Alt-Country - Search and Destroy

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I'm listening to the Agenda's alt-country sampler and I've got to admit - I LOVE THE STUFF. From The Boggs, Mark Kozolek, Chris Mills, Damien Jurado - all big-hearted songs from the lonely. Kinda makes me want to rent a trailer in New Jersey and work in a steel factory.

If you love alt-country (not everyone does - sad to say) - where did the love arise from? I think, for me, was a youthful obsession with the Byrds. I sort of hear the Byrds in everything now.

Jimmy the Saint (Jimmy the Saint), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 10:50 (sixteen years ago) link

Neil Young

christhamrin (christhamrin), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 11:25 (sixteen years ago) link

Neil Young - Buffalo Springfield - David Crosby - The Byrds.

Jimmy the Saint (Jimmy the Saint), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 11:30 (sixteen years ago) link

Its a sickness

omg, Tuesday, 3 February 2004 12:33 (sixteen years ago) link

Check out the Autumn Defense - Circles as well as Dolorean - Not Exotic.

Chris V (Chris V), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 12:42 (sixteen years ago) link

Also urgent and key....Iron and Wine - The Creek Drank the Cradle

Chris V (Chris V), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 12:43 (sixteen years ago) link

I like bluegrass music, and i also like punk.

Kingfish Funyun (Kingfish), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 14:26 (sixteen years ago) link

I like good music of any kind. Some alt-country fits into this, some doesn't.

Huck Stable (Horace Mann), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 14:36 (sixteen years ago) link

The Beatles are the most important band in history. :-)

The Beatles are the most important band in history. :-)

The Beatles are the most important band in history. :-)

The Beatles are the most important band in history. :-)

The Beatles are the most important band in history. :-)

The Beatles are the most important band in history. :-)

The Beatles are the most important band in history. :-)

The Beatles are the most important band in history. :-)

The Beatles are the most important band in history. :-)

The Beatles are the most important band in history. :-)

The Beatles are the most important band in history. :-)

The Beatles are the most important band in history. :-)

The Beatles are the most important band in history. :-)

The Beatles are the most important band in history. :-)

The Beatles are the most important band in history. :-)

The Beatles are the most important band in history. :-)

The Beatles are the most important band in history. :-)

The Beatles are the most important band in history. :-)

The Beatles are the most important band in history. :-)

The Beatles are the most important band in history. :-)

The Beatles are the most important band in history. :-)

The Beatles are the most important band in history. :-)

The Beatles are the most important band in history. :-)

The Beatles are the most important band in history. :-)

The Beatles are the most important band in history. :-)

The Beatles are the most important band in history. :-)

The Beatles are the most important band in history. :-)

The Beatles are the most important band in history. :-)

The Beatles are the most important band in history. :-), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 14:38 (sixteen years ago) link

Lately, I like:
the new Volebeats (yeah, it's just covers and b-sides or whatever, but it's fun and nice and well done)
the Great Uncles of the Revolution, country-jazz-classical, sorta like Tin Hat Trio but less weirdo, but very very good. like Calexico's instrumentals without Mexican influence.
Buck 65, becoming more convinced that he, or at least his new album belongs in the alt-country category daily.

Huck Stable (Horace Mann), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 14:40 (sixteen years ago) link

Destroy: All the early country-like stuff.
Search: The magnificent later pop oriented albums from the likes of Jayhawks, Wilco and Lamchop.

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 14:50 (sixteen years ago) link

You like Lambchop?

Huck Stable (Horace Mann), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 14:51 (sixteen years ago) link

Lambchop is nice enough, particularly the "Nixon" album.

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 15:22 (sixteen years ago) link

While I'm not about to get into an argument with a robot, I don't really think there's a point in the genre's evolution where it turned from country to pop. Some do it one way, some the other.

Uncle Tupelo, Handsome Family, Catherine Irwin and some Willard Grant Conspiracy (the more country stuff, for my money) is as good as anything to go for.

DJ Mencap (DJ Mencap), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 15:35 (sixteen years ago) link

there was a good piece sort of to that effect in the latest No Depression. In their year end wrap up one of editor's commented that in a few cases, Nashville trumped the insurgents for whatever-that-is-ness.

Huckadelia (Horace Mann), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 15:39 (sixteen years ago) link

the new grant-lee phillips single is devastating.

teeny (teeny), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 15:41 (sixteen years ago) link

*sound of Donna throwing out Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Nixon*

Donna Brown (Donna Brown), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 17:14 (sixteen years ago) link

*sound of Donna throwing out Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Nixon*

it does not matter how you come to the Lord, so long as you come :-)

Eisbär (llamasfur), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 17:28 (sixteen years ago) link

Cub Country - High Unita High is excellent

BrianB (BrianB), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 17:30 (sixteen years ago) link

Neko Case, the Handsome Family, Freakwater, the Meat Purveyors and Moonshine Willy (for your bluegrass fix), the Sadies, Son Volt's "Trace", Calexico, Friends of Dean Martinez (esp. "Atardecer"), Giant Sand/Howe Gelb/Band of Blacky Ranchette (a little unusual), maybe some Blue Rodeo too. Edith Frost might fall into this category to some extent as well. And also Kelly Hogan. And pick up the following compilations from Bloodshot Records: the Bob Wills Tribute album by the Pine Valley Cosmonauts, the Executioner's Last Songs anti-death penalty albums also by the PVCs, and Down to the Promised Land (very cheap 2 CD comp w/40 tracks)

But a lot of this stuff is really just country with the "alt" prefix attached.

Gear! (Gear!), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 19:10 (sixteen years ago) link

I came to alt.country through the fairly traditional Anodyne/Trace/AM route. The first album out of all of it I really loved (working backwards) was UT's March 16-20 1992. But looking at it now, Trace is definitely the most consistently great album the genre has produced.

From the last few years (and edging more rock than country), search My Morning Jacket's At Dawn, the Silver Jew's Bright Flight, Bobby Bare Jr's Young Criminals' Starvation League, any Lucero or Iron & Wine, Damien Jurado's Where Shall You Take Me? (I Break Chairs is a great album too, but pretty much straight up rock), Calexico's Feast of Wire, Songs: Ohia's Magnolia Electric Co., Alejandro Escovedo's A Man Under the Influence, and really there are a ton of other solid records.

andrew s (andrew s), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 19:25 (sixteen years ago) link

DRIVE BY TRUCKERS

ModJ (ModJ), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 19:26 (sixteen years ago) link

Search the Scud Mountain Boys (a little more country) and the Pernice Brothers (a little more alt), both are great. Joe Pernice has excellent songwriting as well as vocal skills.

webcrack (music=crack), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 19:38 (sixteen years ago) link

i haven't listened to alt-country in a while, but when i did, i particularly liked:

beachwood sparks - make the robot cowboys cry
sparklehorse - vivadixie...
wilco - summerteeth

weasel diesel (K1l14n), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 19:53 (sixteen years ago) link

My album of 2003 was "Five Dollar Bill" by the Corb Lund Band. The fact they're the side-project of Nickelback's drummer makes them even better than they are, which is great.

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 19:56 (sixteen years ago) link

I would hardly call them N'back's drummer's side project. He doesn't tour with Corb, does he? I think he just played on the record (and maybe the odd date, not that anyone would notice, really, tell me what N'back's drummer looks like!).
But Corb's doing real well for himself here in Canada, even being accepted by the mainstream country ind. a little bit.

Huckadelia (Horace Mann), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 20:00 (sixteen years ago) link

I'll be honest with you Hucks, I know very very little about the band themselves. I bought the album on a whim after I heard the title track on a Chain With No Name sampler, and was just blown out of the water by it, totally. AMG claims that Nickelback's drummer, a "Ryan Videkal" is actually a full time member of the band, but, obviously, Corb Lund is the focal point of the band. It's a shame they're not more famous really, "(Gonna) Shine Up My Boots" especially is just... ah, man. Is it alt-country though? It just sounds like proper rot-gut country to me.

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 20:11 (sixteen years ago) link

Corb used to be in a semi-legendary punk-metal band called the smalls (all lowercase), who toured Canada like a motherfuck in the 90s. I have no doubt that they were influences on Nickelback, if only as "small town Alberta band making it happen for themselves".

Huckadelia (Horace Mann), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 20:14 (sixteen years ago) link

Tarnation

anthony kyle monday (akmonday), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 20:16 (sixteen years ago) link

"it does not matter how you come to the Lord, so long as you come :-)"

I've been SERVED. at least it's by someone w/a good username :)

Donna Brown (Donna Brown), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 20:33 (sixteen years ago) link

ps that's what Pat Robertson said this morning on the 700 Club!

Donna Brown (Donna Brown), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 20:33 (sixteen years ago) link

Dumptruck, K. McCarty, Mark Mulcahy.

dave225 (Dave225), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 20:43 (sixteen years ago) link

I never know when the "alt" is supposed to be affixed (a-fixed?).

But here are a few:

The Be Good Tanyas
Okkervil River
Damien Jurado seconded.

And Huck, are Royal City considered alt-country? This whole (sub)genre confuses me, as I used to be one of those (annoying) people who said I love all music except country music (I was raised in the UK and just thought it was redneck music out of Nashville and therefore said nothing to me). Now, I may still be annoying, but the "alt" has brought me closer to country (not to mention the late Mr. Cash), even though half the time I don't know which is alt and which is mainstream. Like, is that Wilco/Bragg thing, Mermaid Avenue, considered alt or straight country?

David A. (Davant), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 21:38 (sixteen years ago) link

"considered". By whom?

David A. (Davant), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 21:38 (sixteen years ago) link

Oh, and what about Kathleen Edwards, too?

David A. (Davant), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 21:40 (sixteen years ago) link

I can't stand anything by Wilco except for chunks of YHF. Summerteeth and Being There = bleh.

The first three Old 97's albums are fantastic alt.country (the last two are also great, but not so country). Son Volt's Trace is close to perfect through "Drown," kinda forgettable after that.

In the Iron & Wine/Will Oldham vein, The Baptist Generals are good.

miloauckerman (miloauckerman), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 21:47 (sixteen years ago) link

I love Sam Beam just as much as the next guy, but his lineage is more James Taylor than Merle Haggard. Ditto for the other 'folk rock' bands listed above. Sparklehorse a great band? Yes. Alt country? No.

Besides, like any clever genre tag (emo, etc) it's only embraced by those who will never make any kind of original mark anyway, and the bands know this, so they distance themselves from it. I think Jeff Tweedy would sigh a heavy sigh and look very disappointed if you asked him how he got started writing 'alt country songs.' While you're at it, ask Jawbreaker or Guy Picciotto how they feel about starting emo rock.

But since you asked: Freakwater changed my life, as did the Drive By Truckers. Half of the bands on Bloodshot are worth a gamble (and the other half veer towards bluegrass / rockabilly, which i don't really dig so I'm no authority).

roger adultery (roger adultery), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 21:53 (sixteen years ago) link

Okkervil River, Split Lip Rayfield, and Alejandro Escovedo.

El Spinktor (El Spinktor), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 22:19 (sixteen years ago) link

some good aussie alt.c

fibrotown "s/t"
Royalchord's "I gave you a mountain"
hired guns "between here and the night"

the surface noise (electricsound), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 22:23 (sixteen years ago) link

roger adultery, then what is Americana? This isn't confrontational, I'm genuinely confused and curious. The definitions of folk and country seem more elastic as I get older. I mean, coming from England I used to think I knew what "folk" was. But here in North America, these distinctions seem to be blurring more (folk, country, folk-rock, country-rock, alt-country or y'alternative, Americana, roots, etc). Not just roger, but can anyone help define these, or am I asking the impossible?

David A. (Davant), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 22:30 (sixteen years ago) link

Search:
Holopaw on the "indie" tip.
Lucero for alt.country more rooted in the Replacements than the Byrds.

Will(iam) (will), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 22:57 (sixteen years ago) link

I have long been on record as stating that alt country is the lamest, blandest, most timid, most whitebread, most arhythmic subgenre in the history of rock, with the possible exceptions of powerpop and indie rock, and except when it's not, which is probably more often than i've usually admitted, though it depends how you define it, i guess.

anyway, here is a review of my favorite recent alt-country record, followed by reviews of two non-alt-at-all country records, the latter of which genre i usually (but okay, not always) much tend to prefer:

http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0405/eddy.php

chuck, Tuesday, 3 February 2004 23:55 (sixteen years ago) link

Moral of the story, maybe: Pub-rock >>>> cowpunk >>>>> alt-country.

unless drive-by truckers count (at least when they play loud.)

chuck, Tuesday, 3 February 2004 23:58 (sixteen years ago) link

Everyone on this thread needs to hear the aching lonesome beauty of Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter's 'Reckless Burning'

Ben Dot (1977), Wednesday, 4 February 2004 00:04 (sixteen years ago) link

The Strange Things are from Australia too. Very nice stuff.

ipsofacto (ipsofacto), Wednesday, 4 February 2004 00:15 (sixteen years ago) link

I would dispute Chuck's assertion about alt-country 100% unless he's referring to the more popular stuff, i.e. latter-day Son Volt, Jayhawks, Jay Farrar, etc. The good shite is essential to anyone's collection.

Gear! (Gear!), Wednesday, 4 February 2004 00:29 (sixteen years ago) link

I have long been on record as stating that alt country is the lamest, blandest, most timid, most whitebread, most arhythmic subgenre in the history of rock, with the possible exceptions of powerpop and indie rock

Powerpop and indie rock are both brilliant genres. Particularly Powerpop. The entire ideology behind Powerpop is so completely right.

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Wednesday, 4 February 2004 00:36 (sixteen years ago) link

I have long been on record as stating that alt country is the lamest, blandest, most timid, most whitebread, most arhythmic subgenre in the history of rock, with the possible exceptions of powerpop and indie rock

Hee. OK, but that all depends where you draw your lines. I mean, by No Depression definitions, Lucinda Williams and Steve Earle are alt-country royalty. They both have detractors, I know, but it seems like a stretch to call them timid, bland, whitebread -- or even arhythmic (I actually like Steve Earle's country-reggae bits, "Rivers of Babylon" and "Johnny Too Bad"). It's always seemed to me there were distinct schools of alt-country: the Uncle Tupelo/Jayhawks Midwest/California division, and then separate (though sometimes overlapping) circles in Nashville, Austin, Chicago and elsewhere. If you're going to limit the definition specifically to the Farrar/Tweedy school, OK, I can see the complaints (although all those guys have written some good songs, and Mermaid Avenue is a classic on any planet). But I'm guessing that's limiting the definition way more than anyone who actually listens to it does.

Anyway, people not yet mentioned, besides Earle and Williams:
Lonesome Bob
The Bottle Rockets
The V-roys (and Scott Miller solo, especially his first album)
Kelly Willis (I guess her MCA stuff is hard to call alt-, but her more recent stuff qualifies)
Jason and the Scorchers
Lone Justice (especially the first album)

And lots of other things not leaping to mind right now.

spittle (spittle), Wednesday, 4 February 2004 01:08 (sixteen years ago) link

And Kasey Chambers. And the Waco Brothers. And Randy Weeks. And come to think of it, what's a loud, proud Eagles fan doing complaining about any of this stuff?

spittle (spittle), Wednesday, 4 February 2004 01:22 (sixteen years ago) link

seriously

Gear! (Gear!), Wednesday, 4 February 2004 02:31 (sixteen years ago) link

Alt-Country is no better and no worse than any other genre. The acts that lean on the genre generally suck; the acts that happen to be usi9ng the same instruments as a bunch of other bands...they have a chance.
There's some ad that used to run in NoDep that read "alternative country is the only alternative...and the only country!" or some such and yeah, that's a big fucking turn off. But there was a point when this music, or perhaps a handful of artists making this music deserved to have very vocal championeers.

For whatever record exists for someone who posts with a fake name, I don't like a lot of the alt-country superstars like Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams & Ryan Adams. Can't stand 'em! Mainly cuz they seem to believe their own press. Or maybe cuz a bunch of people I think are fuckfaces absolutely fawn over them. So, like, suck-by-association.

Anyway,any music label will ultimately be proven false or redundant unless it is at heart meaningless (the label, like say, crunk or gobot-pop (good-time music made by cars that turn into robots with very few moving pieces).

Huckleberry Heehaw, Wednesday, 4 February 2004 03:10 (sixteen years ago) link

I can respect not liking Steve Earle or Lucinda Williams, but I think including them in the same sentence with Ryan Adams is a little harsh. I know what you mean, though. And Steve and Lucinda have fallen off. Still, for me, I can think of 5 or 10 songs by both of them that can stand up against the best of nearly anyone from the last 10 years.

spittle (spittle), Wednesday, 4 February 2004 03:52 (sixteen years ago) link

Agreed, especially about Lucinda.

roger adultery (roger adultery), Wednesday, 4 February 2004 04:43 (sixteen years ago) link

I'm not saying they're empirically awful or even bad, I'm just saying that I don't personally get off on them, and yes R.A. is in a different class from the other two, but he's sorta on the list of folks who it's assumed you MUST like if you're into modern Americana/Alt-Country/Roots Rock/whatever.
I do like about half of Alejandro Escovedo's stuff, prefering his rockers to his more gut-wrenching material (which just ain't my bag) and both times I saw him live I was in awe.

Huckadelia (Horace Mann), Wednesday, 4 February 2004 14:50 (sixteen years ago) link

>>come to think of it, what's a loud, proud Eagles fan doing complaining about any of this stuff?<<

Well, the Eagles having made better records than Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, the Bottle Rockets, Casey Chambers, Ryan Adams, Jason and the Scorchers, Lone Justice, Alejandro Escovedo, Wilco, Son Volt, Uncle Tupelo, the Jayhawks, Lambchop, Iron & Wine, and just about everybody else mentioned on this thread *might* have something to do with it. But that's just a wild guess.

chuck, Wednesday, 4 February 2004 17:43 (sixteen years ago) link

The bands I like are good. The bands you like are bad.

bnw (bnw), Wednesday, 4 February 2004 17:56 (sixteen years ago) link

Actually, bnw, the bands you like were last seen blowing goats behind the 7-11. The bands I like, they were the ones who brought the goats.

Huckadelphia (Horace Mann), Wednesday, 4 February 2004 18:03 (sixteen years ago) link

The Eagles have indeed made better records than Ryan Adams.

Gear! (Gear!), Wednesday, 4 February 2004 18:08 (sixteen years ago) link

File Ryan Adams under Alt-Shit.

Chris V (Chris V), Wednesday, 4 February 2004 18:08 (sixteen years ago) link

You definitely don't need the prefix in that case.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 4 February 2004 18:09 (sixteen years ago) link

True.

Chris V (Chris V), Wednesday, 4 February 2004 18:11 (sixteen years ago) link

Does M. Ward figure into the alt-country label....if so...wonderful stuff.

Chris V (Chris V), Wednesday, 4 February 2004 18:12 (sixteen years ago) link

Nobody's yet recommended Gillian Welch? She wasn't born to it but still manages an air of authenticity about her. And her partner, David Rawlings, whose sheepish yet spot-on harmonies (and exemplary guitar work) cohese their material quite nicely.

christoff (christoff), Wednesday, 4 February 2004 18:13 (sixteen years ago) link

that's one of the things I like about No Depression, they're very inclusive of what they cover.

Huckadelphia (Horace Mann), Wednesday, 4 February 2004 18:13 (sixteen years ago) link

They had a cover story on Dizzee a couple months ago even.

Gear! (Gear!), Wednesday, 4 February 2004 18:14 (sixteen years ago) link

within a limited scope, that is.

Huckadelphia (Horace Mann), Wednesday, 4 February 2004 18:16 (sixteen years ago) link

It's good that somewhere there's a space where Janet Bean can get a bit of press.

Gear! (Gear!), Wednesday, 4 February 2004 18:20 (sixteen years ago) link

Alt.country. Search and destroy.

gygax! (gygax!), Wednesday, 4 February 2004 18:36 (sixteen years ago) link

>>Actually, bnw, the bands you like were last seen blowing goats behind the 7-11. The bands I like, they were the ones who brought the goats.<<

I never liked the Goats much, myself. Or Lubricated Goat, for that matter. Or Lambchop, though I guess we already mentioned them. Or Lamb, for that matter. Or the High Llamas. I think I like the Mountain Goats okay, though (and not just because John Darnielle might be reading this), but I need to listen to them more. And I definitely think "I'm on the Lamb But I Ain't no Sheep" by Blue Oyster Cult is an excellent song, for whatever that's worth.

chuck, Wednesday, 4 February 2004 19:39 (sixteen years ago) link

(I hope bnw took my goats post in the light-hearted spirit in which it was intended)

Huckadelphia (Horace Mann), Wednesday, 4 February 2004 19:40 (sixteen years ago) link

And oh yeah, I don't think I much like Gillian Welch's "partner, David Rawlings, whose SHEEPISH yet spot-on harmonies" do something or other, since she sounds like a lifeless schoolmarm with or without him.

chuck, Wednesday, 4 February 2004 19:42 (sixteen years ago) link

Does zydeco count as alt-country?

Huckadelphia (Horace Mann), Wednesday, 4 February 2004 19:43 (sixteen years ago) link

five years pass...

just read this excellent article which is a few weeks old: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/features/far-from-the-old-country-music-1643705.html

the assessment of alt country at the end rang 100% true for me

Christopher Cross, Thursday, 30 April 2009 11:53 (ten years ago) link

one month passes...

yes, Bush totally OTM here, and I think this is well put...

Bush can barely hide his impatience at alt.country's arrogance. "The songs that will survive 40 years from now will have to do, not with their excellence at how they interpreted post-modern Appalachia, but how they interpreted the human condition. And in the end, as much as I'm a huge Wilco fan, no one's going to remember them. They're going to remember Katy Perry's "I Kissed A Girl" – because that story is true. There'll be another girl sitting at a window who's kissed someone and that song speaks to her. And really, (Wilco and ex-Uncle Tupelo singer-songwriter) Jeff Tweedy singing about being lonely and poor and dumped, all these things which he is not...

"There are only so many thirtysomethings who'll emotionally connect to style over substance, which a lot of (modern) Appalachian stuff is. I'm a huge Gillian Welch fan, but she's from Malibu, California. I'm from Dolly Parton's hometown Sevierville, Tennessee. I should be playing what she's playing, according to our histories. Our song "Baby Girl" deals with some sort of human archetype, anyway, a story of the hero. It just rings differently in your bones. Country music is unafraid of that human substance."

BUT...and this is a big but...dude is the heir to the Bush's baked beans fortune! Black pot, meet black kettle...

If Assholes Could Fly This Place Would Be An Airport, Monday, 22 June 2009 10:02 (ten years ago) link

six months pass...

Please can anyone recommend some good and recent alt-country from a UK band? I was asked to import some. I forgot. And I have no idea what's out there anyway, let alone what's new and decent. So I need to raid Amazon, but not until I've had your advice.

Jblujlama (ljubljana), Sunday, 17 January 2010 04:42 (ten years ago) link

brinsley schwarz "silver pistol"

Joint Custody (ian), Sunday, 17 January 2010 05:17 (ten years ago) link

not actually recent.

Joint Custody (ian), Sunday, 17 January 2010 05:18 (ten years ago) link

Sorry ljubljana - i kept meaning to return yr email but I couldn't think of anything. How about Dropkick though?

Ned Trifle II, Sunday, 17 January 2010 09:41 (ten years ago) link

What do The Mekons sound like now?

Ned Trifle II, Sunday, 17 January 2010 09:57 (ten years ago) link

Thanks Ian, Ned - have ordered the Brinsley Schwartz on the basis that it's old enough to be interesting so scores as many points as something new enough to be interesting. Also got the latest Dropkick. I think the Mekons are already well-known here in the US. Any more thoughts welcome...

Jblujlama (ljubljana), Sunday, 17 January 2010 16:37 (ten years ago) link

Other mandatory U.K. country-rock/roots rock from the early 1970s: Mighty Baby (jug of love album), Help Yourself (first couple albums), Ernie Graham solo album (f'n brilliant) and Cochise (first two albums).

QuantumNoise, Sunday, 17 January 2010 17:03 (ten years ago) link

In defense of Steve Earle:

Steve is venerated by No Depression by I don't think he should be lumped in with Ryan Adams or even Lucinda in the "timid, whitebread, a-rhythmic alt-country" category that someone described

He's a damn good songwriter IMO

and listen to a song like "Copperhead Road" or "I Feel Allright"

those songs ain't timid, they kick ass!

lukevalentine, Sunday, 17 January 2010 21:22 (ten years ago) link

i think my main problem with this genre is that I actually like real good old fashioned twangy country music quite a bit, always have, so most of this stuff sounds pretty diluted for my taste

one thing about this "genre" is that there are people coming at "altcountry" from a lot of different dierctions. some come an indie rock background, some are looking for the next Crazy Horse, some are punks mellowing out from the meat puppets & mekons & black flag, etc

a lot of so called cowpunk bands pretty much just sounds like barbands it seems

lukevalentine, Sunday, 17 January 2010 21:27 (ten years ago) link

eight months pass...

http://www.dixiestreams.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/ryan-bingham-junky-star.jpg

this is the cover of a record called "junky star"

listen to it

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Monday, 11 October 2010 09:17 (nine years ago) link

two years pass...

What's been great in the alt country scene the last few years? Bloodshot's slipped lately but I dug the Paul Burch/Waco's album. It seems like lots of my old faves have moved away from the sounds I loved - Ryan Adams turned into Jerry Garcia while Chris Mills and Neko Case are still making great music but moved away from the country underpinnings.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Saturday, 7 September 2013 02:27 (six years ago) link

Phospherescent, Richmond Fontaine

Old Boy In Network (Michael B), Saturday, 7 September 2013 02:29 (six years ago) link

The Volebeats have been one of the best alt country bands since the 80s. Their self-titled record from a few years back is fantastic.

Here is an older song of theirs, one of my favorites. If you like this, you'll like everything they do.

One of their singers, Matthew Smith is also the singer of Outrageous Cherry.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQAYK8PGL_c

kornrulez6969, Saturday, 7 September 2013 14:37 (six years ago) link

Fred Eaglesmith's last album "6 Volts" has been curing my alt-country jones for the last month.

Heez, Saturday, 7 September 2013 15:43 (six years ago) link

I love that Volebeats song.

banjoboy, Sunday, 8 September 2013 16:28 (six years ago) link

The Volebeats are the best. They have about ten albums of songs like that.

Here's another great one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2PCio6zM0o

kornrulez6969, Sunday, 8 September 2013 16:52 (six years ago) link

^OTM, The Volebeats are the best. I'm partial to The Sky and the Ocean and the Mosquito Spiral. Buried treasure.

that's not my post, Monday, 9 September 2013 05:01 (six years ago) link

two years pass...

I've been enjoying the 2012 release by the Harmed Brothers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEoynN4V44s

nicky lo-fi, Friday, 19 August 2016 17:44 (three years ago) link

Over on Rolling Country, alpine static introduced us to the excellent Western Centuries:

Rolling Country denizens, I hope you'll check out this Western Centuries record ... it is great, and they played one of the best sets I saw at Pickathon last weekend:

http://www.westerncenturies.com/music/

― alpine static, Sunday, August 14, 2016 12:03 AM (5 days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Thanks so much, alpine static, I'm totally smitten with this! Even the rueful philosophical response to life's funky details with is part of the honky tonk catchiness--just bite the token and roll with it, son. And daughter.
Whole thang's on youtube: hitp://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=western+centuries and Spotify and I'm fixing to order it anyway.
Along with xpost Kelsey Walson's album, another unexpected source of cool steel guitar.

― dow, Tuesday, August 16, 2016 6:18 PM (3 days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

dammit hitp://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=western+centuries

― dow, Tuesday, August 16, 2016 6:19 PM (3 days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLmb_RVPqTMAqOfa5-jvM03hzjPmQlw9Js

― dow, Tuesday, August 16, 2016 6:21 PM (3 days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Western Centuries got a fleet, fleeting sound--little hints of bluesy disconnection in the backing, and I like the lyrics a lot. Very good.

― Edd Hurt, Tuesday, August 16, 2016 7:08 PM (3 days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

glad y'all dig it. I'm a longtime HUGE fan of Cahalen Morrison's work, back to his folk duo with Eli West ( http://cahalenandeli.com/ ) ... those guys had/have a sort of interesting/unconventional way with melodies, and they can sure pick. I guess they're still together, but Cahalen's clearly been putting more time into his country music the past few years, first under the name Country Hammer ( http://www.cahalen.com/country-hammer/ ) ... they put out a really good record last year, I think. But it seems they must've added a significant member or two and changed the name to Western Centuries. At least that's my understanding ... one of y'all more patient learners may be able to read up and find out more.

I didn't know they'd changed the name, though, until a couple days before Pickathon, when I went to try to investigate some of the bands I wasn't familiar with and realized this was a Cahalen project. Loved the songs I could find online, bought the vinyl at the fest merch table, saw the band, was blown away ... I went from having no clue about Western Centuries to having a favorite new country band in the span of about 5 days.

― alpine static, Wednesday, August 17, 2016 12:25 AM (2 days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

here's a graf from their bio. Donna the Buffalo connection here:

Comprised of Seattle-based country musician Cahalen Morrison, jam band veteran Jim Miller (co-founder of Donna the Buffalo), R&B and bluegrass-by-way-of-punk rock songwriter Ethan Lawton, pedal steel player Rusty Blake, and bassist Dan Lowinger, Western Centuries are clearly a diverse bunch. The band is collaborative in nature, but they are – albeit subtly – helmed by Morrison. After years of performing in prominent roots duo Cahalen Morrison & Eli West (whose music made fans of Tim O’Brien, Jim Lauderdale, Dirk Powell, and BBC Radio’s Bob Harris along the way), Morrison formed and led the band Country Hammer, made up of members who have mostly crossed over into Western Centuries.

― Edd Hurt, Wednesday, August 17, 2016 10:22 AM (2 days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Yeah, the philosophical asides from daily-nightly rounds def. go w Donna The Buffalo inclinations, though all three songwriter-vocalists interact pretty seamlessly. I figure they bond via primo Hunter-Garcia x country jukebox staples (incl. yer better b-sides).

― dow, Wednesday, August 17, 2016

dow, Friday, 19 August 2016 18:00 (three years ago) link

re that mention of Kelsey Waldon and her excellent steel player (whose name I'm blanking on, sorry), her new album is real good folk-country with some alt appeal, whatever that is, and she covers a Gosdin Brothers song (they were Byrds associates, and Byrd Clarence White plays great on it, although the Byrds' own cover is not so hot), so we also discussed and posted Gosdins and Vern Gosdin w Emmylou etc on Rolling Country.

dow, Friday, 19 August 2016 18:06 (three years ago) link

Way too soft-focus to compete with prime Rhett Miller/Old 97's, and far too Tom Petty-ish for my tastes, Andrew Leahey is pretty decent alt-. Here's what I wrote about him for the Nashville Scene:

After receiving a clean bill of health following 2013 surgery to remove a brain tumor, Nashville singer-songwriter Andrew Leahey cut his new full-length, Skyline in Central Time, which reveals Leahey as a tunesmith indebted to such all-American rockers as Tom Petty, Ryan Adams and Rhett Miller. A music journalist from Virginia, Leahey had already recorded the 2011 Andrew Leahey & the Homestead and an EP, 2013’s Summer Sleeves, and the records had their moments as examples of lightweight country-rock. Skyline in Central Time is an electric-guitar record, with producer Ken Coomer layering tracks in the manner of Petty and Adams. “Little in Love” stands as the record’s most effective Petty homage, and the rest of Skyline combines American guitar moves with nods to British Invasion pop — the dreamy, Beatles-esque ballad “Who Wants an Easy Love?” is Leahey at his subtlest, and not to be missed. Thursday night, Leahey and his backing band the Homestead will celebrate the release of Skyline. EDD HURT

Edd Hurt, Friday, 19 August 2016 18:37 (three years ago) link

one year passes...

https://open.spotify.com/track/1kposE7NRJXVYcGidBX2tK?si=k8f0IG7PSjewr6fNX6nmZw

Dusk - eyes in dark corners

calstars, Saturday, 23 June 2018 03:48 (one year ago) link

three weeks pass...

My mom’s really into this dude named Will Johnson... she goes to his shows, sends me YouTube clips, etc. I’ve never seen him come up via any other channels, but guess he’s legit.

His stuff seems fairly dull to me, but it’s not really in my usual vein (and admittedly, even as a grown adult, I probably have a slight knee-jerk resistance to whatever a parent is pushing)...

i’m still stanning (morrisp), Saturday, 14 July 2018 14:56 (one year ago) link

He’s from centro-matic.

Heez, Saturday, 14 July 2018 15:31 (one year ago) link

The Vulgar Boatmen. Oh man if you don't know them you are in for a treat.

kornrulez6969, Saturday, 14 July 2018 15:43 (one year ago) link

one year passes...

Dean from the Waco Brothers has been putting out great stuff the last few years, mostly for free:
https://deanschlabowskemusic.com/ramblin-deano

Lots of clever commentary on the state of America with great guitar and fiddles.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Friday, 14 February 2020 02:35 (two weeks ago) link

been on a Lydia Loveless kick lately

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXjxNbJjYag

Greta Van Show Feets BB (milo z), Friday, 14 February 2020 02:57 (two weeks ago) link

Sarah Shook is pretty cool on the honky-tonk side

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M25-mPSPm5I

Greta Van Show Feets BB (milo z), Friday, 14 February 2020 03:06 (two weeks ago) link

xpost yeah and check Lydia Loveless thread. Havn't gotten into Shook yet, despite hearing a couple albs. Caroline Spence has thread appeal--from my Nashville Scene ballot comments:
Caroline Spence, Mint Condition: A country folkie who has no prob with (better) rockin' beats (contrast somewhut w Hayes Carll, later on on here), kind of a modern day Mary McCaslin, is Caroline Spence, whose 2019 Mint Condition judiciously updates her 70s Neil-Emmylou buckskin diaries, with recurring bits of nocturnal Beach House keyboard harmonies, for inst. More on her later maybe. RIYL Lee Ann Womack. This one is maybe better for listening to than writing about, opposite of so many theoretical commendables.
What I said on here about her 2017 alb:
"Softball" is a good example of how Caroline Spence's little x wiry voice can put one over the plate with no excess effort: she says that when she invades the boys' team, it ain't gonna be softball no more, and she's right. Not seeing personnel credits for Spades and Roses, except for a mention of the drummer(-arranger of the occasional, never-overdone strings) also being the producer. He discreetly keeps thing moving right along, even when there are no drums, plus she's got the supple tunes and words ("Southern Accident"!), although "You Don't Look So Good (Cocaine") seems too naggy. wouldn't change my way of life for sure. Overall, reminds me a bit of early 70s Emmylou and Neil (incl. mix of acoustic and electric, although no big solos), but it's all life lived, incl. some straight thought-talk to self and other, also bits of wistful thinking, incl. looking ahead & back ("There might have been some eloquence/In the very last words I said...") Also gets a bit folkie-solemn with the hopefulness sometimes, but goes with the lost evenings w wine and guys(for instance)--she's concisely candid enough about impulsive and compulsive elements. Philosophy as drug: speaking of yonder 70s West Coast associations.
Edd Hurt responds on, ILX's Rolling Country 2017 thread:
Talking about Caroline Spence: she's doing a residency in January here at the Basement. Wrote this about her recently:
Virginia-born singer-songwriter Caroline Spence released a remarkable track about the limits of Nashville songwriting on her 2013 EP You Know the Feeling. "Whiskey Watered Down" takes down a shallow tunesmith who, Spence declares, will never be "Parsons, Earle or Van Zandt." What makes "Whiskey Watered Down" a definitive song about a particular strain of Music City songwriting is her choice of role models, but the tune also equates bad songwriting with bad relationships. A Nashville resident since 2011, Spence continued to work in classic singer-songwriter mode on her 2015 full-length Somehow, which includes a full-band rendition of "Whiskey Watered Down" that I find less effective than the acoustic reading she performed on the 2013 EP. I admire Spence's writing on this year's album Spades & Roses, which contains the excellent track "You Don't Look So Good (Cocaine)" and the equally fine "Softball," about sexism and what it takes to become a big-league songwriter. Spence, who recently released a five-song EP called Secret Garden, has potential — she bears watching. EDD HURT

Also search term Hipster Kisses on ILM for thread re ladies from canyons, not all of them ancient, but all justified.

dow, Friday, 14 February 2020 20:01 (two weeks ago) link


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