Welcome to 2020! Here’s a few things we’ve been hearing and seeing:
The Successful Failures: Saratoga
It’s great to hear a band that really knows what they are doing. The Successful Failures are from New Jersey, led by frontman/songwriter Mick Chorba, and have been at it since 2006. Saratoga is a fine record, opening with ‘Because We’re Ghosts,’ a song that reminds me of vintage Steve Earle and Superdrag at the same time. ‘Love You So’ has really nice backing ‘aaahs’ and features the word portmanteau in the lyric. “The Ocean And The Stars’ is a very strong tune, really sounding like something from Earle’s Copperhead Road. ‘Disgruntled Bankers’ ascends into almost a Springsteen-esque mode. It’s big and brash a very well put together.
“Already In Two’ is full of cool piano echoes, reverse loops, and stomping pop, and reminds me a bit of early Posies. This is definitely swinging Americana music with a hint of power pop; most recommended to those into said things.
Travels With Brindle: Greetings From Rocky Point EP
Chelsea Spear is the leader, songwriter, singer and ukulele player(!) for Boston, Mass. band Travels With Brindle. Her music is super stripped down twee (in a good way) just uke, cello, and percussion. The overall vibe reminds me a little of Asheville’s Mad Tea Party, without the old-timey feel. Spear’s lyrics are ironic and funny, and sometimes a little twisted (as on ‘Happy Birthday, Chicken Boy’). ‘Feather’ has a musical saw which is pretty neat. Keep an eye out for this bunch.
Beatles Cartoon Pop Art Show featuring Artist Ron Campbell
My early love for The Beatles as a wee lass grew substantially from their namesake witty and irreverent Saturday morning cartoon. What a time! Beatles on the radio, Beatles on the TV: heaven. I was thrilled to read that one of the cartoonists responsible for that series and for Yellow Submarine would be present for a show at a nearby gallery. Ron Campbell is an Emmy winning artist also worked on iconic animated series from Scooby Doo to the Rugrats. If you remember charming, real, hand-drawn children’s animation, you probably know and love his work.
One of the advantages of being based in two states is covering twice the territory. I saw Ron’s show in NC and Steve in SC. We agree the work is wildly creative and captures the spirit of The Beatles perfectly. I was fortunate to have a long conversation with the affable Mr.Campbell and discuss my beloved obscure spy-spoof cartoon, Cool McCool, a series he directed. He even drew me my own Cool original on the certificate of authenticity accompanying the print to which I treated myself.
Ron Campbell tours signing works and chatting with fans. In early 2020, he is in the US southeast. His works are smart, funny, vibrant, and alive. Keep an eye on his tour and go meet this key Beatles figure and see his fantastic pop art works.