Saturday, August 6, 2022

Bandcamp Download of the Month: Old Town Crier's You

“Rock is dead!” is the tortured cry of dopey pundits and clueless label executives, proffered as an excuse for their own tone deafness, disregardful of the legions of loyal rockers roaming the American countryside with six-strings set on “stun.” Rock ‘n’ roll has lost its way, however, or at least lost the edge it once had as a medium for political commentary and reform. Although a few old-school survivors of the ‘60s like Neil Young and “Little Steven” Van Zandt still buzz and hum with righteous fury on vinyl from time to time, younger bands are afraid to take a political stance.

A lot of contemporary bands are looking for big dollar, “Big Rock Candy Mountain” levels of success, but a few are using their art as a catalyst for social change. “You”, a five-song digital EP and the second recording by Massachusetts outfit Old Town Crier, is a great example of rock ‘n’ roll being used to further a progressive political agenda that would benefit society. The EP’s title track is an infectious slab of guitar-driven power-pop with an energetic melody, cool vocal harmonies, and a stinging guitar solo that conceal some deceptively pointed lyrics. “Thin Blue Line” uses a throwback 1960s sound and Spector-esque production with chiming keyboards and crashing drumbeats to support its message whereas “Dawnland” is slower, more nuanced, evincing a shimmering psychedelic vibe with colorful guitars and gorgeous keyboards.

“Coal River Mountain” is an Americana-styled romp with wiry fretwork and a rhythmic sense of urgency (like a locomotive teetering down the track), a story-song set in the wilds of West Virginia with imaginative lyrics. The EP’s fast-paced five closes with “Radio On”, a clever, lofty pop-rock construct with hints of the Beatles, Big Star, and Harry Nilsson. Old Town Crier is the solo musical project of Massachusetts multi-instrumentalist Jim Lough, whose previous release was 2021’s five-song EP I’m Longing For You Honey In Middleboro, Mass. Recorded at The Fallout Shelter in Norwood, Massachusetts, You features Lough on vocals, guitarist Garrett Jones, bassist Alex Bilodeau, keyboardist Jenn Hwan Wong, drummer Avery Logan, and saxophonist Stephen Byth, who blows up a storm on a bonus live recording of “You”.  

A mere five simoleons for five rockin’ tunes is a better deal than you’re gonna get on anything you’ll find at Dollar General or Wal-Mart, so what are you waiting for? Buy it! All proceeds from the sale of the album will be donated to progressive Democrats running in key races, namely Christine Olivo (FL-26), Jason Call (WA-02), and Melanie D’Arrigo (NY-03), and if you have anything left after buying this Old Town Crier digital EP, consider throwing a few shekels to the progressive candidates in your area.   

You’ll find both of Old Town Crier’s EPs for sale RIGHT NOW on Bandcamp:

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