New Music Friday (April 3rd): Mapache, Real Estate and Allmans

I wasn’t intending to make this on a Friday, but now that it has a title it will be a recurring thing! This will be an opportunity to point out some new albums that have come out in the past few weeks and dive into some things I have been listening to recently.

1. NEW Mapache – From Liberty Street

I’ve written about these guys before, but this album is a collection of some of their recently released singles mixed in with some new stuff. I was instantly hooked on these two when my friends showed me them a few months back, and I was able to see them live in 2019. I love their harmonies, and the dueling guitars are just phenomenal when played over each other with these syncopated rhythms. They have a southern-california vibe (and origin) and they channel the Spanish culture in many ways in their music (sometimes very Paco De Lucia-like in their strumming). They have a very relaxed vibe, but they can play the acoustic extremely well (solos are great) and their vocals are spot on. These are genuinely talented, original artists who deserve tons of recognition, but they haven’t gotten it yet. Give it a go, you wont be disappointed. 9.5/10

2. NEW Real Estate – The Real Thing

Real Estate has this particular sound that keeps me coming back when I’m in the right mindset/mood. Something along the lines of the tone on their guitar, and the almost dream-like quality of their music, complete with solid vocals and fun melodies. This new album is not necessarily my favorite, but its more of the same great content (IMO) that RE is known for. Was going to see them this month but now that is looking grim 😦 Definitely check these guys out if you are looking for a mellow but upbeat beach vibe with a touch of eclecticness, this is for you. 8/10

3. NEW Phish – Sigma Oasis

Wowza, a new Phish album. These are always fun to unpack – as we know, their studio stuff is usually very overshadowed by their live work. Phish has really been at the top of their game as a of late, beginning around the time of the Baker’s Dozen up until their most recent show (before Corona kicked in). Something that is very impressive for a band their age. Along the way, Phish continues to release content for their adoring fan-base (myself included), and this is no different. They had actually intended to release the album later in the year, but they said the timing “felt right” to surprise fans with given the current circumstances. Very cool. Everything’s Right, Mercury, Steam and Thread are excellent, and will be staples of live performances moving forward (whenever they return). The songs have a newness to them, which reminds me of TAB in many ways (you can definitely hear the influences of all of their other live work), but they also continuously go back to the funk-jamrock that made Phish Phish. Its fun, upbeat, funky and even dark at some times (which in their case is a great thing). They have actually been playing a lot of these tracks live over the course of the past few years, but this makes them a bit more tangible. A Phish studio album is really like looking through a strange box of nick-knacks above the garage, some of the things you find are fun and interesting, others are just plain weird. This has more of the fun and interesting than many other of their albums as of late. Songs are long and incorporate the jammy elements that make modern Phish so fun to listen to. Even if you aren’t a Phish fan, this is a bit more approachable than other albums. Give it a listen. 9/10

4. Allman Brothers – Live from A&R Studios (1971)

I am a huge Allman Bros fan, this much is true. I am always on the hunt for early 70s (Duane period) recordings, and I stumbled into this live album the other day from A&R studios. What a gem this is – such raw, powerful sound in what appears to be a small-sided studio in front of an audience. Perfect sound quality, amazing solos, Gregg sounds as good as ever, and the band is clicking perfectly. Don’t Keep Me Wondering, In Memory of Elizabeth Reed and Stormy Monday are highlights. One reviewer called it “the magnificence of the Allman Brothers Band in one of its finest hours of its finest year of 1971.” If you love Duane live recordings, this is as good as it gets. 10/10

5. NEW Marcus King – El Dorado

Marcus King is an up-and-coming blues-rock guitarist with a touch of soul power. He plays a mean guitar and has the pipes to belt out virtually any kind of music, from the slow somber stuff to power ballads. El Dorado is his fourth album, and its one of the best along with Carolina Confessions. Melty guitar licks and amazing vocals keep you going from song to song. He has a little something for everyone – slow, soul-driven ballads (usually incorporating solid back-up vocals) for the more faint of heart, and absolutely raucous jamming for the guitar enthusiasts. It’s a band, but Marcus is the star power. You wouldn’t know it by looking at him, but this man has talent coming out of his fingernails. I HIGHLY recommend this one – take a look at all his work before this guy blows up. 9/10

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