Modern take on masterful classics


Smooth Hound Smith
Smooth Hound Smith
8-out-of-10

I'm so happy I found Smooth Hound Smith. Simply put, they're a great, modern interpretation of early blues, soul, and rock music. Their swaying, stomping rhythms and beautiful harmonies scream Americana while the complex finger-picked guitar parts are nothing but sweet grungy blues.

Their self-titled debut full length record is a 10 song ode to the masters of years passed, given a fresh modern take. Zach Smith and Caitlin Doyle make up the two piece outfit. Smith offering the classic guitar riffs and rough western styled voice with Doyle chimes in with perfect harmony. Using fiddles and organs sparingly, the album is focused mainly on a handful of elements and remains uncluttered.

This record has a wide range of influences both stylistically and lyrically. Some songs come off as straight 12-bar blues, dusty and raw. Others are more refined, folky, and crisp. This flexibility allows the record to appeal to a very wide audience.

The album kicks off with the foot stomping and reckless "Get Low", a would be Juke Joint classic. The slower, shuffling "Body Talkin" brings the record down to a chill pace. What I love most about this record is that regardless of the style every song sounds timeless and classic, like a forgotten hit from yesteryear.

I look forward to hearing more in the future from Smooth Hound Smith. Their debut record sure is a high standard!

-SEAN CRAIB-PETKAU

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50 Songs 50 States
Netherfriends
10-out-of-10

Sufjan Stevens once had the idea to record a full length record for each American state. A gigantic undertaking by every measure for sure. Along this vein, Chicago's Netherfriends plans to release 50 Songs 50 States this July 4th. Available now, though, are the first twelve songs from this brilliant project.

Shawn Rosenblatt vowed to write and record at least one song and perform in all 50 United States within one year. Accomplishing his goal, he has come away with an outstanding project. Shrouded in his brand of psychedelic pop, Rosenblatt takes specific and significant excerpts from his journey to form into the songs.

The tracks are beautifully written and composed. Seemingly influenced by which state the song was written and recorded in, they're all able to stand alone. Each is a story relayed without context but you know that there is some vague connection between each. Titled only with the name of the city the song was recorded in, the album serves as an interesting break down of a year that seems to have been well spent.

The first 12 are incredible tracks and are available with a pre-order, costing a mere $7. Rumored to be released on an interactive map, 50 Songs 50 States is a record I'm anticipating to be one of the best for 2013.

-SEAN CRAIB-PETKAU

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