Bobby Bare Jr.’s latest effort, his fourth with the Young Criminal’s Starvation League, is titled Undefeated. While the roots of his musical upbringing can still be sporadically detected in his recent stuff, the 10 tracks from this new record continue to present the veteran singer-songwriter-guitarist as his own artistic man.
One of this writer’s earliest memories is of grooving in the living room as the 1974 LP Singin’ in the Kitchen spun on my folks’ wooden hi-fi cabinet stereo system, a long-ago state-of-the-art unit sporting durable tweed material covering its speakers, an appliance truly doubling as a piece of deluxe furniture with the hugeness and functionality leaving this young lad fascinated.
Singin’ in the Kitchen was a country sing-along album credited to Bobby Bare and the Family, its songs deriving almost entirely from the pen of Shel Silverstein. While not a children’s record exactly, the kid-friendly disc’s oft-boisterous intent was plainly to enhance familial camaraderie, and in the household of my youth it chalked-up smashing success.
To this day Singin’ in the Kitchen remains an admirable endeavor, showing off the 1970s country scene’s more progressive leanings, though its usefulness for aging bachelors (like me) or for that matter bachelorettes (perhaps like you) is truthfully pretty limited. I mainly mention the LP because Bobby Bare Jr. was a singing member of the Family; he in fact made his recording debut earlier that same year (age five) on his father’s #2 C&W hit “Daddy What If.”
Last Wednesday night, Hurray for the Riff Raff played in front of a packed house at the beautiful Sixth & I historic synagogue in DC. Their performance exhibited their remarkable talents as both stage performers and songwriters.
Touring to promote their new album Small Town Heroes, the Riff Raff’s stop in our fair city made for one lovely night of music at one of DC’s most unique venues. When Alynda Segarra took the stage, she looked up from her fixed guitar stance and said, “Wow, this is a beautiful place” just before she went into her set.
There is a simple yet unstated beauty that lies within folk songs, especially when they are performed in the correct manner. Hurray for the Riff Raff’s performance in DC was one that I will always remember fondly. Segarra’s vocals were as mesmerizing as they were enchanting.
Since splitting up and reuniting from 2007 until 2011, alt-rockers the Afghan Whigs have regrouped, once again, and this time for more than just live performances.
Earlier this year, the Afghan Whigs announced the official release date of their first album in sixteen years. Titled Do to the Beast, the album went on sale in North America today. Do to the Beast marks the seventh album for the band and features ten brand new songs, including the single “Algiers.”
Sixteen years is a long time to wait for new music. In honor of the Afghan Whigs’ first release in sixteen years, we’re giving away one of the test pressings of the long-awaited album Do to the Beast.
The French Quarter Fest has turned the proverbial corner. Near perfect weather and occasionally oppressive crowds created a new situation for the festival’s organizers to ponder over the upcoming year. When does big become too big?
I heard more complaints than ever before and witnessed lots of bad behavior on the part of the clearly record-setting crowd on Friday and Saturday. More on that later. Here are some musical highlights.
Festers unable or unwilling to get out early on Thursday morning missed an impressive set by jam/rock/funk ensemble Gravy. With a sax and trumpet front and center and a percolating organ and killer vocals calling to mind Stevie Winwood, the band, which has been together for eight years, gets my “most improved” award.
Immediately after they finished I scurried to the new Big River stage to hear Tank and the Bangas. This band, which is fronted by the vivacious Tarriona “Tank” Ball (pictured above and at top), is something special, playing original music that calls to mind a hodgepodge of influences from musical theater to Nicki Minaj and even Frank Zappa.
“My first experience with vinyl was listening to my Dad’s old 45 RPM singles on the old Hi Fidelity turntable—bands like The Beatles, The Searchers, Bobby Darin, and Elvis Presley. I must have only been about 4 or 5 years old but I can always remember the explosion of sound from the speakers as soon as the needle hit the groove.”
“The first album I ever bought was U2’s Boy—played on the same turntable—although with a few added coins on the arm to ensure the needle didn’t jump during playing. I will always remember the lyrics to ‘I Will Follow’ that still resonate with me to this day. There was something exciting about going to the record shops in Edinburgh on a Saturday afternoon looking for the next purchase. We used to jump on the bus with all our pocket-money and return with the new purchase under the arm.
Many nights were spent lying on my bed listening to U2, Stiff Little Fingers, Elvis Costello, The Clash, and many more purchases through the years with my Mum shouting ‘’Turn that bloody rubbish off’’ as I lay there totally ignoring her!
The Cadbury Sisters have come out of no where with their sensuous, folk sounds that draw upon more modern influences like London Grammar and Laura Marling. The sisters are related to the great chocolate maker, founder of the Cadburys empire, William Cadbury, and are preparing for the release of their latest EP “Close” out via Fear of Fiction on 16th June 2014.
The video for “Milk” is as organic and honest as the song, which begins on a Fleet Foxes-esque wave of harmonies before breaking down into simple, delicate vocals as we see the sisters sing to us sweetly against a forest backdrop. A little girl runs through the woods eventually meeting what seems to be her future self as the music brings us to a climactic end.
“Milk” is one of the most exciting folk songs to emerge in a while as The Cadbury Sisters have given the genre a modern edge, elevating them above the rest. The EP is just the beginning for the girls—it’s safe to say we’ll be hearing a lot more from the sisters in the near future.
In 1984 a record label was formed in Boston with a focus upon the city’s hardcore punk scene, its name an acronym for Teen Agers Are No Good! Since then its founder Curtis Casella has released music of wildly varying levels of quality, but TAANG! Records: The First Ten Singles provides a surprisingly consistent and highly enjoyable listen. A Record Store Day box-set limited to 2,000 copies and available only at participating brick and mortar shops, it offers 7-inches from Beantown acts Gang Green, Negative FX, Lemonheads, Moving Targets, and more.
Like numerous other ‘80s indies, TAANG! began as an outgrowth of a long-established local scene, with Curtis Casella chronicling the mid-‘80s punk/HC activity of his hometown. Other US imprints of similar beginnings exude more respective glamour (e.g. SST, Touch and Go, and Dischord), largely because they started earlier, but TAANG! stepped-up and captured a transitioning milieu when many of his predecessors were running out of steam, chasing dead-ends, or simply losing interest. And like any worthy label it’s the music that’s paramount, so let’s waste no time in delving into this set’s rewards.
Prior to a long tenure as one of the globe’s leading celebrants of unbridled alcohol intake, metal-tinged skate-punks Gang Green existed as a trad hardcore outfit, with their strongest attribute the exhibition of almost ludicrously blistering speed. That velocity is crucial to “Sold Out,” easily the crown jewel from the original lineup. It alternates parodic yet appealing elements of melody with stabs of breakneck momentum, and “Sold Out” stands as one of the best HC songs (which were frankly at a premium) of its period.
We’re heading back to the ’80s for this Record Store Day exclusive vinyl giveaway…
1980 was a big year for American band Devo. The new wave combo released their third album Freedom of Choice, which featured the band’s biggest hit, “Whip It.” With a strong single, Devo’s third album peaked at number 14 on the Billboard charts and, according to the band’s official bio, “represented a peak in their songwriting.”
In addition to “Whip It,” Freedom of Choice also featured “Gates of Steel,” which was covered by fellow American rockers The Flaming Lips just last year. In celebration of Record Store Day, The Flaming Lips will be releasing a limited edition, silver 7″ of their previously unreleased “Gates of Steel” live cover, with Devo’s live version of the song from the DEV-O Live EP as the B-side.
The release is limited to only 7,500 copies. What’s even more limited edition than that? We’re giving away one of the test pressings.
We’re delighted to direct your ears to Secondary Modern’s “Dart Board Blacklist” from the Carbondale, Illinois combo’s 2014 release, Venus Birds (which you can get your hands on right here.) We also cornered the band’s David Brown to spill the beans for us on some records that influenced his and the band’s thinking.
Can, Future Days (1973) | “I bought this LP on a whim because I had heard part of Ege Bamyasi and had some idea that Can was supposed to be consistently good. It has embossed gold font on a blue sleeve, which is great for tracing mindlessly with an index finger while staring at the wall.
Musically, everything about it is unique and unreal, and it’s even more insane to break it down and realize that there are definite roles within a set band and that this is a collection of finely tuned insanity which comes off as chilled-out groove. I had a vivid dream that I saw them perform it in its entirety live with the Damo lineup. Everything was blue.”
The Velvet Underground, – S/T (1969) | “The Beatles were the first band I ever loved, but the Velvets were the first band I ever had all to myself. They were mine and they were singing to only me. Their guitars were out of tune, only slightly, for me.
Manchester based band Douga have risen from experimental, sonic explorers to a band who have gained some great support amongst fans and press alike. With their latest free track “Kids of Tomorrow,” the band channel a psychedelic vibe that feels like Kurt Vile tripping at a summer festival—glorious stuff.
Their album The Silent Well is their debut, out on Do Make Merge Records on May 19th. Fans of Dry The River and Yo La Tengo will be pleased with their honest, lo-fi sound that marks just the beginning for a band destined for a long and fruitful career.
Douga are a band for musicians and real music lovers. They’re no “flash in the pan” indie act with their debut feeling like a solid statement going forward. We look forward to hearing more from these guys.