Drive-By Truckers have always been outspoken, telling a distinctly American story via craft, character, and concept, all backed by sonic ambition and social conscience. Founded in 1996 by singer songwriter guitarists Mike Cooley and Patterson Hood, the band have long held a progressive fire in their belly but with AMERICAN BAND, they have made the most explicitly political album in their extraordinary canon. A powerful and legitimately provocative work, hard edged and finely honed, the album is the sound of a truly American Band – a Southern American band – speaking on matters that matter. DBT made the choice to direct the Way We Live Now head on, employing realism rather than subtext or symbolism to purge its makers’ own anger, discontent, and frustration with societal disintegration and the urban/rural divide that has partitioned the country for close to a half-century.
AMERICAN BAND’s considerable force can in part be credited to the sheer musical strength of the current Drive-By Truckers line-up, with Hood and Cooley joined by bassist Matt Patton, keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist Jay Gonzalez, and drummer Brad Morgan – together, the longest-lasting iteration in the band’s two-decade history. AMERICAN BAND follows ENGLISH OCEANS and 2015’s IT’S GREAT TO BE ALIVE!, marking the first time DBT have made three consecutive LPs with the same hard-traveling crew.
Rocksteady, which used elements of rhythm and blues (R&B), jazz, ska as well as African and Latin American drumming, was a successor of ska and precursor to reggae. One of the most easily recognizable elements of Rocksteady (as in ska) are offbeat rhythms, staccato chords played by a guitar and piano on the offbeats of the measure. Rocksteady was popularized by the likes of Alton Ellis, Hopeton Lewis, Errol Dunklrey and vocal harmony bands like The Gaylads, The Maytals, The Heptones, The Paragons The Sensations and The Melodians.
The vinyl singles package will be followed by a 2CD (30 track) collection on July 1st, which is International Reggae Day. For each release, music was handpicked from collectors’ lists of the most sought after titles. Each track is re-mastered and paired with a complimentary hit title from the era on the B side. The detailed packaging evokes the excitement of the era when snail mail was the only mode for sharing this burgeoning Jamaican export for worldwide consumption.
Americana troubadour Austin Lucas returns to UK later this week for a series of dates before moving on the European mainland, he’s back in town to promote the new album Between the Moon and The Midwest, the new album see’s Austin take a side-step into country territory with a wonderful collection of ‘proper’ songs, the heartaches for real, classic country stylings are deftly overlaid with that magical Cosmic American dust that shines a spotlight on the songs and the stories they tell.
Austin Lucas – Unbroken Hearts
The song sequencing is just perfect on this album – with the tracks flowing perfectly from the opening lament of Unbroken Heart to the closer, and arguably the best track, Midnight.
Recorded with the help of Joey Kneiser and featuring guest appearances from a number of other Beat Surrender favourites including John Moreland, Lydia Loveless and Cory Branan it’s a record to fall in love with after a single play and one you’ll return to play over and over – highly recommended.
Alpaca Sports have released a free digital single ‘Just Like Them’, taken from their upcoming mini-LP ‘When You Need Me The Most’, which is out Friday 2nd October on Elefant Records where you can also download it using the code 02EBQKXDQ7AT
The band describes the mini album as a “truly international” record with Andreas Jonsson, Amanda Åkerman and Carl Jirestedt originating from Sweden, joined by Lisle Mitnik in Chicago (VERY TRULY YOURS, TINY FIREFLIES) on guitar, organ and strings.
The drums, bass and trumpets were recorded in New York by Gary Olson (LADYBUG TRANSISTOR). Musicians Julia Rydholm (THE ESSEX GREEN, LADYBUG TRANSISTOR) and Hampous Öhman-Frölund (percussion for JENS LEKMAN, TAKEN BY TREES) were also added later.
The album was ultimately recorded and produced by Ian Catt (TREMBLING BLUE STARS, SAINT ETIENNE) in London, and the artwork is straight from Japan by illustrator Ray Kimura. The first two videos were filmed in their native Gothenburg and Paris, and finally their label Elefant Records is Spanish.
Sat 24th Oct – PARIS, L’Espace B with The School
Sat 14th Nov – LONDON, Seabright Arms with Brideshead, The Haywains, Zipper
Luxury Records are also releasing a CD version, available from Bandcamp.