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A little behind the curve on this weekâ€™s two albums, but Ear Bliss favorite label Bloodshot Records gets off to a roaring start in 2014 with longplayers from Lydia Loveless and the one-man racket quad Scott H. Biram. For Loveless, the new â€śSomewhere Elseâ€ť follows a teaser of an EP released last November (â€śBoy Crazyâ€ť) and is her third album for renegade indie label. It has all the makings of a record poised to break her out to a wider audience. Biram, on the other hand, is nine albums into his career with this latest. Letâ€™s get down to business.
Based on the media coverage so far, the album â€śSomewhere Elseâ€ť just may be the ticket for wider renown for Columbus, Ohio-based gal rocker Lydia Loveless. It has certainly garnered the mid-twentysomething some pretty high accolades for her fearless songwriting, potent voice, and kickass rock & roll attitude. In this era of too darn much acoustic gymnastics and sensitive singalong monotony along the lines of the Avett Brothers, Mumford & Sons, and a dozen other oft-times indistinguishable â€śnewâ€ť folk types, an artist like Lydia Loveless is a breath of fresh air. Much like her near irresistible debut album of old school insurgent country and attitudinal punk called Indestructible Machine from 2011, â€śSomewhere Elseâ€ť delivers the goods in no-holds-barred fashion where Loveless and her lock-step band leave it all on the floor. Melody, be it country-tinged, poppy or rocking, is all over the 10 songs comprising â€śSomewhere Else,â€ť not to mention wads of confidence, heart and soul in the voice of Loveless whose songwriting teeters heavily in an autobiographical direction on this outing. Loveless puts the pedal to the floor right from the git-go with the revved-up opener â€śReally Wanna See Youâ€ť which is as honest as a heart song can get. â€śWine Lipsâ€ť follows with guitarist Todd Mayâ€™s hooks and riffs, not to mention harmony vocals, filling in all the right places behind Lovelessâ€™s voice of longing to â€śkiss those wine lips.â€ť Where Steve Earle was fodder for song on her last album, Chris Isaak gets the treatment from Loveless this time around in not so dreamy fashion on â€śChris Isaak,â€ť before the catchy riffs and pure pop and roll ecstasy of â€śTo Love Somebody.â€ť Loveless goes into torch singer mode on the slow-burner â€śHurts So Badâ€ť before the ear candy that is the risquĂ© sonic cooker of tune called â€śHead.â€ť â€śVerlaine Shot Rimbaudâ€ť follows and along with the title track into which it segues each display Loveless in all her vocal glory nailing every note and singing with pure passion. Few singers have jolted me as much over the last few years as Loveless did on Indestructible Machine. Sheâ€™s does herself one better on â€śSomewhere Else.â€ť Highly recommended. Visit www.bloodshotrecords.com.
Scott H. Biram
â€śNothinâ€™ But Bloodâ€ť
The Dirty Old One Man Band that is Scott H. Biram returns with a swashbuckling and holy hell-raising racket of tunes that he calls â€śNothinâ€™ But Blood.â€ť Biramâ€™s ninth longplayer (and fifth for Bloodshot Records) is a spiritual amalgam of heavy-fisted songs from deep in the soul that move from melodic strummers (leadoff tracks â€śSlow & Easyâ€ť and the radio-friendly â€śGotta Get to Heavenâ€ť, along with â€śNever Cominâ€™ Homeâ€ť) to fast and furious one-man wall-of-sound ear assaults (â€śOnly Whiskey,â€ť â€śChurch Point Girls,â€ť â€śAround the Bendâ€ť) to blues of varying colors (a crunchy reworking of legendary bluesman Mance Lipscombâ€™s â€śAlcohol Bluesâ€ť and Willie Dixonâ€™s â€śBackdoor Manâ€ť stripped down to the basics). Like his live shows, the album features Biram and only Biram on vocals, guitars, kicks, footstomps, tambourines and all else. And also like those live shows, not to mention his previous records, Biramâ€™s songs are oft-times not for the faint-hearted out there. As a special treat, the album closes with three gospel bonus tracks including reworkings of â€śAmazing Graceâ€ť and â€śJohn the Revelator.â€ť Itâ€™s a soul-satisfying sendoff.
Itâ€™s being billed as a dual CD release party for Boston-based performers Girls, Guns & Glory and Sarah Borges. Each is at the forefront of the Americana pack on the Beantown circuit and they bring the fury to The Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, Mass. (16 Anawan St.) on Friday evening for a twin bill that begins at 8 p.m.
Signature Sounds recording artists Poor Old Shine are young and full of energy. Need proof? Check out the bandâ€™s self-titled debut platter released this past November. Itâ€™s a fresh sounding stew of folk and rock with a side of jam. The band lands in Portsmouth on Saturday night for an appearance at the Commence Fence Point Community Hall (633 Anthony Road). Music begins at 8 p.m. and itâ€™s BYOB.
What with this Sunday being the fifth Sunday of the month, it means the all-star bluegrass band Southern Rhode will be providing the entertainment at the Wood River Inn (Main St.) in downtown Wyoming, R.I. The fun begins at 6 p.m.
Dan Ferguson is a freelance music writer and host of The Boudin Barndance, broadcast Thursday nights from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on WRIU-FM 90.3.