Swampcandy has become a duo, with double bass and kick drum player Joey Mitchell joining our old friend Ruben Dobbs as a full time member. Here’s a little something to whet your appetite for their new EP which is expected in early 2011.
Noel White’s Mill Creek Studio is doing it again. This time with Southern Illinois transplants Liquid Indian. Fronted by songwriter and guitarist Greg Harris, Happy Little Robots find the middle ground between songwriters like Neil Young and Steve Earle and more esoteric fare like the Flaming Lips and Sparklehorse and Harris says that’s no accident. He told Underground Wednesday that he’s drawn to influences as disparate as Townes Van Zandt and Guided By Voices, and on “Analog Ohm,” he gives each of them a nod. You can try and pigeonhole Liquid Indian but neither alt country, psychedelic or slacker rock labels really fit. What’s indisputable is an organic style that’s both literate and visceral.
Harris says that White has helped flesh out his sound. “I’m a believer in songs standing on their own with just me and a guitar, but then it’s great to blow them up,” he says. “Working with Noel and the guys he’s brought in has been great for that. And when they come, I just get out of the way. Let good musicians do their thing and you usually get the best results.”
Those good musicians include White on drums, Annapolis stalwart Larry Melton on bass, and Harris’ brother Chris on guitar. “When I write songs, they are more or less pretty simple folk type songs,” Harris says. “I love that kind of music, but getting them in the studio with some great musicians has pulled them into some other realms that I love.”
Those realms include the anthemic grunge of “Golden Age” and the quirky melancholy of “Contact Buzz.” Enjoy both while Harris continues work on an album due in 2011 but you can hear now – only on Underground Wednesday.
MP3: Happy Little Robots – Contact Buzz
Happy Little Robots – Golden Age
There’s nothing more satisfying than watching an artist develop out of the artist development hell that can be “open mike night.” Ace Elijah paid his dues crooning his unique brand of gentle, jazz-inflected pop to many a deaf ear in saloons around Annapolis and now that he’s old enough to legally imbibe himself, those beer-soaked gigs are beginning to pay dividends.
This is an elegant record that, while owing much to the traditional pop of Tin Pan Alley, establishes Elijah’s authenticity. His vocals have been described as “intimate” and considering his classic pop phrasing, that’s as good a description as any. Self-assured and plaintive, these songs take their own time in revealing themselves and owe much to Elijah’s old-style recording approach where he performs live in the studio with little or no overdubs. Mickey Basil’s beautiful piano accompaniment adds another layer of warmth to a record that sounds as much crafted as performed.
Check out “This Is My Home For Now,” a traveling song vaguely reminiscent of Belle & Sebastian.
For a limited time, you can download the entire record for FREE.
Check out his live performance at Mill Creek Studio.
They may have changed their name but they haven’t changed their signature throwback sound. Here’s the debut video from the Annapolis band The Dirty Names.
Underground Wednesday is proud to announce the release of “Violon D’Ingres,” a new EP from Joseph Karr that marks his first music release in nearly a decade. He’s been described here as “an accidental musician of the eeriest sort,” “ the dark prince of Annapolis,” and “a goddamn genius,” and this EP affirms our belief that he’s an artist that warrants national attention.
Tastefully accentuated and beautifully expressed, it’s evocative music from an artist whose talent has always tantalized but is now marked with the maturity of a fully-formed artist.
Please join us at a combination CD release and art show this Thursday, September 16th at 9:00 pm at Tsunami, 51 West Street, in Annapolis. Joe’s art will be on display and DJ Dan will be spinning selections from Annapolis musicians from 10:00 into the wee hours.
This hand stamped, limited edition EP features:
Previously featured on Underground Wednesday, it positively shimmers.
2. What Comes Naturally
Tasty electronic touches add an element of light to this affecting, slightly dark song.
3. Rush Concert T-Shirt
“She can skate backwards in a straight line” is our favorite lyric of the year.
4. For The Best
Written on the first day of the year, it makes you want to lie on your car and watch the stars with your best girl. Just beautiful.
Candy apple red pop.
Physical copies will be available at this show only with a full digital release in October. For all things, Joe Karr, visit his website.
Tobias Russell appears to be a contradiction of terms. A dreadlocked twenty-something that considers Paul Simon as his biggest influence? An MC that doesn’t curse? But it’s this dichotomy that makes his musical approach so intriguing. “Flesh.Bones.Teeth.Words” is the first full-length from this Annapolis native and it’s as rooted in folk as it is in hip hop. Russell says he’s unafraid to drastically change styles from song to song and while he holds true to those words, it’s not at the expense of cohesiveness.
A prolific songwriter, he had a multitude of songs to choose from for his debut but he told Underground Wednesday that he found common lyrical ground in the songs that worked their way onto the record – regardless of whether he was singing or rapping. It’s hip hop that’s refreshingly free of misogyny and braggadocio. It’s rock with an ear for hooks and a way with words. And it’s folk that’s introspective without being self-absorbed.
Not hurting matters is the stellar production, subtle guitar work and backing vocals by Annapolis musician Casey Hean (of local bands Ethics Committee, newstravelsfast, and the forthcoming Diving Horses.) From the ebullient pop of first single “I Woke Up” to the soul-inflected hip hop of “This Ain’t Music” (featuring former Jepetto and Victory Party MC Dave Richardson), it’s a promising debut that’s only accentuated by his passionate live performances. He might not use profanity in his music, but we’re going to go ahead and call Tobias Russell a badass anyway.
Tobias Russell – I Woke Up (now available on iTunes)
Tobias Russell – This Ain’t Music
Lead single now available on iTunes. Full album available in October 2010.
Check out his live performance at Mill Creek Studio featuring a couple of songs not found on the record.
To say that Ruben Dobbs, aka Swampcandy, has a passion for the music of the Mississippi delta is a profound understatement. With an uncanny knack for layering his own vocals and an innate ability to channel rock and blues influences, Velvet Thud manages to sound both raw and polished at the same time. His performances are as defined by his intensity and guitar virtuosity as his entertaining between-song commentary. Here’s a nice career retrospective:
From his latest, “She Calls To Me”:
Swampcandy – Positive Drinkin’
From “The Dirty Suite”:
Swampcandy – So Low
Two from “High Lonesome” under his former moniker of Velvet Thud:
Velvet Thud – Saint Joe
Here’s new stuff from Caleb Stine whose country-tinged exploration of American roots should appeal to any fan of the Avett Brothers or Whiskeytown.