Friday, May 14, 2010

Cypher 16 - The Man Of The Black Abyss
Constant Evolution

Techno-sludge power-rock assault with intelligent depths but a surfeit of over-earnest pretentiousness that transpires is an unexpectedly enticing flight that'll catch Muse fans in it's wake as much as Metallica or Soundgarden. Hard to love its morass of try too hard fusing of riff-tyranny with irrelevant cut and paste electro-pouts and some disastrously overly cringeworthy lyrics. For all the hype surrounding their youth and their bagging contacts and concerts out of their league, like we're on the verge of a new metal continent that'll bring world peace there isn't much more than a hint, if that, of any great new gospel to grasp onto, aside from segments of atmospheric tirades (nee, bluster) Reaper and Stains Of Time suggest it could be anything more than an intriguing sheen to slice asunder in future. What'll probably happen is that the general public will latch onto some sub-Radiohead witterings about militarism and ersatz ecological policies and painless soul-searching and thus they'll be the new voice of the disaffected dung-beetle imbeciles on the street and university campus. Their uninvolving remoteness will no doubt be taken as a stance against exhibitionist chin-stroking, so solidifying their own cult. Of what is the cypher perhaps.
Stu Gibson
The Starline Rhythm Boys - Masquerade For Heartache
Cow Island

Following on from last year's opus of the awesome that is was and always will be Hal, Hank & Harlan - Live At Charlie-O's World Famous - here's the drip-tray detritus of delights folks. The sludge that didn't make it outta town on the shirt-tails of it's elder cousin. Hahhaaa. Might only be about half the pitcher full of it's elder sibling of staggering swagger but it isnae any delusional spritzer or filigree filler. Rockabilly fused honky-tonk, sweetly blossoming swing and twinklin' country two-steps from every groove amid hover-heeled harmonies, mood-mooning pedal steel and George Jones with salty-soul vocals, can these cats lay out an authentic table as they collide into and intermingle with those idle patrons who loiter over the window menu with false discernment in tingling scintillating manner. Indeed. P'raps as only veterans can but also it's kinda apparent these weren't no rank & file from the get go, seen not least in Al Lemery's well-toned (if not tongued) & tasty Telecaster trickery. And as a mark of how attuned and viscerally connected to their trade they are, the originals here don't so much stand shoulder-square with the covers, they blast new belt-buckles and smelt the precursors into spare spurs for extra kick. And that includes such vaulted & venerated pillars of sobriety like Ubangi Stomp, Workin' Man Blues and Mess Of Blues alongside lesser lights on the ever-sparkling dashboard like Link Davis' Trucker From Tennessee. Simply put I'll a splutter into saying these guys just fucking sizzle. Get me a ticket for an aeroplane, maybe I'll take a fast train. Fuck foreign policies with a sprightly pincer movement or two before elevenses just sit and think for a second & that of any given Saturday these boys are braising some bar in Boston or Vermont while over in some Texan hooch-hut Two Tons Of Steel (who incidentally, also possess a chap who creates new sites ripe for construction out of a 'mere' Telecaster) are doing similar. Buy it now or i surely WILL have a bloody hammer. In the mean time allow these guys to hammer your mind out.
Stu Gibson
Jimmie Vaughan - Plays Blues, Ballads & Favourites
Proper

So another year another Vaughan vamping-up of classics from the blues assembly lines, eh? Maybe so but he manages it all with the much-vaunted smoky swagger that hurtled his hide outta Austin in The Fabulous Thunderbirds quite a few stratospheres as well as 'caster's hence. The classy slink never seems strived for, or even summoned, or countenanced, it's just there filtering in through his atmosphere as he slopes and skulks through Roscoe Gordon's Just A Little Bit (several saloons away from Jerry Lee's version), Charlie Rich's Lonely Weekends, his own Comin' & Goin' and fellow Texan Doug Sahm's Why, Why, Why or the closing time spicy reflection as Bill Willis' leads 'em on down through a genially genius rendering of Willie Nelson's Funny How Time Slips Away. Relish the tart, staccato guitar bursts along with the libidinously funky, struttin' arrangements wherein strident upsurges of brass and ball-blastin' sax replenish your glass and fire up the flash, as the JRV saunters along at the head of the class pausing to slur a slew of lectures on cattin' around while long-term cohort Lou Ann Barton provides beau-bastin' vocal assistance on several tracks. Always a song-centred interpreter rather than any painstaking aural mini-gun on the note-staking, the attention here is the Texas strut hunkering down with N'awlins shuffle. Casual, cool as you like, or would like to be, they may seem shrugged-off insouciant, nonchalant shoulders but there's a reason why this guy's rap-sheet casts him as no slouch. While slightly short of sublime, as genre records go, this guy assuages the wages of wailing and ailing in his own gauges .
Stu Gibson
Niagara & The Hitmen - St. Valentine's Day Massacre
Steel Cage

Australia ducks down in arid Dresden-deserts with Detroit ramalama on this maelstromic reunion of sorts. It all links in with vamp Niagara being 'er from Ron Ashetons post-Stooges motor city mob-hands Destroy All Monsters and Dark Carnival while The Hitmen are the long-standing trench-snipers centred on ex-Radio Birdman gattling-guitar gouger Chris "Klondike" Masuak. They'd all crossed paths in '91 when Dark Carnival trekked the outback then this hook-up when Niagara was in town at an art show. That little titbit and a(nother) sullen slew of Stooges songs isn't that tantalising a prospect, hinting at slovenly, aimless, desultory plods to pad out time masquerading as majestic drones from camp psych on high. But there's some pedigree here, right? Ayuss, & more. Cast aside all, or, a distinct salvo anyhaps, of presumptuous aspersions of getting mired in an endless motor city traffic jam as there's a fearsome slaughter gonna stain yer seats here. P'raps Niagara's shriek ain't for all ears - reaching it's peak of ear-scraping-with-razorwire rattle on TV Eye - and she isn't as ennervatingly engagingly loopy as a Texacala but the couple each of DAM songs - their noted Bored aswell as notable polemics from The Runaways elder devil-sister on You're Gonna Die and Anyone Can Fuck Her along with the closing brace from the bullet-belts of the Hitmen in the svelte speed-jitter shapes & japes of Another Lost Weekend's sprightly new wave nihilism and Death By The Gun - debateably the best two tracks here - along with a coupla vids for your multimedia pleasure (oh, and a open-topped, loose-lipped crawl through someone's underbelly secreted at the end) make for a pretty damn slobberin' n' grubby album. As they should be.
Stu Gibson
Arty Hill And The Long Gone Daddys - Montgomery On My Mind
Cow Island

Unless you've been unearthing new realms for mankind to travel to in star systems not discovered yet you might have noticed that over the years there's been one or thirty-four covers, tributes to, and piss-all-overs (yes, Wildhearts throw your blow-hard work onto a large fire) to Mr Hank Williams. This laid-back and loving celebration from cow'n'tree maestro Hill and his hound-dog gang (already named in their subjects honour you'll have noticed) stands and will continue to do so like a whole desert of cactii for many a year, blue moon, midnight howl and cold-kissed dawn. A self-penned trio of ditties neatly intersperse the five Hank songs, or songs associated with sir. Church On Saturday Night sets the scene with a twist on a tale of the times before the restless train shuffle of Pan American, the restless heartache rustle of I Can't Help It (If I'm Still In Love With You) and bar - and belle - hopping I'm A Long Gone Daddy rounds of the first roll of notes. The western-swing pedal steel of Don's Bop rejoins you for a further round before lurching into Lovesick Blues and a resolute rye-bred rampage through Take These Chains From My Heart, leaving the final, self-writ title track lament to leave a tempting remnant in yer glass, quite possibly (implausibly you may presume?) the best hat-hugging song here. To directly mis-quote Paul Westerberg set me up volume two of these.
Stu Gibson
Teri Joyce - Kitchen Radio
self-released

Austin songwriter oft-touted for the being the hand behind Marti Brom's Blue Tattoo amongst a truck-stop of others. No little feat that, but here she tops that and tucks fourteen tales from her fingertips related in her own neat and sweet tones, not unlike Laura Cantrell, but with personality and force of classic country queens from Dolly to Loretta. Sweet does not mean a saccharine and schmaltzy schtick is here to suck on. Such valiantly classy masterclasses across country trails and honky-tonk hangouts may not end up on trial for forcing the talentless Nashville neanderthals into the Tennessee's detritus but such fine collections are worth tracing to their source. This self-release is distributed through the faultless Cow Island label and doesn't derail their destiny to be an endless cross-continental railway hauling the mysteries of country that would be locked in a nuclear bunker disguised as a cowshed by the crooked accountants that dictate taste to the millions of musically-challenged one bit. Amidst the honky-tonkin' there's acoustic-pluckin', front-porch torch ponderings (the beautiful Bluebonnets For My Baby) and bittersweet backdoor balladry (The Party After The Party), all too realistic nostalgia for variation on the airwaves on the title track, western-swing such as on the glorious advert for Austin's tourist board that just about surpasses Bob Wills' Southern eulogy / whitewash That's What I Like About The South on Austin, Texas, U.S.A., itself followed by a wondrous tribute to Tammy & George on Let's Stop Singin' This Ol' Song (the duet theme is explored later on the sumptuous, stumblin' ballad Fifteen Minutes Of Shame) and elsewhere whole fields yet to be harvested of wooin', woeing and woozy carousing whether the bonhomie beer-on-me stomp of Belly Up or the Dolly-hollerin' closer It Can't Be True. There's howls and good times among the heartaches and grist generally stored for the maudlin mills - the tributes are loving and playful expositions with plenny verve and aplomb not trite pastiches to paper over pitiful examples of inspiration-lacking. A welcome if not long-awaited debut.
Stu Gibson
Related Posts with Thumbnails