Rooster Roundabout Says Goodbye
We bid you farewell
I love music. I love people. I love information. I've combined those three loves into this fun little column over the past two years, having the opportunity to write about music and relay information about it to the three or four people that have found some sort of enjoyment in reading this little slice of music news since its inception. I've had the opportunity to cover an array of various exciting endeavors, from Bjork's last surprise album to unlikely collaborations (like that hiccup of a project between Norah Jones and that dweeb from Green Day). But like that old adage goes: All good things must come to an end.
Since I've recently put in my two-week's notice at the Weekly Alibi, this will serve as my last Rooster Roundabout. And as Anthony Hopkins says in Hearts in Atlantis: “I wouldn't have missed a single minute of it, Bobby! Not a single minute!” Who knows where I'll go from here? Maybe I'll teach. Maybe I'll freelance. Maybe I'll light that fire under my butt and finally finish my novel. Many roads lie ahead, and there are plenty of moments to look back on. So this final Rooster Roundabout will focus on my favorite music of 2015, thus far. Read and enjoy. Or don't. Maybe I'll see you around. Maybe I won't. Either way ... take care of yourself and be well. Cheers!
My first is the release of Lady Lamb's second record After. Having dropped “The Beekeeper” from her name, this album seems to be somewhat of a new iteration of the ideas she expressed in her first record Ripely Pine. On After, singer-songwriter Aly Spaltro is punchier, more intimate and way more expansive. Going from first track “Vena Cava” to album closer “Atlas,” it's breathtaking in every sense of the word. It's got dynamic guitar riffs (“Heretic”), insightful lyrics (“Ten”), and her vocals are as good as they've ever been. If you've not yet heard it, do yourself a favor and purchase it now. Or you can still stream the whole thing over at Consequence of Sound. Watch Lady Lamb's appearance on KEXP below.
I'd never heard of Lee Moses before I saw an episode of the HBO series “Girls,” during which character Jessa is coming off cocaine withdrawals and dancing manically in her apartment to Moses' tune “Bad Girl.” It's a so-so moment in the show, but the song was what captured me. The pain in Moses' voice, the horns coming in during the chorus. It's fucking fantastic. So that has since become one of my favorite tunes of 2015, even though it was recorded in 1967. Moses only released one record (Time and Place) in 1971, but you can hear the whole thing on YouTube, or find it for purchase online. Have a listen to “Bad Girl” below.
It's another excellent release from Austin-based band Heartless Bastards. Fronted by singer-songwriter Erika Wennerstrom, their latest record Restless Ones maintains the same fantastic vocals, the same uplifting lyrics, but it fuses somewhat of their old garage aesthetics from Stairs and Elevators with the slick production of their previous record Arrow to create a hybrid of sound that sees the band truly coming into their own. Watch them playing album track “Pocket Full of Thirst” live below. And as I said in my review of the album, if Ms. Wennerstrom isn't canonized later in life for her contribution to music, then we've totally failed as a species.
It was somewhat of a surprise to fans of Olympia band Sleater-Kinney to see a new record from the trio arise in 2015. Many thought they were pretty much gone forever. And No Cities to Love didn't disappoint. It's fast-paced, visceral, political, everything that made the band legendary in their day. But since I wasn't a huge fan of the band, it prompted me to go to previous recordings, and that's when I discovered The Woods. What I consider to be their best record, it's an amazing exploration of the political, of the personal, of everything that makes being a human a very tragic, yet beautiful experience. From dealing with suicide (“Jumpers”) to primal relationships (“Let's Call It Love”), the record just doesn't stop. Have a listen to “Let's Call It Love” below.
That's it, folks. Maybe we'll meet again someday. That's the beauty of being alive. There's always hope.