After 27 years of touring with Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven, singer and songwriter David Lowery has at long last finished his first solo record, “The Palace Guards.” Free of restraint, Lowery snatched bits of country, rock, pop and psychedelia from his previous work to create nine sharp and stylistically diverse songs. He recorded with longtime collaborators and Sound of Music studio staples John Morand, Alan Weatherhead and Miguel Urbiztondo, as well as David Immergluck, Sal Maida and Johnny Hickman of Cracker, and the late Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse, who played keyboards on “Big Life.” “The Palace Guards” is out on Savoy/429 Records.
It's unusual nowadays to buy a 7-inch record that doesn't include a download card, but what about song downloads that don't have a corresponding record? The Richmond Scene is offering up a series of Unpressed 7s featuring songs from local artists who don't have physical homes. The second installment, following two songs from the Speckled Bird, delivers new material from Josh Small that won't be on his upcoming album, “Josh Small's Juke.” These raw, unaccompanied solo recordings can be downloaded at therichmondscene.com.
Quirky cabaret-pop duo Fuzzy Baby has released its first official EP for download at fuzzybaby.bandcamp.com. “Bread, Butter, and Champagne” reeks with a wry sense of humor that has underscored the duo's promo videos and live performances. Fuzzy Baby show mates Lobo Marino have pressed two extended tracks onto their new record, “The Reincarnation EP,” which you can snap up before they embark on a U.S. tour this month.
If you were wondering what happened to Cubscout and the Rhinoceros, bassist Kemper Blair and drummer Stuart Holt have already moved on with guitarist Cliff Boyd to form Shart Attack, now known as Sports Bar. Like garage punk hopped up on energy drinks, Sports Bar ditched the electronica on its first cassette release for Sweet Dreams Records, although it does contain a new version of Cubscout's “Moneytime at the Eastern Express.” Cross your fingers: Sports Bar is working on new material for a possible second release.
After reporting on the Moonbees more than a year ago, Inside Track has confirmed the release of their debut album, “Everything's Simple, Everything's Complicated.” The roots and rock quartet — including guitarist Clifton McDaniel and keyboardist Gabe Churray of iLad, bassist Nate Matthews formerly of Great White Jenkins, and drummer Brian Wiltz, ex-Botox Party and Sana Rouge — recorded with Lance Koehler at Minimum Wage Studios. The songs are available digitally at themoonbees.com, and a CD release is on the horizon. Meanwhile, iLad is touching up its fourth album, tentatively titled “Made in the USA.” Set to be released in early spring, McDaniel says, “It's light years beyond anything we've done so far.”
Last year Richmond jazz ambassadors Fight the Big Bull released a record that made scores of top-10 lists and worked with such nationally acclaimed acts as Steve Bernstein, David Karston Daniels and Bon Iver. Band leader and guitarist Matt White continues an ambitious agenda, planning to record the follow-up to “All Is Gladness in the Kingdom” in the spring, writing horn arrangements for a new record by indie rockers Megafaun, finishing up a solo album with help from K Records' Karl Blau, and launching local label Spacebomb Records.
While the future is uncertain for newly reunited band Leon Milmore, drummer Lee Brooks is marching ahead with his new band, the Simma Downs. Joined by keyboardist Kyle Crosby of Copper Sails, bassist Brian Durrett formerly of Carbon Leaf, and guitarist and vocalist Drew Kullman, this funktastic alt-country act should have its debut EP out by press time with a full-length following in the spring.
Inside Track is compiled by Mike Rutz of “Activate!” on 97.3-FM WRIR.