ALBUMS OF THE MONTH:
Album opener and title track “Inspiration” starts things out on a positive note, both musically and lyrically. “Let me be your inspiration,” sings Aaron Beavers alongside some mighty fine harmony vocals from the band.
“Hometown Judgment Day” is a great tale of getting fed up with gossip with one approach for dealing with it. “It seems like everyone turns to look my way, another hometown judgment day,” laments Beavers, “when the rumors start to get around, you know I got to roam.” The song has a bit of a Jackson Browne vibe a la “Running On Empty,” albeit with gloriously roughed-up edges.
Things really start cooking with “Apartment #9 Blues.” The song starts off with a restrained guitar accompanied by a cymbal-led beat but you know what’s coming. Bassist Mike Therieau’s smoldering vocals set the stage for guitars to kick the song into Stones-y overdrive. This is a song meant to be played loud.
Regular Twangville readers know of my penchant for kiss-off songs. A tip of the hat to Shurman for providing another for the collection with “Leaving Song.” “I’m sick and tired of your carrying on, I’ve had enough of your shit, you need a leaving song baby, leave right now,” they sing as the guitars wail.
If you’re in the mood for some classic rock, this will hit the spot.
Audio Download: Shurman, “Inspiration”
Morning Light, Jones Street Station (from the self-released ep The Understanding)
I sometimes chuckle when I recall this band’s early days as bluegrass artists. Don’t get me wrong, they did, and undoubtedly still do, play it well. It is just that there music has evolved to take on an amazing pop sophistication. They keep some of the bluegrass elements, like spectacular harmonies and a subtle banjo, but the rest is pure pop perfection.
Audio Download: Jones Street Station, “Morning Light”
Reinvent the Wheel, Highway Ghosts (from the self-released Beyond All Help)
There’s so much to like about the Highway Ghosts. From the jangly guitars to shining harmonies, there is an earnestness to their music that is downright endearing. They even make songs about the trials and tribulations of relationships charmingly infectious. “Sometimes loving you is like trying to re-invent the wheel, it shouldn’t be so hard, baby that’s how it feels.”
Audio Download: Highway Ghosts, “Reinvent the Wheel”
Radio, the Rationales
This Boston quintet caught our attention last year with a stellar power pop release. They follow it up with this catchy new single built around furious guitars and a driving beat. Keep it comin’, boys, keep it comin’!
Audio Download: The Rationales, “Radio”
Against the River, Dead Fingers (from the Fat Possum Records release Dead Fingers)
There are some songs that just radiate fun. This is one of ‘em. The duo of Kate Taylor and Taylor Hollingsworth take a simple classic rock riff and pump it up with horns and a boogie-woogie piano. “Everywhere I go, I’m yelling ‘no, I go against the flow of the river’,” they declare with a Alabama roadhouse flair.
Audio Download: Dead Fingers, “Against the River”
Oh I See, Adam Arcuragi (from the Thirty Tigers release Like A Fire That Consumes All Before It…)
Singer-songwriter Arcuragi refers to his music as “death gospel.” While one may debate the significance of the genre, it is hard to dispute the power of Arcuragi’s music. His songs command a listener’s attention. This track is a great example, driven by a percussive beat and Arcuragi’s impassioned vocals.
Audio Download: Adam Arcuragi, “Oh I See”
Temple Beautiful, Chuck Prophet (from the Yep Roc release Temple Beautiful)
Prophet pays tribute to his hometown of San Francisco. The hand-clap beat and the shouted chorus give the song a vibrant feel reflective of the city it honors.
Audio Stream: Chuck Prophet, “Temple Beautiful”
First Day on the Job, Hobart Brothers and Lil’Sis Hobart (from the Freedom Records release At Least We Have Each Other)
You gotta love the story behind this release. Three singer-songwriters gathered in a backyard one afternoon to write songs about their early days working in restaurants. Jon Dee Graham, Freedy Johnston and Susan Cowsill take the songs seriously while letting the fun shine through.
Audio Download: The Hobart Brothers and Lil’ Sis Hobart, “First Day on the Job”
About the author: Mild-mannered corporate executive by day, excitable Twangville denizen by night.