to accompany a sparse guitar. Where Are All My Friends comes from his excellent October release From LaValley Below.

 

The Roseline’s single How To Be Kind is full of low key, Wilco-like charm and Harry Nilsson-ish vigor.

 

Whispertown featured at the top end of our Best of Year listings and Freefaller is another fine example of stripped back acoustic Americana.

 

Texas psych-rock vibes permeate through Birds of Night’s single, Blacklight. Recommended if you like: Built To Spill, desert sunsets, abandoned ghost town seances, drugs, and mystic rock and roll.

 

Benjamin Jones’ single Light Up The Room is a lovely slice of sweetly melancholy folk that recalls Sufjan Stevens.

 

Post-punk in origin but with overtones of no wave, psych and garage rock, The Plan has been described as ‘Talking Heads meets the Breeders’. Listen to Bright Lights from debut long player Nervous Energy.

 

Finally, back in November, The Gotobeds released a verbatim song-by-song remake of Redd Kross’s infamous debut EP – this is a great version of Annette’s Got The Hits.

 

  1. Titus Andronicus – Number One (In New York)
  2. Dream Wife – Hey Heartbreaker
  3. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Echo
  4. Moon Duo – Jukebox Babe  (Alan Vega cover)
  5. Mind Spiders – Furies
  6. Sonny Smith – Burnin’ Up (featuring Angel Olsen)
  7. Corey Flood – Feel Okay
  8. Fidlar – Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle  (Nirvana cover)
  9. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Muddy Water
  10. First Aid Kit – Fireworks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re pretty glad to see the back of 2017, and looking forward to our ten year anniversary this year as well as lots of new music to post and share. However, before that, and as is traditional for MM, we’re going to round up some tunes from the past two or three months that should have made it on to the blog, but for whatever reason never quite got there.

Without further ado, let’s kick off with PLAZA’s blistering, grunge-pop anthem Speak It.

 

Mining a similar vein are Durham’s Yada Yada Yada’s and single Oceans, which should find favour with fans of Wavves and Yuck.

 

Next up is some LA indie punk from Black Adidas and the gravelly vocals and crunchy guitars of the uncompromisingly titled Free Shit.

 

Father Mountain’s Friends is a cracking slice of punchy, intense indie rock.

 

The Cohen-esque Ballad of the Quiet Citizen is a beautifully poetic and haunting track from Amsterdam based singer-songwriter Van Wyck.

 

By contrast, the infectious Mott-like piano romp Dominoes in Drag from The Paranoid Style is a rollicking, toe-tapping mash of glam and jangle-rock.

 

The brilliant Next To Nothing by Swedish psych-rockers Sekel is a propulsive, pulsating track that blurs the lines between repetitive, hypnotic krautrock rhythms and biting, angular post-punk.

 

Gun Outfit offer some perfect cosmic country vibes with the gorgeous Landscape Painter.

 

In a more honky-tonk vein is Jacob Thomas Jr.’s Whiskey Roller Coaster, a rock-infused, alt-country journey that finds him reflecting on his favorite vice.

 

Finally The Orielles came up with another slice of sublime, jangly indie pop with their single Let Your Dogtooth Grow.

 

 

Our final personal list of the year is from the fairest, and finest, of fishes… Mrs Mackerel.

2017: probably a year when I’ve listened to the least new music in recent times, so this is very much a short list in all senses.

Life – and death – gets in the way sometimes.

10 PINS – Serve the Rich
It’s no surprise that Jamie Hince of The Kills produced this anti-Conservative polemic. It may be no surprise then that I like this so much.

 

9 Queens of the Stone Age – The Way You Used To Do
I just really, really love the frenetic pace of the drumming on this tune, which greatly appeals to my rock chick lineage. There are some things that I just haven’t grown out of.

 

8 The Divine Comedy – To the Rescue
This songs punctuates a particularly difficult point in the year and its wistful sadness reminds me very much of that time. Apparently, it’s dedicated to Neil Hannon’s long term girlfriend, who cares for mistreated and neglected horses over in Ireland. Perhaps MM will pen a similar tune for me as my plan for feline domination of West Oxfordshire takes hold?

 

7 The Moonlandingz – Vessels
Oh hello, here’s another dominant drum roll – I seem to be developing a theme… A fantastic slice of psychedelic, electro pop as recommended to me by my very good friend, Mr Nightshift.

 

6 Mark Lanegan – Beehive
Much as I suspect that Lanners’ liver might be held together with vinegar and brown paper, his voice retains the growling, tremulous signature that is all his own. Sweeping guitars and a catchy chorus made this one to remember – and he was spellbinding live.

 

5 Cherry Glazer – Nurse Ratched
I loved this song right from the off, dedicated to the avenging angel who needs no introduction, Nurse Ratched. Some lovely twiddly guitar bits and harmonies, presumably as an antidote to Nurse R’s very individual bedside manner.

 

4 Cabbage – Celebration of Disease
Scratchy guitars and an earworm of a chorus meant that this was always going to bed itself into my subconscious. A celebration of a disease, a symptom of emotional greed/A celebration of disease, corrected by technology/A celebration of disease, a prescription to the new age dream.

 

3 Whispertown – Born to Ride
A floaty Americana sound with an ode to the open road and the promise of freedom, delivered through Morgan Nagler’s wonderfully hazy vocals. Hey watch out, the road will try to own you. I often sing this to the dog as we set off on our daily trek. Not really.

 

2 Laura Marling – Don’t Pass Me By
Semper Femina was my album of the year; the one I listened to on repeat. There’s something about the melancholy of her vocals over the finger-picking guitar beneath that’s so haunting: Take my old tune/Turn it into something new/Something good. Laura Marling is peerless, a one-off.

 

1 Big Thief – Shark Smile
So I thought I would crown my top ten with another uplifting ditty: a road trip song that ends in tragedy. The understated delivery of the lyrics, undercut with the slidey guitar are so tender you can almost hear her heart breaking. A very worthy, if rather poignant, number one.

 

This year’s footnote:

Louis Armstrong – We have all the Time in the World

We have all the love in the world
If that’s all we have, you will find
We need nothing more.

This one’s always for you, Dad. Our goodbye song.