Thursday, December 18, 2014

LA Salami -- Day to Day (For 6 Days a Week)

I've made it pretty clear what I think of LA Salami in the past. Here's a quiet meditation for your Friday afternoon.

LA Salami -- Official, Facebook, Camouflage Recordings 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Kitten Forever -- Pressure, The Vinyl Records -- Ready Set Go

Let's end the year with a fuckton of punk. Specifically, punk by lady-identified humans. First up is Kitten Forever, a Minneapolis-based trio that brings a whole ton of piss and vinegar. I initially listened to the album in September and I planned to write something about early Sleater-Kinney and riot grrl being born again but then Sleater-Kinney reunited and you guys I'm going to finally see them live.

But to be perfectly honest I'm kicking myself for not being able to say Kitten Forever when they passed through here. Listening to Pressure makes me feel exhausted -- the live shows must be an experience to behold.

Kitten Forever's frenzied vocals, whacked out guitars and furious drums are enough to set your pulse racing. Their songs about parties and sexy times (but not with just anyone, asshole) will get your fists pumping and your booty moving. So it's nice that Sleater-Kinney is touring again and all, but there's clearly room to spare on the throne.

Kitten Forever -- Official, Facebook, Bandcamp

Speaking of young upstarts, The Vinyl Records, a quarter based out of the "Himalayas," is thundering into the world via Metal Postcard Records. In case Kitten Forever wasn't proof, they're here to remind you that women-fronted punk is here to stay.

The Vinyl Records have a smoother sound but they're no less potent.

The Vinyl Records -- Bandcamp

Todd Kessler -- Exactly Where I Should Be

I'm taking a quick writing break. In the meantime, check out Todd Kessler's latest pop folk masterpiece, "Exactly Where I Should Be." At has a little more edge than his more recent work.

Todd Kessler -- Official, Facebook, Bandcamp

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tapes & Tubes -- Moon & Stars

If you're like me around the holidays, you tend to get reflective and maybe a little broody. I thought Tapes & Tubes' (nee Austin Potter) music would be appropriate for the mood. He released a full album last summer, but his new EP is fairly similar to his previous work.

Potter explores the edges between folk and drone rock. His deep voice is well-suited to his somber monologues juxtaposed with delicate fingerpicking. It's perfect for a winter twilight.

Tapes & Tubes -- Official, Facebook, Bandcamp

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Show Ponies -- Run For Your Life

The Show Ponies are back in the saddle with their new EP. It's more of the same. As in, 5 more high-energy, witty songs that make you feel feels. I know this is a short review, but only because there are only so many great things I can say about this band. They work so tightly as a unit. I'm always impressed by their faithfulness to their simple old-time sound and the complexity of their lyrics.

"Honey, Dog, and Home" follows in a long tradition of proudly defiant road songs, though I find the imagery refreshing. "Run For Your Life" is the emotional and musical centerpiece of the album. It's a gentle, clever, critique of the misery of modern society but damn does it make you want to stomp your feet and holler. This'll make a great stocking (or Hanukkah Harry) stuffer.

The Show Ponies -- Official, Facebook, Bandcamp

Friday, December 12, 2014

Cahalen Morrison and Country Hammer -- The Flower of Muscle Shoals

Cahalen Morrison has already established a name for himself as a purveyor of gorgeous folk music with his musical partner Eli West. This time, Morrison strikes out with his own with a full band. Just as he carefully recreated the feel of classic folk music, The Flower of Muscle Shoals breathes new life (perhaps it would be better to say "life anew") into classic country.

From an outsider's perspective, it feels like country can divide itself into two camps these days: mainstream country that is saccharine or defines country life as being willfully ignorant, and the sadsack music usually featured here that depicts rural living as meaningless drudgery. Morrison's careful observations of rural Tennessee, on the other hand, show pride of place without arrogance or idealization. It just seems like a nice place to live. But with lots of heartbreak, crying, and pedal steel.

Cahalen Morrison and Country Hammer -- Official, Facebook, Buy on Amazon

Motel Glory -- Weekend Treasures, Monday's Trash

With a band name and album title like these you pretty much know what you're in for. This is beer-soaked twang punk that's easy enough to sing along to when you're plastered but meaty enough to enjoy when you're sober. I found these guys through Anchor Bends' Bandcamp page. I'm glad my web surfing paid off.

Motel Glory is not the first band to mix up punk and country, but they certainly have their own spin on it. While some songs, like "Drive Away," have clear influences from bands like Social Distortion and Superchunk, Motel Glory's sharply worded lyrics and drier-than-toast wit keep things lighthearted. They're not about celebrating debauchery (though that's a prominent theme in their songs) and they're not about wallowing in their cups (though there's also plenty of that) -- it's more like they're reveling in the fact that both the ups and downs (mostly downs) exist at all. Weekend Treasures is a fun ride that deserves your ears.

Motel Glory -- Bandcamp, Facebook