quinta-feira, 25 de junho de 2015

Vintage Trouble - The Bomb Shelter Sessions 2011

Inspired by the likes of Otis ReddingIke & Tina Turner, andRay Charles, Los Angeles quartet Vintage Trouble's "primitive soul" sound was a deliberate attempt to re-create the era of vinyl records and jukebox joints. The brainchild ofJames Brown-esque vocalist Ty Taylor, previously the frontman for mid-'90s R&B act Dakota Moon and a formerRock Star: INXS contestant, and guitarist Nalle Colt, the band began working on material in its small Venice Beach home studio in early 2010, before recruiting former 2nd Day Crushbassist Rick Barrio Dill and drummer Richard Danielson to complete the lineup. Within two weeks, Vintage Trouble were performing at shows across the Laurel Canyon area they had relocated to, and just a few months later, teamed up with producer Rogers Masson (Day of Fire) to record their debut album in an old-school-style period of just three days. After signing a deal with legendary manager Doc McGhee (Bon Jovi,Mötley Crüe), they concentrated their efforts on the U.K., where viewers had responded well to their performance on BBC2's flagship music show, Later... with Jools Holland, and spent much of 2011 touring up and down the country. After releasing their first record, The Bomb Shelter Sessions, in the same year, they supported Queen's Brian May and musical theater star Kerry Ellis on their joint tour, and opened for Bon Jovi on the U.K. leg of the band's Circle Tour.  Echoing the vintage blues-rock of Chuck Berry and Led Zeppelin, and the timeless soul of Otis Redding and Sam CookeThe Bomb Shelter Sessions is Californian four-piece Vintage Trouble's attempt to re-create the era of vinyl records and juke joints. Produced by Rogers Masson (Daughtry,Day of Fire), and recorded live in just three days at the Bomb Shelter studios in Laurel Canyon, its 11 retro tracks, described by James Brown-esque frontman Ty Taylor as "primitive soul," include the singles "Nancy Lee" and "Nobody Told Me." AMG.

listen here

Buy @ Amazon: USA - FR - UK

Spanky Wilson & The Quantic Soul Orchestra - I'm Thankful 2006

It was much to soul singer Spanky Wilson's surprise -- she didn't realize she had had such an impact -- when British multi-instrumentalist/producer Will Holland contacted her in her Los Angeles home in 2004, professing his love of her music and wondering if she'd collaborate with him. Still, she agreed to go the studio, and together they did two songs, "Don't Joke with a Hungry Man" and "When You're Through," for Holland's solo project, Quantic, on the album Mishaps Happening. That collaboration worked out so well that they decided to make an entire record together, this time with Holland's full band, the Quantic Soul OrchestraWilson's lovely voice is the centerpiece of I'm Thankful, and it does show a bit of its age, but only in the best of ways, deepening it and giving it an added measure of credibility and authenticity while still preserving its expressiveness and strength. Attesting to Wilson's tremendous ability is the fact that the record is very intimately and sparsely produced, making it seem as if the singer is almost in the room right with the you, the sometimes raspy and breathy line endings audible in that professional, practiced way. The band, which plays J.B.'s-inspired tight funk riffs, occasionally branching into modern jazz horn solos or even wah-wahed guitars, often uses a modern dancefloor-esque beat (in both versions of "Don't Joke with a Hungry Man," for example, which are different from the Quantic one), which makes sense as Holland is an able electronica producer as well as composer (besides the cover of Bo Diddley's "You Can't Judge a Book by Its Cover," all the pieces on the album are completely written and arranged by him). But the music here is still funk, horns and all, and since the drums are always live, there's still a nice organic sense about it. The neo-soul "That's How It Was," which reflects upon Hurricane Katrina, is touching and affecting, and as Wilson sings, "Now people are talking 'bout a need for a change/Hoping and fighting for power exchange/Thank heavens for life, but not for the pain/Thousands of tears just washed away in that rain," there's a real emotion and tenderness in her voice that comes through clearly and honestly. Because I'm Thankful is about clarity and avoiding pretension, it's about rhythm and groove, it's about playing soul music for its own sake, which makes it a very successful album, a great melding of two talented artists -- and an introduction to Spanky Wilson for many who haven't heard her before, and need to -- and a lot of fun. AMG.

listen here

Buy @ Amazon: USA - FR - UK

The Little Killers - A Real Good One 2006

The Little Killers haven't changed much on their second record, A Real Good One. They have jumped labels and hired a new producer, Jim Diamond, who has given their sound a looser and more relaxed feel. Other than that the New York trio still makes a pretty sweet rock & roll racket replete with the obligatory but somehow never stale snotty vocals, pounding tempos, hooky choruses, occasional handclaps and wailing guitar solos. Short, mean, and tough tunes like "Finger Pie," "Don't Leave Me," and "You Better Be Right" compete with longer, more thoughtful (though still totally loud and rambunctious) songs like the Stooges-influenced "Something Special," "Been So Long," and "Fly" to give this record a more two-dimensional appeal that the first record sometimes lacked. Developing new wrinkles to your sound without abandoning what made it so fine in the first place is a neat trick and much credit goes to the group for working it so well. The Little Killers remain all killer and no filler. AMG.

listen here

Buy @ Amazon: USA - FR - UK

Dave Hole - Outside Looking In 2001

Slide-slinging hotshot Dave Hole doesn't stray far from the basics on his sixth album for Alligator, which ought to please his established fans just fine. After all, he's not striving to bring new depth to high-energy blues-rock; he's happy to just keep the fire burning by whipping off biting, energetic riffs that slash and sting with the nimbleness of Duane Allman and the uncut fury of Elmore James, two of his most obvious influences. Although the majority of the album is self-penned, it's easy to hear strains of Rory Gallagher and Johnny Winter in Hole's attack. A few acoustic tracks -- like the languid "Nobody," where the singer sounds a bit like Leon Redbone, and "Get a Job" -- ease the sonic aggressiveness, but not for long. Hole's songwriting won't win him any comparisons to Willie Dixon, but who's going to argue when he plows through a simplistic Bo Diddley beat on "Insomniac" with pile-driving force and a vocal similarity to Eric Clapton, evoking Slowhand's "Willie and the Hand Jive." Even on ballads, like the beautifully languorous "Out of My Reach," Hole tosses in a flame-throwing solo reminiscent of David Lindley's work with Jackson Browne. Covers of B.B. King's "You Move Me So" and Jimmy McCracklin's "He Knows the Rules" become frameworks for Hole's fiery pyrotechnics. He's not changing the world, but with Outside Looking In, Dave Hole's just making it a little jumpier. Sure to enliven any party, this is fuel-injected high-quality house-rockin' music that'll blow the roof off any shindig. AMG.

listen here

Buy @ Amazon: USA - FR - UK

The New Mastersounds - 102% (2006)

It won't take long -- maybe ten seconds into the first cut -- to know that the Meters are a primary influence on the U.K.'s New Mastersounds. The opening title track is such a ringer for "Cissy Strut" that you may check your CD sleeve to see if the discs weren't accidentally swapped. As the album unwinds, though, the all-instrumental quartet reveals more of its own identity: a sort of acid jazz mixed with crisp early-'70s funk grabbed from New Orleans' finest. Certainly drummer Simon Allen has been practicing to his Zigaboo Modeliste records, and it's his attack that principally drives the sound. The interplay between organ and Eddie Roberts' guitar carries the melody, but this band's motor is powered by its formidable rhythm section. Despite the Meters fixation, the New Mastersounds marry a somewhat retro approach with a contemporary spin that makes this fusion perfect for Austin Powers lovers. There is no denying that these guys bring the Southern funk, but the mix of their Brit jazz sensibilities and chops fine-tuned for maximum danceability spins the music in a unique direction. There's also more than a little Booker T. & the MG's here, especially in guitarist Roberts' sparse, choppy leads that echo those of Steve Cropper. What's most impressive, though, is how the band locks together. No member hogs the spotlight as these 14 tightly arranged zingers, most of them hovering just over three minutes, trim off the fatty jam tendencies that often sink similar combos by concentrating on compressed licks that kick out of the speakers with terse precision. The group shifts into pseudo psychedelics on the closing "Paranoid (Is It Any Wonder?)" as Roberts approximates a Cream-era Clapton-styled distortion that doesn't entirely resonate but at least shows a willingness to experiment and push boundaries. A few stabs at a lounge style also come up rather short, but the snappy funk is never more than a track away. Guest reedman Rob Lavers adds some old Crusaders-type horn work on a few songs, assisting a band that's already as in the pocket as they come. AMG.

listen here

Buy @ Amazon: USA - FR - UK

Jason & the Scorchers - Lost and found 1985

Jason & the Scorchers' first full-length album, Lost & Found, explodes out of the starting gate with "Last Time Around," a no-quarter rocker that starts with a blast from Perry Baggs' snare drum that sounds like a gunshot, and power chords from Warner Hodges' guitar that cut like a machete, and while the album's dynamics allow the impact of the music to rise and fall over the course of these 11 songs, the set always lives up to the high stakes set by the opening salvo. While the ScorchersFervorEP rocked hard, Lost & Found hits even harder, but also reveals a broader musical palate; "White Lies," "If Money Talks," and "Change the Tune" back up this band's reputation as Nashville's toughest country punks, but the honky tonk piano on "Broken Whiskey Glass" and feral fiddle work on "Blanket of Sorrow" show the big amps didn't drown out their traditionalist impulses. And while the Scorchers may rev "Lost Highway" up to 95 mph, the two acoustic numbers, "Still Tied" and "Far Behind," could pass for lost classics from some Grand Ol' Opry legend's songbook, and the latter tune makes clear Jason Ringenberg can sing sad and pretty every bit as well as he can howl the rock & roll. There was usually an element of camp in most early cowpunk acts, but Jason & the Scorchers thankfully had no truck with irony or derisive humor; they believed in the emotional honesty of great country music as much as the raw fury of punk, and Lost & Found pays homage to both with the undiluted passion of true believers, and it's the best record this fine band would ever make. AMG.

listen here

Buy @ Amazon: USA - FR - UK

The Selmanaires - Here Come The Selmanaires 2005

Talking Heads-infused surf-rock trio from Atlanta, GA, the Selmanaires came together after twin brothers Herb (guitar and vocals) and Jason Harris (drums and vocals) moved from Austin, TX, and met (eventual) bassist Tommy Chung. Cutting their teeth at smaller shows, the Selmanaires built a following and by 2008 had a handful of releases to their name, including the debut album Here Come the Selmanaires, the follow-up Air Salesmen, and the singles "Just to Get Yr Love" and "Standing in Line at an Elevator." AMG.

listen here

Buy @ Amazon: USA - FR - UK

The Come Ons - Hip Check! 2001

By 2001, the Come Ons had yet to capture the cool sensuality of their live shows on disc. Luckily, Hip Check came strutting out of the Motor City that fall, offering a groovy slice of indie garage that owes more to the swinging soundtracks of '60s B-movies more than any Stooges record. Jim Diamond's crisp production fosters the hipster atmosphere around the disc, while also capturing the excitement that the band can often produce. Creating a sultry tension through slow-burning tracks like "Heavy" while alternately letting that tension deflate with booty-shaking dance songs, the band keeps its distinct personality through every musical turn. Hinging on the tight guitar licks of Jim Johnson and lush organ solos from a revolving group of guest musicians, the instrumentals prove to enhance the band's pert brassiness. Meanwhile, the tracks featuring singer Deanne Iovan deliver engaging tales of love and lust with aplomb, never succumbing to the "too cool for school" attitude of many garage rock revivalists. Highlights include the smooth kiss-off anthem "Something Fool," the horn-based groove of "Keep the Change," the crawling delicacy of "Strangelove," and the winding wiggle of the title track. And in the end, the boozy, lovelorn "Dollar in My Pocket" sends the listener off with a strikingly honest attempt at a traditional country ballad. In less than 30 minutes, the band charms the listener with a likable sound that fits in well with their saucy image. It may not fit with the brash rock & roll of their Michigan contemporaries, but the attitude is pure Detroit, and the music is much easier to dance to. AMG.

listen here

Buy @ Amazon: USA - FR - UK

Bobby 'Blue' Bland - Memphis Monday Morning 1998

Age is no hindrance to Bobby "Blue" Bland doing what he does best -- recording and entertaining. The husky-throated blues singer, who was close to 70 when this CD dropped, still has that growl that makes body hair stand on end, and he forges on stronger than ever without any noticeable quality drops -- not recording-wise, anyway. Still strutting and profiling, Memphis Monday Morningcommences with a taste of braggadocio à la "I'm Bobby B"; the warning to all, "I Don't Want Nobody Kicking in My Stall"; and the "I'm letting you know (that I know what you've been doing)" "There's a Rat Loose in My House." It gets even better with chilling performances of "Memphis Monday Morning" and "I Hate Missing You." The titles are interesting in themselves, and when you add Bland's Jim Beam vocals; the best musicians in Mississippi; Quanda BrooksThomisene Anderson, and Jewel Bass' backing vocals; and production by Tommy Couch and Wolf Stephens, you have a high-quality, potent blues grenade on your hands. AMG.

listen here

Buy @ Amazon: USA - FR - UK

The Soul of John Black - Good Thang 2011

Just by looking at his pseudonym, it's clear that soul music has never been far from the surface in John "JB" Bigham's mind. On three previous albums, he's combined it with blues, funk, folk, and rock to become a sort of contemporary Sly Stone without the horns, erratic behavior, and drug problems. A sabbatical from the road during his fiancée's pregnancy provided the time and space to redefine his direction. The result is a deep soul recording steeped in the '70s style of keyboard bass, where melodies are as essential as the groove. Influences from Al Green to Curtis Mayfield and Earth, Wind & Fire are evident throughout, but it seems that Bigham is aiming at a Lenny Kravitz approach with his blend of pop, rock, and R&B, minus Kravitz's harder psychedelic edge. There's a homespun vibe -- provided partially by ever present acoustic guitar -- that runs under these songs and belies their overdubbed creation. Liner notes show that drums and keyboards were added to Bigham's vocal and guitar parts after the fact and in different studios, but the final product sounds remarkably organic. Hooks abound, especially on the title track, as melodic a piece of soul-rock as he's ever recorded. But it's on a soul nugget such as the sultry "How Can I" where he reaches R&B nirvana on a Spinners-styled arrangement that could easily slot into a Super Sexy Soul Songs of the Seventies collection.Prince has been here and done that, but Bigham's music is more roots-oriented, especially when he adds deep Delta blues acoustic guitar to the edgy "My Brother," an atmospheric gem driven by a Billy Preston-era clavinet. The same goes for the sexed-up "Strawberry Lady," a tough chunk of acoustic guitar and handclap-based funk that rides a tough rhythm for four terrific minutes. Bigham gets introspective on "Mama's in the Kitchen," perhaps a follow-up to the "Strawberry Lady" who is now giving birth to his baby, making him aware of his new responsibilities but happy to have them. He does this with an instantly hummable hook made for concert singalongs. The album even expands into '70s power pop circa T. Rex on the grinding "I Love It," a meaty slab of glam that wouldn't sound out of place on The Slider. Despite forays into various retro genres, this is a contemporary-sounding set that showsBigham to have the songwriting, performing, and arranging chops to take him to a wider commercial acceptance that has heretofore eluded him. AMG.

listen here

Buy @ Amazon: USA - FR - UK

Hellogoodbye - Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs! 2007

With impish attitude and effervescent tunes, Hellogoodbye's 2004 EP was quite well-received among the Warped Tour crowd. Two years later and still riding the success of those few songs, a full-length from the band feels rather overdue. Finally, that album -- Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs! -- has arrived, but was it really worth the wait? Right away, ardent fans may be slightly disappointed at the lack of totally new songs, since versions of old demos (circulating the Internet for a while) dominate; everyone else, however, will presumably be none the wiser. On Z! A! V! D!Hellogoodbye haven't deviated too far from the fizzy emo-pop quirks that initially drew people in. The spaz-dance blips and kitschy keyboard and programming tricks are still present; frontman Forrest Kline alternates his delivery between straight-up singing and hiding behind a vocoder. But his voice holds up well enough alone, so let's ease up on the vocoder use already, shall we? The band further asserts acoustic sensibilities, whimsical singalongs, and sparkling harmonies. The techno-ish club beats of the opening tracks lead things off mildly enough, but it's not until "All Time Lows" that the guys finally venture into the exuberant feeling of their prior EP. The jangly "Stuck to You" and "Homewrecker" creep around in late-night shadows, while the stripped-down "Oh, It Is Love" brings to mind a mandolin-playing John Mayerwearing tight jeans and a youth-sized T-shirt. Final bursts of energy kick in near the album's end before "Two Weeks in Hawaii," a song that resembles a dark, more angsty Weezer, ends things on a gloomier note. Now, while nothing on this album is bad, everything adds up to be a somewhat uneven listen when taken as a whole. The music fluctuates with a feeling that Hellogoodbye are trying to grow within the confines of their niche -- but all without a firm grasp of what direction they really want to head. Despite this, Z! A! V! D! is a charming album that indeed entertains. There are hints that there is more to Hellogoodbye than just quirky antics and ProTools expertise, but until the band exactly figures out what that is, this album should do fans just fine. AMG.

listen here

Buy @ Amazon: USA - FR - UK

The Cassettes - O'er The Mountain 2003

Not to be confused with the British indie group of the same name, Washington, D.C.'s the Cassettes dream in Technicolor, churning out rock tunes with a psychedelic vibe and a garage rock fervor. The band initially emerged fromShelby Cinca's four-track recordings that didn't fit in with the angst-ridden sound of his noisier outfit, Frodus. In 1999,Cinca teamed up with his high school buddy, Dead Meadow bassist Steve Kille, and the duo began writing songs inspired by their parents' record collections. After recruiting Kille's girlfriend, Jennifer Potter, to play second guitar and sing backup vocals and Stephen McCarty to drum, the group went into the studio to record their debut full-length. Soon after that album set sail, and only months before the release of their second full-length, O'er the MountainKillePotter, and McCarty parted ways with the band. Left to his own devices, Cinca contacted tabla player Saadat Awan, who had expressed an interest in collaborating with Cinca a few years prior. Inspired by Beatles songs like "Honey Pie" and "Rocky Raccoon," Cinca decided that the group's sound needed an overhaul. With the addition of Stephen Guidry on accordion and Arthur Harrison on Theremin in 2003, the Cassettes transformed their sound from sunshiny power pop to pounding psychedelic, country-infused rock. They released their third full-length album, 'Neath the Pale Moon, three years later. AMG.

listen here

Buy @ Amazon: USA - FR - UK