Mid-Week MP3age: Paleo/Karnivool (Tonight!) + Wayne Hancock + Hey Rosetta! + TV Buddhas + Jukebox the Ghost + Peter Wolf Crier

After the badness of the past couple of days, which’ve frankly left me more down, frustrated, and angry than I would’ve expected, I need some goodness to balance things out. So hey, there’s this pile of MP3 thingies that keep clogging up my Inbox, and lo and behold, some of ’em are actually for bands who’re coming through H-town in the near future. Here’re some tracks to check out:

Paleo – “World’s Smallest Violin”
My initial, kneejerk reaction to this shambling, weirdly-falsetto-ed track wasn’t positive, I’ll admit it; I literally cringed the first time the “backup singers” popped in. After a few more go-rounds, though, I found myself falling for “World’s Smallest Violin”‘s oddly homespun charm, with those crackly, wiry, right-there-in-your-ears guitars and Paleo main man David Strackany‘s bruised, Oberst-gone-hillbilly voice, not to mention the song’s lyrical brushoff. I’ve been underwhelmed by Paleo’s stuff in the past, but I may have to revise my views…
[Paleo is playing 8/18/10 at The Mink.]

Karnivool – “Set Fire to the Hive”
I honestly went into “Set Fire to the Hive”, by Aussie alt-rockers Karnivool, expecting to hate it. And yet…I don’t. I mean, yeah, it’s kinda-sorta dumb alternarock no matter how you slice it, but there’s something to it that makes me nod my head along and feel a smile start creeping across my face. It’s the guitars, honestly — they jump and twitch nicely in the chorus, distracting me (thankfully) from the generic rock-dude lyrics, and during the verses they blaze like a vintage Prong track, barrelling along like a freight train that not even the vocals can derail.
[Karnivool is playing 8/18/10 at The Scout Bar, along with Tides of Man, Nothingmore, & Raging Apathy.]

Wayne Hancock – “Throwin’ My Money Away”
And then there’s country hero Wayne “The Train” Hancock, playing a jaunty, old-timey-sounding track that sounds like “Big Rock Candy Mountain” if it were about blowing all your money at casinos and honky-tonks (and on taxes, too) instead of yearning for a magical land of food. Hancock lives up to his nickname with the walkin-blues-esque guitar line that drives “Throwin’ My Money Away” (off Viper of Melody), and I love the fact that the brand of country the man plays is far, far more Hank Williams Sr. than Jr. I utterly loathe most modern country music, so it does my heart good to hear somebody playing it like it they used to back in the good old days…
[Wayne Hancock is playing 8/21/10 at The Armadillo Palace.]

Hey Rosetta! – “Into Your Lungs”
A gentle, delicately mournful builder of a track from Canadians Hey Rosetta! (the name of which I keep wanting to link with Sister Rosetta Tharpe, but that’s probably just wishful thinking on my part), “Into Your Lungs” brings to mind Okkervil River in terms of instrumentation and The Elected in the burning ember of hopeful-sweet pop glory lurking within. The orchestral touches are nice, making me think of ’70s pop, but when things really leap upwards is at the second(?) verse, where twinned guitars roar in and turn the gentle jangle into a bona-fide anthem for keeping on, no matter what.
[Hey Rosetta! is playing 8/28/10 at Walter’s, along with Hot Hot Heat.]

TV Buddhas – “Let Me Sleep”
Wow. I was not expecting that voice, I have to say it; going by the pictures, Berlin-by-way-of-Tel Aviv band TV Buddhas should be some kinda twee-ish indie-rock band, all smart sarcasm and Guided By Voices guitars. And yeah, the band does have a hell of a lo-fi sound, but it’s a lo-fi that throws a fist way, way further back than GBV, instead soul-bumping with old-school Noo Yawk punks like Richard Hell & the Voidoids or the even hoarier MC5. On “Let Me Sleep,” the Buddhas roar and howl along like they crawled off some long-lost Stooges outtake, complete with that patented Osterberg snarl — and that’s no bad thing, especially seeing as its originator’s hawking car insurance in the UK these days.
[TV Buddhas are playing 9/17/10 at Super Happy Fun Land, along with Mad Happy.]

Jukebox the Ghost – “Empire”
Jukebox the Ghost – “I Love You Always Forever”
There’s an awesome swing to Jukebox the Ghost‘s “Empire” (off next month’s Everything Under the Sun), one that makes it damn near impossible to grin when listening to the shiny-sweet, half-smirking Fountains of Wayne-esque pop these guys crank out. They mash together the self-conscious warmth (and the pianos, naturally) of Ben Folds Five with the all-out sugary pop-rock of, say, Ultimate Fakebook, and the result is a smart, impeccably-crafted tune comparing a would-be lover to an enemy empire invading the band’s domain. Which really shouldn’t work, to be honest, but it does, and that’s no mean feat.

And hey, as an added bonus, the second track’s a straight-up cover of cheeseball mid-’90s pop song “I Love You Always Forever,” originally done by Donna Lewis — and trust me, you do know the song, even if you don’t remember it right now — but here interpreted in a surprisingly cheery, wide-open way that makes it pretty clear that while the band’s kind of kidding, they actually really like playing the song…
[Jukebox the Ghost is playing 9/23/10 at House of Blues, along with Hooray For Earth & Via Audio.]

Peter Wolf Crier – “Hard As Nails”
With “Hard As Nails,” Peter Wolf Crier almost comes off like an indie-fied incarnation of early Springsteen, all lonesome guitars, rumbling-train rhythms, and half-muttered, rough-edged vocals. There’s a bit more folkiness than with most of The Boss’s songs, I’ll admit, but I still can’t help but think of “Nebraska” when I hear this one; it just evokes a car out on a road in the middle of nowhere, the occupants not speaking, just staring off into the hazy distance, each lost in their own thoughts. Maybe it’s that this is just about the most pitch-perfect road song I’ve heard in months now; whatever you want to call it, it’s an incredible, haunting track.
[Peter Wolf Crier is playing 10/22/10 at Fitzgerald’s, along with Dawes & The Romany Rye.]

That’s all I’ve got for now; hopefully I’ll be able to run through some more of the many, many millions of MP3s that get thrown our way soon.

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One Response to “Mid-Week MP3age: Paleo/Karnivool (Tonight!) + Wayne Hancock + Hey Rosetta! + TV Buddhas + Jukebox the Ghost + Peter Wolf Crier”

  1. SPACE CITY ROCK » Yr. (Late!) Weekend, Pt. 1: Sleepy Sun + True Widow + TV Buddhas + Giant Battle Monster + Fiskadoro + Free Music Agreement + More on July 12th, 2011 at 9:50 am

    […] Buddhas/Mad Happy/The Drafted @ Super Happy Fun Land Mentioned headliners TV Buddhas a while back, but I figured the Israeli/Berliner crew were worth a second thumbs-up; fans of the MC5 or […]

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