Lydia Loveless

It’s been just over two years since the release of Lydia Loveless’s beloved punk-infused country (or is it country-infused punk?) album Indestructible Machine, which yielded critical acclaim and launched her into a wildly successful international touring career. Lydia just released her first set of new music since then.

lydia album cover
Listen to “Boy Crazy” here Click the little grey button right here to listen. [sc_embed_player fileurl=”″]

Building up to the release of her forthcoming, highly anticipated full-length album in 2014, Boy Crazy is a five-song EP that marks the re-opening of Lydia’s creative floodgates. The result is a collection of sun-washed, rebel-powered pop songs presenting a conversation about judgment and loss of innocence, as one transitions from good old American naivete to you-should-know-better “wisdom.” These five songs see Lydia and her band roping in their signature twangy, pedal-steel-laden rock beat-em-ups and tying them tightly with the crisp Southern air of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ Damn the Torpedoes and the snarling-but-sweet delivery of Juliana Hatfield’s heyday. It’s a summer set that arrives a little tardy this year, just in time to prolong those long, buzz-chasing July days when you hang out where you know you aren’t supposed to. This time, you just don’t care about getting caught. (from the press materials)

Eddie Spaghetti

Leaked track from Eddie Spaghetti’s (of the Supersuckers) upcoming solo album, The Value of Nothing, on Bloodshot Records.

Buy the music for Eddie Spaghetti here on Amazon or Supersuckers here on Amazon. It’s right here Eddie Spaghetti on iTunes or Supersuckers on iTunes.

From the media release:
Eddie Spaghetti, front man for those Seattle-based pleasure barons of arena garage punk The Supersuckers, kicks out his first solo album of all originals. You might find that songwriting distinction surprising—given his lifetime traveling to two-bit hotels and dumpy backstages in order to spend a couple glorious hours on stage throwing devil’s horns and country-damaged metal to the adoring masses—but it’s the truth. The Value of Nothing distills everything he’s learned in his career-long, over-the-top and tongue-in-cheek adoration of all things rock and roll into a genre-scoffing dose of snarling country rock, full of pop hooks and wiseguy humor delivered with a brain, a heart, & a beer.

Recorded in Eddie’s surrogate hometown of Austin, TX, he employed the assistance of a genuine Texas badass, one Mr. Jesse Dayton (collaborator with such country legends as Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and, um, Rob Zombie), in the hopes of making a more authentic country record. Well, ol’ JD thought that working with Eddie was his opportunity to get his RAWK on, so The Value of Nothing ended up a hybrid: a ragtop-down road trip soundtrack; an album embracing the guilty and not-so-guilty pleasures of classic rock, hooky-as-hell Texas roadhouse, and the alwayslurking- on-the-corner-barstool dirty joking of classic Supersuckerism.

The Value of Nothing gallops out of the gate with the Southwestern-inflected title track, all wide-lens spaced-out cowpunk, Eddie’s gravel road vocals both urgent and laid back cool. “Empty” follows with classic rock power chords filtered through the haze hanging over his buddy Willie Nelson’s ranch. The ragged, lazy charm of “Waste of Time” is a paean to kickin’ back, the theme song to those days where it’s almost too much goddamn effort to get off the couch and get a beer, all sung with a crooked smile and topped with some wicked fried slide guitar. With the lighter-sparking final track, “When I Go, I’m Gone,” we hear a surprisingly subdued Eddie, a man confident in the power of his hooks.

It wouldn’t be an Eddie Spaghetti record, though, without some full-on wise-assery. “Fuckin’ with My Head” channels ‘77 era UK punk with its jittery energy and feels-so-good-to-shout-along chorus. And then there’s that Chuck Berry-gone-metal guitar solo by Jesse D… The swinging conjunto throwdown of “People Are Shit” tells it like we all know it is, but Eddie’s got the stones to come right out and say it.

Eddie’s last solo album, Sundowner (Bloodshot 2011), featured covers from the likes of C&W stalwarts like Dave Dudley and Johnny Cash right next to punk rock snots like the Dwarves and the Lee Harvey Oswald Band. The Value of Nothing continues Eddie’s disinterest in tedious genre orthodoxies. From punk rock’s energy, metal’s showmanship, and country’s storytelling intimacy, Eddie finds unexpected commonalities.

JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound

New tune from JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound!

Buy their new album Howl here.

#1215 Ha Ha Tonka

Ha Ha Tonka records flow thematically, bound together by a premise or idea, but not so tightly as to be concept albums.  Initially, the  themes were obvious, like Buckle in the Bible Belt, moving towards historical, as evidenced in the album artwork for Novel Songs of the Nouveau South, but for their recent record, Death of a Decade, the idea that emerged from which these songs began surprised me:  Michael Jackson’s death.  As Brett Anderson explains, every decade their seems to be some iconic political or entertainment figure who passes away, somehow creating endpoints for their times by their death.  Jackson was a controversial figure in life, but even his greatest detractors accede that he was one of the greatest entertainers of our era.  With Michael Jackson’s passing, it was the death of a decade.

For a rock and roll band, loosely forming their album around the idea of cultural segments being defined by the deaths of icons was really the least of the changes for the band.  What really makes Death of a Decade different than their previous records is the addition of the mandolin.   After a South By SouthWest (SXSW) “after party” a few years ago, the guys all picked up different instruments and played ridiculous cover songs with their buddies in other bands, and Anderson fortuitously had grabbed somebody’s mandolin.  As far as the sound of the songs on DoaD, introducing new instrumentation brings out the rootsy side of their rock and roll tunes.  While frequently compared to R.E.M.’s use of the mandolin in the Green and Out of Time albums, Brett really just became enamored with the little instrument and tried to work it into every song he could.

Finding a sound they like and taking it as far as they can has become a theme in itself for Ha Ha Tonka.  They discovered their ability to make decent harmonies on tour, driving in the van and deciding to create parts for “Sky Rockets in Flight,” (actually called “Afternoon Delight”) by Starland Vocal Band, but given new life from the Will Ferrelle movie, Anchorman, which the guys had just watched.  This extensive use of harmonies grew to the point where they decided “to just record as much vocals as possible” for their last release.  Ha Ha Tonka had recorded an a cappella song, “Hangman,” on their first record, but it took quite a while before they were comfortable singing it on tour.  One magical day at the Austin City Limits Festival, when it had not rained in ages in most of Texas, the skies opened as Ha Ha Tonka sang this song.  The crowd stood in the rain, cheering them on, at one of those mystical moments that only happen at music festivals.


Songs in Episode 1215 Include:

  • Ha Ha Tonka, Death of a Decade, “Usual Suspects” and “Problem Solver”
  • Ha Ha Tonka, Buckle in the Bible Belt, “Hangman”
  • The Pixies, “Debaser”
  • R.E.M., “You Are the Everything” (along with “Losing My Religion,” two notable uses of mandolin for R.E.M.)
  • Talking Heads, “Once in a Lifetime” (specifically for their collaboration with Brian Eno on this album and the use of African drumbeats and other asynchronous rhythms at Eno’s suggestion, part of the conversation about what producers bring to a project)
  • Middle Brother, “Me Me Me”
  • Tea Leaf Green, “I’ve Got a Truck”
  • One from next week’s show, Episode 1216 New Country Rehab, “Angel of Death”