Public Practice- Gentle Grip (2020)

Posted by KB on 7/30/2020 to Reviews In Brief
If Blondie went full "Rhapsody" mode and minus the rap but doubling down on post punk and enlisting Joe Jackson as their arranger, they would become Public Practice's "Gentle Grip". Public Practice is very NYC with prominent, heavy bass, clean lines and razor sharp beats. They would fit nicely as the background act at an art show because they have a black turtleneck pretentiousness about their sound. Almost brooding. Almost condescending. PP dares you 'not to get it'. For a listener who does get it, it is a specific situational listen. Not an everyday spin but an album to play when you feel like making a point or quenching a mood. It's hard to pinpoint, but that's probably because you just don't get it.

Favorite Songs: Disposable, Compromised, Leave Me Alone


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If Blondie went full "Rhapsody" mode and minus the rap but doubling down on post punk and enlisting Joe Jackson as their arranger, they would become Public Practice's "Gentle Grip". Public Practice is very NYC with prominent, heavy bass, clean

Country Westerns- Country Westerns (2020)

Posted by KB on 7/30/2020 to Reviews In Brief
Whether deliberate or accidental the Country Westerns' moniker is false advertising. They are neither country or western in music style but I will give that they do have a slight gravelly twang in the same vein as Lucero, Drive By Truckers or Two Cow Garage. From the opening full chord strum you know you are in for a no frills, front and centered, Americana rock experience. They get to the point and don't dilly dally around with their longest tune clocking in at under 4 minutes. CW's sound is rough but polished with perfection not the goal. The raspy vocals toe the line of pitchy at times and the solos aren't stupendous but they make it work. If the session felt good them, then it is a final cut. I love it when a band throws in a cover and they chose a Stephen Merritt (Magnetic Fields) song for a tad of artiness. For no BS rock give Country Westerns a listen.

Favorite Songs: Anytime, Guest Checks, It's On Me, TV Light, Two Characters in Search of a Country Song


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Corb Lund- Agricultural Tragic (2020)

Posted by KB on 7/29/2020 to Reviews In Brief
2020, so far, has had a pretty good crop of country (real not pop) releases. Canadian Corb Lund adds to that list with his album "Agricultural Tragic". One could easily confuse this album to bro-country until they hear and feel his earnestness about who he is; a guy who has a deep love for whiskey, simple living, horses and anyone else who loves horses. Lund straddles the fine line between bad hokiness and good hokiness but I think he lands on the good side due to his straightforward, with a smirk, delivery. You believe him because he means what he sings. It also doesn't hurt that he has a whip tight cowboy band backing him, that can also bring a little rocking honky-tonk. Put on your stetson, hop on your pony (if you have one) and ride the range with Corb.

Favorite Songs: Old Men, I Think You Oughta Try Whiskey, Ranchin', Ridin', Romance (Two Outta Three Ain't Bad), 90 Seconds of Your Time, Oklahomans


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Bob Dylan- Rough and Rowdy Ways (2020)

Posted by KB on 7/28/2020 to Reviews In Brief
Dylan is always hard for me to be completely impartial. He is my favorite artist. He has created some of the most important recordings over the last 50+ years, and he has released a few head-scratchers throughout that time while taking on different personas. I always give him a little benefit of the doubt before dismissing or praising his albums leaning usually to the positive. I could go total Dylan-philisophical but that would take many, many paragraphs.

"Rough and Rowdy Boys" took a few listens for me to get it. I think it's Dylan coming to terms that this could be his last time he can get his point across about who he actually is- as 'autobiographical' as Dylan will allow. But careful attention will open a few nuggets about what he considers himself to ultimately be (I'll leave interpretations up to you). Spoiler- some insights are downright funny. His croak is articulate, the music bluesy Americana with a slight tinge of folk and the songs have girth in length. This 39th addition to his discography won't crack his top ten but it could be a worthy swansong. Newbies to Dylan will have a difficult time identifying with this, while oldsters will welcome it if they give it a chance.

Favorite Songs: My Own Version Of You, Goodbye Jimmy Reed, False Prophet


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Rolling Blackout Coastal Fever- Sideways To New Italy (2020)

Posted by KB on 7/27/2020 to Reviews In Brief
Some bands have a sound that fits around them like a warm blanket. RBCF is such a band. "Sideways To New Italy" is unremarkable, not that it isn't a pretty solid release, but rather it is an expected release. The Aussie lads stick to what works. Strummed interlaced guitars that drive songs to a (at times frenzied) crescendo with ethereal, layered vocals. RBCF are at their peak when they energetically fire out of the blocks. There are little surprises like the addition of more acoustic guitars and slower tempos (which didn't work for me on Sunglasses At the Wedding) but generally speaking, if you are a fan, you will be just fine with "Sideways". It is not their best output, but a nice warm blanket is never bad.

Favorite Songs: Falling Thunder, Cars In Space, Cameo, The Cool Change


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Hellbound Glory- Pure Scum (2020)

Posted by KB on 7/20/2020 to Reviews In Brief
Every now and then one needs a little shit-kickin', twangy saloon, beer slugging country. This year's entry is Hellbound Glory's "Pure Scum". Right from the first note you know you need to crack open a cold one and turn up the volume of whatever device you are listening to. "Pure Scum" has peddle steel, fiddle, two step click drums and a bunch of picking- and best of all- they are not a novelty like the pop-country crap uses them. They are bonafide and well utilized and effectively played. Lyrically HG would fit in well with the old hilly-billy outlaw classics of the mid 70's. Honest and just enough hoke to keep them fun. "Pure Scum" is your 2020 backyard BBQ, bon fire soundtrack.

Favorite Songs: Ragged but Alright, Wild Orchid, Dial 911, Hank Williams Lifestyle


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Flat Worms- Antarctica (2020)

Posted by KB on 7/10/2020 to Reviews In Brief
The Flat Worms are a quirky three piece band with big, lo-fi sound. Their delivery is simplistic and deliberate with just enough variance to give each song a unique life of its own. "Antarctica" is their most accessible release to date but it does not mean that they have sacrificed their creative, eccentric spark. If anything, they have honed their indie song writing chops- like Dinosaur Jr- to be more structured and focused utilizing their skills more efficiently. The sound is fuller this time around but still noise-riff driven with pounding drums, sung-spoken vocals and lyrics that are less than rosy about the condition of our society. File under indie, alt-rock with punk attitude.

Favorite Songs: Market Forces, Antarctica, Via, Condo Colony, Wet Concrete


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