Why "Subterranean Finds"? Because we unearth music radio rarely plays and the critics fail to tout... exceptional sounds residing below the surface and well worth exploring.
John Wicks and the Records
Back in the late '70s, the Records took up the gauntlet laid down by the Beatles and the Byrds, infusing billowy harmonies into a melodic Brit-rock regimen. They left behind a semi-hit, "Starry Eyes," and then dropped off the radar. Leader John Wicks recently resurfaced with Rotate, an anthology of sorts that replays the Records' effusive sound and updates their lost legacy. Sorry, no "Starry Eyes," but the Beatles cover "We Can Work It Out" reflects their roots. (www.koolkatmusik.com)
Rufus and dad Loudon may steal more attention at family gatherings, but Loudon's sis/Rufus' aunt Sloan Wainwright may start competing for attention thanks to her bracing new album, Rediscovery. As the title implies, it's a covers set, with choices (Nick Drake's "Time of No Reply," a caressing "Ring of Fire," offerings from Dylan, Lennon, Marvin Gaye, and Neil Young) that fit seamlessly with her folkie finesse. The covers concept is nothing new, but Wainwright's rich, honey-soaked vocals give these songs a tone and texture that fares well against the originals. (www.sloanwainwright.com)
Ian McLagen and the Bump Band
Never Say Never
As a member of the Faces — the keyboard accompaniment to Rod Stewart and guitarist Ronnie Wood — Ian McLagen was well-versed in the frayed barroom bedlam that's his stock in trade, with the band and on his own. However, in the wake of wife Kim's death two years ago in an auto accident, McLagen's latest effort seems a requiem of sorts, with songs detailing love and loss. The obvious odes, "Never Say Never" and "When the Crying Is Over," bookend the set, although there's still some hint of revelry evident amid the mourning. (www.ianmclagen.com)
Mic Harrison and the High Score
On the Right Side of the Grass
Speaking of authenticity, On the Right Side of the Grass, the new album by Superdrag and V Roys alumnus Mic Harrison, offers a true down-home sound that's stirring and soulful. This isn't slick country music that's filtered through a Nashville assembly line; Harrison and backup band the High Score's blue-collar sentiments were clearly honed in the heartland. These are songs with a hard-living, unrepentant attitude (not surprisingly, "Never Gonna Drink Again" segues neatly into "I Get the Booze"), a perfect soundtrack for a rowdy Saturday night. (Also recommended: The High Score's recent self-titled "solo" set.) (www.micharrison.com) (www.thehighscore.org)
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