I have been so overwhelmed with videos and new releases this week that I’ve decided to hit you all with nothing but Notes. Videos you might want to see, news (mostly about new releases), and thoughts. I am taking a week to get away by myself to hopefully get caught up. Tons of reviews to write and notes to arrange. I will be back on track next week. In the meantime, if you don’t have the time to look this over now, save the link and do it when you have a few seconds. No sense in forcing it now when you could actually enjoy it at a later time. There are some cool things here. I know. I screened them myself.
Nothing But Notes
Jeez, how long has it been since I first heard Sam Morrow? A couple of years at least. I am happy to see that he is expanding his musical horizons as he progresses, dipping into a little more country-oriented music than in the past. I loved what he had been doing but you have to push the envelope to avoid the one-trick-pony rut and he is pushing. Here’s a little taste of him performing live with band.
Just so you have a point of reference, here is a video from a year ago. I love this song. Sam has a new album out now, by the way, titled There Is No Map.
Adam Marsland‘s label, Karma Frog, has released an album of late-sixties-inspired songs (plus at least one cover) which has caught my interest and held it. Not since the uber-excellent Ophelia Hope album have I heard AM pop handled so well. Bits and pieces of popdom which makes me want to pull out the old transistor radio or borrow the car from the folks to traverse the old hometown car trails. Shades of The Fifth Dimension, The Cowsills, and Burt Bacharach is pure ear candy. The cover? A little Walking After Midnight with a nod to Patsy Cline. My father would be pleased. Here is a sample of what would have fit right in with AM radio back in the day:
Marsland said he is following this one up with a band called Mod Hippie and describes their music thusly: a mixture of the ’60s garage rock sound, a little early Pink Floyd, a little Brian Wilson, and a lot of Sonic Youth/post-punk. He had better be right. That’s some heavy duty comparison. Then again, he hasn’t let me down yet. Coming soon.
It’s not 5/4 but Undergrunnen out of Norway brings Dave Brubeck to mind with this killer track titled Skyonne du Ingenting. I had to play it a few times to make sure I was getting it but it sounded as good the last time as the first. The rhythms are killer as is the song. Best thing I’ve heard from Norway since, again, Ophelia Hope.
Have I posted the latest Jon Gomm video yet? I meant to if I didn’t and it won’t hurt you to see it again if I did. Gomm is a dynamo and self-made, which means no big label or large amounts of cash behind him. He did get a couple of lucky breaks in terms of exposure, but they happened because of Gomm and not because of a PR machine. This guy not only has talent but has ethics and idealism as well. On one tour of England, he asked people to send videos or links to videos to him so he could choose local or regional musicians to open for him. That, my friends, is cool. Musicians helping musicians. How it is supposed to be.
More and more I’m enjoying the trad folk-influenced side of music— Aussies Kate & Ruth and Anna Cordell and this beauty from the UK’s Gem Andrews.
File this under “I really need to pay more attention.” From down under, Marta Pacek. Everyone seems to think this is alt.country. Sounds like rock to me, but what the hell do I know? I mean, when in doubt, label it Americana, you know? Good tune! And man, do I wish I could dance like that!
Got this message this morning from Brian Cullman: Wish you’d been there last night! Ollabelle played a reunion gig at City Winery, their first time together in nearly 3 years. And they sounded better than ever! Maybe the best I’ve ever heard them : loose, focused, totally in sync with each other and totally aware of each others’ strengths. They sounded like a mix of Delaney & Bonnie and 1968 period Byrds, with the jangle of Rickenbackers pushing the harmonies into a sort of psychedelic overdrive, the vocals swapping parts effortlessly, not in the polite, after you, Gaston spirit that used to get in their way, that Canadian politeness that can be a mask for arrogance and insecurity, but DAMN!!! a real appreciation of each other and of what happens when music takes control and personalities and hurts and old agendas get left behind. Inspiring!!!!! I saw Ollabelle a few years ago and it was inspiring. They are each bona-fide talents and I am truly sorry to have missed this one. I can only hope that, what with all of the session work and projects outside of this band that they will find their ways into a studio for at least one more album (though I pray for many more).
When Bill Jackson and Ruth Hazleton are not impressing me with their music, they are teaching me about others’ music. I had never heard of Ben Bullington until mentioned in an interview but others I knew had. Here is a song Bullington wrote for his sons. In the best tradition of modern folk.
This just posted by Danielle Woodrow, who evidently has a new album out titled I See the Frog. I am sure others see her as something other than musician but I don’t. This isn’t her first foray into the music world and hopefully it will not be her last.
Friend Gary Heffern who had fronted a band called The Penetrators in San Diego made his way up to Seattle in the late-seventies or early-eighties and fronted a band known as The Cunninghams. Short-lived, they caught the attention of the punkers and, judging by this video, had something going.
PR maven Betsie Brown plain refuses to let me pass on The Reverend Shawn Amos. She’s been hammering me unmercifully. I would have gotten a restraining order but the other night I realized that she is right. The man is a gateway drug to the blues. Watch this and you might understand.
Rita Hosking and Rich Brotherton have teamed up for another album and it’s another beauty! This is a pre-order plug, but you get the idea. I think I have everything this lady has ever released. I need to make sure. Hosking is a Left Coast treasure. The second video is one of my favorite songs by her, though I have many Hosking favorites. From Davis, California.
I remember as a child songs like The Coyote stopping both my father and myself dead in our tracks. I wish he could have heard it.
I’m surprised more people have not picked up on Zombie Garden Club due to its semi-Southern swamprock sound. Gritty, dirty, full of reverb and fuzz, this is the kind of stuff I get into whenever it’s done this good.
I’m still not sure what to make of Churchwood and I’ve been following them for the past number of years. They’re from Austin, sports fans, but you wouldn’t know it by the music other Austin bands are cranking out. These guys push the envelope until it shreds. What can I say? They are powerful, creative, and make me laugh!
And all I can say about this one is that I want to see these guys live! I smell smoke!
I had not heard of Louise Brooks until The Green Pajamas released this excellent video of a song about her. Now I am haunted. Without a doubt, the Pajamas are the most prolific and creative forces ever to grace the Pac Northwest. And they show no signs of slowing down.
Speaking of psychedelia, I have only witnessed one show in San Francisco, that being at The Matrix to see what was then The Mendelbaum Blues Band (later Mendelbaum). The place was deserted but we were there and the band played their asses off. Naturally, this is what I hear whenever anyone mentions psych and SF in the same breath.
England’s Rumer recently released B-Sides & Rarities and I am amazed that those songs were kicked to the curb (though that is not really what happened). Rumer had plans to release them if only as a collection which is what this is. Why she is having a hard time gaining a foothold in the States I do not understand. It’s de voice, Boss, de voice! And what she does with it.
The ol’ Professor, Brady Earnhart, is back with new album. Earnhart was an original member of Charlottesville, Virginia’s famed Acoustic Mafia, which shaped much of C-ville’s musical landscape. I look at the list of names and it blows me away—- Danny Schmidt, Devon Sproule, Jeff Romano, Tom Proutt and so many more. One day, if I can get people to talk, I will share their stories. In the meantime, here is the Professor with a new video from the new album, Last Time I Promise.
I would love to post about a hundred Devon Sproule videos here but I don’t want to overload you. Anyway, I am having a problem getting past this one because Paul Curreri, who stands at the top of my list of guitarists of worth, no longer plays. I loved the song when The Kinks did it and had anyone else attempted it I might have turned a blind ear, but this is Devon and Paul. I hate covers but I absolutely love this. Go figure.
Not only does Petunia live in the past at times, song-wise, but he can twist his face into a pretzel, swear to God. This is the first track from his new album Free As the Wind. The dude lives on another planet.
The dude is from Alberta, Canada but Scott Cook had to travel to Melbourne to get this video produced. It is a song about a guitar which contains the same sentiment many good people have about land— that we don’t own it, we are only caretakers. These are the kinds of songs that keeps the modern folk tradition alive. Speaking of alive, he also has a new album with his group The Long Weekends titled Go Long.
I am intrigued by the treble sound Hardin & Burns got when they recorded this song from their latest album. From the album Down the Deep Well produced by Hardin and Gabe Rhodes.
That should hold you for a week. Not sure where I am going next. Working on notes for a short bio of Cowboy, the band which recorded for Capricorn. Still have much more to go on the Jim Colegrove saga (who is in a band with a new album being completed as I type). Want to do an update on Texas bands. Canada keeps pushing more and more bands into the limelight. No good music. Make me laugh!
No. Music doesn’t need more of The Beatles. Music needs people who still listen to the music that is available, not the standards many accept as pinnacle. Talk to me about going back after you’ve listened to Picture The Ocean and Lavacado and Melissa Ann Payne and No Small Children. Then we can have a conversation without me picking up a folding chair and beating you senseless. And as for poutine— I never thought I would say this but, man, I miss it!
Frank’s column appears every Wednesday
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