Heard Lately


In Heard Lately. More on Medium.

Haiku of contrition:

Brandon Santini
And Jeff Jensen. Together.
Lived up to my dreams.

Artist: Tennessee Redemption
Album: Tennessee Redemption
Release date: September 2019

Cover of Tennessee Redemption album.
Cover of Tennessee Redemption album.

The deal. Albums can break your heart. Even ones you haven’t heard yet. Sometimes you want so much from a new release — you’re just so excited — that it’s tough for the artist to deliver on the expectations. …

Haiku of contrition:

Sean Pinchin’s Bad Things
Is actually good stuff.
Don’t trust the title.

Artist: Sean Pinchin
Album: Bad Things
Release date: March 1, 2019

Cover of Sean Pinchin’s Bad Things
Cover of Sean Pinchin’s Bad Things

The deal. As someone who came of age as a college radio DJ, I developed a certain distrust of anything too poppy. And even now, over twenty years later, I still reflexively bristle at anything with just a whiff of being too radio friendly. But maybe I’m finally starting to mellow. Because Sean Pinchin’s Bad Things is blues rock I’d be comfortable hearing on the radio (before iHeartMedia destroyed the form, of course).

Pinchin is Canadian, so perhaps the Americana label doesn’t apply, but the singer/slide guitarist certainly has a firm handle on the roots sound. He has a surprisingly sweet voice that works well against heavy blues grooves and howling slide that’s like a wolf during a full moon. Pinchin does a great job balancing familiar blues riffs against rock beats and uses an energy that’s practically metal. He also keeps things accessible, but not dumb, which is what sparked the radio thought. …

Haiku of contrition:

Time waits for no one.
Except Reverend Peyton.
They seem pretty tight.

Artist: The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band
Album: Poor Until Payday
Release date: October 5, 2018

Cover of their album.
Cover of their album.

The deal. There’s the story, perhaps apocryphal, about a drunken W.C. …

Haiku of contrition:

Blues. Rock. Grunge. New Wave. Tokyo Tramps have it all. Except Reggaeton.

Artist: Tokyo Tramps
Album: If I Die Tomorrow
Release date: October 15, 2018

The deal. It might be hyperbolic to say that one song can make an album, but a good opening track can certainly suck the listener in. So while I’m a fan of Tokyo Tramps’ If I Die Tomorrow, and enjoyed the entire record, “Flowing Water,” its first track, is what grabbed my attention and drove this review.

Tokyo Tramps are a Boston-based husband and wife grungy rock band. There’s lots of Jimi Hendrix inspired guitar riffs (courtesy of singer/guitarist/husband Satoru Nakagawa) and Mitch Mitchell-inspired drum rolls — the kind that go on so long, you almost feel yourself beginning to lose your balance (courtesy of Tim Carman). The band hits a very specific sweet spot in the overlap between 1990s grunge and 1970s blues rock. What keeps things from degenerating into fuzz is the group’s strong sense of song, and the all-too-occasional vocal contributions from singer/bassist/keyboardist/wife Yukiko Fujii. …

Haiku of contrition:

Painting song pictures.
Taking us to new places.
It is VR folk.

Artist: Erisy Watt
Album: Paints in the Sky
Release date: July 26, 2019

Erisy Watt album cover
Erisy Watt album cover

The deal. I’m always impressed by artists who can convey different states of mind. …

Haiku of contrition:
Castiglia rocks
With his vocals and guitar.
Lucky eleven?

Artist: Albert Castiglia
Album: Masterpiece
Release date: May 24, 2019

Cover of Albert Castiglia’s Masterpiece.
Cover of Albert Castiglia’s Masterpiece.

The deal. Not that all blues rock is predictable, but the genre lends itself to patterns. Structurally a blues is three chords in a set order and given there are only 12 notes in the chromatic scale, your options are quite literally finite. …

Haiku of contrition:

Who was Lee Moses?
Didn’t know until last month.
I was dumb back then.

Artist: Lee Moses
Album: How Much Longer Must I Wait? Singles & Rarities 1967–1973
Release date: May 24, 2019

Cover of Lee Moses’ How Much Longer Must I Wait
Cover of Lee Moses’ How Much Longer Must I Wait

The deal. Buddhists use the expression “Dharma is like a finger pointing at the moon” and it’s one I love. The idea is that words (the finger) are a tool to explain a concept but not the idea itself (the moon). I feel that way about press releases. …

Haiku of contrition:

Not scared of country.
Rayna Jaymes gave me courage.
Too bad she’s not real.

Artist: The South Austin Moonlighters
Album: Travel Light
Release date: May 17, 2019

Image for post
Image for post

The deal. Growing up in the heavy metal haven that was (and might still be) suburban Queens, when you asked people what they listened to, they’d inevitably say one of two things:

  1. ‘Slayer you poser. What else is there?’ And then they’d punch you in your shoulder. Or crotch. Usually crotch.
  2. ‘I like everything…’ Then there would be a pause. ‘Except country.’

As a child/teen/young adult, my only exposure to country was occasional snippets of it on TV and in movies. You didn’t hear it on the radio and I didn’t know anyone who even knew anyone who was a fan. So while I’ve learned to appreciate, and even enjoy, country music, it’s not an easy genre for me. There’s a subtlety to it for which I’m just not naturally wired. And that’s what I enjoyed so much about The South Austin Moonlighters’ Travel Light: it’s country that’s not subtle. …

Haiku of contrition:

Big Daddy Wilson.
Voice as thick as a python.
But much less scary.

Artist: Big Daddy Wilson
Album: Deep in My Soul
Release date: April 19, 2019

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Image for post

The deal. I’m a big Muddy Waters fan, so I tend to see everything in terms of him. When I heard Big Daddy Wilson’s Deep in My Soul, my first thought was that he sounded like a sweeter Waters. Waters’ huge voice had just a hint of acidity. …

Haiku of contrition:

Sleaze rock is not mean.
It’s meant as a compliment.
A textured album.

Artist: Left Lane Cruiser
Album: Shake and Bake
Release date: May 31, 2019

Image for post
Image for post

The deal. Maybe sleaze rock isn’t the most precise way to describe Left Lane Cruiser’s Shake and Bake. It’s not salacious or misogynistic. The sleaze, or perhaps grease, comes from the guitar tones and song grooves which bounce in a decidedly, delightfully sleazy way. …


Heard Lately

Rather than giving up on reviewing albums that are a little…

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