Favorite Waitress, The Felice Brothers

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If Celebration, Florida (2011) was The Felice Brothers taking a hard left out of Americana into a dark, strange corner of indie rock, Favorite Waitress is them – to mix a metaphor somewhat – doubling down on that murky weirdness and swinging for the fences. It begins with Bird on a Broken Wing, which I had to listen to a couple of times before I really started to like it. In many ways it extends a thread back to River Jordan, the last song on Celebration, Florida, and, as it happens, one of my favorite Felice Brothers songs. River Jordan is a slow burning geyser of hurt and rage; the last time I saw them perform it live was a transcendent experience, but also made me almost certain they were about ready to call it quits on being a band. They didn’t, though, and Bird on a Broken Wing is the resolution, and, perhaps, ending, of that pain. The narrator has had a moment to breathe and reflect (and heal?) and also, perhaps, find some peace. Continuing through the tracklist, some of the songs have country roots: Katie Cruel is a slow-burn country-blues stomper; Cherry Licorice contains echoes of a … Continue reading

The Sharrows, Days of Yore

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The Sharrows are: Matt Smith (guitar), Phil Sharrow (lead vocals, bass), Joe Hermanson (keyboards), Sylvia Janicki (cello) and Jacob Bicknase (drums). They are from Madison, Wisconsin. Days of Yore, their second release, was recorded at Zebra Ranch, the North Mississippi Allstars’ home studio. It’s got a little bit of fuzz and a little bit of shimmy-shake; mostly it’s good company on a slow summer afternoon. The first song, Yours and Mine, is a slice of solid country blues: Days of Yore by The Sharrows But my favorite is Echo, because it has a little more rock and roll in it, and also because I love the idea of heart echoes calling to one another: Days of Yore by The Sharrows And as an additional enticement, here they are with Sometimes, from their first record, Starting at the End: For more, check out their bandcamp page!

A Good Read A Good Listen and a Good Drink, Robert Maisey, Terminal Gods

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It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss. In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire. Terminal Gods are from London, and listening to their music is much like settling into a comfortable spot in my favorite dive bar. It’s loud, a little grimy, but at the same time, instantly comforting and familiar. It takes the weight of the world off your shoulders. And for me, at least, it contains the … Continue reading

Tour Alert: The Dirty Nil

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Dig out your best dancing boots, ladies and gentlemen, because The Dirty Nil are headed out on tour. They’re from Toronto, and they are, seriously, just the best. Grab a beverage of your choice, wriggle up to the barricade and get ready to sing with them and/or bang your head. This is their latest single: This is another awesome song: Little Metal Baby Fist by The Dirty Nil For more updates: Official Facebook.

On Film: In The Dark, Michael Runion and Kristen Kassinger

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In The Dark is a new short film by Michael Runion (JJAMZ, solo) and Kristen Kassinger. My thoughts after watching it: 1) Oh yeah, Spin the Bottle as an adult is just the worst; 2) someone always has to be That Guy during potentially mortifying kissing games; 3) they have packed a lot of thoughts about the concept of “intimacy” into under four minutes. Anyway, it is quite good, and you should watch it: IN THE DARK from michaelrunion on Vimeo.

Festival Alert: Reverence Festival, Sept. 12-13th, Valada, Portugal

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Another one for the “things I would attend if there were not an ocean in the way” file: The line-up draws from a variety of -rock genres, including psychadelia, stoner, shoegaze, doom, prog, and garage. Some highlights of the bill, in alphabetical order: A Place to Bury Strangers A Place To Bury Strangers by A Place To Bury Strangers Crippled Black Phoenix Mao Morta Psychic TV Ringo Deathstarr Woods