Hi Lo Ha – Ain’t Gone Tonight

It’s pretty apt that the San Francisco Indie rock band Hi Lo Ha decided to borrow the name of Dylan’s Woodstock, New York home for their moniker. The group manages to draw deep inspiration from Dylan’s onetime backing musicians The Band for their Ain’t Gone Tonight EP. But far from being just another band stuck in the ‘60s, they also bring in some modern influences to round out their sound – bands like Wilco and Dr. Dog. The result is a fantastic blend of folk and rock, perfectly melding lush arrangements (“Cold Weather Clothes”) with more straight-up rock guitars (“Radio”) and Soulful jams (“Thinking ‘Bout a Friend”). Continue reading “Hi Lo Ha – Ain’t Gone Tonight”

The Underhill Family Orchestra – Tell Me That You Love Me (CD)

Sometime in the past few years, someone made the decision that modern rock bands were free to add liberal amounts of funk, soul and creativity to their sound and (thankfully) the floodgates seem to have finally opened. On the heels of some of the great eclectic Americana, folk and R&B musicians that seem to have surfaced from nowhere – folks like Nathaniel Rateliff, The Wood Brothers and Shovels & Rope – Alabama’s The Underhill Family Orchestra add their impressive 5-part vocal arrangements to the bill. Continue reading “The Underhill Family Orchestra – Tell Me That You Love Me (CD)”

The Clash: All The Albums, All The Songs

The Clash’s record label once dubbed the group as “the only band that matters” in the promotional materials introducing them to the U.S. and while the phrase was certainly polarizing at the time, you can’t help but find their influence stronger today than ever before. Whether it was adding strong, sing-able melodies to punk rock – heard in bands like Green Day and every Green Day clone since; their strong political lyrics, since adopted by everyone from Bad Religion to the Manic Street Preachers; or their mix of ska and Reggae to punk rock on their second and third albums, pretty much handing Rancid their musical template, The Clash is just as relevant 30 years after their demise. Continue reading “The Clash: All The Albums, All The Songs”

Shakey Graves – Can’t Wake Up

Shakey Graves (Alejandro Rose-Garcia) had only been in the public eye for about a year in 2012 when the mayor of Austin proclaimed February 9th, “Shakey Graves Day.” A hell of an achievement so soon out of the gate, but six years and several albums later, Garcia is still living up to the hype. Continue reading “Shakey Graves – Can’t Wake Up”

Jeff Plankenhorn – Sleeping Dogs (CD)

One-time go-to gun for hire Jeff Plankenhorn has played guitar and lap slide for everyone from Joe Ely and Reckless Kelly to Hayes Carll and Kelly Willis. But as of recently he’s walked back into the center of the spotlight with his own records. Sleeping Dogs, his latest, shows why he was so in demand in his adopted home of Austin. Continue reading “Jeff Plankenhorn – Sleeping Dogs (CD)”

Steve Wynn – Kerosene Man; Dazzling Display (CDs)

Going from the front man of a strongly influential band to a solo artist has always been a tough act to pull off, trying to keep up the good will and credibility banked. But, Steve Wynn showed how to do it with style in the early ‘90s when Dream Syndicate called it a day and he decided to carry on in a decidedly different direction. Continue reading “Steve Wynn – Kerosene Man; Dazzling Display (CDs)”

Oberon Rose – Tell me About It

On first listen, you’d be hard pressed to give a specific year that Oberon Rose put together “Tell Me About It.” The band’s specifically unique brand of psychedelic-tinged pop music brings to mind everyone from Big Star and Badfinger to Wings and The Posies, a decidedly timeless sound. Elsewhere on the record, on tracks like “No Stranger,” they play garage rock in the vein of The Flammin’ Groovies or The Kinks. It could have just as believably come out in 1978 as 2018. Continue reading “Oberon Rose – Tell me About It”

Heartworn Highways; Heartworn Highways Revisited (DVD)

Just a couple years past the 40th anniversary of the iconic documentary, Heartworn Highways, filmmaker Wayne Price sets out to recreate, at least in spirit, one of the best documents out there on the Outlaw Country music movement. Heartworn Highways Revisited, much like its predecessor, focuses on a handful of country musicians (or at least country-ish, with elements of folks and even rock) creating their own path, outside of the mainstream. There are fantastic interviews with folks like Robert Ellis, John McCauley, Shovels & Rope, Shelly Colvin and others, and even more performances. He also brings back Guy Clark, Steve Young and David Allan Coe, all subjects of the first Heartworn Highways documentary. Continue reading “Heartworn Highways; Heartworn Highways Revisited (DVD)”