I first fell for Robyn Hitchcock in the summer of 1985 when a WNUR deejay played an hour of his songs. I couldn’t put my finger on it – he was trippier than the Beatles, catchier than Syd Barrett, more poetic than Nick Lowe. All I knew is that even after an hour I wanted to hear more.
Fast forward to 2017… Hitchcock has moved native England to Nashville, but he packed his usual bag of tricks – the wry wit, familiar sneer, and psychedelic charm – all of which meld very well with partner Emma Swift’s backing vocals, the touches of pedal steel, and moments of nostalgia. It’s a fantastic album and exactly how I hoped this chapter of Hitchcock’s wandering career would begin.
[Buy Robyn Hitchcock’s self-titled album in the 3hive Co-op Shop while supplies last.]
Simple Kid is an Irish-born and London-based acoustifreaktronic troubadour who can be as dry and witty with a melody as The Beta Band, whose genius-boy way with both a harmonica and a sampler would do Beck Hanson proud, and whose prodigious (and prodigiously unkempt) follicles bring to mind Badly Drawn Boy and Moses after that whole 40-years-in-the-desert thing. He can carry a tune, too. â€œThe Twentysomethingâ€ may well be â€œLoserâ€ for a new generation, while â€œLilâ€™ King Kongâ€ sounds like a mashup of Led Zeppelin and REO Speedwagon songs that were never written, let alone merged. Then thereâ€™s â€œSerotonin,â€ which as epics go is quite unassuming but that gets under your skin nonetheless by giving you a reason to both rise up and drop out. Isn’t that what the best rock ‘n’ roll songs always do?
(The file below is a zipped EP featuring all three of the songs above. Download, unzip, and enjoy.)
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Ainâ€™t nobody ever needs to doubt Jon Spencer and the Dickinson brothers’ blues. What they’re doing may be a tad less â€œblueâ€ than the genreâ€™s down-and-out Mississippi Delta roots, but Spencer, the brothers in the band and father Jim producing have been keeping the blues fresh (and let’s not forget Fat Possum Records) all of those years that your dad has fallen for those suburban guitar prophets with top-flight training and no sorrow. Granted, â€œThatâ€™s a Dragâ€ is about as sorrowful as Spencer Dickinsonâ€™s blues get, but give me the sound of a night of hard livinâ€™ over an AOR darling any day.
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