Aimee Mann, Ecce Homo, Forgotten Blues, Hidden Cameras, Home on Native Land, In Between, Mental Illness, The Feelies, The Molochs
Old is new on this edition of breaking news.
It is great to see acts come out of the woodwork stronger than ever. The Feelies never raced up the charts when they originally hit the scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s but, like the Velvet Underground, they seemed to inspire just about every one of their fans to start their own band. Their original, laid back distinctive guitar sound still seems fresh today. Their soon to be released album, In Between, however, is a bit of departure, with stronger, heavier guitar sound on the pre-release single “Gone, Gone, Gone.” Gone, Gone, Gone
Toronto’s Hidden Cameras continue to release curious reinventions of all manner of traditional poprock. Home on Native Land features a great hooky alt country sounding single in “Don’t Make Promises,” a song that wouldn’t sound out of place on any number of Dwight Yoakam releases. The most recent album also features a remake of “He is the Boss of Me,” a song from HC’s earliest release, 2001’s Ecce Homo. I remember buying an early release of the CD at one of their shows that contained felt marker writing on the disk and a colour photocopied sleeve. The original version of the song is great but stark in its DIY economism. The new version is rich and frankly, voluptuous, by comparison, which really showcases what a great song it is.
Aimee Mann is back with a new album, Mental Illness, one she claims will explore the acoustic pop sound of the 1960s, with back up from Jonathan Coulton no less. I say claim because at present we have just the one pre-release single to go by, the exquisite “Goose Snow Cone.” But if her track record recommends her, it’s going to be great. In another entry we featured her anti-Trump single “Can’t You Tell” as well as few tunes from her collaboration with Ted Leo in The Both. And her last solo album, Charmer, was solid, with nary a track that wasn’t worth paying 99 cents for. Mann has a distinctive songwriting and performance style, and her lyrics are smart though sometimes confounding (which is good – it gets you thinking). Check out the clever wordplay in her 2014 stand alone single, “I’m Cured,” with its low key acoustic guitar accompaniment that features some nice accordion and piano slipping in as it goes along.Goose Snow Cone
On the something new front, The Molochs are an outstanding 1960s re-invention from Los Angeles. Their just released new album, America’s Velvet Glory, is so cool you’re going to have to handle it with gloves. The transformation from their 2013 indie debut, Forgotten Blues, is pretty impressive. The latter is a enjoyable DIY affair but the latest release exudes a kind of uber confidence that says you won’t touch that dial. The influences are many but I hear Lou Reed in the Velvets in the vocal style while the sometimes spare accompaniment reminds me of a number of early 1980s indie bands. In a world of single song downloads, this is an album worth buying. If I have to single out a few songs, I’d note “That’s the Trouble with You,” “The One I Love,” and “No More Crying.”
Guitar strings won’t buy themselves. Check out The Feelies, Hidden Cameras, Aimee Mann and The Molochs online to get their recordings and touring news.