New album coming from Butch Walker. Really.

ButchWalker-1024x680None of Butch Walker’s seven albums have reached the Top 100 on the US charts. His most recent record, 2015’s Afraid of Ghosts, crawled to 104 with Billboard.

Kinda odd, I think, because they sound authentic and of-the-moment but still seated firmly at the table with their influences.  It’s rock and roll.  But it’s shiny pop too, sometimes winding their way around each other in the same song. Sugary.  Truthy.  Hooky.  Holy. Smart.

His audience is cult-sized. Those who know and like, well, are glad they know and like, because his music kinda digs in and finds way into a listeners gut.  And heart.

Walker, raised in Georgia, has found his success with his producer’s golden-boy touch on records by Taylor Swift, Fall Out Boy, Avril Lavigne, Pink, Keith Urban, and worked on the new solo record from Gaslight Anthem’s Brian Fallon.

His go-to sound? Layered vocals that build a wall of cotton candy around a bottle of whiskey. A big-and-loud pop sound. It’s also back to the 80’s.  FM radio.  And AM radio too, full of static and sex.

Not too often that kind of material gets stitched together and heard, like Butch Walker does it, as a big ol’ blanket of 2016 goodness, covering you with a feeling of both nostalgia and like the song may be the newest little treasure that nobody else has found yet.

Walker’s new record, Stay Gold, is due soon. There’s a teaser video out today.   And here’s a couple other of my favorites from him (and his recent work with Fallon) to test drive.

VIDEO: Gaslight Anthem’s Brian Fallon kinda screwed up his presentation

Whoops.  Don't tell Brian we posted this picture with the link
Whoops. Don’t tell Brian we posted this picture with the link
I like Gaslight Anthem, but sometimes their singer (Brian Fallon)  is not too tight between songs if he decides to talk.  Love the band, think their audience believes it is more “punk” than it really is (moshing doesn’t mean you are punk), and the band  –for better or worse – is hitched to some of the Jersey rock and roll lineage.  I’d embrace it.  Mostly, they have.
Great piece on the NPR site about the night Fallon told the”Bruuuuce”-ers to shut up.
Last weekend the Gaslight Anthem’s Brian Fallon lashed out at his audience; an audience that had already been lashed by winds and rain during what was pretty terrific set in a spectacular new waterfront venue in lower Manhattan.

Best of Indiana: Roots-Rock in 2010

At Rockforward, we live right in the middle of Indiana,  and fan our reach outward from Indianapolis.  Here’s the best of what we heard this year from (mostly) Hoosier roots-rock artists.

2010 Local Roots Rock/Americana Album of the Year
Cara Jean Wahlers/”Goodnight Charlotte”How did this quiet, intelligent, duet-like release from an acoustic guitar player and cello player get to the top of my roots-rock/Americana list full of worthy candidates?  Especially coming from a guy (me) who unabashedly enjoys the gritty side of loud guitars, drums and a sweet Hammond B-3?  It happened because this is a deserving place for “Goodnight Charlotte”, as Wahlers’ and Grover Parido’s cello quietly cuts into your heart with hauntingly beautiful music and lyrics that evoke black and white movies. Continue reading “Best of Indiana: Roots-Rock in 2010”

A Look Ahead: Gaslight Anthem in Indianapolis – Tuesday, Sept 21

The Gaslight Anthem spent the summer touring through Europe with their recent American Slang album, and for the last month or so have worked their way across the US, and into the Midwest, and make a stop in Indy at The Vogue on Tuesday night.  They play Milwaukee on Saturday, Madison on Sunday and Chicago Monday.

Their Springsteen/Clash sound, live energy and resonating lyrics has launched them into the realm of bands that urgently defend the rock and roll flag staked by Bruce and those that came before him. And they do it better than most, if not all. With these guys, and then the The Hold Steady visiting on September 30 (and teh Drive-By Truckers in October), it is a wealth of rock riches…

Video from Europe tour – Great sound – pro shot

Four for the 4th: Great Independence Day rock tunes

Here’s four tunes – from obscure to almost legendary – for the July 4th holiday: The almost essential, completely incomplete list of Independence Day songs.

Play them loud at a party. All the right people will get it, and think you are the best host ever. Continue reading “Four for the 4th: Great Independence Day rock tunes”