Billy Hector ROCK NIGHT in JERSEY

Billy Hector
Rock Night in Jersey
Ghetto Surf Music

Bodacious Blues Rock That Errs on The Side of R.O.C.K …. But is Only a 5 or 6 on The Richter Scale!

I first uncovered Billy Hector two albums ago with his OLD SCHOOL THANG release in 2015; and if pulling them out of the cupboard for accompaniment on long car drives makes me a fan; then …. I’m a fan!
Two things I need to tell you before I go any further; a) Billy used to be Hubert Sumlin’s tour guitarist and b) While this is Blues Rock music that errs on the side of R.O.C.K …. it’s only a 5 or 6 on the Richter Scale; which is all I can cope with these days.
The magnificent I Know How To Party gets the show on the metaphorical road; with Billy and cohorts showing the kids how to ‘do it’ both in deed and music.
This is followed by the slow burning She Don’t Love Him Anymore, which leads into some glorious slide-work from the Maestro that will live in the memory long after the album has been replaced by his next release.
There’s a ‘slick cool’ to many of the songs here; and I’m pleased to tell you that the songs themselves take precedence; and the intricate and even revolutionary at times; fretwork and super-pro backing, take a secondary position; regardless of how good it is …. and it’s Damn Good BTW.
Too many ‘famous’ guitarists these days concentrate on guitar fireworks; forgetting that the words in their songs are just as; if not more important than their technical showing off …. which certainly isn’t the case with Billy’s writing on and in Doctor, Doctor and the funkalicious Lazy Man which has a groove so good, Mrs Magpie looked on in disbelief as I boogied around the kitchen to it one night!
There also two covers here too; and while I didn’t recognise either, the choices really are exemplary; Hector does to Leadbelly’s Poor Howard what the Cream did to Crossroads 50 years ago; and the other is actually one of my favourite songs here; France Chance which features some genuinely sizzling guitar work and industrial style powerhouse backing from Sim Cain and Wilbo Wright was actually written by Mississippi Joe Callicott in 1967 on a long forgotten album of his own, that sounds nothing at all like this. I have no idea how a musician can hear Folk Songs like these; and then turn the words and melody into pumping Rockers ….. it’s witchcraft methinks!
Speaking of Favourite Tracks here, I’ve eventually narrowed it down to three (not including France Chance); with the horn section turned up to 8; the slinky Tell Me What You Want has a big band feel to it, with hints of both BB and Freddie King in there too; then there’s the feisty Ms Martha where Billy not just growls his vocals but makes his Strat growl too!
Which only leaves the actual winner; Rockstar Betty, which I fell in love with the first time I played it. More laid back than most songs here; but the bodacious story and supercool refrain; made it an obvious choice, even though the others ran a very close race.
I hear quite a few albums ‘like this’ every year, but there’s ‘something special’ about Billy Hector’s way with words and geetar playing that appeals to me over many more ‘famous names’ on the circuit these days ….. and I can only hope against hope that he visits NE UK sometime soon …. as the audience is ready and waiting.

Released April 2022
https://billyhector.com/

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Drive-By Truckers WELCOME TO CLUB XIII

Drive-By Truckers
Welcome to Club XIII
ATO Records

After 25 Years They Still Have the Ability To Surprise and Please

Another Drive-By Truckers album?
Their third in less than two years? ….. guess someone used lockdown fruitfully.
YIKES!
Opening track The Driver, is so unlike anything I’ve heard from the band ever before ….. angry, grungy, claustrophobic and edgy beyond belief that I had to double check that I was playing the right CD.
That said, it’s powerful and altogether ‘different’ in an excellent manner; although when I played it on my radio show …. I hadn’t realised that there was an F-Bomb quite early on!
The grungy guitars and diesel powered bass lines continue through second track Maria’s Awful Disclosure; so much so I even imagined the guys standing with their heads bowed down as they play their instruments as if they are a tip-top Nirvana tribute act!
Things move back into normal Drive-By Truckers land on the gorgeous, wordy and waltz time Shake & Pine which in lesser hands could easily become a guitar fest; but here the guys show amazing restraint while Patterson Hood shows us how to deliver a modern Alt. Country Classic.
The title track Welcome to Club XIII takes us back in time to when we/they used to go clubbing at the weekend; although this particular one sounds way more fun than The Oasis or Jimmy’z that I used to frequent.
As the songs come and go, they reel you in like a big ole catfish; and after 12 previous albums over the last 25+ years, the Truckers still have the ability to surprise you; none more so than Billy Ringo in The Dark, which deals with depression with incredible sensitivity; yet still managing to be a classy Rock song that will live in our memories for decades to come.
Reviewing albums can regularly take the fun out of listening to music; but the first couple of times I played WELCOME TO CLUB XIII I kept forgetting to scribble notes as I quickly became immersed in the music; which might explain nothing being noted against Forged In Hell and Heaven Sent, which is quite fabulous from start to finish ….. and back again.
The album closes with Wilder Days, which is actually the polar opposite of its title as it’s a ballad of exceptional proportions as the singer mournfully looks back on his Wilder Days,through misty eyes that are slightly foggy with age.
For an actual Favourite Song I’m torn between the slow and sultry We Will Never Wake You Up in the Morning, with its mysterious backbeat underneath another dark tale of ‘losing hope’ but is nonetheless very, very listenable over long periods.
The other, Every Single Storied Flameout is a veritable foot to the floor Rocker in the vein of Tonight’s The Night era Neil Young; plenty of grungy and squalling guitar juxtaposed against a brass section in full flow; which occasionally takes your mind off the fascinating story; another tale of ‘looking back – to look forward’ and played at 11 in the car on a Summers evening makes for quite the soundtrack.
Hence this is very much my Favourite Song here.
I think it fantastic that after a quarter of a century together, Drive-By Truckers still have the capacity to fascinate and please their fan base in equal measure … as they do here.

Released June 3rd 2022
https://www.drivebytruckers.com/

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Eliza Neals BADDER TO THE BONE

Eliza Neals
Badder To The Bone
E-H Records

A Challenging Move On Through the Dark Shadows of The Blues That Hits All The Right Spots

There’s an element of guilt attached to this review; as Eliza promoted its release a couple of days ago; for me to make a sarcastic response as I hadn’t received a copy …. to whit she DM’d me immediately stating she’d posted a CD several weeks previously!
Any hoot; a download arrived within the hour so all’s well, that ends well ….. even if was being a bit huffy.
Was my wait worth it?
Hell yes!
Taking a massive leap forward from the BLACK CROW MOAN album, Eliza spreads her talents far and wide; even challenging herself at times across the Blues gamut here; starting with the Diddleyesque United We Stand; which has the hallmarks of a rocking good ‘protest song’ the likes of which most rockers shy away from; but Ms. Neals always wears her heart on her sleeve and damn the consequences.
This is immediately followed by some low down and bittersweet Soulful Blues with the heartwrenching ballad Queen of the Night; which features the subtle touches of Lance Lopez on geetar and Lynard Skynyrd’s Peter Keys on actual ‘keys’ making for an intense love song that comes in just shy of 7 minutes long; but has your attention for every single second.
There’s plenty of power chords and riffs a’plenty throughout; made all the better by Eliza and her co-writer’s strong storytelling; most astutely on King Kong, the Rustic Rocker that is Fuelling Me Up and the emotionally charged and slowed down retake of Queen of The Nile II, which closes the album and like the best gigs; leaves you wanting ‘more… more …. more!’
In between there are some really adventurous moves from Eliza; Lockdown Love is as sexy as it’s sleazy with the lady switching between purrs and growls like a she-cat on heat; leaving the male of the species listening sweating and a little bit scared!
Heathen takes us on yet another left of centre journey as Ms Neals taps into her S.O.U.L on Heathen which finds her hitting notes I had no idea were in her range; but when she hits them; they know they’ve been hit!
As usual I hadn’t read the Press Release or even the tracklisting when I first played this album; so it was probably a minute or so into it that I recognised Can’t Find My Way Home; the Blind Faith missive which has been a personal favourite for 50 years now ….. and while she plays around with the melody and tempo; plus the addition of Lance Lopez’s trademarked dirty geetar licks; makes for a really special version that will impress fans old and new.
This a Blues album; so it’s no surprise to find at least one ‘cheating’ song on it; and here the toe-tapping Hammond melody and guitar riffs camouflage the fear her man should have from ‘this woman done wronged‘ Got a Gun …… which had me going “Oh! Yikes!” the first time I heard the chorus.
For my selection of Favourite Track I initially made a notation next to Fueling Me Up, as it;s a great song with some mighty powerful musicianship all around that keeps you tuned in so as not to miss a note or syllable; but in the last 48 hours I’ve been drawn to the ‘Power Ballad’ Bucket of Tears ….. for no particularly personal reason; just that it’s a ‘grower’ that took my unawares maybe four plays of the album in ….. which impressed me a lot.
Even though her voice is as distinctive as ever; making this a recognisable Eliza Neals album and pleased to tell you it’s a thrilling move on from her last two albums; and hints at some fantastic gigs in the near future.

Released 23rd April 2022
http://elizaneals.com/

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Dana Fuchs BORROWED TIME

Dana Fuchs
Borrowed Time
Ruf Records

Got ‘Em Brand New Southern Kozmic Blues

Because she’s been around the Blues scene for 20 years or so; I kind of think of Dana Fuchs as ‘Godmother’ of the female Blues scene.
OK, I shouldn’t seperate the ladies from the gentlemen these days; but I can’t help myself …. sorry.
Then again; because she’s trod such a varied path with her albums over the years; perhaps I should be comparing and contrasting with the males members of the species?
Or I could just tell you about the fabulous music contained within this; her 10th full length album.
Normally less dependent on the electric guitar than her contemporaries; Dana kick starts BORROWED TIME with the raunchy Double Down on Wrong; which is full of fizzy electric guitar ….. just to prove my memory wrong! Though the production always keeps her distinctive throaty vocals to the front of the mix …. which is how it should be.
Not for the first time; Dana takes us on an emotional rollercoaster; using electric guitars on the uptempo Blues Rockers that will shake your soul; like the funky-ass Star and the full-on righteous Last To Know ; which owes a nod to the guitar playing of the late Johnny Winter if I’m not wrong; although the song is deeply personal to Ms. Fuchs herself.
Speaking of ‘personal’ Dana delves really deep into her imagination for the slower and more emotional Blue Mist Road and Nothing You Own; which was ‘inspired by a report about impoverished South Africans in a Cape Town Slum‘ and will bring a tear to a glass eye.
Long term fans of hers; and there are plenty, will love the new direction Dana’s writing takes with Curtain Close and Not Another Second, which sort of dabble into the Southern Rock territory I associate with Molly Hatchet and even Black Oak Arkansas if my aged memory doesn’t deceive me.
When I first received the album I ‘presumed’ it was going to be a ‘pedal to the metal’ full on ‘rocker’ ….. but Dana really shows her class by following the beautifully gentle Call Me Name, which again shows the diversity in Ms Fuch’s writing for this album; as this tale of two women riding out the Liberian War in a refugee camp, becomes a universal story about love and companionship with the intensely feisty Save Me which is going to be a sure fire winner when played live.
I’ve been torn between another Southern Rocker Hard Road and the heartfelt Country Blues of Lonely Lie for my actual Favourite Song; not least because of the harmonica intro and occasional haunting salvos on said instrument as Dana channels both, her inner John Prine AND Bonnie Raitt…. which is why it gets my casting vote.
I’m no expert regarding Dana Fuchs’ career so I’m not sure where her fan base will place this in her Top 10 releases; but I will be surprised if history will show it’s in the Top 3 ….. and for me; as the proud owner of only two other of her releases, it’s my Favourite as there’s more than enough to keep me coming back time and time again.

Released April 29th 2022
https://www.danafuchs.com/

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The Warmbabies LET’S LIVE UNDERGROUND

The Warmbabies
Let’s Live Underground
Kool Kat Musik

Dust Down The Vespa, Break Out The Raybans …. Summer’s Here!

Who’d have thought a 60’s British Invasion inspired French Pop album could thrill and surprise me so much?
Certainly not me – that’s for sure! In fact knowing all that very nearly put me off playing said CD …. but I weakened yesterday afternoon just as the sun came out ….. and KERPOW! I was under the Warmbabies spell even before opener It’s Not Her had ended ….. jangly guitars, militaristic beat from the drummer and liquid lines from a slick bass player behind an angsty yet bewitching vocal; then throw in a hook that would catch a marlin and a chorus that’s simply crying out to be sung at full throttle when played live ….. what’s not to like.
It’s a given that the jangly guitars are at the forefront of every song here; as are the hooks and melodies which will make you want to dance like no one’s watching.
I’m knocking on a bit now; so can remember The Beatles circa 1965/66 and the actual British Invasion of America in the 60’s; and subsequently every 10 or 15 years later there’s been a Mod revival somewhere across the globe resurrecting those very sounds; and if these songs are anything to go by; At The Kiss and Fly, You Should Never Have Crossed My Mind and especially Hey Little Child will all be at the forefront of Scooter Rally discos all across Europe this Summer.
Thankfully, not everything is 60mph poptastic; just like the forefathers of these sounds; The Beatles, the Warmbabies are more than capable of dropping in a harmony drenched ballad when the mood takes them; and I defy you not to sigh or swoon when you hear the Merseybeats/Searchers influenced Let’s Live Underground and/or I Can’t Find a Reason; which will bring out the lovelorn teenager in all of us.
Apparently The Warmbabies are something of a French Supergroup who don’t really intend going out on the road; which is a shame …. even if it was just the Festival Circuit because songs like I Am Like Everybody Else and Hey Little Girl are perfect for sweaty clubs or claustrophobic and crowded tents!
At the very least I hope there are a series of 60’s inspired videos to accompany Lucille and the psychedelic flower power fired When You Walk Into My Room too.
While this is most certainly a ‘fun’ album, be under no illusions that these guys are fundamentally excellent musicians at heart; who make this all sound ever so easy ….. it’s not!
Hmmmm ….. where to go for an actual Favourite Song?
The chunky Girls Don’t Like It, which sounds like it could be a Flamin’ Groovies B-Side is an obvious contender; as is I Should Have Killed That Love, which will touch the hearts of teenage Mods and Modettes as well as their parents and Grandparents reel from their own fractured relationships too.
But; and I promise you this isn’t a lazy choice but Last Days of Summer is the obvious winner …… as it’s crisp and crunchy as anything I remember on the first Secret Affair LP and absolutely perfect for cranking up to 10 on the car radio ….. I bloody love it!
Whichever generation of Beat Music fan you belong to; you will love this album as much as I do ….. trust me; I know stuff!

Released April 15th 2022
https://www.facebook.com/Warmbabies-196269457139348/

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Edgar Winter BROTHER JOHNNY

Edgar Winter
Brother Johnny
Quarto Valley Records

A Fitting tribute From The Stars To Not Just One of the Blues Greatest Sons …. but Rock & Roll’s too.

Johnny Winter?
Wow …… Hero ….. Legend …sigh.
I presumed it must have been the Old Grey Whistle Test when I first saw Johnny Winter; but checking it out on YouTube, it must have been earlier; probably ’71 or 2, as I immediately went out to buy the Johnny Winter And Live album the next day; as I distinctly remember having my mind totally blown by this skinny white guy, with long blonde hair wearing knee high silver boots and sporting a red cape while playing a Gibson Flying V ….. which was the talk of the school yard!
My other memory from that time was having his poster on my bedroom wall (alongside Melanie Safka).
Years later when I was writing for a local newspaper I actually got to interview him, to promote a gig at Gateshead Sage ….. which was sadly; poorly attended ….. but those of us who were there still felt like disciples worshiping at the feet of the great man.
So; onto the music …… culled together by Brother Edgar and including a host of household name Blues musicians who ‘all had to be involved.’
The album opens with a fire and brimstone rendition of Mean Town Blues; starring Joe Bonamassa who appears to have rubbed his larynx down with sandpaper and plugged his guitar into the mains!
Although not a song I’d have selected as an opener; but it works exactly as it’s meant to …… capturing not just the listeners attention …. but the spirit of John Dawson Winter III perfectly well too.
This is followed by one of Johnny’s signature songs Still Alive and Well with Kenny Wayne Shepherd giving it his all in such a way I think he may have collapsed as soon as the recording was finished!
While everything here; apart from the two new songs Edgar wrote in honour of his brother; are all played with passion and homage; each guitarist/singer thankfully puts their own spin onto this fabulous collection.
While a great songwriter in his own rites; Johnny was also a Mastercraftsman at covering other’s songs; none more so than Jumpin’ Jack Flash which turns up here in the hands of Phil X; who gives a great rendition, that’s very much like Johnny’s original.
I’d forgot he’d also covered Highway 61 Revisited; and this rip-roaring version by John McFee and Kenny Wayne Shepherd sounds a bit like a rusty Dylan singing with Johnny on guitar and Jerry Lee on keyboards in some dive bar on the dark side of town …. yep; it is that good.
There are plenty of surprises here; even for hardened collectors of Winter’s work; I’m Yours I’m Hers with Derek Trucks and Billy Gibbons trading licks has to be heard to be believed; and Stranger, which I don’t recollect becomes a soulful and sonic late night love song, with Michael McDonald, Joe Walsh and Sir Ringo Starr taking the album in a direction I never expected; plus Stormy Monday Blues and Got My Mojo Workin’; staples throughout Johnny’s long career get a whole new coat of paint here via Robben ford and Bobby Rush who sings his heart out on the latter.
For an actual Favourite Song, I’ve been torn between going for either of two Johnny Winter Classics and a song that’s new to me.
This version of Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo finds Steve Lukather taking on the great man’s singing and guitar style with aplomb and not found wanting. Even when Johnny first released Johnny B Goode the world probably didn’t need yet another version ….. but here as then; it’s become nuclear powered and still destined to frighten the pants of ex-Radio 1 DJ Tony Blackburn!
But …… and I’m not being contrary when I actually select an acoustic track; and one written by Edgar himself for the record, as my actual #1 Favourite Song; as hearing Keb Mo’ sing Johnny’s theme tune Lone Star Blues will bring tears to a glass eye …. and bring back memories that have been hiding in the shadows for many years.
The other of Edgars tributes to his brother; End Of The Line which closes proceedings is a Bluesy heartbreaker that is both as Old Scool as it is contemporary; which is how I always thought Johnny Winter was ….. and; alongside the other 15 songs here; are both fitting tributes to not just one of the Blues greatest sons …. but Rock & Roll’s too.

Released April 15th 2022
https://edgarwinter.com/

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Gumo THE BATHROOM SESSIONS

Gumo
The Bathroom Sessions
Fresh Yo!

Pure, Heartfelt, and Seemingly Effortless Commercial Americana via Italy.

Gumo is a band made up of two guys based in Italy, one in Austin, Texas who, during the recent pandemic (you know the one …. it was in all the papers!) weren’t able to tour, so instead, would get together on Zoom and practice their songs.
Eventually this led to the recording of an EP, titled The Bathroom Sessions, which is being released as a freebie on Bandcamp.
With their album The Dark and the Water, Gumo showed they could rock in a style I can only try to describe as “modern glam-pop.”
In these more subdued versions of some of the same songs, they collectively convey a more relaxed atmosphere without losing the intensity or sense of fun that made that first album so intriguing.
Instead of searing high volume guitar solos we get plenty of tricky and rather concise acoustic guitar playing coupled with driving bass and drums played with brushes more often than not.
So, to clarify, this is still Pop, but replace the Glam with some appropriate Twang, and then add some wistful and inspired playing to the mix.
No wonder these guys used to backup Americana artist Vanessa Peters—they’re a full-fledged force of nature!
As I mentioned; these songs are being released for free on the band’s Bandcamp page as a thank you to their fans; and I heartily recommend that you check it out as music this pure, heartfelt, and seemingly effortless, is still a rare commodity in these heady days.
Also, as an anniversary of sorts of the release of their album The Dark and the Water, they did find a way to film a fun, funny, and rather poignant music video to the song “Trying” off that album.
When these guys get around to playing out live again, be sure to check them out, as you can tell they’re itchin’ to make some music in front of an appreciative audience.

Review by Roy Peak esq

Release Date: February 25, 2022
FB https://www.facebook.com/gumotheband/?ref=page_internal

This is the link for the bandcamp page https://gumo-theband.bandcamp.com

Hollis Brown IN THE AFTERMATH

Hollis Brown
In the Aftermath
Cool Green Recordings

An Energetically Reverent Yet Reinvented Take on the Stones US “Aftermath” Release

Why cover versions?
Well, I suppose there are several reasons, but the main two are probably the two “R”s – reverence (a love for the original) – and reinvention – to build something new .

Hollis Brown’s “In the aftermath” takes a dip into the Rolling Stones’ back catalogue and they cover the complete US release of “Aftermath”.
For UK listeners and some fans outside the US, several of the songs appeared on subsequent releases – and in a different order – but this album follows the order of the US release.

Opener “Paint it Black” errs more towards the “reverence” camp – it’s not a huge shift from the style and tone of the original, but is still a good opening attention grabber.
It reminds me very much of the Chocolate Watch Band in its energetic US take on British R’n’B.

“Stupid Girl” picks up the original tempo but loses some of the keyboards – vocally it’s transposed into a Cheap Trick/Jellyfish pop-rock take; and is a much tighter rhythmic performance than the original -again, there are undercurrents of a 60’s Garage Sound and it gives it a punkier drive.
This is followed by the more laid back version of “Lady Jane”, which has a less staccato guitar riff and a less affected and more soulful vocal than Jagger’s original – it’s a more fully realised (and far better produced) version of the song, but loses some of the quirkiness of the original.

“Under My Thumb” is up next – there’s a great gritty soulful vocal carrying this version along – in terms of backing, the soulful drums are still there, but it doesn’t quite have the Northern Soul feel of the Wayne Gibson early cover of the same song – this one’s very much in Mitch Ryder territory, so not straying too far from the Northern Soul heartlands, however.

“Doncha Bother Me” shares the same Beach Boys “California Girls” groove, but where the production on the Stones’ version showed how it was close in influence to old Blues players, this take is given more of a Texas blues feel – a bit of saturation on the harmonica and vocal adds a bit of welcome dirt too.

“Think” – the soulful core of the original is shifted to become more of a psychedelic garage band blues – again, the playing is much tighter than on the original (having seen both the Stones and Hollis Brown I can vouch for how tight a unit the latter are – and the Stones have always been notoriously sloppy as part of their appeal) and there’s a speedier energy which Hollis Brown tap into, but it takes the song subtly to a different sphere of influence than the original.

“Flight 505” is a heads down no-nonsense mindless boogie – the original was lyrically and musically very much out of the Chuck Berry playbook -the Stones gave it a bit more swing, whereas this Hollis Brown take is straighter in its rhythmic timing and the vocals are more polished and dynamic.

“High and Dry” doesn’t have the annoying hi-hat of the Stones’ original but has a great thumping bass and kick drive and in my humble opinion it’s a far better realised version of the song than the original – don’t shoot me – I really like this take! Harmonica and boogie piano are mixed well and there’s a great rhythmic feel to this.

“It’s Not Easy” is the closest that the album comes to a Jagger vocal pastiche, but that’s more in the phrasing than the vocal timbre – imagine if ‘stadium Stones’ had recorded this first time around and this is something like what you’ve got here.
“I Am Waiting;” on the contrary removes Jagger’s mockney/cockney tones and it’s all the better for it to these ears – maybe that’s a class-based UK listener judgement, but Jagger sounded a bit Mary Poppins-Dick Van Dyke on the original in my opinion (stands back and awaits the flack).

Things end, as the original US release did, with “Going Home” – it’s probably the free-est, most swinging cover on the album and it reminded me of prime time Replacements – another band whose looseness and swing was part of their appeal – and there’s a bit of the Faces in the honky tonk piano too.

So- reverence – or reinvention?
There’s definitely some of both here.
Hollis Brown are a tight unit and they understand the spirit and the core of these songs.
Modern production can sometimes lose the timbre of the original recordings, but Hollis Brown make up for that with a precision and energy that adds layers of garage band punkiness and soulful tightness and grit to these songs.

Review by Nick Barber
Release date: February 4 2022
https://www.hollisbrown.com/

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Treetop Flyers OLD HABITS

Treetop Flyers
Old Habits
Loose Music

A Soulful Brit-Rock Excursion to 1974 and Back Again via The Streets of Stoke Newington.

On this release, the Treetop Flyers (I agonised over the use of the use of “the” but the former English teacher in me; who likes the use of the definite article won) declare that they’re moving away from the West Coast US sound of prior releases, towards a more domestic/London sound. |
While that’s true in part, there’s no escaping the fact that the influences on their influences (very meta) straddle many geographical and musical boundaries.

Opener “Golden Hour” has a ramshackle Faces-type groove with hints of the Allman Brothers in there too; and all of a sudden we’re back in 1974 (but better produced and with more far more economical songwriting).
“Dancing Figurines” which follows features a wah pedal and soaring “sha-la-la” backing vocals over Ronnie Lane-alike goodness.
There’s even a bit of late Thin Lizzy doubled guitar too, which can’t be a bad thing; can it?

“100” starts off – and continues – as a soulful singalong stomper; sounding something that sounds like the house band at the Torch would have played to a touring US act like Major Lance, in the pre-punk days – plenty of enthusiasm, but with an extra gritty UK edge to the S.O.U.L.
That same soulful groove continues on “Castlewood Road” which is a tribute to where the band’s lead guitarist Laurie Sherman lives, and the accompanying video was even shot in Laurie’s house!
It’s got more of a Van Morrison vibe to the previous track in its staccato brass and soaring vocals.

“River” is more laid back, almost jazzy in tone and its liquid sax and guitar accompaniment provide a fine musical metaphor – it’s warm summer night music for the middle of December.
The title track “Old Habits” follows and straddles many musical boundaries – there’s Soul, confessional singer-songwriter piano and call and response titbits scattered throughout, which leads these ears towards more anglophile Father John Misty territory.
Which is an interesting place!

“Cool Your Jets” ups the pace – as it’s an early Slade album track writ large – no nonsense boogie, cowbell, motorbike sound effects and catchy choruses all jumping into bed with the song and everything takes off with a smooth sax solo, before a tempo change that will definitely catch you off guard.

“Out the Blue” utilises picked rhythmic guitar and shaker to evoke the Faces again, but with a smoother vocal than Rod the Mod ever managed. There’s even a bit of a psychedelic production wash too, which gives the track a bigger sound.

“Sometimes” vocally sits somewhere close to a soulful Jason Isbell – tempo and dynamic musical shifts create a deliberately jarring musical mis-en-scene, but a firm melody ties it all together.
Things close with the more downbeat “Night Choir”, dominated by vocal piano, bass and drums with occasional fills from double-tracked guitar; it fits well with the jazzier sounds earlier on the album in songs like “River” and the title track.

So, it’s a sideways step for Treetop Flyers (No “the” this time guys!) – they’ve created a soulful Brit-Rock excursion to 1974 and back again via the streets of Stoke Newington; that will be the perfect soundtrack for warm summer nights and dark winter ones too.

Released December 3rd 2021
https://www.facebook.com/TreetopFlyersBand

Review by Nick Barber

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Geese PROJECTOR

GEESE
PROJECTOR
Partisan/Play It Again Sam

These Kids are More Than Alright!

When you get to my advanced years it’s easy to be more than a little blasé about the latest ‘new arrivals’ on the music scene; regardless of the genre into which they fit (or are neatly fitted into by the music Press).
Geese are the latest to emerge from the seemingly never endless supply of up and coming bands on the burgeoning Brooklyn circuit and ahead of them have come some rave reviews.
Well it fell to me to see what the fuss is all about so after three very careful listens to this album; and it’s a slightly mixed bag but more of that later.
Geese comprises 5 teenagers who met at high school and who probably imagined that like so many before them, leaving high school would see an end to their musical careers; but how wrong they would have been as their home-made album found a friendly and interested ear at ‘someone in the business’.
The result was them signing up to a deal with Partisan Records (Fontaines DC etc), a few gigs in and around Brooklyn culminating in ‘Projector.’
‘Rain Dance’, the opener, blasts out at you before the vocalist, Cameron Winter gets into full flow like a young Jagger backed by fiery guitars as he launches himself into a very punky and ‘immediate’ track (think Julian Casablancas)
I’m sorry I never picked up the phone but death is taking my ghost with my skin and my bones’.
A smashing start and one that comes to an abrupt stop.
On ‘Low Era’ he slides into falsetto mode (and he does it effortlessly) on a track dealing, very aptly today, with the fragile future in the current climate
swimming alone in a sea-world waste land
but personally, I felt this track did drag on slightly too long and lost some of its emphasis.
Track 3 sees another change in vocal tones into a far more modern indie/ punky track dealing with matters within the title ‘Fantasies/Survival’ before jangly guitars turn into what I term a self indulgent thrash that just isn’t me; BUT I can see it getting a frenzied reception from the younger fans in an excited audience.
Total change of tack for ‘First World Warrior’ as a light and softly melodic backing allows him to deliver a very polished almost shoe gaze delivery
‘There is no pain when there’s no hope. I have the stomach but not the gut’.
Lyrically, this is already delivering more than I had anticipated.
The similarity to Fontaines DC is never more evident than on ‘Disco,’ with the sort of hit you in the face vocal changing to the more cultured delivery as the track progresses into an almost heavy metal finale.
You get the feeling  the singer is telling you the story from a very personal view
I daydream about melting into water and I feel like drowning’.
I got the feeling that this is very much (at this stage) a band that relies heavily on the vocals and the way they are delivered; but I could have said that about plenty of groups that have made that very subtle change from such over-reliance to a close knit well drilled band on stage/record only a couple of years later.
‘Exploding House’ and ‘Bottle’ are tracks that could easily have come off a Dutch Uncles album with the sort of intricate arrangements they offer in conjunction with lyrics to match – with ‘Bottle’ perfectly suiting Cameron’s vocal nuances.
Very catchy.
‘Opportunity Is Knocking’ sees him back into a the sort of track that suits both the lead singer and the backing four perfectly as they weave their way through to the finale of the album.
Negatives? The ‘guitar thrashes’ on a couple of tracks that just don’t sit comfortably with me.
Positives – a band that clearly love what they do and the way they do it.
They have a style that is very en-vogue in the current market and I have absolutely no doubt they will go down a bomb on the live circuit across America and, of course the UK.
And the positives far outweigh the couple of negatives, so it’s a ‘thumbs up’ from me.
I suspect we will be hearing a lot more from Geese in the future; and I would definitely be buying one of their tickets!

RELEASED
Stream October 29th 2021
CD/LP/Cassette December 3rd 2021

Review courtesy Bill Redhead.
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