Rob Clark & The Wooltones “Are You Wooltoned”
Rob Clarke and the Wooltones, deliver Merseybeat guitars drenched in the tones of a Vox AC30 straight from Liverpool, UK. The recordings have a West Coast psyche-pop style melded to its sweaty garage riffs. “Iron Eyes Cody” is a great start, mixing the double edged styles effectively. “Colors (of The Sun)” and “Ambrosine” are decidedly very psychedelic -– closer to The Blue Magoos than anything across The Mersey.
Yet the band’s authenticity is what draws you in, and the style varies from fuzzy space-rock on “Are We Here?” to blues on “Pancake Cupcake” to jangle pop on “End of The End.” Certainly the lack of consistency may turn some off, but if you like all variety of ’60s rock and pop The Wooltones do an admirable job. Kool Kat’s CD Release has a 7 Track bonus disc that includes covers of “Stepping Stone” and “Pushing Too Hard.” Highly Recommended.
Cantina “A Sea Of Keys”
Cantina is another collective of accomplished musicians; John Dufilho (of The Apples in Stereo, The Deathray Davies), Jason Garner (The Polyphonic Spree), Andy Lester(Deathray Davies), and Philip Peeples (Old 97’s) with a percussive emphasis (after all, most of these guys were drummers!) The player piano melody of “Lucifer” ambles along like Ray Davies meets Mark Oliver Everett (Eels) and Dufilho’s sad slow vocal in the catchy “Bulletproof” contrasts, with its fast-paced banjo, tambourine and slide guitar.
And those contrasts are compelling, with its layered rhythms often done against a drone-like reading of “A Letter of Rejection” reminded me a bit of They Might Be Giants ironic approach. “Sympathy For Strikers” is more melodic and fun to listen to. Often a song opens with a ukulele (“I Keep Floating” or “These Machines”) but sometimes you get a surfer-styled lo-fi gem like “God Is The Sun” or “Hypnotic.” In fact, you’ll hear many lo-fi bedroom pop gems here and while it may not stick in your brain too long – it will lighten your mood and lift your spirits.