My review of a 2017 release leads off this week’s pre-Super Bowl column, followed by reviews of two more new ones — one audio and one audio/visual. Don’t worry. I will have plenty of 2016 leftovers later on.
‘After All,’ The Black Clouds (Capacitor Records, ☆☆☆1/2)
This grunge-flavored Jan. 13 release was recorded in the Foo Fighters’ Studio 606 in Los Angeles, and the personnel (Dan Matthews, vocals/guitar; Gary Moses, bass; Cory King, drums/vocals; and Neil Hayes, guitar) are augmented by veteran producer/engineer Jack Endino as well as Mudhoney’s Mark Arm guesting on one song, the high-octane “Vice.”
Other favorites include the blistering “Photograph,” which isn’t the Ringo Starr or Def Leppard hits of the same name, the mellower “Falling,” amazing guitar/drum sound quality throughout, the snooty “Going Going Gone” and the pile-driving “Still Alive.”
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It should be no surprise to frequent readers that I lean toward the quicker-paced songs, but grunge fans as well as admirers of loud guitar music will dig this one.
‘Swing Set,’ Eight O’ Five Jive (Red Rudy Too Tunes, ☆☆☆☆)
This Jan. 27 release comes from Eight O’ Five Jive, a Nashville-recorded set of swingers. Vocalist Lee Shropshire, hubby/guitarist Andy Scheinman, bassist Bill Bois, cocktail drummer Duane Spencer and saxophonist Patrick Mosser have written 10 tunes, then added an obscure cover song. The instrumentalists are all background singers.
My favorite tunes include “Make Mine A Double,” which establishes the liquor-loving band and album concept. Other highlights: The up-tempo “Get Away” featuring Mosser’s overdubbed multiple saxes, the slinky “Put It Back,” the melodic instrumental breaks throughout, “A Little Bit Of Bourbon” and the cover, “My Mumblin’ Baby.”
Folks who enjoy swinging music, big hair and highballs will dig this release.
‘Live From South Africa: Dust And Thunder,’ Mumford & Sons (Eagle Rock Entertainment, ☆☆☆☆)
This Feb. 3 release, which comes in DVD/Blu-ray/Deluxe and digital formats, chronicles Mumford & Sons’ 2015 tour of South Africa. Guitarist/vocalist/percussionist Marcus Mumford & Sons (Ted Dwane, Ben Lovett and Winston Marshall), plus drummer Chris Maas, violinist Tom Hobden, trombonist Dave Williamson and trumpeter Nick Etwell, are blown away by the raucous singing along on “I Will Wait,” which comes near the beginning of the set.
Other highlights include the band’s “whisper to a scream” dynamics throughout, the rapturous “Awake My Soul,” “Lover Of The Light” with Mumford on second drum set, “Tompkins Square Park,” the quiet “Ghosts That We Knew,” the driving “Ditmas,” the encore kickoff with South African musicians called “Wona,” which reminded me of long-ago Peter Gabriel, and the driving real final song “The Wolf.”
Mumford & Sons is an amazing band that will keep accomplishing great things.
Ricky Flake, a music fan and former punk rocker, lives in Biloxi. Reach him at email@example.com.