The Shine Brothers: Hello Griefbirds! [Album Review] 1 992

The Shine Brothers: Hello Griefbirds! [Album Review] 1 993

shine-brothers The Shine Brothers
Hello Griefbirds!
Cardinal Fuzz Records [2014]



Fire Note Says: The bands’ name says it all, Hello Griefbirds sure does shine.

Album Review: It‘s funny, searching online I find a fair amount of info on The Shine Brothers. But, where are the reviews for their debut Hello Griefbirds!? There sure is a disservice being done-people need to know-not because of innovation or sound reinvention. The Shine Brothers’ Hello Griefbirds! delivers an authentic and satisfying experience with each listen. There’s good reason for this too. The Shine Brothers’ ensemble includes Nate Ryan (ex The Black Angels), Colin Ryan (ex Woven Bones), Oakley Munson (ex The Rondelles), and Ryan Rapsys (ex Too Many Bands To Name). So there’s no doubt, these gentlemen know what they’re doing.

A self-determined genre like psych-my-delic might give you a bit of insight as to where The Shine Brothers’ are coming from. But, a deeper assessment might pair the shiny gleam of The Everly Brothers with the seedy excess of The Birthday Party. It’s this reason that I enjoyed Hello Griefbirds! so much. The Shine Brothers have found the correct alchemical concoction. Dipping their lead into a cauldron recreating a batch of Nuggets. What also caught my attention was the way Hello Griefbirds! psychedelic séance was constructed. With the excess comes interesting patterns. The first batch of three, “Climb The Ladder,” “Creation,” and “Innocent Girl” all fit well into the groovy, buzzy fuzzy sounds of Nuggets era garage. But that’s quickly replaced by the seedy sounds of stand-outs such as, “Cago Palo,”-which lyrically seems taken right from Mexican slang -”Silver Knife,” “White Tears,” as well as “When Wendy Burns.”

shine-brothers-pic
But, what I felt was the strongest and smartest play was the 3 tracks at the end. After going through a tunnel of sunshine, vulgarity, and madness. “Time Will Tell,” “The Hammer,” and “Girls Out Walking” all unite the common man. The last track can always be a game changer- It’s one of the reason The Rose Windows’ debut garnered so much praise-here Hello Griefbirds! has three. Catchy harmonies and honky-tonk make you want to have a beer in one hand and your other arm around a buddy.

The success all comes from slight diversities all without losing focus. The Shine Brothers’ Hello Griefbirds! has its’ influences but I can’t recall anything that sounds exactly like it-at least momentarily. It only gets me excited to see how The Shine Brothers will illuminate next.

Key Tracks: “Creation”, “Silver Knife”, “Time Will Tell”

Artists With Similar Fire: The Birthday Party / The Nazz / Strawberry Alarm Clock



The Shine Brothers Facebook
Cardinal Fuzz Records

-Reviewed by Christopher Tahy

Christopher Tahy

Christopher Tahy

Along with TFN, Christopher Tahy writes for several music publications and has a modest (but growing) vinyl collection that spans genres and generations, while being a guitarist at heart. He enjoys the Dayton music scene and can never turn down a great rock riff!
Christopher Tahy
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1 Comment

  1. Sh1t, I remember seeing these guys live at the Arcadia in ’68. They blew my suspenders off then, and they’ve gotten even better in the meantime.

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Bill Mallonee & The Big Sky Ramblers: Forest Full Of Wolves [Album Review] 1 859

Bill Mallonee & The Big Sky Ramblers
Forest Full of Wolves
Self-Released [2018]







Fire Note Says: Bill Mallonee is one of those best-kept secrets you really want to share with the rest of the music loving world.

Album Review: No one is ever going to call singer/songwriter Bill Mallonee an under-achiever. His latest release, a 10 song full-length effort, Forest Full of Wolves is his 78th album by his own count. Mallonee spent the 1990s fronting the Athens, GA-band Vigilantes of Love, shuffling from one label to the next, driving a van from coast-to-coast playing every alternative rock/Americana friendly venue who would let them. Hometown friend, Peter Buck (R.E.M.) co-produced one of the band’s early more-acoustic albums, the Killing Floor. The band’s 1999 album, released on three different labels of the course of 18 months, Audible Sigh was produced by Nashville’s favorite side-man Buddy Miller, and includes a guest vocal by Emmylou Harris, as well as some of Mallonee’s best loved songs. Paste Magazine has named him one of the 100 greatest living songwriters.

A rough count, say there were 10 songs per release (usually there were more), puts Mallonee’s songwriting output at nearly 8000, and those are the one’s he’s recorded. Now basic logic would suggest that they can’t all be good, and surely not all of them are memorable, but Mallonee’s work, his actual raison d’’etre, has proven especially consistent over the decades, and in the 2010’s he’s delivered a solid album’s worth of tunes each year, with a noticeable uptick in production values starting with 2011’s The Power & The Glory. Last year’s excellent The Rags of Absence was a case in point, with Mallonee especially attentive to his lead guitar parts.

Forest Full of Wolves continues to chronicle the challenges to working class people and even songwriters, as if Mallonee is creating his own musical version of John Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath” for what he calls this “new dark age.” “Greed and fear (have) gained the upper hand,” he sings in “Changing of the Guard,” so he’s “grabbed a guitar & a notebook or two… became a phantom with some conjuring ‘neath the moon.”

Musically, Wolves takes the energy of Rags to the next level, with bigger, noiser guitar tones. Mallonee captures a Neil Young jamming with Crazy Horse in the garage vibe throughout, which is likely a lot harder to pull off since Mallonee’s playing all the instruments. Mid-tempo alternative country rock at it’s most earnest and relevant, and against all odds, Mallonee manages to offer a word of hope. “In the New Dark Age” he sings, borrowing the title from a different song that he recording on 2014’s The Winnowing, “the best thing you can do is fall in love.” Of course, “Love Is Always Risky Currency,” but it’s the best chance any of us have of surviving in this “Forest Full of Wolves.”

Like many artists scrambling to make art in the challenging digital marketplace and survive financially Mallonee has struggled to reach out and connect with Americana fans, break ground with new audiences, even though he’s stayed off the road in recent years. As a fan who first heard the singer songwriter live in the early 90’s, and many times over the years, Bill Mallonee is one of those best-kept secrets you really want to share with the rest of the music loving world. It’s artists who wear their passion on their sleeves, who keep pouring out their hearts in songs, that make the music that matters. (One reason to order the hard CD copy of this one, is the cover art produced by another singer songwriter, Chris Taylor, from San Antonio, TX.).

Key Tracks: “In the New Dark Age” / “Voodoo Ink” / “Trimmed & Burning”

Artists With Similar Fire: Neil Young / Bob Dylan / John Prine

Bill Mallonee Website
Bill Mallonee Facebook

– Reviewed by Brian Q. Newcomb

Christopher Tahy

Christopher Tahy

Along with TFN, Christopher Tahy writes for several music publications and has a modest (but growing) vinyl collection that spans genres and generations, while being a guitarist at heart. He enjoys the Dayton music scene and can never turn down a great rock riff!
Christopher Tahy

Stars: There Is No Love In Fluorescent Light [Album Review] 0 425

Stars
There Is No Love In Fluorescent Light
Last Gang Records [2017]

ratings3_5






Who: Veteran indie pop band from Canada.

Sound: Indie pop with a heart and a head.

TFN Final Take: Stars is like a well-worn glove that is comfortable, reliable, but lacking in surprise or unpredictability. There is nothing wrong with that; they are still great at what they do. And what they do is construct a song, engage you, and give you space to reflect on what you’re hearing. My standout track is “Alone,” which has a chorus that stuck with me. The song takes its time to unfold and then slowly recedes into silence. “Real Thing” is another good one that throws an off-speed pitch for a chorus. Per usual, established fans will find a lot to like in the latest album and new fans will hopefully take advantage of Stars’ great catalog.

Stars Website
Stars Facebook
Last Gang Records

– Reviewed by Matthew Heiner

Christopher Tahy

Christopher Tahy

Along with TFN, Christopher Tahy writes for several music publications and has a modest (but growing) vinyl collection that spans genres and generations, while being a guitarist at heart. He enjoys the Dayton music scene and can never turn down a great rock riff!
Christopher Tahy

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