Category Archives: blog

Song of the Day 3/23/19 Jenny Lewis “Heads Gonna Roll”

On the Line is Jenny Lewis’  followup to her great 2014 debut, Voyager. That album was highlighted by the song One of the Guys” . There is a lot to choose from on this new effort. Standout tracks include “Red Bull and Hennessy” and “ Heads Gonna Roll.” ( The organ  solo alone makes this one worth a listen)

New Music Discoveries

Love Keep Kicking – Martha

I included a song by this band in a January new music post (here), although the song Heart is Healing was actually from 2018, and was a teaser for a forthcoming album.  Well, they have a new single out, Love Keeps Kicking, which is the title track for the album due April 5 on Dirtnap Records.  Like Heart is Healing, Love Keeps Kicking is a smart pop punk song with a catchy as hell guitar line about the travails of love.

You said love keeps kicking the shit out of me and there’s no solution I can see
No happy pill, no drinking bleach, no permanent lobotomy

 

Seventeen – Sharon Van Etten

From her 5th studio album, Remind Me Tomorrow, Seventeen is Sharon Van Etten‘s homage to her old neighborhoods in NYC, and how her favorite haunts have disappeared or permanently changed.  Its also her talking to her seventeen old self, with both nostalgia for the way she used to be, knowledge of what she did right (or not) back then, and conjecture as to how her teenage self would view her adult self.  Much more expansive than her previous work (the addition of synths helps), the song continues to grow on me with every repeated listen.

 

 

Maggie Rogers – Fallingwater

Maggie Rogers is a 24 year old singer/songwriter from the Eastern Shore of MD who incorporates electronica influences into folk song structures.  She first gained some attention a few years ago when Alaska, a composition class song she put together for a masterclass with Pharrel Williams visibly moved him (you can see the video here).  I first saw her when she opened for Mumford & Sons last year here in DC.  Fallingwater is from her debut album Heard It in a Past Life. I love her voice, and also that a 24 year old local is doing her own thing, blazing her own trail into pop music.

 

Killer – Palehound

Palehound is a guitar trio from Boston led by Ellen Kempner on guitar and vocals, Larz Brogan on bass, and Jesse Weiss on drums who formed in 2014.  I heard this song on a NPR Music new music show and was immediately taken by its dark, moody atmospheric feel, the whispering vocals, and the ominous lyrics about protecting your friends whatever it takes (literally).  The guitar line propels the song along, and the lyrics give enough clues for you to know that the man who mistreated the singer’s friend will not have a happy ending.

When you winced and turned your head and wept, that’s when I knew
That it’s not enough to run that dog out of this town
My weapon’s cold in the backseat, hunt that monster down

 

Til next time….

Concert Review: Flogging Molly and Lucero 3/1/19

Penns Peak is a concert venue in Jim Thorpe PA and my first experience there was last night when I was lucky enough to see Flogging Molly and openers Lucero.

I have seen both bands previously when each was touring with (oddly enough) Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls. The prior performance by Lucero was as an opener for FT and like this one was abbreviated to about 40 minutes. This band has been around for over 15 years and has produced a 12 albums of new and live material and after a deep dive into their music last year I can attest to how great this band is. Unfortunately, a short opening set only wets the appetite. The band members are top notch musicians and they got the show off to a great start, hi lighting material from their 2018 release  “Among the Ghosts” By the time they got to the barroom rocker”For the Lonely Ones”  the band was in high gear  but ended their set. This band is one my watch list for headlining shows when they can really stretch out and dig deeper into their catalogue.

Flogging Molly has produced 8 albums since their debut “Swagger” in 2000 including Live at the Greek Theater from 2010. (A must-hear if you’ve never seen the band live. the accompanying videos are a great intro into how great this band is live). Their blend of Irish folk, punk and rock and energetic live shows ( complete with mosh pit) have gained them a reputation of one of the best touring bands around.

2 great versions from the Greek theater concert ( Yours truly had a technical glitch with his phone during these 2 songs at last night ‘s show)

FM played music spanning their entire career hi lighted by crowd favorites Drunken Lullabies and Seven Deadly Sins. An unexpected high point for me was Float which is a concert staple for the band but seemed to take on added resonance last night. Dave King definitely placed himself in the top tier of frontmen that I’ve ever seen with his energetic acoustic guitar playing , his stories and banter between songs, references to his early life in Ireland and loving, funny shoutouts to his departed parents.

It only adds to the everyman vibe of the band that after the final encore, the lights come up and the PA  plays “Always look on the Bright Side of Life” (a song all Monty Python fans will know) while Dave King stays on stage to dance around and say hi to the crowd.

All in all , a great first concert of what I hope to be another great year of live music for me.

Digging in the Garage Episode 3

Digging this feature back out after a few starts last year.  This is where I feature favorite classic picks and new finds in garage rock, inspired by the Nuggets compilation and Little Steven’s Underground Garage.  Here’s a link to the original post that has more details on the idea.

First up, The Knickerbockers – One Track Mind

The pride of Bergenfield NJ, the Knickerbockers formed in 1962 – their classic line up consisted of brothers Beau Charles (guitar and vocals) and John Charles (bass and vocals), Buddy Randell (vocals and sax), and Jimmy Walker (drums).  They got their name from a road that ran through an adjacent town.

I featured their top 20 hit Lies, from 1965, in a Song of the Day back in September of last year. One Track Mind came out in 1966, and didn’t do as well (#45) due to distribution problems.  Both songs have great pop melodies reminiscent of the Beatles.

 

Next up, Big Star – When My Baby’s Beside Me

Big Star (Alex Chilton (guitars, piano, vocals), Chris Bell (guitars, vocals), Jody Stephens (drums, vocals), and Andy Hummel (bass guitar, vocals)) formed in 1971 in Memphis, and before breaking up in 1974, released a series of albums that served as a blueprint for power pop music for decades to come.  They were one of those bands that never really achieved commercial success at the time but in retrospect were hugely influential, cited as an inspiration by REM, the Replacements, as well as many others.  When My Baby’s Beside Me is off their 1st record, aptly names Number 1 Record.

 

Let’s go overseas to Scotland and The Marmalade’s I See The Rain

As I’ve mentioned, one inspiration for these posts is Little Steven’s Underground Garage.  Usually, the 4th set of the show features what Steven calls a “slightly psychedelic” set.  While I’ve never really been into that genre very much, I did hear this song for the first time on the show and really loved it (and to be honest, it is really only slightly psychedelic!).  I especially like the guitar line, the harmony vocals, and the making the best of the situation ethos of the lyrics.

The Marmalade were from Glasgow Scotland, having first formed in 1961 and going under several other names before settling on The Marmalade in 1966.  Members included Patrick Fairley (vocals, 6 string bass/rhythm guitars), William Junior Campbell (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Dean Ford (lead vocals, guitar, harmonica), Raymond Duffy (drums), and Graham Knight (vocals, bass).  I See the Rain was released in 1967 (and topped the charts in the Netherlands) and was also on their 1968 album There’s Alot of It About.

 

Cotton Mather – Lost My Motto

While I have mostly focused on classic garage from the 1960s, there are many great garage bands still keeping the flame alive.  Here’s another great one that I discovered on the Underground Garage.

Named for the 17th century Puritan preacher, Cotton Mather formed in 1990 in Austin TX, and consisted of Robert Harrison (guitar and vocals), Whit Williams (guitar and vocals), Matt Hovis (bass) and Greg Thibeaux (drums).  Weaving in influences from the Beatles to early Elvis Costello, they play great guitar power pop.  This cut, Lost My Motto, from the 1994 album Cotton Is King, also has a distinctly Squeeze like feel.  As of 2017, they were still active.

 

Well, time to roll the garage door down for now.  Til next time…..

 

Sources: Wikipedia

 

New Music Discoveries

The Beths – You Wouldn’t Like Me

When multiple bloggers I trust start recommending the same band, its time to pay attention.  When I’m in love with a song about 5 seconds into it, time to stop what I’m doing to check them out.  This is what happened with New Zealand band The Beths.  While I missed when their debut album dropped last year, fellow bloggers Steve for the Deaf and Aphoristical both featured them in just the past couple weeks.  Rather than go on too much about them, here are links to Steve and Aphoristical’s posts, which are much more fun to read and erudite than I could ever be.  Just suffice it to say these catchy power pop gems (think Weezer, or Best Coast)will be on serious rotation the rest of the year on my listening device.  There’s not a bad song on the album, so here’s a random cut.

 

Spielbergs – Five On it

I heard this song on a new music playlist and immediately loved the loud, somewhat fuzzy big guitar sound.  And then fellow blogger The Soul of a Clown also featured them recently.  Spielbergs reminds me of bands like Japandroids or Cloud Nothings.  They’re are a three piece indie rock band from Oslo Norway who put out a debut EP last year – this song is from their debut album, This is Not the End, which came out last week.  From the feedback squeals at the beginning and end, this song is two and half minutes of guitar bliss.

 

Tancred – Queen of New York

Ok I’m detecting a theme for this installment of New Music Discoveries – guitar, guitar, guitar!  And fellow blogger recs!  Tancred is the stage name of Jess Abbott, who writes great guitar pop songs like this one.  As with The Beths, this came out last year so not super new (but who cares) – I was alerted to it The Soul of a Clown, who posted this great review of Tancred’s album Nightstand a few days ago.  I’m a complete sucker for these types of bands!