In this, Jay’s second roundup of new video’s that’ve taken his fancy while browsing the internet, he focuses on American bands about to visit these shores.
“The American’s are coming, the Americans are coming!” Ok, probably no one has ever shouted that, (not in a good way, anyway), but this time we’ll take a look and a listen to three American artists worth shouting about. And since these acts will be doing dates in the UK or Europe in the near future, if you see something here that catches your ear, check out their respective web sites to see when they may be invading a shore near you.
JJ Grey And Mofro: “The Sweetest Thing” (Alligator Records)
From the album “Georgia Warhorse” 2010
CD, LP, DL
First up are JJ Grey and Mofro. If I had to describe their sound in a word, I would just say “authentic”. A potent blend of soul, blues, funk, R&B, and a little rock and roll, JJ has described it as “Porch Soul”. To give you an idea of what authentic means to these guys, their first 5 studio albums were all recorded with producer Dan Prothero at Retrophonics in Saint Augustine, Florida, using very un-state of the art vintage gear, which helps give them a sound that takes one back to an era when real humans actually made real music in the same room together. What a concept!
Their newest album, “This River”, is due to be released April 16 and promises to deliver another heapin’ helpin’ of that “Porch Soul.” It looks like they will be doing dates in Europe during the last half of May, and again the last part of July, and they’re just as liable to turn up at a huge festival as at a smaller club. I’ve heard them twice in a medium sized venue, and all I can say is just be ready to leave your problems at the door. And smile. JJ also does a lot of solo acoustic gigs and studio radio promotions to get the word out, so be on the look out for that. To tide us over until a new video drops, here is JJ Grey and Mofro performing “The Sweetest Thing” from their last album “Georgia Warhorse.” JJ gets a little help from the great Toots Hibbertt of Toots and the Mytals on this one, and the result is like a big old slice of southern hospitality. Enjoy!
Steve Earle: “Invisible” ( New West Records)
From the album “The Low Highway” available 4/16/13
CD, LP, DL
The first release from Steve Earle’s up coming album “The Low Highway” is a gritty acoustic flavored ode to the people who sometimes sadly fall through the cracks in our society. The video for “Invisible” begins as we follow behind a man, probably with everything he owns on his back, across New York’s Brooklyn Bridge, with nowhere to go, and all day to get there. Shot on a grey cloudy day, the videos’ muted colors and mournful steel guitar paint just a sliver of a picture of what it might be like to be reduced to eating dinner from a garbage can, and your bedroom being a park bench. Pretty serious stuff, and I can’t wait to hear the rest of the album. Steve will be doing shows in the UK and Ireland coming up in the last half of May, and between this new album, and his impressive back catalogue, his shows are not to be missed.
Haim: “Falling” (Polydor)
Single available now, Album TBA
Next up is the video for the single “Falling” from the band Haim, (rhymes with lime), three sisters, Este, Danielle and Alana Haim, along with drummer Dash Hutton out of Los Angeles. This is the kind of song that begs to be played loud, in a dance club. It’s almost impossible to not move your feet to this one with it’s relentless electronic beat, and with those great sisterly vocals. This video features them in a jungle, with sort of a Hunger Games kind of look to it, without the bows and arrows (sorry). But as damn catchy as this song is however, it belies the fact that live, these girls kind of…dare I say…rock. They all play various instruments but as various clips on YouTube will attest, there is almost always some crunchy guitar going on, but always with a dance groove. They toured the UK last November and December, but in case you missed out they are returning for some European dates at the end of April, featuring a stop in London on April 24. And as if all that isn’t enough, the BBC have just announced that Haim is the number one act to follow in their annual Sound of 2013 music industry poll.
At the rate these girls are going, it’s a sure bet that we will be hearing a lot more from them long after that.
All words by Jay Rawley. More writing by Jay on Louder Than War can be found in his author archive here.