Artist: Leopold and His Fiction Album: Ain’t No Surprise File Under: Vintage Rock Recommended if You Like: The Doors, The Black Keys, White Stripes Featured Track: “Broke”
I could sit you down right now, play this entire album and tell you it was a long lost 70s re-issue from some obscure San Francisco rock band and I bet you wouldn’t bat an eye. The San Francisco trio’s sophomore release, Ain’t No Surprise, takes their love of classic rock and all things vintage and spins it into a thoroughly enjoyable album from start to finish. An amalgamation of 70s rock influences, the band concocts a stripped down, bluesy, southern-fried psych rock sound reminiscent of some of the great bands of that era – from The Doors to the Allman Brothers and Bob Dylan.
Listening to the album, it’s hard not to compare lead singer Daniel James’ gritty vocals to Jim Morrison. I swear he’s channeling Mr. Mojo Risin’ himself on “Hawk Eyes”. And with the carnival-like organ swirling through“Broke” it’s hard not to draw a comparison to The Doors. While the influences are everywhere, the band never imitates. Their sound is definitely that of a bygone era. But in this day and age of 80s synth pop revival, it’s a refreshing one.
Don’t miss Leopold and His Fiction play Bottom of the Hill March 10! To get a taste of what’s to come, check out this video of their recent performance at Sundance this year.
Artist:Blitzen Trapper Album: Furr File Under: Americana Recommended if You Like: Dr. Dog, Pavement, Band of Horses, Bob Dylan Featured Track: Furr
Portland’s Blitzen Trapper has been stirring up quite the buzz for the past year. Their last album, Wild Mountain Nation, made my ‘Best of’ list last year and was a darling in the indie music blogosphere. While some people didn’t take to that album’s lack of focus, I adored their schizophrenic romp through musical genres. It was very reminiscent of Pavement to me – weird and whimsical, which is a good thing.
The sound from their fourth album, Furr, is much more refined, honed in and mature. They seem to have grown up and figured out what works for them. And it works very well. Furr is like Bob Dylan meets Dr. Dog. They’ve taken the folk/Americana genre and played it out beautifully. No longer does the group sound like a bunch of teenagers trying every passing trend on for size. This album is cohesive and exudes a kind of confidence and talent that comes with maturity. It’s the real deal.