Monday, June 29, 2009

Delta Land

Got some more Deep Blues Festival love for y'all today. I know there's at least 3 of youns' gonna be there, but what about the rest of ya, slackers all? Honestly, can you convince us that there's a better value for yr hard earned buck out there? They even have camping available. Bet they'll be some picking and grinning going on with a few cans of something tasty to drink. Are you really gonna waste yr money on another Telluride corporate cash grab? Jaysis, just check out the line up!

Well, here's another feller to whet yr appetite. Jim Mize is a favorite 'round these parts. We posted, briefly, way back when, when his last record "Release It To The Sky" made our Top 10 Albums of the Year. Our opinion hasn't changed one bit. In fact, the record's gotten better with age. Here's what we said then:

Mize is a beer-drinking juke and VFW honed singer and musician in the vein of other Mountain favorites like Seasick Steve, Tom House, Cast King, and James Hand. He's been in the trenches too long to be pretty. Ostensibly, Mize is a blues singer, minus the guitar solos and throaty wails. He's taking you to a darker place, a wellspring of down and out beyond the cliches of the genre. His voice has a cracked weariness that matches his neon-lit, southern observations. A dark album that rocks, taking you to closing time with a shot glass and loneliness.

That just about says it all, then, really. Check it out.

Jim Mize: Delta Land (mp3)

Jim Mize: Acadian Lullabye (mp3)

Jim Mize: Disappear In America (mp3)

Please support your local, independent...well...anything. In these tough economic times, it's yr local businesses that need the most help. Wal-Mart's gonna be just fine, thank you very much. Help your neighbor out, instead.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Six Pack

Howdy folks, and gather 'round. Gonna try something today, and perhaps it'll turn into something regular-like in these parts. Call it a way to get more posts up without having to worry about all that messy exposition 'n' all.

We tend to buy way more records than is probably healthy. We've been slowly "digitzing" these swell little frisbees, which is nifty since a record demands a closer ear than a cd with it's "next/skip" function or an mp3 download with the always handy "delete" button. That's neither here nor there, really, just pontificating.

What we'd like to do every week or two is toss up a quick "six pack", appropriately enough, of some fine tunes we've culled from our vinyl obsessiveness. Some of the songs come from classic albums by artists we'd like to cover more closely in the future, some are from crappy records with one killer track, and some are from super duper records that have fallen under the radar. We're gonna have brand spanking new stuff and older stuff with varying degrees of scratchiness. We'll have tracks off of 45's, LP's, and EP's. 7 inches, 10 inches, 12 inches, whatever your, ahem, preference is (Sorry, couldn't resist). Sound quality will be, as can be expected, in varying degrees, but, hell, isn't that supposed to be some of the charm?

Let me know how this works for all y'all. Yea or Nay?

Our first six pack starts off with a David Allen Coe track pulled off the soundtrack to the vile film, "Take This Job and Shove It". Kurt Vile gives us a perfect summer driving song courtesy of his 2008 record, "Constant Hitmaker". More summer holiday fun follows from disturbed, masked, and,apparently, smelly sleaze-trash god NoBunny from his record "Love Visions". After that we need to cleanse our souls with a superb track from Numero Group's recently issued Local Customs: Downriver Revival double LP. Rounding things off, we've got a couple of 7" tracks: a garbage can Country lament from the immortal DM Bob and the Deficits, and then back on the road with a hitchhiker's tribute from the legendary Bob Luman.

Songs are not arranged in any kind of "best" to "not best", so check 'em all out.

David Allen Coe: You Can Count On Beer (mp3)

Kurt Vile: Freeway (mp3)

NoBunny: Chuck Berry Holiday (mp3)

Gospel Supremes: Sinner Man (mp3)

DM Bob and the Deficits: Blind Man With A Pistol (mp3)

Bob Luman: Interstate 40 (mp3)

Please support your local, independent record store.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Going For Broke

Well. Gonna be a bit of a homer today. Normally I avoid covering local bands for fear of accusations of bias, which of course is silly, since we're completely biased in terms of the music we post. We've got...opinions.

So The Black Oil Brothers command our complete attention.

From their website:

"Before the blues found its way to Chicago and redefined itself with electric guitars and drummers, bluesmen were minstrels playing juke joints in the Mississippi Delta armed only with their guitars and voices while the crowd kept the rhythm by stomping their feet in time. Born and raised in Chicago, The Black Oil Brothers aim to channel that kind of boot stompin' blues that doesn’t need a backline or distortion pedals to make it cook. Resonators played with steel slides, wailing harmonicas, 3 part harmonies and the righteous twang of acoustic guitars and mandolin strings define our music (and very well may be saving our souls at the same time). Let us save yours."

As ever, we ask the question: Why Should You Care?

Well, you should care because the Black Oil Brothers create an amalgam of Country and Blues not beholden to contemporary "alt" whatever, forging their sound from a deeper well, stripping away the trappings of contemporary naval-gazing to find a purer sound. Strapped to the concrete acreage of the big, big city, the Black Oil Brothers find the wide open spaces of beyond, and the smallness of life lived in overgrown yards and back porches lit by fireflies.

Regret and bad choices made in the midnight hour, then. The kind of Country Blues record we love so dearly.

On their new record, Long Way From The Delta (scroll down for album link), the Black Oil Brothers pile us into the pickup truck and take us down the road a fur piece to the end of the line, literally and figuratively. On "Going For Broke", we get a loose-string laden chugging meditation on love and loss. "Robert From Hibbing" (our favorite tune) is a classic drinking song that posits the relationship between the aspiring songwriter and the immortal bard, Robert Zimmerman, and features the classic lines, "I want to be Bob Dylan/But I play the guitar wrong/So I guess I won't be singing her this song". And "Wednesday Afternoon" is a gloriously muted, mandolin-driven hoedown that's guaranteed to find you on the rare mid-week day off, feet kicked up, beverage of choice gripped in hand, singing lustily to the sky.

If you're in the Chicago area at the end of June, be sure to check out the band for their record release party at Quenchers on June 26th. We'll be there.

The Black Oil Brothers: Going For Broke (mp3)

The Black Oil Brothers: Robert From Hibbing (mp3)

The Black Oil Brothers: Wednesday Afternoon (mp3)

Please support your local, independent, string shucking Country/Blues band.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Stitched In Sin

Edit: It is very highly recommended that y'all check out the first comment on the post below. Good news for anyone sitting on the fence about the Blues Fest. And make sure you say thank you.

More Deep Blues Festival today. They've announced the full lineup and daily schedule, and also have made single day tickets available. So what's your excuse? Do you really need to see a reunion of some crappy, overly-precious band from LA at LollipopAlooza? We think not. You need to hear some deep blues, all throbbing distorted hoot an holler. This aint no pussy-assed Blues, this is the real deal, from octogenarian shouters from Mississippi to snotty whippersnappers with a blues punk urge.

Got yer perfect example of the latter right here.

The Black Diamond Heavies
hail from, ahem, "the Southern States of America" (Nashville?), and make an unholy mess of rumbling sweat-drenched gut-bucket blues noise. A duo (yes, one of those...), vocalist/guitarist/organist James Leg sounds like the bastard son of Howlin' Wolf and rips off shreds of filthy guitar scunge. But then he hits the organ (or keyboard of choice), and the whole affair goes swingslut soul. Drummer Van Campbell keeps it slime-oozed tribal and rumbles yr ass like god on vacation in hell. They're, like, heavy, maaaannnnnn. A fucked up excursion into the dark heart of the crossroads, swinging like a sharecropper's reaper through the brush and twisted weeds of the devil's favorite swampland. Tasty like a green-fuzzed peach.

The Black Diamond Heavies are playing on the Saturday portion of the Festival. Take a listen to the following killer tracks and start making your travel plans.

Black Diamond Heavies: Poor Brown Sugar (mp3)

Black Diamond Heavies: Take A Ride (mp3)

Black Diamond Heavies: Stitched In Sin (mp3)

Black Diamond Heavies: Numbers 22 (Balaam's Wild Ass) (mp3)

Please support your local, independent holy ghost shouty types.