Saturday, 5 March 2016

Short Attention Span Record Reviews, March 2016

Folk musician is a Hendrix fan, strips his hero’s songs down to their barest elements and plays them on acoustic instruments to reveal the songsmith behind the guitar God. (7)

BIG UPS – Before A Million Universes

I bet that New York’s music-scribing hipsterati will hype these Brooklynite Fugazi disciples to death but don’t hold that against the band, this is actually a pretty good album. (7)

CALEB CAUDLE – Carolina Ghost

OK, I give up: I can’t tell anymore what’s country and what’s americana and what the difference between the two is and why this country/americana record sounds so much like a compilation of Eagles ballads. (6)

DIAMOND HEAD – Diamond Head

Excellent return to form by one of the most influential heavy metal bands of all time, the songs here wouldn’t feel out of place on any of the band’s first three albums. New vocalist Ras Andersen does a great job holding his own and avoids the mistake of emulating the great Sean Harris. (8)

ESPERANZA SPALDING – Emily’s D+Evolution

Spalding goes miles beyond her jazz roots on this, a funky, proggy, rocking, ambitious little gem of a concept album co-produced with the legendary Tony Visconti. One extra point because I have a thing for girls with guitars and she totally slays her 5-string fretless bass. (9)

JIM BRYSON – Somewhere We Will Find Our Place

Canadian indie rock singer-songwriter sings songs about Canada, sounds very Canadian. (7)

LORETTA LYNN – Full Circle

83-year old country legend returns to bid us farewell with wonderful and appropriately titled album. I’m diluting my beer pint with tears as I listen to this. (8)


Supposedly an americana/folk artist, Andersen comes across more like a 70’s Stax/Motown soul throwback with a smooth voice that can melt panties. (7)

NEVERMEN – Nevermen

Supergroup consisting of Mike Patton, TV On The Radio’s Tunde Adembimpe and rapper Doseone is sonically closer to Peeping Tom than to any other project its members have been involved with. (7)

NORTHCOTE – Hope Is Made Of Steel

The kind of anthemic North American rock you always want to blast at full volume while driving down an open highway. “Just Kids” will probably be my favorite new song until The Hold Steady release another album. (8)

If you’re anything like me you’ve probably refused to listen to any band featuring dual vocalists of the cliché "Female Ethereal Nymph/Male Cookie Monster" combo variety for the last 15 years or so. Well folks, it’s time to reconsider because this Texan prog/death metal sextet makes it sound totally fresh. (8)

VARIOUS ARTISTS – God Don't Never Change; The Songs of Blind Willie Johnson

Contemporary re-interpretations of songs first recorded between 1927 and 1930 by influential early bluesman. Tom Waits, Lucinda Williams, Cowboy Junkies, Sinead O’Connor, Rickie Lee Jones and others pay their respects. (8)

VOIVOD – Post Society EP

Prog/psychedelic thrash metal pioneers still relevant and kicking ass despite being two original members down. Two new songs, two more from recent splits with Napalm Death and At The Gates, and a Hawkwind cover. (8)

WILLIE NELSON – Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin

This is his 71st solo studio album so I guess smoking pot is good for the work ethic. Outlaw country legend goes jazz and visits the great Gershwin songbook. The surreal but wonderful pairing with Cyndi Lauper (!) on “Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off” is among the album’s most enjoyable moments. (8)

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