At the beginning of 2008, singer-songwriter Chris Stills released his debut album ‘100 Year Thing’. A semi-acoustic collection of songs it not only drew influence from his father Stephen – most notably in the vocal tones of the title track – but also seemed to be inspired by then more contemporary sounds, with some songs carrying traces of influence from Days of The New and Alice In Chains’ acoustic material. A follow up didn’t appear until 2005, by which time, his material had seemingly absorbed bits and pieces from Jeff Buckley’s small legacy as well as further showcasing his own talents.
In 2010, back when Real Gone was in its embryonic stages, we received an email from a musician in the US asking if we’d review the then new album by his band The Great Affairs. That man was Denny Smith, singer-songwriter and previously a member of rock band fORMER. When he contacted us again approximately five months later, he had the distinction of being the very first artist to approach Real Gone for repeat coverage. Almost ten years on from that first contact, Denny dropped by to tell us all about the new album, his extra-curricular projects and more besides. The Great Affairs’ current album, ‘Ten & 2’ could be their best yet…
The Great Affairs have evolved over the years. On their second album ‘Ricky Took The Wheels’ they owed a reasonable debt to The Black Crowes in terms of influence; by the following year, they were experimenting with stripped back Americana and, two years hence, their music – with a guiding hand from a new rhythm section featuring drummer/vocalist Kenny Wright – things had moved further towards gritty bar-room rock. Whatever the chosen style, though, each release could be relied upon for a handful of superb tracks.
New Jersey’s The Rareflowers began life in 2013 when brothers Jimmy and Kane Maraday met drummer Aaron Gollubier and started experimenting with cassette recordings. Five years on, their debut EP carries the kind of DIY spirit that comes from such basement experiments and the songs very much hark back to the 80s with the light neo-psychedelics of what became dubbed the Paisley Underground scene. In other words, the lighter, floatier end of jangle pop.
Likened by Rolling Stone to sounding “somewhere between Red House Painters and The Beach Boys”, Germany’s Green Apple Sea make wondrously timeless pop music.
The Green Apple Sea release a new album entitled ‘Directions’ on May 18th. In the meantime, you can watch the video for a new track, ‘Doc Watson Dream’.