Sunday, July 12, 2020
A lot of you know Burton as the drummer in The Pandoras, but she's been releasing music under the honeychain name since 2013. The current lineup, which includes Andre Tusques on bass and Loye Aubrey Jr on drums, sounds awesome. Over the years, Burton has developed a signature style of songwriting that incorporates influences from numerous eras and genres. While honeychain is definitely a classic Southern California sun-soaked punk pop group, the band's sound owes just as much to early '90s alternative rock, the pure pop of the '60s, and modern day garage rock. I would have had zero complaints about a repeat of CRUSHED, but Pocket Full Of Good Luck does not settle for just more of the same. It's a fine example of how a great pop band ought to progress. It takes everything I liked about honeychain and adds so much more. Songs like "Go Away" and "Great Big World" capture the vintage honeychain punky power pop sound in all its glory. On the other hand, songs like "Spaceman" and "Flee Los Angeles" take the heavy guitar '90s alt-rock inspirations of the band's previous releases and push them front and center. "Flee Los Angeles" in particular will rock you straight back to 1993! This album is such a pleasure to listen to because it gives you a little bit of everything. "Beautiful Now" is haunting and gorgeous. The title track is a punk rock thrill ride. "Chemtrails" is bittersweet pop at its absolute finest. "289" is pure garage rock and an absolute blast. And then there's the stunning "Late Night Movie Show", which Burton co-wrote with her dear friend Kim Shattuck. It closes the album in a beautiful and memorable manner. It's just so heartfelt, sweet, and moving in a completely unpretentious way. I find myself focusing on the significance of every word Burton sings. As I imagine every other honeychain fan listening to this song with me, there won't be a dry eye among us.
With now two great albums to its name, honeychain has established itself as one of the finest pop/rock bands of the present day. And Hillary Burton is such an amazing songwriter! Pocket Full Of Good Luck picks up where CRUSHED left off and moves several steps forward. It's all the best of pop, rock, and punk mixed together in cool and creative ways. It sounds like a million bucks, and the songs are fantastic all the way through. Click here to listen or buy!
Digital purchase link
CD purchase link
Saturday, July 11, 2020
Friday, July 10, 2020
These five tracks were recorded over a three-day period in 1991 at the Cars-owned studio Synchro Sound. Lehane made a special deal with sound engineer Tom Hamilton that allowed him to record the EP on the cheap by going in after midnight. Lehane, who was between bands at the time, enlisted the services of several talented friends to play on his debut solo record. This included Charlie Chesterman (Scruffy the Cat, Harmony Rockets, the Motorbikes), Chris Doucette (The Galley Slaves, Witch Doctor, Hotbox), Danny Coughlin (Children of Paradise, Lazy Susan, Eric Martin & the Illyrians), Chris Erikson (Sacred Cows), Randall Gibson IV (Scruffy the Cat, The Flies, the Illyrians), Lance Hewitt (Timmys), and Scott Seiver (Ted Leo, Tenacious D, John Legend, Pete Yorn). It's just so cool to envision all of these amazing musicians gathering late at night to cut a record! At this point, you may be wondering why it took almost three decades for this EP to see the light of day. There does not appear to be a good answer to this question. Thankfully, Malibu Lou heard these songs and immediately wanted to release them. The original plan was for Lehane to record three brand-new songs with Ed Riemer and create a mash-up of old and new. But then came the pandemic, and all of that went out the window. So what we have here are five tracks out of the 1991 time capsule that really hold up. If you're expecting a Dogmatics feel, well there's certainly a little bit of that. You'll hear the guitars that open "Kiss My Tattoo" and instantly know who you're listening to. And the rocking and rolling "Fish" could easily pass for a lost Dogmatics track. But over the course of these five songs, Lehane covers a good deal of musical territory. "Kiss My Tattoo" is high energy garage rock, Boston style. "Runaway With You" is a Stonesy barroom ballad that Lehane's current label mate Tom Baker would be proud to have written. "All I Can Do" is twangy, aching, and reminiscent of the Replacements.
Several of the songs on this EP, including the raging "Kiss My Tattoo", were written in the aftermath of a painful breakup. It has to be a little weird for Lehane, now happily married for over two decades, to hear these songs and relive that particular moment of his life. But in purging himself of some unpleasant memories, he created some remarkable music. And then there's the excellent "Feel Like Dying" - a song about a soldier heading off to the Gulf War. That might seem very specific to 1991, but the themes of the song are every bit as relevant and impactful today. It's amazing how a 29-year-old EP fits in so seamlessly with the rest of the music coming out on Rum Bar Records today. Then again, that kind of makes sense. There's a long list of current Rum Bar artists who would consider The Dogmatics and Jerry Lehane to be huge influences on their songwriting and musical style. Hopefully by next year, we'll hear those new solo tracks. Jerry Lehane is a national treasure! Be sure to check out this recent interview he did with Anngelle Wood!
Thursday, July 9, 2020
Recently the women of WhistleStop made the leap from playing shows together to making a record together! They were exchanging stories about good times they'd had at drive-in movies (hint: they were totally unrelated to the movie!). Justine Covault (Justine and The Unclean, Justine's Black Threads) thought that sounded like a great song idea. Within a day, Simone Berk (Kid Gulliver, Sugar Snow) and Linnea Herzog (Linnea's Garden, PowerSlut) had co-written the perfect summer pop song. And just like that, WhistleStop Rock was a band! Joining Berk (lead vocals) and Herzog (guitar) for the recording of "Queen of the Drive-In" were Covault on guitar, Linda Bean Pardee (The Chelsea Curve) on bass, Sandy Summers (Kid Gulliver) on drums, Heather Rose on stylophone and backing vocals, Lynda Mandolyn (Tiger Bomb, Crystal Canyon) on backing vocals, and JoEllen Saunders Yannis (Cold Expectations) on backing vocals. What a group!
"Queen of the Drive-In" is exactly the power pop/rock and roll smash you'd expect given the contributions of all these talented individuals. In the grand tradition of musical odes to the drive-in, this song is very, very naughty! Berk's lyrics are hot, hilarious, and totally fantastic. In the interest of keeping this blog PG rated, the only line I will quote is "What did we see? I'm not paying attention". Berk delivers a perfectly dirty-sweet vocal, and you will not hear a catchier song this summer. The single is already available from Bandcamp, but the women of WhistleStop Rock have something special planned for the official release of this single. Each performer on "Queen of the Drive-In" appears in a music video produced by Daniel Ouelette. The video will premiere tomorrow night as part of a virtual WhistleStop Rock show on Facebook. All of the WhistleStop bands will be performing, as will special guests A Bunch of Jerks and The Shang-Hi-Los. The show will be live tomorrow from 7:30-9:30 Eastern time. In the meantime, give "Queen of the Drive-In" a listen. And check out all the cool bands I've linked below!
Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Tuesday, July 7, 2020
Don't Try So Hard from 2018, that's really great as well and definitely work checking out!
Monday, July 6, 2020