New Releases: The Lone Bellow, a Hattiesburg fan favorite, creeps towards rock with new releaseBy MIK DAVIS,
Nashville's vocal heroes decamped to upstate New York to record with The National's Aaron Dessner (and Josh Kaufman from new Folk supergroup Bonny Light Horseman.)
The heavenly harmonies of these Hattiesburg fan favorites stay intact even as this is the band edging closer to rock. "Count on Me" is another rousing anthem, while the bluesy wail of "Just Enough To Get By" is a step in a new direction.
THE LONE BELLOW
Half Moon Light
Father of All...
[LP/CD] (Warner Bros.)
To say Green Day sounds revitalized is an understatement on the angry and loud "Father of All."
The searing title cut joins Buzzcocks style driving punk with modern alternative as Billie Joe pushes his falsetto.
While the barreling Hives-ish single "Oh Yeah" samples the Glam classic "Do You Wanna Touch Me" (and subsequently donates all proceeds from the single to charities), Billie Joe no longer sounds like Billie Joe. He is happily drowned in the mix of raging guitars and background vocals.
Tre Cool and Mike Dirnt plug along like the tight rhythm section they are.
As ambitious as Green Day was, the return to the rapid-fire is truly Green Day.
KHRUANGBIN & LEON BRIDGES
Texas Sun EP
[LP/CD] (Dead Oceans)
In the world of strange bedfellows, instrumental faves Khruangbin may play their Eastern-tinged music with soul - but to pick up the Sam Cooke-ish coo of Leon Bridges is definitely unexpected.
"Texas Sun" is relaxing, and it is nice to hear Bridges both restrained and a little raspy on the drifting swing.
The funky "C-Side" is also a neat showcase for the Marvin Gaye-ish side of Bridges with guitarist Mark Speer accenting him.
Singer Elly Jackson has gone her own way since 2014. Once "Bulletproof," Jackson catches up with the times dipping into both the very Christine And The Queens synth-pop and Tame Impala-esque pop. "International Woman of Leisure" is just a wonky as its title.
"Supervision" lacks the same brazen Eighties-esque production that set her career on fire in 2009 when she emulated Yaz and The Eurythmics.
Any lean toward that cold yet cinematic style on "Supervision" is welcome.
We’re New Again:
A Reimagining of Gil-Scott Heron
Chicago's McCraven is one of the new vanguard of Jazz musicians and composers. While based in Chicago, McCraven is on the same wavelength of the new London Jazz underground (The Comet Is Coming, Theon Cross, Moses Boyd, Kamaal Williams) blending traditional jazz ideas with uptempo EDM-style beats.
McCraven takes Gil Scott's last will and testament, the still-stunning "I'm New Here," and relights its flame with swirling jazz and fierce beats. The best part is while the mood is changed, "We're New Again" is designed to work side-by-side with Richard Russell's production on the 2010 classic.
Live at the Royal Albert Hall, 1974
Time for the difficult conversation. Outside of Roxy Music, Bryan Ferry devoted most of his solo efforts to a series of challenging covers.
Backed by Roxy, this sound is prescient of what is coming for the band. However, as a schmaltzy singer, Ferry knew just when to push standards to their limit.
Dylan's "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" is a great introduction to this period as it frames the earnest folk song within the staccato piano figure characteristic to all early Roxy singles ("Editions of You," Pyjamarama" and "Virginia Plain") and the drive of "The Thrill of It All," on the just-released "Country Life."
Elsewhere, the showy "Sympathy For The Devil, " the thumping "The In Crowd" and Motown-ish swing of "It's My Party" make this one a must to at least sample.
Unlike their sterile studio counterparts, these live versions have more in common with the scintillating 1976 breakthrough "Let's Stick Together."
The Big Exercise
SubPop has had quite a run recently with angular, clever guitar pop. Somewhere between the Rolling Blackouts haunted chime and the contortions of favorite Corridor lies this Dutch trio.
Reverb-drenched vocals and swelling drum figures make The Homesick stand out. Their propulsive minor-key pop is well-composed as the swirling "I Celebrate My Fantasy" joins melodic bass with single-note guitar chime and a quiet bridge with inspired but subtle drums.
"Kain" drives the band forward more with its mix of motorik rhythms, legato vocals and clarinet. While the shrewd drone of "Male Bonding" is riveting.
All or Nothing
Rachel Aggs is one of the true new talents of indie music in the UK. As a part of Trash Kit and Sacred Paws, she proves that she can write songs to fit both punk and its more pop offshoot.
However, in the angular post-punk trio Shopping, Aggs does a beautiful job of interweaving her melodies and the simplest words around terse grooves. "For Your Pleasure" revisits the polemics of Delta 5, but thanks to their addition of synths and attention to the powerful riff, it builds maddeningly into a dance floor anthem.
"Initative" fares even better with a massive chorus. Mostly Shopping is enjoyable because unlike a lot of post-punk today, it remains light and slightly joyful.
Canada is experiencing a great burst of folk/Americana artists. Colter Wall and Kacy & Clayton are now joined by this husky-voiced Manitoban.
Prince writes like early Seventies Country, but thanks to his mellifluous singing and soulful production, "Reliever" is one album you never want to reach for anything higher than a midtempo.
"Always Have What We Had" could be a Bobby Bare song. However, as Prince sings lyrics like "Running through the wreckage in a beautiful house were the sounds of little feet," it echoes the quieter moments of Sturgill Simpson's "A Sailor's Guide To Earth."
The beautiful track "The Spark" is a single just waiting to happen.
JAMES YORKSTON, JON THORNE,
and SUHAIL YUSEF KHAN
Navarasa: Nine Emotions
British folk has always had a spiritual side. Listening to one of its best guitarists Yorkston tangle with sarangi player and vocalist Khan is an experience that must be heard.
Their lengthy songs reach for that place of meditativeness where time no longer matters. Khan leads the group through 12 fascinating songs. While the pair intertwine Scottish folk and Indian mesmerism, double bassist Thorne amazingly ties it together. Beautiful.
Mik Davis, an avid music listener and historian, is the record store manager at TBONES Records & Cafe in Hattiesburg.