All Them Witches
By most fifth LPs, the band’s sound is pretty set. Parameters established. Refinement dissipated. You get a to-formula execution of what’s worked in the past. Fair enough. All Them Witches go a harder route.
In 2017, the Nashville four-piece offered what might’ve otherwise become their own template in their fourth album (second for New West), Sleeping Through the War. It brought a larger production value thanks to oversight from producer Dave Cobb (Jason Isbell, Shooter Jennings, etc.), found them using choral vocals, expanded arrangements, bigger sounds than anything they’d done before.
They could’ve easily fallen into a pattern of watered-down clones of that record. Easily.
So naturally in a year they’ve thrown it all to the Appalachian wind, turned the process completely on its head and gone the other way: recording in a cabin in Kingston Springs, about 20 miles outside of Nashville on I-40, with guitarist Ben McLeod at the helm. Self-produced. Take that, expectation.
The result, mixed by Rob Schnapf (Beck, Elliott Smith, Kurt Vile), is the most intimate, human-sounding album All Them Witches have recorded and another redefinition of who they are as a band. Introducing keyboardist/percussionist Jonathan Draper to the fold with McLeod, bassist/vocalist Charles Michael Parks, Jr., and drummer/graphic artist Robby Staebler, All Them Witches’ ATW isn’t self-titled by mistake.
It’s the band confirming and continuing to develop their approach, in the devil’s boogie of “Fishbelly 86 Onions,” the organ-laced groove and masterful flow of “Half-Tongue,” the build of “HJTC” and the fluid jam in closer “Rob’s Dream.” You can hear it in the mellow patience of that last track, never lost but always wandering, and in “1st vs. 2nd,” where they turn from a frenetic shake to some purposefully metal-ish riffing while still holding onto gut-tightening tension.
And what do they do with that? Some overblown payoff? Hell no. They cut it short, drift into noise and then dig into “Half-Tongue” ahead of the moodier “Diamond,” which, true to its name, seems to turn any light that touches it into a prism. This is a band who delight in the exploration, in finding new rules to break, and in continually learning new ways to do so.
ATW is a reaction to being a “bigger” act. To playing bigger shows, bigger tours, etc. From the sustained consonants in Parks’ vocals, to the sleek basslines that play off the can’t-sit-still-won’t-sit-still swing in Staebler’s drums, to McLeod’s commanding slide in “Workhorse” and drifting melancholy at the outset of “Harvest Feast,” ATW is their laying claim to the essential facets of their identity.
And most crucial to that identity is its shifting nature. All Them Witches didn’t get to this point by resting on laurels, and if anything, the urgency of these tracks – fast pushers and sleepy jams alike – is among their greatest strengths.
It’s a rawer delivery, as stage-ready as the band itself, and it captures All Them Witches in this moment. Is ATW who they’ll be tomorrow? Who the hell knows? Check back in and we’ll find out together. That’s the whole idea.
Some people call it a vibe and some people call it a groove. We call it boogie soul. It’s the sound of HANDSOME JACK on their new album “Do What Comes Naturally”.
Produced by Zachary Gabbard of the BUFFALO KILLERS and featuring Bob Nave (of the legendary Lemon Pipers) on hammond organ, among others, the music of this album seamlessly flows through deep dark mid-tempo boogies, smoky upbeat burners, and soulful feel-good rockers all with a natural ease.
HANDSOME JACK hails from Buffalo NY and began as a blues garage rock band. After high school they moved out of the garage and developed their sound into a natural soulful boogie that remains rooted in raw blues. They’ve shared the stage with The Sheepdogs, Blue Cheer, Gov’t Mule, J. Geils, The Hold Steady, and Robert Randolph to name a few.
Composed of Singer / Bassist: Armand Lance, Violinist: Sarah Jane Long, Guitarist: Sean McCormick, and Drummer: Landon Cisneros, Spirit Mother is a heavy psych group out of Long Beach, CA. Daniel Oliva describes the band in Cool-Tite Magazine as “jangly, heavy, and rhythmic, with violin ominous, out-front, and present” using violin, a driving rhythm section, and fuzz to craft their sound.
Since their start in January 2017, the quartet played their first festival September of that same year for Long Beach’s own Music Tastes Good with Ween, Of Montreal, and Sleater Kinney. The band went on to press their first single “Heathens” to vinyl via Nite Time Records with a supporting Southern California tour. The following release “Black Sheep // Space Cadets” was picked up by Thrasher Magazine and placed in their “King of the Road” series, with plans to license an unreleased sneak-peek to the anticipated full-length record for their “My War” series. Spirit Mother's forthcoming debut album "Cadets" boasts a varied but defined identity within the bands sound, and the band looks forward to its’ release.