Music

Music review: From the outlands

A taste of sounds from South Africa and beyond

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This week, we take a look at a variety of sounds from near and far in What’s Spinning. From South African folk-punk to American musical mastery, both of these albums will have you digging through the artists’ discography and awaiting their next release.

‘Bad Old Days’

D.B. Rouse

Starting off with an old-time saloon-style piano intro of “Bad Old Days,” D.B. Rouse hooks listeners in for the long run on the album of the same title. “Bad Old Days” is a look into a rather talented musicians take on several aspects on life while experimenting with a number of different musical styles, ranging from country-folk to classic Beatles-era rock and roll with “Road Rage.”

Often, musicians tend to perfect the inner workings of one style of playing and stick close to that safety net. The case is different with D.B. Rouse as the artist confidently delivers a multitude of styles and sounds with this album and keeps the listener’s interest as the album moves along.

In particular, “Borderlands” stands out as a perfect example of the musical diversity. The guitar paired with the piano and other instruments gives a country feel as if the song was crafted on the range while still delivering an aura of mystery and holds a dark overtone.

The album then moves to a saddening finger-plucking ballad about a former lover that still manages to give a humorous tone to a heartache. “She looks like you in the dark,” is a fun way of looking at a rough situation as no one likes going through a breakup, but ultimately the song is about perseverance. Though not on the surface level where Harley Poe can deliver, the overall feel of the song is to keep going and don’t let the past hang you up.

Hearing an upright bass on “Skeleton Keys” is a pleasant intro, especially with the piano and groovy drum beat, to bring some additional stylistic changes to the album. While the song has a completely different feel than the rest of the album, it is a welcome change and brings in interesting themes of life and death to the forefront of the album. “The dead will never understand the logic of the living,” is a line that, in the song, can be interpreted in a number of ways and it is a fun experience to explore the various meanings.

Overall, the album is a great example of experimentation with various sounds and excelling at that. Hats off to D.B. Rouse, this album is a must-have for the music lover of any genre.

Check out D.B. Rouse at dbrouse.bandcamp.com/album/bad-old-days.

 ‘No Gods, No Masters, Just Cats!

All These Wasted Nuts

Coming all the way from South Africa, All These Wasted Nuts brings a collection of folk and punk-inspired gems to the table with their unique blend of the two. The album compiles songs from the band to include several themes similar to American folk-punk and adds a cat theme throughout the album.

While the entirety of the album is a fun listening experience, “The Domestic Song” is a wonderful example of the overall feel of the album. The interesting situation of being caught between a rock and a hard place, but accepting that fact is an interesting way of attacking a song. With a brief salute to a former pet and a look into the housing situation of most musicians, the song is an excellent way to laugh, cry and make the best out of any situation.

“Cage Madness” is another example off of this album that can reach the ranks of a good folk-punk song and explores the difficulty of working at a part time job while longing to write that perfect folk song. Bringing Johnny Cash’s songwriting into question is a bit off kilter for many bands in the states, but we’ll let it slide because of the creativity of the album and the energy present in this particular song. “Cage Madness” expresses what musicians the planet over have had to deal with and the hell many often experience waiting for inspiration to strike while working jobs needed only to pay the rent.

“No Gods, No Masters, Just Cats!” is a fun look into the mind of a wonderful artist who has something to say and a future to create. So many American musicians attempt to reach the level of songwriting in this album yet fall short of getting their point across. With a variety of different styles present in the album, this is a great example of a collection that was well put together, well thought out – and we will all be looking for the next installment in this band’s future.

Check out “All These Wasted Nuts” at allthesewastednuts.bandcamp.com/album/no-gods-no-masters-just-cats-collection.

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