Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Album Review: Brownout - Fear of a Brown Planet

Fear of a Brown Planet
*** out of *****

The last time we checked in with the Austin, TX funk outfit Brownout they had on another musical costume, Brown Sabbath. Now the band continues its musical cosplay with a tribute to Public Enemy titled Fear of a Brown Planet.

In truth, this not a direct tribute or even cover versions of Public Enemy's famous tunes, it is an amalgamation of The Bomb Squad (PE's Production Team) beats and more specifically the samples from which they drew from, all filtered through Brownout's vision. Some of these songs bare little resemblance to the Public Enemy tracks they are titled after, and were simply jumping off points for free flowing funk. 

"Fight The Power" is a good example as the group sidesteps PE's angst, diving right back to The JB's "Hot Pants Road" and James Brown "Funky Drummer". The trumpet runs and particularly the killer drumming lay the base while off in the distance synth lines update things. "Bring the Noise" is messier but the chicken scratch guitars, vibrant countering horn lines and pump up the energy. 

A standout track is "By The Time I Get To Arizona" which hits a little closer to home for the Texas crew, beginning with the aggression and wah-wah guitars the groove is thicker than molasses. The horns try to punctuate but get swamped by the mega bass bumps and beats; head bopping icky goodness. The space and airiness given to Flava Flav's "I Don't Wanna Be Called Yo Ni**a" is a unique tweak that works and "911 Is A Joke" is a '70's blaxploitation soundtrack cooker with layers of percussion and horn lines, allowing for the originals bass work while expanding on the sound and working wonders.     

Other tracks are fun on their own but seem to be at odds with, or have no spiritual connection to the originals. "Shut'Em Down" is one example, lacking the punch but contains a nice chilled out groove with a killer fuzz tone guitar fade out that could run all night. "Don't Believe The Hype" turns from empowering anthem to cool get down jam and the most jarring track from title to result is "Welcome To The Terrordome" which transforms one of the most exhilarating/frightening hip-hop songs ever into a late night lounge trip-hop number, stripping it of all its power.

RtBE grew up on Public Enemy and for this outfit to take inspiration from the Long Island legends (and those they sampled) is fine, but Brownout seem anxious to break out of their cover band shell too often on this release. If the songs were say "Inspired by..." as opposed to a full album of interpreted tracks things may have worked better in setting up expectations and results.

If you are not a huge PE fan but love jazzy funk this is for you, if you worship the originals this may be off putting at first, but removed from the inspirations it is still a funky offering.   
Support the artist, buy the album, stream it on bandcamp or below and peep some video:

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Album Review: Cut Worms - Hollow Ground

Cut Worms
Hollow Ground
***and1/2 out of *****

Cut Worms is the stage name for the Brooklyn based Max Clarke and his debut record, Hollow Ground is an ear catching retro pop delight.

Clarke recorded all of the instruments himself in both LA and NYC and the sense of intimacy rings throughout the ten songs presented here. There are flashes of 50's sweetness, 60's jangle, 70's LA country and other culture touch points music fans will recognize as the tracks pass by.

Opening with the bright guitar work and lyrics about record machines of "How It Can Be" the listener is instantly transported by the stylized rock.The calliope sounds and doo-wop backing vocals are overly dramatic and distracting during "Coward's Confidence" but things click back into a positive light for "Don't Want To Say Good-bye" which plays up mid career Beatles inspiration with ease and ends up being the catchiest track on the album. 

"It Won't Be Too Long" gets a Flying Burrito Brothers pop country groove working and that easy galloping western styled workout also settles into "Hanging Your Pictures Up to Dry" and while both are successful at what they set out to do Clarke is more in the pocket when he is dealing with the less rural numbers, like on the forlorn "Like Going Down Sideways". 

"I Think I Might Be In Love" is another disk highlight, a beautiful straight ahead number that pulls in "sha-na-na" backing vocals, a rolling bass line and pedal steel guitar work. Sounding like The Monkees the track is a bright slice of sunshine before the more driving "Cash For Gold" pumps up the energy but doesn't sacrifice the sweet sound even while dealing with a lyrical relationship breakup.

An album like Hollow Ground is instantly enjoyable as the sounds recall classics of generations past, but it can also slip by without much thought like a lazy summer evening. Unfortunately, this music can really use a knockout song and there isn't one standout must hear number on the record but this being the first full length from Clarke and company it still manages to load the album with a lot of very good ones. 

Reminiscent of Dan Auerbach's Nashville pop love record Waiting On A Song, Cut Worms have produced a record straight out of another era. Hollow Ground is a confident debut and makes following Max Clarke's career a requirement for any fan of pop/rock/fun music.
Support the artist, buy the album and peep some video below:


Monday, June 18, 2018

Dylan Cover #329 Daven Atma "Jokerman" Live

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's tune is live a cover by Daven Atma playing "Jokerman"

Thoughts on Original:
From the first time we tackled a cover of this tune:
The kick-start to his "back to rock and roll" album Infidels, "Jokerman" is a monster. A torrent of images, symbols, thoughts, proclamations, fears and fables; it feels like a dam was broken in Dylan's brain and all of these things just poured out. Musically it moves along but doesn't add much to the towering wordplay as the tune is dominated by the lyrics which seem almost never ending; Dylan has penned wordier tunes, but few feel as heavy as this. Flawed, but reaching for something, it is a not an all-time great Dylan song, but it is one that lets us peak into his brain a bit. For more on this tune, check out this post.

Thoughts on Cover Artist:
RtBE have not heard of Daven Atma before. He is a singer-songwriter from Chilliwack British Columbia Canada. More info and videos available on his Facebook page.

Thoughts on Cover:
An unique take on this song. In the original there is a fiery sense of urgency as if Dylan's brain will explode if he doesn't get all  the words out. Daven goes laid back...and it works. There is more of a light airy take on the flood of words and optimistic as opposed to fatalistic vibe. A cool breezy cover tune on this steaming hot Monday in June.  

Friday, June 15, 2018

Full Show Friday: Run The Jewels @ Bonnaroo 2015

We search the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts and post them to the site weekly, come back every seven days to help us celebrate Full Show Friday's. These shows are of varying quality and may not be here for long so enjoy them while you can...As always, please support the artist every which way, but especially by seeing them live (if they are still playing)...This week...Run The Jewels!

Some months our Full Show Friday's will focus on specific artistsyearsvenues, festivals or some combo of it all. This month we focus on sets from Bonnaroo over the years.  

Last week we posted a headliner we don't care for much. This week we post a late night show for a band we dig. 

When we first got into RTJ was on RTJ2 which we reviewed and rated highly in our year end round up. We caught them live not long after that and loved it. We also dug their most recent release and rated it pretty high as well. 

Pro shot, Pro Sound, full set list below. Enjoy:

1:20 Run the Jewels 4:58 Oh My Darling Don't Cry 9:15 Blockbuster Night Part 1 12:13 Banana Clipper 17:11 36" Chain 20:04 DDFH 23:12 Sea Legs 27:17 Close Your Eyes (And Count To Fuck) 30:33 Pew Pew Pew 34:25 Lie, Cheat, Steal 38:03 Early 42:11 All Due Respect 44:08 Love Again 47:09 Get It 50:44 A Christmas Fucking Miracle 56:17 Angel Duster

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Album Review: No Dry County- Panhandle Music

No Dry County 
Panhandle Music
*** out of *****

No Dry Country are an outfit from Lubbock, TX that play a unique variation of Americana roots/rock mixed with blues influences all wrapped up with pop production, looking to break them out of their genre confines.

The four piece of Trent Langford (Lead Vocals/Guitar/Keys), Matt Newsom (Drums/Vocals), Dub Wood (Bass/Vocals) and Bristen Phillips (Guitars/Keys) have been at this for a while now releasing EP's and full lengths for about a decade but the scope and breath of Panhandle Music is their most complete offering yet.

The spooky western expanse comes to life on opener "Tucummcari" as the bands explores some Texas roots but that track is an outlier as the players are more comfortable going for bigger and brighter sounds as this record progresses. "Get Away" incorporates fun bass runs, "oo-oo" vocal chirps and a big blues rocking sound, while "When You Come Around" feels like a mid-eighties Tom Petty b-side with some killer lead guitar work.

The albums first single "Elvis Gun Runner" is a fantasy tale of a hallucinating trucker who feels he has the title job. Musically it is an exciting upbeat boogie-woogie with a driving beat sounding fresh containing excellent breaks.

The group started out as an 80's cover band and that style/production seeps in and causes a distinct sound as the vocals are clean, main singer/songwriter Langford sounds pristine, while guitars get distorted and languid at times. The instrumental "Mountains of Clouds" pumps up the arena riffs, leading perfectly into "On Our Own" which is chock full of classic rock cliches and singalongs. That clean/dirty mix might work best on the dusty distorted duet "Sheep In Wolves Clothing" but the vocals don't match the extra meaty blues stomping of "Sway" which is caught halfway between 70's thunder and 80's hair metal.

"15 Piece Band" is a waltzing highlight number containing a great lyric about a doomed from the start marriage calling to mind a Patterson Hood yarn, and when the long running album reaches its conclusion via the cinematic "Hey Thunder" the comparison is clearer. A more pop/80's rock influenced Drive-By Truckers sound, touching on various southern genres while spinning engaging tales filled with disappointment yet hope; No Dry County deliver a thoughtful Americana rock release with Panhandle Music.
Support the band, buy the album as it will be released on June 29th and peep some video below:

David Byrne Adds Tour Dates Including NYC Show

David Byrne is currently on his American Utopia tour and he expanded things by adding shows in Ireland, England, Australia and New Zealand. A bit closer to RtBE's home though he added a date in Brooklyn as well, giving him three dates around the city in mid September.
He will now be playing The Kings Theater on September 16th an tickets go on sale this Friday at noon. As well as Queens on the 15th and Kings Theater again on the 17th. 

We reviewed the new album and their is no easy way to say it, very disappointing, but Byrne and company are always great live so it is worth the ticket. Below is the full list of tour dates plus some live video of David Byrne from this current tour, for full tour dates click on 'Read More' below.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Deafheaven Album in July, New Tracks & Tour Dates

The metal outfit Deafheaven are putting out their fourth album this July titled Ordinary Corrupt Human Love. They are also planning a massive tour to support the album.
To pump up the faithful the group has also released two long tracks from the record, "Honeycomb and "Canary Yellow which you can hear below. On "Canary Yellow" the group moves away from pure screaming vocals to more melodic singing, a wise move to these ears.

The group is always interesting and we have enjoyed their last two releases, Sunbather and New Bermuda, but have rarely gone back to them (mostly because of the vocals). The musical style is pretty unique, combining assault metal with shoe-gaze bliss from riff to riff. It can be jarring but also beautifully intoxicating. The band is always interesting and Ordinary Corrupt Human Love seems no different.

Deafheaven will be playing Brooklyn Steel on July 24th for those in the NYC area. Click the 'Read More' below for full list of tour dates.