by: Hobert Taylor
Little May - Little May -(Dew Process)
"Australian Haim" sez a reviewer. Apt comment. Poppy, clean, with a folky edge and jangly guitars... lots of reverb...lyrics like "Take me back to summer when the nights are getting warmer and I miss you..." I like "Midnight Hour","Bones", and especially the folkiest cut of them all "Boardwalks".
Sisiyou - Nervous -(Constellation Records)
They call themselves country/goth. Colin Huebert is the songwriter/producer, and his songs contain sonic elements akin to Silver Mount Zion (large vocal ensembles), Blue Rodeo and Cowboy Junkies (loping guitar figures), and David Bowie, (strangled anguished vocals over an insistent march). The poetry is thoughtful and moving. I really like "Violent Motion Pictures", and the title cut "Nervous", which is sweet and very reminiscent of early Velvet Underground. "Babylonian Proclivities" is an outlier, an intimate, dry, violin driven waltz, slow and gorgeous.
Current Swell - Ulysses -(Nettwerk)
This Victoria BC band released this last summer, but we got it recently... perhaps because they are currently touring the US. They rock out around folk and country tunes. Clearly a well seasoned bar band, the chops are tight, the arrangements and harmonies sophisticated, and all the right buttons are pushed, both emotionally and in the studio. Sometimes they have cool things to say, sometimes they are a party band. I like "Ulysses", "Who's With Us", "Gunshots", "We Will Run", and especially the acoustic cut "Flesh and Bone" which could be a country classic.
Rob Larkin and The Wayward Ones - Dogwood Roots -(Sprectra)
Intimate and anecdotal in the Jesse Winchester/J.D. Souther tradition, Larkin's music satisfies that itch to hear the reassurance that all's right with the world, you know the dry humor and quiet compassion of your big brother riding shotgun with you as you drive all night across west Texas. I like "LA", "One Rise Up", the soulful "It Spills Out" and the suite, "Still Here"/"Sister Soul".