Impounded Inquiries

Patrolled By Radar

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”Do you know a love song that rights all wrongs? There’s got to be one to sing when we can’t get along.”

New Album

New Album

Put on Cool Your Jets (released May 1), the new album from under-sung Los Angeles club veterans Patrolled By Radar, and the longer it spins the more it casts a spell, the ideal band for an imaginary saloon where Highway 61 Revisited-era Dylan hobnobs with a fresh faced Doug Sahm and a gaggle of curious night dwellers shuffling contentedly as they try to make sense of this wicked world.

Patrolled By Radar moves with barroom honed muscle, a group that’s earned their stripes fighting for attention over clinking glasses, cell phone tapping, and post-work chatter. And PBR’s songs really do snag one’s focus, though often in sly ways, the fun and skip of them in the foreground with all sorts of cool, thoughtful bits bouncing around in the background. This band swings hard but backs up their punches with brains and a well-seasoned perspective on the ways of men.

Patrolled By Radar

Patrolled By Radar

That their latest release ends with a pitch perfect rendition of Randy Newman’s “Ghosts” just signals songwriter-singer-guitarist Jay Souza’s kinship with that insightfully jaundiced, perversely romantic American treasure. Souza uses language with the same humor dipped scalpel sharpness as Newman with occasional flashes of genuine good humor – “Rally” on the new album is a shit-day mood-enhancer of the highest order. And the whole band – Bosco Sheff (guitar), Preston Mann (organ, piano), Ben Johnsen (drums, vocals) and Peter Curry (bass) – serves the songs in an integrated way that’s short on solos and long on a warmly enveloping group dynamic.

Cool Your Jets reminds one of Americana’s first great flowering, an album that sits comfortably next to Wilco’s A.M., The Jayhawks’ Hollywood Town Hall and Son Volt’s Trace – all worthy descendents of the roots-influenced, energized, off-handedly skillful rock tributary stemming from The Band. Like the best children of Levon, Robbie, et al. Patrolled By Radar possesses a unique, hard to pin down individual spark, extenders of a tradition rather than mimics, where something heartfelt and quietly moving wanders the curved roads and smoky haunts of their tunes. Heck, even ol’ Lawrence Welk makes a champagne cameo so you know it’s good!

DI asked PBR’s Jay Souza to ponder DI’s quasi-philosophical questions, and here’s what he had to say.

Cake, ice cream and enlightenment!

Vintage Stash

Bert Jansch

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Bert Jansch

Bert Jansch was a towering figure in the modern folk-rock scene, a high water mark that everyone who’s ever strapped on an acoustic guitar and told stories to strangers aspires to emulate. But unlike many of his peers in the field, there was a quiet humility to the man despite his gigantic talent, something unmistakably wounded and inescapably human that makes his work resonate in such a timeless manner with each generation that discovers it. With a voice warm and earthy as good aged single malt whiskey and a deft picking style that unerringly melded direct simplicity with technical dexterity and abundant melody, Jansch represents the archetypal troubadour/bard running headlong into the complexities of modern man. This fascinating dichotomy has rarely been laid bare so well in his catalog as the wonderful 30th anniversary edition of long out-of-print 1982 album Heartbreak (released November 6 on Omnivore Recordings), where the original Los Angeles studio sessions are paired with a previously unreleased solo live performance from McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica from summer of 1981.

By juxtaposing one of Jansch’s most well-realized, contemporary sounding studio sets with the naked grace of his live experience allows the listener to revel in the two sides of this shiny silver coin, each inextricably melded to the other, a tension between past flavors and late 20th century tastes – a prickly conversation that chatters away in Jansch’s music from his early days in Pentangle on through his 21st century records Black Swan (2006) and Edge of a Dream (2002), whose nucleus one hears in Heartbreak, where Jansch’s nimble acoustic guitar fences with a particularly tasty Albert Lee, who wields electric and acoustic guitars as well as mandolin. A tight but relaxed rhythm team of Randy Tico (bass) and drummers Matt Betton and Jack Kelly provides an intuitive pulse to a strong set of originals and choice covers (Elvis nugget “Heartbreak Hotel” and traditionals “Blackwater Side” and “Wild Mountain Thyme,” the latter featuring a nice vocal turn from Jennifer Warnes). First time producers Rick and John Chelew were super fans who brought Jansch into a Silverlake studio and coaxed some lovely performances from the man during what were reportedly dark, drunken days where the once well-established musician was struggling to find his footing and relevance. The closest sonic relatives in Jansch’s catalog are the two stellar albums he made in California the previous decade – L.A. Turnaround (1974) and Santa Barbara Honeymoon (1975) – and Heartbreak feels like the sequel these gems never received in the 70s.

The live disc is a treasure, where it feels Jansch is singing right to us, telling us brief tales and offering funny quips as he weaves his way through tunes that would end up on Heartbreak as well as unique renditions of modern folk staples “If I Were A Carpenter” (Tim Hardin) and “Blues Run The Game” (Jackson C. Frank) as well as a gorgeous reading of Ewan MacColl’s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” that neatly returns to tune to its folk roots after Roberta Flack made a pop hit of it. What this set makes clear is Jansch needed nothing but a single guitar and a microphone to mesmerize audiences, the proceedings filled with pin drop intimacy and good humor (including a ditty about the delights of potatoes to a hungry soul). While a whole new set of folks got turned onto Jansch from his extensive touring with Neil Young the past few years, this McCabe’s concert shows what he sounded like at his gently troubled, big hearted best – a gift to long time enthusiasts and a belated hello for anyone still discovering this international treasure after his passing last year.

7 Minutes in Heaven

Haroula Rose

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We set the timer and snuggle in with our favorite new bands in the Impound’s version of speed dating with a killer-diller soundtrack.

Haroula Rose performs tonight, September 20th, at the Swedish American Hall in San Francisco, opening for Azure Ray. For more details pop over here.

Haroula Rose

Haroula Rose

Sweetness can be alluring, but it can also hide subtle depths. It’s a flower’s bouquet that draws us close but there are the complexities of its botany – pollen, the transformation of carbon dioxide into oxygen, etc. Singer-songwriter Haroula Rose possesses a great deal of sweetness but spend some time with her music and the subtleties emerge – the patient songcraft, the measured performances, the ease her tunes stir in one.

There’s a lovely, just-left-of-center charm to Rose, and she sings tender, clear, romantic lines like “If we are only friends, why do you kiss me like you do?” with pitch perfect grace. She is kin to cult adored greats like Bridget St. John and Linda Perhacs, but tempered with some of the radio ready chanteuse aura of early Petula Clark and Carole King, where the feeling is we’re just beginning to see the potential reach of this young artist. Swinging between Topanga Canyon country rock and a classic pop sensibility, Rose has produced one full-length release [These Open Roads (2011)] and recently put out the swell 5-track So Easy EP, which finds a trio of winning new originals hanging with two choice covers [Francoise Hardy’s “Only Friends” and Jimmy Webb’s “Witchita Lineman”]. Her second album is due next year, and was produced with Andy Lemaster (Now It’s Overhead, Bright Eyes) and Zac Rae (Pedestrian) along with Jim White during sessions in Rose’s home base of Los Angeles and Athens, GA.

We grabbed Haroula for a quick chat.

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Mix Tape

Golden States

Some Songs About California

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There really is something different about California. The proximity to mountains and oceans, forests and deserts, and heavily populated areas alternated with tiny little towns filled with a citizenry by turns hyper-liberal and hyper-conservative creates a huge, wildly varied patchwork that’s unlike anywhere else in the United States. Dirty Impound is located in the northern part of the Golden State, and our worldview is very much informed by our roots in the swinging 70s in the San Francisco Bay Area. While we wouldn’t dare attempt to define the state, we do think this selection of tunes offers some nifty POV on what makes Cali tick. And yes, we included the damn Zeppelin song – we aren’t made of stone.

Track listing below.

Golden States 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