Hot off a tour with Appalachian vocal trio Mountain Man (including a stop at this years Newport Folk Festival), Alexandra Sauser-Monnig didn’t waste any time hitting the road again, but this time in support of debut album as Daughter of Swords.
Dawnbreaker (out now on Polyvinyl Record Co.) an acoustic folk album about how we end relationships (and the end of her and her partners) and was produced by Sylvan Esso's Nick Sanborn. Sauser-Monnig's endearing sense of humor nearly eclipsed her musical sensibilities as she waxed poetic about life on the road (and smoothies left in her car's drink holder for days). She's got a great sense of humor that kept things light while her often “heavy” songs tackle the human desire to feel liberated, purposeful, and strong in the face of adversity.
For their 15th album (and 2nd this year), Australia’s King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard take yet another musical turn, this time into THRASH METAL. Infest The Rat’s Nest has everything: HUGE CRUSHING RIFFS! THUNDERING DRUMS! SCI-FI ECO-DIMENSIONAL HORROR! It even has SATAN!
But it’s that second-to-last point that’s so important. Somehow, impossibly, King Gizzard has made a metal album that not only sounds timeless but speaks to the horrors we’re all going to face as man-made climate change runs its course. Metal enthusiast Casey Rae (William Burroughs and The Cult Of Rock ‘N’ Roll, Dead To Me) joins us as we follow King Gizzard down the highway towards oblivion on an all-new episode of Discologist!
On their seventh album (and first in five years) The Hold Steady isn’t so much “We’re BACK mother****ers!” as they are “Alright. Alright. Alllllright”-ing their way back into our hearts.
Thrashing Thru The Passion finds the band sporting a slightly looser and expanded sound (horns!) and songwriter Craig Finn’s druggy, party-filled universe, a little older, a little beat down, but no less full of life. Join us as we dig into all of the good, bad, and magical highs found on the “return” of one of America’s most celebrated bands.
Sleepwalkers 2014 LP Greenwood Shade was, and remains, one of our favorites of the past few years. Finally five years later their follow up, Ages, is here and it was well worth the wait. While Shade wore its shagginess on its sleeve, Ages sees brothers Michael and Austin York and co-conspirator Alex DeJong polishing up the edges and delivering the power-pop masterpiece we deserve just when we need it the most. Get ready to experience a record that surprises at every turn as Kevin and Eduardo go IN on this instant classic.
PLUS! LA supergroup Grand Canyon has a new EP out, and fans of Tom Petty, Fleetwood Mac, and [checks notes] Guns N’ Roses (?) are going to want to check them out. We’ve got their latest single “Yesterday’s News” to get you acquainted.
By all accounts, Bruce Hornsby is having a hell of a year. But if you've been paying attention at all, that's been pretty much every year for the legendary pianist. In the 33 years since fame first found him on 1986's The Way It Is, Hornsby has been a pop star, jazz titan, Grateful Dead member, bluegrass provocateur and more. Suffice to say, this Virginia boy "done good."
Bringing all of that history to the stage is no small feat, but at his recent stop at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee with his band The Noisemakers, Hornsby delivered a dream setlist that spanned from his latest LP Absolute Zero all the way back to his first album and back again with some Hornsby penned (but not recorded) hits thrown in for good measure.
The Soderberg sisters have grown up in a hurry and keep getting better. This alternately beautiful and haunting album doesn’t have a weak spot on it, and a guest appearance by the Felice Brothers (among many others) makes for a fun ending.
Dent May - Do Things
The album we all wish the Beach Boys had released this year, Do Things was the best album of the summer and, it turns out, one of the most fun records of the year.
There have been countless instances in music history where a key band member has been felled by an injury and a replacement must be found for the show to go on. Often it’s a friend, someone on loan from another band, or a studio musician who gets the call to fill in. When The Be Good Tanyas’ Sam Parton was injured in a car accident last month, band mate Frazey Ford made a radical choice in selecting her temporary replacement, a choice that could very well drive a lesser musician to tears, if not outright madness: her own mother.
So it was that the two remaining Tanyas, Ford and Trish Klein, along with drummer John Raham and bassist Mark Beaty, were joined by Ford’s mother, Diane, for a fantastic show at the Hamilton Tuesday night. While the loss of Parton’s mandolin was noticeable, the elder Ford did a superb job filling out the harmonies on some of BGT’s best known songs, and also helped provide some humor as Ford adjusted to having her mom on stage with her.
They opened with “In Spite of All the Damage” from 2003’s Chinatown, a quiet lead-in before picking up the tempo with a jumpy version of “Ootischenia” and the ominous (but seasonally appropriate) “Scattered Leaves.” Other highlights included Klein playing a mean harmonica on “Human Thing,” the perfect harmonies of “Midnight Moonlight,” and the show stopping closer “Light Enough to Travel.”
It will be a slightly downsized but no less brilliant Be Good Tanyas that take the Hamilton stage this evening. Founding member Sam Parton was involved in a car accident early last month, and she was forced to drop out of this leg of the tour as she continues her recovery in the band’s home town of Vancouver.
While Parton will be missed, the other two Tanyas, Frazey Ford and Trish Klein, are a formidable musical presence on their own. The band’s three albums, Blue Horse, Chinatown, and Hello Love are superb, and the highlights were assembled on this year’s Collection 2000-2012.
The Tanyas make some of the most understated and beautiful acoustic music out there – a mix of folk, country, and bluegrass that revolves around the harmonies and interplay of the band members. While some folk bands aspire to sound “old-timey,” the Tanyas’ music transcends that kind of label – it’s simple, well-constructed, and a joy to listen to. Drummer John Raham and bassist Mark Beaty will join Ford and Klein to fill out the sound, but really, the two could show up sans instruments and still put on a fantastic show.
To put the Tanyas’ musical output into perspective, they’ve released just three albums in 12 years; show opener Dan Bern has released three albums since May, beginning with Drifter, a wonderful roots-rock travelogue that illustrates why he’s one of the best singer-songwriters in the business. Bern’s live shows are always fantastic, blending serious subjects and surreal stories with the skill of a juggler.
One missing Be Good Tanya won’t detract from a night of wonderful acoustic music.
How do you get to be a writer for ChunkyGlasses? Apparently win tickets to a Damien Jurado show. Justin came to us out of a shared love of music, won his tickets to a sweet show, then threw in a "BTW...I can write and s@#@." And guess what? He wasn't kidding. He's got a Master's in the @#@$. Pair that with a deep appreciation and knowledge of music both old and new, and our newest addition to the team has turned out to be a total winner...even if he happens to like that damn Japandroids record much as the rest of you other ingrates.
Dan Bern seems to be on a never-ending world tour that began sometime in the mid-90s. Now he's taken that globe-trotting experience and channeled it into his terrific new album, Drifter.
Drifter plays as an introspective travelogue - Los Angeles, Spain, the Netherlands, and outer space are all traversed in rhyme. On recent albums Bern veered into pure rock territory with the occasional blazing electric guitar and sneering vocal, but Drifter sticks to the kinds of upbeat folk he made early in his career, and the addition of Common Rotation's skills on a myriad instruments fills out the sound perfectly.