Texmex rock’n’roll attraction from Austin, Krayolas is no stranger to power pop and roots rock. All these musical threads coexist interleaved in their sonic tapestry. Long Leaf Pine follows up their album La Conquistadora from last year and it definitely helps that one of the notable guests on the record is legendary Augie Mayer, Sir Douglas’ keyboardist. Perhaps the best example on what Krayolas are capable of pulling out is the second song on this LP, Corrido Twelve Heads In A Bag, a cinematic story of a drug cartel battle on the border with Mexico. Rock’n’roll has always been a bold mixture of traditional American genres and Long Leaf Pine is more than a respectable representative in that sense.
Greg Cartwright established himself as one of the most respected rock’n’roll characters in the recent years. His records are consistently great and he took several bands under his wing to help out, produce and write a few songs. At the same time, he continues to put out great music with his own band Reigning Sound. Although I prefer the riotous stomp of their previous album Too Much Guitar, the new album Love and Curses definitely has its charms and as always, takes Greg into new places, a guy who keeps self-developing with every new record.
More project than a band, Soulsavers is a musical collective that got head started by electornic music producers Rich Machin and Ian Glover, but has grown into a pure rock’n’roll deal once the American rockers Mark Lanegan and Will Oldham joined in as songwriters and performers. This year’s Broken is their strongest album thus far. It’s great to see that electronic musicians, whatever that means, still keep their interest in pure, live-music-driven rock’n’roll. The highlight of this album is a cover of Gene Clark’s song Some Misunderstanding is a perfect homage to the songwriting rock era of the seventies and one of the greatest albums of that time No Other. Accidentally or not, this is also the only major label album on our year end list!
Daughter of venerable jazz legend Mose, Amy Allison has made her own name in the songwriting world with a series of very good albums. This years Sheffield Streets is my favorite. Her music will remind you on the greatest Victoria Williams moments but what will take you by surprise is the wide range of melodic styles that Amy tackless through the album. Every song on the record is a small lesson in good songwriting. Track five is also very interesting, it’s a cover of her father’s song Monsters of the Id, performed together with Elvis Costello.
Canadian femme fatalle of alternative rock, Neko Case, finds ways how to reinvent herself with each new album. Middle Cyclone is her age-defying feminist manifesto and it’s easily her most consistent work yet. What’s next?
Buddy and Julie got married twenty years ago and have three albums together. Before they started recording together, their careers went separately, each making their name in the roots rock and country circuits. Their first album together in 2001 brought them some success on the US country charts, but this year’s Written in Chalk represents them in their peak. This genre spanning album will take you through all traditional American genres and will do it in a gorgeous way. One part rock, two parts roll to paraphrase one of the songs on the album. The sound is flawless, it will leave an impression that the band is right there in the same room where you’re sitting and Buddy and Julie’s vocals match like a glove on songs that they perform together.
When Dinosaur Jr reformed in their original line-up, it smelled like a money grabbing opportunity. First album in of the reformed line-up was a disappointment. Nobody expected much of the second one. However, when the sounds of Farm hit the Internet this summer, I had to re-examine my point of view regarding the new found companionship between the former foes Mascis and Barlow. Farm, just like Mission of Burma’s On Off On, captures an old band in a new found artistic height. Songs are wonderful, long, solos are gorgeous. An hour of pure pleasure is augmented by the extra disc (look for that exclusive release), where Dinosaur JR cover The Zombies and revisit old J’s acoustic pastiche Little Ethnic Song.
The Resentments is a supergroup from Austin, Texas that recorded one the most wonderful, but painfully overlooked rock’n’roll albums of 2009. Sadly, the founder of this band, Stephen Burton passed away this year, leaving The Resentments’ Roselight as their final album.
Today we showcase several new names at The Little Lighthouse: John Paul Keith, Eichmann Family, Sweet Apple, Â The Hex Dispensers, Smith Westerns and D. Charles Speer. John Paul Keith comes from Memphis and has a band called The One Four Fives. About a year ago he put out the record called Spills And Thrills and it’s such a beautiful record, I can’t believe I missed until now. John Paul Keith’s band opened for Jack Oblivian in Cleveland and even more than that – they played the role of the Tearjerkers that night. John Paul Keith was also one of the Snake Eyes – the last band for Jim Dickinson before he passed away. Eichmann Family is another garage rock band from Zagreb – there are several very good ones over there. Sweet Apple is the new band for John Petkovic and Tim Parnin from Cobra Verde and J. Mascis and David Sweetapple form The Witch. Supergroup for the new millenium, isn’t it? Hex Dispenser are garage magicians from Austin Texas. Smith Westerns is a new band from Chicago and D Charles Speer and his Helix are from New York City – two new names that come from big cities, but sound much more provincial (which is a good thing at The Lighthouse!). And the last, but not the least, our favorites from a few years ago, Bassholes have a new LP, and it’s untitled again.
The Hex Dispensers – I’ve Got My Doppelganger On;
Eichmann Family – Daddy Doesn’t Love Me;
My Buddy Moose – When I Say;
Cobra Verde – Haunted Heavens;
Sweet Apple – Do You Remember;
Bassholes – Swannanoa River;
Bassholes – Caravan Man;
Steve Wynn – Outlaw Blues;
Rickie Lee Jones – Subterranean Homesick Blues;
Rickie Lee Jones – The Blue Ghazel;
James Luther Dickinson – Eloise;
Irma Thomas – It’s Raining;
The Detroit Cobras – It’s Raining;
John Paul Keith and The One Four Fives – Let’s Get Gone;
Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs – Dreaming;
Blondie – Dreaming;
Smith Westerns – Be My Girl;
D. Charles Speer & The Helix – Helical.
This show goes to all the gig-goers in Cleveland. I made it inspired by a busy week in which I saw live shows by The Meat Puppets, Ian McLagan, Dinosaur JR and Jack Oblivian. I had to miss Reigning Sound, but from what I hear, it was a great gig. We also have some new stuff. We represent two bands from a new generation of Zagreb rockers. My Buddy Moose, who we know from their self-titled album a few years ago and The Revolts. My Buddy Moose has a new album coming up next year and we hear exclusive tracks from it while they are searching for a publisher. Mike Watt has a new project called Il Sogno Del Marinaio with Italian musicians Stefano Pilia and Andrea Belfi. We also introduce The Revelators for the first time at the Little Lighthouse, although they’ve been around for some time.
J Mascis – A Little Ethnic Song;
The Zombies – Whenever You’re Ready;
Dinosaur Jr. – Whenever You’re Ready;
Reigning Sound – Trash Talk;
Meat Puppets – Look At The Rain;
Jack-O & The Tennessee Tearjerkers – Sweet Thang;
Jack Oblivian – Cigarillo;
Ian McLagan – So Lucky;
Ian Mclagan – Itchycoo Park;
Small Faces – Itchycoo Park;
Telefon – Putovanja;
Nocna Smjena – Vrtlog;
Revolts – Probudi se;
My Buddy Moose – Tonight;
Il Sogno Del Marinaio – Thema one;
Bob Dylan – Positively 4th Street;
Steve Wynn – Positively 4th Street;
The Revelators – Love One Day.