Jack Mesenbourg is a writer, musician, photographer, and artist from Minneapolis. He has spent his years hopping around the country, scribbling notes & scratching pictures in poorly organized journals along the way. Traveling with him have been his passions and distractions such as music, gardening, baseball, cooking and finding good local beer. Hopefully his projects provide you with some insight, provoke some thinking or at least give you a little amusement.
Sometimes you have to take a little journey back in time to catch up with musical memories and those good tunes that hang out back there in your deep consciousness. I was kicking around listening to some High On Stress which for some reason reminded me of this band from the 00’s. I tracked them down on Bandcamp to find this 2006 release on the page for Jeremy Porter and the Tucos (who you might also want to check out:). The songs on this album really highlight the great music that can be delivered by three-piece alt-county bands.
Good guitar entry on this track and somehow the opening line, “I used to have some friends to ignore, ’til they went away…” recalls a piece of my own history. Solid bass and drums set a foundation for that squealing guitar that you know you miss…just a little… even if you do not want to admit it.
Just to start off…I want to thank Max Detrich from the band for reaching out to me about this album (and the band itself as I have to admit they were off my radar…mistake corrected:)
There is a nice little peaceful section of about ten seconds at the beginning of this song, a calming prelude, before it kicks into a driving bass beat from Max that fuels the rest of the track. Combine that with some brash drums sounds and the vox from Abby and you have a high-energy industrial punk arrangement that makes for a great listening experience.
A couple of side notes…check out the video on YouTube for some vintage exercise footage (priceless nostalgia:). They also have another release on Bandcamp that features an earlier version of Drusilla (last track on the Limbo release) that definitely warrants a listen.
This album is on pre-order right now and you should definitely grab a copy…maybe even spring for the limited edition cassette:)
Sometimes I just like to have my mid-80’s Psychedelic Furs moments and today happened to be on one of those days. Hate me if you want to but seriously…
This track has that pleasant nostalgia of those days for me…it is not a rip-off of any particular song though as it is definitely an original. It just calls back to so many of those elements that I was chasing around back then, bouncing between The Clash, PIL, The Suburbs, Black Flag…and hell yes, even those Psych Furs. It was quite the collection.
Right away, the synth kicks in, announcing its twanging presence before the backfill drum beat kicks in to lead us into those airy vocals. The pacing has that pleasant dance groove to it, not the rave beat, just that slow, weaving rhythm where you lose yourself in the song’s atmosphere. You can get comfortable here and chill out for a good long time. Well done!
I had picked up this song while looking through releases by Just Because Records out of Cleveland. I was in a super-chill mood at the time and this track fit right into that groove. Since then I have listened to other ones from this album and would definitely also recommend “Turn To Blue.” If you listen to it…just wait out that hard stop in the middle…it turns out just fine in the end:)
Anyway, back to Azalea City…so this kicks right into groovy from the first hard clicks of the minimalist drum beat and the vox’ed up guitar. The melody line keeps you tapping your foot and Nick’s voice has a bit of a softened up raspiness to it, kind of lulling you into calmness. This is a solid, mellow tune which is easy to listen along with but also has a few deeper intrigues if you take the time to find them.
I believe I read on the Just Because FB site that Nick played all instruments on this record so many props for those talents!
I just felt the need to start out the year 2023 with a shout-out to one of my very favorite Minnesota musical groups. I know that this one goes back a long ways but hey, you still really need to check it out. Whether going solo or with his group The Boys, Jordan Carr can sing some very meaningful songs.
This particular track has its very obvious meaning whether you know the whole story behind it or not. You can check out the video on Youtube to get some context if you have the time. The lyrics are stark enough and woven well into what starts out as a simple guitar moment. It is well developed as time moves along into a much deeper song, cutting into a punchy rhythm section and several soaring guitar moments from Jordan Riggs.
And a lyric like “I miss you in a way that makes me talk to the sky…” well, is just damn good.
Somehow along the line…I have managed to miss out on Taylor’s music up to this point. Beyond The Reservoir came across during one of my recent journeys through Bandcamp, mostly looking for tracks from artists north of the border. Since then I have continued checking out his music…quite an enjoyable journey so far.
Now some will say I am highlighting this one due to its baseball reference…and yes, great historical baseball flashbacks are cool…but it is actually the vocal quality and storytelling that make this a notable song. The mastering on the vocals, at some points anyway, seems to be right at the point of pegging out which works really well given the quality of Taylor’s voice. It stays truly front-and-center with the bass inserting periodic exclamation points along the way. The guitar is clean and simple, providing just enough accompaniment to give underlying substance to the music. And the story itself…great details and what an unexpected turn at the end.
Now I just have to figure out how to see this live…
I was having a whole funk moment this week and went thought a good run of songs from all over the world. In the end I picked this song to review although there were two Ghost Funk Orchestra tracks that were in contention right up until a few seconds ago. All of it is such good music.
I think I picked this one because it has such a classic sound. There are many iterations and different takes on funk these days and I do enjoy them. Sometimes though, these classic sounds are just what I need…there is some Tower of Power running through this song in just the right way.
This track kicks right from the very beginning with a solid drum beat (with bongos:) and a soulful guitar leading into the horns. I read on this band’s website that they do have the brass section with them at live shows which would be great to see…someday I have to get to Philly to check it out. There is also a nice, punchy bass that sets a good vibe throughout and the whole jam just keeps you bopping along. And check out the jumpy piano solo that starts around the 2:30 mark…outstanding!
Sometimes…somethings…just remind you of something from the past…and I do mean in a good way. This recent release from Amyl and the Sniffers had that effect on me.
Way back in the day there was a few very specific things that drew me to punk rock. It was not just the pent up anger and disaffection of the bands that I was listening to at the time. There was also something about the clarity of the lyrics, the lack of pretension and the driving beats of the music that made sense to me. That is not to say that this track or the overall album is derivative of that 70’s and 80’s era of punk rock…it is more like it is a fitting revitalization of that vibe. And I have heard you must see this band in concert to appreciate it all even more…hopefully I can catch them soon.
Ahh…Bill Scorzari…this guy has long been a favorite of mine, mostly for his storytelling ability and his off-hand, sometimes slightly eccentric delivery. It is incredibly effective and his songs…well they hit home. He knows how to sing about real life.
Honestly every track on this album is excellent but I chose this one to review for a few reasons:
The beginning melody is so well done, it make me think it must be like what nostalgia sounds like when it is mixed with a bit of wistful thinking.
Lyrically I think this is one of the strongest on the album. Lines like, “I’ll put all of my thoughts into a new straw hat, and say I don’t have to care and leave you there with that,” well, are just awesome.
There is an organ on this track (played by Danny Mitchell) that adds something special…it is just a very unique sound.
A special note here for the collection of musicians on this album. There is a wide-range of instruments across these songs and these musicians are stellar – they really build tone and space around Bill’s lyrics & guitar.
Man…you know…some things are just so damn good that when you hear them…you just let it all wash over you for a few hours. That would be what happened when I clicked in to Basecamp and started listening to the new release from Harlan T Bobo.
There is a wealth of simple, stark music on this album and I selected this track as I really liked the guitar sound. Plus the first line, “you can run, you won’t get far, you can stay, stay and it’ll be hard,” is such a great piece of simple and poignant storytelling. The accompanying musicians on this track do a great job of building a subtle atmosphere that gives you a kind of resigned yet dreamy feeling.
And seriously…this album belongs in your collection 🙂