Monday, July 30, 2012

Shovels and Rope - O' Be Joyful (Album Review)

As far as musical duos that seem to exceed the sum of their already awesome individual parts, Shovels & Rope rank right up their with the best of them. Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent were already making some pretty impressive music on their own as solo artists when they decided to try their hand at doing it together. They released their self-titled debut in 2008 and are now releasing their stellar follow-up, O' Be Joyful, on Dualtone Records. After spending the last few years criss-crossing the Unites States with a couple acoustic guitars, a harmonica or two and a ramshackle, home-made drum set, Cary Ann and Michael have compiled an eclectic set of 11 songs filled with tales of love, heart break, home fires and wanderlust through a variety of interesting characters. Instead of trying to capture these wildly raucous and surprisingly tender tracks in a stationary studio environment, O' Be Joyful was recorded in a variety of motel rooms, the van, their house and their backyard. These unconventional environments proved to be an appropriate backdrop for the raw, honest performances and the imaginative, emotive songwriting that's created when Cary Ann and Michael get going. They refer to their unique ethos as Creatio Ex Nihilo, which is "the idea of creating something out of nothing."

For such a nomadic, touring twosome, it's no surprise that O' Be Joyful is slap full of lyrical locations and landmarks. There's over a dozen geographical references in "Birmingham" alone! The rollicking road map vibe is later revisited in "Kemba's Got the Cabbage Moth Blues" as well. As the album progresses though, it's clear to hear that Shovels and Rope have certainly paid their dues out on the road, simultaneously chasing a dream and remembering home. Powerful lead single "Birmingham" serves as both an impressive album opener and an autobiographical back story for the romantic duo. The details of their beginnings, sung to a countrified railroad shuffle, is elevated even more in my eyes by using some of the lines from the old hymn "Rock of Ages" for the chorus. It brings such a huge smile to my face every time I hear them sing it. This type of lyrical storytelling and relaxed alt-country instrumentation is also found on the banjo-led "Lay Low," the atmospheric sway of "Carnival" and the touching, dream-like "This Means War." Cary Ann and Michael also specialize in their own certain type of bluesy, backyard stomp and clap on songs like "O' Be Joyful," "Tickin' Bomb," "Keeper," and "Hail Hail." However, I think the best example of their powerful mixture (and my favorite song on O' Be Joyful) is the frenzied rockabilly thump of "Kemba's Got the Cabbage Moth Blues." Fish and grits fo sho little lady.

You can hear "Kemba's Got the Cabagge Moth Blues" for yourself below, as it soundtracks the trailer for their upcoming documentary, The Ballad of Shovels and Rope:

Because I really love these guys (and all you readers as well), here's another bonus video of the title track "O' Be Joyful" showcasing a little bit of the band out on the road:

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

"Reboot the Mission" - The Wallflowers featuring Mick Jones (new FREE single)

It’s been 7 years since The Wallflowers’ last album and they’ve returned with quite a bang! They’ve got a new abum, Glad All Over, set for an October release and this week they’ve just put out the jaw-dropping first single, “Reboot the Mission,” featuring the iconic Mick Jones of The Clash on guitar and BGVs. In fact, the spirit of The Clash is all over “Reboot the Mission” with its echo distorted guitars, dancehall shuffle drum beat and dub-flavored bouncing bassline. Clash leader Joe Strummer is even name-checked in the lyrics! In every way, “Reboot the Mission” is a strong statement that The Wallflowers are back with some great new songs and they aren’t interested in making Bringing Down the Horse, Volume 2. It’s exciting to hear what they have been up to and I hope the rest of Glad All Over will show the same energetic pulse and curious spirit that’s displayed in “Reboot the Mission.” Some super cool things have happened with The Wallflowers since they released 2005’s Rebel, Sweetheart. Frontman Jakob Dylan released two incredibly beautiful solo albums, keyboardist Rami Jaffee toured with Foo Fighters and played on their last four albums and alt-rock journeyman Jack Irons (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, Joe Strummer, Neil Young) joined on as their new drummer. Glad All Over was recorded here in Nashville at Easy Eye Sound and I’m hoping that they’ll be returning here once tour dates are announced.

“Reboot the Mission” can be downloaded for FREE from for just an email address. You can check it out below!

"Reboot the Mission" - The Wallflowers featuring Mick Jones (Glad All Over)

In case anyone needs a reminder that Jakob Dylan can certainly hold his own in this reggae/dancehall vibe, here's video of him playing a cover of Bob Marley's "I Shot The Sheriff" (backed by the untouchable Roots) from last year's "Bob Marley Week" on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Gaslight Anthem - Handwritten (Album Review)

There's nothing quite like that special mix of excitement and anticipation that comes along when one of your favorite bands releases a new album. Are you going to be overwhelmed? Disappointed? Or even worse, unmoved at all? Well, the postman delivered a gorgeously-shaped 12" x 12" package today and inside was the answer to that question for me. I'm happy to report that Handwritten, The Gaslight Anthem's newest album, ridiculously exceeds any hopes I could've held for another stellar release from them. Working fluidly as a complete album, as well as a fantastic collection of individual songs, Handwritten contains some of Gaslight's best musical moments and some of frontman Brian Fallon's most heartfelt and intelligent songwriting. Just like with their last album, 2010's American Slang, they continue to step even further out from the shadows of their influences and authoritatively define their own sound again and again. But don't worry, there's still enough of the respectful musical nods and clever lyrical touchstones that we've come to expect from the Jersey boys to make it feel like a full-fledged Gaslight effort.       

After a couple of spins through Handwritten, one of the things that struck me the most was the strength of the album's overall cohesive flow and the attention that was paid in putting together the tracklisting. When a band has a variety of styles and moods it can create within, sometimes an overall album can feel like a disjointed mixtape. Handwritten doesn't suffer from this problem at all and it's easy to tell that the songs weren't just haphazardly slapped together. From the explosive kick-off of "45" to the quiet closing strains of "National Anthem," Handwritten shows a band that knows their strengths, knows how to stretch themselves and knows how to tell a story in both lyric and music. The Gaslight Anthem is beyond trying to just grab your attention for a second. Handwritten is an invitation to a conversation, a bigger story you can find yourself in and the open letter of a band that's around for the long haul, who hopes that you will be too.   

Although we've had "45" to be familiar with for a little bit since it was the first single released, the song still blasts open the album's doors with a resounding entrance. It seems once Gaslight has gotten your attention, they simply refuse to let go. The same pulsing energy, either carried by the full band or at least one of the instruments, is felt solidly throughout the next few tracks. "Handwritten" is driven by Benny Horowitz's pounding drums and some nice singalong background vocals, "Here Comes My Man" saunters along on a great guitar line and fantastic drum tones and "Mulholland Drive" contains not one, but two scorching solos courtesy of lead guitarist Alex Rosamilia, along with a hammering bassline from Alex Levine. "Keepsake" and "Too Much Blood" feature that soulful R&B-flavored Gaslight swagger that is so prevalent on a lot of their work and both blend in nicely between the more straight ahead rockers. "Howl" is in and out in barely over 2 minutes and I absolutely love the frantic punk vibe that's reminiscent of the songs on their debut album. Fifth man Ian Perkins turns in some great rhythm guitar work on this one and when played live, Brian gets to go guitarless for a little bit and have a little unencumbered fun. The powerful punch and sway combo returns on "Bilouxi Parish," one of the "oldest" songs on the album that started showing up pretty soon after their last full length. It's in a slightly different version here though as one of the verses they played live has been tossed for a killer new bridge. "Desire" does a pretty good job of straddling that rocky-punk song vs. punky-rock song line and serves as a great thumper before the final two emotional closers. "Mae" bubbles and builds like an amped-up U2 song (who are in my opinion, possibly the best at letting songs breathe and build perfectly) and creates a really nice sonic wave that could really be lengthened and jammed on a bit in concert. "National Anthem" closes the album out in that grand "Gaslight folk" fashion that reminds you how amazing a singer and how fantastic a songwriter Brian Fallon really is. While the song is fleshed out with other atmospheric instrumentation, the lion's share of the beauty is carried out with Brian's finger-picked acoustic guitar, his ragged voice and his rock solid melody. For such a high-energy album, this relaxed ballad makes for a nice, natural exhale and a gorgeous sonic sign off.

"Howl"" - The Gaslight Anthem (Handwritten)

Here's a couple of pictures of the snazzy translucent blue vinyl and the stunning El Jefe poster that came with the pre-order:       

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sound City - Dave Grohl's New Documentary (w/ Teaser Trailer)

Dave Grohl's got a killer looking documentary coming out called Sound City and it's based on the wildly influential, unquestionably legendary and downright mythical recording studio that helped produced the sounds for a staggering amount of breathtaking albums. Sound City was infamous for it's sound qualities, especially in regards to drums, so it's no surprise that a drummer would be the one to want to tell it's story. Here's Dave take on why he decided to make his director/producer debut on such an important topic:

"Sound City is a film about America's greatest unsung recording studio. Deep in California's sun burnt San Fernando Valley, tucked away behind the train tracks and dilapidated warehouses, it was the birthplace of legend. It was witness to history. It was home to a special few, intent on preserving an ideal. An analog church, a time capsule. The last bastion of a craft defied by technology. It was Rock and Roll hallowed ground. And it was our best kept secret... Now I want to tell it's story. Documenting a personal journey beginning 20 years ago that culminates in a full circle musical reunion, Sound City is a film about the truth, the craft and the INTEGRITY of Rock and Roll."

If that doesn't light up the tube amps in your musical heart, I don't know what could. For more proof of the awesomeness that awaits in Sound City, here's a short little teaser trailer that features some quick but interesting thoughts from Tom Petty, Trent Reznor, Tom Fogerty, Butch Vig and Mick Fleetwood. Keep you eyes out for quick glimpses of Rick Rubin and Dave himself as well.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Gasoline Heart - Thanks For Everything (Album Review)

For all of the "mixed genre" bands out there, there aren't too many who can effectively pull off the right blending of 1980s rock and 1990s alternative. Believe me, I've heard many who have tried and unfortunately failed. Gasoline Heart on the other hand, have absolutely nailed down the mixture perfectly. This is none more explosively evident than on their newest release, Thanks For Everything. Mixing the chugging downstrokes, world weary lyrics and razor guitar tones of the 90s with the huge choruses, bouncing bass lines and occasional keyboard work of the 80s, Gasoline Heart have created an album of upbeat musical moments that guarantee you'll be singing and dancing along in no time. Just don't dwell too much on the lyrics or you're dancing shoes might find themselves pointed towards the nearest bar stool before you know what hit you. Frontman Louis DeFabrizio embodies the "lovable loser" character pretty effectively in his songwriting, but his impassioned vocals will have you rooting for him each time he sings of a getting beat down by either a girl, the world, himself or a combination of all of the above. When he sings, "I am the butt of all my own jokes" in "Kiss Your Dreams Hello," you might just conclude that it works like a thesis for the entire album. But like all good fighters, it's not about how many times you get knocked down, it's how many times you get back up. With 10 great tracks full of getting back up, Thanks for Everything ends up being a surprisingly inspirational album.  

Gasoline Heart self-describes as "sloppy rock & roll" and with the couple of false starts found on Thanks for Everything, you just might think they mean it. However, what is made pretty clear, pretty quickly, is the fact that these guys know how to channel the attitude and energy of rock into powerful performances of growling guitars, punchy bass and bombastic drumming. The songwriting is pretty on point as well, with that 80s/90s mix I mentioned earlier playing out in the verse/chorus structures of most of their songs. This merging is felt most strongly in "Left for Dead," "Everything Matters," "Counterfeit Rock & Roll" and "Peppermint." It's like Gasoline Heart somehow, within the same song, weaves together Tom Petty and Pedro The Lion, Springsteen and Pearl Jam, Bryan Adams and Soul Asylum... okay, you get the picture. Even when they slow things down a little, the atmospherics of "Kiss Your Dreams Hello," "Susan & the Oak" and the enthralling album closer "Thanks for Everything" showcases an impressive palette of moods and emotions that aren't usually found on these unpolished, go for broke, almost garage-rock sounding types of recordings. But Gasoline Heart pull it off in a totally authentic, believable way that makes you think these guys aren't far from a bigger audience and more mainstream exposure. It's not that they're that inclined to those things, it's just that they're that good.    

Pre-orders for the vinyl and cd versions of Thanks for Everything start shipping on 7/24 and they can still be ordered HERE. The digital version of Thanks for Everything can be ordered directly from the band HERE.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Gaslight Anthem @ Mercy Lounge (Concert Review)

Sometimes all you need is a good ol’ head back, eyes closed, fist in the air, top of your lungs sing-a-long with a crowd of familiar strangers to remind you of the unparalleled power of music. I’m not talking about a reminder of the grand spectacle of showmanship or the shiny gloss of perfected production. I mean the power of the life-affirming, joyous, heartfelt, sweaty, passionate, punch to the chest explosiveness of a band that plays with the excitement of teenagers, the talent of veterans and the rock & roll reverence of the musical giants that came before them. As Gaslight Anthem filled Nashville’s Mercy Lounge with the sounds of their soulful punk rock choruses and quiet, haunting hymns, each lyric, melody and rhythm echoed out, rang true and reverberated back to the stage with a mix of attitude and gratitude usually reserved for bands much farther along in their career. With a live wire set of road-tested oldies and just enough new songs to whet the appetite for next Tuesday’s release of Handwritten, Gaslight absolutely earned and deserved every enthusiastic response and shouted back refrain they received.

As is the Gaslight custom, the boys came out to some snazzy walk-on music (Fugazi’s “Waiting Room”) and suavely used the song’s downbeat to launch into show opener “Great Expectations.” The single guitar intro riff acted as a controlled detonator for the song’s bombastic full band entrance. You could palpably feel the room explode with a frenzied energy and a word-for-word sing-a-long that genuinely lasted throughout the entire show. Frontman Brain Fallon seemed to sing every line through an unrelenting grin all night and he had no problem letting the crowd take the lead on more than one occasion. After the first three scorchers (which included a killer run through new single “45”), Brian took off his guitar and sang the next few songs with a mix of lead singer cool, class clown shenanigans and even some Tom Waits-esque zombie arm dancing. It was quite a sight to say the least.

It was during these songs that the newest addition to the Gaslight camp, former roadie and fellow Horrible Crowe Ian Perkins, deftly shouldered the rhythm guitar duties to support lead guitarist Alex Rosamilia’s tasty melodic fretwork. “Howl,” a blistering new song introduced during the guitar-free Brian portion of the set, was introduced as “us pretending to be the Ramones” and was appropriately in and out in under 2 minutes. Even being a new song, the crowd was just as engaged and were singing the lyrics back thanks to Handwritten being streamed early on NPR’s “First Listen.” When Brian picked the guitar back up, the guys launched into a powerful 1-2 punch of Sink or Swim favorites that included an extended guitar intro/outro version of “Angry Johnny and the Radio” that had Brian singing a snippet of Bon Iver’s “Blood Bank” in the middle of it. “Here Comes My Man” was another new track that seamlessly fit into the set with its “Oh sha la la” choruses and pounding drum verses. From then on, straight on until the end of the set, I can’t overstate how passionately loud the crowd was singing every single word back to the band. From Benny Horowitz’s tasty drum work on “The Queen of Lower Chelsea” to Alex Levine’s freight train bass rumblings on “Senor and the Queen” to tour opener Dave Hause joining in on bgv’s for “American Slang,” it was a non-stop, juggernaut that culminated in the climactic Gaslight closer “The Backseat” blasting out to thunderous results.

The guys came back out for an encore and used the opportunity to coyly play with the vibe of the room a little bit. Being that the crowd had feverishly hung with every song so far, they dug into the catalog a little bit and opened up with a B-side (“She Love You”), a previously retired gem (“We’re Getting A Divorce, You Keep The Diner) and then some great Gaslight folk (“The Navesink Banks”). They closed things out with a fueled up trio of classics that culminated with a roaring take on “The ’59 Sound” that guaranteed a room-full of next day hoarseness. Being able to catch a band that is firing on all cylinders and writing some of the best material of the career is such a cool opportunity and I’ve been lucky enough to experience it with Gaslight twice in the same venue. I was absolutely blown away when I saw them back in October of 2009 and this show captured the same lightening in a bottle ferocity that they showed then. Brian mentioned that they would be back in town in September and you can bet the third time will be a charm and then some. I’ll go ahead and selfishly cross my fingers now for my personal Gaslight favorite “Say I Won’t (Recognize)” to appear on the setlist.     

- Great Expectations
- 45
- Casanova, Baby!
- Old White Lincoln
- Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
- Howl
- We Came To Dance
- Angry Johnny and the Radio (w/ “Blood Bank” snippet)
- Here Comes My Man
- Film Noir
- The Diamond Church Street Choir
- Senor and the Queen
- American Slang
- Blue Jeans & White T-Shirts
- The Queen of Lower Chelsea
- Here’s Looking at You, Kid
- The Backseat
- She Loves You
- We’re Getting a Divorce, You Keep The Diner
- The Navesink Banks
- Wherefore Art Thou, Elvis?
- Wooderson
- The ’59 Sound

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Interview with Rhett Miller

(Here's an interview I recently did with Rhett Miller for NoiseTrade.)

While most artists would be sufficiently happy and content being considered a pioneer of a musical genre, a select few just can’t stop there. Rhett Miller has fronted the legendary alt-country giants Old 97’s since the early 1990’s and he has remained somewhat of a not-so-elder statesman in the scene since its inception. While Old 97’s have spent the last 18 years or so playing packed out shows all over the U.S., releasing stellar albums, gaining a fanatical following and continually defining/redefining their sound, Rhett has also been weaving in a handful of ridiculously good solo albums and scores of intimate one man live shows as well. Where he finds the time and energy, we may never know. However, as long as it’s the same place where he finds his poetically heartbreaking/lifting/melting/beating songs from, then I hope that well can never run dry.
Where an Old 97’s show is known for playing loud, singing along and having a good time, Rhett’s solo shows are much more of a quieter, laid back affair. His commanding stage persona is still there, but it’s filtered through a stripped down, singer/songwriter/storyteller vibe. Live at Eddie’s Attic, Rhett’s exclusive 19-song solo live set released here on NoiseTrade, perfectly captures Rhett in the kind of revealing one voice, one guitar setting that shatters the veneer of lesser artists. That’s what makes him such a mesmerizing musical force. He has no need for frills or flash. Rhett lets his gorgeous songwriting, honest emotions, hilarious banter and genuine appreciation for an enthusiastic audience get him where he’s going and his songs are an open invitation to anyone who wants to tag along.
Rhett was gracious enough to take some time out of his crazy schedule to grant us an insightful interview that delves into his approach to full band and solo work, his first experience in the producer’s chair and his creative efforts outside of songwriting.
NoiseTrade: Going back to 1989, you’ve released 6 solo albums and 9 full-length records (plus a handful of other releases) with Old 97’s. For you, what’s the biggest motivation for having two separate creative outlets and what’s the biggest differentiating factor between the two?
Rhett Miller: The Old 97′s are such a democracy that I often find myself bending to the whims of the band members. That egalitarianism is what makes the band successful. Everything we do is a true collaboration. But it leaves me with a pretty big stack of leftover songs and ideas. If I didn’t have the solo career as an outlet for those ideas, I’d have a tough time subjugating myself to the band dynamic. It’s never a perfectly clear line between the two sides of my musical self. I have to feel that out as I go. There is no handbook for what I’m doing, carrying on as a member of a quartet and as a solo artist.
NT: Live at Eddie’s Attic captures one of your stellar solo acoustic performances. When it’s just you on stage, do have to get into a different headspace when deciding on the set list, performing the songs and engaging the crowd?
Rhett: It’s a lot more demanding to stand up alone in front of a crowd. There is no safety net. The collective eye of the audience is never drawn elsewhere. It can feel like a lot of pressure. Sometimes when I think about it, it freaks me out, the idea that I’m about to walk out in front of that crowd with no accompaniment other than my guitar and my meager wits. But I love it. I started, in high school, as a folk-singer, playing bars, coffee-houses and rock clubs. So I’ve been doing it for longer hand can remember. By now, I guess it’s second nature.
NT: Some front men need the security of a band to exist within and some are able to create an entirely new experience for the audience when it’s just them. What’s the trade off and the pay off for each one?
Rhett: The band draws a bigger audience and is much more rocking. The solo acoustic shows are more intimate, confessional and stripped down. Both have their own particular upside.
NT: When you sit down to write, do songs present themselves in some way as solo or band songs or do you get to decide their destination based on which project is in front of you at that moment?
Rhett: I like to give the 97′s the first crack at my songs, but sometimes a song will appear in the midst of a session and demand to be part of a solo recording. I don’t typically write for one or the other.
NT: Four of your solo releases follow a similar naming structure: The Instigator,The BelieverThe Interpreter and most recently, The Dreamer. Are these different sides of the same personality or are these completely separate character roles you feel you float in and out of?
Rhett: I don’t know. Titles are always after-the-fact. I steal from a lyric and try and fit the mood of that collection of songs. If I could go back in time, my recent eponymous albumRhett Miller would have been called The Rhett Miller.
NT: After having so many great albums under your belt, The Dreamer is the first one you’ve produced all on your own. Can you detail what that part of the process entails from the other side of the board and why you choose to man it yourself this time around?
Rhett: I had a vision, and as I heard myself expressing it to others, I realized that I was capable of achieving that end result by hiring a great engineer, studio and band. Thank goodness it worked out.
NT: You’ve released cover albums both solo (The Interpreter) and with Old 97’s (Mimeograph EP). Do you feel it’s important to recognize and point back to what influenced you? Also, are you at a place where you can actually recognize your own influence in the grand musical landscape, especially as an early innovator and continuing forerunner in the alt-country vein?
Rhett: It’s fun to sing the songs I love. I had always had too many of my own songs that needed to be released. Finally, I said “to heck with it.” I will probably do more cover albums in the future. Maybe I’ll even do an album of standards someday. Let loose my inner crooner.
NT: If the stories are true, you made it to college on a creative writing scholarship. Besides your romantic, heart-breaking and imaginative songwriting, do you have the desire to tell stories through any other arena of writing?
Rhett: I dream of making a segue into the written word. I have some short stories and essays under my belt. I would like to tackle a novel soon. Though I imagine it won’t be high-brow literature. More likely low-brow pulp. We’ll see…
NT: Finally, anyone who has seen you in concert (or even has access to the internet) is well aware of your gravity defying antics on stage. If the music business doesn’t get its act together, have you ever thought about a career in the NBA or do you need a guitar in your hands to gain maximum in-flight performance?
Rhett: That’s sweet of you to say. Rock jumps are a fun part of my job. I won’t be able to do them forever, but while I’m still relatively young, I enjoy catching a little air.
Live at Eddie’s Attic is a great chance to check out a sampling of Rhett’s impressive catalog of solo material with some Old 97′s gems thrown in for good measure. Also, Rhett just recently released The Dreamer, his sixth full-length solo release as well. Get on it and thank me later!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Susanna Hoffs - Some Summer Days (EP Review)

As a full-time music icon, part-time actress and all-time MTV mainstay, Susanna Hoffs has effortlessly captivated audiences for almost three decades now. While she could certainly keep an eye on the rearview mirror and enjoy her past successes, her continued creative output shows that she’s determined to keep things moving forward with the pedal to the floor. As if having a new solo album (Someday releases on July 17) on the horizon weren’t enough, Susanna has also crafted a unique 5-song EP just for NoiseTrade. Some Summer Days features exclusive acoustic versions of three songs from Someday, as well as two brand new songs that are not featured on the new album. With her indelible voice, uncanny ear for melody and 60s-soaked musical vibe, Susanna once again delivers a perfect pop record that is layered with genuine emotion, smart hooks and talented musicianship. 

You don’t have to dig very deep in Susanna’s back catalog to find her unabashed love for music from the 60s and 70s. Not only is The Bangles discography full of amazing covers like The Merry-Go Round’s “Live,” The Grass Roots’ “Where Were You When I Needed You,” Big Star’s “September Gurls” and Simon and Garfunkel’s “Hazy Shade of Winter,” but she has also put out two entire volumes of decade specific covers with Matthew Sweet entitled Under the Covers. The five original songs on Some Summer Days continues in this same musical vein of relaxed grooves, jangly guitars and part pop, part folk, part rock songwriting. 

The three fantastic acoustic tracks on Some Summer Days really showcase Susanna’s crystal clear voice and her amazing songwriting craftsmanship. “Raining” gently pulses along on a slinky guitar riff, Beatlesly bass line and light percussive gallop. “One Day” brings to mind a mix of the excitement of early Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers material and the harmonies of The Mamas and the Papas. “Always Enough” has a soulful ebb and flow to it and the emotion in the vocals are beautifully matched by the instrumental tones. The two non-album tracks are pretty cool in their own right and bookend the EP very nicely. “Petite Chanson” (French for “small song”) is aptly named as it clocks in at just a little over two minutes, but Susanna packs quite a melodic punch in a short amount of time. I guarantee you’ll be humming the background vocals for most of the next day or two after hearing it. “Summer Daze” closes out the EP nicely with more great singalong harmonies and strumalong chords. While you’ll find that Some Summer Days is a perfect soundtrack for your lazy beachfront days or cozy backporch nights, you’ll also discover that its not too shabby for the moments in between as well. 

(Also, be sure to check out a great interview with Susanna courtesy of Kelly McCartney HERE.)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Divine Fits - New Trailer, Artwork, Tracklist and Songs

Lots of cool new info has been trickling out from Divine Fits lately. After much anticipation, they've finally released an album name (A Thing Called Divine Fits), a release date (August 27 for Europe/UK and August 28 for Canada/US), a track list (detailed below) and some tastefully simplistic artwork (look to your left). Lots of buzz has been building around this electropop super trio and I can't wait to hear the entire album and hopefully get the opportunity to see them live. The music that has made its way out already has been really cool sounding and they've unleashed a few more snippets this week as well. You can stream the new track "Would That Not Be Nice" in full via NPR HERE and you can also check out another teaser trailer below. Don't forget, the 7" single for "My Love is Real" will be available July 31 on Merge Records.

A Thing Called Divine Fits tracklist:
1. My Love Is Real
2. Flaggin A Ride
3. What Gets You Alone
4. Would That Not Be Nice
5. The Salton Sea
6. Baby Get Worse
7. Civilian Stripes
8. For Your Heart
9. Shivers
10. Like Ice Cream
11. Neo-politans

Here's the second teaser trailer (produced by Alexa Gerrity):