So Cow Sign with Goner Recrods

cowsI’m so stoked for the Irish lads in So Cow; I’ve been listening to the group for several years, and they never seemed to quite make headway in the US…until news came yesterday that they’d signed with Goner Records.  Their new single has this jerky guitar line that moves in and out of the tune, pumping the distortion during the chorus.  They’ve always been catchy, but they walk this fine line of power-pop cum garage rock; it’s all illustrated in this single.  Their album, The Long Con, will be released on September 16th, but if you’re liking what you hear, check out Meaningless Friendly, my personal favorite.

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New Music from Ex-Cult

ex-cult_vice_670Couldn’t have Tuesday pass without throwing out something a little bit heavier, like this brand new jam from Ex-Cult.  These guys have been one of our favorite acts since they popped up, and I’ve really enjoyed the new music they’ve been working on.  Personally, I like the recording here, with really clear vocals up front, while the rest of the band pummels you with forceful drums and noisy guitar lines.  They’ve got a new record titled Midnight Passenger coming out on April 29th via the reliable Goner Records.  Take a little listen and get your energy up right this minute.

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Sorry I Missed This: Ausmuteants

thumbLast week this great track from Australia’s Ausmuteants started floating around; I immediately dug the tune, but got side-tracked with other silly things like SXSW interviews. I like the keyboard touch that’s swaying in the track; it gives it this touch of something different that you’re not finding in like-minded punk acts.  There’s a pulsing rhythm created by the steady drumming, but the vocals have really stuck with me throughout my time with this song; they have this nasally quality that’s actually fitting with the tune, and not at all abrasive. Goner Records, always reliable, will be releasing Amusements, the band’s album, on April 1st.

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Ex-Cult Returns with New Rocker

excultThis new album by Ex-Cult is one of those albums that I wasn’t even aware was coming down the pipeline, but now that I’ve heard this new single, I’m actually getting pretty excited.  The recording is definitely a bit stronger than their first effort, with Chris Shaw’s vocals sounding stronger.  There’s also a propulsive mood to the tune, with the heavy pounding of the drum kit leading you down a path meant for destruction.  It’s a pretty confident track, illustrating the growth of a band that’s ready to unleash their fury on American audiences. Goner Records will be releasing Midnight Passenger on April 29th.

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Nobunny – Secret Songs

nobynnRating: ★★★½☆

For over a decade Nobunny has been doing his own thing, abiding by his own rules and endearing himself to fans all the while.  Secret Songs is his third LP, and while it’s a bit all over the place, it encapsulates exactly what you’d expect from our favorite garage animal rocker.  And shining through it all? Great songs.

Every time I listen to Secret Songs I envision myself rocking out at a show with Nobunny.  “Bye Bye Roxie” seems like a perfect way to kick off the evening, with a bouncing rhythm and heavy-handed guitar playing; it all clears the way for our main man to rock his vocals, wagging his sweat drenched ears in your face. He even slows it down a bit with a twangy guitar stomp on “True Vulture,” before offering one of the standout tracks, “Pretty Girl.”  For me, it’s all about the anthemic nature of the chorus.  I envision you and I bouncing around joyously, beer spraying all across the room as Nobunny enters the foray to make entice us to suck the marrow out of life.

While I’m sure I’ve often lumped our anti-hero into the garage rock category (see above), I can also appreciate his penchant for trying out other genres, while still sounding every bit himself.  “Lizard Lies” is the best power-pop track that the Exploding Hearts never wrote; it’s bratty, catchy and polished enough to play while you give your dad a ride to work.  The longhairs will definitely be shaking their locks at the venues as this song blares out of their local PAs. Then there’s “Do the Stooge,” which is a sort of freak-out jam, which gives us all time to head to the bar, though we’ll do so with a little bit of swagger. You’ll need that momentarily breather before you get into the most classic track, “My Blank Space.”  It’s frantic pace and held syllables are precisely the sort of song that made Nobunny endearing to us all from the start.

And the our night is wrapped up in a poppy little number: “Lovin Lovin You.”  It reminds me of the sort of guitar playing/punk shuffle I grew accustomed to when I went through my Dead Milkmen phase.  It’s a ditty, but there’s something dirty about it…it’s a pop song your parents would be okay with, but every bit of it belongs to you.  And the album, or your night at the club, is over before you know it.  You danced with your friends, you rocked with Nobunny, and those Secret Songs now belong to you.  As always, it’s a secret best shared with those you trust, those with good taste.  There’s nothing quite like it.

 

Hell Yeah! New NoBunny Tune

482800_10200890279601888_881681324_nIf you follow me on Facebook, or are my friend, you’ll notice my profile pic, posted to the left (sorry I got fat) is me with my man Nobunny.  The guy rules, both on record and in the dirtiest of bars.  Sometimes he’s bratty, sometimes he’s brutal, but he’s always got this endearing punk rock quality to him.  This brand new single even has stronger production quality than what I’ve heard from him before, making me more than excited for what his new LP, Secret Songs, will offer listeners.  It’s slated for an October 15th release on Goner Records.  Nobunny!

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Cool Old Jam from The Barbaras

Well, this is an old song, but it’s probably going to be brand new to those of us outside of Memphis who hadn’t heard of The Barbaras.  Legend has it that Jay Reatard recorded the band, which featured Steven Pope (of his then touring band), but in anger told the band he scrapped the recordings.  After his unfortunate demise, these tunes resurfaced on some of Jay’s old recording equipment, and the great people at Goner Records are going to be releasing the collection, The Barbaras 2006-2008, on October 30th.  This track’s definitely made its way onto my daily playlist, and it has a mellower tone than some of the other tracks, just showcasing the songwriting of the group during their prime. Take a listen.

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John Wesley Coleman – The Last Donkey Show

Rating: ★★★½☆

John Wesley Coleman might not be a household name all over the place, but he’s kept himself busy shooting videos, writing songs and hanging out.  Such a storied life leads to his association with the troubadour sort, but when listening to his latest effort, The Last Donkey Show, his work seems a lot more focused, making way for one of his best collections of songs.

Immediately upon pressing play, you experience the whirling-dervish that is John Wesley Coleman, as the organ pounds, the vocals yelp in and out, and the writing all comes together; it’s a confident man we find here, happily doing his thing behind the microphone.  You’ll find yourself pushing ahead to the album’s single, “A Clown Gave You a Baby,” which is a lot more straight-forward than the title might suggest.  The chorus alone will show you just how much Coleman’s progressed as a songwriter, making his unpolished voice sound as warm as you’ve ever heard it.  Such signs are a positive start to The Last Donkey Show.

For me, it’s always been the playfulness with which JWC approaches his songs–not just in the title.  “The Howling” takes a dark ballroom ballad in its sonic tones, using various horns to accompany the vocals.  The repetition of “howl, howl” drives home the narrative, yet it also shows his willingness to lean on his outlandish creativity in his writing. Such tracks are significant because they demonstrate the variance you’ll find throughout the entirety of The Last Donkey Show–a great strength.  A song such as “Misery Again” definitely appeal to the sad-bastard sort, but in a quirky way that puts John in a class all his own.  It’s possible it might just be a good country ditty done by the troubled sort, yet I’m inclined to appreciate this softer side, especially after playing the album’s closer, “Flower in the Dark” on repeat over and over again.  This is definitely a ballad like few songs Coleman’s written before, using slide guitar to accent his carefully picked guitar lines.  It’s as honest a song as I can remember, and it immediately makes you press repeat, hoping to capture the magic of the track again.

Still, there’s enough of that ramshackle pseudo-Replacements approach to rock n’ roll living on The Last Donkey Show, especially with songs like “She’s Like Dracula.”  The guitar approach definitely feels like something Westerber would have thrown down, but it’s the use of horn blasts and extra flourishes that makes it all John Wesley Coleman.  You see, this whole record is all over the place, but I think that’s what has grown to make this man so endearing to his fans.  His work doesn’t stay in one place for long, so it never goes stale.  He’s willing to push himself, as well as the expected boundaries of the troubadour genre, demonstrating to us all that we’re fortunate enough to witness such a great talent alive and rocking in our lifetime (and in my hometown!).

The Last Donkey Show is available from Goner Records now, and you can check out the video for “Hanging Around” right HERE.

John Wesley Coleman – Bad Lady Goes to Jail

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Reading lots of press about John Wesley Coleman can lead you in the exact wrong direction. You can’t really label a guy a trashcan troubadour; that sort of attitude will definitely give you the wrong impression of the tunes at hand.  Bad Lady Goes to Jail definitely has a layer of filth attached to it, but beneath it all you can tell there are some crystal clear melodic sensibilities.  You won’t have to dig too far to find your first gem, so get ready right away.

Kick off this record the right way, and you’ll find one of the best tracks, though that’s up to personal tastes.  “Bad Lady Goes to Jail” has this scuzzy guitar line discordantly jangling in the forefront, while a piano line tinkers in the back.  Coleman’s voice isn’t hurried, and you’ll find an underlying gentleness, showing that despite his grit, the guy still has some restraint. Opening minutes of Bad Lady Goes to Jail continue within the first few tracks, and “Lazy Baby” has a little of that garage twist and shout feeling to it, almost giving you a bit of swing. The chorus has some emphatic shouts, but everything in the early moments has John Wesley Coleman killing it.

Of course, this album isn’t all gritty pop ditties, there are still some garage filters going on, though one would be likely to say that they’re not quite as successful as early offerings on the album.  “Ooh Basketball” has a nice little guitar line to it, one that fits everything, but the vocals have a bit too much distortion on the front end, and the lyrics are slightly lacking, at least for the tastes of some individuals.  Let’s just say, the depth doesn’t run too deep with several of the tracks here and there, even though musically, Coleman still seems to be doing all the things we know and love.  Who knows, maybe the guy just wants to have fun, so we can’t knock that.

One of the songs that will really surprise you, at least in its straightforward approach is “Go Baby Go.”  It’s got this incredibly lackadaisical wandering to it, and the fact that the majority of the song has minimal production, really gets to you.  With all the itsy bits of noise here and there, this song comes out of nowhere.  Surely this is one of the stand outs, hiding quietly in the middle of Bad Lady Goes to Jail. Along with “Something in My Brain Wants Something,” you get a bit of relaxation, a brief stop off on the records confrontational approach to songwriting.  Their more subdued, and in placing them properly in the middle, it’s the perfect opportunity for you stop, go back, and find your favorites.

Clearly John Wesley Coleman has something special about him, as you will discover when listening to Bad Lady Goes to Jail.  He operates in a certain genre, yet its easily drawing from all over the charts, making this effort a lot less static than other releases that you’ll find.  His ability to weave all these influences into one album, let alone one song, is what gives JWC a nice step above the rest, making this a great destination for your listening pleasure.

[audio:https://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/01-John-Wesley-Coleman-Track01.mp3]

Download: John Wesley Coleman – Bad Lady Goes to Jail [MP3]

Show Preview: John Wesley Coleman @ Trailer Space (11/12)

Date Friday, November 12th
Location Trailer Space
Doors 700p
Tickets ???

John Wesley Coleman is one of our local boys, so already you’ve got to head out to support the guy.  He’s just released his new record Bad Lady Goes to Jail on Goner Records, so you will surely get plenty of new tunes, blending elements of garage and country and down-home cooking.  Sure, there are some other shows going on around town, but will you also get to see The Crack Pipes, James Arthur’s Manhunt and The Beta Rhythm?  Exactly, so now you have more reason to enjoy yourself. See you at Trailer Space kids.

[audio:https://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/01-John-Wesley-Coleman-Track01.mp3]

Download: John Wesley Coleman – Bad Lady Goes to Jail [MP3]


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