Bob has been writing and performing under the moniker Bob Villain for some time now; and while I have yet to see him play live from what I’ve been told it’s truly a sight to be seen as he apparently shredded it up nicely at the Velvet Lounge in DC some time ago. This release was put out on the Seven1878 Imprint label based in Strasburg, VA. His singer/songwriter style evokes visions of one of his main influences in Evan Dando (Lemonheads) but on “Dark Side of the Room” he reaches out for a more experimental and abstract path. Often his lyrics evoke a range of emotions but always convey a certain raw quality which so many of the slickly produced pop sensation crap lacks in earnest. The recording quality is definitely above the standard bearers one expects from the apartment / basement scenes which is a great change of pace. His voice traverses from an edgy howl to a gruff melodic style throughout the album. He adds elements of harmonica to his rhythm guitar. What’s perhaps most compelling is that unlike so many singer/songwriters who pepper their album with a handful of punts, all of the songs on this quick listen are tight, well-written, and seem rather like a natural fit for his style – nothing’s forced at all. The honest approach is evident throughout and the album also features a collaboration with labelmate Christopher Feltner. Well done and I’m looking forward to a live show and a follow-up. Hit him up on his facebook and peep his bandcamp now.
Posts in category folk
Sleeping in the Aviary is a band that is chameleon having morphed from indie folk-rock to pop-punk to this sort of odd pop storytelling rock opera flavor. The process for songwriting is, well in a word, different. One song was written with Elliott Kozell, the singer/guitarist, and his girlfriend. At a graveyard at 1am. Another found Kozell in a parking lot in North Carolina with sudden inspiration, while yet another was written with a drunk guy named Chase who had a dog named Banjo after a show in Jacksonville, Florida. Yeah very odd I know but it worked. The songs are fun tales that are totally uppers – and yeah I don’t care if the song’s about death or whatever, they’re still damn too fun to be Debbie Downers. Surprisingly addictive, “Great Vacation” is a singer/songwriter’s paradise of inspiration.
Psychedelic folk assembled by Andrew McAllister that does things similar to Bright Eyes but without outright copying anything. Each song seems simple yet when you break it down it’s amazingly complex. McAllister is joined with three others to form a cohesive unit capable of writing imaginative songs and utilizing off-the-beaten-path instruments like a banjo, melodica, and Wurlitzer. Mastering the 2-minute pop song seems to be what Vanish Valley originally intended and then decided to say “the hell with it, let’s do something different” halfway through. Intriguing elements of country, folk, psychedelia, pop, and rock permeate the self-titled debut album. So guys, how are you going to follow this gem up?
The group featuring Mrs. Miller and Mccabe, neither of which is the real name of either of the duo whom are properly referred to as Victor Krummenacher (Camper Van Beethoven, Monks of Doom) and Alison Faith Levey (The Loud Family, The Sippy Cups), performs stirring indie pop with an Americana twist. But refusing to be slipped into a specific genre cabinet, the group delves into Southern blues, folk, pop ballads, roots-rock, jazz, and pleasant acoustic. It’s foot-stomping fun that refuses to succumb to any industry pressure to sound like this or that. I love that. And you will too. Looking for the next big thing that none of your hipster friends have heard yet? Pick up “Time for Leaving” and you won’t be disappointed.
Peep a video for these indie pop rockers for the title track:
These are the endearing stories that makes being a music reviewer that much more rewarding. Jon Troast is a paycheck-to-paycheck musician who recently completed a 100 Concerts in 100 Days tour, performing in gracious people’s living rooms. The album is a melting pot of Americana, pop-rock, folk, and indie singer/songwriter fare. Blessed with earnest lyrics with working-collar melodies, Jon Troast’s “Living Room” is a testament that struggling musicians can get by if they try hard enough, self-promote the right way, and frankly get out there and perform in front of people. Oh did I mention he doesn’t plan on charging for his shows in 2010, but just will rely on album sales alone to get by? So what are you waiting for? Help a man out and be rewarded with gift of strong songwriting and the wordplay of a true traveling minstrel.
Watch a video of Jon playing at a barn:
Blues-laden vocals retch out primitive emotions and observations of the art-punk world and its vibrant personalities on “To the Pouring Rain”, yet another superb addition to an already overwhelming catalog to small indie label Porto Franco Records. Seth Augustus sounds like a late career Tom Waits or even Leonard Cohen, straining to convey the imaginative thoughts streaming from his cortex into something even a drug-addled subconscious could piece together. The album sounds like the inspiration to half-a-dozen David Lynch flicks, sexy Americana folk with notes of early jazz and a more blues experimental Captain Beefheart. For you more modern music fans, look to a comparison of Ike Reilly with a more gravelly voiced narrative. Seth’s friendship, apprenticeship, and eventually his caretaking for the gravelly ill blind blues-man Paul Pena, noted for his superb “Big Old Jet Airliner” and the figure of an Oscar-nominated documentary, “Genghis Blues
”, is certainly felt throughout this excellent disc of fertile blues and art-pop landscape dubbed simply “To the Pouring Rain”. Outstanding and an essential pick for those looking for the next modern-day blues prophet.