Allstars come back to 'Boogie' with another bluesy gem
‘World Boogie Is Coming'
North Mississippi Allstars (Songs of the South)
I've been a fan of rootsy outfit North Mississippi Allstars since hearing their 2005 Grammy-nominated gem “Electric Blue Watermelon.” Brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson (and a dozen or so of their closest friends) are at it again with “World Boogie Is Coming.” Envisioned as a soundtrack to the films of fledgling auteur Cody Dickinson, the Allstars stomp their way through 17 bluesy gems. Though there aren't any missteps to be found, the Dickinsons are especially effective on “Goat Meat,” “Boogie,” “Get the Snakes Out of the Woods,” “Turn Up Satan,” “Shimmy,” “World Boogie” and sprawling “Jumper on the Line.” Enjoy, y'all.
The Pack A.D. (Nettwerk)
More than five years into its career, Canadian garage duo the Pack A.D. has yet to break through to the next level of success. That's puzzling to me because the gritty music of Becky Black and Maya Miller deserves to be heard by as many people as possible. With a new full-length scheduled to drop next year, the gals offer up the five-track “Some Sssongs” EP. Featuring one killer track (“Battering Ram”) from the upcoming record and four from prior albums (“Sirens,” “Haunt You,” “Positronic” and “Deer”) this is a nice introduction to a band that, frankly, you should already be listening to.
Reverse the Curse (Paper+Plastick)
A couple years ago I had high praise for post-hardcore outfit Reverse the Curse's “Hither & Yon” full-length debut, a grungy gem of an album from a band on the rise. Maybe my expectations for followup “Existent” were too high, because the 10-track release, while serviceable, pales in comparison to its predecessor. There are some nice moments to be found — “Ida the Younger,” “Carer,” “Box of Angles,” “West of the Nile” — but the record doesn't pack the same emotional wallop as “Hither & Yon.” Here's hoping this is a minor hiccup.
John Mayer (Columbia)
At some point earlier this decade — probably around the time of the 2010 “He said WHAT???!!!” interview in Rolling Stone — the onetime prodigy, now 35 years old, set about rehabbing both his damaged vocal cords and his image. Last year's Laurel Canyon-inspired “Born and Raised” was a commercial misfire, but I enjoyed it more than anything he'd done in a decade. He continues in the country-rock vein — with even better results — on “Paradise Valley.” If you can get past the pretentiously cheesy album cover, there are plenty of things to love about the 11-track release. Opener “Wildfire” is terrific, as are “Paper Doll,” “Who You Love” (with gal pal Katy Perry) and “Badge and Gun.” Maybe Mayer has things back on track.
‘Melody Calling EP'
The Vaccines (Columbia)
It's been a slow and steady rise to prominence for London indie rockers the Vaccines, who have gotten a little better with every release. Their 2011 debut “What Did You Expect From the Vaccines?” was uneven, but showed glimpses of a really good band lurking below the surface. The Vaccines took things up a notch with last year's “Come of Age” and fine-tune things even more on “Melody Calling EP.” The four-track release features three new songs (the title track, “Do You Want a Man?” and “Everybody's Gonna Let You Down”), plus a ho-hum remix of “Man” that wouldn't have been missed. A nice placeholder until the next full-length drops.
Jeffrey Sisk is an editor for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-664-9161 ext. 1952, or email@example.com
‘See You There'
Glen Campbell (Surfdog)
When legendary artist Glen Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2011, the excellent “Ghost on the Canvas” was billed as his farewell album. Uh, guess not. Turns out Campbell also recorded new versions of some of his older songs during the “Ghost” sessions, and “See You There” is the result. It's not a bad record, but I'm not sure there was a need for new versions of “Gentle on My Mind,” “Rhinestone Cowboy,” “Wichita Lineman,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” and “Galveston,” much less “Ghost” bonus tracks “What I Wouldn't Give” and “I Wish You Were Here.” For completists only.
‘Just One of Them Nights'
If you're a fan of folksy Americana music with a touch of string band thrown in for good measure, then newcomer Fruition is just what the doctor ordered. The Oregon-based band's “Just One of Them Nights” is a revelation, as the five former street musicians churn out an 11-track platter that's remarkable in its consistency. With Jay Cobb Anderson and Mimi Naja sharing lead vocals and the rest of the outfit contributing layered harmonies, it's easy to get swept away by Fruition. Keepers abound, including “Git Along,” “Whippoorwill,” “Mountain Annie,” “The Wanter,” the title track, “Boil Over” and “Gotta Get Back Home.” Highly recommended.
Jeffrey Sisk is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached by calling 412-664-9161, ext. 1952, or firstname.lastname@example.org.