Tag: The Replacements

If you’ve been frequenting this site throughout the course of this year, you’ve come across a couple of posts featuring the Los Angeles, CA-based indie rock/dream pop duo Alyeska, and as you may recall the duo, which is comprised of Montana-born, Los Angeles-based frontwoman Alaska Reid and Ben Spear derive their name from an archaic spelling of the state of Alaska — and of course, Reid’s first name.

With the release of “Tilt A Whirl,” the first single off their John Agnello-produced debut EP, Crush, the duo began to receive attention across the blogosphere — as well as this site — for a sound that draws equally from 80s post-punk and New Wave, as it did from contemporary indie rock. The EP’s second single “Motel State of Mind,” as a moody and dramatic song that while meant to be a “rip off “rip off The Replacements” as Reid explained in an interview with Billboardmanaged to remind me quite a bit of Concrete Blonde‘s “Joey,” complete with a swooning heartache at its core. “Sister Buckskin,” the EP’s third single continued in the 80s post-punk/New Wave/college radio vein, as it managed to remind me of The Pretenders; but underneath the shimmering guitar work and anthemic hooks was a bitter sense of nostalgia over what could have have been — and just didn’t happen.

Since the release of Crush, the duo have gone on to open for the likes of Middle Kids, Frankie Cosmos and Blitzen Trapper but interestingly, the band recently released the EP’s latest single “Stones,” the last bit of music recorded at The Magic Shop, where David Bowie, Arcade Fire, Sonic Youth, Norah Jones, Coldplay and the Foo Fighters once recorded albums. And while further cementing their reputation for crafting hook-laden, anthemic 80s-inspired rock, the “Stones” manages to make a subtle nod to Fever to Tell-era Yeah Yeah Yeahs, as the song features some of the most impressive guitar work on the EP while bristling with a feral sensuality.

 

 

 

 

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With the release of “Tilt A Whirl,” the first single off their John Angelo-produced debut EP, Crush, the Los Angeles, CA-based indie rock/dream pop duo Alyeska began to receive attention across the blogosphere for a sound that draws equally from 80s post-punk and New Wave, as it did from contemporary indie rock. And if you had been on this site earlier this month, you may recall that I wrote about Crush‘s second single “Motel State of Mind,” a moody and dramatic song that as the band’s frontperson and primary songwriter Alaska Reid explained in an interview at Billboard wasn’t about illicit behavior, like truckers, hookers and cooking meth, but an attempt to “rip off The Replacements;” however, to m ears, the song reminds me much more of Concrete Blonde‘s “Joey,” complete with a swooning heartache at its core.

Interestingly, the EP’s third and latest single “Sister Buckskin” continues in an 8os post-punk/New Wave/alt-rock vein as it bears a resemblance to The Pretenders, thanks in part to an anthemic hook and gorgeously shimmering guitar work, along with an explosively cathartic ending; but just under the surface is a bitter sense of nostalgia over what could have been — and wasn’t.

 

 

 

 

Bonnie Whitmore (vocals, bass) is a Denton, TX-born, Austin, TX-based singer/songwriter, who can trace the origins of her musical career to when she started playing in her family’s band, Daddy and the Divas. Shortly after that, a teenaged Whitmore picked up gigs playing in several Dallas-Ft. Worth area bands; however, her first professional band The Brent Mitchell Band lead to studio work with an impressive array of artists including Susan Gibson, Shelley King, Mando Saenz, Justin Townes Earle, Hayes Carll, Colin Gilmore and Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Aaron Lee Tasjan and Sunny Sweeney. As a solo artist, Whitmore’s work is influenced by Tom Petty, Bonnie Raitt, Fleetwood Mac, Roy Orbison and The Replacements while drawing from deeply personal experiences — although her her third and latest album Fuck With Sad Girls, which features a backing band comprised of Scott Davis (guitar), who has worked with Band of Heathens and Hayes Carll; Craig Bagby (drums), who has worked with Sherman Colin Herman; and Jared Hall (keys), who has worked with Velvet Underground and Colin Gilmore, the album thematically focuses on the social and cultural stigmas placed on “imperfect” women.

 

Fuck With Sad Girls‘ latest single is “Fighter,” and the gorgeous song has Whitemore, Davis, Bagby and Hall pairing twinkling keys, accordion, lap steel guitar, gentle pads of percussion and Whitmore’s expressive and plaintive vocals in a song that manages to be psychologically revealing, vulnerable and honest as the song’s narrator admits to living a full, complicated and messy life, a life full of joy, mistakes, regrets, difficult and uneasy decisions and compromises, and throughout the song’s narrator reveals herself to be a resilient, modern woman — the sort of woman you’d likely known and encountered in your own life.

 

 

 

 

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Currently comprised of Willy Vlautin (vocals, acoustic guitar and electric guitar), Dave Harding (bass, backing vocals), Sean Oldham (drums, percussion, vibes and backing vocals). Dan Eccles (guitar) and Paul Brainard (pedal steel, piano, vibes, acoustic guitar, trumpet and backing vocals), the Portland, OR-based alt country quintet Richmond Fontaine can trace its origins back to 1994 when the founding duo of Vlautin and Harding met at Portland Meadows Racetrack and pored over the racing form and talked about music. Bonding over their mutual love of Husker Du, Willie Nelson, X, The Blasters and The Replacements, the duo decided to write and play music together. After expanding to a quartet, Richmond Fontaine developed a reputation for a sound that meshed elements of rock, country, punk and folk and paired them with Vlautin’s narrative-based songwriting (which has interestingly enough have been compared favorably to the short stories of Raymond Carver and Larry Brown). And as a result, the band has been praised by a number of nationally recognized and internationally recognized outlets including UncutQ MagazineMojoThe IndependentThe Sun and others.

Interestingly, over the past 8 years or so Richmond Fontaine’s Willy Vlautin has also developed a reputation as a critically acclaimed novelist. His debut novel The Motel Life won a Silver Pen Award from the state of Nevada and landed on the The Washington Post‘s Top 25 Books of 2007 — and it was later adapted into the critically acclaimed movie, The Motel Life which starred Emile Hirsch, Stephen Dorff, Dakota Fanning and Kris Kristofferson. Northline, Vlautin’s second novel was published in 2008 and was a San Francisco Chronicle Top Ten Bestseller. His third novel, Lean on Pete was published in 2010 and won the Ken Kesey Award for Fiction and was Hot Press’ book of the year. And his last novel, The Free was published two years ago. Along with nine full-length albums, an instrumental soundtrack for Northline, two live albums and an EP,  Vlautin and company have been incredibly (and exhaustingly) prolific.

After a three year hiatus from recording, the members of Richmond Fontaine returned to the studio with their long-time producer John Askew to write and then record their forthcoming tenth full-length effort, You Can’t Go Back If There’s Nothing To Go Back To, which is slated for a March 18 release through Fluff and Gravy Records across North America and Decor Records across Europe.  The album’s first single “Wake Up Ray,” is a jangling bit of alt country that tells a story with such exquisite narrative details that it creates a very real, lived in world in which the song’s characters wake up every day to a life and a house that they hate and yet feels largely inescapable — all while reminiscing over the time that’s passed and a love that’s long been over. And although wistful and mournful over the things that can’t be, there’s an acceptance of things being impermanent and a quiet joy in once knowing those things.