Scotland’s Mo Evans comes from a rich heritage of musical inclined people: producer Robin Evans is his dad, singer Sam Brown is his mom, and Joe & Vicki Brown are his grandparents. Now, the 19-year old man wants to make a name for himself not only as a descendant of the Brown/Evans family, but as someone who will stand out on his own. His EP is called Spilled My Love and the video is for the title track. Get to know Mo and discover why he may become the next “it” man of pop music.
If music by The Wood Brothers, The Avett Brothers, or Ray Lamontagne is a turn on, may I turn you on to the music and words of Tyler Nail, an artist from Winston-Salem, North Carolina who offers his style of Americana to where it will become identified with him. He has an album out now (his second) called Feathers and from it is a very nice song called “Valentina”, which may remind you of The Eagles or Loggins & Messina too.
Three weeks ago I posted a song by country singer Rachel Potter for “Boomerang”. Three weeks later, a video is being presented for all to see and hear. Have a look at how she interprets her song visually.
As I was listening to The March Divide‘s Billions (self-rleeased), I tried to hear their brand of pop/rock a bit more abrasive, as if they were trying to be a younger version of Green Day, Offspring, or any other band with a bit of punk pop power to it, but they don’t quite get there. That’s not a complaint, that’s actually a good thing and while the music would have welcomed a harder sheen, I like what they do here for they’re open to bringing in country, folk, and Americana influences that might have been overlooked if they did it in a different way. Some of it sounds like Lenny Kravitz if the style of rock he grew up with were a different set of bands, and that’s due to how Jared Putnam uses his voice. When the songs are more pop friendly, he could easily become a new heartthrob if he wanted that, but I don’t know what the ladies (or men) would think of him being a hunky vocalist. I think what carries the spirit throughout Billions is how the music drives from beginning to end and sometimes within the verse/chorus/verse structure, because they’re well written and done in a way that has a lot of thought.
What can you say about a band who has made over 5392 albums in their career, and they decide to release another one? You dive in to fine out what happens. In truth, you can say that Hold It In (Ipecac) is Melvins’ nth album, and to be honest I’ve pretty much lost track of how many albums they’ve released so far. What I can say that for this album, Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover are joined by Butthole Surfers’ Paul Leary and Jeff Pinkus to create music that sounds distinctly like Melvins music, a pinch of the Butthole magic, but also something else entirely. WHat makes this magical in a Melvins sense is that it retains the heaviness and sludge everyone has come to know and love but for these recordings, some of the songs reach a level not unlike the Foo Fighters or Queens Of The Stone Age, in that they’re, dare I say it, almost accessible. That comes through how Buzzo sings in portions of the songs, as if he’s trying to present himself as an all new man. Well, at least for some songs. What also makes this work is how Pinkus and Leary also share lead vocal duties, which also helps bring it a Foo/QOTSA vibe partially because it doesn’t stop stereotypically Melvins-ish, if that makes any sense. All of a sudden, they’re turning themselves inside out to do a country song. With songs like “Onions Make The Milk Taste Bad”, “Sesame Street Meat”, and “House Of Gasoline”, you feel like it is an “anything goes” thing but it’s a Melvins album, you have to come in expecting unpredictable titles, stories, and arrangements.
Loosely, you could say that this is the album Melvins has been holding back from releasing, if they wanted to make big hits. Want to hear the Kiss influences? It’s still there. Want to hear something on the level of The Swans? Still there. Then again, this is Melvins, they’re far from the big hit band and yet they know they’re capable of doing something on that level. A part of me wants to say they’re holding back from being a hit machine but they’ve done the major label thing before, and I think at this point in their careers, as long as they’re still having fun, they are going to churn out whatever they want. They could be funky and groove happy like Big Chief for the next album, or do some music that sounds like a cross between Paula Abdul and Kim Gordon on the next one. No matter, for if you love Melvins, it doesn’t matter what they’ll do next, you’ll bow down and follow, as we all should on a regular basis. Hold It In is what it sounds like if they allowed themselves to let go for awhile. Like a wet water hose.
Out of Nashville is a new country pop artist making a name for herself, and she goes by the name of Rachel Potter, who became known nationally after making into The X Factor‘s Top 12. Rather than wait around, she decided to take her dreams to a new level. She has appeared in Broadway productions of The Addams Family and Evita and now will be releasing an album next year called Not So Black And White. The first single is a duet with Anthem Lights’ singer Joey Stamper called “Boomerang”, preview the song over at iTunes and see if you will be the one to come back to it.
During a time when it seems the most of today’s pop artists aren’t telling or even creating stories, it’s nice to hear a set of music that does it and still knows how to. The self-titled debut by Portland’s Hook & Anchor (Jealous Butcher/Woodphone) is storytelling done very well, played in a way that is intricate to what is being said and why it’s being said is all a part of listening, you want to react and listen to more to know more. Kati Claborn is the core, the “Hook” if you will, but along with Erik Clampitt, Gabrielle Macrae, Luke Ydstie and Ryan Dobrowski, the “anchors” of this ship, they all display why this union works perfectly, how they all play an equal role that plays music that’s equally sound and in time, profound. Initially the album begins like a great pop albums from the mid to late 70’s or 1980’s, almost like what Bonnie Raitt is capable of doing, before there are string of country and even the blues. A slight twang of the guitar or a roll of the drums help to decorate the atmosphere but regardless of the coloring involved, it’s the stories that you want to listen and keep to, just so you’ll remember it and find a way to relate to, if they don’t immediately do so upon first listen. Hook & Anchor play music for people of varied tastes, listeners will find something of interest while at the same time finding something new that will eventually be satisfying to the ears and mind. Whether it’s country or the pop sentiments that capture people first, it’s the rest of it that will keep everyone around for a long time.
New Zealand singer/songwriter Rachel Dawick will not only be releasing a new album next month, but this effort happens to be a double album. The Boundary Riders will be out on September 19th, just in time for the new season of spring (in the southern hemisphere, that is) and to hear the influence country and Americana music has around the world, look no further than here. The first single from the album is called “‘Biddy Of The Buller”, which will be released next week Monday. You may stream it in full below or purchase it when the 1st of September arrives. As for the topic of the song, Dawick says it refers to Bridget Goodwin, who was “one of the six women who lived in NZ in the 1800s whose journeys are followed through the course of the show album. Biddy was a four-foot, pipe smoking goldminer who lived with two men in a shack near Lyell along the Buller River. She was a tough character working and living alongside two men in water up to her hips, panning for gold every day. She defied the notion of what a woman in Victorian society should be like trying to survive in a newly settled colony in a man’s world. She was a generous, whisky loving, hard working, Irish born woman whose way of life helped paved the way for women in NZ to gain the vote on the 19th September in 1893.”
Rhino Records have released three different Crosby, Stills & Nash box sets highlighting each member, as a group, with collaborations, and solo projects. Now there’s a fourth box set, but this time welcoming in Neil Young and highlighting the reunion tour they did in 1974. CSNY 1974 (Rhino) is a way to not only hear again the songs CSN and CSNY did as a group, but to also check out their solo material performed in a group setting. These include “Don’t Be Denied” (from Young’s great live album Time Fades Away), “Military Madness” (from Nash’s Songs For Beginners), “Almost Cut My Hair” (from Crosby’s If I Could Only Remember My Name) and “Love The One You’re With” (from Stills’ debut solo album). Even if you know these songs in their original form or live recordings they may have done on their own tours, it’s nice to hear them in the CSNY setting, especially when the harmonies kick in.
Even if you’ve bought bootlegs or downloaded ROIO’s over the years, it’s nice to hear them nicely mixed, complete with in between dialogue that had often made those shows interesting to listen to along with the songs in question. Then there’s the guitar work from both Young and Stills, each with their own distinct way of playing but when they were together, it worked nicely. Despite the inner bickering they may have had with each other from time to time, CSNY 1974 shows that when it was possible, they were able to work together in beautiful harmony.