Friday, October 31, 2008

Talking Points:: Hank Williams III & The Arkells

So we’ve made it to another Friday, and the release schedule continues to slow down. Luckily, a few bigger releases fell into my weekly rotation and deserve one of those Shane style talking points type posts:

Hank Williams III – Damn Right Rebel Proud
It’s hard to hate on Hank III. He’s managed to escape the legacy of his name and build his own fan base the hard way. While he’s as likely to be played before a punk show or in a tattoo parlor as he is to get played on a country station, but III represents country. He’s as proud of the heritage of the country rebel as he is being one, and the opening number (Grand Ole Opry – it’s not often people slag the institution that is the GOO, but Hank isn’t afraid to ask the Opry controllers to give him some brain) proves that.

Hank still loves fights, booze, and drugs, and is explicit as old hell, but that’s just who he is. The best part about the record is how he's getting more comfortable mixing and recording his own work, so the grit the songs require really shines through. He’s able to slow it down with a steel laced number (Stoned and Alone) or hit you with a ten-minute country metal, GG Allen tribute (PFF) that slows down to a crawl, but still never steers the record off course.

The juxtaposition really works, especially on 3 Shades of Black where III’s tale of the bottom of society uses nice harmonies and traditional country sounds but he adds shout vocals and sound effects to make it the rebel anthem of the new millennium. The lead single – Long Hauls and Close Calls – shows more of the metal tinged seasoning III adds to his musical recipe and why his music hits home with so many people.

The Arkells - Jackson Square
There has been a resurgence “muscle” rock lately in the Great White North, and I for one couldn’t be happier. I love me some folk, but when big riffs explode from my headphones I get excited. Hamilton’s The Arkells definitely deliver those huge riffs you might be craving.

Signed to Dine Alone records, it’s no surprise that The Arkells are starting to show up on MTV and warm the stage for people like the Black Crowes and label mates AlexisonFire. Jackson Square is crammed full of rockers – Oh No the Boss Is Coming is a head nodding sing-along waiting to happen (as is John Lennon when the band repeats, ‘I’m John Lennon, in ’67’) and the power pop-rock and hand claps of Tragic Flaw are catchy as hell - but the band shows incredible range when they jump into more summery sounds like The Ballad of Hugo Chavez or piano driven pop of Abigail and I’m Not the Sun. Really, every song on this 12-song LP deserves a listen and proves that the band is ready for the attention that is going to be thrown their way.

They are on tour with Matt Mays, but unfortunately not making it all the way to the East Coast. More unfortunate? They aren’t giving away legal MP3s so I leave you with a glimpse of how they burn it down when they play Oh No the Boss is Coming.

Posted at 8:38 AM by ack :: 1 comments

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At 10:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous did sayeth:

Great review, the band is giving away a songs for free on itunes called "Deadlines"


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