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!

Tour Alert: Jail Weddings “After Dark”

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Attention all fans of high quality rock and roll: JAIL WEDDINGS IS TOURING OFF THE WEST COAST. You can see them at the following times and places: They are going out on this jaunt in support of their second record, Meltdown: A Declaration of Unpopular Emotion, which has just been turned loose upon the world. Some excerpts, to whet your appetite: Meltdown: A Declaration of Unpopular Emotion by Jail Weddings Meltdown: A Declaration of Unpopular Emotion by Jail Weddings And in conclusion, the video for Summer Fades:

White Sea, In Cold Blood

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White Sea is the solo project of Morgan Kibby (M83). In Cold Blood is her most recent release. It’s lush, in the sense that it is expansive and textured and the kind of thing you can easily sink into. It is operatic, in the sense that it grabs the heart, it stirs things buried deep, and then it soars. The first time I listened to it was also the third, fourth and fifth times I listened to it because I kept scrolling back and plunging back in. It’s also solid; there isn’t a single song I’d brush off as filler. I’m especially fond of They Don’t Know (the hook; if you aren’t snagged, move on); Warsaw (about being someone who should come with a warning label and knows it); Small December (because goodbye doesn’t mean you don’t love them anymore, and you can tear things down, but the outline will always remain); and NYC Loves You (because it’s true, the city will always take you back). If that stream disappears, you can also hear some excerpts at her Soundcloud page.

Alex Greenwald, Yo

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INTERNETS. NESSIE HAS SURFACED. Alex Greenwald has put his solo record out – it is called Yo – and mysteriously not said anything about it. In the event this is because he’s conducting some sort of marketing experiment, I offer my data-point, which is that it took the Tumblr-tide three weeks to bring the news to my door. Anyway, I have now listened to it four times in a row, and my reaction is: Mmm. Hmm. Interesting. It’s pop music with some echo and wubble-bubble, and for all one of the songs is a love song about a knife, there’s none of the fuzzy rage and jagged aggression that showed up in Phantom Planet’s sound. Lest that make it sound like a weightless, disposable confection, know also that lyrics have razor-sharp edges, sometimes in unexpected places. It is very much the kind of thing that becomes richer with repeated listening. Simulacre and Still Too Soon: The first two tracks are, in order, a 13 second sample of something I didn’t recognize and a song about how all the sunshine in Los Angeles can really mess with your head. This was something I wondered about when I visited, actually, if all … Continue reading