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Fruition

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”I ain’t got no problem just being where I’m at. Well, I guess I could be somewhere else but I don’t care about that.”

New Album

New Album

“Git Along,” the opening cut from Just One Of Them Nights (released July 30), the damn fine new album from Portland-based Fruition, is akin to hearing “Wagon Wheel” or “The Weight” for the first time – by the chorus you feel some of the heaviness of the Human Condition lifted as one realizes they’ve gained another tool for getting through the bumps and bad turns on life’s road. In fact, the road – literal and metaphorical – figures prominently on Just One Of Them Nights. These are gypsy musician gunslingers, pure highway denizens missing home but never quite at home with a fixed address, a wedding ring, or days spent without a fresh horizon looming through the windshield.

An appealing sense of adventure, including its dangers to heart and limb, infuses Fruition’s music. It comes through loud and clear in their live presence, too, which the Impound saw on exceedingly charming display at this year’s High Sierra Music Festival where the band knocked out folks both in their own sets and their many enthusiastic, attention grabbing sit-ins.

Fruition

Fruition

Talent and charisma aren’t things this quintet lacks. Jay Cobb Anderson (vocals, lead guitar, harmonica), Kellen Asebroek (vocals, rhythm guitar, piano), Mimi Naja (vocals, mandolin, guitar, piano), Keith Simon (upright & electric bass), and Tyler Thompson (drums, banjo) are about as gifted, confident and eager to please a bunch of players as you’re likely to find in 2013, but what truly separates them from the herd is their terrific songwriting and empathetic interplay. It would be one thing to offer up emotionally rich, widely appealing ditties but the nuances and overlap of their singing and picking gives everything that lil’ extra nudge that tells one they’re witnessing the gestation of a band that’s gonna be absolutely great one day, a real contender in the long term game that understands that building the right foundation makes all the difference.

It’s not a surprise that they’ve already engendered a fierce following that exceeded the Kickstarter goal that got Just One Of Them Nights made. When one feels close to artists that are a blast to take in AND have some ontological heft too, well, it’s natural to want to fuel them if one really cares about music. This album works from beginning to end, offering real diversity but a DJ-esque sense of build and flow in the sequencing and arrangements, one minute sounding like a new millennial answer to Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks (“Mountain Annie”) and the next rockin’ lustily like Fairport Convention’s youthful U.S. cousins (“Blue Light”).

There’s a lot of forebears one might point to while listening to Just One Of Them Nights but the one that resounds most powerfully for DI is Goose Creek Symphony, where there’s just the right amount twang, unabashed rock ‘n’ rollin’ and mountain lilt blended for something distinctly American in the rootsiest, best sense. Whether offering a ragtime dappled salute to their home base (“Portland Bound”), conjuring “Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down” Merle Haggard (title track) or raising goosebumps with their close harmonies (“Come On, Get In” – someone needs to hip these kids to Lambert, Hendricks & Ross if they aren’t already in the know just to see what a more pronounced jazz influence does to their already meaty stew), Fruition’s latest effort and the band in a broader sense are on the rise. Consider yourselves served notice to wade in now before it gets a lot harder to ride the rail with this kindred spirit to fellow comers Elephant Revival, Dead Winter Carpenters, and The Felice Brothers.

Fruition are currently opening for DI Super Faves Greensky Bluegrass, playing tomorrow night, November 8, at The Fillmore in San Francisco before heading to Los Angeles (11/9), Solano Beach (11/10), Flagstaff, AZ (11/12) and then up to Utah, and Colorado. Check out their full tour schedule HERE.

Mix Tape

Cheer The Fuck Up II

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”Streets of gold, that’s where we’re going, you and I. We’ll cross over these uncertain waters and make our home on the other side.”

More endorphin stimulating sounds to lure you away from the abyss. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em, kids!

Track listing below. If you experience playback problems pop over to the mix page and it should play fine.

Cheer The Fuck Up II from dirtyimpound on 8tracks Radio.

You can listen to 8tracks mixes on your iPhone (pick up the app here) and Android (pick up the app here).

track listing

Mix Tape

Brought To You By The Letter…G

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The Impound has been organizing its music archives, and we hit upon the idea of sharing tunes we dig in an alphabetical way. So, for the next few months we’ll be working our way from A-Z with a choice baker’s dozen or so installment each week that includes bands/artists from a single letter.

Our “G” assortment includes double shots from two underdogs that deserve your thorough investigation (Thea Gilmore and Goose Creek Symphony) along with classics from Grand Funk Railroad and the Grateful Dead swimming with fresh sweet meat from Great American Taxi and Ghosts of Jupiter. This one’s got a bit of swing to it, so don’t resist if you get the urge to shuffle in your stocking feet, kids.

Listen to this mix HERE (8tracks embeds still not working properly. Sigh). Track listing below.

You can listen to 8tracks mixes on your iPhone (pick up the app here) and Android (pick up the app here).

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track listing

Mix Tape

Winter 2011-2012 Snappy Mix

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Outside of DI HQ in Northern California

In the winter of 2001, shocked and bummed out beyond belief by the 9/11 attacks and subsequent actions by my country and recently laid off for the first time in my life, I found myself adrift, a man on unknown tides tangled up in blue. Nothing made much sense and kindness and compassion seemed in terrifically short supply. Broke and bewildered, I wondered what tiny good I might do for others, what little thing I could mold with my hands that might raise a smile or prod a little contemplation from an increasingly numb populace. Thus was born the Seasonal Mix Series, an inquiry in song about where we stand as the weather changes and the calendar pages leaf by.

The goal has never been to lard these mixes with specific references to sun, snow, etc. but rather to snag the vibe of a new season, and more broadly, remind myself and others that things change and where we find ourselves today isn’t where we’ll be tomorrow. There are usually some oblique references to current events – very sadly, war and death have been near-constant subtexts – along with a few chuckles, choice covers, and more than anything, an attempt to be emotionally honest about the state of things.

Up until this point, the Seasonal Mixes have been a personal gift to friends and random strangers who seemed to need a fresh melody, a CD passed with a warm smile and a hug. Starting with this 11th winter offering, I’ll be sharing this series on Dirty Impound. Perhaps it will be a chance for the community gathering around this labor of love to pause, reflect and maybe even rejoice a bit together with folks they’ll likely never meet but share this beautiful world with – an infinitesimally small nudge towards some greater good. Comments are heartily encouraged. Tell us about where you stand, what these songs stir up, whatever. The space is open to all.

This installment is partially inspired by my recent nighttime walks around my suburban neighborhood in Northern California, drinking in the Christmas lights and cool air while stumbling across stray bits of wonder and remembering what this season felt like as a child (and how that slipped away with the years). It has a bang-up Journey cover from Clem Snide, a pair of wistful heart-tuggers from a pair of singer-songwriters you really should know (Greg Humphreys, Kiyoshi Foster), one from a master musician that deserves FAR more credit than he often gets (Papa Mali), and a couple songs that have haunted me in the finest ways all year from The Barr Brothers and Greensky Bluegrass. Finally, I dedicate the Paul Simon tune here to my lovely wife Sara, who built this website for her writer husband and never ceases to support his dreaming out loud. It’s no lie, cliché that is is, I loved her the first time I saw her. Now, let’s go make some snow angels and look up at the drifting clouds.

If you experience playback problems, pop over to the 8tracks mix page and it should play fine.

track listing

We'll Do It Live

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2011

09.30.11-10.02.11 | San Francisco, CA

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The 2011 edition of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, an annual free music festival in Golden Gate Park, drew an estimated 600,000-800,000 people. Most of them weren’t likely able to get as close to the action as lensman Scott Dudelson, who brings us this healthy sampling of the talent that gathered in 2011.

Mix Tape

Sunday Brunch I

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Once a month, the Impound will serve up a consciously gentle assortment to soundtrack the weekend waking of our readers. This inaugural edition includes two old songs that seem eerily timely from John Hartford and Gerry Rafferty, one of Elton John’s best moments, sweet covers of CSN (Cosmic Rough Riders) and Dolly Parton (Ida) and other tunes handpicked to ease you into the sunrise. Coffee’s on. It’s going to be a wonderful day…

If you experience playback problems, pop over to the 8tracks mix page and it should play fine.

track listing

Ravings

Dirty Impound's 11 Bands To Watch In 2011

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Dirty Impound is stepping in to help y’all with the seemingly endless barrage of bands vying for your attention this year. We’ve sifted through the tea leaves to bring you a quick gloss and a nibble from eleven acts sure to enrich the listening life of any thinking rock ‘n’ roller in the months ahead.

1. Colourmusic

With a name that fits wonderfully around the shifting, vibrant hues and striking, slightly giddy feel of the cheekily titled My ___ Is Pink (arriving May 10), this quartet begs comparisons with early Beta Band (as in the magic band that made those first three EPs) and contemporaries Yeasayer and TV On The Radio. Except Oklahoma-based Colourmusic seems to be having more fun than their peers, perhaps having sipped from the same pool that’s made Wayne Coyne such a blast in the past decade. One feels animated and charged up listening to Colourmusic, whose latest is one of those gifts that keeps on giving.

2. Greensky Bluegrass

While there’s plenty o’ twang to Greensky, the band has increasingly shown a depth and heightened insight to the human condition that moves them a good few degrees away from their string band beginnings and much closer to The Avett Brothers and Old Crow Medicine Show, i.e. folkies and pickers capable of touching a much larger nerve in society. Greensky’s forthcoming new album, Handguns, lingers profoundly but doesn’t come off as heavy, preachy or anything of the sort. It’s the sound of a band coming into their own, ready for a lot more people to take them into their heart. No one will be sorry if they do.

3. White Denim

Austin, TX is lousy with bands but few possess the variety, spiky chops or tunesmithing savvy of White Denim. On May 24th, they release one of the liveliest, most thoroughly enjoyable albums to hit the Impound’s ears in 2011. D bobs and weaves along, tough and tickling, a child of the psychedelic revolution but free of the subset’s often muddy sonics, preferring instead punk’s whiplash sensibilities and pop’s come hither vibe. D pushes out one catchy, clever, unpredictable number after another, making one wonder that one band has made all these neat sounds. Anyone with a soft spot for Apollo Sunshine or Dr. Dog should take notice right away.

4. Red Fang

Murder The Mountains (released April 12) is only the second album from this Portland, OR quartet but it’s already obvious to any serious hard rock fan that these guys are on the pathway that brought us the likes of Mastodon and Queens of the Stone Age. However, Red Fang is a bit more Pabst Blue Ribbon ready than these kindred touchstones, and in some ways that makes their heavy duty music a bit more baldly enjoyable. Listening to new ones like “Wires” and “Throw Up” one can tell they’re hunting after big game but they never totally lose hold of a boogie spirit inside their addictively listenable music.

5. The Staxx Brothers

At first this Seattle band brought us back to vintage Funkadelic but the longer we listen the more cool ancestors kick up – Springsteen & E Street, MC5, Temptations, The Clash. And while their first two albums were pleasurable rides, their third long-player, Jungle Cat (arriving mid-May but available for pre-order now), tightens and builds upon all the good things exhibited previously, cutting back on the chuckles in favor of a rollicking, sly dissertation on what it means to survive in 21st century America. Vocally, they’ve got most of the competition skunked, and the three-piece instrumental core makes WAY too much great noise for so few guys. This year, Staxx is all business and business is VERY good.

6. Lions In The Street

This Vancouver, Canada group oozes classic rock attitude and style but evades nostalgia with songs that leap with urgency and timeless solidity. It’s been a couple years since their awesome self-titled debut (peep review here), so they’ve been woodshedding new material for a while. The demos they’ve let the Impound check out remind us of Southern Harmony And Musical Companion-era Black Crowes and the band themselves suggest it’s “Black Rebel Motorcycle Club playing Waylon Jennings.” Both work for us, and frankly we’re excited as hell to hear the sophomore salvo from these real rock upstarts – a band with the rugged fortitude to be a new millennial answer to The Faces if they play their cards right.

7. Rubblebucket

It’s nigh impossible to say too many nice things about Rubblebucket. They continually justify one’s enthusiasm with washes of talent and imagination that sweep one up quickly and joyfully. With hints of Talking Heads, Pere Ubu, Tricky, dub reggae and 70s Nigerian funk, Rubblebucket are a goddamn blast and a half, both on record and in the flesh. Lead singer Kalmia Traver is one of the most potent female vocalists to hit modern rock since Karen O first told us to hitch up our britches, and the fluctuating, brightly etched music around her keeps the conversation equally interesting. The band is giving away their new album, Omega La La, for free right now (details here) in an effort to shake hands with a wider audience. Don’t refuse them or we’ll come over and kick you in a sore spot for your laziness.

8. Howlin Rain

Ethan Miller and co. have been working on the follow-up to 2008’s Magnificent Fiend for three years. Uber-producer Rick Rubin is involved in the witchcraft, and there’s a lot of pressure to nail down something significant, big, etc. with this one. The Rain needn’t worry since they already have most rock bands outstripped on the talent and originality fronts, not to mention the sheer driving mojo that tumbles out of every track, even the slow burns. There’s a nifty three-cut EP, The Good Life (released February 11), to tide us over, but it really leaves us no less anxious (in a good way) for what this thinking man’s psychedelic unit will lay on us in the fall.

9. Le Butcherettes

The Slits, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and early PJ Harvey & Patti Smith all leap to mind when one presses play on Sin Sin Sin, the terrific, befuzzed debut from Los Angeles-by-way-of-Guadalajara, Mexico’s Le Butcherettes (arriving May 10). But these references quickly fade to footnotes once one digs into their gutsy, bile-rich music – all skinned knuckles, dented hearts and battered instruments. Produced by The Mars Volta’s Omar Rodriguez Lopez, Sin Sin Sin is a nitro fueled update of riot grrrl ways that drips sex, violence and pure fucking rock ‘n’ roll.

10. Caleb Caudle & The Bayonets

While Ryan Adams is off doing whatever he’s doing – we’re not ones to judge – the field of thoughtful, pop-wise American roots music is wide open to a young, capable contender like Caleb Caudle. This kid and his diligently improving, tough little band give off the hungry whiff of early Petty and the Heartbreakers with some of Ryan’s softness. Their last album, 2010’s Snake River Canyon, announced the group’s ascent, and they’ve steadily knocked out solid steps forward since, including a Valentine’s single with Adams’ old Whiskeytown foil Caitlin Cary and a new EP that does nothing but increase the warming glow of this band.

11. The Mast

Haale Gafori and Matt Kilmer don’t make casual music. Spiritual, whip smart and intense, The Mast is full-bodied yet intoxicating like a wondrous scent caught at random on a strong wind. It’s hard to say where it came from but one must follow it just the same. This is music for lovers and fractals, dreamers and supplicants, rockers with questioning souls and children of all ages. Original, refreshingly sincere and strong as a tree, The Mast is working on their debut album for release later in 2011. For more on this pair, here’s a conversation with Haale and Matt that Dennis had a couple years back.