WEST OF WILTSHIRE: Just when you thought the current heat wave couldn’t possibly get hotter, here comes Kxng Blanco with a brand new set of conceptual and direct bangers named SummersOnSarsen. The whopping 18-track album, courtesy of GA Pro with ATHfactor-Liberty Entertainment, just came out last week via all streaming platforms. Familiar ears will readily recognize Blanco’s hardcore and nearly flawless flow, not to mention his pull-no-punches lyricism, but will also be pleased by the notably thoughtful selection of beats. Nothing here feels pasted over or tacked on but, rather, sounds deliberately compositional. The most single-worthy tracks here are the reverb stylized “E.T.,” the inspirational “Pain N’ Sufferin,’” and the title track. Blanco is a great storyteller, and most of the tracks here are deeply personal, and not all of it is comfortably absorbed. But that’s OK, as this work tells his story, not yours. Find this everywhere, but follow along at facebook.com/kxngblanco.
ANNIVERSARY SONGS: Long-running Athens Americana band Family And Friends is back with a short EP named All My Days. Two tracks are re-workings of older songs, specifically “Amadeus,” which first appeared on the band’s album XOXO (2015), and the second being “PRSM,” from the group’s Felix Culpa (2018). Each is a nice replaying of these older tracks, and they’re joined nicely by the soft acoustic number “For To The City.” While this is a fine slice of keeping-up-with-the-band, listening to it made me miss long summer nights at The Caledonia and elsewhere, seeing these guys onstage and hanging out with, you know, family and friends. Anyway, check this out at familyandfriends.bandcamp.com, and give ‘em a wave at facebook.com/familyandfriends.
C-60 PASTE UP: I don’t know a single dang ol’ thing about this band named Divorce Party, except they share a name with a Ruby The Rabbitfoot record, but they’ve got an EP out now that I can’t stop playing. Neatly and succinctly titled EP #1, it’s composed of six tracks recorded via 4-track cassette between 2018 and now. Due to its overall aesthetic and necessary sonic limitations, this is a nice lesson in remembering what creative folks can do with very little. The music itself pulls from a deep tradition of self-produced indie rock, and the songs spill through much of the latter 20th Century of college rock. To wit, there are shades of very early R.E.M., Sebadoh, Guided By Voices, et al throughout this. None very on the nose, but back there somewhere. Check it out at divorcepartyyy.bandcamp.com.
FIND IT: Across a mere two tracks, songwriter Elliot Shaw imparts the loneliness of isolation as well as the sometimes difficult-to-shed embeddedness of identity. The songs, “Never Given The Time” and “Queen Of Everything,” just came out last month, and, while not exactly a full-on release, they’re far from simply being tossed out there. The instrumentation—largely acoustic with some supporting strings imparting drones on the first, and a dark and lovely piano with wonderfully set guitar transitions on the second—is perfect on each. All told, this is a very romantic pair of songs that could have very easily slipped under the radar but didn’t. Find this at elliotshaw.bandcamp.com.
WE CAN DO IT: Y’all ever felt music just sweat into your ear? I mean, sure, OK, yeah we’ve all been there. But have you had it happen lately? If not, go spend a few minutes with the new tracks from Rosie & The Ratdogs. Since June, the band has released two singles ( “Sanhedra” and “Flicka”) off its upcoming EP. I hesitate to lump the band lazily into the “grunge” category because that term is too many decades old for quick relevance and reference. That said, sometimes you just feel lazy and throw off any hesitation you may feel. So, fans of TAD, Soundgarden, the more melodic tunes from Unsane, etc. will totally dig these the most. Kick the tires around over at rosieandtheratdogs.bandcamp.com.
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