Few and far between are the times you stumble across one of those rarefied acts that really grabs you by the shirt and reminds you of what live music is supposed to be all about. It's the electrified feeling of being plugged in. There's a sense of being enveloped in the energy, the pulse and the smell no recording can capture. Such as it is with Royal Son of a Guns. The Chicago three piece overdose of atmosphere leaves you feeling like you just walked into some forgotten Tarantino movie. The sound is raw and dirty with a depraved surrealism like you'd imagine a Johnny Cash and Alice Cooper collaboration to sound like. The set up is stark with Presley-esque vocals, raggedy guitar, bass and an amped up electric washboard that has a boom and crack to it that puts your run of the mill trap kit drummers to shame. Much as I liked Royal Son of a Guns disc, "That Racket", I have to say it's the bare knuckle grit of the live performance of these songs that got under my skin. That's as it should be. Something's wrong if you can't communicate better face to face than you can on wax.
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Here's something you might dig. Hangdog Hearts. This guy is a one man band who plays his own songs mainly out of a country blues bag with a hint of gospel. That's the live set up anyway. The CD features upright bass, drums, trumpet and cello with mastermind of the project Austin Stirling on vocals, guitar and banjo. Much as I enjoyed the variety of textures offered up by the accompanists, it's the intensity of the one man bad set up I prefer. Austin's footwork on the percussion is truly impressive. Bottom line, it's the songs that carry this thing. Really good songs. The subtitle of the album is "Good ol' fashioned gentleman's music". But that description gives the impression of stuffy old men and that is not the case at all. To my ear there's this sort of rugged foreboding feel to these songs that's not all that gentlemanly. but what do I know? Never been much of a gentleman.
Friday, February 1, 2013
I don't plan on spending a whole lot of time doing this but from time to time I've got a thing or two to get off my chest. That's what I aim to do here. Most importantly I want to write about music that isn't talked about near enough elsewhere. Strictly speaking, American roots music. Rock and roll, country and blues. I'll stick with what I like. That'll be easier since I hate almost everything. Writing about what I don't like would be a full time job.