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L.A. Beat

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Twisters come out swinging and hit a home run

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Whitehorse/ Vancouver blues band The Twisters are among my favourite bands on the Northern Blues label. So I was pleased to not only receive their new CD, “Come Out Swinging” but to hear they’ve branched out musically.alt

There is quite a bit of rockabilly, a lot of swing, a couple straight up blues numbers  like ‘Dirty Boy Blues,’  which sounds a little bit like a song from David Holt (Storyville). There is even a  really cool gospel rave-up “Party’s Going On.”

“Long Overdue,” has a really cool horn section behind it, which would not be out of place on a CD from fellow Northern Blues artist, J.W Jones.

The Twisters come out swinging rockabilly style on “Doghouse.” A a jazzy blues feel comes out on “I Guess that I Was Wrong.”

They even play  a bit of reggae on ‘Take My Own Advice,’ which is one  of several numbers featuring some sweet and soulful harp playing.

Kiko is definitely an upbeat highlight featuring more peppy harp playing plus some sweet jazz tinged soloing. Throughout there is some in the pocket stand up bass playing.

‘I Refuse to Grow Old,” is a pretty sweet, slower blues tune, with more cool harp and some tasteful acoustic playing.

The CD ends with an upbeat jazz swing number, ‘The Twister’s Theme.’

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
CD: Come Out Swinging
Band: The Twisters
Genre: blues
Record label: Northern Blues

Jesse and the Dandelions search for their sound

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Jesse and the Dandelions are an up and coming local band still in search of  their soundJesse and the Dandelions..
They display  several different facets of their personality on their new three song self-produced and designed EP, ‘The Lion’s Tooth EP.’
The first track, ‘Plans’ is an almost Beatlesque  slice of folk tinged pop, during which singer/guitarist Jesse Northey shows off his ’50s and ’60s  style vocal melodies.
“Cait From L.A.” is another ambient more Radiohead style  folk/pop number with some pretty arpeggios and a pleasant vocal melody.
 On the other hand, the third track, and my favourite “The Van Song” is a flat out four on the floor punk pop rocker which  sounds like it wouldn’t be out of place on a Weakerthans CD. It sounds like it was recorded live with the three band members, Northey and  vocalist drummer  Nick  Vedres and bassist Chris Banman. It’s fun, loud and raucous.
The EP doesn’t completely capture the energy of their live show, but it is an excellent start.
— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat editor
CD: The Lions Tooth EP
Band: Jesse and the Dandelions
Genre: pop/rock
Label: indie

Samuel James goes back to the delta

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If you like delta blues and some sick slide guitar you will like Portland , Maine bluesaltman Samuel James’ new CD “For Rosa, Maeve and Noreen,” which takes the listener back to the delta, back in the day. It has some dark, disturbing and somewhat wry lyrics especially on the first track, ‘Big, Black Ben’ which is the story of a black man getting lynched by the members of the KKK, except their rope is too long.
James has an impressive  and almost menacing New Orleans drawling baritone which is reminiscent of  Dr. John’s. He also sounds like Todd Snider in places as well.
The CD moves along at a consistent clip. All of the songs feature  some sick slide and some pretty fingerpicking in slower numbers like “Rosa’s Sweet Little Love Song.”
‘Miss Noreen’ has some impressive banjo playing. There is some impressive guitar  picking on “Trouble on Congress Street Road.”
It is all acoustic, but is is enrapturing just the same, enveloping the listener.“Wooden Tombstone” is a really cool acappella  number. Basically if you like delta blues, you’ll enjoy  this CD
— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat editor

CD: Samuel James
Title: For Rosa, Maeve and Noreen
Genre: blues
Label: Northern Blues

Govt. Mule still rules

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I like the new Govt. Mule CD , ‘By A Thread,’ more every time I listen to it.

It’s actually made the Top 30 at Megatunes in Calgary, which is both a good and a bad thing. Good because it’s about time people discovered the beauty of the Mule, but bad because now they’re not my favourite little secret  any more. I and several hundred thousand others in the know now have to share them with the masses.

altIt helps that ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons trades solos with Warren Haynes on the scorching first track, ‘Broke Down on the The Brazos’ it also helps that Haynes has one heck of a powerful voice, can lay down some big southern rock guitar riffs, add a bit of reggae and a mess of other influences. He can belt out a nine minute blues tune like ‘Inside Outside Woman Blues #3’ as well as he can croon a disturbing ballad like ‘World Wake Up.’ He touches on a variety of lyrical themes from raving against the Patriot Act” to tender love.

He uses a lot of electric 12 string which has some delay and a bit of chorus added to it to add to the ominous though still rocking feel of the frighteningly good “Railroad Boy.” The lyrical delivery will chill you to the bone. I love the frenetic organ solo on this track as well.

I also love the big Wild T and the Spirit style riff on “Any Open Window,” in which Haynes and the band adds a little funk.
Govt. Mule covers all bases on “By A Thread,” and there are some massive jams, ‘Monday Mourning Meltdown’ clocks in at a mellow eight minutes. “Inside Outside Woman Blues #3” is nine minutes of wah wah drenched psychedelic rock. And ‘Scenes From A Troubled Mind’ is disturbing seven minutes plus. ‘By A Thread’ is a thing of beauty.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
CD: By A Thread
Band: Govt. Mule
Genre: jam rock/southern rock
Record label: Evil Teen Records
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