OK, i’m officially calling it–2010 is going to be the Year of Old Timey Music Played By Fresh Faces. As i’m into snap brim fedoras and flappers, that’s fine by me. April Smith and the Great Picture Show are all over the blogoverse, and with good reason. They’ve got a cutie with a powerhouse of a voice on the mic and play a sound that’s hard to pinpoint, but somehow easily recognizable at the same time. But you can read about those cats anywhere. Here at LET, we strive to unearth those little gems you might now have heard otherwise.*
While i’m a firm believer that married folks should NEVER work together, Christa Meyer and Tim Kelley, the nuptialized duo behind Puerto Muerto, are doing a damn fine job of proving me wrong. The two have been making music for nearly a decade, and their latest, Drumming For Pistols, dropped earlier this week. They categorize their sound as “a unique mix of carnivalesque gypsy folk and intoxicated cabaret pop,” and that works for me. While Kelley’s voice is reminiscent of Eric Clapton, his lyrics and sensibilities are pure Tom Waits. Meyer is the more expressive vocally, but the two excel at painting word pictures, coming off more as poets who happen to have some instruments and a microphone handy. They float stylistically all over the place on this one, from the om pah pah goodness of “Beautiful Women With Shining Black Hair” (featuring Devil in a Woodpile’s Gary Schepers on tuba) to the soaring crunch of “Arcadia.” Check these cats out, pronto.
Kirsty McGee is with hobopop productions, “literary pop for the new Depression era.” HMV goes so far as to call them “the uk’s grittiest folk hobos.” Obviously, those descriptions alone piqued my interest. While i haven’t hung out with any hobos since a long, long night in Berlin a few years back, Kirsty and her band mates, the Hobopop Collective, evoke the essence of late nights, back alleys, shared bottles and possibly a chicken or two cooked on a coat hanger. Don’t ask, i said it was a long, long night. You will not have to ask, however, if Ms. McGee is worth your quality listening time once you check out the tracks below. Recorded live in front of an admiring audience at her native Manchester’s Contact Theatre, these come from her soon-to-be-released No. 5 (the site will soon be taking pre-orders; if you were as cool as me, you’d already have a copy, but what can you do? You think it’s easy being this hep a cat?). She starts things off slinky and sexy before easing into sultry and dulcet for most of the remainder. And yes, that is a brush roll to being the whole affair. If you never played percussion, you may not appreciate that, but i dug it big time. This is what you wished you heard every time you stepped into a dimly lit, smokey speakeasy. While Ms. McGee takes center stage on the CD, the Hobopop Collective ain’t too shabby themselves. Make sure to leave a “hobo friendly” notch on your picket fence the next time these cats come to town.
mp3: Omaha (Kirsty McGee and the Hobopop Collective from No. 5)
If the bands leading the resurrection charge are as talented as these two groups, i’m down for a renaissance. Now who’s got the bathtub gin, as i’m feeling a Charleston coming on and i want to be prepped.
*Not really. i’m a much lazier lump who has been exceedingly lucky with a lot of stellar submissions lately.