Tuesday, April 29, 2008

There Will Be Heavies

As a result of intense overseas touring in 2007, when NME got turned onto Southern keyboard/drums duo Black Diamond Heavies, they were bowled over and did declare the punk-ass blues makers' debut album Every Damn Time "makes the Black Keys seem like choirboys."

We must not say bad things about the Keys, though; Dan Auerbach himself produced the Heavies' new one, A Touch of Someone Else's Class, which comes out in June. An outfit this unique has to work their asses off to help their natural audience find them; BDHs played barbecue joints on their last US tour. Expect it to pay off.

mp3 - "Bidin' My Time"
mp3 - "Leave It In the Road (again)"
m3u (iTunes): - "Stitched in Sin"

Monday, April 28, 2008

What's Up With the Nashville Scene

Our local alternative weekly, long ago scooped up by Village Voice media, saw editor Chris Farrell depart over the winter saying something about a new media company on his way out the door. This month it was announced said company is purchasing the Nashville City Paper, currently published by former Scene head honcho Albie Del Favero who left the Scene back in 2004. Interested gawkers can view some dish on the Scene's blog. Irony of ironies is Scene writer Matt Pulle made his initial splash in Nashville at the City Paper.

That's one piece of the background for my speculation - the other has to do with what's gone down in Dallas, home of another Village Voice-owned weekly, the Observer. Last winter when I was trying to help Ode Hazelwood drum up some Dallas press for their Club Dada show, every independent blogger I wrote to or called gave me a "sorry, we don't ..." and suggested I try the Observer. Amidst all manner of personnel changes, including an editor-in-chief's voluntary departure and a well-liked-around-town music editor's involuntary plunge, people on the Dallas music scene were so pissed off about the Observer pulling back on coverage of local artists they all started blogs devoted solely to area music. The result was a two-tier scenario in music media in Dallas: one type of outlet for nationally-touring musicians, and one for locals.

I wonder if we're about to get the same?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Vampire Weekend Backlash Syndrome

An article in the Dallas Observer demonstrates the phenomena pretty well.

There's an urge to automatically discard any band that has a hype factor of 11 before we've heard a note - there's gotta be some label exec throwing money at mediocre crap somewhere. That, sadly, was my take when it came to VW until our music director, Keith Coes, brought "A-Punk" to the music meeting. They're aren't the second coming of Talking Heads, they're an enjoyable band, with an enjoyable CD, and I suspect that many of those who have a problem with their success may also be among the crowd that trashed Liz Phair for making an album that would appeal to 15 year old girls. So it's not for you - quelle horror.

Sound: Oxford Comma

Thursday, April 24, 2008

What's the World Coming To?

Seen the new Spin? Never in my lifetime did I imagine Spin would place any band comparable to the Allman Brothers on their cover, but they do this month with My Morning Jacket. Not that that's a horrible thing - it's just weird. I admit, I'm jonesing for the new album. I haven't found the stage schedules, but they're due to play Bonnaroo on the 13th.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Peter Cooper Gets Away from the Keyboard

Peter Cooper has been long known for his music writing in Nashville's daily The Tennessean and has more recently become known for writing music. His debut, Mission Door, puts him squarely in thinking mans' country territory with musings on - among other things - midlife crises ("Boy Genius"), sobriety and the lack of it ("Wine"), and "715," a show-stopping ramble on what it was to be a young boy enthralled by Hank Aaron in the south, all set over steel strings.

Sound: Boy Genius

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

One to Watch - Newton Faulkner

UK singer Newton wowed the folks at 3rd & Lindsley during the previous evening's Nashville Sunday Night broadcast, then he got up early and entertained me and the WRLT morning listeners yesterday with a couple of songs. Unique plucking style; during the second tune, especially, he was all over the neck of his guitar with both hands. Nice dreads, eh?

Sound 4/21/08 Interview

Monday, April 21, 2008

Refresher Course on the Replacements

Rhino is releasing a series of the first four Replacements albums - Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash, Stink, Hootenanny, and Let It Be - and Pitchfork's Mark Richardson was kind enough to review.

The first place I ever heard of the Replacements was a short snark in Creem magazine, accompanied by a photo. It's impossible to define what it is that a text and/or visual outlet has to do to raise my curiosity enough to buy a band's album, unheard, but Creem did that and the next day I went to the record store and picked up Let It Be. Over the course of the next few weeks was added everything that came before and, when it came out, Tim.

It was a time when the bands preferred by the more forward-thinking (or was it present?) music fans were being pushed out of mainstream culture, in favor of rock music that was so safe even your English teacher could tolerate it, before they had barely had a chance to be heard. And there was this glorious mess, music so raw that to enjoy it was like having a secret decoder ring where the message always came out the same: fuck 'em all.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Two Middle Tennessee Bands to Check Out

First from Nashville: Ode Hazelwood, aka Mr. & Mrs. Hazelwood. A bit hard to describe; they aren't quite Southern Gothic, but almost. They aren't quite WW2 era big band, but sometimes almost. You should just check 'em out. Last year's Radio Noise was one of Nashville's best 2007 releases. Shawn "Joseph" Hazelwood is a highly thoughtful composer with major potential, and Raven Hazelwood's an eye magnet onstage, with her dramatic performances. The two met at Belmont and quickly dropped out. Catch them at the Family Wash in East Nasty on May 3, along with Jennifer Nicely.

Sound: Ode Hazelwood - "13th Floor"

Next up is Murfreesboro's Rollo Greb. Even if it does come from Kerouac, their name doesn't do very much for me, but the tunes are solid and evoke that high energy roots rock of the 1980s. I don't have their album. Yet. Check out Rollo Greb's MySpace page and if you're near the 'boro, they're at Bluesboro June 10.