The Listening Post: October 2013

Trouble music for troubled times.

  • The Bomb Shelter SessionsVintage Trouble. Okay, where did this come from? New York Post writer, blogger, punster, raconteur, and cool dude Robert A. George tipped me off about this band on Twitter. For that, I owe the man a beer. Vintage Trouble is fronted by former Rock Star: INXS contestant Ty Taylor, a man who sings with the gruff soul of Wilson Pickett and moves with the fluid grace of James Brown. What makes the band unusual is that this soul man is backed by a power trio that’s equally adept with straightforward soul and garage rock fury. Their dĂ©but album, the wonderfully titled Bomb Shelter Sessions, draws freely from the last fifty years of rock music. From the pounding punk-soul opener “Blues Hand Me Down” to the Otis Redding-style ballad “Gracefully”, from the bluesy “Nancy Lee” to the Curtis Mayfield vibe of “Not Alright By Me”, from the salacious Prince-inspired funk rocker “Total Strangers” to the R&B meets Zeppelin swagger of album closer “Run Outta You”, Sessions offers the listener a wide spectrum of soul-based rock music. Recorded in three days and eschewing digital technology, this is music custom-made for vinyl LPs; there are two evenly balanced halves that have an ebb and flow like the best albums. The listener is never pounded mercilessly nor lulled into complacency; the album segues seamlessly between kinetic rockers, mid-tempo shuffles, ballads, and soul torch songs. As “Run Outta You” ends the album in a tempest of Jimmy Page-inspired guitar, the breadth of pleasures here becomes clear. Ten songs, none that sound alike, but all that sound like the work of a single, great, band that approaches music fearlessly.
    Grade: A