Tag Archives: Album

Album Review: Wagons – Rumble, Shake and Tumble

Henry Wagons and I met by chance one day last September.  He was an opening act for Those Darlins that night and I remember the tall Aussie armed with a headband and acoustic guitar impressed me beyond belief.  His set filled up the tavern that night with outlaw folk/country jams making me an instant fan.  After his set I learned that Henry Wagons hailed from Melbourne, Australia, and actually left his band, Wagons, back home as it was too tough to fly everyone to the states.  Even though they were a pretty big deal back home, Henry Wagons took it upon himself to spread their music to the states.  I left that night with a copy of a Wagons CD titled Rise and Fall of Goodtown, a sweet towel and new love for an Australian band.

I tried my hardest to see Wagons play at SXSW in Austin, TX, this past spring, but thanks to a botched flight, I did not get there in time.  Rumor has it, Wagons turned a bunch of heads with a memorable set in which they played new material off a new album.  Needless to say, I was bummed out that I missed my chance to see Wagons and hear some of the upcoming tunes.

Luckily for me and many other fans, Wagons dropped their fourth all new release titled Rumble, Shake and Turn on Thirty Tigers toward the end of the summer.  The album is country, it’s rock, it’s even a little cabaret and sure as hell is full of outlaw tendencies.  When listening to Wagons, you get a sense you have heard the music before not just from your father’s collection, but also from your grandfathers collection you might have been exposed to at a young age.  The band takes generations of music and blends it perfectly into their own style guaranteed to turn some heads.

Opening track “Downlow” is very Tom Petty sounding from the get go with lyrics that almost could emulate Wagons’ very own wit and charm.  “I Blew It”, a quite addicting track to listen to, immediately followed full of outlaw country styles as well as some Elvis-sounding growling within.  The music video as seen below is pretty damn amazing as well.  “Moon Into The Sun” was about as country twang as any track on the album gets with a more sensitive Wagons declaring “my life has been a fucking mess without you.”.  Wagons’ singing on this track easily brought the listener back to the days of Twitty, Williams, Jennings, Haggard, and even a starving young Cash and seemingly did not sound like he was even trying to.

The ever catchy tribute to Willie Nelson,  properly titled “Willie Nelson”, deserved multiple plays on account of how fun it was to listen to.  Comparing Nelson to other greats, I loved how Henry Wagons shifted his accent  (“Willie Nel-sun!”) in a clear comical attempt to mess with the listener yet pay a homage to a country great.  “He likes some salt and pepper with his evening meal” is repeated over and over by Wagons about his favorite musician in the country music business and as much of a tribute the song was, it was just hilarious to listen to.  I would love to know what Nelson’s reaction was about this track.

“Love Is Burning” was an unexpected track on the album that was more rock and roll than anything.  “My Daydreams” was a thoughtful track spanning around romance that easily has the ability to swoon.  Wagons’ had no problem recalling the outlaw greats throughout the track as the band backs him up.  “Save Me” was a simple upbeat tune with easy sing-a-long qualities, more of that country twang and even a little blues thrown in.  “Follow The Leader” moved along with almost a train track rhythm only to jump rail and turn psychedelic for a moment.  i did not know what to think about this song.  It definitely strayed away from the rest.  “Marylou” ended the album and at the very end, Wagons closes out the album with a sigh making me wonder how personal that track really was to Wagons.

Rumble, Shake and Tumble was a great album from start to finish full of American genres with a modest Australian twist.  Wagons and company pull off yet another impressive release that more people need to check out.  Wagons has quite the fan base back home and I am pretty sure before long, we Americans will be picking up on their talent.

Wagons is actually back on a US tour in support of the new release and will be stopping at the Beachland Tavern in Cleveland this Sunday Sept. 11th.  Tickets are only $8 and if you fathom yourself a folk/country/rock fan, you would be doing yourself a favor seeing them live.  Not only is the music good live, but Wagons himself is a pretty candid guy.  Don’t be lame.  Get up there Sunday night.

Album Review: Dan Andriano In The Emergency Room – Hurricane Season

Dan Andriano, also known as the bassist/singer of Alkaline Trio, recently released an impressive solo album called Hurricane Season. Under the moniker Dan Andriano In The Emergency Room, the man took the album into his hands, literally.  He wrote all the songs, played/sang all the music (sans the organ, piano, and a couple of harmony vocals), and even produced it.  It is safe to say that Hurricane Season is indeed a true solo album.  The man even took it upon himself to supply the photos as seen throughout the album and booklet.

Andriano, in case you live under a rock, is one of the impressive three that make up the popular punk rock band Alkaline Trio.  Formerly of Slapstick, he is known these days for his distinguishable signing in many AK3 songs (including “Fine” as heard on AK3’s last full length This Addiction). Andriano has toyed with side projects in the past including a 2002 split as well as been a part of the punk rock supergroup The Falcon.   He writes, he plays, he performs, and this time with help from Asian Man Records, he has given his talent a challenge of sorts and dropped quite the impressive album.

“It’s Gonna Rain All Day” opens the ten track album with Andriano doing what he does best; write heavy, meaningful lyrics.  Such the sorrowful track with piano sneaking in and out of acoustic guitar playing making for one of my favorite tracks on the release.  “Hurricane Season” followed in a more upbeat rock feel with some familiar cries coming from Andriano’s pipes.  “Hollow Sounds” was more of an acoustic jam with many the reference to addicting temptations and comparisons revolving around a heartfelt memory.

“Let Me In” was a busy rock track throughout, impressive when you think that one man put it together by himself.  “On Monday” had a nice country/rock feel to it.  “The Last Day We Ever Close Our Eyes” was the closest thing on the entire album that resembled a heartfelt track.  Then came, “From This Oil Can”, a seemingly happy ending to Hurricane Season that easily was meant to swoon someone in a clever, direct way.  I really enjoyed this closing track a lot.

Hurricane Season was an album full of songs that easily could have been mistaken for AK3 b-sides or acoustic jams, but I know that is not at all what he was looking to do.  Dan Andriano In The Emergency Room was more of a personal sounding voyage with deep tracks most likely that have been trapped in his mind for quite some time.

Andriano does contribute quite a lot to AK3, so it is not surprising that a lot of the tracks on Hurricane Season are dark and lost.  Knowing though that this album is a solo release means that Andriano has offered so much more to it over the the typical 1/3 he probably does in AK3 as the two other members help make AK3 what they are too.  The result is a personal tribute to himself.  If anything, an amazing musician who probably just wanted to play some songs all by himself for others to listen to did just that.  I just hope he takes this solo project on the road, only time will tell. See tour dates below.  No Cleveland show, but who knows, maybe next time!

Fall Tour Dates:
Sept. 9th – Gainesville, FL at The Double Down
Sept. 10th – Naples, FL at Flieschmann Park
Sept. 11th – Ybor City, FL at Crowbar
Sept. 13th – Charlotte, NC at The Evening Muse
Sept. 14th – Chapel Hill, NC at Local 506
Sept. 15th – West Columbia, SC at New Brookland Tavern
Sept. 16th – St. Augustine, FL at Cafe 11
Sept. 24th – Chicago, IL at The Bottom Lounge

Ten Things Mike Doughty Would Like You To Know About His New Album

Mike Doughty has a new album coming out on August 30th called Yes And Also Yes.  The man, known for his lead in the now defunct Soul Coughing, continues his quest to entertain the masses one clever song after another.

There is still some time before the album drops, but Doughty wants everyone to know some things about his album.  Ten things to be exact:


# 1 “The title, YES AND ALSO YES was the headline of my profile on an online dating site. I improvised it off the top of my head, because they wouldn’t let me post until I wrote a headline. I was unsuccessful at online dating”

# 2 “The first single, “NA NA NOTHING”, was partially stolen from a song written by Nikki Sixx, Dan Wilson (wrote “Closing Time”), and Matt Gerrard (wrote a bunch of tunes in “High School Musical.”) (I got their permission to steal it)”

# 3 “Holiday,” a Christmas song, is a duet with Rosanne Cash. I did a show with her, and she said, onstage, “I feel nervous playing my new songs, because Mike Doughty is here, and he’s such a great songwriter.” That BLEW MY MIND.

# 4 “The song “Into the Un” was written for, and rejected by the Twilight soundtrack. (It’s about goth kids on LSD in a train station)”

# 5 “I recorded it in a studio in Koreatown, Manhattan, from July ’10 to April ’11. Pat Dillett produced. Notable musicians included my trusty factotum Andrew “Scrap” Livingston on bass, and the pianist Thomas Bartlett, aka Doveman, who basically plays with everybody who’s groovy (Justin Bond, Antony and the Johnsons, Glen Hansard, the National, David Byrne, Yoko Ono). I’m releasing it on my own label, SNACK BAR, through Megaforce. I split with Dave Matthews’ label ATO so I could run my own shop and have more control, business-wise.”

# 6 “I wrote most of the songs at the legendary artists’ colony Yaddo, where Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, James Baldwin, Truman Capote, Flannery O’Connor, Carson McCullers, Sylvia Plath, and a lot of other all-time giants worked. It was founded by a railroad tycoon’s wife, in her mansion, built in the 1890s. They put up artists for a month or two, feed them in an opulent dining room, and give them space and time to work.”

# 7 “I used a capsule of the antidepressant duloxetine as a percussion instrument on some tracks. I held the tiny pill between my thumb and forefinger, put it close to the mic and shook it so it made a shcka-shcka-shcka! sound.”

# 8 “I wrote a book about my ugly, drug-doing years called THE BOOK OF DRUGS. It’s coming out in 2012 on Da Capo/Perseus.”

# 9 “The song “Makelloser Mann” is in German”

# 10 “I play a Chinese lute (called a zhong ruan) on the song “Telegenic Exes #1”

# 10.5 “…in the liner notes, I say I exclusively wear Paul Smith suits and Sol Moscot eyeglasses, and eat only gummi bears made by Haribo. I did this because I hope they’ll send me free stuff…”

I have yet to hear anything off his new release (and am very curious to hear the duet with Cash), but if it is any thing like his previous releases, I know it is going to rule.

Look for Doughty to be touring this fall in support of his new release.  He is even making a stop in Cleveland.  Nov. 13th at the Beachland Ballroom.  Get your tickets now!

Album Review: Fact To Face – Laugh Now, Laugh Later

I am seriously in an old school punk rock overload as of late these days and could not be happier. It seems as if all these bands I used to adore as a kid are coming out of the woodwork and are releasing albums as well as touring in support of them.  In the last week alone I have seen live performances by some amazing bands from the 80s and 90s including Bad Religion and Strung Out. There is one band though that I was most excited for, a band that I was more or less obsessed with in my high school years.

Seeing Face To Face live completely blew me away.  I saw them last summer at the Warped Tour and they sounded great, but their set was so short it was almost depressing.  For more on the show check out the review I posted last week.

Let’s talk about Face To Face…

Trever Keith and company may have stated that Face To Face was done back in 2004 due to indifferences, but just four years later the band decided to regroup but had no plans on releasing new material.  Featuring Keith (the only original member), Chad Yaro, Scott Schiflett, and Danny Thompson, the California punk rock act is back in the scene.  Not only have they been hitting the roads, but they have also decided to drop an all new album titled Laugh Now, Laugh Later on Antagonist Records. This is the band’s first album release in almost eight years.

“Should Anything Go Wrong” opened the album off strong and almost sounded as if the band never took a break.  With a catchy chorus and fierce guitar playing, the song reminded me why I have loved this band for so long.  “It’s All About You” follow and was a little less intense, but Keith’s lyrics just made the song as well as the fun guitars throughout, especially midway through.  Just two songs in on the album and I was already impressed.

“The Invisible Hand” was an instant classic to my ears.  With lyrics of trying to grasp on to what you can not have, the track immediately was lodged in my mind.  Although I liked the bass lines in “Bombs Away”, I felt the song was a little too Ignorance Is Bliss for me and I just could not get into it.  “Blood In The Water” was a good track though and begged for another listen as was “What You Came For”.  “I Don’t Mind And You Don’t Matter” really could have been left off the album as it just did not fit in with the rest.

“Stopgap” was a nice harsh track with Keith repeating  “you got something you want to say to me / so what’s your story better get it straight / don’t waste my time with your apologies” throughout carried by some great guitar work and drumming.  In a more positive feel, “All For Nothing” was a decent love song that had a couple Social D-sounding notes thrown about.

“Pushover” tried hard to hang on to the old school Face To Face sound.  While the track sounded great, I felt the bass riffs could have been faster and heavier.  They seemed to hide behind a lot of the track on the album, especially this one.  The track was also incredibly short and just dropped off leaving “Under The Wreckage” to close things up on the album.

interviewed Keith a few years back and remember him saying that they missed playing shows and he had no intentions on recording new material.  It did not sound like he was that excited to create a new album as much as he was with playing older material, but I am pretty sure the tables have turned.  Laugh Now, Laugh Later may not be the best thing I have heard come from Face To Face, but there are a couple gems in there.  I am just more thrilled the band is back and doing their thing.

As previously mentioned, I saw them live about a week ago and they killed it on stage.  Throughout their set their played three of the new tracks and, to me, they fit in just fine with all of the classics they created years ago.  The one thing though that impressed me the most though was how happy Keith and crew were on stage.  They were having a good time doing what they love best and as a fan, I could not ask for anything more.

Album Review: Thursday – No Devolución

I remember the first time I heard the one time post-hardcore/screamo outfit Thursday.  They were of a genre of music I swore I would never get into, but there was something about them I really was attracted to.  Over the years I have watched them mature into phenomenal musicians and it’s no surprise that they decided to try something differently on their sixth studio release.

No Devolución is perhaps the band’s most involved album to date.  It is not like any of their previous material and at times and really feels like a well put together work of genius.  Geoff Rickly still does wonders with his signing ability while the rest of the band seems to have really mellowed out this round.  This is the bands second release under Epitaph Records.

“Fast To The End”, a catchy rock jam, opened up the album.  Rickly and crew seemed to keep to that known Thursday sound intact with some screaming thrown in around.   

“No Answers” without a doubt was my choice track thanks to the catchy synths that easily could be compared to MGMT.  The song flowed so well throughout with very poignant lyrics talking of relations with Rickly singing “No answers, no answers when you’re around” at the end of the track.  Sad track, but beyond amazing to listen to.

The piano playing throughout “Sparks Against The Sun” made for a nice, gentle feel throughout.  The song itself was easy on the ears with the synths and distorted bass lines backing calm singing. 

“Open Quotes” on the other hand had a more aggressive approach.  Hinting back at some of older Thursday material, the track had a couple shouts and screams and a little added distorted guitar playing, but overall really could have been a tougher track.  It just seemed to dissolve by the end.

Starting slow was “Past And Future Ruins”, a killer track with heavy Muse matching guitar riffs as well as xylophone both over a steady floor tom beat.  Rickly had no problem showcasing his vocal ability throughout and even tosses it in a distorted mess a couple of times giving for a very loathing tone.

“Empty Glass” was a sad, sad song.  Although beautifully put together, the track was gloomy as hell and easily could bring the happiest person down to a whimpering lull.  The electronic driven music along the pitch-shifting singing was haunting yet almost comforting to listen to.

“A Gun In The First Act” was a darker sounding track with very NIN simular synthesizers in the background.  The more I listened to it, the more I heard NIN’s version of “Dead Souls” originally performed by Joy Division in it.  Overall the track was amazing and was one of my favorite cuts off the album.

“Turnpike Divides” brought the energy back with a old school Thursday feel to it.  The track is a no-place-like-home tribute to good ol’ New Jersey.  I loved the Bruce Springsteen reference, “it’s hard to sleep when you’re born to run.”  This was another song I enjoyed a lot and just stood out over all the other tracks.

Putting an end to the masterpiece called No Devolución was “Stay True”, a motivational track aimed at just about anyone who wants to give it a listen.  The Rollins-esque lyrics were quite stern yet compelling to follow along to.  Aimed at a novice in life, this song has the ability to shed guidance on those who are looking for answers.  Sometimes all it takes is a song for someone to guide them in the right direction.

No Devolución has made me a bigger Thursday fan.  Over the years, my music taste tends to change and I find myself getting discouraged sometimes are bands who never challenge themselves.  Sometimes the outcome is a disaster, but I have to hand it to Thursday, they put together an outstanding release without forgetting who they once were, and still are.

Thursday will be coming back to Cleveland on 7/23 during their tour with Taking Back Sunday at the House Of Blues.  Tickets are $27.50 and are on sale now.