Cale scales back to basics on 'Blue Rider'
Zachary Cale (Electric Ragtime/All Hands Electric)
Zachary Cale gets back to basics on his fourth album “Blue Rider,” trading in the full-band arrangements that worked so well on 2011's “Noise of Welcome” for a more minimal approach. The experiment is a rousing success as Cale delivers his most fully realized record to date in this eight-track gem. Utilizing his signature finger-style guitar playing and a nasal voice that works well with the folk-leaning material, Cale impresses at every turn. Among the many standout tracks are “Dollar Day,” “Hold Fast,” “Blood Rushes On,” “Hangman Letters” and “Wayward Son.” It's time everyone got to know this talented young artist.
‘Memphis Circa 3AM'
John Paul Keith (Big Legal Mess/Fat Possum)
Twangy Tennessee songwriter John Paul Keith has flirted with mainstream success for the past couple years and perhaps his fantastic third full-length “Memphis Circa 3AM” will be the album that makes it happen and is every bit as engaging as 2011's “The Man That Time Forgot.” Keith teams up with legendary producer Roland James on the 12-track slab. You won't find a clunker in the bunch, and Keith is especially effective on “You Really Oughta Be With Me,” “Ninety Proof Kiss,” personal favorite “Walking Along the Lane,” “True Hard Money,” “If You Catch Me Staring” and “Baby We're a Bad Idea.” Good stuff.
Potty Mouth (Old Flame)
All-girl punk outfit Potty Mouth pays homage to '90s punk and the riot grrrl movement (the band gets its name from a 1993 Bratmobile album) on its full-length debut “Hell Bent.” There's a grungy charm to the 10-track album, as frontwoman Abby Weems anchors the set with her wailing, monotone vocals. While not for all tastes, there are some treasures to be found here, including “Busted Shut,” “Black and Studs,” “Damage,” “Wishlist” and “The Better End.”
New West Guitar Group (Summit)
Don't be put off by its rather ho-hum moniker, because the three members of New West Guitar Group are masters of the six-string. Their fifth studio effort finds Perry Smith, Jess Tein and John Storie serving up an instrumental mix of originals and covers from such artists as Simon & Garfunkel (“Bleecker St.”), Joni Mitchell (“All I Want”), the Police (“Wrapped Around Your Finger”) and Tears for Fears (“Everybody Wants to Rule the World”). Among the group's compositions, “Every Big City” and “Pacific Blues” are the ones you'll remember.
Eklipse (The End)
Sexy string quartet (yes, I used the word “sexy” to describe a string quartet) Eklipse continues its quest to redefine the way we think of classical music on its sophomore full-length “Electric Air.” Noted for playing up the sex appeal of members Miss E., Viola, Helena and Scarlett, the German foursome tackles a host of pop hits and one classical standard on the 12-track gem. Whether putting its spin on David Guetta and Sia (“Titanium”), Lykke Li (“I Follow Rivers”), Nick Cave (“Where the Wild Roses Grow”), Adele (“Set Fire to the Rain”), Muse (“Supermassive Black Hole”), Florence + the Machine (“Shake It Out”) or Beethoven (“Ode to Joy”), Eklipse doesn't miss a trick.
‘Songs From Scandal: Music for Gladiators'
Various Artists (Stax)
Steamy ABC drama “Scandal” revels in its status as one of television's “guilty pleasures,” but there's no guilt — just pleasure — when it comes to this soundtrack. Featuring classic soul of the 1970s, “Songs From Scandal” delights at every turn. From Edwin Starr's “War” to Nina Simone's gut-wrenching take on “I Think It's Going to Rain Today,” there isn't a misstep to be found. Other keepers include Sly & the Family Stone's “Everyday People,” Rufus & Chaka Khan's “Tell Me Something Good,” Bettye LaVette's “Crazy,” Johnnie Taylor's “I Believe in You (You Believe in Me)” and the Staple Singers' “Respect Yourself.” Enjoy.
Sundowner (Fat Wreck Chords)
When guitarist/vocalist Chris McCaughan and drummer Neil Hennessy need a break from their primary gig as two-thirds of punk trio the Lawrence Arms, they turn to McCaughan's acoustic side project Sundowner. Latest Sundowner full-length “Neon Fiction” is its best yet, with 10 solid tracks clocking in at a streamlined 34 minutes. There's no filler on an album whose highlights include “My Beautiful Ruins,” “Grey on Grey,” “Life in the Embers,” “Poet of Trash” and “Wildfires.” Who knows what the future holds for the Lawrence Arms, but here's hoping Sundowner sticks around a while.
Jeffrey Sisk is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext 1952, or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Big names highlight Three Rivers Arts Festival’s 2015 musical lineup
- 3 venues making Dormont the place to be for live music
- Decemberists look forward to warm reception at Benedum Center after break
- Hard Rain goes ‘Deep in the Shadows’ for new release
- Hampton music lovers pay it forward with traveling musicians
- Orozco-Estrada to debut with Pittsburgh Symphony
- Iris, Chedwick, Christie join Pittsburgh rock legends
- Review: PSO changes pace with baroque for ‘Bach’s Coffee House’
- ‘Stand by Me’ among 25 records being preserved at Library of Congress
- Variety in all ways spices ‘Out & About’
- Perfume Genius makes sweet sounds, sometimes from sad