Skip to main content

Rockin' The Suburbs - New Music


Just a quick post to say that I appear on a couple of episodes of the fantastic Rockin' The Suburbs podcast this week, talking about some of my favourite new music from the last two months. Be sure to listen EVERY day. 

Episode 584 here

Episode 585 here 

Or from your usual podcast provider.

More thoughts on Karen O & Dangermouse here

More thoughts on Strand Of Oaks here

More thoughts on Black Mountain here 

More thoughts on Jenny Lewis here

Comments

Popular Posts

Eraserland by Strand Of Oaks - Album Review

A new album from Tim Showalter which, barring a final misstep, hits all the Americana, (and more), marks. This album is heartfelt, sleazy, uplifting, classic and referential all at the same time whilst still pointing forwards.

The beginning is inauspicious. "Weird Ways" starts out like a standard Ryan Adams ballad, but takes off halfway through in a way that reveals the pedigree of the other musicians on the album. After hearing this track I thought it sounded like the aforementioned Mr Adams playing with My Morning Jacket(MMJ). The reverb drenched sound kept rearing its head and a little research revealed that, minus main man Jim James, they were the backing musicians on the album . No wonder I kept hearing them! As a band who has produced much that I like this was a good thing. 

After "Weird Ways" heads for the stars we stay there with "Hyperspace Blues" which is one for fans of Jason Pierce's Spiritualized, and sounds just as a song with that title s…

On The Line by Jenny Lewis - Album Review

Arriving with positive notices and an all-star supporting cast that includes a former Beatle in Ringo Starr, a former Heartbreaker in Benmont Tench along with renowned players like Jim Keltner, Don Was and produced by Ryan Adams it would be easy to dismiss such a description as too good to be true.
However, sometimes it is okay to believe the hype..
The 4th solo album from Jenny Lewis is an example of the old adage that misery makes for great art, and is another entry into the canon of great break-up albums.
It is crammed with catchy melodies, expert playing and excellent, if sometimes just a little too cool for school, songwriting. Right from the very start with "Heads Gonna Roll" the sweetness of the melodies is leavened with a perfectly judged dose of underlying menace and bitterness.
Mention has to be given to the Hammond solo from Benmont Tench on this track. The tone is deliciously fat and filthy in the best possible way.
"Wasted Youth" continues with a ridiculous…

Iron Maiden & Killswitch Engage: Live at the O2 Review

One of the glaring gaps in my live music experience was filled on Friday night, after catching Iron Maiden at the O2 in London.
Before the main event though, support was provided by a band I'd happily pay to watch a headline set by, Killswitch Engage.
The Massachusetts natives hit the stage at 1930, tearing into "Strength Of Mind" to a decent reception. Given that everyone was there for Maiden, the arena was far fuller than normal for an opening act, indicative of the quality of the metalcore pioneers.

The power of their performance and material really struck me at the end of the 2nd track "A Bid Farewell" and the beginning of the following song, "Hate By Design". The two guitars of Adam Dutkiewicz and Joel Stroetzel, along with the bass of Mike D'Antonio all locked in on the same riff, doubling and then tripling for a visceral audio punch.
" My Last Serenade" from the seminal "Alive Or Just Breathing" was a mid set highlight,  but…

Teenage Fanclub - Live At The Barrowlands

As previously mentioned, there was a certain sadness attached to this run of gigs by Bellshill's finest. My fear was that the imminent departure of Gerry Love would change the atmosphere from one of celebration to regret. Fortunately this was not to be the case. Whilst the atmosphere WAS different from a normal Fannies gig, that had more to do with the set list and personnel on stage.

Billed as 'The Creation Years- Songs From 1994-1997', this was exactly as advertised. What we got was "Grand Prix" and "Songs From Northern Britain", (SFNB), top to tail and in order. 

Given that those two albums are the finest work the band produced, there were no complaints from me. What it did highlight was the difference between a live show and an album in terms of sequencing. Whereas most gigs will build to a big finish, "Grand Prix" for example finishes with "Hardcore/Ballad", a mash up of the early raw sound cutting immediately into a heartfelt sol…

Songs To Die To - Part 4

Continuing a series about songs death and dying. These are not necessarily songs that talk about the process of dying, rather as the title suggests, songs that I could imagine listening to on my death bed, or taking as consolation during or after a funeral. 

Morbid? I think not, as death is part of life. If we all talked about it a little more, maybe we'd cope with it better.

No 1: featuring "Land Of Hope & Dreams" by Bruce Springsteen here

No 2: featuring "Look On Down From The Bridge" by Mazzy Star here

No3: featuring "Gonna Be A Darkness" by The Jayhawks here

With that said here's my next choice.

No 4: Everything Flows - Teenage Fanclub

This song is here less for it's explicit subject matter rather than the way it makes me feel.
Certainly the lyrics, "I'll never know which way to flow, set a course that I don't know" talk about journeying, searching and convey an ambiguity that could apply to a passage beyond this life.

This so…

A Musical Epiphany: Bruce Springsteen

Have you ever struggled to understand the appeal of an artist? 

In the case of Bruce Springsteen I was in this camp until August 2002. I appreciated that he was a significant figure in music, and enjoyed some of his hits, "Born To Run" and "Thunder Road" in particular. "Born To Run" and "Greatest Hits" were the only albums of his I owned, and found the almost religious fervour of his most passionate devotees baffling.

All that changed in early August 2002 when on the basis of many positive reviews at the time I bought his just released, (9/11 addressing & E-Street Band reuniting), album "The Rising". I was walking the dog, listening on headphones, and had found the first 10 tracks, enjoyable, if not spectacular. Track 11,"Mary's Place", changed all that. The old time gospel hall feel with it's saxophone licks caught my attention. I wasn't prepared for what happened at 3:34 on "...drop the needle and pray...…

Best Of A Bad Bunch - "Under The God"

It is pretty rare for an artist to have a sustained career without at least one barren period with a lack of commercial success, critical or fan acclaim. Some may only have one golden moment, and then struggle to hit the heights ever again. That doesn't mean that all they produce in those "lost" years is without merit.

Go here for part one featuring Neil Young.

I'm going to look at some of my favourite songs from these lesser known or ill regarded periods, continuing with a man who has had more than one period of both acclaimed and berated music, David Bowie.

Bowie had one of the greatest, in my opinion, runs of combined commercial and critical success from "Hunky Dory" in 1971 to "Let's Dance" in 1983. I'd accept the argument that you could include "The Man Who Sold The World"  at the start of the list, but for me it is with Hunky Dory that Bowie's golden run started. In that run, only stop gap covers collection, "Pin Ups&…