Five new worthy efforts for your listening pleasure.
Boston Spaceships -- Planets Are Blasted
since the demise of Guided By Voices, I'll still maintain that those
three great albums are spread out over twenty official releases. So
just when I'm ready to write him off, he releases another
jaw-droppingly wondrous mashup of British Invasion jangle and lyrical
non-sequiturs. Last year's Brown Submarine served notice that Pollard had finally formed another band that might be worthy of his superb Guided By Voices legacy. Planets Are Blasted
is an improvement in every way, and although there's still a bit of
filler, the big surprise is how solid this one is, front to back.
Antje Duvekot -- The Near Demise Of The Highwire Dancer
resemblance to Patty Griffin, merely one of the greatest singers on the
planet. On The Near Demise of the Highwire Dancer,
Duvekot recruits most of the east coast's folk royalty (John Gorka,
Richard Shindell, Mark Erelli, Lucy Kaplansky) to lend a hand. The
first five songs are killer, and feature glorious melodies, sweet
fingerpicking, superb harmonies, and literate, self-aware lyrics. The
back end drifts into the usual folkie meditative reveries. None of it
is ever less than pleasant; some of it is not quite memorable. But
Duvekot is a talent, and she sings like a slumming angel.
Shane Dwight Blues Band -- Plays the Blues/Gimme Back My Money
Stevie Ray and George Thorogood will find much to love. But he's adept at Dickie Betts/Allman Brothers southern rock jams, Stonesy blues rockers, and some Pete Yorn inspired chugging roots rock as well. Plays the Blues is, as you might expect, the more authentic of the two albums in terms of living up to the band name. But Gimme Back My Money is the more eclectic and the better release. He's all over the place. Nothing wrong with that, and quite a bit right.
Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears -- Tell 'Em What Your Name Is
vintage '60s southern soul -- Joe Tex, James Brown, Wilson Pickett,
Booker T. and the MGs. And if he doesn't break any new ground on his
second album, that ground he's standing on is still holy, and he knows
it, and he brings the incendiary funk. Tell 'Em What Your Name Is
is half Godfather of Soul throwdown and half greasy Stax soul, with a
little down-and-dirty jukejoint blues thrown in for good measure. Yes,
that's 110%. That sounds about right.