Showing posts with label Alt-country. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Alt-country. Show all posts

Oct 8, 2015

Album Review: The Bottle Rockets - South Broadway Athletic Club

By Kevin Broughton

In the beginning, there was Uncle Tupelo. And the Bottle Rockets.

Technically, there was Gram Parsons, then Steve Earle. But if there’s a Ground-and-Year Zero for the alt.country revival/renaissance (whatever that was), it’s the early 1990s and a stretch of the Mississippi River Valley near St. Louis.  

A public divorce – really more of a crib death – did Uncle Tupelo in. And almost a quarter-century later, the Bottle Rockets are still getting it done. Few acts in the genre before or since have captured the blue-collar, everyman ethos the way front man/lyricist Brian Henneman has, and on South Broadway Athletic Club, he’s eased into middle age comfortably and without losing a step.

Recorded in his native St. Louis – and for the first time, at a slow enough place to ensure quality control, by Henneman’s telling – South Broadway is the band’s 11th studio album and first with Bloodshot Records. A note about the label: No indie outfit has done more, as their Twitter bio (@BSHQ) points out to “champion the music that lurks between the labels since 1994.” Just check the talent-rich roster…and support an artist or two by making a purchase.

“Monday (Everytime I Turn Around)” opens the album in Henneman’s trademark wry style with a dash of Roger Miller-esque word play. “There’s just no controllin’ this rollin’ with the flow, when it’s almost have past now a while ago.” An aging cow-punk rocker meets the digital age, more exasperated than pissed.

Henneman’s characters have historically ranged somewhere on the worn-down/desperate/cynical continuum. This time around some of them actually enjoy a bit of whimsy.


“XOYOU” is a river rat’s tribute to Tom Jones. If the Welsh crooner/sex symbol had grown up in Festus, Mo., he’d have had just such a raw sensibility. With a twang.

“Smile” is a simple, happy love song. Two and a half minutes of pop sensibility that you can’t not like; it’s as efficient and optimistic as early Heartbreakers.

But the best two-minute toe-tapper of the bunch is “Dog:” Sometimes life is really just this simple. I love my dog.

God, ain’t it the truth? The Bottle rockets have arrived at a spot, looked around, and said, This ain’t all bad. It’s a little different, but all good.

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South Broadway Athletic Club is available from Bloodshot, iTunes, Amazon, etc.

Feb 21, 2014

Americana Band Name Generator


If you've run out of creative spark after writing umpteen songs about drunken sorrow, the working man, and bucolic strife but need the perfect name for your new roots rock or alt-country band, you're in luck! Just click below to visit my new "Genericana Band Name Generator!" My apologies to the three or four existing bands whose names are possible on this generator. 

Aug 20, 2013

Top Ten Less Successful Americana Bands



10. The Sex Offenders String Band

09. The Ghosts of Fartknocker Mountain


08. Beards in the Silo

07. Uncle Yoakam and Those Dapper Fellows

06. The Tattooed Rockabilly Roller-Derby Crack Whores

05. Big Barry and His Lumbago

04. Offal

03. Joe Biden and the Shotgun Boys

02. Mumford's Third Cousins, Twice Removed



01. Pantaloons Medicine Tent Revival

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