BEN DE LA COUR The High Cost Of Living Strange
Flour Sack Cape Records [Release date 06.04.18]
Having trodden a path from NYC to Europe, and then back to LA, to New Orleans and now (yes, somewhat predictably it would seem these days) to Nashville, and having dabbled in everything from doom metal to folk, former pugilist Ben De La Cour has crafted eight tracks of ‘Americanoir’ for his 4th album.
Playing guitar, mandolin and moog (what?! a moog on an album that lasts only 30 minutes?!) and supported by Jimmy Sullivan (bass), Erin Nelson (drums), Billy Contreras (fiddle) and Jeff Lisenby (accordion), De La Cour opens the storyteller set with the swampy ‘Dixie Crystals’ – a meth addiction tale delivered with lip curled à la Billy Idol.
‘Tupelo’ is equally bleak, psychotic, and compelling, as is the claustrophobic, set closing title track. In between, well, while De La Cour never gets anywhere close to optimism (hell, where’s the fun in that), but it’s a record that rewards repeated plays.
OK, it’s probably not going to sell widely beyond the merch stall, but it’s an engaging listen nevertheless. ***1/2
Review by Pete Whalley
SAM LEWIS Loversity
Loversity Records [Release date 19.01.19]
Nashville is a broad church these days, and judging by the latest release from singer songwriter Sam Lewis, even broader than I thought.
Often labelled with the word ‘soulful’ and on the back of an opening slot for Chris Stapleton’s Grammy award winning Traveler album tour, Lewis’ third long player once again finds him genre hopping on a social commentary album.
With 12 of his own songs and a Loundon Wainwright, and a John Mann cover, Lewis is once again joined by a supporting cast including some Nashville ‘greats’. And the surprise, for me at least, is that there’s a nary a whiff of ‘country’, instead Loversity majoring on soul and the blues.
An album steeped in a retro sound, Loversity harks, musically, back the sixties with Lewis on the more soulful numbers sounding distinctly like Sam Cooke, with the more bluesy aspects moving more into Clapton/JJ Cale territory.
Wherever you dip in, it’s a warm, easy on the ear listen, packed with soulful vocals and tasteful guitar playing. And Lewis will be here for a UK promotional tour January – March 2019. Genre lovers would undoubtedly score it higher, but from a [Get Ready To] rock perspective it’s too niche to merit more than. ***
Review by Pete Whalley
SUPERDRONE Superdrone TWO
Invisible Hands Music [Release date 05.12.18]
The band’s name gives a clue to their sound as Superdrone like a bit of droning music, in the best sense and they classify their sound as ‘Star-gaze stadium music’. For a three piece – Ed Richards (vocals/bass), Tim Guille (drums), Tien Ren (guitar) – they make a lot of weird and wonderful sounds, not unlike the Stone Roses in their most ‘out there’ moments. ‘Fireflies’ and ‘Burn The Sky’ are the stand outs, plenty going on musically and Ed Richards vocals are not unlike Ian Brown at times.
Fourteen songs of a similar pace and style is for the true fan of this style of music, as it does seem to drag a little after a few songs. However, Superdrone are good at what they do and one to enjoy with perhaps a little something extra in your herbal tea… ***
Review by Jason Ritchie
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Power Plays w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)
BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)
Featured Albums w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)
Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)
BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)
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