I HAVE BEEN ALL OVER THE WORLD: blues guitarist from Athens John McDonald has just released a new album, in collaboration with the engineer and the musician Marc Maxwellappointed Touched by the blues. The band here is an assortment of known cracks that includes Mindy Towe (saxophone), Mason Towe (drums), Russ Bell (Hammond organ), Glyn Denham (harmonica) and Jason Fuller (piano). McDonald walks through 12 complete songs here, each composed by legitimate legends including Slim Harpo, Big Bill Broonzy, Blind Lemon Jefferson, BB King and Leonard Cohen. His rendition of the traditional “House Of The Rising Sun” simmers with an appropriately seething energy that continues the song’s tradition of desperation and surrender. Also noteworthy is his version of “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean”, which unfolds at a medium pace that’s just brisk enough to forget the subject of the song – or, at least, ignore it. Find it on all major streaming services as well as johnmcdonald1.bandcamp.com. For more information, please visit johnmcdonaldbluesamericana.com.
MAYBE HE WAS BORN WITH: The cuddliest goth band on the planet has a new album dropping October 11, and you can pre-order a digital copy now. It’s true, friends, Video Vision will release his new LP haunted hours in just a few months. Currently, fans can preview two tracks, and either one should be compelling enough to help you decide one way or the other. The two songs – “Beautiful Way To Die” and “Promises” – are each deeply infused with a signature blend of U2, Big Country, Echo & The Bunnymen, really big guitars and big-chamber 1980s-style production. None of this, taken individually, sounds very gothic, does it? Somehow they sprinkle the right magic dust on it all, and it all turns out like black roses. Check it out at visionvideo.bandcamp.com and follow the action on facebook.com/visionvideoband.
TO CHANGE: This year’s already spectacular program Wildwood Revival just a little more. While it is unfortunate that the previously announced and scheduled appearance of the Black Pumas has been cancelled, attendees will be well edified by an appearance from Truckers driving occupying this niche.
Also on this year’s bill, if you haven’t heard yet, are Jenny Lewis, John Moreland, The Wood Brothers, Elizabeth Cook, Suzanne Santo, Early James, The Bones of JR Jones, The Heavy Heavy, The Packway Handle Band, Zach Person, JP Harris, The Pink Stones and Leon III. Passes for the three-day festival are now low, but there are still a limited number for $106 plus taxes and fees each. VIP passes are $485 plus taxes and fees. There are no day passes. The Wildwood Revival 2022 takes place from September 30 to October 30. 2. For more information, please visit wildwoodrevival.com.
THE PERFECT PRESCRIPTION: Psych-punk heavy hitters McQQeen will celebrate the tape release of the full album McQQeen-II Saturday August 20 at 40 Watt. Also on that stacked bill tonight are Upchuck, Vincas, Nag and ConSec. Stylistically, the new album isn’t far removed from the band’s debut – albeit with a slightly different lineup – but while the debut album (self-titled, 2019) was the sound of a band reaching, McQQeen-II is the sound of a group grabbing. The album contains only 10 songs, but in the middle of each perfect jam, the listener is tempted to start anticipating the next one. And, invariably on this album, there is never disappointment. Though fully clothed in all the sonic draperies of punk-informed psych, hardcore, and a huge cross section of the American indie underground, there’s still an optimism and vibrancy that might be unexpected. The best tracks here include “Peace Officer”, “Mexico Will Pay” and “Fill My Heart”, which is almost seven and a half minutes long. Find this courtesy of Lovettsville, VA Big Neck Records label at bigneckrecords1.bandcamp.com, and find the band’s debut album at mcqqeen.bandcamp.com.
THANK YOU FOR THE MEME-ORIES: Philip Brantley (Modern Skirts, Palace Doctor) will release their third EP under the Terminally Ill Phil nickname he stuck to a few years ago. This new one comes out on August 23 and is called Time is running out, man. It comes courtesy of a creative resource company Super Canoe. The first track, “Heaven”, features former member of Brantley’s band from Modern Skirts, Jay Guley. This is such a groovy one-riff song that jumps, not drags, through its steps in such a way that it’s practically dripping with sweet gold. The rest of the three songs explore Brantley’s strength as a pop songwriter, and his talents are particularly evident in “Maudlin”. On this track, he manages to capture an epic feel in just about two minutes. The folks at Super Canoe told me that we should be anticipating a full release by the end of the year. Plus, each of these EPs was recorded via Garage Band on Brantley’s phone, but they promise the entirety was recorded in a real studio with engineer Matt Martin. Find it on all streaming services and at terminallyphil.bandcamp.com.
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