Tagged: Tennessee

Lance Whalen – “Sweet Sugar Pie”

lwSelf-Released May 10th, 2013

Genre: Swampy Blues

Lance Whalen – a former Lexingtonian who now resides in Nashville – made a short-notice stop by WRFL-Live this week, bringing with him a few guitars and a banjo for an acoustic set. The recordings on Sweet Sugar Pie find these songs with a much more filled out sound than his live set, lending an even greater amount of intensity to his music. Lance said himself, that people have said his songs have a certain swampy sound, often bordering into the sinister – they remind me a lot of Howlin’ Wolf’s voice and Tom Waits’s atmosphere. The album’s first track, “What The Hell Was I Thinking?” gets things rolling along with a nice backbeat and grooving bassline. The double-tracked vocals on “Best I Am” go out of sync at times, but the result is a darker mood, and the ending lyrics, “I am not your Jesus, baby I am just your man, and I will do the very best I can,” sum the song up perfectly. The title track is the lightest of the album, and probably the most accessible too – accompanied at first only by guitar, the chorus hits with a beautiful weight and rich textures of slide guitar, flute, and bass that carry the gorgeous song for its remainder. The album’s final track puts Whalen’s voice on display, much like the rest of the EP, and serves as a great close. Sweet Sugar Pie is a solid EP, collecting songs that shows off his ragged voice, spooky songwriting, and knack for atmosphere – if you’re a fan of blues, Lance Whalen is one worth checking out.

Tracks I Liked: What The Hell Was I Thinking?!, Best I Am!!, Sweet Sugar Pie!!!, The Way You Love Me!

Learn more about Lance Whalen.

– Ben Southworth – June 9th, 2013

Southern Ivy League – “Pseudo-Science”

a1359301076_2Self Released May 14th, 2013

Genre: Lo-Fi Rock with a Modest Mouse-y Tinge (I think…)

Some of the earliest concerts I ever attended were at a church in Georgetown with no shortage in space – the youth area was used for a few years (maybe, hopefully, it still is) as a space to host a concert series called “Harmony Presents.” And one of the earlier iterations of this band – The Likeable Inbetween – was no stranger to the venue and its concert series. Carrying over the two core members of the band, Matt Eddy and Ryan Parker, the two joined with Christian Barnett and adopted the title “Southern Ivy League” – presumably in reference to Parker’s enrollment at Vanderbilt University. I’ve heard the latter two songs on the EP before – but in limited instrumentation. These familiar songs are fleshed out in a really nice way, drums, pianos, and some really interesting mastering, not to mention the use of electric guitars in lieu of acoustics and ukeleles. This gives the music a much greater presence and some sort of warmth that comes in with a sound that sounds like Modest Mouse’s earlier work – if Isaac Brock wasn’t afraid to write to write with a little more pop. In fact the guitar sounds on the opening track, “Everything in Moderation,” reminds me a lot of some of the work done on This is a Long Drive for Someone With Nothing to Think About, though it’s immediately apparent that Eddy’s voice isn’t really much like Brock’s. It’s a really solid EP, and though the band has grown up since their days of singing songs like “Billy the Transvestite,” especially musically, they’ve retained the youthfulness and energy that made them such a hit in the small town they grew up in.

Tracks I Liked: Everything in Moderation!, Over the Pipe!!, Pseudo-Science!!!, I am in Love with You (But it’s Not Important)!!!

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Listen to them play WRFL-Live on July 4th, 2012

– Ben Southworth