(Bloodshot Records, my beloved outlaw country indie record label out of Chicago, is celebrating their 17th anniversary of releasing consistently spectacular records this upcoming weekend, and though I’ll be otherwise occupied down here in the Triangle, the next couple of days on the blog will be devoted to Bloodshot and how much they kick ass. Yesterday I wrote Bloodshot a love letter; tomorrow, my favorite Bloodshot releases of all time.)
And behind the jump, three recent and upcoming Bloodshot releases that deserve some attention, from the Bottle Rockets, Lydia Loveless, and Dex Romweber Duo.
The Bottle Rockets — Not So Loud: An Acoustic Evening With …: I’ve always loved the Bottle Rockets, because they are forefathers and frontrunners in that noisy, melodic, twangy cowpunk sound I’m so fond of, and I’ve often popped their albums on for things like cleaning the house when I needed motivation to keep rocking. But what surprised me, and delighted me, so much in this live acoustic album, was discovering how spectacular the Bottle Rockets’ songwriting is. It’s exactly what an acoustic album should do, which is to say it reveals an entirely different aspect of a talented band — just unplugging is not enough, show me something new. And the Bottle Rockets, track by track, absolutely showed me something new, and it was lovely and astonishing. The songwriting, people — it’s clever and funny and heartbreaking and smart, and not that I doubted these guys were talented, but it was so amazing to find this entirely new aspect to ways in which they were talented. I wouldn’t recommend it as a starting place, because it’s so unlike the rest of their catalog, but for fans, it’s a must-have.
Lydia Loveless — Indestructible Machine: straight off, it’s hard not to love a woman who cites Charles Bukowski as an influence and whose debut album on Bloodshot starts off with a car crash of feedback and then the Kyle Busch test-driving a luxury car of banjo lines, before her hellcat hellraiser voice even kicks in. And that’s the secret to this album: Loveless can flat out sing. She can belt, she can croon, and she’s going to kick your effin’ ass when she’s done. Half the time Loveless sounds like the good ol’ girls of country music, half the time she sounds like Exene Cervenka, and every song on the disc is about how she’s fiercer than you — I can’t think of an album I needed more than this one, this fall. It’s good country, it’s great rock and roll, and it’s all being made by a 20 year old woman with a hell of a career ahead of her.
Dex Romweber Duo — Is That You In The Blue?: Dex Romweber is always a double shot for me; a Bloodshot artist, and a Triangle local. His second album for Bloodshot, with his sister Sara on drums, sounds nothing so much as it sounds like a jumped up electric rockabilly album, the plugged in, grown up version of my beloved Flat Duo Jets’ Lucky Eye. Dex is one of the best guitarists in the Triangle, always has been and always will be, and Flat Duo Jets was a spectacular drums-and-guitar duo back in the heyday of Chapel Hill indie rock. Is That You In The Blue? could have easily come right out of that period in Dex’s songwriting, except the guitar’s about six times as loud and ten times as complicated. It’s salsa and swing and surf and rockabilly, all laid over with Dex’s creepy-smooth voice.
Tomorrow: my ten all-time favorite Bloodshot releases. Don’t miss it, kids.