Monthly Archives: April 2019

ROGER KUNKEL – Guitar Solo

Album: Guitar Solo

Artist: Roger Kunkel

Label: self-released

Release Date: April 01, 2019

https://rogerkunkel.bandcamp.com/releases

BY JONATHAN LEVITT

I’ve been a fan of Roger Kunkel and his previous band, Thin White Rope, for a long time and was excited to hear another side of Roger’s guitar playing on this deeply poignant record. It takes me back to a freer time in my own life, driving on a Sunday through the Stahmann pecan orchards of Southern New Mexico that bordered my hometown of El Paso, Texas. I loved how the warm sun would collide with the coolness of the orchards as I drove towards an unknown destination. This record captures that spirit and enables the listener to mate these beautiful tunes with memories from their own lives.

These ten acoustic numbers offer the perfect antidote to the squally feedback that I love yet sometimes need a break from. Opening tune “Big Fade” is akin to late afternoon sunlight bathing the farm fields in a sea of gold. “History Part 2” evokes Neil Young while calling to mind imagery from a bygone era. It’s too bad Johnny Cash is dead because “Blood Moon” would’ve been a great canvas for his baritone.

Riding on the darker edge of things, Roger is able to capture the narrative of good versus evil with his deft playing. “Minerva’s Daydream” would be my choice to be used in the PBS shows Victory Garden or New Yankee Workshop. I say that with the utmost reverence, because these programs hold a special place in my heart and this expressive yet brief tune managed to conjure that memory for me. ”Shuffle Kerfuffle” has a cool jazzy swagger to it and would not be out of character on, let’s say, a Tuck and Patti record. “Dream a Little Dream” closes the proceedings with a melancholic whimsy that is the perfect signoff for a record that gently coaxes you into its good graces and then softly vanishes into thin air.

DOWNLOAD: “Big Fade” “Old Man Longbeans” “Minerva’s Dream” “Blood Moon” “Dream a Little Dream” “Shuffle Kerfuffle”

 

The Scientists 4/21/19, Atlanta

Dates: April 21, 2019

Location: The Earl, Atlanta GA

Opening acts were Gentleman Jesse and Th Subsonics. Photos by our man on the ground in Atlanta,  John Boydston. Check out his many photo galleries (including additional shots from this Scientists concert), and then read the 2019 BLURT interview with Scientists co-founder and frontman Kim Salmon.

BY JOHN BOYDSTON

Gentleman Jesse & His Men

The Subsonics:

…and… The Scientists.

 


 

 

 

The Scientists 4/20/19, Atlanta (photos + video)

Dates: April 20, 2019

Location: The Earl, Atlanta GA

Storming the US for only their second time, the Aussie band kicked off a two-night stand at Atlanta’s The Earl venue. (Go here to see our review of the 21st.)

By Grace Kennelly

The Scientists in Atlanta on April 20 were amazing – here’s a few photos from their gig at The Earl. In particular, check out the pic of Tony Thewlis pulling the strings off his guitar in frustration,  and the video clip (click on the link) is live action of his frustration.

IMG_9092

Below is their setlist as best as I could note:

Swampland
Atom Bomb Baby
Fire Escape
Burn Out
When Fate Deals Its Mortal Blow
Hey Sydney
Solid Gold Hell
Set It On Fire
Happy Hour
Brain Dead
Blood Red River

Pegboy 3/30/19, Denver

Dates: March 30, 2019

Location: Marquis Theatre, Denver CO

Live at the Marquis Theatre! (Above photo from the band’s Facebook page.)

BY TIM HINELY

A little more than two years after their last Denver visit (on 2/17/17 at the Don’t Panic Festival over at 3 Kings on South Broadway…it had been 17 years before that) and I have to say, I think Pegboy really like Denver.  They seem to get a real warm welcome here and, well…they’re welcome back anytime.

Back this time doing a spate of gigs with Wyoming pop punks Teenage Bottlerocket who are a fine combo, but I was here for the gentlemen from Chicago and they did not disappoint.

Missed the first few songs (unfortunately) but as we walked in the place was packed (sold out, actually) and most of the crowd were jammed to the front, fists pumping singing along to every word as on occasion vocalist Larry Damore  (who looks like he could be a retired NFL linebacker) handed the mic to a fan to belt out the words. Behind him are legendary guitarist John Haggerty (ex-Naked Raygun), nimble bassist “Skinny” Mike Thompson and on the skins is Haggerty’s brother Joe (who was in a very fine combo called Bloodsport exactly 50 years ago).

The band is serious about their music but come to have a good time to with Damore charging across the stage like he’s ready to tackle someone while belting out his great, raspy howl (he also mentioned a few times how the elevation was getting to him), Thomson is bouncing all over the place and Haggerty (John, that is) is stock still grinding out classic guitar riffage and brother Joe hammering out rapid-fire fills.

They haven’t written any new music in ages (we can hope, right?) but played a fresh batch of classic oldies like “My Youth (off their first EP, Three Chord Monte), “Dangermare,” “Strong Reaction,” “Hardlight” and a tough, thick cover of the Mission of Burma chestnut “That’s When I Reach for My Revolver.”

Since they were opening they did not encore (and a lot of times they don’t anyway) and received some heavy applause by the appreciative Denver crowd.

As I said earlier, you’re welcome back anytime fellas.

Zac Brown Band 3/30/19, Memphis

Dates: March 30, 2019

Location: FedEx Forum, Memphis TN

Hell yeah! Live at the FedEx Forum in Memphis, they delivered!

TEXT & PHOTOS BY MARK JACKSON

The Zac Brown Band, probably best known as a country band, brought their Down The Rabbit Hole Tour to Memphis on March 30th, but they are much more than a country band. Sure, they have several hits such as “Toes”, “Chicken Fried”, “Homegrown”, “Free” and many more that have climbed up the country charts, but I must say that this band surprised me more than any other band that I have seen. Zac and the band are all great musicians whose influences are very wide and diverse, ranging from Simon and Garfunkel to Def Leppard.

Zac and the boys performed their hits and a couple of new songs, including “God Given,” soon to be released, but they also did several covers that I was not expecting. After a few originals Zac covered “Use Somebody”, “Somebody I Use to Know”, “Little Lion Man”, “I Will Wait”, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”, “Whipping Post”, “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely”, “The Boxer”, “Pride (In the Name of Love]”, “Jeremy”, “Life in the Fast Lane”, Pour Some Sugar on Me”, “Hot for Teacher”, and “Bulls on Parade” all of which rivaled the originals. As you can see there is nothing that this amazing band can’t do.

This concert was a night of great voices, guitars, violins, and bongos with perfect sound and no gimmicky lighting and stage props. ZBB had the crowd dancing and singing along throughout the whole show. I don’t think anyone, including myself, wanted it to stop; it was just one of those nights you never want to end.

I must admit that even though I was aware of who they were and knew a couple of the “hits,” I was unprepared on just how great they were and the depths to which they could reach. I often say “this is a great show and you should go see them when in your area”, but the Zac Brown Band is on a whole different level. Zac, you have definitely made a new fan with me and I can’t wait for the next time I get to see you and the guys.

***

Check out the entire setlist for the concert at Setlist.FM

 

Mike Krol + Vertical Scratchers 2/19/19, Denver

Dates: February 19, 2019

Location: Globe Hall, Denver, Colorado

Live at Globe Hall!

BY TIM HINELY

Real nice double bill of two Merge artists, one who hasn’t released an album in 5 years (that would be Vertical Scratchers debut Daughter of Everything) while one, Mike Krol, definitely being more on the up and coming.

There was a definitely a good crowd milling around Globe Hall, some even enjoying the place’s terrific BBQ which is in the room right next door.

I do have to say that my biggest pet peeve of all happened tonight when there was a full merch table of both bands stuff but .,…..no one there. I assumed it was being manned after the show but man, a weeknight with early work looming the next day I wanted to zip out when the show was over. Aw well.

Vertical Scratchers did not disappoint, as the four members held down their positions, not just sturdily but mightily. Also, I must add that if the music thing doesn’t work out for the vocalist then he has a career in stand-up comedy as the dude was a completely deadpan riot most of the night. Oh and did I bother to mention that the maniac drummer has 7 arms? I do know that the band did play at least one brand new songs called “Song of Earth” so perhaps a new record will be just around the corner.

I wanted to take the folks in Mike Krol’s band home and feed ‘em some soup and Castor Oil ‘cos they were all bloodied and beaten (the guitarist apparently had emergency surgery while at SXSW the week before and Mike himself was losing his voice….he mentioned a few other members were sick as well).

Did any of this stop Krol and Co from putting on a great show? I say emphatically HELL NO! They put on a terrific set complete with a strobe light that got me all dizzy and a synthesizer that was on ‘ludes that Mike kept leaning down to mess with (plus his trusty sidekick, the tambourine, on his arm).

They played mostly stuff off the righteous new record, Power Chords (Merge) plus a handful off his Merge debut, 2015’s Turkey.  Yeah, people keep mentioning Ty Segall when comparing Krol’s music, but the one thing that Krol has on Segall is that Krol would hand you a pair of ear plugs before blowing your ears out (Segall would never do that).

Seriously though, the band rocked mightily while tunes like the title track, “Little Drama” and “Blue and Pink” all sounded fabulous. Also, until Krol mentioned that he was having voice issues (from 7 gigs in 3 days at SXSW) I could not tell (thanks in part to vocal fx and plenty of distortion).

The guy and his crew know how to entertain and are definitely worth leaving the house for.  Krol gets my vote, I say put him on the ballot in 2020 and watch the country improve!

Amos Lee / Ethan Gruska 3/22/19, Austin

Dates: March 22, 2019

Location: ACL Moody Theater, Austin TX

Live at the storied Moody Theater, it was a singer-songwriter supreme type of evening.

BY SADIE CLAIRE

First up was the eminently talented Ethan Gruska:

…and then came headliner Amos Lee, currently touring behind the acclaimed My New Moon…

 

 

MOON GOOSE – Source Code

Album: Source Code

Artist: Moon Goose

Label: Fruits de Mer

Release Date: April 29, 2019

http://www.fruitsdemerrecords.com/moon.html

BY JONATHAN LEVITT

It’s rare these days for a record to stun me upon first listen, but that’s exactly what happened with Moon Goose’s debut album.

Opening cut “Second Life” is a gloriously tight psychedelic instrumental that reminded me of the band White Manna with its widescreen spirit leading us somewhere uncharted. “Knifeless Skinning” is a fascinating descent into an unsettling scene, where exploration and an incantations are all rolled into one.

And it just gets better from here.

“Le Conte” amps up the uniqueness to 10. Funky, diverse, and deep, the song is magical as it unfolds for the listener. Here the band reminds me of Malesch-era Agitation Free with their organic transitory sound. “Trains” is a slow burner that eventually reaches max elevation, with guitar playing that’s as magical as it can get. Then there’s “Carnage,” which is an amazing amalgam of the band’s best elements and musical leanings. Succinct, melodic, and tighter than a nun’s ass, the band really lets it fly on this brilliant track.

This record glides from one glorious moment to the next. There’s even a double colored vinyl pressing in the offing (it includes a CD of the whole album as well) so our vinyl-porn-fixated Chief Editor Fred Blurt can get his fix. (Gimme. You had me at “Agitation Free” who, incidentally, have just seen Malesch reissued on colored wax.— Krautrock Ed.)

DOWNLOAD: “Second Life” “Knifeless Skinning” “Carnage” “Le Conte”

MICHAEL MCARTHUR – Ever Green, Ever Rain

Album: Ever Green, Ever Rain

Artist: Michael McArthur

Label: Dark River Records

Release Date: January 25, 2019

hwww.darkriverrecords.com/

BY JOHN B. MOORE

Florida native Michael McArthur credits isolation, among other things, for the tone of many of the songs off of Ever Green, Ever Rain, his debut LP. That loneliness can heard throughout each and every track here as McArthur turns in a vulnerable, haunting collection of modern folk that brings to mind everyone from Bon Iver to Iron & Wine.

There is an openness to many of these songs, like the self-confessional “Elaine” that makes the listener almost feel guilty for listening in. Gorgeous? Yes, but it sounds a little intrusive, like listening to a relationship ending at the next table. There is also a vulnerability to both his voice and lyrics that echoes back to decades to folks as diverse as Nick Drake and James Taylor.

Though a dozen tracks of earnest, heartfelt folk can be tough to take in one sitting for some, McArthur manages to turn his isolation and loneliness into a movingly beautiful album.

 

DOWNLOAD: “Wild in the Blood,” “Elaine” and “Warmer Months”

BAD SPELL – Don’t Go Out Tonight

Album: Don’t Go Out Tonight

Artist: Bad Spell

Label: Midnight Cruiser

Release Date: April 12, 2019

 

www.midnightcruiserrecords.bandcamp.com

BY MICHAEL TOLAND

Atlanta’s rock & roll hot streak continues with Don’t Go Out Tonight, the fiery debut from power trio Bad Spell. Though ostensibly playing garage rock, guitarist Bryan G. Malone, baritone guitarist Shane Pringle and drummer Pietro DiGennaro didn’t purchase Nuggets and stop there. The band explores the nexus of mid- and late-sixties guitar grunge, starting at the Sonics, continuing through the Litter and ending up in Detroit. Powered by burly riffs, raw singing (and we do mean actual singing, not screaming), and DiGennaro’s jet engine drumming,

Bad Spell’s energy level kicks the needle into the red, pulling back at just the right times, in order to make the next punch deadlier. The group’s blare is effective enough, but it’s put to use on songs with substantial melodies and a sense of actual craft. The band isn’t hiding an urge to be the Zombies underneath its crackle, but there’s definitely a vibe that says “Yes, Virginia, we know how to actually write songs.” That’s evident in the blazing “Sick On Love,” “Spellbound” and “Some Kinda Strange,” the almost rootsy “Jenny Lynn,” “Wastin’ Time On You” and “(Hey Hey Hey) Let’s Disappear” and the crunching powerhouse that is the title track. Indeed, there’s not a bum track here – every song is primed for maximum riffology. This kind of crash-and-bash rock & roll is becoming scarce, at least the kind that’s done well, so kudos to Bad Spell for taking an older model and giving it a turbocharge.

DOWNLOAD: “Don’t Go Out Tonight,” “Some Kinda Strange,” “(Hey Hey Hey) Let’s Disappear”