New York Music Daily

No New Abnormal

Tag: bodeans

Another Side of the BoDeans at City Winery

For the first time in the legendary heartland rockers’ history, the BoDeans will be doing a New York show without their longtime baritone singer Sam Llanas. Which means that for fans of the eclectic, soaringly anthemic rock songs written by his bandmate Kurt Neumann – now the band’s lone frontman – the recently reconfigured version of the group will have plenty of surprises in addition to lots of old favorites at their show at City Winery tomorrow night, August 9. You should expect old classics like Idaho and Paradise along with plenty of new, vintage Americana-flavored material from the Neumann-led version of the band’s new album, American Made, featuring a return by the band’s original keyboardist, Michael Ramos along with bassist Ryan Bowman and brand-new fiddler Warren Hood.

The band plays at 9, and as of today there are still $25 tickets available: as with all shows at this sonically excellent space, it’s always worth a call ahead to City Winery at 212-608-0555.

Girls Guns and Glory – Don’t Let the Name Fool You

Don’t let the fratty name scare you away: Boston band Girls Guns and Glory have a lot of good things going on, if you like your powerpop with a country twang. Their album Sweet Nothings came out early last fall – it’s driving music with country-flavored vocals and tunes that evoke both C&W and Cheap Trick. Ballsier than Deer Tick and the Mumford clan, infinitely smarter than the Drive By Truckers, the album has fat, big-room production values – even the handclaps have a ton of reverb on them. This band is all about the tunes: sometimes the lyrics are surprisingly and memorably thoughtful, other times they’re pretty meh.

The opening track, Baby’s Got a Dream, sets the stage for the rest of the album, a big anthem with lusciously liquid organ and watery chorus-box guitar. And a wistful/bitter lyric:

She loves me not
Pick up the petals and watch them drop
Pick them back up, needle and thread
All stitched up, play the game again

The album’s title track is a shuffing boogie tune, followed by the beefed-up rockabilly song Nighttime (as in “nighttime is a hard place to be, that’s where the demons find me”). After that, there’s the slow ballad Last Night I Dreamed (nighttime is a recurrent theme here) with warm washes of steel guitar, then the snarling powerpop song Mary Anne with its artfully kick-ass layers of electric and acoustic guitars. As a kiss-off song, it doesn’t waste time getting to the point, and it’s the album’s strongest track.

Root Cellar sounds kind of like Creedence doing Hank Williams – but with vocals that are actually understandable. 1000 Times evokes the BoDeans, as does the bitter backbeat rock tune This Old House. Snake Skin Belt brings back the rocking Hank Williams vibe, with a cool, Brian Setzer-ish guitar solo, while Not a Girl Left in the World is wickedly catchy, purist highway rock that strongly reminds of the Del Lords (who have a long, long-awaited new album in the works). Some people will call this stuff bar-band music – and the band name won’t discourage anybody from making that assumption. But this is a style of music where everybody sounds a little (or a lot) like someone else – that’s why, when it’s good, like with this band, it’s a lot of fun. Fans of loud, energetic acts who bring a rock influence into country, or vice versa – the BoDeans, the Newton Gang, the late, lamented Hangdogs – should check them out.