Reviews roundup – Lew Jetton vs. Grieving vs. Khompa vs. Divine Intervention vs. Medicine Ball Caravan

41k47udnkrl-_ss500LEW JETTON & 61 South
Rain
Coffee Street Records

I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised when a former weathercaster/news reporter at WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tennessee and  at WPSD-TV in Paducah, Kentucky should end up releasing an album called ‘Rain’.

Those days are long gone and he’s spent the last twenty years picking the blues with this, latest album, his third.  And it’s a good one.  Strange to relate, though, that the best songs are all weather related!

“Mississippi Rain” almost borders on blues rock with some mighty fine harmonic work on offer.  The other two wet tunes are also the only covers on the record with is “Feels Like Rain”, a John Hiatt song from his ‘Slow Turning’ album and a version of the Allen Toussaint song “It’s Raining as done by Irma Thomas and the legend that is Sir Shakin’ Stevens.

Back on to his own songs and the gospel tinged “Glory Train is a treat amongst treats, on what is an excellent blues album.  Recommended.

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51vit-hlzdl-_ss500GRIEVING
Demonstrations
independent

Do you remember emo?  Well Grieving, an indie band from Cambridge certainly do. It harks back to a time when every indie boy had kohl under his eyes, a sad faced emoticon on his actual face and a copy of ‘Meat Is Murder’ under his oxter.

So it’s nineties indie with a few modern production touches thrown in for good measure. And if the paragraph above sounds like your idea of a good time, then this five track EP has a lot to commend itself to you.

“Ownership” and “No Sleep” are the best of the bunch, and if the late, lamented NME hadn’t turned into a twenty somethings Shortlist, then this is the kind of thing would make them moist.

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61qv6eljg5l-_sl1200_KHOMPA
The Shape Of Drums To Come
Monotreme

Blimey!  That was a bit weird.  But then what would you expect from the drummer in experimental outfit Stearica who has put together an audiovisual live act whose main elements are: a drummer, a conventional drum kit, 4 drum triggers, a laptop and a stepsequencer.  And then made a record.

Weird.  It’s certainly technically impressive, but musically it spends most of its time in the nether lands where thumping electronica clashes against ambient sounds and industrial, leaving you with a splitting headache and a never had before urge to listen to some Enya.

But if percussive heavy punk meets electronica is the kind of thing that floats your boat.  Or if you just really hate your neighbours then give them a blast of “The Shape” and “Louder”, then set back and await your eviction notice.

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61kglrti0kl-_ss500DIVINE INTERVENTION
Traveler
619705 Records DK

Some modern American metal now from Californian and Divine Intervention.  Whom one assumes were Slayer fans in their youth.  I say youth but when the band was formed last year by rhythm guitarist Will Setka and bassist Gavin Kellems they went and hired themselves a thirteen year old guitarist called Sean Wagoner.  Thirteen!  Jesus.  I can’t remember that far back.

Anyway, with a veteran vocalist (Tomislav Pintaric) in tow, they’ve got a fair old mix of influences on the go here, and they’ve already opened shows for the likes of CKY, Diamond Head, and Dokken.  This is their debut album and they’ve got an interesting variety of old and new (and nu) metal sounds in there.

They probably veer more towards the Opeth and Mastodon side of things on this record but when they suddenly uncork a vintage NWOBHM and thrash riff, it really helps lift things up.  It’s early days but there is a lot of promise here on songs like “Martial Law” and “Six Walls”, so metalheads of all ilks should give them a try for size.

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5173kfhddtl-_ss500MEDICINE BALL CARAVAN
Keep Goin’ Til The Next Stop
Alive and Kickin’

You’ve probably never heard of French band Medicine Ball Caravan.  And that’s probably due to the fact that they split up over six years ago not long after releasing their debut album ‘Crossing the Seas …Spreading the Sins’.

Turns out that their drummer went back to America and despite the efforts of Matt (vocals, bass) and Rod (guitar) to keep going they knocked it on the head a wee while later.  But now, thanks to no public demand and for no apparent reason, they’ve gone and released the long lost follow up.  Ish.

i say ish because they had to finish it first, and to that end brought in a few friends to perform harp, keyboards and percussion including Danny Fury (ex Lords of the New Church, Kill City Dragons, Vain etc).  Which gives you an idea as to what you’re getting.  Namely, slightly sleazy seventies influenced rock with a few post grunge licks to keep the kids happy.

It’s a wee bit Stonesy in places, as these things usually are, and on songs like “If I’m Lucky, I Might Get Picked Up” and “On The Road” you can see that with a fair shake of the dice they could easily have played the 3pm slot at many a rock festival.  Interesting without being essential.

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