Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Quick Hit: PJ Bond

February 16, 2012

In all my reading, I haven’t yet come across a book making a connection between punk and alt-country. Perhaps I’m overlooking a book, or perhaps I should get to work: The two seem to overlap in musicians more often than I would expect. Barring a long and drawn-out intro, I’ll just say this: the tunes of PJ Bond‘s Ten Degrees and the Floor EP all started off their lives at the heavily punk Alternative Press’s website as streams. Chuck Daley at Beartrap PR sent them over to me, and he’s a punk lifer.

And the tracks have, uh, nothing to do with punk. Two of the tunes are acoustic and voice pieces, while the third is an Old 97s-style mid-tempo rocker. The first two have pedal steel in the arrangement. These are alt-country songs that seem to come out of the punk world, and this is not the first time I’ve encountered this.

But enough of that. PJ Bond is great at writing songs, and so you should listen to them. He sings from a weary soul on “I’m in a Bad Way” and “Reasons,” but his sturdy strum patterns and grounded acoustic guitar tone contrast with the weeping pedal steel and keep these songs from getting woozy or meandering. (See also: Joe Pug, Rocky Votolato.) Bond has a firm vision of where these songs are going, and they go there. Both of the tunes have memorable vocal melodies as anchors; the latter has a noteworthy lyrical turn.

“Nevermind,” the full-band tune, frames Bond’s voice even better, augmenting it with harmonies. It’s a solid tune; I prefer the first two songs, but this one is no bad mark on his record.

You can check out the tunes’ Tumblr online home or download them for free from Bandcamp.

Mesmerizers

November 21, 2011

I’ve been tracking the haunting, spare, organic music of Charlotte & Magon for some time now, and it just keeps getting more beautiful.

Charlotte & Magon – Modern Times (official video) from Charlotte&Magon on Vimeo.

This hypnotic, entrancing video somehow fits with Joakim’s weird and wild dance track; I seriously stopped thinking about everything else in my life and just focused on this video the first time I saw it. YOU KNOW HOW HARD THAT IS. But this video makes it so easy.

Robert Deeble’s gentle, knowing acoustic shuffle on “Heart Like Feathers” feels like putting on a warm sweater. Also mentioned in the press was “inspired by G.K. Chesterton,” which is pretty much an auto-listen in these parts.

Robert Deeble – Heart Like Feathers – Digital Single by fanaticpro

PJ Bond sounds like a more desperate Rocky Votolato (!) and that’s because of his punk-rawk background (phew). He’s playing acoustic tunes now and circling the globe, but he stopped off in Lynchburg, VA, long enough to record a live take of “I’m in a Bad Way.” That link jumps to the MP3, hosted by Alt Press.

Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of instrumental music. We write about those trying to make the next step in their careers and established artists.

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