Zak Smith is always good. Singer/songwriter, bluesy, countryish, great vocals, great lyrics.
There’s no reason not to like this record!
I admit, I read too quickly when I put this submission into my playlist and thought it was the new Caitlin Cary–you know, the chick from Whiskeytown. And truth to tell, there’s a similar sound: Smart country, with little-to-no twang (and where there is some, it’s subtle, tasteful, and charming). But Ms. Rose is more traditional–and I mean that in a good way.
In fact, with every listen I’m loving this more and more. Especially the track titled “Waitin’.” It shoulda been the single! But I Was Cruel is good, too.
Check it out.
RIYL: Patsy Cline, Jack White’s album with Loretta Lynn, and, yes, Caitlin Cary.
Apparently, The Wrinkle Neck Mules already have quite a little following. They’ve even been featured in a Geico ad. But they’re still on an indie label (Lower 40), making fantastic country music–Athens style. They’ve struggled lately, with some lineup changes due to tragedies, but they’ve come back strong.
Here’s a live recording of the new single, “When the Wheels Touch Down.”
If you like WNMs, you might also dig these dudes. They’re a little more “traditional” country. From their latest album, “Two Step Silhouette,” here’s the single as an mpfree.
Apparently, Dead Confederate made a small splash at SXSW this year, and it was a blog about the bandâ€™s performance there that got me interested. I went to eMusic and downloaded the EP, expecting little more than Drive-By Trucker rehash, but willing to give it a try. Boy am I glad I did.
Yeah, the band is similar to DBTs in both subject-matter and genre (as well as geographic origin), but they are younger and fresher. Where Patterson Hood sounds like heâ€™s got a foot in the grave, Dead Confederate have spring in their step, even when the content is dark. For example, â€œMemorial Day Nightâ€ is a painful ballad of a man who doesn’t have his girl’s heart, “now that the truth is all out,” and therefore, he is a man who “has no heart” at all. Touching lyrics and brevity mark this brilliant tune, and the simple melody is crisp and pure, where other Southern rockers tend to prefer mud and grit. The juxtaposition works well here, as it does in the â€˜70s style Skynyrd piece, â€œTortured-Artist Saint,â€ which looms then swells then comes back down into a jam and then crashes out. The signature tune is “The Rat,” a barnburner that should be posted on every blog in the universe but for some reason, isnâ€™t.
You need to hear this bandâ€™s stunning debut.
“Thank the Lord for heroin, and thank him for your soul.” How did an album with a lyric like that get by me? And it’s not like that’s the only drug poetry on Spider Bags’ “A Celebration of Hunger,” a 2007 release from Birdman Records. Just about every tune is a tribute to excess. To wit: “Wakin’ up drunk makes me happy. Lately, you just bring me down.” And to a woman who wants to save the soul of a drunk: “I’ll gladly take your offer, now that I’m not so sick.” I could go on quoting this record for days.
A North Carolina six-piece punk country band, the Spider Bags are ostensibly Americana, but it’s the kind of reeling-in-sickness music you’d expect from Neil Young, Gram Parsons, Meat Puppets, or down-tempo Counting Crows. Every song is able to find beauty in pain and darkness, with lyrics (“She’s got a crooked face when she smiles”) that are as thoughtful as the music behind them. I’m gonna go so far as to call this album brilliant. That’s right, brilliant. There’s not a bad track on the entire record, and it’s a goddamn shame I didn’t hear about this album when it came out, because it easily would have made my top 10 for the year.
I hope to hell someone keeps me updated on their doings–and I hope even more that they don’t all die in a collective overdose before they record another album. As for this one, you can find it on emusic, and it’s well worth your time.