Shit howdy, what a fun, positive band. Ann Arbor-based The Macpodz have joyfully hurled their best shot across the bow with The Truth EP (released September 9), which harnesses their already-strong party instincts into sharper form without sacrificing any of their usual updraft. The first two cuts on this four-track taster show they’ve been listening close to The Meters, but the deep, album cut gold, which they’ve warped into their own thing akin to kindred spirits The New Mastersounds. Trumpeter Ross Huff blows like a man out to join Tower of Power in their early 70s Oakland heyday on “9 Lives,” and generally makes one happy for the brass in this mix. However, funky territory would be a comfortable stopping point and The Macpodz are ready to stretch here, with “Old Man” sounding like a lost Return To Forever ballad and “Bohemian Grove” finding the sweet spot between Phish and Steely Dan and hinting that these Michigan boys – rounded out by Brennan Andes (bass, vocals), Jesse Clayton (keys, vocals), Griffin Bastian (drums), and Nick Ayers (percussion/ flute/ vox) – may have a long player on par with musically robust, weirdo ready classics like Can’t Buy A Thrill and Hoist lurking in them. Their next full-length album arrives Spring 2012, and here’s the title cut to the new EP in 2D (and those with the special specs can peep the 3D version here) and you can purchase The Truth EP here.
New Artist Week continues with the sixth of seven new groups you should have your radar before 2011 ends.
Knowing absolutely nothing about Birmingham, Alabama’s 13ghosts, it took just the 10 songs of Garland of Bottle Flies (released November 8 on Skybucket) to make us think we’d stumbled across a genuine classic hiding in the American South. Swinging at circumstance, beautiful in their grappling and none too careful about who gets whacked in the tussle, 13ghosts oozes hard-nosed intention and punkish intensity, bandleader-singer-songwriter Brad Armstrong driving everything with a whip hand until they drop soaked and tired at one’s feet. When so many groups offer restraint and calculated coolness it’s a fucking joy to encounter a band who’s so obviously all in, grabbing rock by the neck and wringing out everything it can, and if their hands get a little bloody, well, that’s the price of truth in storytelling.
So many great touchstones rear their heads on Garland of Bottle Flies, but rejiggered in distinctive ways – there’s simply no mistaking 13ghosts for another band – where one picks up on the energy of primo Warren Zevon fronting Mission of Burma one minute and Archers of Loaf or the ugly side of Drive-By Truckers the next, but each helmed and informed by a mad amalgamation of Clem Snide’s Eef Barzelay, Manchester Orchestra’s Andy Hull and Leonard Cohen. Armstrong is poetic and calloused, a tale spinner of the highest order with a fantastic rusty hacksaw voice who picks at our wounds so we might see what’s going on under the skin, lamenting, “All these children that come from my crop grow up to hate me/ And all of my women pour me like salt into their genes.” Wow. And the wrangling energies never subside on Garland, which seethes and slow burns and boils over with roughhewn eloquence from top to tail.
This one will knock your dick in the dirt proper. With debauchery and bad behavior running rampant this weekend, this straight off-the-floor (of some mangy crackhouse from the looks of it) version of Hank Williams Jr.’s 1979 corker comes to us courtesy of truly hot shit Southern rock band Hellbound Glory. If they handle an ol’ hand like Jr. this well one imagines they knock the living tar out of their original stuff. We consider ourselves on notice to dig in more thoroughly to these guys and so should you. Now, raise your glass to all those stoned out of their minds at closing time.
Thanks to Friend of the Impound Shooter Jennings for turning us onto this clip. Folks should check out Shooter’s ace new single, “The Deed and The Deal” (Listen) (Buy), from his forthcoming Family Man album due March 13, 2012. Coincidentally, DI Grand Poobah Dennis Cook penned the liner notes for the new album, and he can assure you it’s some of the best damn country music you’re gonna hear in the new year. Believe that.
New Artist Week continues with the fifth of seven new groups you should have your radar before 2011 ends.
Great rock is timeless, hitting our ear sweet and savory whether we discover it today or 50 years from now, but one can’t manufacture this hourglass deflecting vibe – it’s either right there, apparent as a sunrise or slow falling tear, or it isn’t. Songs For The New (released October 4 on Riot Bear), the second album from Catskills, NY-based Two Dark Birds , is great rock. Spend a little time with these instantly winning tunes and the real weight and craftsmanship of them hits home. The pleasing timbre of the vocals and the subtle arrangements further fuel the softly joyful feeling captured on tape, reaching out “fine filament fingers” through our collective communication breakdown, aiming high and starry-eyed in ways that make one want to take their hand and join them in their march towards newness and reality beveled hope.
Anchored by the songs and singing of Steve Koester, who also plays in 70s AM radio revivalists Maplewood, Two Dark Birds is filled with graceful handfuls of rock’s past 40 years, where one minute they might invoke the controlled loft and beauty of Zeppelin’s “The Rain Song” (Closer to Water) and the next offer up what could be a Thom Yorke b-side (Start All Over Again). It’s not to say Koester and his mates haven’t picked up a thing or two from early Bread and Poco but it’s really the feel of their music that resonates with good stuff past – a warmth and engagement that’s easy to like AND worthy of deeper investigation.
The good folks at HelloGiggles got pals Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt to hoist acoustic instruments and offer up this Nancy Wilson ditty for the upcoming holiday. While the only way we’d watch Zooey’s new sitcom is strapped into a chair Clockwork Orange style, we do like her voice and obvious affection for oldies. So, now that she’s lured Gordon-Levitt into her sing-song world, perhaps he can return the favor and get her to tackle work on par with his excellent recent films (or just make her watch herself in All The Real Girls) so she can get on with doing work that relies on more than her girlish charm. For now, here’s another score for ukulele enthusiasts everywhere as we head towards a new year.
New Artist Week continues with the fourth of seven new groups you should have your radar before 2011 ends.
The download of Radio Tragedy! is currently on sale for just $5 at Amazon. Snag it here!
While not a new group by any stretch, San Francisco’s Tea Leaf Green pulled off one of the reinventions of the year with Radio Tragedy! (released June 7 on Greenhouse Records), which lunges at one with the hungry-for-blood urgency and creative electricity of a band fresh on the scene – a thoroughly modern slab that bubbles over with sonic curiosity and world weary sensibilities. In ways, this set is a new Ground Zero for TLG, a marker between their jam-rooted beginnings and what comes next.
More than once in 2011, I’ve sat folks down with preconceptions about this band and made them listen to key parts of Radio Tragedy! and never once had them walk away holding onto their old notions. This album reveals a band living up to their potential and ready to begin jettisoning anything that doesn’t serve the music in their heads. While seven albums and more than a dozen years in may seem a strange time to upend one’s sound, it speaks to the group’s increasing distance from their grooving, good time early work and the increased songwriting and musicianship firepower they’re armed with today, particularly noticeable in the thickened low end courtesy of fifth and newest member percussionist Cochrane McMillan.
Another mouthwatering scoop of quality pop music to help ease the pain of what’s actually on the airwaves today masquerading as the “best in pop-rock.” Seriously, fuck Katy Perry and the anthropomorphic lollipop she rode in on. We begin this 20-pack choogler with a song that was Number One on God’s Jukebox, but sadly, the earth is a more unfair place…
If you experience playback problems, pop over to the 8tracks mix page and it should play fine.
This is precisely the newfangled protest music DI was agitating for in our Salting The Wound essay – a riled up, border erasing roar that asks the right questions, plucks the right nerves, etc. Brooklyn-based The Mast bring spirit into a conversation that’s often mired in facts and figures with this new original, whose clip features scenes of the Occupy protests in NYC on 10/15/11. Crying, “Oh the shackles that we wear/ are paper thin and green/ and maybe we are finally tired,” this song distills a lot into a few words, and when combined with the emotion in the music and the finely chosen images in this video it has a lovely chest-swelling oomph, happy proof that music of sincerity and honest dissent need not be dull or formulaic.
Look for a new segment on Dirty Impound in 2012 titled Occupy This!, where we’ll be talking to musicians about the role of music in revolution and the Occupy Movement. The segment will also feature guest mix tapes from musicians who want to share their vision of what revolutionary/protest rock can be.
And since the baby at the start of The Mast’s video brought to mind one of DI’s favorite leftie rabblerousers, here’s a bit of vintage Billy Bragg to further kick at the pricks.