The Soul of John Black: I Got a Good Thang

I seem to have idiosyncratic taste in music as it is difficult for most people to recommend music to me. But Rick Saunders (of Deep Blues notoriety) is apparently just as weird as I am because when he tells me, “You’re going to love this”, I can be confident that he’s right. Recently, Rick turned me on to the Soul of John Black, and when I say “turned me on”, I mean it in a couple of different ways.

The first album from the Soul of John Black – which is the project of John Bigham who played guitar in Fishbone for eight years and has worked with the likes of Miles Davis and Dr. Dre – The Good Girl Blues is a sultry, sexy collection of music calling to mind a sweaty night in a low-lit juke joint… and what happens after. Rick’s review of the album is pretty spot-on to what I would write about it, except I would have added the phrase “panty-moistening” in there somewhere.

Check out the four-alarm-fire of a track, “I Got Work” (which would have fit right in to my slow jams post), … Continue reading

You Won’t, Sycamore, 7/2/11

This past Saturday night I ventured out to Sycamore, in Brooklyn, which in the finest New York City multi-tasking tradition is a flower shop by day and a bar / live music venue by night. They have shows in the basement, which is tiny, but on the plus side, it is air-conditioned. (It is not, however, very well lit, as you will see.)

I was there to see You Won’t, and they were well worth the trip. You Won’t are Josh Arnoudse (guitar, vocals) and Raky Sastri (drums / keyboards) and they divide their time between Massachusetts and New York. Their sound alternates between delicate piano-supported indie pop and slow-stompy fuzzy-thrummy guitars and surging drums.

Their new record is called Skeptic Goodbye and you can listen to the entire thing at Bandcamp. (If there are any Drivin’n’Cryin’ fans lurking in the audience: click that link, you’ll be glad you did.) Here, as an example, is my favorite song from it, which is called “Dance Moves”, and is a relatively new addition to their live repertoire, and which they very graciously wedged into their set for me at literally the absolute last minute:

Dance Moves by You Won’t

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Those guys in the photo are called Blacklisters. I don’t know much about them other than that they’re from Leeds, England, they’re hardcore, they just signed to Brew Records and they’re new song “Swords” was a great way to start my morning.


Swords by Blacklisters


You can download that song, and a few others, for free from their Bandcamp site.


Blacklisters Official Website

Brew Records Official Website

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The Dad Horse Experience: Dead Babies Singing in the Sky


“Like a dead dog on the highway…” sang an unmistakeably German voice. It was the kind of lisping German accent that my American ears associate with camp villains in bad movies. Then in came the banjo.


“Like a dead dog, I’m hanging around,” the German voice continued singing over the quaint banjo melody. “Won’t you stop and pick me up? Dig me a deep hole in the ground.”

I was, to put it kindly, perplexed. What in the world was this? In my head, my conditioned American thoughts, banjo and heavy German accents did not belong together. But I kept listening, fascinated, compelled to find out what this was all about. And as unprepared as I was for the initial track, I was yet again thrown off balance by what the second track brought.


Kingdom It Will Come / THE DAD HORSE EXPERIENCE by dadhorse


Oh yes, there was definitely something worth investigating here. By the end of the album, I was smitten.

Dead Dog on a Highway is the second long player from the Dad Horse Experience, which consists mostly of a man who goes by the … Continue reading

The Mad Caps: Goin’ Down



Sometimes I wish the internet had never been invented.1 If not for a certain internet search engine (and my insistence on checking it for verification), I could have been blissful in my ignorance, believing I had coined the term garage-a-billy to describe the sound of the Mad Caps. But no, the internet brought me swiftly to task for my ego folly.

But the internet also brought me the Mad Caps in the first place (thanks to a tip from a Twitter friend), so I can’t stay mad.

The Mad Caps are a two-man outfit from Las Vegas, Nevada – Ted Rader on guitar and vocals, Jon Real on drums – who churn out some rockabilly-esque twang with volume, distortion, dirt and swagger. Check out what I mean on “Rosie and the Wolfman”.


Rosie And The Wolfman by The Mad Caps


Rader’s hiccuping delivery on “Kitty Kitty” is like the spawn of a love union between Buddy Holly and Lux Interior.


Kitty Kitty by The Mad Caps


And they get into a sexy groove that ends too soon on the short instrumental “Interkitchen”.


Interkitchen by … Continue reading

The Imperial Rooster: Decent People


Booze, drugs, deer people, suicide, internet pornography, fire, brimstone, L. Ron Hubbard and domestic violence… that’s right, it’s time for a new album from the Imperial Rooster.

On Decent People, the Imperial Rooster once again mixes the sublime with the absurd to create the perfect soundtrack to your damnation. Check out my favorite track, “The Vintage.”


The Vintage by The Imperial Rooster


The band recently played Frogfest 6 in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where they rocked another new song, “DWI Marijuana Blues”.


Watch this video on YouTube


This Saturday, June 11, the Imperial Rooster will be playing the Thirsty Ear Festival alongside the Handsome Family, Calexico, the Cedric Burnside Project and others.

Decent People is available now via Bandcamp.


The Imperial Rooster @ Bandcamp

The Imperial Rooster @ Facebook

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Feel Bad For You, May 2011

Feel Bad For You hosts a monthly mixtape comprised of submissions from music bloggers and Twitterers, and it’s always a good time. This month’s compilation has a theme, killer basslines, and you can enjoy it all below, by stream (maybe, barring technical difficulties) or by download.


Title: Waiting Room
Artist: Fugazi
Album: 13 Songs (1989)
Submitted By: Romeo Sid Vivicious
Comments: This one took no thought at all. The opening to this song is what comes to mind any time any one mentions a bass line. This album this one is off of was an icebreaker between me and my now best friend when we first met and to this day still makes my playlists 22 years later. God damn it now I feel fucking old…

Title: Chicken Strut
Artist: The Meters
Album: Struttin’ (1970)
Submitted By: Phil Norman – @philnorman –
Comments: I dig the current neo-funk-soul revival of bands like Sugarman 3, but I dig The Meters even more. Also, this song has chicken noises.

Title: Yes
Artist: Morphine
Album: Yes (1995)
Submitted by: April … Continue reading

Rebirth of the Cool: Trick Bag

As I’ve copped to before, sometimes I discover great music through questionable sources. For example, my discovery trail to Earl King’s “Trick Bag” began in 1990 thanks to a cassette tape that featured one of the most ubiquitous songs of that era. But let’s start at the beginning…

Released in 1962, King’s original has a solid, loping, irresistible groove and an engaging story.


Watch this video on YouTube


In 1964, Seattle band the Artesians took the song and added layers of noise and bombast with muscular organ and lots of hi-hat. I swear if you put your face close enough to the speaker when you listen to this version, you’ll feel your hair blown back. (Incidentally, if anyone has information on this band, please let me know. I’m having trouble turning up much on them.)


Watch this video on YouTube


Now let’s leap to the ’90s. In 1990, Robert Palmer created a cultural phenomenon with his video for “Addicted to Love” – you know the one, with the heavily made-up, dead-eyed ladies in their little, black dresses. Despite the fact … Continue reading

Jessica Lea Mayfield: My Self-Esteem Is Heating Up the Room

Discovered by Chuck Auerbach (father of that guy in the Black Keys) when she was about 16 years old, Kent, Ohio’s Jessica Lea Mayfield (now 21) has come a long way, championed by the likes of the Black Keys, the Avett Brothers and Justin Townes Earle, and with her new album, Tell Me, it sounds like she doesn’t plan to stop.

Tell Me, which will be released on February 8, is Mayfield’s second full-length album and her second album produced by Dan Auerbach. And by the sound of the sneak-peek song “Our Hearts Are Wrong”, it will be twice the album that 2008’s With Blasphemy So Heartfelt was – which was a beautiful album to begin with – expanding her sound in new ways. Download “Our Hearts Are Wrong” below and catch Mayfield as she tours with Jay Farrar and Justin Townes Earle, with a stop back home for the Kent Folk Festival on November 18.

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Die, Sloopy, Die: Rocket from the Tombs

Die, Sloopy, Die is a tribute to great Ohio bands of the past and present. The name is an anti-tribute to our official state rock song “Hang On, Sloopy” by the McCoys because, while it is awesome that we were the first state to declare an official state rock song (and, so far, we are one of only two states to do so, Oklahoma having declared the Flaming Lips’ “Do You Realize??” their official state song), we chose one of the lamest songs it was possible for us to choose.

Rocket from the Tombs

Music lineage can be a tangle, especially when it comes to punk. (The family tree of British punk band London SS would take an entire gymnasium wall to itself.) Most music lovers probably know that if you follow the trail backward from the 2006 team-up of Nine Inch Nails and Peter Murphy for “Final Solution”, you’ll light on Murphy’s 1986 version of the song for his album Should the World Fail to Fall Apart before ending up on Pere … Continue reading