Category: Blues

More than enough real and virtual ink has been spilled on Iggy Pop throughout his incredibly influential, lengthy and prolific music career — a music career that he can trace back to 1960. And with the legend’s 70th birthday on Friday, we should all enjoy him for as long as he’s here to kick ass. Interestingly enough, Iggy Pop has collaborated and championed a number of contemporary bands including the Miami, FL-based rock trio Jacuzzi Boys, who in 2015 started their own label Mag Mag Records with the primary purpose of releasing their own music.

April 21, 2017 marks the release of Mag Mag’s new flexi disc series, which begins with the release of a dusty and scuzzy, Mississippi Delta blues-inspired new single from the iconic Iggy Pop titled “Asshole Blues.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: The Noirish and Bluesy Sounds and Visuals of KaiL Baxley’s “Killin’ Floor”

KaiL Baxley is a Williston, SC-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who has seen praise from the likes of NPR and KCRW for a sound that draws heavily from old school soul and Mississippi Delta – – and for songwriting that draws from characters of his life — including an outlaw father, whom he only met once; but whom Baxley insists is a good, decent man; his mother, who was once an inmate at the same state penitentiary James Brown was in — and as Baxley mentions, Brown sang at the prison’s church and later taught a shy, young Baxley how to dance; his wise and very dear grandfather, whose anecdotes and wisdom he still quotes to this day; and the best guitar player, he personally ever met, his small town’s local mechanic. But along with that, his material draws from his own life and experiences. At one point Baxley was a Golden Gloves champion, with a chance of competing for the US Olympic boxing team before a run in with the law and a gunshot wound on his left shoulder sidetracked that dream. Sometime later, as a singer/songwriter and guitarist, Baxley left his small town and drove across the country with a few dollars and his guitar. And when he arrived in Los Angeles, he slept in an RV parked on Selma Blvd to pay for the studio time to record his full-length debut, Heat Stroke/The Wind and the War, an effort that went on to be nominated as NPR’s album of the year.

Building on his growing reputation as a singer/songwriter, Baxley’s sophomore effort A Light that Never Dies was released last year to critical praise from KCRW and NPR, who hailed the album as a reflection of the Williston-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter’s greatest talent — seeing beauty in our darkest and most desperate moments. Interestingly, with the release of “Killin’ Floor” and “High on the Moon” earlier this year, the Williston-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter continues with the bluesy and soulful sound that won him critical praise and national attention.

“Killin’ Floor,” Baxley’s first single of 2017 draws heavily on classic, back water blues, “the acapella, foot stomping kinda thing you find in the rural south where I’m from,” the Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter explains. “The song stems from the feeling of you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.” Sonically speaking, the slow-burning song sounds as though it bears the dusty, old-timey imprint of legendary singer/songwriter and producer T. Bone Burnett — thanks in part to a sparse, atmospheric arrangement featuring shuffling guitar chords, brief bursts of soulful organ, gently padded drumming that gives Baxley’s soulful vocals enough room to express a familiar, timeless and visceral ache.

Directed by Ryan Sheehy and based on a general idea that both Sheehy and Baxley came up with about a Black Widow type, driving into the desert to bury the young lover, she just killed, the recently released, cinematically shot video features Baxley’s friend Michelle Forbes as the female lead. And while possessing an old-fashioned sensuality, there’s a palpable sense of dread an unease throughout.

New Video: The Bluesy Sounds and Visuals for Winstons Barn-burning “Enough”

Comprised of Lou Nutting (guitar, harmonica, vocals) and Ben Brock Wilkes (drums, vocals), the up-and-coming Virginia-born, Brooklyn-based duo Winstons can actually trace their origins to when the duo met while working at Williamsburg hotspot Baby’s All Right. With the release of two EPs Turpentine and Black Dust back in 2015, the Brooklyn-based duo received attention for a soulful, garage, blues rock that owes an equal debt to The Black Keys, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins complete with a visceral and forceful earnestness — and for making a decided point of recording live to tape, with no touch-ups, no overdubs, no retakes; first thought, best thought.

Earlier this year, I wrote about “Without You,” off their “Without You”/”Enough” 7 inch, a single bluesy single that possessed a forceful immediacy and heartache and an anthemic, arena rock sized hook. And building upon the buzz that “Without You” has received, the duo released the B side single “Enough” a single which will further cement their burgeoning reputation for crafting raw, urgent, blues-leaning garage rock with arena-friendly, anthemic hooks — and while drawing from The Black Keys, the mid-tempo barnburner manages to nod at The Band and The Animals.

Directed by Buried Muse, the recently released music video for the single follows in a similar vein as the visuals for “Without Out,” as the video follows the duo jamming on the roof and performing inside Williamsburg’s Baby’s All Right, broodingly smoking cigarettes out of their window, thinking about the past, and heading to a local bar, where they encounter their dopplegangers — with a natural sense of suspicion. In some way, it captures the rock ‘n’ roll life, suggesting that it’s far more cooler than living an actual life, complete with banality, routine and utter boredom.

Mark Lanegan is a Ellensburg, WA-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, best known as the frontman, and founding member of  Seattle-based grunge rock pioneers Screaming Trees, and for collaborating with an incredibly diverse array of artists and bands throughout his lengthy career including Nirvana‘s Kurt Cobain on an unreleased Lead Belly cover/tribute album recorded before the release of Nevermind. The Ellensburg-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter was also a member of renowned grunge rock All-Star supergroup/side project Mad Season with Alice in ChainsLayne Staley and Pearl Jam‘s Mike McCready. After Screaming Trees broke up in 2000, Lanegan joined Queens of the Stone Age and is featured on the band’s last five albums — 2000’s Rated R, 2002’s Songs for the Deaf, 2005’s Lullabies to Paralyze, 2007’s Era Vulgaris and 2013’s . . . Like Clockwork. He’s also collaborated with The Afghan WhigsGreg Dulli in The Gutter Twins and has collaborated with former Belle and Sebastian vocalist Isobel Campbell on three albums. Additionally, he has contributed or guested on albums by Melisa Auf der Maur, Martina Topley-Bird, Creature with the Atom Brain, Moby, Bomb the Bass, Soulsavers, Greg Dulli’s The Twilight Singers, UNKLE and others. And although he’s managed to be rather busy throughout the years, Lanegan has also developed a low-key solo career in which he’s released nine studio albums that have been critically applauded and have seen a fair amount of commercial success.

Lanegan’s 10th full-length effort Gargoyle is slated for an April 28, 2017 release through Heavenly Recordings and interestingly enough, Lanegan can trace the origins of the album’s material and sound back to early 2016. At the time, the renowned grunge rocker was working on some ideas for what might be a new solo album, when he received an email from a friend and collaborator, the British based musician Rob Marshall, who he had first met several years before when Marshall’s former band Exit Calm had supported Soulsavers, a band that Lanegan had been fronting. The email thanked Lanegan for his participation on an album that Marshall had recorded with his newest project, Humanist while offering to write music for Lanegan to return a favor to the grunge pioneer. As Lanegan recalls in press notes, his response was along the lines of “Hey man, I’m getting ready to make a record, if you’ve got anything? Three days later he sent me 10 things… !”

Early on in the writing process, Lanegan had written “Blue Blue Sea,” a rippling mood peice that he thought and felt would be more fruitful direction for the songs on the album. “It’s almost always how my records start,” the Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter explains in press notes. “I let the first couple of songs tell me what the next couple should sound like, and it’s really the same process when I’m writing words. Whatever my first couple of lines are, tell me what the next couple should be. I’ve always built things like that, sort of like making a sculpture I guess.” Within about an hour, Lanegan and written words and recorded vocals for two of the instrumental tracks Marshall had written and recorded at Mount Sion Studios in Kent UK. Interestingly, the music Marshall had written had managed to fit perfectly with the direction Lanegan had been thinking of for some time — an expansion of the Krautrock-inspired electronic sounds and textures of his previous two albums Blues Funeral and Phantom Radio. Eventually Marshall wound up co-writing six of the album’s 10 songs with the remainder of the album being written and produced by Lanegan’s longtime collaborator Alain Johannes at 11AD Studios in West Hollywood.

As the story goes, everything was polished and finished within a month, which has been unusually fast by Lanegan’s recent standards. “I definitely feel like I’m a better songwriter than I was 15 years ago,” Lanegan stays in press notes. “I don’t know if I’m just kidding myself or what, but it’s definitely easier now to make something that is satisfying to me. Maybe I’m just easier on myself these days, but it’s definitely not as painful a process, and therefore I feel I’m better at it now. But part of the way that I stay interested in making music is by collaborating with other people. When I see things through somebody else’s perspective it’s more exciting than if I’m left to my own devices.”

Gargoyle‘s second and latest single “Beehive” pairs Lanegan’s imitable boozy, growling baritone vocals with a bluesy and swaggering production featuring shimmering guitar chords and enormous tweeter and woofer rattling beats, essentially pushing Lanegan’s recent forays into the blues into the 21st Century; but in a way that feels both warmly familiar and yet new.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comprised of three siblings, twins Alexis (bass) and Zandy Fitzgerald (guitar), along with their brother Darius (drums) and cousin Jasmine Mullen (vocals, guitar), The New Respects are a Nashville, TN-based blues rock act, that has been heavily influenced by the gospel music they were surrounded by — but also by a healthy amount of secular and pop artists including Aretha Franklin, Alabama Shakes, John Mayer and others. Produced by Leagues‘ Jermey Lutito, the Nashville, TN-based quartet’s debut EP Here Comes Trouble is slated for a March 10, 2017 release through Credential Recordings and with the release of the EP’s first single “Trouble,” which has seen recent placements on ESPN’s Major League Soccer coverage, Fox Sports’ Road To The Octagon and TNT’s NBA coverage, as well as praise from NPR World Music Cafe‘s Jewly Hight. And unsurprisingly, as a result, The New Respects’ debut EP may arguably be one of the most highly-anticipated EPs of the first few months of 2017.

Here Comes Trouble‘s second and latest single “Money” is a gritty yet funky and soulful that not only displays The New Respect’s genre-defying sound — a sound which effortlessly meshes blues, arena rock, pop and hip-hop; but it also reveals a band that has an uncanny ability to write an swaggering and anthemic, power chord friendly hook paired with a sinuous bass line, a darting yet funky guitar line, thunderous drumming and Mullen’s powerhouse, pop belter vocals. Sonically speaking “Money” will likely remind listeners of The Black Keys, Robert Randolph and The Family Band and others and while that would be a fair comparison, lyrically the song has struck me as an ironic take on “If I Was a Rich Girl” that not only points out that being filthy rich won’t buy you more time, nor would it buy you much in the way of happiness.  In fact, the song suggests two things that seem to be an anathema in our consumer world — that having money and a lot of possessions actually distracts you from life’s true purpose: to love someone else and to be here now.

Directed by Ry Cox, the artfully shot, recently released music video follows the members of the band as they break into the home of some rich guy as he’s away to play music and invite friends and other associates to the house, along with footage of the band languidly enjoying the fruits of greed and power as they sing the song’s hook. And while being kind of trippy, the video ends with the band disappearing before the rich man’s return.

The quartet will be opening for Robert and The Family Band throughout March. Check out tour dates below.

Tour

Supporting Robert Randolph & The Family Band

3/15 — Cincinnati, OH @ The Ballroom @ Taft

3/16 — Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom

3/17 — Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall

3/18 — Madison, WI @ Majestic

3/20 — Kansas City, MO @ Knuckleheads

3/22 — Fort Collins, CO @ Aggie

3/24 — Boulder, CO @ Fox Theatre

3/25 — Denver, CO @ Gothic Theatre

3/26 — Aspen, CO @ Belly Up

Comprised of Lou Nutting (guitar, harmonica, vocals) and Ben Brock Wilkes (drums, vocals), the up-and-coming Virginia-born, Brooklyn-based duo Winstons can actually trace their origins to when the duo met while working at Williamsburg hotspot Baby’s All Right. With the release of two EPs Turpentine and Black Dust back in 2015, the Brooklyn-based duo received attention for a soulful, garage, blues rock that owes an equal debt to The Black KeysScreamin’ Jay Hawkins complete with a visceral and forceful earnestness — and for making a decided point of recording live to tape, with no touch-ups, no overdubs, no retakes; first thought, best thought.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about “Without You,” off their “Without You”/”Enough” 7 inch, a single bluesy single that possessed a forceful immediacy and heartache and an anthemic, arena rock sized hook. And building upon the buzz that “Without You” has received, the duo released the B side single “Enough” a single which will further cement their burgeoning reputation for crafting raw, urgent, blues-leaning garage rock with arena-friendly, anthemic hooks — and while drawing from The Black Keys, the mid-tempo barnburner manages to nod at The Band and The Animals.

 

Comprised of Lou Nutting (guitar, harmonica, vocals) and Ben Brock Wilkes (drums, vocals), the up-and-coming Virginia-born, Brooklyn-based duo Winstons can actually trace their origins to when the duo met while working at Williamsburg hotspot Baby’s All Right. With the release of two EPs Turpentine and Black Dust back in 2015, the Brooklyn-based duo received attention for a soulful, garage, blues rock that owes an equal debt to The Black Keys, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and , complete with a visceral and forceful earnestness, and for making a point of recording live to tape with no touch-ups, no overdubs, no retakes; first thought, best thought. And as you’ll hear on the duo’s latest single “Without You,” off their forthcoming “Without You”/”Enough” 7 inch, the result is a song that possesses a forceful immediacy and heartache.

 

 

New Video: The Early Rock and Blues Sounds of Hamilton, Ontario’s Terra Lightfoot

Lightfoot’s sophomore effort Every Time My Mind Runs Wild was released earlier this year through Sonic Unyon Records and as you’ll hear from the album’s bluesy and early rock sounding latest single “All Alone,” the material explodes with a visceral, heartfelt urgency –and that shouldn’t be surprising as thematically the album focuses on the universal (and classic) themes of love, lust, loneliness and temptation; but perhaps more importantly, the album reveals a singer/songwriter, who has grown exponentially. As the Canadian singer/songwriter notes in press notes, she spent time refining, revising and experimenting with her songwriting approach and listening to tons of vintage pop and rock albums from where she picked up on and mastered old-school techniques and concepts — i.e., tonic chords and middle eights — while crafting tighter hooks. Sonically speaking “All Alone” is reminiscent of a bluesy and muscular version of Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” and “Walkin’ After Midnight,”complete with the same heartache at its core paired with Lightfoot’s effortlessly soulful and bluesy powerhouse vocal range. Every single time I’ve heard the single I’ve been blown away by Lightfoot’s vocals and by the ache and resolve they express — frequently within the turn of a phrase.

The recently released music video employs a rather simple concept. Shot while Lightfoot was on tour in the UK, the video features the Canadian singer/songwriter wandering around the Scottish highlands with her guitar, singing the song. A beautiful voice paired with some of the most beautiful scenery you can come across — that works. As the Hamilton, ON-based singer songwriter says about the video “We visited a hidden beach, a cemetery, a bog full of petrified wood, a castle, and finally a dreamy waterfall . . . The Scottish highlands will always hold a piece of my heart and I’m so glad we were able to capture that sense of awe on film.”