Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Old 97's the best honky tonking garage brit band ever

Coming off the second album in their double album set the Th Grand Theatre, the Old 97s are hitting on all cylinders making the best music of their existence.  No band epitomizes the tradition of Texas rock in the Doug Sahm/Sir Douglas Quintet fashion quite like Old 97s.  Song sramble along loose and fun while singing the about sorrow and a life of loving.  Rhett Miller a lyricist with the heart of a novelist puts a writer's stamp against rollicking backbeats and jangling guitars.  Oohs and ahhs float in and out of pop songs come through the garage.  Fun is the order of the day.  You kind of feel like the Stones were striving for what the the 97s come by honestly and vice versa.  Music  equally comfortable in the home, the bar or the big theatre.
The Old 97s

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Delta Spirit Americana Rock an introduction for those that don't know

     A subtle excellence and polish pervaids the work of the Delta Spirit.  Smart, soulful songwriting is placed upon a rich sonic tapestry that leaves you wondering if the sound is traditional or modern.  The strong lyrical sense and voice catch your attention first, but after a few listens you are drawn into the artful arrangements that form a profound foundation.  I have been listening to the band for over a year now and still struggle to offer a fitting description, besides this is good music.   Ultimately it falls under the broad cover of rock and roll, like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones or The Who, all of who play music blues/roots based and take it in many different directions.   Do they sound like any of those bands? Nope, but they do embody the earnest and stylistic variety associated with artists of the era.    
      The band has two major releases "Ode To Sunshine" and "History from Below" and has just released an EP "The Waits Room".   The recordings are great and to really get a sense of the band check out live recording such as Trash Can  shot at the Parish in Austin,TX.  Passion abounds in song after song such as Bushwick Blues, Children and Strange Vine.    Add to their studio recorded material, live cuts found on sites like Daytrotter you find a band with a wealth of material for your listening pleasure.  It kind of blows my mind when people have not heard of these guys.  Songs that belong on the radio, for those don't yet know, Delta Spirit.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sarah Jaffe: Voice of youth lamented

The melancholy of youth is the reflection all around that this too shall pass creating the balance of our age, making us feel old while we are still young.  An adept putting these reflections to lyrical musical tapestry is Denton artist, Sarah Jaffe.  Songs such as "Clementine"  offer a sonic meditation on realizations we have about ourself, the desire to have been the person we are now.  Sarah Jaffe confidently wears questions and regrets in her own brand of songwriting so we can look back? forward with her.   Creating soundscapes to mirror her lyrical and melodic sense, Sarah's music is a beautiful sadness.  An honesty and in touch with the bottom voice makes me think  Billie Holiday with modern folk alt rock jazz arrangements.  Peaking out through the clouds, the glimmer of triumph and a moving though out which her work underpins a sort of forward progress.  "Even Born Again"  chugs ahead, a train leaving someplace you once liked and don't think you can live again.   "Black Hoax Lie" starts with " You're on your way to the bottom, at least you know where you going", which the vunerability of her voice makes a statement of fact contrasted to a snarky or ironic observation it could be.  Song after song Sarah connects with something deep down inside.  Truly a talent which the number of years under her belt belies, Sarah Jaffe.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Whole R evol ution Wilco

Could be fair to say, the treatment of Wilco by mainstream radio mirrors mainstream media's treatment of presidential aspirations for Texas representative Ron Paul.  Both with ardent devoted supporters, who corporate "mainstream" media say are too far outside the tastes and beliefs of the majority of everyday Americans to be taken seriously.  Even though the numbers of followers and increasing support would say other wise, we are told what you want is what we are being given, while voter turnout and album sales would suggest differently.  Taking a John Stewart like approach to the above observation, I state for the record I am not endorsing a candidate or political viewpoint.  Nor do I have an inkling of the band's individual or collective political leanings. I do, however, offer my whole hearted support  for Wilco's new album "The Whole Love".
     With this album, Wilco has simultaneously delivered  the pop goods of "Summer Teeth" and experimental daring of the seminal "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" for a listening experience that allows you to sit back enjoy the sonic challenges.  Kicking off the experience, opener "Art of Almost"  puts you off balance with a noise beats soup, lulls you into a comfortable groove and then knocks you to the floor with a fiery solo, invoking guitar gods past .The track "Dawned on Me" is pure sugary goodness with a sticky chorus with which you can sing along.  "Standing O" is the Banana Splits after reading Louise Hay after a fist fight.  Calm interludes such as "Black Moon" and "Open Mind: provide moments of reflection and final number "One Sunday Morning" is as quiet as the beginning was loud.
    Lately Wilco's work has been more of a slow burn where I end up enjoying the recordings after a couple of spins.  "The Whole Love" is Wilco's most accessible and "like at first listen" album since "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" with songs that  challenge our assumptions of what can be played on FM radio. Having my two small children dance to songs like "I Might" and "Born Alone" exemplifies a Wilco connecting on more than just the intellectual level usually associated with the band.  While we want to keep our brain happy with music that is not cookie cutter and we say is smart, deep down we need music we can bop our heads to and hum along. Smart and fun, Wilco's  "The Whole Love"