Music You should Check Out
It’s time for another CD round up.
Here’s the 411 on some of the albums that have come my way in the last few weeks.
Let’s start with a couple of albums from artists that will be playing at Asbury Lanes on Friday April 10th.
AUSTIN LUCAS - “SOMEBODY LOVES YOU”
What Austin’s bio says:
WHILE (Austin) LUCAS CAME OF AGE IN THE BASEMENTS OF DIY PUNK AND HARDCORE, HIS SOLO MUSICAL OUTPUT IS LESS REMINISCENT OF THE GRAVEL-THROATED WHISKEY-DRINKING PUNK TROUBADOURS. RIVALING THE PROJECTION OF NEKO CASE, THE HUSHED CADENCES OF SAM BEAM (IRON AND WINE), AND THE HEARTACHE OF GILLIAN WELCH, SOMEBODY LOVES YOU IS LUCAS’ RICHEST WORK TO DATE, PLACING HIM IN THE COMPANY OF THE STRONGEST VOICES IN CONTEMPORARY AMERICANA.
RECORDED IN DECEMBER 2008 BY HIS FATHER, BOB LUCAS, AT THE LUCAS FAMILY HOME IN OHIO,SOMEBODY LOVES YOU FINDS LUCAS BACKED BY HIS FATHER, CHRIS WESTHOFF, AND TODD BEENE (LUCERO), AND ACCOMPANIED BY HIS SISTER, CHLOE MANOR. THE COLLECTIVE EFFORT OF THE LUCAS FAMILY ON SOMEBODY LOVES YOU REFLECTS THE CLAN’S DEEP MUSICAL HERITAGE; AUSTIN SPENT SIX FORMATIVE YEARS AS A MEMBER OF THE NATIONALLY-ACCLAIMED INDIANA UNIVERSITY CHILDREN’S CHOIR, WHILE HIS FATHER HAS SONGWRITING CREDITS ON TWO OF ALLISON KRAUS’ ALBUMS, INCLUDING 1997’S GRAMMY-WINNING SO LONG SO WRONG. THE NEW MATERIAL ACCELERATES LUCAS’ GROWTH AS A SONGWRITER, CONTINUING TO EXPAND UPON THE STORYTELLING AND INSTRUMENTATION OF THE COMMON COLD (HOMETOWN CARAVAN/ SABOTAGE, 2006), PUTTING THE HAMMER DOWN(HOMETOWN CARAVAN/ MAGIC BULLET, 2007), AND HIS RECENT COLLABORATION WITH CHUCK RAGAN,BRISTLE RIDGE (TEN FOUR/ HOMETOWN CARAVAN, 2008).
What I say:
This is the best album I have heard so far this year! An amazing combination of bluegrass/mountain music, and classic country (which these days would be called alt-country). The album has a timeless feel, no easy feat…just think about how many 80’s albums, or 90’s grunge rock albums, sound like they could only have come from that time period. The music is just right, flourishes of banjo, violin, and peddle steel, supplement Austin’s guitar without overpowering the songs, and on the tracks where Austin’s sister, Chloe, sings with him are just about the most perfect duets I have ever heard. I don’t say this often, but you really need to hear this album…NOW!
Check out some of the songs at Austin’s MySpace page:
TIM BARRY - “MANCHESTER”
What Tim’s bio says: So how's this for living the rock 'n' roll dream? You dwell in a cinderblock garage in Richmond, Virginia, a decidedly unglamorous city with zero hipster cachet. You release your music - recorded on the cheap in a buddy's house -- via MySpace or a small indie label. When you're on the road, you drive yourself from gig to gig in a dingy used van. When you return home, you plunge right back into normal life -- toiling as a carpenter for a ballet company.
Such is the life of 37-year-old singer-songwriter Tim Barry.
But don't get the wrong idea. Barry, a thick, grizzled character whose singing voice ranges from crystalline to Joe Cocker-gruff, isn't griping about his lack of fame and riches. He honestly doesn't yearn for the mansion, the pimped ride, the groupies, and all the other crap. The truth is Barry's perfectly content with his simple, low key existence - what do you expect a guy whose favorite pastimes include taking long meditative walks and sitting on the porch strumming a battered guitar?
Since 1990 he's charted a course through the music industry that's been more about the music and less about the industry. As the frontman for Avail, the critically-lauded punk-hardcore-rock powerhouse, he helped steer the band away from a big-dollar major label deal, choosing instead to put out records on labels run by friends and tour mostly mid-sized clubs. As a songsmith - he began performing solo in 2004 -- he's taken a thoroughly noncommercial path, crafting low-fi tunes informed by vintage country, American folk, and classic rock that don't remotely resemble anything you'll hear on the FM dial.
What I say:
It’s a damn shame that Tim Barry’s bio is largely right that his music doesn’t resemble anything you hear on the FM dial (I say “largely” because college stations probably do play his music). Comparing him to the more singer-songwriter (think “Nebraska” album) side of Bruce Springsteen may seem like lofty praise, but I think it is a simple and effective way to explain not only the musical vibe of “Manchester”, but also the lyrical. Tim Barry has said, “The lyrics I write are based on journal entries or are telling the stories of folks I've met firsthand,” and it shows, maybe no better example then in “South Hill”, about a teenager who got his girlfriend pregnant, drops out of school, and winds up a soldier in Iraq.
“Manchester” is a punk rock attitude adapted into catchy folk/alt-country songs.
I can’t wait to see both Austin Lucas and Tim Barry (performing along side Josh Small, Greg Attonito, Vic Ruggiero, and Shanti) at Asbury Lanes on Friday April 10th.
THE MIGHTY REGIS - “ANOTHER NICKEL FOR THE POPE”
What their bio says:
After years of playing the north west counties of the "Emerald Isle"' the lads of THE MIGHTY REGIS (The Irish Show Band from County Sligo) have made their way to the U.S.
Sounds Like The fastest mandolin in the world stealing yer girlfriend whilst kicking yer arse.
What I say:
I like the fastest mandolin part of their description of what they sound like, but how many people want their arse kicked and their girlfriend stolen?
Seriously though, these guys and gal are the real deal. It may or may not be fair, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who is going to say this band has a lot in common with Flogging Molly. Traditional Irish music sped up with punk rock zeal. We’re just a few days away from St. Paddy’s Day, and “another nickel for the pope” should definitely be part of your Irish holiday music collection. How can it not be with sound titles like, “drinkin’, laughin’, dancing’ fightin’”, “get drunk and go home”, “hungover”, and “Molly Malone’s” (which incorporates a nice Irish take on the Cash classic, “ring of fire”). As if that wasn’t enough, they’re take on “Danny Boy”, will have you dancing with your pint of ale rather than cryin’ in it.
Come to think of it, forget St. Paddy‘s Day, “another nickel for the pope”, is an instant Irish party, just hit ‘play’.
THE EXITS - “NEON CITY”
What their bio says:
Bands have been combining rock and electronic elements for some time. The Killers and Klaxons all made a bee line for the mainstream and ended up as not only front runners of their respective scenes but chart dominating superstars. The Exits may have a similar knack for moments of uplifting bliss and giddy choruses but they also possess a distinctly English trait. The Exits’ sound continually evolves from electronica smattered guitar based tracks, to a heavy synthesised, dance orientated assault.
What I say:
“Neon City” is an EP containing 5 versions of the title cut (original mix, 3 remixes, and a live version), and the “B-side” single, “you gotta help me out”. While I can do without the remixes, I really like the two original songs a lot, especially title track, “neon city”, which reminds me of the stadium rock anthems that ManBREAK put out back in the 90’s. The live version of “neon city” shows me this band is not just a studio band but has some good energy live also. Honestly though, I just enjoy turning up the stereo loud and bouncing around rocking out to the title track.
Ok, that’s all for now folks.