Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Tim Bragg takes command of a balanced garage rock style with pop sensibility and a blue collar rock ethos. When these songs rock, the guitars ring out constantly somewhere in between Smithereens and Radio Birdman. When they slow down a bit, they retain a real grit in the guitar work as they explore the lyrical end of things atop a bouncy rhythm. Bragg eventually plays through variations on the rock format with some soul and pop moves. At times, the songs lapse into some standard R&B/rock moves that I do not prefer as much as his rockers or creative soulful journeys, but most of these fourteen songs succeed. The sound is crisp and strong with creative arrangements sneaking in various lead guitar coloring, keys, or a brief sax. He covers Lowell George and a Phil Lynott song "King's Call" which features that classic Lynott vocal pattern. The album ends with some great guitar work reminding me of a more 1970s style Bevis Frond. Although based in France, the lyrics are in English and the sound combines UK, USA, and continental Europe moves (as well as some worldly touches). Tim Bragg has both a taste for classic rock and creative approaches to rock music that keeps this album fresh and invigorating. His music is always welcome on my playlist and I would love to see him on this side of the Atlantic some time.

Songs to try first:

Sometimes - This is the first cut, it's the single, and it's busy garage rock guitar work sets the stage for some active listening.

My Family - There are some horns in this fine arrangement of a highly balanced song that could fit in a variety of radio formats.

Distant Charms - This has a great laid back rhythm and soulful delivery of the vocals. A change of pace and a standout song.


This Philadelphia outfit is one of those secret treasures out there that I was lucky enough to run into at a show at the Asylum years ago. Thankfully, they have kept me in the loop where their musical offerings which have always left me greatly excited at the sound and direction they come up with. This latest record is no exception. They open with a wicked curve ball psyche folk number that sounds closer to Josh Homme doing psyche-folk than Wizz Jones. But next, it is more of what I expect with a thunderous psyche/alt metal song. Thereafter, it is some of the more imaginative heavy rock being made on this or any other coast. There are strong shifts in pace and volume and I emphasize strong as there is full assurance whether they are blasting away at electric guitar or adding lovely violin runs and keyboard fills. Here is hoping 2013 will be productive for them and allow us a live experience here in the DC area. And although I list a few songs to try, you should really go all in here.

Songs to try first:

Glass Mouth - Fierce yet creative rocker to wake up the dead.

And If - A lovely song with creative rock edginess and an engaging melody. This is what Queens of the Stone Age and bands like that should be doing.

E.Y.E.S. - A brighter power drone than that of what you might expect from Bardo Pond.


This local band is known for energized performances featuring ballsy rock'n'roll and high spirited heartland songs delivered with gusto and passion. So of course, the opening number shows careful restraint as they carefully manage intricate guitar work atop a lightly lively rhythm while showing off a great male/female vocal duet. This is Americana rock music with great balladry with gutsy heart-worn-on-sleeve songs that do not head anywhere near pretension like many other post-Springsteen bands to remain nameless. There is a touch of Smithereens, John Doe, Sadies, and many other bands in the history of rock'n'roll here. You won't get any new genres invented on this record, but you will get some sparkling playing in a highly enjoyable style of music along with some fresh songs covering some very old themes.

And for a fun filled Saturday night, you can come to the CD release party at the Iota on January 12th.

Songs to try first:

Juneen - The opener sets the tone with a light Sadies style song where the notes dance around a crowded dance floor while creating their own space.

The Price You Pay - Simply, a lovely song that I will be replaying first, when I don't have time to hear the whole album.

Better Man - I really like the extra jangle in the guitar and the playful melody.


I saw this Boston band this past summer and they somewhat blew me away with an eclectic hard rocking brand of Americana that twisted and morphed into intriguing directions. This album has much of what I saw and more. They do fit into the indie rock crowd with intriguing modern rock sounds, yet with plenty of Americana and folk touches along the way (or in this case, effectively bookending the harder rock songs). And although there are genre bending moves everywhere, the songs all sound of one highly skilled band. And when you really bring the creativity as they do here, genre bending is really an uplifting experience for those of us that listen to hundreds of new bands each and every year, decade after decade.

And come hear for yourself when they join us at the Black Cat on January 12th with the fine local band, Ugly Purple Sweater.

Songs to try first:

Don't Change my Mind - If the title cut is the opener, you can bet you want to start right there. This has a haunting melody reminding me of some of my deeper felt folk cuts from my collection.

Pick Your Battles - This cut rocks more with power pop guitar moves, cool organ parts, and a great vocal line augmented with some ooh-ah backing vocals that still work.

Strongman - Kind of a classic rock song wearing post modern clothing. Clashing? No, somehow it works in a nice creative twist.


This five-song EP comes my way from my old hometown of Dayton, Ohio. Or rather, it is an LP as the five songs have some length to them. Either way, this power trio recreates the classic hard rock I grew up on in that slow midwestern industrial town. There is a post-punk, metal understanding presence here, but the Sabbath meets Motorhead approach to the pace and sound of this heavy music is welcome to my ears. There is even a progressive sophistication like that of the Sword in "Weather Breeder" that continues in a few other songs as well. There is always plenty of room for music of this style when the quality and assertiveness is there as it is here. There is a strength to the propulsion and a good feel in the vocal work. Add a strong production and you have a nice starting point for this up and coming band. I hear they are hungry for the road and based on this, an east coast swing would find them lots of hungry rock fans.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you can see the video for DMG's song AND IF here


Or listen to/purchase the record at discomachinegun.bandcamp.com