The Sharrows, Days of Yore


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”


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


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


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

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


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.