Recently, four of my favorite folk-pickin’, country-rockin’ dudes–Jay Farrar (Son Volt), Will Johnson (Centro-matic), Anders Parker (Varnaline), and Jim James (My Morning Jacket, credited here as Yim Yames )–came together Billy Bragg and Wilco-style to put to music lyrics pulled from Woody Guthrie’s generous vault, and the results of their collaboration are now available as the album New Multitudes. As with Billy Bragg and Wilco’s collaborative efforts (Mermaid Avenue I and II), individual tracks on New Multitudes, for the most part, sound like the respective artists who wrote them and are at the front of the performance, yet (also as with Mermaid) the album manages to exceed the already impressive sum of its parts through the lyrical wit and wisdom of the source material. It’s a well-crafted, stately album that successfully brings Woody Guthrie’s unique and uncompromising vision to today’s world through the art of musicians who’ve inherited his legacy.
New Multitudes is out now via Rounder Records. Check it out here.
The album is currently streaming in its entirety via Spinner. Listen here.
Those who keep up with los grillos probably know by now that around these parts we dig us some noise rock, and that of late we’ve been singing the praises of recent bands such as Black Congress, Whores, and Pop. 1280, who take some cues from their noise rock forebears, alternately bringing to mind, to list just a few, the gut-punch grit of the Jesus Lizard, the industrial grind of Suicide, and the aural abrasions of Unsane. Given this, it goes without saying that los grillos is superfly-fuckin-psyched that Unsane is set to drop its first album since 2007, but we’ll say it anyway: los grillos is superfly-fuckin-psyched that Unsane is set to drop its first album since 2007. Advance tracks “Ghost” and “No Chance” prove that the new album, Wreck, is as relentless as ever and well worth the wait.
Wreck is out March 20 via Alternative Tentacles. Keep an eye on it here.
Go here to listen to “Ghost” courtesy of Decibel Magazine. Listen to “No Chance” below…
Willis Earl Beal‘s name and music have been making rounds through the blogosphere lately, and los grillos has to thank the fantastic folks at Aquarium Drunkard for turning us on to him. Like the outsider artists to which he gets compared–Daniel Johnston and Jandek, due as much to his backstory (see this Pitchfork feature) as to his adventurous, ramshackle musical spirit–Beal is a true original whose music deserves the hype it’s receiving. The first song I heard, “Monotony,” is simple, soulful, timeless and just plain great, and I’m psyched to hear a full album.
Beal has an lp, Acousmatic Sorcery, set for release on April 3 via XL imprint Hot Charity. Check it out here and here.
Listen to “Monotony” courtesy of Aquarium Drunkard here.
And here’s a cool video for the song “Evening’s Kiss” (which recalls, in some ways, early Elliott Smith more than anything I’ve heard in a long while)…
I have a certain appreciation for small-stage bands that wear their big-stage ambitions on their musical sleeves in terms of song structure and production, and Chattanooga, Tennessee’s Moonlight Bride is one such band. By the final note of standout closing track “And The Death Ship Had A New Captain,” from the band’s latest ep, Twin Lakes, it’s clear that Moonlight Bride swings for the same stadium fences, emotionally-epic-anthem-wise, as Arcade Fire and Surfer Blood. A key difference is that while those bands come off as particularly connected to the resurgence of the 90s indie/alternative sound, Moonlight Bride seem more directly influenced by the 80s bands that helped build that scene, and its sound is alternately filtered through the shoegaze squall of My Bloody Valentine (“Diego”), the jangly, detached romanticism of Echo & The Bunnymen (“Lemonade “), and the fuzzed-out pop of The Jesus and Mary Chain (“Drug Crimes”). All of this is delivered with a Southern gothic mood that helps the band to offer a fresh take on a familiar sound, making Moonlight Bride one to watch this year as the band moves from cramped stages in tiny clubs to more expansive rooms built for the fullness of its sound.
Twin Lakes is set to be released on February 28. Check it out here.
Last month los grillos was excited to announce an advance track from the forthcoming Dirty Three lp, Toward The Low Sun, the band’s first album in 7 years. At the time los grillos wrote that the song, “Rising Below,” promised “introspective abstractions that slowly build to feverish howls,” and Toward The Low Sun, currently streaming in its entirety via NPR in advance of its release next week, delivers on that promise.
Toward The Low Sun is out February 28 via Drag City. Check it out here.