The Morning Line’s 2019 LP, ‘North’, was an absolutely terrific album. Reawakening the sounds of ‘Girlfriend’ era Matthew Sweet, Soul Asylum’s best major label recordings and even a the productions of Sean Slade & Paul Q. Kolderie, it felt like a musical love letter to the 1990s. Retro, yet still somehow fresh, it’s melodic and jangly songs really captured the best of the band’s obvious talents.
Three years on, their first release for Justine Couvault’s Red On Red Records is another musical treat. A seven song collection, ‘Scene’ taps into the “mini album” format – something that seems to have been overlooked since the early 90s – which means there’s far less opportunity for the listener’s attention to wander, but still enough scope for a little variety along the way.
Plying their trade in London and South East England, roots rock band Rowsie spent a long time perfecting their direct musical approach and a core sound. In their case, “perfecting” doesn’t necessarily mean “perfect”, as Rowsie often revel in clinging onto a ragged musical heart. Armed with overdriven guitars that take influence from the noisier aspects of Uncle Tupelo, Grant Lee Buffalo and Crazy Horse and mixing that with a melodic streak that blends roots rock with folk and pop, it creates a full blooded very natural experience. On their ‘Searching’ EP (released in June 2022), they finally make good on the sounds and influences that peppered their earlier single releases.
This Minneapolis based garage rock band is entirely unpretentious. At no point do these musicians stretch too far beyond their garage-ish musical limits – limits that are occasionally just a little too obvious – nor do they display any kind of ego. By their own admission, J. Eastman & The Drunk Uncles are rather shambolic. Still, a fairly loose and carefree attitude has got them so far and this third release works very much on a maxim of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Or in the case of the Uncles, it might even be “if it sounds a bit broke, let’s swill some booze and knock things about until they sound better.”
True to their word, bits of ‘No Capo Required’ do indeed sound sloppy. That said, you’ll have heard sloppier…and sometimes from bands who actually genuinely believe they’re the very acme of musical perfection.
In 2015, London-based roots rock band House Above The Sun released their debut EP. It was a little ragged in places, but showed a great deal of promise. They’ve got a new release just over the horizon, but in the meantime you can watch a video for a new song ‘Runaway Devil’ below.