In just a few years, San Francisco’s The Stone Foxes has shown themselves to be one of the hardiest new classic rock outfits going, exhibiting a heartfelt dedication to making music that breathes, shakes and sweats in that “they don’t make ‘em like they used to” way associated with prime 70s Rolling Stones, The Faces, and like-minded cornerstones. Like these greats, their work continues to evolve after it’s released into the world, and one of the best examples of this is “Passenger Train” from 2010′s Bears & Bulls, which has become an off-mic, hand clapping, wistful road tune that brings the boys out into the crowd and often elicits some of their most nakedly impassioned singing & playing. Dirty Impound is hella pleased to premiere this intimate performance from one of our absolute favorites these days.
And do these boys (and rock in general) a favor and consider investing in their next album, which the Foxes are currently raising funds for here. Their pledge video is below the acoustic performance, so take a gander and see if you don’t have a few coins kicking around your piggy bank to spare.
There’s more than a touch of the hazy, shambling sway of Sun City Girls and Velvet Underground to Maine’s Coke Weed, a late night, feelin-no-pain buzz that’s psychedelic sans the bombast and too-conscious echo-manipulation. Nope, this stuff is just stoned, which befits a debut album [Nice Dreams - released April 17] birthed in a studio in a barn at Chickadee Hill, a flower farm on Mt. Desert Island. We have no idea where this place is but we get a contact high just reading the names. Speaking of names, this band’s moniker happens to be the Impound’s favorite recreational combo (and we’re usually up for a three-way if whiskey comes along…), and their quietly brazen pill poppin’ and cruisin’ around video further marks them as our kinda people [people y'all can catch on an East Coast tour that kicked off this week - dates & details here]. We hope this song is playing on a good sound system wherever Nico currently flies.
Bluntly, modern country music with very few exceptions sucks it sideways, a product-minded industry that bears almost no resemblance to what Waylon, Willie, Hank and Johnny helped bring into being. Enter West Coast all-star ensemble Brokedown In Bakersfield, a bunch of Merle Haggard lovin’ sons (and daughter) of guns that do country’s forefathers right proud. Scott Law (Telecaster guitar), Nicki Bluhm (vocals), Tim Bluhm of The Mother Hips (vocals, acoustic guitar), and ALO members Dan Lebowitz (pedal steel, dobro), Steve Adams (bass) and Dave Brogan (drums) don’t get to twang it up too often but when they do honky tonks everywhere swing happier. BIB recently paired up with He’s My Brother She’s My Sister – who are doing their part to make flamboyant folk pop an interesting new thang – and Bay Area club favorite Paula Frazier, and John Margaretten was there to ensnare the festivities with his camera. Just from the look of it this was a neat night of switched-on music making, and John’s pics make us want to explore what’s being played as soon as we can – a testament to his instincts and skill.
Rare is the band that’s better nearly 20 years into their career. Is there a soul alive that will argue the superiority of Undercover versus say Sticky Fingers? And the bands that do manage late catalog magic usually don’t make it to the 20 year mark at all, ending in a blaze before the water treading begins. However, there are grand exceptions to these generalizations and one of them – resoundingly so – is Jerry Joseph & The Jackmormons. The Portland-based trio’s – an enduring contender for “Best Rock Band In America That Most People Don’t Know About” – latest effort, Happy Book (released March 20 on Response Records), is both their first double record in their 17-year tenure together AND one of the best song cycles they’ve ever produced – mature and earthy, wise and real, and charged up and just plain ol’ rockin’. It’s the work of musicians who’ve lived a good deal and come back with the skin of their experiences crammed under their nails – births and deaths, highs and lows wrestled into melodies and verse that hit their targets with expert skill. The band’s recent visit to California found them them exploring these new songs at length, and despite a songbook that stretches to 300+ tunes, the focused approach revealed an inherent range in these new numbers that was impressive and absorbing. What was also obvious is how much Jerry and the Jackmormons – JR Ruppel (bass, backing vocals) and Steve Drizos (drums, backing vocals) – are enjoying fleshing out these fresh numbers into their fully formed live incarnations. Ace shooter Susan J. Weiand brings us a glimpse into one of these Northern California nights at one of DI’s all-time favorite road houses, Moe’s Alley. The band returns to the road again in early May (dates & details here), which gives y’all plenty of time to familiarize yourselves with Happy Book, a death grip lock for the Impound’s Best Albums of 2012.
The Sean Leahy Trio celebrates the release of their great studio debut album tonight, April 27, at Slim’s in San Francisco, CA as part of the 2nd Annual Guitarmageddon Blues Ball.
Sean Leahy rarely courts the spotlight. He’s more interested in laying in the cut, doing what he can to elevate the proceedings, and generally keeping an attentive eye on where he can nuance the music at hand towards the better. His style as a guitarist harks back to the 70s – packed with muscle and strut – but sheered of that era’s machismo excesses. Leahy has taken the attitude and tone of the vinyl heyday and combined it with the sharpness and brevity of the 80s, a power pop consciousness that makes him a descendent of Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen and the six-stringers that made Thin Lizzy swing back in the day. Yet for all his classic rock echoes, Leahy is a modern kid with a lot more to show off than many folks who’ve only seen him in support roles over the past few years may realize. To get properly schooled one needs to dig into Darkness & Light, Leahy’s just released solo studio debut with his ace rhythm team of Daria Johnson (drums) and Mark Calderon (bass). He brings the same kind of attentive focus he exhibits onstage to this studio effort helmed by producer Jeremy Black (Apollo Sunshine, Coyote Hearing Studio), offering up a tight set of should-be-singles that run the gamut from raunchy to surprisingly tender. It’s damn fine album, and a damn fine way to meet an under-sung musician from the rich SF Bay Area rock scene.
Here’s what Mr. Leahy had to say to our guitarist survey.
Remember when Beck used to share lollipops with sailors and talk sexy in his tricked out Hyundai? Remember when Prince used to rock a leather g-string and play punk-funk? Well, we’re picking up some of the same appealingly strange funk-i-ness from Athens, GA’s Reptar, whose Oblangle Fizz Y’all EP became a fast fave at DI HQ after our hipper chums, well, hipped us to it. Reptar’s full-length debut Body Faucet arrives next Tuesday, May 1st (on the reliably great Vagrant label). You can listen to it now in the player below, and you can pre-order the album on iTunes (with a bonus track) over here.
Do yourself a favor and peep this bangin’ live clip captured with aplomb by our Philadelphia operative Jake Krolick a couple weeks ago when they came through Philly. Such a sweet groove, such nifty psych-touched lil’ digressions, and what a cool crowd. This band clearly puts their backs into it, and that counts for a bunch in our book. We’ll have more on Reptar and their debut in the coming weeks, too, but for now, prepare to start feeling free, f-f-free, free free, f-free. Yeah!