NEW MUSIC: Skelatin – It Takes The Pain Away

1537159410013

If you ever wondered about the lasting influence of The Strokes then a sure sign of their ongoing infiltration in the songwriting and sound of young bands can be found in this quickfire and clever slice of indie rock, one that finds a sweet spot between blank-eyed slacker rock and knotty musical intellectualism.

Skelatin, led by Sam Levine,  hail from New Orleans and this track is one half of their 2018 two-track EP of the same name.

Dr. John, Aaron Neville @ State Theatre, Sydney (24/04/14)

live-concert-in-milwaukee-dr-john-and-aaron-neville

They are both heavyweights of soul, jazz, funk and blues-rooted American music but it was still a surprise to see Dr. John open a show on which he was billed the headliner. He kicked things off with one of his signature songs in Iko Iko, a New Orleans classic, before giving the audience a trip through his back catalogue. Looking somewhat more frail than the voodoo styled Mardi Gras Indian of many of his album covers he occasionally shuffled/sauntered across the stage to play impressive guitar solos but for the most part it was his piano playing that commanded proceedings through Mess Around, Let The Good Times Roll and the highlight of the set in I Walk on Gilded Splinters. His band were accomplished players but it meant we got a fairly sanitised version of Dr. John’s music. It the lacked bayou spookiness of his Gris Gris persona and had a whiff of going-through-the-motions much of the time.

Aaron Neville’s band showed off their impressive musical chops before the singer entered the fray looking a few decades younger than the man who preceded him (they are both 73). His was also a greatest hits set that swung from the sublime to the saccharine with the adult contemporary sound of Don’t Know Much, Everybody Plays the Fool and the medley of soul classics like Stand By Me and Chain Gang a tad staid against devastatingly good renditions of Tell It Like It Is, Summertime and Bill Withers’ Ain’t No Sunshine. Brother Charles Neville was on hand providing sublime saxophone solos throughout, showing that melodic control and sensitivity runs in the family. There was no Hercules, no doubt a big disappointment for many but Neville showed what a magical voice he still has and how effectively he can apply it to a range of timeless classic songs.

Chris Familton

this review was first published in The Music

WATCH: Calexico | Splitter [Video]

Calexico have just this week released their new album Algiers and here is the video for the first single from it, Splitter. Algiers is their 8th album including 2010’s soundtrack to the film Circo. The album title comes from the neighbourhood where they worked on the album in New Orleans.

Their record label ANTI- has posted an insight into the making of the record on their site:

“There’s always vinyl playing either on an old jukebox in the garage or on the turntable near the kitchen,” Burns fondly recalls. “Their roommate, Kevin Barrios, cooked lunch and dinner everyday, so come noontime you couldn’t help but be drawn into the kitchen to see what he had going on. It always smelled and tasted good. Shrimp Creole, Jambalaya, Fried Frog Legs, Root Beer BBQ Pork Chops, Red Beans and Rice. Our senses were awakened.”

Their musical diet was equally wild and eclectic, ranging from The Boswell Sisters – “creepy shit!” Burns laughs – to Jackie Mittoo, from Duke Ellington to The Band. Their working methods, however, changed, with Burns putting aside his nylon string guitar when he was writing in favour of either an electric guitar or even the piano, and Convertino in turn inspired to play with sticks more than his trademark brushes. And, because they were resident in the studio, they collaborated more closely than for some considerable time, with Convertino adding lyrics and playing a greater role in the song’s arrangements.

“The Living Room studio wound up being the perfect place to set up camp,” Burns concludes. “Not only is the design and restoration of the old church structure done tastefully, but the feel of the place, with its high ceilings, helped make John’s vintage Ludwig and Gretsch drums sound massive, very different to Tucson, which has concrete floors. I don’t why, but the fact that we were in this old wooden chamber of a church really worked well with our acoustic instruments. The fact that we were surrounded by water, the Mississippi River, also gave us some new light and depth.”