Nikki Hill “Heavy Hearts, Hard Fists”

This is the second album of Southern Soul rock’n’roller NIKKI HILL. “Heavy Hearts, Hard Fists” starts with a groovy, almost funky note before “Oh My” explodes into some pure rock’n’roll and “Struttin” take us to New Orleans with a ROLLING STONES touch. In this new album Nikki tells us about a bad relationship and you can feel the blues in “And I Wonder” as well as in the beautiful 60s stained ballad “Nothin’ With You”. The band’s sharp playing pefectly fits with Nikki’s vocals and a song like “(Let Me Tell You ‘Bout) LUV”) also brings early BLACK CROWES to mind while “I’m Gonna Love You” seduces us with a subtle a rockabilly touch. You’ll even find a bit of glam rock with the T.REX influenced “Hot Shot” and a celebration of LITTLE RICHARD with “Scratch Back” as well as a cover of SAM COOKE‘s classic “Twistin’ The Night Away.” The album is out on classy grey smoke vinyl released by Hound Gawd! Records. You need rock’n’roll, you need soul, then look no further and get “Heavy Hearts, Hard Fists”! /Laurent C.

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Brian McCarty “Lover Forget Me Not”

At heart, Mister Entertainment, Brian McCarty, is Show-People. An icon of the underground punk, and trashy-glam scene, the former Trash Brat is equally adept at writing tear-in-your-beer, old time country. This record spills over with weary nods to “real folks” storytellers like, Seger, Kristofferson, Prine, and Willie Nelson. Other tunes are shot-through with vivid bursts of that all-too-familiar Motown Soul. Various musical bits hearken back to Stax/Volt, soul-man horns, moonshine porchswings, seventies bubble gum, Archie Bell & The Drells, Elvis funk, Vegas kitsch, Gram Parsons-style torch songs, and maybe even a few scattered glints of…EMO! Brian O’Blivion’s got decades of up-close and personal, field-study under his Evil Kenievil belt-buckle, observing the dangers of dwelling too-long on the edge of the spot-light. “Neon Mirage” is a heart-felt offering about the friendship-eroding effects of glory-whoring, and ruthless, lifestyle-chasing, in this oppurtunistic age, when no one has the guts to stand up for anything beyond the immediate gratifications of doing Coke In The Girl’s Room, and having their picture taken. It’s a wonderful, and maybe even, important song, that’s a little reminiscent of the Rolling Stone’s “Fool To Cry”.
“Outrunning The Ghosts” is a minor, lyrical-masterpiece, about the weight of our memories, and the accompanying decay of our youthful idealism, that invariably accelerates the aging-process. It’s about how easy it is to get sucked-in by all the pretty lights and hollow promises of these hypno-screens, that have long replaced the family hearth, in today’s modern “Go Corporate Or Go Home”-crazed culture. He doesn’t think it’s a good idea to lose touch with what we really value-real music, real relationships, real emotions, real experiences, LOVE and real friends, all for the sake of remaining numb and uninvolved, and perhaps, occasionally, receiving some typically ambitious, self-promotional spam from a random Suicide Girl, on-line.
Brian’s a deep cat, I keep tellin’ people. He’s the sorta fella who’s as comfortable hangin’ out around the campfire with Tom Waits, or David Lee Roth, and he’s probably brought his own stack of Don Ho records to the party, so be forewarned. There’s likely an accordion, or mandolin in his suitcase, somewheres. He’s like a less-conservative Wayne Newton, backed-up, variously, by Johnny Thunders, or the Jordanaires. A serious song-writer first, but also, a song and dance man. All tap-shoes with spats, and a dusty pork-pie hat. O’Blivion’s a throwback to the original Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time-Players, Dean Martin, Liberace, or someone who sold your Gram that big, clunky, 50’s vacuum-cleaner, that still works.
This document would be worth seeking-out, if only for the above-mentioned songs, and the charming, “She’s Playing For Keeps, I’m Playing For Tips”, about the challenges of balancing a life on the road, with a wife and kid.
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE! Politico-bluegrass, stripped-down at the kitchen table, low-fi blues, compassion for the troops, personality-to-burn, clever rhymes, and a genuinely likable, comedic persona that deserves a variety show of his own, on a cutting-edge cable channel—you could easily see this cat helping to revive “Saturday Night Live”, especially by showcasing his catchy and thought-provoking songs like, “Pharisee”.
A TRASH BRAT for grown-ups, and even summa the rest of us grown-up-wrongs, Brian McCarty is a thoughtful social commentator, and all-around-entertainer. This latest solo l.p. ain’t for everybody, just for people who like to be entertained: “leisure-oriented jeans-wearers of all ages”. (-Courtney Hate)