All Around Records

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Jonatha

Jonatha Brooke
World Café Live, June 14, 2018

The Posies, who I saw the night before, and Brooke represent very different types of 90s music. She’s an overlooked singer/songwriter, and great. The Posies are a wonderful, overlooked power pop band, and while I’m not going to slam grunge or alternative rock, I will say that back then, and what I realize now more than ever, is there were many alternatives, not just a few. These days that is indeed the case with all types of indie music.

Brooke played acoustic guitar, mandolin, and electric piano, and Sean Driscoll played electric guitar. He made a lot of noise, good noise, a fitting counterpart to Brooke's quirky lyrics and playing that were by turns wry, sweet, and gently depressing. Her subtle, nuanced singing was sweet and gentle.

She touched on her catalog, from the early 90s when she was one half of the Story, with Jennifer Kimball, to her new album "Midnight. Hallelujah." All are excellent, and a joy to hear live. When I said hello to her after the show, she seemed nice.


If all of this makes you curious to hear a type of 90s alt that never got its due, start with her wonderful latest album and work backwards. You’ll be rewarded with underrated music.

Andrea Weiss

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Posies

The Posies
E. Joseph and the Sparrows
Terra Lightfoot 
World Café Live, June 13, 2018

I never tire of WC Live. It's clean and comfortable, with good food and great music. Like tonight.

Terra Lightfoot is Canadian, on her first extended tour of the US. She plays feminist indie rock--noise rock, that is--and she's great.

E. Joseph and the Sparrows play more straightforward hardish indie rock. While I’d heard both them and Terra on Philly’s WXPN, I didn't know who those songs were by until this show.  I liked both bands a lot live and bought their albums.

The Posies' set leaned 80s and 90s, with a few songs from their post-Geffen period. I felt their set tonight was better than when I saw them back in January, but that may be because the club they played in then wasn’t so hot.

Their loud, hard, power pop with a hint of darkness is my kind of music right now. Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow showed off their rock star moves, and their twin lead guitar playing was excellent. Funny onstage banter featured horror stories about their tour, including a less than perfect set the night before in Harrisburg, PA. 

I’ve been into them since the 80s, and I'm glad I finally got to see them in a good setting. 


If you want to see three bands who have something to say, and play, this is the tour to see. 

Andrea Weiss

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Mid Year Top 5/8

Albums:

Neko - Hell-On/Caroline Rose - Loner (Best album I’ve heard so far/find of the year)

Hop Along - Bark Your Head Off, Dog (Philly Band)

Fancey - Country Fair

Soccer Mommy - Clean


Songs:

Neko - Bad Luck/Caroline Rose - Soul #5 (Personal favorites/best songs so far)

Childish Gambino - This Is America (Everyone should hear this)

Kississippi - Cut Your Teeth  (Philly Band)

Hurry - Waiting For You (Philly Band)

Hop Along - How Simple

Fancey - Carolina Caroline


Soccer Mommy - Your Dog

Andrea Weiss

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Neko

Neko Case
Hell-On
Anti

Case’s first album in five years finds her in a haunted frame of mind; haunted about the past and about people that were in her life. The ballad “Sleep All Summer,” about lost lovers, appears here as a duet between Case and Eric Bachman, a cover of a song by Bachman's band, Crooked Fingers. It works very well as a duet.

"Gumball Blue,"co-written by Case and AC Newman, does sound New Pornographers-like, and wonderfully so, but also harks back to Carl’s days with Zumpano.

The single, “Bad Luck,” while she wrote it before her house burned down, does sound like it could’ve been about that. It also makes me want to dance (and I like any song that does), as well as think about the lyrics. It's the catchiest, most matter-of-fact pop song ever about bad luck.

The other duet is with Mark Lanagan, who is amazing on “Curse Of The I-5 Corridor.” With songs whose meanings are so buried, there’s a tendency to read more into them than might be there. I say the song might be autobiographic, since she did leave home as a teen, but maybe not the way the lyrics describe.

The music on this album, on several of the songs, is pop in the sense that the music is rich and full, melodic, but a lot gentler than on past albums. I like the way her music has evolved, and she’s singing better than ever.

While it’s impossible to hear every album released, I’ve heard enough to say that this is one of the better ones I’ve heard so far this year.

Andrea Weiss

Friday, May 11, 2018

Modern Rock

For anyone who's curious, the reason I haven't posted in a while is partly that I've had nothing to review in long form. I do plan a mid-year Top Ten, and I will post at least one review soon. The other reason is that I wrote a digital series (web series) script that is getting hits on the Blacklist, a top script hosting site, and it takes a lot of time to revise the script, per their reviews, and get it ready for script contests. 

The series is a comedy called Modern Rock. It's a satire of politics and music, but it’s more than that. It tackles ableism, and is a statement of "crip and proud." 

Remember the film and book Election, how a high school student council election stood in for the US political system? What if the same were tried with a music story? And like the film Get Out used horror to make great points about racism, what if ableism were tackled the same way? 

Now, while I use indie rock and culture as a stand-in for talking about ableism, I’M NOT SAYING INDIE ROCK IS ABLEIST. Far from it. It’s just that I know this form of art the best, and writing what you know is a writing golden rule. 

The band Modern Rock, whose leaders, Leaf and Gail, are a disabled couple, represent left-wing indie rock. They are stalked by the Alt-Alt, right wing indie rockers, the alternative to the alternative, personified by the band Bad Bliss. Simply because Leaf and Gail are disabled, they are sexy to Eliza and Olive, the female half of Bad Bliss. Bad Bliss--if Nirvana had been terrible instead of wonderful, what then? So you have songs that speak to this situation, label conflicts, and bandmates like X, the disabled drummer for Modern Rock, who's hounded by Donald and Gene of Bad Bliss. The left wins in the end, with the disabled on top. 

Where did I get the idea from? One question deserves another: Why isn’t there a #metoo movement about ableism? If you argue it isn’t the same, think of it this way: Both physically and mentally disabled people experience discrimination and abuse because of who and what we are, just like women do. We’re supposedly stupid, crazy, failures, infantile, and so on. If I were any of that, if any of the disabled were, would I be writing this? Think about it.

Lastly, this story is also a tribute to bands, some living, like the New Pornographers, some with members who are no longer with us, like the late Scott Miller, Gil Ray, who played with Scott for so long, Faye Hunter of Let’s Active fame, and Chris Cornell--all fine musicians, gone too young. Let them live again within this digital series. 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Fancey
Country Fair
self-released

 New Pornographers guitarist Todd Fancey’s digital only release is a tribute to the 60s/70s country music he loved growing up. He and Paul Rigby, Neko Case’s longtime guitarist, along with other guests, have made a great update here just by being faithful to the spirit of the originals. I like the bit of loving irony sprinkled in as well, as everyone on here knows this is off the beaten path. All the more reason to pay tribute to it.


It’s also fun to listen to, little psychedelic lyrically adding to it. If you’re a fan of Fancey’s previous releases, as I am, you won’t go wrong with an album this fun and good.

Andrea Weiss

Friday, December 15, 2017

Top Tens

Albums:

1 SuperCaliFragile Game Theory, TNP Whiteout Conditions, Out in the Storm Waxahatchee

2 Tristen Sneaker Waves

3  Phoebe Bridgers Stranger in the Alps

4 Sheer Mag Need To Feel Your Love

5 Sweet Sprit St. Mojo

6 Mavis Staples If All I Was Was Black

7 Ride Weather Diaries 

8 Mark Lanegan Band Gargoyle

9 Dream Syndicate How Did I Find Myself Here

10 Conor Oberst Salutations




Songs:

1 Kristine, Game Theory, TNP  High ticket attractions, Waxahatchee Never Been Wrong

2 GT Oh Death

3  TNP We’ve been Here before

4 Tristen Glass Jar

5 Phoebe Bridgers Motion Sickness

6 Sweet Sprit The Power

7 Mavis Staples If All I Was Was Black

8 Ride Charm Assault


9 Conor Oberst A Little Uncanny

10 Blondie Long Time

Andrea Weiss

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