The Waifs – Temptation

Well, if absence makes the heart grow fonder, Waifs fans are going to love this album. After more than three years, the Aussie group will release their sixth studio album, Temptation, on March 4, 2011. From their press release:

“Where do we take it from here?” sings Vikki Thorn on “Day Dreamer”, one of the most uplifting moments on The Waifs’ extraordinary sixth album, Temptation, in store March 4th independently through Jarrah Records (the label The Waifs co-own with John Butler) and MGM Distribution.

It’s a question the much-loved Australian band has asked itself several times in the 19 years since Thorn, her sister Donna Simpson and guitarist Josh Cunningham set off on their incredible journey.

A trip that began in a van in 1992, with the three troubadours playing gigs anywhere in Australia that would have them, has led The Waifs to multiple ARIA awards, platinum albums and successful tours across the world. The hard yards in those early days paid off in terms of their career, but also bound the three of them together as friends.

Josh, Donna and Vikki have all moved on in their personal lives since those formative years, whether through relationships, having children or relocating to different parts of the world, yet The Waifs’ journey continues. That ever-evolving trip, and the bond that has developed between them, is very much central to the emotion, sentiment and spirituality of the 11 songs on Temptation.

Temptation is the follow-up to 2006’s Sun, Dirt, Water, which the band recorded in Nashville and which reached No.2 in the ARIA album charts. That album represented a natural progression for The Waifs, one on which they expanded and experimented with their sound.

Temptation sees them stripping back, returning to their roots and playing an assortment of acoustic and electric instruments, joined once again by the established rhythm section of drummer David Ross Macdonald and bassist Ben Franz.

Temptation was recorded in November last year at Underwood Studios, a ramshackle old house-cum-studio in Simpson’s adopted home city of St Paul, Minneapolis.

I just gotta say it…this album is damn good. I can’t blame The Waifs for taking so much time off…there’s been babies, marriages, and all sorts of other life-happenings to keep the trio occupied, but it’s good to see them back in action. After 10 days in a basement in Minneapolis, they came out rocking just as hard as ever. As per Vicki Thorn,

“Traditionally recording has been stressful for us, we have three writers and rarely a collective vision. Maybe we have grown up a bit, learned a little patience and respect. ┬áThis time the recording experience felt very relaxed and everything flowed. This album is less disparate than some of our previous albums. As if by moving, literally, so far from each other, our music has come back together. We have found our sound, our voices, our rhythms again and rediscovered our love for playing it.”

And you can really hear that collective love. Everyone was living together, playing together, and recording together, which gives a tangible sense of family to this album. Everyone plays their part, but no one is overbearing. We get to hear Thorn’s starkly beautiful track, “Buffalo” and Simpson’s incredibly catchy “Falling”, along with Cunningham’s voice in the title track. Weaving in and out of all of these tracks are long time touring mates Ben Franz (bass) and David McDonald (drums).

The band came together from all over (seriously, the US, Canada, AND Australia) for this labor of love, which ended up being a roots/rock, alt-country masterpiece. The harmonies of the Simpson sisters cannot be outdone and the instrumentation of Cunningham is utterly amazing, as always. I can see “Falling” becoming the major hit of this album very, very quickly. Check it out for yourself.

“Falling”

In a musical world of pop-wonders and rap stars, it’s refreshing to see someone going back to the beginning in a fashion that blues greats would be proud of. This album gets a solid B and a hearty “Welcome back, Waifs” from me.

You can check out the latest Waifs news at their site, their Myspace, and their Facebook.

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Red Hot Rebellion

Okay, these guys are hilarious. Like, Dethlehem hilarious. Self described as “the soundtrack to a bar fight”, the trio from Dayton, OH rock right the fuck on. They’re “feverishly” working on their first album, but in the meantime, they’ve released Two Pretty Fuckin’ Good Songs for your listening pleasure. From their Facebook:

RED HOT REBELLION was formed in the bowels of The Gem City (Dayton Ohio) with a singular goal: to rebel against the watered-down excuse for Rock of the status quo. Our music is loud, fast, and furious — perhaps a throw-back to a simpler time when Rock was fun and full of energy. Where music is more important than fashion. Where intensity is more exciting than whining about break ups and heartache. Where a Les Paul and a Marshall half-stack can rattle your bones and shake your blood. Call it Garage, call it Blues-Punk, call it Roots Rock, call it the Greatest Power Trio in the Mid West…whatever you want…

…and that pretty well sums it up. Red Hot Rebellion wants to play rock and roll, drink beers, and bang chicks, and they’re not afraid to tell you about it. Kinda like the Supersuckers. They’ve got the “Oh” in those “Whoa Ohs” and they’ll definitely kick you into gear (especially when there’s 8″ of snow outside, like there is in Pittsburgh right now). Check ’em out!

“For the Benefit of Evil” and “Built to Rock” downloads. Fo’ FREE!

“For the Benefit of Evil” Video

San Cisco – “Golden Revolver”

This band is ADORABLE. San Cisco (formerly King George), a charming, new Aussie band is fresh off the presses and getting their name out there hardcore. The recent high-school graduates (god, I feel old!) have been playing, touring, releasing their first EP, Golden Revolver, and generally doing things that new bands do.

From their press release:

San Cisco are the latest indie act to emerge from Fremantle in sunny Western Australia. On the weekends they go skateboarding, play Nintendo 64 and make a bit of indie pop on the side. Scarlett bangs the drums, Nick plays bass and Jordi & Josh are the guys that play the guitars, write the songs and sing them.

San Cisco have spent the last year graduating high school, performing at some festivals and playing round town pretty much every weekend. But don’t let their youth fool you. They have also produced their first EP called Golden Revolver, which has just hit and already found a home on Triple J and community radio around Australia. Confident with stage presence & strong with vocals San Cisco continue to impress even the hardest indie critics with their brand of upbeat summer pop.

Produced by Matthew Chequer (Little Birdy) & Steven Schram (Little Red, Cat Empire, Little Birdy), the EP is an eclectic mix of indie pop with folk undertones, slashes of synth and influences ranging from Bright Eyes to Vampire Weekend.

San Cisco performed at last years One Movement Festival which lead to an invitation to appear at the 2011 Great Escape in the UK. They also received their first airplay on London’s influential taste making station, XFM.

In honor of summer being just around the corner, check out their single “Golden Revolver”, a peppy, upbeat, sunny tune that I simply adore. You can also check out more of their stuff over on their Myspace or Facebook. Enjoy!

“Golden Revolver”