New Releases: April 18By MIK DAVIS,
Kimbrough is back and ‘He Likes It Down Here’
I Like It Down Here
The one time Bushmen and longtime sideman for Emmylou Harris and Todd Snider found new footing last year as a producer with Shemekia Copeland.
Separate from both his other projects Willie Sugarcapps and Daddy, Kimbrough offers his own take on the Blues and the state of America today.
Very Southern, Kimbrough shines the most when he sings and accents his lines with his slinky guitar licks.
Cage the Elephant
Kentucky’s Cage The Elephant has consistently and quietly maintained its hold on Modern Rock with Nirvanaesque songs.
After winning a Grammy for 2015’s “Tell Me I’m Pretty,”it appears they are pursuing pop success turning over their fifth studio album to Rihanna/Portuga, The Man producer John Hill. They continue to swagger like the late period Black Keys but the writing focuses on a newly-discovered maturity.
Still they find neat 80’s textures to distort (“House of Glass ”), woozy balladeering (“Goodbye”) and a Reggae-tinged shimmering strut with Beck (“Night Running.”)
English singer/songwriter Jade Bird makes her debut trying to transform her earlier folk-based (and centered) writing into an attitude-driven Alanis Morrissette-like bid for stardom.
“I Get No Joy” finds its melody from her defiant one-line chorus. That allows the elastic-voiced Bird to run lyrical rings around it like she is rapping. Her wild phrasing makes her stand out from the rest (“Love Has All Been Done Before”), but her writing still leaves room for growth.
FAT WHITE FAMILY
The British faves draw raves in their homeland with their dark, pulsing social commentary. “Serf’s Up” unearths a more worldly view and pushes the pop underpinnings of their writing forward.
“Tastes Good With The Money” mixes a Glam-ish beat with dark harmonies and a haunting spoken-word portion from Baxter Dury.
If the whole thing sounds too foreign, just focus on their pulsating beats (“Feet”) and wait for their choruses to make your entry into their biting but alluring tales.
On his second effort under the dark moniker, Michael Collins leads us into a lush, Seventies vibe whose comfort makes a great substrate to expose the parasitic but human side of fame and love.
“Honey” is elegant and Beatlesque where Natalie Mering coos like a songbird about failure.
The effervescent “Fools” is a standout with its Boz Scaggs-ish chorus and Sausalito saxophone.
This glittery new trio from the UK really deserve to make a splash here with their wildly melodic Electronic pop.
“Joking Me” has all the facets of a radio smash – that incessant danceable beat, slinky bass, slithering synths and that driving hook. The R&B based sunniness of “Show Love” fares even better with its irresistible pull.
Stealing Sheep keep their dance floor grooves simple but tangle them in a wash of vocals and sugary neon pop.
Many of today’s Indie Rockers have to consistently reinvent the wheel to stand out. This New York band just digs into their twee-meets-punk fast jangle and lets its choruses shine. Chimy guitars, muted bass and driving drums are all they need to ease in slightly anthemic (“Good Advice”) bounce around the beat (“Tell Me True”) and on their best songs do everything self-conscious Indie Rockers will not do. “Butter Dish” is the Paisley Underground of the Eighties waiting to be reborn.
Mik Davis is the record store manager at TBONES Records & Cafe.