Texas

Album Review: “Another Round” by Jimmy and the Mustangs

If we’re talking location, Jimmy and the Mustangs is a group who call California their home state but they are now based out of one of the music capitals of the US, Austin, TX. If we’re talking decade, Jimmy and the Mustangs are straight out of the 50’s despite their interesting journey from the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s in order to get there. This now 100% rockabilly band began (hilariously) as a punk band. In fact, in the 80’s Jimmy and the Mustangs opened for The Go-Go’s. That wasn’t their only encounter with famed musicians, however. The band was hired by THE Robert Plant and later shared the stage with The Boss. After some time, the band meandered and explored until they landed on their very own style of swing and rockabilly which is where they remain today.

Jimmy and the Mustangs is fronted by Jimmy Haddox (lead vocals, lead guitar and rhythm guitar) and backed by Tom Coplan (lead guitar, slide guitar), Dylan Cavalier (upright bass) and John Powell (drums, percussion and vocals). Back in September the band released their latest full length appropriately titled, Another Round. The last record they released was in 1984.

Another Round is an upfront rockabilly, swing, hip twisting, foot tapping record that doesn’t waste time with innuendos. It’s not a bad thing either. Their music is fun, tasteful and to the point. The song I’m thinking of as a perfect example is “Rock My World.” Enough is implied in the title and the first line

I only got one thing on my mind,

Making love to you all the time.

The beat, melody and feel of the song could easily be in the musical, Grease, but these lyrics wouldn’t have gotten by back then. That’s the beauty of reinventing a style like rockabilly/swing in the 21st century.

 

The record opens with brass, Haddox’s smooth and heart-melting voice and a Vegas-inspired scene, perfectly painted with the lyrics. “Roll the Dice” is a smooth launch into the time capsule you’re about to jump into. This whole album makes me want to head back to the 1950’s for a night.

Not a whole lot slows down once this album kicks off. Let’s just say it’s not a bed time album but it’s perfect for an adult sock-hop. One of my personal favorites is “Ready Set Go.” It’s a high speed track fully equipped with everything a dance-worthy track needs: quick tempo, catchy chorus, and a no-wallflowers-allowed attitude.

 

 

The first half of the album is jam-packed with high speed dance-inducing tracks that only someone without a soul could resist moving their body to. Things slow down a bit on the latter half of the record, allowing you to catch your breath. “Hotel San Jose” is a saucy slow dance, “Bourbon Street” is a blue grass/country two-stepper and “Love is Just Pretend” is a love-soaked slow dancer, sure to turn your heart into a puddle and maybe even allow you to believe that love isn’t just pretend. All of this is in preparation for the last track, “Long Black Train” that requires some serious stitch-inducing peppermint-twisting.

Altogether, Another Round is a celebration of music from the past crafted by incredible musicians of the present. If you see Jimmy and the Mustangs are heading your way any time soon, don’t miss it. You can find their newest record on iTunes and cdBaby.

J&Mustangs_Sara

 

 

Album Review: “Absolute Dreams” by tunnel traffic

After observing a close friend and musical comrade leave music behind indefinitely, Adam Hachey, the man behind experimental acoustic electro project, tunnel traffic, decided to forge ahead alone.  Tunnel traffic is the result of Houston, TX-based Hachey’s new found confidence in his desire, ability and drive to write and create music. From this experience of deep reflection on music, striving to understand why songwriting was so important to him and if it was something that truly was important to him, tunnel traffic’s debut record, Absolute Dreams, was born.

Hachey writes, records and produces all of his music, alone. The outcome is a distinctive mix of acoustic strumming, synths, and other electronic features that somehow despite the stark differences between the instruments’ sounds and purpose, they lock onto each other fluently.

In many of the songs, you can hear Hachey contemplating what music means to his life and himself. In “Lost Time”, a track that holds a sense of mystery clearly derived from Hachey’s thoughts of music, he speaks of songs only he can hear:

Music playing in my ears, songs that only I can hear.

As “Lost Time” continues, it builds subtly in intensity until it resolves itself. The relief is audible, perhaps manifesting the relief that came to Hachey in the form of music even though he was questioning its importance for a time.

 

The tracks are short, varying in 1 to 4 minutes in length. Each one delivers a beautiful and concise message to the listener, packaged impeccably with Hachey’s submissive and delicate voice against dreamy synths and what sounds to me, like an ukulele.

Purely instrumental tracks like “Space Out”, “Sleeper”, “Pain”, “Wooden Devices” and “This Is For You” offer moments for the listener to spend some time with their own thoughts as Hachey’s music has this striking ability to instill the need for introspection. You as the listener can contemplate what the words “space out”, “sleeper” and “pain” mean to you, what they stir up in your own mind.

Hachey bares his heart and soul in Absolute Dreams. “I Need This” is a genuine and honest description of those times when you feel completely out of control but are able to maintain the awareness that:

I’m a wreck, but I’ll be OK.

 

I congratulate Adam Hachey on his bold dive out into the world of music alone as tunnel traffic. Absolute Dreams is a warm hand extended from a cold place.

You can purchase Absolute Dreams on tunnel traffic’s Bandcamp page.