Bobby Bare Jr. and Young Criminals’ Starvation League, Undefeated

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Undefeated, which comes out today (April 15) is Bobby Bare Jr‘s first full-length release since Storm — A Tree — My Mother’s Head (2010). Storm was a solo effort, and landed more on the country end of the spectrum. On Undefeated, he’s backed by a full band, and the tunes are pure roadhouse rock n’ roll: sometimes gritty and aggressive, other times playful. The first thirty seconds of the first track – North of Alabama by Mornin’ – is a burst of static, the audible of equivalent of a fuse being lit and slowly burning down. The rest of the song – the rest of the record, really – is a meditation on the shape of the resulting explosion. The Big Time, a dry, biting, carefully observed exploration of changes wrought by success, is an example of the lighter fare: He’s currently on tour with Cory Branan – New York, your show is this Saturday, at the Mercury Lounge – and in some cities, the documentary about his life Don’t Follow Me (I’m Lost) will be screened before the show. You can also rent it from the REELHOUSE website.

Milan Jay, Get Ghost

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And now, from Milan Jay (scrappy little band of my heart, west of Ireland division:): Get Ghost. The song drops this Friday, and on Saturday, accompanied by their brand new drummer, they play their first show in 18 months in Egan’s Basement in Ballinasloe, Galway. The rest of the new record will be along later this year; in the meantime, if you liked that, take a skimmy through their back catalog. It’s good stuff.

Late Night Listening: Two Songs from Arum Rae

Photo by Dominic Neitz

Late Night Listening: a home for things that might be fleeting, might be soothing, might be weird, might be soothing and weird. The blogging equivalent of sitting in the garage twiddling radio knobs just to see what might be out there. Arum Rae (formerly White Dress) is from Brooklyn via Austin, TX. Warrented Queen, her first EP with producer Sanford Livingston, is due out in late April. Consider these two songs a taste of the whole: 2001: This one jammed its claws into me in a weird way. I was here, that September. Sitting on the train on the Williamsburg Bridge, watching the towers burn. Standing on Houston Street while tanks rolled downtown. Leaning on the bumper of a U-Haul on John Street, during a brief pause in helping my sister move while the fires still burned and everything was covered in ash and unnatural silence, reading the note someone had written on a nearby windshield: You can knock us down but you cannot knock us out. A year later I moved away. Several years after that, I came back. When the anniversary comes around, I don’t watch the news. Warrented Queen: If you need a palate cleanser after all … Continue reading

Late Night Listening: Still Parade, Fields

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Late Night Listening: a home for things that might be fleeting, might be soothing, might be weird, might be soothing and weird. The blogging equivalent of sitting in the garage twiddling radio knobs just to see what might be out there. Fields, the title track of the latest EP from Still Parade (Niklas Kramer and friends; due to arrive in May) is a delightfully dreamy pop song and a little bit bouncier that some of their other work, which tends to be fuzzier and slower. All of it is perfect for winding down after a long day.

The Mercy Beat, Sweet

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The Mercy Beat are (possibly international) gentlemen (and maybe ladies?) of mystery for right now, so all I can tell you is 1) they are currently in Los Angeles 2) this is their most recent song and 3) it is mellow and lovely. Also, I am pretty sure the sly echo of “Mersey Beat” in their name is not an accident. And I have a very strong suspicion that I should know that voice.

Stone Jack Jones, Ancestor

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Ancestor is one of the most extraordinary and unusual records I have listened to so far this year. It’s mountain music, but it’s modern mountain music. The songs are still about love and loss, but the sound evokes a dreamy opiate-induced haze rather than a whiskey-fueled blues bender. The man behind it is by Stone Jack Jones, originally from Buffalo Creek, WV. He comes from four generations of coal miners, but he’s a wanderer. Now based in Nashville, he’s – to quote his bio – “been a carny, an escape artist, a ballet dancer, a professional lute player, and even owned a late night performance art club in Atlanta.” And he’s taken all of those experiences and channeled them into songs like O Child:     And State I’m In, which sounds like the end of a long night:     But there are bursts of sweetness too, such as this tune, aptly named Joy:  

Late Night Listening: HANNAH, Brym Al Mar

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Late Night Listening: a home for things that might be fleeting, might be soothing, might be weird, might be soothing and weird. The blogging equivalent of sitting in the garage twiddling radio knobs just to see what might be out there. HANNAH (Hannah Thiem; Copal, Nyxyss) is getting ready to release a solo record; Brym Al Mar is the first single. Inspired by a Norwegian folk song, it blends crystal-pure violin tones with gritty electronic beats to magnificent effect.