Sarah Borges and The Broken Singles. Lauries Music bar, Glasgow. Sunday 25th April.

For their Glasgow début this fine outfit toned down their usual full blown rock show to accommodate the cosiness of the venue. Tucked into a small back room with a small but devoted audience they turned in an almost perfect performance that may have lacked wattage but more than made up for it in spades with fine playing and a great sense of fun.
A disparate bunch with bassist, Binky, looking like Keith Richards’ attic portrait, guitarist Lyle Brewer sporting a preppy look, drummer Rob Dulaney seemingly Shel Silverstein’s’s double and the glamorously goofy Borges herself, they spent a great deal of time interacting with the audience. Borges and Binky are a great double act and delighted with their tales of hanging out with Glaswegians the previous night and her attempts to get around the local tongue.
Away from the banter however this is a serious band who play some mighty fine tunes tastefully and the highlight of almost every song was guitarist Brewer. Obviously acquainted with the work of James Burton, Roy Buchanan and Danny Gatton he played tasty licks, tearing solos and towards the end grabbed a plastic pint glass from a punter’s table to produce some amazing slide sounds.
With songs ranging from rockabilly to honky tonk and country blues the two sets whizzed by. Standout songs included Daniel Lee, Symphony (a dream like version played beautifully) and a long sultry version of Cry One More Time. A version of Evan Dando’s Ride with Me topped the show before the band came back for a gloriously riotous encore.
A great night and a great band.

Jon Garcia. The Lake

Diving into this lake is an exhilarating experience. There are deep waters and strange currents that pull the listener under the surface, almost drowning but certainly enveloped in an almost dream like aquamarine state of mind (if such a thing exists). This is baroque pop with horns, woodwind and strings decorating a very strong set of songs that are melodic in the extreme as Garcia’s handsome vocals dominate proceedings.
Garcia is a 27 year old musician and filmmaker who moved from Austin to Portland a few years ago.  Immersing himself in the artistic scene there he has been making this album with a cast of dozens over the past year and a half. Although there are whiffs of the Buckley’s in Garcia’s vocals and the organic feel of much of the instrumentation is similar to much of the “psych folk” movement there is little to compare this album with without going back to the heyday of Van Dykes Park’s work with the Beach Boys and Harry Nilsson. Ornate, stately, almost orchestral at times there are moments of beauty. The shimmering strings, harp and violins on  “Leaving Me For a Bald Fat Man” are heart stopping. At the heart of the music however is a punchy rhythm section with some great bass playing (on Song for the Siren (not the Buckley song) for example).  At time the propulsion is akin to that of New Order with a side order of Kraut Rock and the closing song “Tram” echoes Wire circa Pink Flag.
In addition to the gothic shade afforded by the instrumentation Garcia as a wordsmith avoids sentimentality The best example of this is the contradiction at the heart of the aforementioned  “Leaving Me For a Bald Fat Man. “ It does tug at the heartstrings but the lyrics are barbed. Losing his love to, yes indeed, a fat man, the singer closes this wonderful “love” song with the words “don’t forget me, bitch.”
Highly recommended.

Check him out here

Sarah Borges in Glasgow this weekend.

Sarah Borges and The Broken Singles last album, The stars are Out, was a fine example of power pop with a countrified slant and even some retro garage punk on I’ll Show You How. The twang guitar on No One Will Ever Love You was sublime, think of a female Chris Issak and you are almost there. Anyway, Sarah and chums pitch up in Lauries’ Acoustic Music Bar on Sunday night and it promises to be an intimate occasion, not the full on rock version but a slapping, toe tapping night if the evidence here is anything to go by.

The Izzys. Keep Your Powder Dry.

Hailing from New York this crew were afforded the accolade of a John Peel session back in 2003 but apart from that they appear to have flown under the critical radar. This five song EP is their sixth release and it wallows in a fetching slapdash fashion with a homemade feel (and sound) about it. What it does have is a great, at times endearingly shambolic, guitar sound that reminds one of Keef Richard squaring up to Ronnie Wood or the hypnotic lines in The Flamin’ Groovies’ Slow Death.
Whether the country stylings of opening song Tear them Down (a late night bar band playing to the last of the lonely drinkers) or the lazy stroll that is Under The Sun this is music that will help to nurse a beer or two. The strangled guitar on You Are Free and the duelling solos on their cover of Jerry Garcia’s Deal fade far too soon leaving one to wonder what this lot are like live. Lost On The Way is perhaps the standout song, soaked in pedal steel it aches in all the right places.
Highly recommended if you want a superior bar band in your sitting room.

Check them out here

Lost On The Way

April pups.

Brian Molnar & The Naked Hearts. Miss You is a live album recorded one night in Tennessee although apart from the applause you wouldn’t know it. Molnar is a songwriter very much in the mould of late sixties/early seventies folk like Arlo Guthrie. His studio albums have an earthy, country sound with dobro and steel guitar appearing. Here, confined to his five-piece band with keyboards high in the mix, this is smoothed out with no sign of spontaneity or fire in the belly. Probably best left to fans who have been to a gig.

Donna Ulisse’s Holy Waters, on the other hand, positively bristles with jaunty bluegrass dobro, fiddle and banjo. Judging by the lyrics and the extensive liner notes Donna is a fully paid up committed Christian who talks it like she walks it. However this is no evangelical call to arms but a rather excellent collection of devotional songs very much in the vein of The Carter Family that are as fresh as a mountain stream.

In contrast Darcie Miner on Loneliness Anonymous has a bit of a dirty mouth on her with a warning sticker highlighting the potential perils for the unwary deejay. Just as well that eight of the ten songs here are playable on the radio as Ms. Miner slams into the opening song “Vulnerability” and doesn’t let up for the remainder. Miner’s a fine singer and producer Jimmy Patton and the rest of the band shine with a big fat guitar sound and a fully formed pop sensibility. At times reminiscent of Kathleen Edwards Miner’s lyrics for the most part are about the vulnerabilities of young women cast adrift in a dangerous world but she seems tough enough to cope. Overall this is a tremendous listen and the pick of the litter here.

Have a listen here……………………..

Brian Molnar & The Naked Hearts Santa Fe

Donna Ulisse Caney Creek to Canaan land

Darcie Miner Vulnerablility

Woodenbox With A Fistful of Fivers. Album launch

A packed crowd in Mono on Sunday night heard this splendidly named band play all of the songs from their debut album, “Home and the Wildhunt.” Loud and raucous and tight as the proverbial duck at the end of a promotional tour they played with gusto and appeared to be enjoying it as much as the audience. The horn section (and whistling) did at times conjure up the spirit of Morricone and spaghetti westerns (to wit the name) but were also able to add slabs of sound giving the impression of a soul revue from back in the days of Stax. Difficult to call a favourite moment here but the radio friendly Twisted Mile drew cheers and Besides the Point was like seeing The Violent Femmes on a particularly psychotic bend. The closing song My Mule had an almost psychedelic start before the band hammered into the song.

The album itself is a bit of a tour de force. With twelve songs delivered in the space of 40 minutes there is hardly time to draw breath. There are the radio friendly hooks of Twisted Mile and the Calexico stylings of Hang the Noose but the baroque pop of Heart Attack, sounding like something Mark Mulcahey might have written, is a gem while the segue from the harmonies on the opening Intro to the horns on Life From Above is excellent.

Gathering a reputation as a hot band live and radio plays from the likes of Marc Riley and Radcliffe and Maconie the album only cements the possibility that Woodenbox are set for greater things. The album’s released on Electric Honey and is another feather in the cap for this label based at Stow College.
Woodenbox with a Fistful of Fivers – Besides The Point by Triad Publicity “>

Check them out and buy the album here