Laughingstock, “Like Texas”

Cinematic, spacious, and poetic, the songs of Laughingstock pull you in with layered textures while celebrating the victories, defeats, and spirituality of everyday life. “Like Texas” is a quiet little epic metaphor for America’s largest contradiction.

Like Texas (play/download mp3)

Buy the album as CD or MP3s at Amazon

Ezra Furman & the Harpoons Havin’ “Hard Times In A Terrible Land”

Good God. In his harrowing tale, alone in bad neighborhoods with termites in the floorboards, Ezra Furman’s shredded pleas for the Lord’s mercy remain unheeded. The Harpoons’ dirty bashing goes unanswered. What, is it The Big Kahuna’s day off? Out of town for the National Association of Dieties convention in Scottsdale? Or is it just that this little thumper is too much for even the Big G to handle? A voice, howling naked in the darkness. Good stuff.

Ezra Furman & The Harpoons
“Hard Time in a Terrible Land” (download mp3)
from “Mysterious Power”
“Hard Time In A Terrible Land” (play)
(Red Parlor Records)

All I Want’s My Baby, A Bottle, and The Real Nasty

“She was bad, I was good,” explains Ryan Lucas, singer songwriter with the Real Nasty. The Real Nasty is real nasty. Their songs are about the finer things in life: Drinking, doing drugs, having sex, having sex while doing drugs and drinking – and the like. Far from lurid or obscene, they make it all sound very wholesome. And their guitars sound soo good.

The Real Nasty
“Baby and a Bottle” (download mp3)
from “Dirty Dollars”
“Baby And A Bottle” (play)
(Ninth Street Opus)

TW Walsh Makes It Rhyme

Trippeh. With a vibe echoing John Lennon’s solo records, some clever turns of phrase and a right steady beat, this is high-brow fab. I like the eerie vibrato on the organ – it’s pitched halfway into the next county, and there’s a wild effect on the lead guitar as well. Excellent track from Boston’s TW Walsh.

TW Walsh
“Make It Rhyme” (download mp3)
from “Songs of Pain and Leisure”
“Make It Rhyme” (play)
(Graveface Records)

Madly Loving Katharine Whalen & Her Fascinators

I’m fascinated. Best known for her founding role with the Squirrel Nut Zippers, Katharine Whalen has an entrancing vocal talent and a knack for instantly memorable lyrics. I love “Madly Love.” I’m smitten. The musical arrangement is spectacular, and it frames the vocal so perfectly it could only have been pulled off by veteran players. Here is proof, again, of why I do this blog. This is a GR8 single.

Katharine Whalen & Fascinators
“Madly Love” (download mp3)
from “Madly Love”
“Madly Love” (play)
(Five Head Entertainment)

The Jim Jones Revue Leaps Offa “High Horse”

In the grand tradition of punk-a-billy goin back to Jerry Lee Lewis and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (with an intentional or not nod to the calamitous drug mayhem of Brian Jonestown Massacre), this here is some rock n’ roll music. From an excellent new release from The Jim Jones Revue called “Burning Your House Down.” Do it.

The Jim Jones Revue
“High Horse” (download mp3)
from “Burning Your House Down”
“High Horse” (play)
(Punk Rock Blues Records)
More On This Album

Red Iron Orchestra’s Absurdly Good Debut Featuring The Epic “Klara”

Dang this is purty. Wanna hear some big shiny guitars as wide as the sky, draped over mountainous drums, and grand, expansive vocals? Look no further. This record touches something uniquely American, and it’s interesting that it was recorded in Detroit and not like, on a high desert plain somewhere flooding over with liquid sunset. Red Iron Orchestra, lads and ladies, with a real stunner. Big, majestic, patient, subtle, broad, original, and just essentially awesome. You gotta hear this.

Red Iron Orchestra
“Klara” (download mp3)
from “Red Iron Orchestra”
“Klara” (play)
(Elkion Records)
More On This Album

It’s Raining Pop On Diego’s Umbrella

This ambitious and hilarious new single from San Francisco’s rising stars Diego’s Umbrella is like Gogol Bordello meets Queen (high praise, dears). “Richardson” is as pop as it is prog – a seamless conflagration of styles that emerges from their strange contraption as a power pop gem. Ridiculous, expansive, and beautiful.

Diego’s Umbrella
“Richardson – Single” (download mp3)
from “Richardson/Downtown – Single”
“Richardson” (play)
(Ninth Street Opus)
More On This Album

Ray Campi Skins The Jimmie Skinner Songbook

As much biographical info as there is in this song, I don’t think I need to tell you the story of Ray Campi, or what he cares or doesn’t care about.  It’s all here, in a four minute testimony over some fine gitfiddle steel pickin’. Rockabilly legend Ray Campi, ladies and gents, paying tribute to bluegrass hitmaker Jimmie Skinner. Buckets of GR8.

Ray Campi
“Jimmie Skins The Blues” (download mp3)
from “The Ultimate Jimmie Skinner Songbook”
“Jimmie Skins The Blues” (play)
(Real Music Productions)
Need more!

“Love and Crashing” Under The Oax

And now for some proper indie smartrock from Houston. Houston? Yes, Dorothy, Houston, Texas. Inspired by a breakup, band member shakeups, endless canopies of Oak trees and the drummer from Spoon, Giorgio Angelini made an album called “The Distance” and I like it. This should get plenty of college radio love and end up on a bunch of blogs, I predict. It just came out. Like a minute ago. This song is really cool. Enjoy =)

“Love and Crashing” (download mp3)
from “The Distance”
“Love And Crashing” (play)
(Bladen County Records)
More On This Album