Occasionally a guitar-based 'rock' album comes along that for a minute makes me want to throw out all my electronic records, pick my electric guitar back up and just rock out. In the past few weeks not one but two albums have had that effect on me.
The first is 'Trans Am Summer Blues' by John Wesley Coleman III, a name that's new to me but who'll I'll definitely be looking to see on tour if he comes to the UK. It's a proper balls out rock'n'roll record that wears its heart on its sleeve and its soul in a glass of bourbon. Recorded during a time of personal loss (and I'd imagine a few 'lost weekends' as well), this is the antithesis of pretentiousness.
The two standout tracks are the 2 longest (by far) on here. 'Million Faces' sees Coleman singing his heart out and sound not dissimilar to Axl Rose, and ends with the best guitar solo I've heard on a record this year. The title track 'Trans Am Summer Blues' sees him with his tongue in his cheek as he name-checks the likes of Dennis Hopper, Sailor Jerry & R. Stevie Moore, along with a (possibly genuine) request to open for the Fiery Furnaces. It's a brilliant contemporary blues track that even manages to pay homage to / take the piss out of 'The End' by The Doors (I'm not sure which).
With the exception of closer 'Box O' Donuts' (a surprisingly heartfelt acoustic ballad) the remaining tracks are all sub 3 minute rock'n'roll songs which will undoubtedly engender much dancing / po-going when he plays them live.
The second album is 'Twins' by Ty Segall. This is not the first album I've bought by Segall (hell, it's not even the first I've bought this year, this is the third album he's put out in 2012) but it's by far the best thing he's done in ages. Segall's album is a slightly darker, more menacing affair then Coleman's, but there's a good balance of light and shade on display here. The inclusion of Brigid Dawson on vocals on 'The Hill' adds a 60s vibe to the proceedings while 'You're The Doctor' channels The Ramones. Elsewhere there are hints of Iggy Pop and glam rock (and even Lenny Kravitz on 'Who Are You), while my favourite track 'Handglams' is a downbeat bluesy rocker straight out of the early seventies with a scorching guitar ending.
Both of these albums are guaranteed to blow away the cobwebs, so grab one or (preferably) both and play them LOUD!
'Trans Am Summer Blues' is out now on Tic Tac Totally records and 'Twins' is on Drag City.