The King of Psychedelic Country is Sturgill Simpson

Keen readers of Pop Tones have noticed how we’ve picked things up from using Google i.e. “Googling” various subjects to find information on them. The essential insight in this post has to do with Sturgill Simpson using techniques and lyrical imagery one might consider psychedellic. He sings of “reptile aliens made of light” that “cut you open and pull out all your pain.” And there is one line devoted, almost exclusively,  to listing various psychedelic drugs such as LSD, psilocybin and DMT (?) before exclaiming that “love’s the only thing that ever saved my life.”

Ss we “Googled” “Psychedelic Country” and sure enough, who comes up but none other than Sturgill Simpson. A new country music singer on the scene who sounds every bit as good as Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings or many of the other legends. The difference is this man has surely spent some time tripping out of his mind and has returned to sing about it.

Mixing genres of music can create powerful explosions of excitement and, in some cases, change the playing field forever. The most famous example is Elvis Presely's mixture of Country and Blues that helped create Rock n Roll. It happens all the time however. Think of how Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson mixed vintage Motown music with contemporary hip hop imagery on the Back to Black record. 

And now, thanks to Sturgill Simpson we have possibly a new explosive mix of genre’s: Psychedelic &  Country. Here’s hoping today’s top country stars start dropping acid along with their ice cold beer on a Friday night.

We often chastise bands with names that don’t google well: Like Beach House for example. Put that in Google and, of course, loads of real estate listings show up. With Milky Chance, on the other hand, you’re bound to go straight to this duo from Germany, whose song Stolen Dance is getting good play on Pop Tones

We love the curly guitar/bass line and the singer, Clemens Rehbein delivers his vocals with a nice mix between an understated delivery like Oliver Sim of the XX to a raspy yet more deliberate chorus.

Winning

You can’t always win and there’s two songs on Pop Tones right now that illustrate that premise. The first is from Fractures the name Mark Zito, from Melbourne, is using as the vessel of this music. This song is a promise to the narrators adversary that “you won’t win.”

The second is from Lee Fields (who is new to us but apparently has been around quite awhile) who sings in a sympathetic and forthright tone to his subject that, hey, “you just can’t win.”

Being a Wednesday, it’s ok to go negative on the concept of winning. If there were no losing, there would be no winning, right? Can’t win ‘em all, right?

Max Frost is currently number 1 on the Pop Tones charts with his tune White Lines. We were pleased to learn that Max, until recently, was a student at the University of Texas in Austin where our niece attends college: Go Longhorns!

guitarbage:

Johnny Winter Z”L

You will be missed.

RIP Johnny

The theme of this mix is WATER

Grey Season

We recently discovered Grey Season playing at a friends house party. Our friend had donated “above and beyond” to the groups Kickstarter campaign to make the self titled record they’ve just released. They were all rightfully proud to tell us how it was recorded in Levon Helm's studio barn.

The members of Grey Seaon all spent time at the Berklee School of Music and it was telling that they sounded like seasoned veterans even though they’re all in their very early 20’s. They didn’t use a PA system which struck us as weird until we heard them sing; all five of them sing together.

Then Matt Knelman the lead guitarist, told me that they got started playing on street corners and that they’ll still do that from time to time.

They basically had their street gear at the party: tiny drum kit and bass amp and acoustic guitars, banjos and mandolins and playing at lower decibels so the vocals could be heard. 

Their lyrics are very earnest and sometimes morbid in the way young lovers can be. Satellite sounds like the hit of the record. It’s got a chorus that jumps out at full scope in a contemporary, radio-friendly way. Another stand out is their cover of Bob Dylan’s "Mama, You’ve Been on My Mind" with an acapella introduction. 

At the core of the sound, is the voices of Jon Mills and Chris “Gooch” Bloniarz who also plays the banjo and mandolin. They harmonize on most songs and, indeed, this pairing was the nucleus around the formation of Grey Season.

The group is rounded out by the lanky Ian Jones who peppers bis phrases with f-bombs but can rip on bass and reminds me of Pete Erchick, our old roommate and stellar musician with The Olivia Tremor Control, and Ben Burns who could play in most any band as a singer, guitarist and banjo player, much less what he does here on drums. 

We see big things on the horizon for Grey Season. Besides the fact that they 
don’t like the comparison to Mumford & Sons, Grey Season should benefit from recent groups that like them who harken back to “Americana” stylings. 

(When we spoke to them we couldn’t believe they hadn’t heard "Sweetheart of the Rodeo" by the Byrds. They’re folk but not so much country. Yet we’d love to hear them cover one of those tunes such as "You Don’t Miss Your Water." 

Grey Season hails from Boston but are traveling around New England and New York and most likely further and further out as the word spreads. Check out Satelites:
Grey Season
We recently discovered Grey Season playing at a friends house party. Our friend had donated “above and beyond” to the groups Kickstarter campaign to make the self titled record they’ve just released. They were all rightfully proud to tell us how it was recorded in Levon Helm's studio barn.
The members of Grey Seaon all spent time at the Berklee School of Music and it was telling that they sounded like seasoned veterans even though they’re all in their very early 20’s. They didn’t use a PA system which struck us as weird until we heard them sing; all five of them sing together.
Then Matt Knelman the lead guitarist, told me that they got started playing on street corners and that they’ll still do that from time to time.
They basically had their street gear at the party: tiny drum kit and bass amp and acoustic guitars, banjos and mandolins and playing at lower decibels so the vocals could be heard. 
Their lyrics are very earnest and sometimes morbid in the way young lovers can be. Satellite sounds like the hit of the record. It’s got a chorus that jumps out at full scope in a contemporary, radio-friendly way. Another stand out is their cover of Bob Dylan’s "Mama, You’ve Been on My Mind" with an acapella introduction. 
At the core of the sound, is the voices of Jon Mills and Chris “Gooch” Bloniarz who also plays the banjo and mandolin. They harmonize on most songs and, indeed, this pairing was the nucleus around the formation of Grey Season.
The group is rounded out by the lanky Ian Jones who peppers bis phrases with f-bombs but can rip on bass and reminds me of Pete Erchick, our old roommate and stellar musician with The Olivia Tremor Control, and Ben Burns who could play in most any band as a singer, guitarist and banjo player, much less what he does here on drums. 
We see big things on the horizon for Grey Season. Besides the fact that they 
don’t like the comparison to Mumford & Sons, Grey Season should benefit from recent groups that like them who harken back to “Americana” stylings. 
(When we spoke to them we couldn’t believe they hadn’t heard "Sweetheart of the Rodeo" by the Byrds. They’re folk but not so much country. Yet we’d love to hear them cover one of those tunes such as "You Don’t Miss Your Water." 
Grey Season hails from Boston but are traveling around New England and New York and most likely further and further out as the word spreads. Check out Satelites:
cretin-family:

The Ramones and Iggy Pop with Seymour and Linda Stein at CBGB Photo by Roberta Bayley

Iggy would have been good on Sire Records

cretin-family:

The Ramones and Iggy Pop with Seymour and Linda Stein at CBGB Photo by Roberta Bayley

Iggy would have been good on Sire Records

Gary P Nunn & Jerry Jeff Walker - London Homesick Blues - We had a visit in London something like what is depicted in this song which was recommended to us by our father after hearing about our woes from the trip. We went out and learned it straight away.

snaggle-teeth:

When you sit down to draw the Cramps and try to decided which crazy outfit to draw them in…you end up drawing four and making a stupid gif.

snaggle-teeth:

When you sit down to draw the Cramps and try to decided which crazy outfit to draw them in…you end up drawing four and making a stupid gif.