Here’s my first official column of autumn, full of the best Daytrotter sessions that we posted last week.
Have you ever stopped and thought what Hall & Oates or Talking Heads might have been like if they’d come of age and been making their most notable albums in a world like our current one—where all of recorded musical history was so readily accessible and influential? Beat Connection, a tremendously talented, unsigned young group from Seattle, gives us the kind of danceable rock and roll that might have come had Hall & Oates and Talking Heads had Grizzly Bear, Radiohead and Toro Y Moi to cite from. These songs are catchy as all hell and they sound as if they go great with margaritas, but I’m not your dad. Drink whatever’s handy. Check out Beat Connection’s session here.
The best bars are the ones that are only used for drinking. The cracked stools are used for holding the full weight of grown-ass men, at any hour of the day. The best bars are those that are used—albeit sparingly—all day long, from the mid-morning to the other mid-morning, when it’s darker, quieter, sadder and wavier. They’re better for all kinds of reasons, but mostly just because in their grit and the stickiness that you can’t get off of the edge of the bar’s surface, there’s a lived-in luster that’s quite hard to explain. There’s forfeiture in every inch of those places. They are places to wallow and stew in, almost like churches. The people that are put into Hidden Charms songs are those who can appreciate all of the above. They are people who have pissed into the filthiest urinals imaginable and found escape in the deep folds of night, in the long pours of the tap. They have learned that times are tough in ways that aren’t allegorical or mythical. Listen to Hidden Charms’ session here.
Bo & The Locomotive
We’ve thought it for years now, but Bo & The Locomotive continue to be one of the best bands in St. Louis, and this new batch of songs does nothing to diminish our fondness for them. Most are these delicate and gloomy slow burners that are played out during nights of stunning star play in the sky and a crisp bite to the air that causes people to shiver and pull it in—their limbs and their thoughts. Check out Bo & The Locomotive’s session here
Adam Agin and William T. Cook, the makers of this Nashville band, are great at raising their spirits up to the rafters. They made soaring songs that deal with the basics of surviving all of the punches. They make it seem like there’s a way to make the punches land softer. Check out Neulore’s session here.
Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas
Detroit’s Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas deliver the kind of soul music that you hear during graveyard shift hours. They give us stories of people on the rocks and people who have been rocked by another or many others. There are those who have had their faces blasted off and their hearts ripped out by someone, but there’s no keeping them from continuing to lust for the thing that’s going to do them in again. Hernandez’s is a voice that summons the snakes from the pit of the stomach, and it puts a dinner jacket on them, making them presentable in mixed company. Check out the Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas session here.
It’s amazing when you have friends like Jay Sweet, who runs the Newport Folk Festival, and without even knowing that they’re going to surprise you with a tip on some beautiful and chill-inducing new musical thing, they do it anyway. It happened last Friday when he very casually and almost sheepishly sent me two innocuous YouTube links of songs by Madisen Ward & The Mama Bear, a mother and son act out of Kansas City, Missouri. Shit. He destroyed me. He obliterated me with this simple, innocent send. I barely knew what to do with myself. There is NOTHING more beautiful raw and perfect as Madisen Ward & The Mama Bear in this entire country right now. I cannot wait to bring them to Rock Island and record them for all the world to hear. Now, the rest of the great new stuff that I stumbled upon this week: Ruu Campbell, Caroline Spence, Luke Bell (this is another one like Madisen Ward & the Mama Bear—so perfect!), Marti Ann, Eddi Front, Blood Sister, Pauma (who we’ll be taping in London soon), Adia Victoria, Cherry Glazerr, Emily and the Complexes and New Country Rehab (thanks to my Canadian buddy Jon Bartlett). Go and have yourself a week!