Prolific singer-songwriter Butch Walker has been working his solo act for over a decade (he fronted Marvelous 3 previously) and the experience shows on the tight power pop gems found on his latest record, The Spade.These tracks are loaded with lyrical hooks, both serious and tongue-in-cheek.The choruses shine with fist-pumping/swaying action, but Walker is smart to keep a sense of looseness around the recordings to let his band The Black Widows lay back into cool grooves.That aside, I imagine Walker will be featuring new material for 2013 as he has yet to take more than a two-year break between records.Even though his material can be a little too poppy for my general tastes, it is totally worth a set to see what this admired singer-songwriter has up his sleeve for this year.That and a kick ass rock and roll show.
2013’s first set is an interesting and diverse mix of artists worth a listen and one who I’m putting my money on breaking out in 2013 - Wake Owl. Highlights:
Wake Owl (9) - Wake Owl pulls from Laurel Canyon Americana and European folk influences equally, creating a new sound that is still overwhelmingly familiar.
Butch Walker (8) - The choruses shine with fist-pumping/swaying action, but Walker is smart to keep a sense of looseness around the recordings to let his band The Black Widows lay back into cool grooves.
Wall. (6) – At moments I quite like Wall.’s debut single “Magazine”, but it dragged just a little too much for my tastes.Fans of Lana Del Rey are going to love these hushed tones and dark pop tunes.
J Roddy Walston and the Business (6) - J Roddy Walston and the Business deliver some serious blues licks on their whiskey-soaked self-titled debut.I love this band’s 70s-inspired rock and roll attitude on record and would spend a SXSW set with them if only to shake out my dancing boots for a half-hour.
Washington Irving (6) - Washington Irving (a band, not a historical figure) lays down some interesting European folk and modern pop as their backing music, but the highlight of their 2010 debut EP are the distinctive Scottish vocals that carry a sense of authenticity to a weathered tradition.
Wavves (6) – The punk version of sister band The Best Coast, Wavves succeeds in distorted garage punk that is actually disguising tight little pop songs.Early reports of their upcoming fourth record promise a diverse effort with influences ranging from acoustic melodies and even hip hop – Wavves recently recorded a track for Big Boi’s latest record.
The Wealthy West (5) - Brandon Kinder, also known as the lead singer of OEB highlight act The Rocketboys, has set upon a solo effort in 2011 with the release of The Wealthy West’s debut EP.The Wealthy West plays laid back folk music with a pop-centric focus that fits nicely in the burgeoning acoustic scene at this year’s SXSW.