Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Quickies - Dust Radio, Jed Potts and the Hillman Hunters, Troy Redfern, and Fattore Rurale

Dust Radio – Shotgun Shack
Over the years I’ve developed a real liking for rough and ready stuff in a North Mississippi Hill Country vein, from the early Black Keys albums to the North Mississippi Allstars themselves, and beyond.  So I’m well primed for the kind of sound with which Dust Radio, a duo formed last year in the north west of England, kick off their five track debut EP Shotgun Shack.
‘Dead Man’s Crawl’ sets sail with a twitching, fuzzy groove courtesy of guitarist Tom Jackson, over minimalist percussion, to which his buddy Paddy Wells adds complementary squawks and
Messrs Wells and Jackson - which is which, I wonder?
wails of harp.  Wells’ vocals are sufficient unto the day – as in, they’re perfecty acceptable and never misfire, but aren’t especially adventurous.  But backing vocals add a touch more beef to the chorus, while Wells essays a decent harp solo, and they make neat use of handclaps to brighten up the bridge.  ‘Shotgun Shack’ itself treads similar terrain, with a deeper, simpler riff over a stomping kick drum, augmented in places by harmonising harmonica from Wells, and some interjections from a tasteful descending motif.
‘Fault Line’ is the standout track though, and of a different ilk.  Languid and dreamy, it leans on more fulsome drums and bass, while Jackson lays down more sparse and glittering guitar lines, with hints of Keef-like twanginess.  Wells’ vocals are stronger here, making the most of the appealing melody to show more of his range and convey more character, and he adds some plangent injections of harp into the bargain.
‘Backslider’ has a good revolving riff at its core, back by offbeat drums, and there’s a decent chorus, bolstered by vocal harmonies, while Jackson lays down a neat slide solo as the riff continues to roll forward.  On ‘Siren Song’, a “me and the devil” affair, the vocal melody and guitar work follow each other, without drums or bass, and the overall effect is a tad simplistic, notwithstanding a mournful harp solo from Wells.
All in all Shotgun Shack is a solid first outing by Dust Radio, whose debut album is scheduled for release in the autumn.  But for my money they’d benefit from a bit more imagination in the songwriting department.
Shotgun Shack is released by Lunaria Records on 28 May.
Jed Potts And The Hillman Hunters – How’mi’mentuh
That’s as in “How am I meant to love you,” in case you were wondering.
The fourth in the Hillmans’ ongoing series of original singles is a tale of a misfiring love affair set in New Orleans – which was also the musical trigger for the tune, with Jed Potts attempting to reproduce a Professor Longhair piano boogie vibe on guitar.
The shuffling guitar riff raises the curtain unaccompanied, and when Potts starts to add his vocal it feels like it needs to be dialled up in some way.  But then Jonny Christie’s drums and Charlie Wild’s bass kick in, and the whole thing takes off, with that bouncing riff worming its way into your brain in tandem with a grabber of a chorus, en route to a neat change in rhythm at the end to round things off.
‘How’mi’mentuh’ is another indicator that Jed Potts & The Hillman Hunters are developing a solid repertoire of original material.
And while I’m on the subject, I’ll also mention the first in this run of singles, ‘Where’s Your Man’, which I didn’t cover when it was released last December.  It’s a tasty slice of Chicago blues-styled bump’n’grind, with a lurching beat from Christie and Potts summoning up his most rasping vocal, and there’s nicely controlled use of dynamics in the bridge and the third verse.  But I’m most taken with the way Potts brightens up the old “back door man” blues trope with some lively
The be-hatted Troy Redfern
Pic by Haluk Gurer
rat-a-tat lyrics, such as “You know I try my best to make sure you ain’t neglected / But it’s bad for my constitution when your husband comes in unexpected.”  That’s worth a quid for a download all on its own, I reckon!
‘How’mi’mentuh’ is released on 15 May.  All four of the singles series are available on Bandcamp, here.
Troy Redfern – Waiting For Your Love
Another new single on the conveyor belt comes from British slide guitarist Troy Redfern, with ‘Waiting For Your Love’ an appetiser for his forthcoming album . . . The Fire Cosmic, set for release in August.
This sure ain’t no sappy love song.  Rather it’s an impactful chunk of boogie that’s all churning rhythm guitar, stomping drums from Darby Todd, and a snarling vocal and healthy topping of sidewinding slide from Redfern.  ‘Waiting For Your Love’ is the aural equivalent of a double quarter pounder cheeseburger’n’fries with all the trimmings – greasily satisfying.
‘Waiting For Your Love’ is released by RED7 Records on 21 May.  The album . . . The Fire Cosmic is released on 6 August, and can be pre-ordered here.
Fattore Rurale – Morsi
Morsi is the latest EP from Italian left-fielders Fattore Rurale, comprising two tracks – ‘Punto g’ and ‘La luna in leone’.
I don’t often quote directly from PR bumf, but on this occasion I think it might help to put you in the picture:  “Fattore Rurale was born . . . in a gash of earth and mud circumscribed by the slow
Morsi - it means "bites", folks
flow of three rivers, where the fog hides the sins of the human being and desolation gives way to silence.”  They’re a cheery bunch, Fattore Rurale.
‘Punto g’ - be warned, the video is a bit, er, eyebrow-raising - opens with some fairly breezy acoustic strumming, and some weeping slide guitar in the background from Riccardo Polledri, while Marco Costa adds his trademark subterranean croak of a vocal, previously encountered in these columns in the guise of Crudelia, and subsequently Ruins Barren.  Drum kick in as the tune progresses, and Polledri adds a meaty guitar riff as Costa proceeds to get himself all worked up, in gruff fashion, before giving way to a rumbling, fuzzy, feedback-laden guitar solo.
‘La luna in leone’ is a more restrained affair, starting with a sombre acoustic guitar riff before Costa weighs in with his Leonard-Cohen-on-downers groan.  There’s some tasteful, elegiac cello, and brooding electric guitar lurking in the background that eventually steps forward for a brief, patient, razor-like solo.
Morsi isn’t music that adds boogie to the woogie, to be sure.  But if you’re in the market for a molto serioso smorgasbord of Americana, indie-folk, and the feel of Gogol Bordello gone very downbeat, then it might float your boat.  In Italian.
Morsi is available now on Spotify, Apple Music, and You Tube.

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