Tag Archives: blues


‘Billy Monday: Knocksville

Recently, we’ve had some good luck with new followers on Twitter. It almost seems that bands are doing a little homework and following us because they have seen what we do and they fit the profile.

Knocksville is a band that certainly fits the profile of bands we like, and it only took about three seconds for me to figure it out. I went to ReverbNation, and the first song I heard from this band was “Wait and See.” This song begins with a guitar riff that would make John Lee Hooker and Billy Gibbons proud. The rhythm section provides a boogie groove that would definitely get people moving on a dance floor.

Since this is ‘Billy Monday, this obviously is not just a blues-rock band. This band some pretty serious rockabilly and psychobilly influence too. Think Reverend Horton Heat…only trashier. The rockabilly sound is especially apparent in “Work It Out” and “Baby Stop.” When you hear “Baby Stop,” it’s pretty easy to imagine a scene of guys with pompadours swing dancing with beautiful rockabetties in dresses. The psychobilly sound really comes through in “Forever Young,” a song that reminds me quite a bit of Tiger Army.

If you’re a regular reader of our ‘Billy Monday posts, Knocksville is a band you should check out. It will sound great as you drive around in your primer-gray El Camino.

And bands out, use Knocksville as an example. Follow us on Twitter (@incognitomag). We may just like your stuff as much as we like Knocksville, which means that you could be featured here sometime in the near future.

Take ‘Er Easy Thursday: Laurie Morvan Band

The Dude says, "No working during drinking hours."

The Dude says, “No working during drinking hours.”

Yes, I know. The posts have been sporadic this week. They (for better or worse) will probably remain that way for a while as I make some changes here at Incognito HQ. Obviously I couldn’t let anything stand in the way of another Take ‘Er Easy Thursday post. That’s right. I have been working on some other things, but I won’t let those other things interfere with our weekly tribute to the ethos of The Dude.

The thing about these Take ‘Er Easy Thursday posts is…I have no idea if these artists are Dudeists. What I do know is that these artists are great at capturing the Dudeist ethos in song. Take Laurie Morvan for instance. She basically wraps ‘er up with the first line of this song: “Ain’t nobody working during drinking hours.” Think about it. The Dude’s drinking hours are basically when he’s awake and you can bet your boots he’s not going to be working. And there’s a lot to be said for that. After all, do you think The Dude is going to choose being a cubicle jockey over fixing himself a White Russian whenever he feels like it? Not likely.

Now, I realize that Laurie Morvan goes on to sing about the working stiff who has worked hard all week and now the drinking hours (the weekend) have arrived. But let’s face it. No one would choose to be that working stiff instead of The Dude, whose most strenuous activity (when he’s not pursuing nihilists) is “driving around and the occasional acid flashback.” You tell me who has it figured out. That about wraps ‘er up, don’tcha think? Don’t let work get in the way of your drinking hours. And until next time, you take ‘er easy. I know that you will.

Have a laid-back Friday, everyone

Laid back...the perfect way to be on a Friday

Laid back…the perfect way to be on a Friday

Well, you’ve done it. You’ve reached the end of the work week. And not a moment too soon. However you choose to do it, have a laid-back Friday. You deserve it. And here is a song for the occasion. It is a  solid but mellow blues groove from Jay Robinson. I say listen to it at work. After all, you might have to stare at a computer screen for eight hours, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be laid back.

Trashy Tuesday: Discount Guns

Odessa is available now

Odessa is available now

Sometimes it’s a band’s name that catches the attention. Sometimes it’s a song title. With Discount Guns, what first caught my attention was some of the tags the band used on Bandcamp. Namely: blues, fuzz, garage rock. It’s pretty safe to assume that if your band falls into any (let alone all three) of those categories, I’ll at least give you a listen. Oh and also this band is a duo. If you’ve read this blog at all, you know that I have a thing for duos, tracing back to Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper.

Another telling thing about this band is a quote left on its Bandcamp page: “This is the rock n roll The Black Keys wish they could make.” More to the point, this is the rock n roll The Black Keys used to make…only with a little more soul. One of my favorite songs on Odessa is “Things Have Changed.” The beat will get you moving your head and the guitar will get you moving your hips. Frankly, this scorcher is more like The Bonnevilles than The Black Keys.

“Already Gone” is another one that reaches out and grabs me. There is a real blues feel in the guitar (think Gary Moore) and a beat that feels like it is straight out of the garage. Actually, that is a pretty good way to sum up this band. It’s a great combination of blues and garage rock that will get your blood and your fist pumping, and your boots stomping. If you like The Bonnevilles and other fuzzy blues duos, get to know this band. Odessa is available on Bandcamp for $10.

Rediscovering my music collection

Music to chase away a sour mood

Music to chase away a sour mood

The funny thing about having a three-year-old who is really interested in music is that you end up listening to the same bands and albums repeatedly. My son actually has pretty diverse tastes, but we still listen to a lot of the same things over and over. Which means I have tons of CDs in my collection that I have listened to very little since my son discovered my collection.

Yesterday I was going through one of my jazz and blues binders and saw a CD from Porterhouse Bob and Down to the Bone, a band that used to play regularly on Sunday afternoons at a bar not far from me. It was a good way to while away a Sunday afternoon. I put on the CD and remembered what is so great about it. This is a barrelhouse blues band that also incorporates some zydeco sound and funk. Oh, and on this particular CD, the band included a tuba player. Yeah, I know tubas are dreadfully unhip, but if you have a tuba in your band, odds are pretty good I’ll be interested. Shoutin’ at the Grave is just a good-time CD. If your mood needs a pick-me-up, put this album on. I’m pretty sure that sour mood won’t last very long.

The musical meal: “entrees”

We’ve covered both snacks and starters, and now we get to the main course of our musical meal. This is the music that I can listen to anytime and be completely satisfied.

My musical main course includes, blues, Cajun, zydeco, and Clutch

Blues definitely falls into my list of musical entrees. In fact, blues is the musical equivalent of comfort food. Think about your favorite comfort food. Maybe it’s macaroni and cheese. Maybe it’s Thai food. Whatever it is, you eat it because you want to feel better and when you’re done, you do feel better. That’s what the blues is for me. From Mississippi Fred McDowell to Junior Wells to the garage blues of The Bonnevilles, the blues always hits the spot.

Another musical entree is Louisiana music: Cajun and zydeco. The one thing that all Cajun and zydeco music has in common is that it is impossible to be in a bad mood when you listen to it. Beau Jocque is a particular favorite and Mama Rosin (a recent find) is really intriguing, but I have never encountered Cajun or zydeco music that I didn’t like.

I’m going a little off the board with this one, but hey, it’s my blog. Instead of going with a genre of music, I’m going to list a band as an entree. Clutch is a band that I have enjoyed since I was in college and I can listen to this band anytime. This is a band that can rock with the best of them and has also incorporated the blues into its heavy rock sound by covering the aforementioned Mississippi Fred McDowell and Howlin’ Wolf.

There you have it, loyal reader. My musical entrees. What are your musical entrees? Let us know about them in a comment.

Blue Monday: The Hard Chargers

Great blues from Belfast

When you think of blues, what are some places that come to mind? I’m willing to bet Belfast is not very high on the list. And yet, that’s exactly what this band is. When you go to the Bandcamp page for The Hard Chargers, you will see that it is listed as a blues-cajun-zydeco band. While you hear the rub board in a couple of the songs, the cajun and zydeco aspects of the sound take a back seat to the blues.

Just listen to the work on that National steel guitar in “Suicidal Hosepipe Blues, and “Commit a Crime.” That is pure blues. “Commit a Crime sounds like a mix of Howlin’ Wolf and Stevie Ray Vaughan. The sound of this band might be described as lowdown, but it’s also pretty clean. The three guys in this band sure know what they’re doing with their instruments. I’ll tell you three things for sure. First, I wish this band had some more songs to listen to on the Bandcamp page. Second, the likelihood is pretty good that I’ll add some music by The Hard Chargers to my collection. Lastly, when a band introduces itself by saying ”If you like your Whiskey straight, and your women crooked, this is the band for you!”, that band is all right with me.

Like The Hard Chargers on Facebook.

Blue Monday (classic): Rick Holmstrom

Holmstrom (center) with Trickbag from Sweden

OK, so you noticed the video is from 2007…only five years ago and therefore, hardly a classic. That is one way of looking at it. Another way of looking at it is to say that it’s Rick Holmstrom (featured in the video in our first post of the day about Trickbag) on guitar at a blues festival in Norway. To us, that says classic. After all, Rick Holmstrom is one of the best guitarists in the business, so you can never go wrong with recommending him, or seeing him.

Blue Monday: Trickbag

Lowdown blues from Sweden

When it comes to music, we are all about rarity…as you might have noticed from our posts. Specifically, if you live in southern California (or anywhere other than Sweden) and you get to see a blues band from Sweden, you should do it. That is exactly what happened earlier this year when I had the chance to see Trickbag in Costa Mesa. How is a musical connoisseur supposed to turn that down?

This is a pure blues band…no blues rock here. The guitar sound is clean but also lowdown and greasy. Add in some walking bass lines, some boogie-woogie piano, and some excellent guitar work and what you have is Trickbag. It doesn’t really matter where these guys come from. They clearly know their craft and their history. If I had to guess, I’d say these guys grew up listening to the likes of Elmore James. The rhythms in this band’s songs certainly bring Elmore to mind. If you like your blues lowdown, this is definitely a band to check out. And no matter where you live, if you get the chance to see this band, do it. You won’t be disappointed.

Blue Monday: Kilborn Alley Blues Band

These guys have the blues. Want some?

Loyal reader, I will gladly admit it. I’m not a huge fan of Twitter. I know it’s something you kind of have to use (@incognitomag is our handle), but you just have to filter out so much noise to get to anything useful. That being said, you can search a hash tag like #Blues and come across a band like Kilborn Alley Blues Band from Champaign, Illinois.

If you go to the band’s ReverbNation page, the first song you’ll see listed is “Couple of Days (Change My Ways),” which is bluesy (particularly in the instrumental break), but overall has more of an Allman Brothers feel to it. Then you’ll see “Nothin’ Left to Stimulate.” And this is as blues as blues gets. You get the classic blues guitar, harmonica, and a hard-luck story not only about a guy losing his job, but also all the other economic woes you can see in this fine nation of ours. To me, this is a better taste of the band. These guys have a real classic blues sound that we love here at Incognito HQ, and it’s easy to see why this band has won awards. This is not only a legitimate blues band, it’s also a great way to start your work week.