Spanish singer-songwriter Joana Serrat has channeled one of the coolest alt-country vibes on her new album, Dripping Springs.
Fruit Bats is an American rock band formed in 1997 in Chicago, Illinois. Noted as an early entrant into the folk-rock boom of the early 2000s, the group has had many personnel changes but revolves around singer/songwriter Eric D. Johnson. Two years after announcing the demise of Fruit Bats, Johnson is back with a new Fruit Bats album.
What makes new music worthy of anyone’s attention? Is it merely the fact that it’s contemporary and in a style and fashion that is popular and trendy? The pop music scene prizes glitzy superficiality over substance of any form to such an extent that the very art and craft of songwriting is in danger of withering away and going the way of the dinosaur.
Which is why every now and then, the discovery of a new singer-songwriter that adheres contrarily to the classic formats of 60s and 70s pop-rock is like a breath of fresh air, in a heavily polluted environment. Thus, ladies and gentlemen, in the background set out before, we give you Max Jury.
Jury released 2 EPs in 2014 – Something in the Air and All I Want: The Sonic Factory Sessions – and these seven incandescent songs represent some of the most promising rock ‘n’ roll (in the classic sense of that term) material of the last decade or so.
Songs like “Christian Eyes”, “All I Want”, “Black Metal” and “Something in the Air” uncannily channel the likes of John Lennon, Gram Parsons, Alex Chilton, Todd Rundgren et al through the razor-sharp perspective of a 21 year old American singer-songwriter.
We managed to get in touch with Max and he kindly responded to our queries.
How does a 21 year old get into someone like Gram Parsons who died 20 years before you were born?
I’m fascinated by the story and myth of Gram Parsons. I originally got into his solo work through Ryan Adams. And then I started listening to The Flying Burrito Brothers and his work with The Byrds.
There’s quite a fair bit of country music out there that’s popular but sadly, it’s mostly Top 40 mainstream pop fare that never challenges the mind and instead panders to the lowest common denominator. For something more cutting edge in the country music sphere, we need to continue to look at Alt-Country. Thankfully, that aspect of country music is still thriving (creatively, if not commercially) and one prime example can be found in Sleeping Operator, the sophomore effort from the Montreal-based Barr Brothers (viz. Brad Barr, Andrew Barr, Sarah Page, Andres Vial).
It’s always a wondrous experience when an artistically-minded band blends country with rock ‘n’ roll to produce soulful music that leaves the listener satisfied. To these ears, songs like “Wolves”, “Even the Darkness Has Arms” and “Half Crazy” recalls the likes of Steve Earle, The Jayhawks and even early WILCO – a wonderful evocation of Gram Parsons’ Cosmic American Music. The melodies glide effortlessly and the exotic instrumentation complements the same perfectly to send sympathetic listeners into country-folk-pop-rock bliss!
Thanks to Nick Whitcomb for the recommendation!
Australian based Dancing Heals has just releasing the gorgeous track, “Always on My Mind”, and are currently finishing up their second album, that captures more of their live sound and draws from longtime influences such as Tom Petty and Fleetwood Mac. The band loves to wave the nostalgia flag and “Always On My Mind” is no different. A sonically raw reflection on the confusing emotions of letting someone go… and never forgetting.
Pony Boy, aka Marchelle Bradanini, puts a seductive, modern twist on the Americana sound with sultry vocals atop twangy, buzzing guitars. “Greatest Unknown” is simultaneously beautiful and eerie, sounding as though it belongs on a Twin Peaks soundtrack. Catch her live show in March and April as she opens for Clairy Browne & The Bangin’ Rockettes:
3/23: Birmingham, AL @ Zydeco
4/8: Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom
4/9: Los Angeles, CA @ Troubadour