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The BL RAG is dedicated to the idea of free expression, thus we welcome and encourage reader  commentary on current events and issues, music, sports, or other topics of interest, no matter what one's political leanings or worldview.


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Entries in tom waits (5)


Tom Dyer Stands On His Own

I always endeavour to seek out the odd and the inspired in the musical realm. True characters who stand on their own and are unafraid to be themselves. In that tradition of individualism comes Seattle singer/songwriter Tom Dyer, a blues/rock/crossover artist who has been loosely compared to Tom Waits, although it may be due to a lack of proper descripters for the man's music. His new album "I Ain't Blue Anymore" shows a complete lack of self-consciousness, for the most part to it's credit. Dyer's voice is low and gruff, sometimes manic, and musically, dissonance can be found on every track, so this is definitely not coffee shop tunes, but who wants that? Dyer cooks up a musical gumbo that owes it's inspiration to everything from rockabilly and punk to blues and industrial. He also plays all the instruments here.

My personal highlight of the release would be "John the Revelator" for it's possessed energy, and "The Ballad of Carlton IV", "Smithsonian Institute Blues" (a Captain Beefheart cover), and "Walking in the Sky" fall into the "must listen" category. If you're looking for a smart release with plenty of storytelling and quirky wisdom, chack out the aptly titled "I Ain't Blue Anymore". 


Album of the Day - Time & Energy "Strange Kind of Focus"

"What doesn't kill you makes you...stranger" is the motto for experimental rock duo Time & Energy, who sound inspired by everyone from Radiohead and Battles to Tom Waits and the Dead Weather. On their new full-length release "Strange Kind of Focus" they've done the nearly impossible by crafting an album that's simultaneously way out there and yet ready to break into the mainstream. If you like your indie rock with a dose of pop, prog and jazz, you can stream the new album prior to it's November release at Time & Energy's Bandcamp.


Rick Shaffer for fans of Iggy Pop and 16 Horsepower

For fans of seriously hooky rock n' roll of the more badass variety (Iggy & the Stooges, 16 Horsepower, Tom Waits, etc), take a close listen to the surprisingly masterful work of Rick Shaffer on his new release "Idiot Flats", which I can honestly say there isn't a miss on. Must-listen tracks include "One More Heartache", "Dangerous Dance" and "Getting Low". Note: this is not your average, clean-with-a-perfect-sheen modern rock. But it's probably what you've been waiting for.

Buy Idiot Flats on iTunes.


New Music Pick - Victory Garden "As A Ghost

If you're a fan of creative alt rock acts like the Silversun Pickups and the Smashing Pumpkins, chances are you'll find some budding brilliance in up-and-coming Indiana-based alternative/acoustic duo Victory Garden. Their latest EP "What's Left Behind" is full of surprisingly mature songwriting and lush musical arrangements. It's a well-produced effort that doesn't lose itself in perfection; much like Chino Moreno or Billy Corgan, Victory Garden singer/guitarist Michael Finney's delivery is somewhat raw and unpolished, and it makes for a more emotional listen.

"As A Ghost" is a standout, with it's Tom Waits-waltz,  heartbroken horns and memorable chorus vocals that are content to wallow in the comforting moodiness. I really haven't come across any other band quite like this, as most new acts are content with the same electro/indie pop stylings currently being plugged by most major blogs. Although, granted, there is good content there, it's relieving to know that there inventiveness in rock music. 

Take a listen for yourself below:


Chords of Truth shows brilliant lyrics on "Reflections of Reality"

Not all independent artists play indie pop or dubstep. I know that's difficult to believe if you frequent popular music blogs often, but some stick to the tried-and-true expression of good lyrics and an acoustic guitar. I'm not saying this is a more valid form of expression than the aforementioned genres. It's just nice to hear some music with substance and wisdom.

Jason Garriotte goes by the name Chords of Truth. He is an up-and-coming acoustic/folk singer/songwriter who I believe is striking some deep truths (or "pointing at them", since words can only point) with his lyrics and music. I hear a lot of artists making an effort to be hip, and some of them are good, but I do have a soft spot for a master wordsmith. After all, artists like Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits put a heavy focus on poetry. Chords of Truth's debut album is "Reflections of Reality", and while the music is restrained acoustic material, the lyrics are closest to the spiritual output of Tool's Maynard James Keenan. His voice sounds wise and knowing. Take a listen below.