Tag Archives: Recommended

New Phoenix video: J-Boy

Video: Phoenix – “J-Boy”

Phoenix – J-Boy

I have a real soft spot for electro-pop. There’s something about the lilting melodies and crystalline synths that brings me back to summers riding around on Honda Sprees jumping from one pool party to another. Except I didn’t have a Spree and I was rarely invited to pool parties as an awkward dope in junior high. But I could imagine the soundtrack and wax nostalgic, even at the time.

French popsters proved to be masters of the genre with 2009’s Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, an album so packed with perfect break-up/make-up songs that it became the soundtrack to bachelorette parties for two years.

And now the band is back with more of the same on their new album, Ti Amo. And like me, they’re in a nostalgic mood with a video homage to Italian variety shows from the 80s. I tweeted yesterday—largely in response to Ryan Adams’ continued obsession with glossy production—“If we’re going to emulate the 80s, can it least be The Smiths?” I guess not, but this is at least hummable and I can afford my own Spree now.

Ti Amo is due June 9 on Glassnote Records. Pre-order now.

Phoenix: web, twitter, fb, amazon, wiki.

The Parson Red Heads – Coming Down

Every New Years Eve The Parson Red Heads cover a different album and invite friends to do the same, creating a night where everyone dresses up like someone else to listen to bands playing someone else’s songs. These kinds of tributes are very popular in Portland, which is odd given the huge amount of talent and original music coming out of this city. But I guess it’s also a fun way for some of these bands to wear their influences (or at least their interests) on their sleeves.

Those influences linger just below the surface in the band’s new single, “Coming Down” from their upcoming fourth studio album, Blurred Harmony. According to their press release, the new album is “the overdriven jangle of Teenage Fanclub and Big Star power-pop, the skewed psychedelics of the Paisley Underground, the bittersweet energy of New Zealand’s ‘Dunedin Sound’ movement, and the muted twang of Cosmic Americana, all crammed into 44 minutes.” All of which is true, but mixed up into a stew of its own.

Singer-songwriter Evan Way describes the track as “a song about anxiety, about how life and all it’s mania can start to make you feel like you’re losing it, and how in those moments the people that you love can sort of ground you and bring you back to reality and that sense of safety.”

Blurred Harmony is out on June 9 from Fluff & Gravy Records.

Video: The Parson Redheads – “To the Sky” (Live on OPB)

The Parson Red Heads: To the Sky

Parson Red Heads: web, twitter, fb, amazon, wiki.

*This article has been edited to correct the title of their album and the night they host their covers show.

Be Still My Beating Heart – Greta Van Fleet

I was listening to one of those new music mixes on Apple Music and catching up on work when this song popped up and I thought, ‘This new Heart sounds pretty good!” Except it wasn’t Heart, it was Frankenmuth, Michigan’s own Greta Van Fleet. More on that in a bit.

Heart is one of those bands that had a bunch of chart dominating singles, insanely talented writing, vocals and musicianship, especially in the sister duo of Ann & Nancy Wilson, but very few bands wear them on their sleeves as obvious influences. I’m not sure why that is, but I can’t think of a single band where I can say, “Oh yeah, these guys obviously love Heart.”

So when the vocals came in on Greta Van Fleet’s new single “Black Smoke Rising,” I was pleasantly surprised to hear the connection. I mean, there’s no way this vocal performance is not influenced by Ann Wilson, right?

Black Smoke Rising

It gets better. It turns out that it’s not even a modern-day Ann Wilson fronting this band. In fact, there’s isn’t a female in sight! Greta Van Fleet is a four-piece band of dudes—three brothers and a friend! So it’s not a sister act emulating the Wilsons, but a brother act. How great is that?

But wait, there’s more!

Continue reading Be Still My Beating Heart — Greta Van Fleet

Chris Staples – Golden Age

Chris Staples_HeadshotI maintain a playlist called Golden that pulls together a bunch of songs that give me fall shivers and nostalgic heartstring tugs. There’s loads of Beck’s Sea Change, Kurt Vile’s Walking on a Pretty Day, Steve Gunn’s Sundowner, Elliott Smith, Damien Jurado, Lord Huron, and now…Chris Staples.

Staples’ new album, Golden Age, shares more in common with those songs and that feeling than its title. There’s a type of sadness, without being maudlin. And maybe that’s to be expected. After a rough patch where Staples was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes that resulted in pancreas failure, a bike accident that required surgery, and the dissolution of a long-term relationship, Chris Staples is afforded some sad bastard time.

But that’s what’s great about this record: it’s not sad bastard music. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE me some of that. But Staples’ album maintains a bit of pop bounce with lovely melodies and simple production. It’s been described as a “subtle” record, which I guess is as good anything I would come up to describe the production. Because subtlety implies hidden complexity, and this record has that in spades.

Give a listen to lead off track “Relatively Permanent” and tell me you aren’t ready to sit down with Chris, have a beer, and talk about where you grew up.

Continue reading Chris Staples – Golden Age

Drunken Prayer – Heigh-Ho Nobody Home

My original forays into freak folk started with Hasil Adkins, who defies genre assignment but personifies the spirit of this strangest of musical styles and really put me on a path of weirdness. Charles Manson’s famous demos ended up on mix tapes and further piqued my curiosity. Charlie’s a wicked man, make no mistake. But there’s something very tender about his demos and “Look at Your Game Girl” is a bona fide cult classic.

Enter: Morgan Geer and his ongoing odyssey, Drunken Prayer. I’ve seen various incarnations of this project from the solo crooner to the neo-Vegas stage show to the psycho freakout mountain holler. Geer covers a lot of ground, and most of it via the ditch.

“Heigh-Ho Nobody Home” is a tasty sampling of his home-style witch’s brew. Geer is DYI all day long and his House of Morgan video series applies his own warped sense to sound and vision. Dig in and sop it up.

Drunken Prayer on Fluff and Gravy Records

The Growlers – Good Advice

Some friends in the know have been trying to turn me onto The Growlers for a while. And really, why have I not been listening? I trust my friends, especially when it comes to music recommendations. Well, I finally got around to it and because I consider you, our readers, friends I implore you to not repeat my mistakes.

This is our music. It’s a bit druggy, a bit psych, a lot cool.

Listen now. Get your shit together. It’s good advice.

And then dig this awesome video:

North American Tour Dates:
09/05 – Denver, CO – Hi Dive
09/06 – Denver, CO – Hi Dive
09/08 – Lawrence, KS – Bottleneck
09/09 – Minneapolis, MN – 7th Street Entry
09/10 – Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall
09/11 – Ann Arbor, MI – Blind Pig
09/12 – Toronto, ON – Lee’s Palace
09/13 – Montreal, QC – Il Motore
09/14 – Allston, MA – Brighton Music Hall
09/17 – Providence, RI – Columbus Theatre
09/18 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom
09/19 – Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s
09/20 – Washington, DC – Black Cat Mainstage
09/22 – Atlanta, GA – The Earl
09/23 – Nashville, TN – Exit In
09/24 – Memphis, TN – Hi Tone Cafe
09/25 – Dallas, TX – Dada
09/26 – Houston, TX – Fitzgerald’s Upstairs
09/27 – Austin, TX – Scoot Inn
10/10 – Victoria, BC – Upstairs Cabaret
10/11 – Vancouver, BC – The Rickshaw
10/15 – Seattle, WA – Chop Suey
10/16 – Spokane, WA – The Bartlett
10/17 – Portland, OR – Alhambra Theatre
10/18-19 – San Francisco, CA – Treasure Island Festival
10/25 – Orange County, CA – BEACH GOTH III at The Observatory

The Pack a.d. – Sirens

So, last week I decided to check out the love show of a band I knew nothing about. I don’t get to do that nearly as often as I’d like to, but my pal and local PR man, Nathan put the word out he was looking for a date and I decided to go hang out with him. (Full disclosure: PR man Nathan Walker wrote a few pieces for GLONO in another life. He only sends me shit he thinks I’ll actually like, making him a GOOD PR man).

Nathan knows I like good rock and roll and the whole point of this site is to talk about and share the bands we think everyone should know about. Well, here’s The Pack a.d. Dig ‘em.

MP3: The Pack a.d. – Sirens

The Pack a.d. – Sirens (Official Music Video)

Wooden Wand & The Briarwood Virgins – Briarwood

Wooden Wand’s James Jackson Toth has traversed some rough country—or at least the characters in his songs have—and there’s a jagged edge around his songs that belie the often tender lyrics at the heart of them.  The remnants of those journeys are sprinkled throughout the new album Briarwood with the “patches on my jacket and stickers on my car” the most literal and the weary drawl of Toth’s voice the most poignant. You can believe him when he says “nothing else will do.”

Of course, journeys mean movement, which can leave trails of interrupted relationships and missed opportunities. Toth’s ability to detail in almost journalistic fashion the ramifications of the emotional wreckage left behind helps navigate troubled waters without coming off schmaltzy. In the end, “we’re all just passing through.”

Just as Briarwood is a deft balance of lyrical emotionalism and storytelling, the music is equally tasty. Dollops of keyboard and swells of slide guitar carry the songs and take you to the edge of breakdown without ever taking the easy way out. If the beauty of jazz is what’s left unplayed, then Wooden Wand has picked up a thing or two from their smoky colleagues.

VIDEO:
Wooden Wand & the Briarwood Virgins – Big Mouth, U.S.A.

Josh T. Pearson – Last Of The Country Gentlemen

Josh T. Pearson - Last Of The Country GentlemenJosh T. PearsonLast Of The Country Gentlemen (Mute)

How do you grade a perfect album? More to the point, how do you review an album so remarkable that its perfection will ultimately turn most listeners off?

And here is something else that will blow your mind: Most of the people who end up disliking Last Of The Country Gentlemen after they’ve heard it still won’t be able to pan it very much, because that would be like piling more agony on a guy that sounds like he’s just had the worst day of his entire life.

Continue reading Josh T. Pearson – Last Of The Country Gentlemen

Bob Dylan – The Original Mono Recordings

Bob Dylan - The Original Mono RecordingsBob DylanThe Original Mono Recordings (Columbia/Legacy)

Cynics will note that there is virtually no difference performance-wise between the mono recordings of his first eight records for Columbia, so why bother? They will then point to the success of the Beatles’ mono box as the financial motivation for Sony (Columbia’s owner) to pull a similar move, a clear attempt at getting Dylanophiles to dig deep in their wallets once again.

But what cynics also need to acknowledge is that these eight records are absolutely essential and probably half of them changed the course of rock music. So if you’re going to exploit a legendary artist like Dylan with some fancy, overpriced packaging, at least you’re doing it with material that’s pretty hard to fuck up.

In looking at it from that perspective, if someone who is just beginning their studies of Rock Music 101 were to approach the Dylan catalog for the first time, they may as well fork over the dough all at once for the format presented here.

Continue reading Bob Dylan – The Original Mono Recordings