Nick Panken “Consequential Breach” (Independent, 2018)

Nick Panken hit these shores supporting Ian Felice on his recent jaunt through the UK and proved compelling as a lone troubadour with a simple rig featuring guitar, vocal and occasional harmonica – and this release follows that template. Available only on cassette (with download code) or via Bandcamp this guy is either wilful or commercially naive – or possibly both! However, that doesn’t detract from the stark beauty of this release. Continue reading “Nick Panken “Consequential Breach” (Independent, 2018)”

J.Mascis “ElasticDays” (Sub Pop, 2018)

J.Mascis is a familiar figure from the Alt-Rock scene of the 90s and noughties who latterly has started to produce a body of solo work that stands up very nicely against his more ragged glory of Dinosaur Jr. ‘Elastic Days’ raises the bar once again as the singer-songwriter comes to the fore. Opening with the bright and shiny ‘See You At The Movies’ the template is set – breezy arresting rhythms and Mascis’s affecting vocals – all melancholy and sanguine emotion combined with a beautiful high register guitar solo that bursts through the production – almost a second voice. Continue reading “J.Mascis “ElasticDays” (Sub Pop, 2018)”

Reverend Horton Heat “Whole New Life” (Victory Records 2018)

The good Reverend has been ploughing the furrow marked “furious rockabilly based rock ‘n’ roll” for decades now, and while this new offering is no game changer, it does carry the listener through its generous track listing on a glorious wave of exuberant, tightly constructed, wonderfully performed songs. Opening with the title track ‘Whole New Life’ the template is clear. This album is going to be a blast and despite the stylistic conventions being applied, each track is clearly defined and independent. ‘Hate to Cry’  drops the pace but not the intensity; similarly, ‘Don’t Let Go of Me,’ where the reverb is turned up on guitar and vocals to create a moody, desperate love song.  Continue reading “Reverend Horton Heat “Whole New Life” (Victory Records 2018)”

Martin Stephenson and the Daintees “Gladsome, Humour & Blue 30” (Barbaraville Records 2018)

Revisiting old glories is a tricky business. We all know of tracks re-recorded that fail to match treasured originals or albums where a revisitation of a classic is the loss leader for some rum stuff, so it was with a mixture of apprehension and intrigue that this reviewer picked up the copy of the Martin Stephenson and the Daintees ‘Gladsome, Humour and Blue’. Continue reading “Martin Stephenson and the Daintees “Gladsome, Humour & Blue 30” (Barbaraville Records 2018)”

Adam’s House Cat “Town Burned Down” (ATO Records 2018)

‘Any ful kno’ that the Drive by Truckers were founded in 1996 by Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley but 9 years before that came Adam’s House Cat, founded in a dank basement in Florence, Alabama. The band toured hard for 3 years playing original tunes in a region where covers bands ruled the bars. This album was recorded at Muscle Shoals studios in 1990/1 but was lost in the wake of the band’s demise, tornados and the studio being sold. Continue reading “Adam’s House Cat “Town Burned Down” (ATO Records 2018)”

Glorietta “Glorietta” (Nine Mile Records, 2018)

There is more than a hint of The Golden Smog about the debut album from Glorietta. This is a collection of diverse songs recorded over a week in a ‘ramshackle rental’ outside Santa Fe. Gathered together by Matthew Logan Vasquez ( Delta Spirit, Middle Brother), a disparate band of musicians have created an immediate and in places affecting piece of work. Continue reading “Glorietta “Glorietta” (Nine Mile Records, 2018)”

Eoin Glackin “Fires Of Innocence” (Independent 2018)

Dublin born and raised Eoin Glackin has delivered an album of brash charm which zips along at a fair old pace, full of earworms and some lovely melodies. Opening with the guitar driven ‘High King Falls’ followed by the Hothouse Flowersy ‘Where While You Can,’ all shouted vocals and fiddle harmonies. ‘Barabbas Walks Free’ appears to alter the template with its delicate picked guitar but soon succumbs to a driving rhythm, hollered vocals and there’s that fiddle again along with a short and sweet guitar solo.  Continue reading “Eoin Glackin “Fires Of Innocence” (Independent 2018)”

Zack Logan “Raised by Wolves” (Independent, 2018)

Zack Logan comes from a long tradition of American singer songwriters mining a seam of blue collar, working man’s hopes and dreams. Opening with the subtle finger-picked delight ‘Annalee’ with its gorgeous string backing is reminiscent of early John Prine or perhaps a less care worn Kristofferson. So this is good stuff. It is in many ways a simple album, effective narratives driven by simple guitar lines and fiddle accompaniment, lyrically straightforward but affecting with some gorgeous warm production and a voice built for weaving acoustic stories. Continue reading “Zack Logan “Raised by Wolves” (Independent, 2018)”

Nathan Bell “Loves Bone and Stars, Love’s Bone and Stars” / “Er Gwaetha Pawb a Phopeth” (Angry Stick Recording Company 2018)

Nathan Bell is a working man who now more often than not makes albums. This is the fourth album of the ‘Family Man’ series and is a series of reflective acoustic ruminations on a life being lived and the many strands of society that ebb and flow through that life. Literally the ties that bind and the sense of continuous wonder at a life that seems impossibly ordinary but at the same time utterly extraordinary. Continue reading “Nathan Bell “Loves Bone and Stars, Love’s Bone and Stars” / “Er Gwaetha Pawb a Phopeth” (Angry Stick Recording Company 2018)”

Cordovas “That Santa Fe Channel” (ATO Records 2018)

This is a great album, right off the bat all the boxes are ticked and squared away. Delicate triple harmonies, whoozy swooning choruses, deft instrumentation and just enough rootsy grit to keep the listener and the artist honest. Think Dawes, Dead and Jayhawks with a Nashville twang and a dash of the Laurel Canyon vibe filtered through a gauze made by a young Jackson Brown. Really…. I mean really?  Well yes, dear reader, these songs have got legs and may just sneak up on you when you’re not intending to listen. Plenty of the old earworms here.  Continue reading “Cordovas “That Santa Fe Channel” (ATO Records 2018)”