Come Monday night, things are about to get pretty effing loud north of Chinatown. Portland,...
Published: 08/29/2013 | 0 Comments Posted
Robbie Fulks is an “alternative” country artist primarily in that his back catalog is rife with sneering swipes at the Nashville establishment and goofball posturing. Musically, he’s long been a traditionalist, even downright retro. Gone Away Backward (Bloodshot), the Chicagoan’s first proper album in eight years, runs the gamut from bluegrass to Bakersfield, boasting crackerjack harmonies and some seriously mean pickin’. And the songs follow suit with uncharacteristic earnestness, tackling archetypal country themes with wit, poignancy and style, but nary a wink.
—K. Ross Hoffman
Earl Sweatshirt gets lots of help on Doris (Columbia), and it’s a good thing. The kid can be a touch monotonous on his own. The delivery is as much the theme as his tortuous bars — heartsick, pot-addled, alone in a room full of people. Watch out for the beats too, they sneak up and knock through the grime and kush fog. And in case he hasn’t made his point after 44 minutes, he spells it out at the end: “Young, black and jaded/ Vision hazy, strolling through the night.” Play it loud. It’ll help get you through.
Madchester — the ravey turn-of-the-’90s U.K. scene that prefigured big beat’s fusion of acid house with rock ’n’ roll — doesn’t get much thought nowadays. But Aussie duo Jagwar Ma carries a torch for the era on their tremendously fun, surprisingly fresh-sounding debut, finding equal space for chunky break-beat loops and drowsy, sweetly harmonized choruses for hook-infested garage-pop and Simian Mobile Disco-style bleep workouts. Howlin’ (Mom+Pop) is an electrified flower-power feel-good freakout par excellence. Bring on the Andrew Weatherall remixes!
—K. Ross Hoffman
Fans of Vince Gill and Paul Franklin’s recent Bakersfield will need to pick up Warner Nashville’s new comp, The Big E: A Salute to Steel Guitarist Buddy Emmons. The pair puts a lot of feeling into covering one of Emmons’ earliest, Little Jimmy Dickens’ “Country Boy.” Dickens himself — 90 at the time of this recording — sings one aided by Dan Dugmore and Duane Eddy, and Doug Jernigan burns on Emmon’s signature piece, “Buddy’s Boogie.” Indeed, a long list of steelers and singers turn up on this affectionate tribute to a well-loved man and musical revolutionary.