The Lonesome Heroes, a band from Austin, Texas, describe their music as “cosmic American,” and fans of Gram Parsons should know what that means: Some light psychedelic pop and folk brightening the country grit.
Their latest album, “Daydream Western,” has strong country-folk leanings with some poppier touches inspired by more recent dream-pop obsessives like Yo La Tengo and the Magnetic Fields. However, there’s a heavier emphasis on the twang thanks to Landry McMeans’ slide work on the Dobro.
McMeans, who also contributes some of the finest vocal performances on the album, forms the core of the band with her partner Rich Russell on guitar. They sometimes duet, as on the chugging rocker “Seeing is Believing,” and other times step up for a solo turn on vocals, such as McMeans’ nicely restrained singing on “AM Radio.”
Supporting all those mournful songs about hitting the road, moving on, or finding escape is a gorgeous production job by Austin steel guitarist Gary Newcomb. The album is filled with tasteful details that never overwhelm the songs, such as a short kick from a horn section on the end of “Highway 287.”
The Lonesome Heroes hit the highway for a performance at the Top Hat, 134 W. Front St., on Saturday, Sept. 1. The cover is $5.
Opening for the Heroes is fellow roots music wanderer John Adam Smith. The Missoula resident takes the concept of the one-man band a little further than most. In addition to his positive leaning songs and skilled finger-picking, he’ll put some work in on a full drum set.
Origami Ghosts play low-key folk with homemade charm
John Paul Scesniak, a well-traveled Seattle singer-songwriter who plays low-key folk music with a homemade charm under the name of Origami Ghosts.
Scesniak writes sad and sometimes whimsical songs that can cram in so many lines you’ll think of a less demented version of Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock. He accompanies himself with his own finger-picked guitar lines and a rich-sounding combo that includes female backup vocals, guitar, cello, drums, bass, and for an extra dose of folk atmosphere, the accordion.
The title track of his last album, “It Don’t Exist,” features ambiguous lyrics (“You were looking for it and it went away”) that fade from your attention as the full band begins playing intricate loops around one another.
Origami Ghosts will play the VFW, 245 W. Main St., on Friday, Aug. 31, with locals Brooke Beighle and Dusty Gunns.
Stone Foxes’ Bay Area blues rock is as much garage as Delta
Like the Black Keys, the Bay Area’s Stone Foxes make blues rock that comes as much from the garage as the Delta. The quartet is more interested in a hard beat, a good riff and a wide chorus than any virtuoso guitar noodling.
Aaron Mort (guitar), brothers Shannon (guitar) and Spence Koehler (drums), and Avi Vinocur (bass), manage to let their blues inspirations show, as on a cover of “Little Red Rooster” without losing the emphasis on riffs and rhythms. Other tracks get a little more to the garage rock side of the equation with fuzz bass and distorted vocals.
The Stone Foxes play Wednesday, Sept. 5, at the Top Hat, 134 W. Front St. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 day of show.
Cory Walsh is editor of the Entertainer. He can be reached at (406) 523-5261 or by email at email@example.com.