What a very strange album. I was introduced to Gary Clark Jr. through Booker T.’s Sound the Alarm, an album that is truly a sampler of sounds and styles, on which Clark Jr. was featured on “Austin City Blues.” I was quite surprised to find that Gary Clark Jr’.s album, Blak and Blu, is also a sampler album, which is much more difficult to understand given that it is by a single, talented artist. The variety on Blak and Blu isn’t always rewarding for the listener who comes to him from a work such as “Austin City Blues,” though.
The Futureheads album I am most familiar with is the debut, eponymous album of 2004. I chanced upon them on an online radio station and then sought them out. The album became a favourite of mine, probably because it was that comfortable mix of familiar and new. There was much of Andy Partridge and XTC in their sound, though clearly they brought that Futurehead sound along with them. I never really understood that aspect of their sound until I heard 2012’s Rant.
We recently reviewed the latest release by The Blasters, 2012’s Have Fun on Saturday Night, and I took a look at what the members have been up to—good things, as it turns out. For instance, it is great to hear that The Blasters are working on a new album, Phil and Dave Alvin working together again. Looking through the current undertakings of the original Blasters, I also noted that drummer Bill Bateman and bassist John Bazz are working with a new band, and—wow—what a band it is, The Doghouse Lords.
The debut album by The Temples, Sun Structures, sounds like it walked out of the studio in Beatle boots, bell bottoms, and psychedelic shirts. There is no irony or sense that this album does not belong to now, however. The neo-psychedelic sound works beautifully and it is like—please excuse the simile—finding a 60s album at the back of a used-record store, only to find you had missed out on something amazing. That’s a rare occurrence and it is much more encouraging to find that the group is current, creative, and just beginning—rather than a missed event from forty-seven years ago.