Welcome to my weekly column on LeftyLuke.com about the music that’s been on my playlist lately and why you should add it to yours too. From fresh releases to deep cuts to new discoveries, this is the place where I’ll be sharing my passion for finding new music with you.
Angel Du$t- Lil Buff (EP):
I was lucky enough to catch this modern day hardcore supergroup on Every Time I Die’s 20th anniversary tour last December. They put on a highly energetic show full of melodic bangers. Whenever I’m asked about what the next big thing in hardcore, punk or just hard rock and general I suggest to them Turnstile and Angel Du$t. Funny enough, Angel Du$t features three members of Turnstile.
Not many bands in any genre kind write simple and melodic songs that still pack a punch and sound fresh. Angel Du$t does that extremely well. The band released this EP as a tease for their upcoming Roadrunner Records debut: Pretty Buff, which will be released on March 15th. The bands two previously released songs from the LP “Big Ass Love” and “Take Away the Pain” have been in heavy rotation in my playlist since their release in late Summer and I’m sure the rest of their Lil Buff EP will be as well leading up to March 15th. Do not sleep on this band! You will be hearing plenty more of them in the future. Pre-order the album here.
Tedeschi Trucks Band – Hard Case (Single):
The Tedeschi Trucks Band is gearing up to release their fourth album “Signs” on February 15th with the release of the albums lead single: Hard Case. I don’t know when the band hand time to write and record this album as they are constantly on the road and are a big draw in the jam festival circuit. Fans of the group’s previous albums will enjoy “Hard Case,” an upbeat bluesy shuffle with Susan’s signature voice carrying the track soulfully.
As always Derek Trucks proves he is one, if not the best, current living slide-player. I mean the guy was playing with The Allman Brothers Band when he was 14, talk about a qualified jam-meister. Releasing an album early in the year means the band are probably gearing up for a year full of touring, which I can only hope to catch a date of. I have yet to see them live yet so hopefully this year I will get that opportunity. If the rest of the album is as good as the lead single I’m sure to be in for a great show. Pre-order here.
Calvin Presents – Dream (EP):
If you need something smooth or soothing to play while reading I’d highly recommend Calvin Presents’ “Dream” EP. It’s a nice blend of jazz, r&b, soul with tinges of hip hop sprinkled throughout. The shining moments of this EP are without a doubt Calvin’s brilliant keyboard skills. The Berklee College graduate weaves soft jazzy licks throughout the songs on the EP. Calvin is originally from Richmond and has played the city’s massive jazz festival and mostly recently at VCU’s new Institute for Contemporary Art. I was fortunate to catch one of his ICA performances recently which was a unique sonic experience unlike anything I’d experienced before. I would highly recommend checking him out live and listening to his EP here.
Tetrarch – Freak (Album):
I was recently turned onto this new band by Jamey Jasta on Twitter (Follow me @TheLeftyLuke). I was instantly hooked from the first track. An undeniable groove that leads into a catchy yet heavy chorus and I’m sold. Tetrarch blends together the styles of Korn, Sevendust, Dope, Slipknot and other groove-centric bands of the early 2000’s. Lead singer Josh Fore delivers his clean vocals in a very Jonathan-Davis-esque fashion while his own unique sounding screaming is more akin to Edsel Dope. I’m a big fan of how bands like Tetrarch, Vein and Code Orange are bringing back Nu-Metal influences into their music without sounding overly nostalgic or contrived.
It’s refreshing to see those elements come back in a major way in some of the hottest up and coming bands in the genre. Tetrarch has the potential to see a lot of crossover appeal from this album. They could appeal to the heavier leaning radio-rock crowd, the nu-metal nostalgists and groove-driven hardcore fans to name a few. Throughout the 30 minute album the band touches on many different extreme styles, even crossing into death metal territory on “Oddity”. Most unique however is lead guitarist Diamond Rowe, who is the first African-American female guitarist in heavy music to be featured in major music publications like Guitar Word and Premier Guitar. This band is shaking things up and you best get on the wagon! Get the album here.
Alkaline Trio – From Here to Infirmary (Album):
I am a newcomer to this band. Admittedly I had avoided them for a long time because for whatever reason I assumed they had a pop-emo sound and in case you didn’t know… that’s not really my vibe.
However thanks to Spotify, Alkaline Trio popped into my punk Daily Mix enough times for me to give their music a chance. I started from the “This is Alkaline Trio” playlist and from their discovered that while some of their stuff was more “emo” leaning, the majority was straight forward early 2000’s punk. This era of punk has some of the best recorded heavy-guitar tones of the decade, however this album sonically doesn’t match what their contemporaries (Sum 41) had in terms of tone but they make up for it in quality songs. One complaint I have about the mix is that the bass is too buried for a punk trio. It really hides some of the great bass work particularly on the song “Armageddon”.
I never knew that Alkaline Trio was really just a straight-forward, to-the-point punk trio with great hooks and melodies without coming off as too polished or overly-melodic. My particular favorite songs were “Private Eye,” “Mr. Chainsaw,” “Armageddon” and “I’m Dying Tomorrow”. Although the album has a whole can be listened to as a whole without getting boring. So if you’re looking for some punk to add to your playlist (after you check out Angel Du$t of course), consider From Here to Infirmary by Alkaline Trio. Get it here.
Albert King – Born Under a Bad Sign (Album):
One of the best left handed guitarists in the blues! I’ve been on an Albert King kick as of late and his second album “Born Under a Bad Sign” is my favorite studio album. Released in 1967 on the famous Stax Records out of Memphis, this album contains some of Albert’s greatest blues classics. Songs like “Kansas City,” “Oh, Pretty Woman,” “Down Don’t Bother Me” and of course the title track are my personal favorites on this album. This album contains more of King’s staccato, “T. Bone Walker” or “B.B. King” style licks as opposed to the big, bombastic blues bends that he is more well known for. But of course there are some of those big, soulful bends and vibrato sprinkled through the album too.
One thing that also stands out to me about this album is the production quality. Albert’s tone is gritty yet clear and the production on his vocals are a standout from the era. It doesn’t hurt that his backing band for this album was Stax Records’ famous Booker T and the M.G’s, featuring Donald “Duck” Donne and Steve Cropper of The Blues Brothers fame. Get the album here.
Thanks for reading! Hope I could turn you onto some new music from Richmond to Baltimore to California and beyond! Check back to LeftyLuke.com next week for some more new tunes to add to your playlist. As always subscribe on YouTube and follow @TheLeftyLuke on Instagram and Twitter. Keep it rockin!