The official music video for The New Pornographers‘ new song “Really Really Light” is a return to form for them! Written by A.C. Newman and Dan Bejar (the frontman of Destroyer and a member of The New Pornographers). The shifting membership of The New Pornographers is one of the twists to their records. On this album, the band is comprised of Neko Case, Kathryn Calder, John Collins, Todd Fancey, Joe Seiders and Zach Djanikian and, of course, A.C. Newman. The new single is from the forthcoming album ‘Continue as a Guest’ out at the end of March courtesy of the fine folks at Merge Records. On this song you can hear the way Newman and Bejar are combining different elements together that move the song in directions that the listener does not expect. You can pre-order the record and stream “Really Really Light” now!
Video of The Day: Smug Brothers – Pablo Icarus
Ohio rock band Smug Brothers is a collection of contradictions.
The members are neither smug nor brothers, and the caddish name poorly fits these serious, veteran musicians. Furthermore, Smug Brothers could very well be your favorite rock band, especially if you love the pop virility of the Beatles, the lyrical bafflement of Guided by Voices, and the beautiful shambles of Big Star—but you may never know, because you may never see them or hear them.
Take a nap, Schrödinger’s cat. This here is a real paradox.“We’ve been doing this for 20 years,” says Smug Brothers singer and guitarist Kyle Melton, “and no one knows who we are.”One of the reasons for this is the fact that due to real-life responsibilities and a shifting lineup on Spinal Tap proportions, the band rarely performs live.
“You have to tour to make any kind of headway [in the music business],” explains drummer Don Thrasher. “You can’t just play Dayton, Cincinnati, and a few other places and get famous. Any group that has ‘made’ it has had to hit the road and play anywhere they can.”
And then, when the group does perform live, there’s an exciting yet mystifying dimension of difference between the live sound and the recorded material.“A lot of bands today are really, really good at replicating their studio sound in a live setting,” Melton says. “That eludes us. We thrive in a more controlled environment.”
Not surprising for a group that began, way back in 2004, as a one-off studio project between Melton and Dayton musician and producer Darryl Robbins (Peopleperson, TV Queens). It was only with the addition of drummer Don Thrasher, in early 2008, that the Smug Brothers became, to paraphrase Pinocchio, a real band.
Since then, Melton and Thrasher have held down a steady center among a revolving cast of additional musicians—the current lineup includes Kyle Sowash, from Columbus indie-rock stalwarts The Kyle Sowashes, on bass—and have released a series of ever-improving singles, EPs, and LPs. The band’s most recent album, Application of the Twig, is the season of spring distilled into a porch party soundtrack. Brisk and refreshing.
“While we’re not well-known,” says Thrasher, “we make well-done records. We provide a good listening experience for people who like short, catchy songs.” Melton agrees. “A lot of care and consideration goes into our albums. They are singular experiences that you will never see duplicated live.”
All of which brings the Smug Brothers’ quandary full circle. To get a better sense of the elusive Smug Brothers sound, please visit smugbrothers.bandcamp.com! Do it!
Matt Derda Best of 2022
One of our favorite discoveries of the past few years was Matt Derda & The High Watts! They released a stellar record in 2022 and so we thought what better way to celebrate an amazing year in music than to ask Matt to write about a few of his favorite releases from this past trip around the sun, and to our joy he agreed!
Thank you, Matt!
2022 was definitely the year of independent music for me. Most of the music I listened to this year was by bands that aren’t signed to a label or receiving tons of press, although they should be. As you’ll see from this list, I think they are just as good as one of the all-time greats, who also released a new, unexpected album this year.
‘Matt Moran’s Heartache Kid is what Country music is supposed to sound like. I grew up listening to Country music in the 90s and it wasn’t until the late 90s/early 2000s that mainstream country music turned south (pun intended). Until then, there were a lot of gems regularly on the radio, but occasionally they would play Travis Tritt and you’d resist the urge to jump out of the car, into traffic on the highway. Heartache Kid is reminiscent of ’90s Country music and there is not a bad track on it. I warn you if you listen to this record, songs like Palomino, Heartache Kid, and Black Sedan will be stuck in your head for weeks. But it’ll be okay because you’ll love them.
Favorite song: Palomino
Bottlecap Mountain – Fib Factory
One of my favorite discoveries on social media is the Austin, TX-based band Bottlecamp Mountain. I discovered them via Twitter and we’ve since become friends. Their songs are prolifically melody, with a little bit of grit and just enough twang. It’s perfect. Their songs are catchy and sound big. They fill up the space and make you emotionally connected to the songs. The lead single from this album, “Kool,” is a song I wish I had written. It’s a fun banger that is all about what you deemed dope back in your younger days. I’ve put the song “Tin Can Belief” on many playlists. It’s got a jangly rock vibe that combines R.E.M., Big Star, The Replacements, Soul Asylum, and the Gin Blossoms. If you are a fan of 80s/90s indie rock, you’ll want to spin this record.
Favorite Song: Tin Can Belief
Elephants and Stars – Last Chance Power Drive
Now I’ll change things up with a band that is straight-up rock n roll. Elephants and Stars are based in Toronto, Canada. I don’t know what to say about them other than they are perfect. They’ve quickly become one of my favorite bands. They know how to write a chorus and I’m a sucker for a great chorus. Each song is an anthem that you picture a giant audience singing along to. I got a preview of this record before it came out and I’ll tell you what I told them, it’s everything I wanted from an E&S record. Have you ever heard a song you loved by an artist and you bought the album hoping all of the songs would sound like that only to be disappointed? Last Chance Power Drive will not disappoint. It’s all songs that are what you want to hear. To me, that is a perfect record. Also, I should note there is an amazing cover of the song “I Really Want to See You Tonight” on this album. The original song is not my jam at all. However, Elephants and Stars kick it into overdrive. Actually, power drive is the perfect term to describe not only this album but Elephants and Stars music overall.
Favorite song: Turn It All Around
Eddie Vedder – Earthling
In 1993 I received a scholastic book magazine at school. One of the items was a VHS tape of music videos set to highlight clips of NBA players. Being a huge basketball fan, I somehow talked my parents into ordering a non-book from Scholastic. One of the videos on the VHS was clips of Seattle Supersonic Shawn Kemp dunking to Pearl Jam’s song Go. I was hooked. As I grew up, Pearl Jam, and especially the lyrics of Eddie Vedder played a huge role in my life and helped me get through those terrible teenage angsty years. Now, he’s helped me get through a global pandemic.
This year Eddie Vedder released the unanticipated Earthling, partnering closely with Andrew Watt. The story behind the album is that it wasn’t really planned, they just started making it and it came together pretty fast. You can tell by the songs that Vedder had things in him that just needed to get out.
One of the critiques I’ve heard of the album is that a lot of the songs sound like other artists. Once you know the stories behind those songs, it makes a lot of sense. The Long Way sounds like it was a Tom Petty cover. In fact, Benmont Tench plays on the song and they got his organ out of the Heartbreakers clubhouse for the first time since Tom’s death for this song. Ms. Mills sounds like it could be on Sgt. Pepper. The song is about a piano at Abbey Road Studios that has been named Ms. Mills. Oh, and Ringo Starr played drums on that song.
Another standout is the song Brother Cloud, which is about dealing with the loss of a loved one. It starts off light, but quickly ascends into the stratosphere and closes with an epic fuck you to whoever left him on this earth. The album is great. I highly recommend giving it a listen.
Favorite song: Brother the Cloud
Jason Johantges Best Of 2022
My Favorite Music of 2022
Who says rock music is dead, or dying? 2022 has been an outstanding year for rock music that showcases real musicians playing real instruments.
Rock may be a bit underground these days but it always excels when it is rebellious with a chip on its shoulders. So let’s talk about my favorite artists and music from 2022. We are seeing an incredible amount of rock musicians these days that don’t get any exposure because rock music hasn’t been mainstream in forever. I love seeing the new generation pick up and excel at playing real, live instruments while playing homage to rock heroes. Let me share with you some of my favorites that, if you’re a lover of rock and roll and real live musicians, you should check out.
Oh yeah, who am I, and what qualifies me to ask for your time to read or care about my lists? I’m Jason Johantges and not only have I been a founding member of the local band Ghost Town Silence since 2005 but I’m also the co-host of The All Things Blues and Southern Rock podcast with my buddy from Fargo (Brrrrrr) ND, Brian Jones. We focus a lot on new or lesser-known acts that are blues or southern rock aka rock from the south. You hear some episodes with legends or artists outside that blues and southern rock genre as well since we love all things rock.
Best Band in the Land Division
● Blackberry Smoke (Atlanta) – These are the southern rock flag bearers and are one of the top live performers out there. They perfectly mix Skynyrd, Zeppelin, and Stones with a bit of country flair at times. Their most recent album “You Hear Georgia” is a great starting point but their masterpiece is “The Whippoorwill” of which they’re currently on tour celebrating the 10th anniversary. They never have a bad performance and each show is two hours long. Their live show is not to be missed no matter the tour. They released an album for record store day titled “Stoned” that is Rolling Stones covers and my clearly biased opinion is they cover the Stones better than anyone.
Local(ish) Talent Division
● The Cold Stares (Evansville, IN) – Trio that is a mix of Zeppelin, Buddy Guy, and Rage Against the Machine. Heavy Hitters with riffs and grooves done by great dudes. PLEASE check ‘em out with their latest record “Heavy Shoes.” They have a new album coming out in early 2023 that is incredible(I’ve had a sneak peek). This band should be skyrocketing to the top of the rock heap and should be on your playlists.
● Mojo Thunder (Lexington, KY) – AC/DC meets Skynyrd. Their album “Hymns from the Electric Church” will get you fired up. They are heading to Europe in early ‘23 then will be back in the states playing at their favorite KY, OH, and midwest locations.
● Erin Coburn (Cincinnati, OH) – Incredibly talented 21-year-old blues/rock guitarist and singer. She even shreds on the electric ukulele. Always on tour. Check her out on youtube and all her social media accounts. New record coming in ‘23.
● Scotty Bratcher (Dayton, OH) – Veteran Blues-rock guitarist. He’s back doing solo work after a stint with The Desert City Ramblers. Check out his album “That Album.” Lots of local shows and brings the Allman Bros, Zeppelin, and ZZ Top vibes to each show.
● Goodbye June – Total heavy hitter rock with blues and southern touches. Their latest album “See Where the Night Goes” is on my top three for the year. Also incredible live performers. Three records in and they’ve hit their stride with a new album coming in late ‘23. Their song “Three Chords” is the best arena rock song in years. Catch ‘em now before they’re headlining bigger venues.
● Them Dirty Roses – Country fried Guns n Roses. Road dogs are always on tour, somewhere. Mix in 80’s rock with southern/country-inspired hooks. They put on a fantastic live show. They released four new tracks in ‘22 with hopes of a new album in ‘23. Check out tracks “Sunday Drunk” and “Holy Roller”.
● Leilani Kilgore – Up and coming blues rock guitarist and singer. One of the next big things. Think Samantha Fish mixed with Joe Bonammassa with some Joan Jett thrown in. She has six great singles out, each with a video on youtube. Album is expected in ‘23 and she’s getting fantastic press everywhere she plays. Here’s a live performance:
● Jax Hollow – Another up-and-coming female guitarist and singer. Much more rock influence and she can shred. Her first album was produced by the legendary Michael Wagener. The new album is coming early next year. Think of her as Jimmy Page and Robert Plant rolled into one.
● Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown – Rock, blues, and metal with a classic rock pedigree as a second guitar player, Graham Whitford, is the son of Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford. Their latest album “Shake the Roots” is incredible. Maybe the best at balancing traditional blues and heavy guitar rock from song to song. Their album “Shake the Roots” is in my top 5 for the year.
● Larkin Poe – Sisters that have been laying down beautifully harmonized blues and folk rock for many years. Rebecca plays lead guitar and takes care of lead vocals while her sister Megan plays lap steel guitar and provides backing vocals. Check out the album “Blood Harmony” was released this past November. Another great live band and no one does vocal harmonies better. Rebecca is also married to Tyler Bryant making them the best married rock couple of the moment.
● The Dead Deads – Female trio that mixes the best of alternative rock, metal, and pop with guitar riffs and vocal melodies for days. Their 2021 record “Tell Your Girls it’s Alright) made my top three. Check out their cover of Mother Love Bone’s “Chloe Dancer” or their duet with Slipknot’s Corey Taylor in “Murder Ballad pt 2”. If you love luscious vocals with some meaty rock hocks this is your band.
The All-Others Division
● Bourbon House (Milwaukee – ish, WI) – Female-fronted Zeppelin-inspired blues rock. Their latest album “Into the Red” is a great choice. Plenty of videos on youtube as well. They’ve released four new tracks so far this year with a new album coming in ‘23. One of the best blues hard rock bands you’ve never heard of.
● Joyous Wolf (Anaheim, CA) – The new sound of classic/modern rock. Their frontman, Nick Reese, is high-energy and known for his on-stage acrobatics. They’ve played shows with Classless Act, Dorothy, and many other up-and-comers. Maybe the heirs to the modern rock throne. Rumors of a new album in ‘23.
● Marcus King (Greenville, NC) – MAYBE, the most talented young guitarist on the planet. Check out “Young Blood” released this past fall. Gov’t Mule’s Warren Haynes has previously produced records for Marcus. He embodies the spirit of all that’s good in RB/Rock/Blues and his live shows are not to be missed. Just mesmerizing guitar work.
● Jane Lee Hooker (Brooklyn, NC) – Powerful blues rock out of NYC. If you love guitar work this band has dual lead players with solos for days. Powerhouse singer Dana “Danger” has one of the best voices in the genre. Their album “Drive” released in the spring of 2022 is a top release of the year. Occasionally they make it out our way so be ready to jump on tickets for that rare occasion. A personal favorite band for me.
● Dorothy (San Diego, CA) – THE voice and flagbearer of female-led rock/hard rock. Her latest album “Gifts from the Holy Ghost” plays homage to modern, classic, and blues rock with some of the best musicians in the business laying down tracks for her. Full of uplifting and inspirational lyrics taken from her life experiences. This album was also produced by Trev Lukather son of Toto great Steve Lukather.
● Tuk Smith and the Restless Hearts (Nashville, TN) – Former Biters frontman who just released a hook-laden rock record this year titled “Ballad of A Misspent Youth”. This is a refreshing mix of mainstream rock music with songs around the three-minute mark. He was originally supposed to open for the Arena Tour until record release delays interfered. Then he was replaced by…
● Classless Act (Los Angeles, CA) – Take the cream of the 80’s Hollywood metal scene (Guns n Roses, Motley Crue) and mix it with useful exuberance and tons of fun and you have Classless Act. These young rockers are having fun playing shows, whether opening for Dorothy or Def Leppard. Their debut album “Welcome to the Show” was released this past summer and, while not breaking new ground, laid the groundwork for a future full of fun and guitar riffs. Check out Motley Crue’s Vince Neil and The
Darkness’s Justin Hawkins lent their vocals to tracks on the album. Nostalgia/Classic Acts Not to be Missed.
● LA Guns (Los Angeles, CA) – This band has had a late-career resurgence with three great recent albums culminating in the 2021 masterpiece “Checkered Past”. This album keeps the 80’s/early 90’s metal spirit with modern sensibilities. Guitarist Tracii Guns was a founding member of Guns n Roses (hence the “Guns”) with Axl Rose. I saw them this past summer on the Sonic Slam tour with Faster Pussycat and Tom Kiefer (Cinderella) and they were the highlight of the show. Singer Phil Lewis sounded no different from 1988 (no vocal tracks either) while Tracii and another guitar Ace Von Johnson ran around the stage with guitar heroics not sadly seen since 1992. They are the cream of the 80’s hard rockers crop and rumor has it their upcoming 2023 album is their best yet.
● Tiffany (Los Angeles, CA) – Yes, THAT Tiffany released a pop-rock album in November titled “Shadows” backed up by LA Guns’ Ace Von Johnson. This album is a perfect mix of pop hooks and rock guitars. I originally listened to this album based on morbid curiosity but walked away more than impressed. I’ve spun this album two dozen times since its release. Drop any preconceived notions and enjoy.
Jason’s Top Five Albums of 2022
10. Dorothy – Gifts from the Holy Ghost
9. Moon City Masters – The Famous Moon City Masters
8. Tiffany – Shadows
7. Larkin Poe – Blood Harmony
6. Jane Lee Hooker – Drive
5. Tuk Smith and the Restless Hearts – Ballad of a Misspent Youth
4. Bourbon House – Into the Red
3. Marcus King – “Young Blood”
2. Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown – Shake the Roots
1. Goodbye June – See Where the Night Goes
We are entering a great time in music where most bands are independent acts and can do what they want. Because of this, we are seeing a steady stream of great, yet diverse music more than ever before. So go listen and find some new music that you didn’t know about and it can become a favorite on your playlists.
Go follow, like and subscribe to my podcast to learn about new rock music. Because rock ain’t dead, not even close. It’s just back to being underground and rebellious. Go support some of these great artists.
Follow me on Twitter @JasonATBSRPod and on Instagram @all_things_blues_southern
Thanks, everyone, let’s rock!
Video of The Day: Joe Anderl of The 1984 Draft with ‘Last Summer’
One of the new albums we are excited about in the new year comes from Dayton, Ohio’s The 1984 Draft. This is a band that combines the twin guitar attack of Eli Alban and Joe Anderl, with some of the most intense bass runs from Chip Heck and the pounding machine on drums of Justin Satinover. On January 19, 2023, The 1984 Draft is releasing their latest full-length group of songs entitled ‘Best Friends Forever’ on Poptek Records. You can hear the band’s fusion of ’90s rock and punk shaped by the love of Elton John, Smoking Popes, and Bob Mould.
The eleven-track album features collaborations with Susie Ulrey (Pohgoh), Todd Farrell Jr. (Benchmarks, Two Cow Garage), and Sean Gardner (Kopaz, The Reciever, Winter Makes Sailors, Minnows) and the addition of Dayton-based artist Cherry Fullam on vocals. These collaborations help elevate the music of The 1984 Draft to another level.
The 1984 Draft celebrates the release of their new record “Best Friends Forever” with special guests including Paige Beller, Shane Sweeney, Josh Arnold, Josh Goldman, Narrow/Arrow, Abiyah, and very special guest Josh Caterer of the Smoking Popes. Pre-order tickets are available at Poptek Records! The energy, enthusiasm, and emotion of a ‘Draft show is not to be missed. Wear your hearts on your sleeves and believe that rock and roll can change the world because this band certainly embodies this idea.
You can pre-order the record now from Poptek Records, Sell the Heart, and Engineer Records (in the UK).
Rob Perry Best of 2022
Every year we ask some of our music friends to share some of their thoughts on some of the albums/singles that were released in the past year.
Our good friend, fellow Connells fan, thoughtful social media user, and one of the most ardent new music fans Rob Perry agreed to share his thoughts about new music from the past year.
2022, for me, has been a year in that I got to get back out into the live music scene a bit and enjoy a lot of great music released by my favorite artists and some new ones, too. I saw wildly enthusiastic live shows by Superchunk and Built To Spill (both with new albums this year) and more subdued ones like Waxahatchee and Sharon Silva.
As far as this year’s album releases go, here are five of my favorites. All are records that I find easy to put on the turntable and enjoy from front to back.
Archers of Loaf – Reason in Decline … their first new album in over two decades was highly anticipated by long-time fans. But this record doesn’t have the signature noisy gnarl of the early releases. This is a band, seemingly now with a different sense of purpose. When I listen to this album I hear impeccably crafted songs, still distorted but looking more positively at our ever-changing world.
Favorite track: “Mama Was a War Profiteer”
Tess Parks – And Those Who Were Seen Dancing … Here’s another record that’s been a long time coming. When released, it had been almost 10 years since Park’s last album “Blood Hot”. On this one, her ethereal vocals, mixed with sonic influences of Oasis, Patti Smith, and Primal Scream provide a nicely wrapped feeling of 90s nostalgia. Drop the needle on this and let your psyche explore it all.
Favorite track: “Do You Pray?“
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Endless Rooms … This is the group’s third long play and it highlights their consistency and creative growth. What I love about this band and album is the incredible combination of songwriting skill layered intricately into their three-guitar interplay. There seems to be an ego-free vibe among the six-stringers Joe Russo, Joe White, and Fran Keaney. While this release doesn’t use the same template as the band’s debut “Hope Downs” it does expand on the definition of what a great Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever record can be.
Favorite track: “Open Up Your Window”
Yumi Zouma – Present Tense … The New Zealand quartet’s fourth album is a subtle shift from their previous records. While it’s still shimmering Dream Pop, this release hints at moving a bit towards mid-80s Fleetwood Mac or Hall & Oates. The band has done a great job of weaving a variety of textures into the songs on this record. “Present Tense” has a little something for almost everyone and listening will most certainly augment your mood.
Favorite track: “Mona Lisa”
Spoon – Lucifer on the Sofa … In February, one of my favorite bands “finally” released their latest record after five long years. As their music always seems to be evolving, I wasn’t sure what the signature album sound might be. For me, the edgy-riffed “The Hardest Cut” definitely sets the tone but all of the tunes have a roughhewn and sparsely produced feel. The record sounds like it could have been recorded live in your living room. As usual from Britt Daniel, there’s excellent songwriting and a nice mix of tempo.
Favorite track: “Wild”
We want to express our gratitude to Rob for taking the time to write one of these reviews.
Video of The Day: Heather Redman & The Reputation – Wait For Me
This Friday, December 9, 2022, Heather Redman releases her first solo record! This is fantastic news. A rock and roll record with soul, funk, country, and RnB influences, this record is real. In fact, if you were to look up the definition of authentic in the dictionary you would see a picture of this artist. Heather has some of the most impressive vocals that you can imagine. She has energy and more virtuosity than you can shake a stick at — or in other words, we mean it when we say we would listen to her sing the phone book.
Heather Redman has assembled a crack band featuring the rhythm section from Dayton giants Shrug — Dan Stahl (drums) and Bryan Lakatos (bass) and kickin’ guitar from Matt Webster (The Professors, oh let’s be honest far too many bands to mention) and the multi-instrumentalist David Payne (The New Old Fashioned, Midwest Business Machine, not to mention his own stellar solo recordings)! The album was produced by “The Wizard” Patrick Himes, who contributed more than a few sonic touches to this excellent album.
If you add it all up and you have a recipe for music textures that illuminate their influences while adding new musical territory to the map of songcraft called ‘Heather Redman & The Reputation.
To help you get ready for this new record, care of the fine folks at Magnaphone Records, Heather has released a music video for her second advance single “Wait For Me.” From the start of the thrill of the keyboards to the shot of the drum and strum of the bass string followed by Heather’s hairs standing up on your neck vocals, the sway and swirl of this song will capture your heart. But fear not, you can have it back in a little over three minutes.
See you at the album release celebration at The Yellow Cab Tavern this Friday!
Video of The Day: Matt Derda & The High Watts
Matt Derda & The High Watts are making some of the most compelling music in a year full of great music! The video is their official music video for ‘Life You Didn’t Know.’ This is the latest single from the Chicago band’s upcoming EP ‘You Didn’t Know?‘ which came out on 11/12/2022.
‘You Didn’t Know?’ from Matt Derda & The High Watts is a picture postcard from a pure sonic territory that reflects the intersection of indie rock, power pop, and alt-country. The semi-title track ‘Life You Didn’t Know’ feels like a driving Replacements song from ‘Pleased to Meet Me’ written by Uncle Tupelo era Jeff Tweedy. Derda’s lead vocal is always spot-on. This is a mighty trio that tackles the feel of each song as if their lives depended upon it.
Phil Yates Best of 2022
Every year we ask some of our music friends to share some of their thoughts on some of the albums/singles that were released in the past year.
Our pal, Phil Yates of Phil Yates & The Affiliates released a terrific record, A Thin Thread, on July 15th of this year, and much to our joy, he agreed to share his thoughts.
Do you ever tire of hearing people say that there is no good new music nowadays? The music released in 2022 should silence those fools, but you and I know nothing will silence people who think that way. My wallet wishes that I was one of those fools who did not care about new (and old) music this year. Other than what is in the top spot, the rest of my top ten albums of 2022 is in no order.
Wet Leg – Wet Leg. No new release in recent memory has given me as much joy as Wet Leg’s debut record. My actual age is quickly approaching my spiritual age, meaning that I am probably more prone to embracing my inner curmudgeon these days. When a band has so much buzz behind them, my instant reaction is to dismiss them. I am glad I did not do that with Wet Leg.
The record is so much more than the singles released in 2021, “Chaise Longue” and “Wet Dream”. The rest of the record is full of hooks. It feels like the best music from the ’90s but is not a retro record. One of my highlights of the year was seeing them in March at Chicago’s Thalia Hall. It was absolutely thrilling to see a band clearly in its ascendancy yet still figuring things out. I cannot wait to see what Wet Leg does for an encore!
Cate Le Bon – Pompeii. This record contains probably my favorite song of the year, “Remembering Me”. The video to it is incredible. Cate is one of those musicians that I will follow any weird or challenging path she happens to forge.
Elvis Costello & The Imposters – The Boy Named If. I had to check the calendar again. This album came out in January 2022. I am a huge Costello nerd. Huge! This record made me so happy. It is his best since 2004’s The Delivery Man. It is closest to Brutal Youth with respect to the sound of the record. If that does nothing for you, we probably cannot be friends.
The Beths – Expert in a Dying Field. Have The Beths made a bad record yet? Do they even know how to make a bad record? I embrace our new Kiwi rock overlords.
Young Guv – GUV III & GUV IV. I’m cheating by combining both Young Guv records as one record. It is full of jangly goodness. These songs sound even more rocking live. One of the highlights of going to England this summer for me was catching Young Guv in Bristol. Great show!
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Endless Rooms. This Australian band constantly hits my sweet spot.
BOAT – No Plans to Stick the Landing. I’ve been a fan of this Seattle band for a long time since probably 2009’s Setting the Paces. I get the feeling they have the same influences as I do: Guided By Voices, Elliott Smith, Teenage Fanclub, and Pavement.
Spiritualized – Everything Was Beautiful. This is a mild upset. When asked to do lists in the past, Spiritualized normally takes the top spot if they released a record in that year. That to me is weird because I never think to name them as one of my favorite bands. I should rectify that and start name-checking them every chance I get.
Angel Olsen – Big Time. Angel Olsen sounds like a country-leaning Roy Orbison on this record. It is “big” and well worth your “time”. Angel Olsen is another artist I will follow on whatever creative path she takes.
Sloan – Steady. Has Sloan made a bad record yet? Do they even know how to make a bad record? Long live Canada’s answer to The Beatles!
I should have an addendum to the list. I also put out a record with my band, Phil Yates & The Affiliates, called A Thin Thread on Futureman Records. If I was feeling particularly cocky, I would have put it in the Top Ten of 2022. For now, let’s leave it as a nice little footnote for this year.
The year 2022 was great for music books, too. I need to get my hands on Bob Dylan’s latest book. Christmas is coming, so family members reading this, consider that a hint. My favorite book from a musician was Jarvis Cocker’s Good Pop, Bad Pop. It is a great reflection on the memorabilia we collect and what makes some of it keepable and other portions of it more disposable. I could hear Jarvis’ voice whilst reading it.
For those of you wanting to give yourself a bit of a challenge, PJ Harvey’s Orlam should be on your reading list. It is a novel-length poem written in the old Dorset dialect. Don’t worry. There is a glossary of terms at the back of the book.
Thanks for reading! May all of you have a wonderful, music-filled 2023!
Some new music from Tino…
New music from Dayton-based rapper and songwriter Tino is out. This is good news for anyone interested in passionate music that speaks to our souls. Tino’s flow and syncopation are otherworldly. He is able to make a song that speaks to the human spirit and uplift the listener.
Do not miss his new music. And if you are in the Dayton area today you can catch his show tonight at Yellow Cab Tavern as he shares his latest music.
Video of The Day: Baby, Does Your Heart Sink?
A perfect indie rock song. The guitars crunch and the bass bounces yet manages to weave and sway across a solid vocal propelled by driving drums! A song with a catchy chorus that will stay in your head for days. A great song that captures the growing realization that a relationship is already over! This latest song, from Martha — a rock band from Pity Me, a village in County Durham in the North East of England — is from their upcoming new album ‘Please Don’t Take Me Back‘, which comes out on October 28, 2022 from Specialist Subject and Dirtnap records.
“‘Baby, Does Your Heart Sink’ is just your classic break-up song, but one designed to be played at the disco at the end of the world. If there are multiple timelines, worlds, and universes out there, you’ve really got to wonder how things are going in the others, don’t you?”
Album Rewind: The Ghost of Tom Joad
Released in November of 1995, The Ghost of Tom Joad marked a return toward acoustic, folk, and country influences that were part of Bruce Springsteen’s musical DNA.
The Ghost of Tom Joad plays like a dustbowl love letter to some of Bruce Springsteen’s music heroes. A gut punch to those who were expecting more ’80s excess and pop melancholia that permeated Springsteen albums like Born in the USA, The River, Human Touch, and Tunnel of Love. Returning to the Ghost of Tom Joad is like discovering a hidden gem in the mine of musical creativity.
‘Ghost’ remains a vibrant record not for overabundance in production and sound technology but for simplicity all too missing in contemporary music. This album reminds the listener of the moving nature of voice and guitar. A critique of a music superstar economy that Springsteen himself helped maintain. The Ghost of Tom Joad remains what a truly great record should be, a sound out of time not simply a reflection of the time period in which it was made. For all of these reasons and more, Ghost is a record with a unique pull. And while the album received a fair amount of critical praise upon its release, when discussing Springsteen’s music, The Ghost of Tom Joad is far more likely to be overlooked then explored.