Roadside Attractions

Marcia-Ball-ROADSIDECD
Marcia Ball
Roadside Attractions
Alligator Records

Marcia Ball exemplifies the tradition of blues sass and confidence: “Lookout Mountain is a molehill/The Grand Canyon’s just a big old crack/Old faithful is fickle/Niagara Falls’ a trickle/The Taj Mahal is nothing but a shack/They got the London Bridge/The Pyramids…I’m coming home.” With vocal, piano, guitar, bass, drums, and the Hammond B3 organ, the title track offers the listener an overview of her highly regarded fervent swamp blues sound and her four decades-long performance career on the blues touring circuit. Read More...

Bring It On

SarahPierce_BringItOnCD
Sarah Pierce
Bring It On
Little Bear Records

On the album cover to her eighth full-length release, a drawing of Sarah Pierce stands with guitar in hand, content, the sun creating a vibrant yellow background. It seeps into the back cover, where a photo shows her in a sunflower-print dress. Even before listening to the album’s first seconds, one can envisage a song list full of felicity, wisdom, and warmth. The opening “Bring It On” sews all of these elements together, connecting a breezy guitar and sunny vocals to an inspirational belief to “live my life loud and proud” and experience new trails in a relationship no matter if “some people say my head’s in the clouds.” The repetition of “bring it on” serves as a catalyst for the remainder of the album where love, courage and tenacity are preponderant. Read More...

Acrobats

PeggySueAcrobatsCD
Peggy Sue
Acrobats
Yep Roc Records

This is the second album from indie-alternative British trio Peggy Sue and the first with an electric guitar tilt, reaping from Rosa (Rex) Slade’s, Olly Joyce’s, and Katy (Klaw) Young’s beloved indie/alternative acts of their youth which include Sonic Youth, P J Harvey, and The Breeders. The little-over-six-minutes “Cut My Teeth” is a gelling of these combined influences, with its raw P J Harvey-esque vocals and love-wrecked lyricism, rolling rhythm of the Breeders (especially starting at 4:12), and crunching electric guitars reminiscent of Sonic Youth, serving as the guidepost to what follows. Read More...

Geckos In The Elevator

jeancafeCD
Jean Caffeine
Geckos In The Elevator
Joe Records

Her name rolls off your tongue easily: Jean Caffeine. The album title piques one’s curiosity. Drawings of geckos, some traditional-looking or with an Asian aesthetic, appear on the outside. And then a guitar stab; “Lucky Penny” is introduced, carried throughout with a steady backbeat and a Patti Smith-esque vocal. Coming from the nascent American punk scene of the 1970s and playing with The Clash and PiL, Caffeine filters these early musical experiences through a pot of rock, folk, and alternative country flavors she gathered along her musical exploration. Read More...

Dreams Come True

CANTCD
CANT
Dreams Come True
Terrible Records

Rock music generally goes through cycles and trends as generations who grew up listening to their favorite artists go back and try to imitate or incorporate those sounds in their own work. One classic example is the way ’50s rock and roll experienced a great resurgence in the 1970s. For the new millennium, the ‘80s has dominated many facets of rock and pop music, with its electronic effects and New Wave and post-punk energy. Read More...