alt-country Archive

Album Mini-review: Milk Lines — Ceramic

File next to: Skip Spence, 13th Floor Elevators, Black Angels Just when you think the guitar-and-drums-duo format is totally played out, along comes Montréal-based Milk Lines. Rather than slammin’, unsubtle roots rock – the typical product of such duos – this pair makes music that sounds like a cross between freak-folk of the late 60s

Album Mini-review: Supersuckers — Holdin’ the Bag

File Next to: Long Ryders, Jason & the Scorchers, Peter Case If Michael Jackson could hubristically anoint himself King of Pop, it stands to reason that Supersuckers should be allowed to crown themselves the Greatest Rock’n’Roll Band in the World. Though past efforts have found the rowdy trio cranking out hard rock, they’re not a

Hundred-word Reviews for July 2015, Part 3

Blues, r&b, post-jazz and country-flavored singer/songwriter music: never let it be said that I only write about rock. Here are five fine releases in a wide array of musical styles. Rusty Wright Band – Wonder Man Take the attitude of big-band swing and electric guitar blues, and apply it to uptempo rock’n’roll, and you might

Album Mini-review: Rhett Miller — The Traveler

File Next to: Old 97s, Pete Yorn In his role as guitarist and lead vocalist of Old 97s, Rhett Miller has been at the modern-day vanguard of successful rock/country cross-fertilization. His solo career dates back even farther than Old 97s’ debut, and while he put solo efforts on hold for most of that band’s first

Album Review: The Mavericks — Mono

There’s much talk these days about the sorry state of country music. The genre – commercially, more popular than ever – is overrun with what its detractors call “bro country.” Hopelessly (some might say defiantly) clichéd songs about yellow beer, Friday nights, pickup trucks, mean ol’/clueless big city types and whatnot are the coin of

Album Review: Sid Griffin — The Trick is to Breathe

In the immediate wake of the excesses brought forth by psychedelia, popular (rock) music took a decided turn toward the simpler, more pastoral. Mere months after Cream were hitting the charts with “Sunshine of Your Love” and Jimi Hendrix was endeavoring to stand next to our fire, groups like The Band were finding success with

EP Review: Old 97’s and Waylon Jennings

The argument is often put forth – and not wholly without merit – that modern commercial country and western is an extension of rock music. The thinking goes that today’s c&w superstars craft songs that have much in common musically with “classic rock,” and that what they do to change it has more to do

Album Review: Hymn for Her Presents Lucy and Wayne’s Smokin’ Flames

Rock’n’roll doesn’t have a long list of successful male-female duets; at least not ones that, y’know, rock. Other traditions have done well with the duet format: Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, the one-off Frank and Nancy Sinatra duet, and others. But when it comes to hard-driving rocking, there just

Album Review: The Coal Porters – Find the One

I have a friend who possesses a much wider range of musical interest than my own. Unlike me, she rarely concerns herself with such trifling issues as what genre best describes a particular act. And because – at least I tell myself this is why – she doesn’t spend the better part of her free