Posts Tagged ‘dolorean

21
Sep
11

Hoots and Hellmouth – Face First In The Dirt (2011)

This past weekend I decided to head downtown and check out an annual happening in my city, Larkfest.  Larkfest is a culimation and mishmash of various street vendors, artists, and live music.  In addition, it also sprinkles (or dumps) a large helping of obnoxious drunk college students who change the tone later in the day to something truly worth avoiding, especially if you have young children in tow.  Regardless, if you show up early enough it’s actually a worthwhile event; I always enjoy catching some of the random and obscure live musical acts that range from Alternative, Rock-a-billy, Emo-Folk, and Bluegrass, there’s a little of something for everyone.

While strollering my 4 year-old around and my teenage Chinese exchange student we checked out the random ethnic food samplings, tatooed cuties, and a variety of hipster artisans selling t-shirts , cupcakes, and graffitti artwork.  At one piont I passed a tent sponsored by a local radio station where the guy gave me a look and panned down at the plethora of scattered CD’s. It was truly a “come hither stare for free stuff”, and he was very cool about taking as much as I wanted.  The offering of free music was of bands I had never heard of and he knew that; jokingly he said “Yeah, I guess you just have to judge the music by the cover art and take a risk” and he was right.  It was like being offered a mystery free candy yet being unsure you really wanted to find out what it tasted like.  Plus, for most of us, avoiding anything that adds to our physical music collections we do at all costs, especially mystery music.  Regardless, I could not resist and grabbed two albums not wanting to pass up the opportunity for some fresh fodder to review and also not offend the guy offering free music.

I grabbed two albums, one was Jenny Dee and The Deelinqents (to be reviewed later this month), and a band called Hoots and Hellmouth out of Philadelphia, PA.  As with most albums you put in your CD player the first impression is rarely an “oh my god!” moment, and well, this wasn’t one of them either.  However, the band does have something going on in the right direction and I feel they may be one to watch in the future.  The album that I grabbed seems to be more of a sampler rather than a full fledged album and I wanted hear more.  I could find the album on Amazon and it to0 indicated this album was only 4 tracks; this contrasts in comparision to their two prior albums which featured around 10 tracks each; so perhaps it’s just a stripped down album to buy some time.  For what it is worth, it’s a solid sampling of their music and is catchy.

The band has the feel of something between a faster paced version of Dolorean and The Kingsbury Manx; with a twist of Ray Lamontagne without the raspy grit, and a wee bit of Old Crow Medicine Show and some Chatham County Line thrown in for good measure.  Basically, they have a kind of down home sultry folk / country type of sound that appears to making a come back in the underground alternative scene.  While I do like what they are creating for themselves, I’m not sure I’m a fan from the first listen.  It can be truly be said that this band is an “acquired” sound that not everyone is into from the get go;  like Iron and Wine’s sound or the late Elliot Smith’s music, some people pass it off as too mellow or sleepy tending to form automatic opinion’s about its worth or longevity as a something worthwhile to add to a collection.  I think it would be fair to say that Hoots and Hellmouth has a quality sound and feel that is not worth passing up, it’s worth giving a few listens and then forming your own educated decision. Unlike the meloncoly sounds of Smith and Iron and Wine; Hoots and Hellmouth are far livelier and faster paced, definitely some “feel good” music, yet campy.

In closing, I think I would like to hear more about what these guys have put out there and also would be curious if any of our readers have seen these guys live.  Being from Philly myself, I’m partial to liking these guys and giving them a chance.  As always, let us know what you think of this band if you have caught a show, or perhaps send us an opinion on the two prior albums and how they measure up to this release.

Hoots and Hellmouth’s 4-track Face First In The Dirt gets a 3 out of 5.

20
Jul
10

print o’ the week #3 – dirk fowler

No pun intented, but this print really caught my “eye” and I felt it was worth mention on the blog for my “print o’ the week” pick.  Dirk Fowler and his wife Carol are based out of Lubbock, Texas where they work as graphic designers; on the side they produce some mighty fine concert prints like this one for the band Deer Tick. 

I like what these two are doing with their designs and you will notice that they never seem to stick to one type of pattern, so they really create some vibrant and electric designs that really grab your eye.  Good luck getting any of their Wilco posters, apparently they are quite the item on their site.

The featured print is an edition size of 50 and they only have 20 avialable to sell, so for a mere $25.00 you can grab yerself’ one!

Check out this print and some other great art these guys are creating by clicking here.  And don’t forget to tell us which one is your favorite!

You can read more about this great art medium in my post The “Art” of The Music Business and see other “prints o’ the week” by clicking here and here.

15
Jul
10

MIDLAKE – The Courage of Others (2010)

On Monday I posted my second installment of Print o’ The Week and some have emailed me asking what the Midlake in the print meant; good question right?  The print is actually concert poster created by Portland, Oregon artist Dan Stiles for a Midlake show in that city.  But, clearly more of an explanation and album review of the band Midlake would be appropriate.

I stumbled upon Midlake when I began to get interested in Iron and Wine; I had been a die hard Elliot Smith fan for years and the natural progression to these bands makes sense since to a degree they follow a similiar formula and would be catagorized in a similiar genre of music.  In my opinion if you are familiar with the bands Dolorean, Kingsbury Manx, or Chatham County Line and like indie-folk-rock, you will also find Midlake appealing as well. 

Midlake is not a new band by any means, they have actually been together since 2001 and have released 3 albums prior to The Courage of Others (2010).  Midlake’s previous album Trials of Van Occupanther (2006) brought the most notoriety for the band; although remaining relatively an underground album it did gain them a larger loyal following.

Mellow and serene, lying on your back on a sunny day staring at big puffy clouds and dreaming about life and what it all means would sum up what listening to Midlake is like.  Lead singer Tim Smith has a Thom Yorke  (Radiohead) quality to his singing, but defines himself with a lullaby quality that is complimented by the always apparent folky flute and piano balladesque indie-folk-r0ck tempos.   The Courage of Others takes the band down a similiar path as Van Occupanther, however, there is a greater sense of sincerity in this album.  The first song Acts of Man is a deeply moving, honest and just a simply fantastic arrangment highlighting the use of harmony that the band  mastered and created as a signature of their music.  Winter Dies starts off with a faster tempo that is quite unexpected and then regresses into a solid mellow mood that just continues to keep the album together. Songs like Small Mountain,  Core of Nature, and Rulers, Ruling All Things exemplify Midlake‘s wholehearted and ernest attention to detail writing songs over the course of four years between albums.  Like their songs, it is apparent that their work is not taken lightly and not rushed into with wreckless abandonment; clearly the band wants every album to be worthwhile to the one listening.

Midlake’s music is consistently mellow, this is not rock album by any means.  Midlake keeps the mood  and tempo consistent throughout every song.   That is not to say that Midlake’s music is monotonous or repetative, it’s not, however Midlake does keep to a pretty consistent formula never really straying one way or anothe.  In many ways this album, and their previous releases, feel like a story and each song is a the next chapter.   Midlake is not for everyone, for some they might find themselves absolutely bored to tears with this album; others might find it a true gem.  Yet, as I mentioned earlier, if you do like mellow folky-indie sounding  singers or bands you should like Midlake. They fall in between Nick Drake and Dolorean I guess.  If you are able to pick up a copy of The Trials of Van Occupanther do yourself a favor and check it out as well, it is a landmark album for the band.

Midlake is currently touring in Europe and I hope they swing back in the US for some dates.  The band hails out of Texas, so I’m sure upon their return they will play there first.  Check out Midlake’s website at www.midlake.net to hear a few songs in their entirety.

You can also listen to a dozen or few samples of Midlake’s music from various albums by clicking here .




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