Courtesy Low Litas
Whether you appreciate indie rock or prefer country crooners, Tulsa
musicians offer rich variety in their newest albums.
Low Litas, “Low Litas”
Waves of distortion and dreamy melancholy might seem like slightly odd bedfellows, but in the hands of guitarist and lead vocalist Mandii Larsen, bassist and back-up vocalist Penny Pitchlynn and drummer Nathan Price, they fuse into something fantastic and compelling.
The self-titled debut from this Tulsa trio is an intriguing blend of Larsen’s plaintive, reverb-drenched vocals soaring over a driving rhythm section and enveloped in a blissful haze of overdriven guitar buzz and feedback.
Strains of My Bloody Valentine and other shoegaze progenitors come to mind, but the Low Litas transcend these comparisons with tightly constructed arrangements and generally hookier material.
Standout tracks include the cinematic, Interpol-filtered-through-Pixies grandeur of “Go On,” one of the album’s clear indie rock singles, as well as “Busted,” the swaggering, confrontational opening track. Also of note are “Obe,” with its insistent groove and apropos closing refrain (“I’m floating out of body now”); the sensual-yet-vaguely-menacing snarl of “Closer”; and “Leave the Rest” with its haunting, lyrical sentiment: “All I needed was some sympathy.”
As debuts go, this one is a winner.
Green Corn Rebellion, “POP”
“POP,” the eclectic sophomore release from the Tulsa musical collective known as Green Corn Rebellion, is quite simply a revelation. Singer/banjo player Chris Foster, along with drummer Nicholas Foster, double bassist Jordan Hehl, guitarist Peter Tomshany, saxophonist Zach Elkins and singers Jen Jones, Jurine Moore and Adrienne Gilley, have created a kind of musical alchemy here. The eight blend a constellation of styles into this nine-song release that manages to defy easy classification at every turn.
This collection of songs at once sounds wonderfully ramshackle, strangely melodic and yet, somehow, familiar. “Lay of the Land” injects backwoods funk (a la The Band) into Leon Russell-style Okie soul. There also is the quiet, Wilco-meets-Van Morrison beauty of “Get Along” and the clattery, minor key, Squirrel Nut Zippers/Tom Waits-esque creep-fest, “Rise!”
In reality, Green Corn Rebellion’s music is far more unique than the finite stylistic parameters I’ve laid out with these band comparisons. Consider my descriptions “jumping-off points” and simply let the songs define themselves. You won’t be disappointed.
Sarah Dunn Band, “You or the Whiskey”
A huge seller these days is slickly produced, revved-up country-pop music that takes as many stylistic cues from Southern rock as it does from female firebrands like Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood.
Given that, Sarah Dunn’s “You or the Whiskey” is a shoe-in for the mainstream country market. Tulsan Dunn’s voice is powerful and authentic, and she’s backed by a talented array of musicians, including guitarist Scotty Bell, bassist Roger Caple and drummer David Montgomery. Dunn also plays fiddle for the band and is currently the only female lead/fiddler on country radio.
Dunn frontloads “You or the Whiskey” with the obvious singles. Opening track “Finish What You Started” is a bold female empowerment anthem, “Backwoods Party” praises the finer points of redneck weekending and the title track is an ode to infatuation custom-made for country airwaves.
But for my tastes, her more interesting material resides on the latter half of the record. “Anywhere You Go” is a quietly poignant track with lovely lyrical imagery. The closer, “Bye Bye,” is a raucous, sarcastic kiss-off showcasing Dunn’s
impressive vocal prowess.
A solid release, all around.
11/2, CAKE, Cain’s Ballroom
Indie rock mainstay CAKE has made a lengthy career of staying absolutely true to its singular sound. That sound consists of funky bass lines, a scratchy rhythm guitar, percussively melodic lead guitar, trumpets, John McCrea’s dry and sarcastic vocals, the phrases “Hey ya” and “All right” and, of course, that ubiquitous vibra-slap. Of course, the band also has written some of the catchiest and most clever pop-rock songs this side of forever. Doors open at 7 p.m.
11/21, Chrissie Hynde, Brady Theater
Chrissie Hynde is simply a legend when it comes to rock ‘n’ roll. As the lead singer/songwriter for seminal ’70s/’80s rock band Pretenders, Hynde had songwriting prowess and guitar chops to spare, and her distinctive vocals set her band apart. Now she’s touring in support of her new release, “Stockholm.” Doors open at 7 p.m.