In House #1640: Cracker's Greenland; New Watson Twins, Frank Black
Cracker returned last week with Greenland, their first album of new material in four years. Though the material is still largely based in that roosty-alternative-pop flavor the band has always mined, there are moments that branch out promisingly: the countrified opener, "Something You Ain't Got," (with harmonies from Caitlin Cary); the unexpected dirty blues of "Gimme One More Chance"; and the off-kilter, vaguely Middle Eastern rhythms of "Better Times Are Coming Our Way," which is perhaps the closest the band has ever veered into sounding like their older brothers and alter-egos Camper Van Beethoven. At the same time that David Lowery is still the guy behind the humor and smart-aleckary of "Take the Skinheads Bowling," in new songs like "I Need Better Friends," and "I'm So Glad She Ain't Never Coming Back," there is also a new depth and darkness to his songwriting, most notably on "Night Falls," and "Darling We're Out of Time." As usual, Cracker is touring exhaustively, with an eye toward the annual Cracker & Camper Van Beethoven Campout and Music Festival in September, featuring the likes of John Doe and Neko Case, among others.
Also out recently is the debut EP from the Watson Twins, entitled Southern Manners. The sisters, Chandra & Leigh, initially announced their talents to most of the world on this year's Jenny Lewis release, Rabbit Fur Coat, for which they contributed ethereal, soulful backup vocals. Southern Manners finds them in a slightly less ironic vein, though the vocals are no less stunning. Based in Los Angeles, they've somehow remained unsigned to this point and released the debut themselves.
Related content: here and here
In House #1640.
Focus: New releases from Cracker, Greenland, and the Watson Twins, Southern Manners, plus new music from Frank Black, Oakley Hall, the Bottle Rockets and more.
Oakley Hall, from Gypsum Strings: "Lazy Susan" (MP3)
In House PODCAST #119